WE GOT LOVE, LASERS AND LUCKY DAYS: My highlights and lowlights of Eurovision 2018’s second semi final
Just like that, it’s over: semi final two. We now have our 20 finalists, 6 automatic finalists and a final running order feat. all of them. It’s bittersweet, but there’s still a lot of Eurovision 2018 left to experience – and this contest is shaping up to be one of the most interesting in recent years.
Before we find out for sure whether it will be or not, I need to get a big bunch of thoughts off my chest re: last night’s semi. It was a show I enjoyed a lot more than the first one for some reason (the Australia anticipation was real) and there’s heaps to talk about. So let’s talk!
Their song’s not the strongest, and neither are their vocals – but what Moldova’s DoReDos lacked in above-average sound last night, they more than made up for with an epically-choreographed performance (plus truckloads of charisma and stage presence). Comic timing was crucial to pull the entire three minutes off, and everyone on stage clearly had their watches set to the millisecond. My Lucky Day live is something you can’t look away from, and as such I expect Moldova’s televote on Saturday to be substantial…though in such a competitive year, not as massive as their televote in Kyiv.
I can’t not mention Australia and the sparkly ball of joy that was Jessica Mauboy – I’d have my citizenship revoked and be banished to Siberia. Biased I may be, but I’m (almost literally) bursting with happiness over the show Jess put on. Sure, she had some less than perfect vocal moments, but I actually liked the raw and unpolished way she sounded and moved. She performed professionally, but with enough vulnerability and authenticity to make her come across as relatable and genuine. And I’ve never seen someone hair-flick with so much enthusiasm – no wonder she got whiplash earlier on in the week! I wouldn’t change anything about our performance, and I hope Jess pulls something similar – or even better – out of the bag for the final.
My other main performance highlights were via Hungary, Sweden and Ukraine. AWS went off in the Altice by the look of it, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t attempt a headbang in my lounge room in support of the guys (I broke three windows and a table lamp, but it was worth it). Benjamin Ingrosso was always going to be an anticipated artist of the night for me (long story short ICYMI, I am a fully-fledged Swedophile and a big fan of Benjamin’s). Dance You Off was performed as flawlessly as ever, with the only thing I’d pick on being his choice of sneaker (go back to the Vans, man!). Mélovin’s closure of the semi made sure the run of songs went out with a bang (or technically, a flaming staircase) and he served up all the drama and intense gazes that I was hoping for.
There weren’t any bleeped-out f-bombs dropped, but I couldn’t help loving the postcard blooper reel anyway. We don’t usually get to see the production side of the vignettes that introduce every single song, let alone the parts of the process that don’t go according to plan. Thanks for that, Portugal – and take note, *insert whichever country we’re going to next year here*.
I think we all enjoyed the hosts’ Eurovision dance evolution skit – an original interval act idea if ever I’ve seen one. And speaking of the hosts (all twenty-seven of them), Filomena – who bears a passing resemblance to another ESC legend, Pastora Soler – is proving herself to be the host with the most, outshining the others (whose names I’m afraid I keep mixing up) with her green room antics and commendable attempt at the Loreen crab dance.
Results-wise, I was only really surprised by the first country to be drawn out of the hypothetical hat: Serbia. I didn’t predict Balkanika to qualify, but I’m glad they did, especially after Serbia missed out on a final spot last year. So did Slovenia, who are back in the final for 2018 too (in spite of Lea’s ‘technical malfunction’ gimmick). Russia did what I suspected and failed to advance for the first time – leaving Ukraine as the only country with its 100% qualification record intact (if we’re counting from the introduction of the semi final system). All the other qualifiers were reasonably expected – i.e. they were the 8 I managed to correctly predict. It’s been 8s all round for me this year, which is better than my 6 (!) from 2016; but a 9 in 2019 would be nice. In this case, I had Malta and Romania down as finalists instead of Serbia and Slovenia. But if it helps, I knew The Humans were goners once I’d seen their performance…
Speaking of Romania…as with Macedonia in SF1, ‘What were they thinking?’ is the phrase that comes to mind here. Goodbye is a great song, IMO, that would have been done justice if ANYTHING other than (what looked like) latex-clad masked mannequins were stuck all over the stage. It was like watching a performance broadcast live from a sex shop (and I didn’t want to know what had been dangled decoratively from the lighting rig). The outcome? An extra goodbye for The Humans, this time to Romania’s 100% qualification record. All bets are off in 2019 with regards to qualification, I’m telling you!
The only other thing I saw as a big downside to this second semi was Latvia’s failure to make it to the final. I kind of knew it was coming (and hadn’t predicted Laura to progress) but Funny Girl is so awesome and she was so kick-ass on stage, a part of me hoped she’d slip through. Let’s hope Latvia can avoid being sent home early (again) next time.
For whatever reason, I thought the hosts’ script was slightly less AAAAAGGGGHHH this time around. Maybe it’ll be third time lucky and the script in the final will be totally listenable and not make me miss Petra and Måns like crazy. A girl can dream!
Norway – giving us Eurovision song 1500, thank you very much – kicked things off with aplomb, but I felt a little hesitation from Rybak. Maybe the pressure of trying to fill his own shoes has taken a toll, but I wanted him to absolutely let rip and charm the crap out of me like he did at MGP, and he didn’t quite get there. Now he’s safely in the final, perhaps we’ll see that extra gear we know he’s capable of.
The award for throwing everything possible at a performance has to go to Malta – they clearly took cues from Croatia 2017. Just when you thought nothing else could fly out of or appear on the stage surrounding Christabelle, it doggone did. The Chanel rule of removing one thing might have done them some good, but nonetheless I’m a little surprised they didn’t qualify.
Oh, Slovenia. To me, the ‘Oh shit, the music’s cut out!’ trick was a bad move in an otherwise top-notch performance – but apparently, I am wrong. It’s going to be even more cringeworthy when repeated on Saturday, but I’ll try and focus on what happens before and after that to console myself. At the end of the day, I’m happy to have Lea and her drop-crotch jumpsuit still in the game.
A WORD ON THE FINAL’S RUNNING ORDER…
It didn’t take long for Christer Björkman and crew to unveil their 26-song masterpiece (let’s face it, the man’s had a lot of practice). Here’s what we have to look forward to this weekend:
First half Ukraine, Spain, Slovenia, Lithuania, Austria, Estonia, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, Serbia, Germany, Albania, France
Yep, it’s ballad central compared to the big-hitter other half. But you can tell Christer and co. did their best to create a varied line-up. Ukraine is an unconventional opening song, but I’m not against it. The most up-tempo, high energy tracks – Norway and Serbia – were put aside to be interspersed with all the slow stuff, which is understandable. France scores the lucky 13th slot, and gets to perform as late as possible in this half. Fantastique!
Second half Czech Republic, Denmark, Australia, Finland, Bulgaria, Moldova, Sweden, Hungary, Israel, Netherlands, Ireland, Cyprus, Italy
Mikolas Josef has the honour of getting the real party started (potentially with an ill-advised flip) and will be setting all of our camels in the mood (whatever the heck that means). Followed, in time, by Australia, Finland, Moldova, Sweden, Israel and Cyprus, he’s one of many favoured acts putting forward a banger in this half of the show. Will it all be too much with one after the other? Will Cyprus do what the odds suggest and win after not having to outshine anyone bar Italy? We’ll find out (too) soon. I think the voting sequence this year could see douze points going all over the place, though – or at least to a handful of different countries.
That’s all I wanted to comment on re: SF2, so now it’s your turn. What did you think of the show and the countries that came out of it smiling? And, who do you think will win the whole thing? Let me know in the comments as we count down to the final…and the inevitable, soul-sucking fog of depression that follows it (I like to end things on a positive note).
I’ll see you soon – don’t forget to check out my social media @EurovisionByJaz before the final for predictions, and during for funniness!
Bonjour, and welcome to Super Saturday the Second! This one’s not going to be quite as super as last week’s, if you classify “super” by the amount of final decisions for Copenhagen being made. Seven days ago we had picks from Finland and Switzerland, whereas this evening, reigning JESC champ Malta is the sole selector of a 2014 entry.
Don’t curl up into a ball and sob helplessly, however – there’s plenty of action elsewhere to make this weekend one of the happening kind. From Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen making her 7th attempt to represent her country, to last year’s Hungarian runner-up looking to push one place ahead, this may not be THE night (as far as Kurt Calleja is concerned) but it’s certainly a decent night.
Before I get on to further NF discussion, I have to mention another competition taking place in Europe at the moment. It’s just a little insignificant thing called the Winter Olympics…I don’t know if you would’ve heard of it. Ha. Ha. ANYWAY, the Games have begun, and that was cemented with last night’s/this morning’s spectacular opening ceremony (depending on where you are, it could have taken place at any given time) in Sochi. Now, I say spectacular, but I must admit to falling asleep towards the end of the athlete parade. During the ceremony for London 2012, I only made it to Lithuania before passing out, so I consider making it past Ukraine this time a major achievement. What I can remember up until that point was pretty epic, though – not only was a Russian flag constructed out of people on the stadium floor, but they made it wave. Bravo.
Eurovision takes priority over the Olympics tonight, but I’m still keen to catch as much figure skating, ski jumping and luging as possible without creating a Jaz-shaped indentation in my couch. If you’re not feeling MESC or Melfest, maybe you’ll end up tuning in too. For those winter sports un-enthusiasts, I’ll quit the Sochi talk now and move on to the aforementioned Super Saturday action from around the continent.
Malta’s mini-ESC reaches its climax
Last night, six artists were sent packing in Malta’s largely pointless semi final (either kick out a decent amount or don’t bother, guys!) including two-time Eurovision rep and million-time MESC attempter Fabrizio Faniello. To be honest, that wasn’t a great loss. Nor were the five others that now have zero chance of winning tonight.
What we’ve been left with is one of the best line-ups Malta’s had in ages, featuring some very un-Malta-like stuff. I don’t say that to be offensive – it’s just that Malta has this way of cramming their NFs with middling pop songs and ballads with awfully cliché lyrics, and in 2014, there’s much less of that. Awesome.
In order of performance, this is the final fourteen:
- Lovetricity by Christabelle
- Some Kind of Wonderful by Wayne William
- Brand New Day by Davinia
- City Lady by Ryan Paul Abela
- Love Will Take Me Home by Franklin
- One Last Ride by Daniel Testa
- Let The Sunshine In by Sophie Debattista
- Oblivion by Chris Grech
- Until We Meet Again by Deborah C
- Hypnotica by Jessika
- Take Me by Pamela
- Coming Home by Firelight
- Because I Have You by Amber
- Pin The Middle by De Bee
I feel like it’s either going to be one of the fan favourites that wins, or some random song that nobody rated. I’ll do the best I can to predict it right; but first, my preferences for Denmark are…
One Last Ride – yes, I have been overly excited since I found out Daniel, of JESC fame, was aiming for adult Eurovision. But believe me when I say my adoration only clouds my judgment of his song a tiny bit. OLR is the business, people! Great verses, a great chorus, catchy, well performed, and exactly what I was referring to when I said ‘un-Malta-like’.
Hypnotica – is it a copy of Euphoria? No. Is it highly original? Well, no. But this dance track has sucked me in, probably using the hypnotic forces Jessika is singing about.
Coming Home – it’s Mumford and Sons meets Americana country, and the results are pretty darn good. Apart from the risk of Sjonni’s Friends suing Firelight for stealing their song title, I don’t see any problems with this going to Copenhagen.
Take Me – Pamela is one of the fan favourites, and it’s not hard to see, or hear, why. Her song is a very pretty ballad, and it got me despite the fact I was initially desperate not to like anything that wasn’t Daniel Testa-endorsed.
Lovetricity – some would call this the poor man’s Hypnotica, but I call it an equally catchy dance song that hasn’t got a chance of beating Hypnotica.
Now, who is actually going to score their way to Scandinavia? Based on (mostly) non-biased calculations, I predict one of Hypnotica, One Last Ride, Take Me, Let The Sunshine In, Brand New Day and Coming Home. I didn’t mention Sophie Debattista’s or Davinia’s songs earlier, but they sound to me like they have a shot. Also JESC alumni, Sophie’s participated in MESC before, but she’s got a better song this time. Davinia, on the other hand, came 3rd last year with an amazing song, and hasn’t come up to her own standard with this one in my opinion. But she’s another favourite, so I can’t discount her.
I believe Malta will end up sending something decent, wherever the votes go. What do you think? Who’s going to succeed the singing doctor that was Gianluca?
Melodifestivalen semi 2, ready to roll
Everyone’s (I may be generalising on that one) favourite NF continues this week, having traveled from Malmö to Linköping. There are big guns and intriguing unknowns (to me, at least) in this second semi, including Sanna Nielsen, who should get some kind of Melfest lifetime achievement award, and Swedish X Factor finalists J.E.M, who are made up of a girl, a guy, and another girl who looks like Moran Mazor. Here’s the rolecall:
- Love Trigger by J.E.M
- Hallelujah by The Refreshments
- Glow by Manda
- Efter Solsken by Panetoz
- I Am Somebody by Pink Pistols
- Undo by Sanna Nielsen
- Set Yourself Free by Little Great Things
- När Änglarna Går Hem by Martin Stenmarck
You can listen to all eight here.
I had a feeling this semi was going to be better than the last, so I couldn’t wait to hear the songs. Now that I have, I will say it’s definitely more consistent than the last – there’s nothing worse than average in there. Here are the songs I rate most.
Efter Solsken – Panetoz didn’t disappoint me, coming up with pretty much bang on what I expected of them. That, by the way, was effortless, fun rap-pop with a tropical tinge that makes me feel like I’m partying it up in Barbados or the like.
I Am Somebody – I don’t know how to describe this exactly; nor am I sure whether the two women in this group are actually women (not that it matters). It’s electro rock-ish, moody, atmospheric, and catchy, which automatically makes it a good song in my mind.
Undo – Could this be the one that gets Sanna to the ESC? I’m not sure, but it’s my favourite song of the semi. It’s predictable in the way it develops, but so pretty I don’t care. I love the lyrics. An A-grade vocal will be needed to elevate, but I think she can deliver.
När Änglarna Går Hem – Martin’s hairstyle isn’t the only thing that’s changed since he represented Sweden in ’05. This song is nothing like Las Vegas, which is a good or bad thing depending on how you felt about that. I liked Las Vegas, but I rather like this too, and I’m enjoying hearing him sing in Swedish.
As for who’ll actually advance, I’m thinking it’s Sanna and The Refreshments to the final tonight, with Little Great Things and Martin going through to Andra Chansen. Sanna is a force to be reckoned with in present company, and if she didn’t go straight through it would be a shock. The Refreshments aren’t my cup of tea, but they’re a Swedish institution, and every time a song with a hint of rockabilly competes in Melodifestivalen, it tends to go somewhere. Little Great Things and Martin just give off an AC vibe – though I may be hoping to be wrong about them if it means Panetoz takes one of their spots.
I was 50% right about semi 1 (who saw Ellen Benediktson coming?) so don’t be surprised if this prediction pans out completely wrong. Make yours down below, or, if you’re reading this after the fact, let me know what you think of the results!
But wait – there’s more!
There always is. Azerbaijan and Belgium will have their own bits and bobs going on Sunday night, but because they are in super-early stages, let’s put them aside and focus on tonight.
In addition to MESC and Melfest, you can also tune in to:
- Semi final 2 of Iceland’s Söngvakeppnin
- Heat 3 of Hungary’s A Dal (this is where you’ll find Gigi Radics, runner-up of A Dal 2013, singing for a spot in the final.)
- Show 9 of Lithuania’s Eurovizijos Dainu Konkursa
You’re spoilt for choice, really. Once again, I’ll be sleeping through the action, saving my energy for the Melodifestivalen final, so whatever you watch, enjoy it a little extra on my behalf.
I’ll see you on the other side of Saturday, where I’m sure there’ll be plenty to talk about.
It’s Sunday afternoon, so in approximately nine hours I will know who won Eurovision 2012. The final finished at about 6am my time, which would have been a more respectable hour of the evening for many of you, I’m sure (I swear I’m only a little bit jealous). I did have a dream last night involving Can Bonomo and Pastora Soler, but I don’t think that signified a whole lot other than the fact that I have Baku on the brain right now.
Anyway, last night the second semi was screened here in Oz, and to be honest, it made the first one look like a rehearsal, it was that brilliant! For those of you still interested in my delayed verdicts, here’s a rundown of that very strong semi.
– The contrast between Serbia’s opening act and Montengro’s was massive. It was a big moment for me to see Željko back on the ESC stage. He set the standard, and brought a level of class and atmosphere to the line-up that Rambo Amadeus could only dream of as he snoozed on top of his giant donkey.
– Kaliopi’s performance for Macedonia was excellent, as was Eva Boto’s for Slovenia. Unfortunately only Kaliopi managed to qualify, but she really deserved it (from what I’ve seen, she’s a genuinely lovely lady, and she can sing like a champ). I’m very happy that FYROM managed to make the final for the first time since 2007, after years of just missing out.
– I can’t not mention the country everyone wanted to see in this semi –Belarus. JOKE! I’m talking about Sweden, of course. Loreen’s performance may have been exactly the same as it was at Melodifestivalen, but Eurovision has never seen anything like it before – especially where the intimacy of the camera angles in concerned. At this point, I’m pretty certain we’re heading to Stockholm next year.
– Some people make swans out of napkins; others make life-size ships out of bedsheets. Turkey apparently falls into the latter category, and to that I say ‘BRAVO, me hearties!’
– Estonia and Norway, my two favourites in this semi, lived up to my expectations and then some. I am still mourning the loss of the extended version of Kuula, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the pants off Hott – as I am now calling him – Lepland’s shorter rendition (Insert Joke About His Pants Coming Off Here). Tooji was amazing. I don’t think there was ever a time when a slot in the final didn’t have his name stamped on it in big glittery letters.
– My final highlight has to be the interval act, comprised of Dima Bilan, Marija Serifovic, Alexander Rybak, Lena and Ell/Nikki, all of whom looked a lot skinnier than they did when they won, for some reason. Together they more than made up for the lack of interval entertainment the night before, even though neither Ell nor Nikki could seem to recall the lyrics of Waterloo. Fail. I would have loved to see Lordi there too, though. How great would a traditionally Azerbaijani version of Hard Rock Hallelujah have been?
– Again, there weren’t many low points in my opinion. There were a few performances that just didn’t work for me on varying levels though – Belarus, for example, who I think may have cost themselves a place in the final by choosing to rework their song from its original pop-rock version into a messy pop-disco version (with a smidge of rock on the side).
– I was also let down by Ukraine’s performance, which was a bit chaotic and too colourful for my retinas to enjoy, no matter how many times Gaitana told them to. There’s no doubting her ability to give a cracking vocal performance, but everything else just didn’t mesh. I was hoping for an army (well, a group of five as the EBU rules allow) of backing singers who could belt out the nanananananana’s, but what I got was some tie-dyed trumpet players and Gaitana herself taking care of the nana’s, which didn’t do justice to the studio version. I’m also not sure how fringes and flower garlands fit in with the vibe of the song. If the woman was a bridesmaid at a cowboy wedding it would make more sense.
– Lastly, Max Jason Mai and his abs (which were on display, as hoped for by many) disappointed. I don’t know if it was just me, but he seemed to be off-key for most of his three minutes.
LE SHOCKS AND SURPRISES
– I was mildly surprised to see Portugal’s Filipa pulling an Angelina Jolie, with a leg on display. It was definitely the most exciting part of her performance.
– As much as I despise the Georgian song this year, I have to say that they put on a good show, so that was a pleasant surprise. I expected to spend the duration of I’m a Joker smothering myself with a cushion, but I found myself watching, and even tapping my foot to the beat a little. Don’t tell anyone, for God’s sake.
– With so many strong songs in this semi, there was going to be some gems left behind. For me, Slovenia’s failure to qualify was a shock, and I am going to miss it tonight! Similarly, Lithuania’s qualification straight off the bat shocked me. I do love me some Donny, but I figured he was destined for failure alongside his sparkly blindfold.
The lucky ten this time around were Lithuania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Ukraine, Sweden, Macedonia, Norway, Estonia, Malta and Turkey, which means I was 80% right in my predictions again. Not bad.
Waiting for Estonia to be announced nearly killed me. I knew Norway would go through, but Ott wasn’t a sure thing – I was just hoping against hope for him to advance. Luckily he did, or I might not have been alive to write this post.
Malta’s qualification surprised me, but it made me happy too, because the tiny island always want a place so badly and they’re always so grateful on the rare occasions they get one. I don’t expect them to get anywhere in the final, but I don’t think that will matter much.
Turkey is back in the final after a year of failure that shocked us all – although the dastardly EBU made sure to leave Can until last to make us wonder if it would happen again. As the final country to snatch up a place on Saturday, Turkey made sure the level of the final would be sky-high.
In the unofficial Australian vote over at www.sbs.com.au/eurovision, it was Sweden who topped the list, followed by Norway and Malta. Finishing our top five were Estonia and Slovakia. Apparently my fellow countrymen and women love their off-key rock and roll.
To those of you who Eurovision 2012 is over for, I hope you enjoyed it. There’s still a bit of a wait for me, and so far I’ve escaped finding out the winner by holing myself up in my bedroom and getting excited about seeing the Big 6, particularly Italy and Spain, on stage for the first time.
Just because the contest has come to an end doesn’t mean I’m going to stop posting hilarious (cough) Eurovision-themed posts. For me the party lasts 365 days a year – or 366, in this year’s case – and you’re all invited!
PS – What were your highs and lows from the second semi???
Already, I’ve seen and heard the second semi, and as great as it was, I AM DEVASTATED!!!
Sweden and Croatia missed out, the former so beautiful and the latter one of my very favourites. I was 100% certain that Femminem would make it, and it’ll no doubt take me days to get over the fact that they didn’t! But nonetheless, the show must go on (quite literally) and here I go with my wrap up of Semi number two.
Highlights of the evening: Eric Solbakken. Period. He’s charmed me, as awkward as he is, ripping off his ties and swapping Stankovic’s fringe for InCulto’s fetching silver hotpants; Turkey’s performance was perfect, and I have a feeling that they lifted the roof on Telenor Arena to such an extent that it will be lucky if they can pull it back down in time for the final. Douze points pour Turkey! (or something like that); Norway embracing the bad songs with their interval montage in a true display of finding the silver lining; and Niamh Kavanagh returning to the stage – although, in my opinion, with a less impressive song than her 1993 winner. But that’s okay.
Lowlights of the evening: The hosts running through EXACTLY the same spiel for the whole 2+ hours as they did last semi. I mean would it have killed them to have a little variation in the program?; Croatia and Sweden missing out on spots in the final (as aforementioned). I am fuming; and me having to admit that the Netherlands’ old-fashioned ditty actually went down nicely as a carnival-themed stage show despite my previous stubborn insistence that it totally sucked.
Surprises: The sparkly pants. Need I say more?; Denmark being the last to make the final (though not necessarily score-wise) – we all know the producers of Eurovision try to keep the most desired pick ‘til last. Was Denmark really that country? I was certain at that point it would be Sweden (O, how can thou have rejected a teenager in Converse?); Ukraine making it with such a left-of-field effort.
Soooo, my awards, with a few extra that I felt were well deserved tonight:
– Best stage show: Romania’s was pretty electric; Turkey.
– Best vocals: Cyprus (I’m also in love with Jon, Eurovision’s Billy Elliot). Sieneke was charming too. So was Georgia’s Sofia!
– Worst stage show: I can’t seem to pick this one, no matter how hard I try.
– Worst vocals: Most were impressive. Safura was a little patchy, but she’s 17 and singing in a language she barely speaks, so she’s forgiven.
– The package: Turkey, Bulgaria.
– Miss Congeniality: Anna from Sweden & Mr. Congeniality(s): The Lithuanians of course!
– Best dressed: Croatia, Georgia & worst dressed: Niamh – what was that? V. unflattering. You should have worn your flautist’s dress instead.
– Hottest he: Israel, Jon from Cyprus (via Wales) & hottest she: Eva Rivas, Femminem.
– Best prop/ gimmick: InCulto (a-gain), Romania’s wikkidly awesome piano (I want one!), Turkey’s robot pyrotechnics.
Gosh it goes fast! The big one’s tomorrow, and with Croatia out of the running (I cannot stress the injustice of this enough) I shall be rooting for Germany, Cyprus and Serbia with all my might. I’m hoping Azerbaijan doesn’t run away with it, as many are predicting they will. I want a fight for first place all the way to the end!
Speaking of predictions, let’s see how right…or wrong I was about the finalists from this semi. I guessed that Turkey, Georgia, Croatia, Ireland, Romania, Azerbaijan, Israel, Sweden, Armenia and Denmark would make the cut. That’s 8/10, one better than I guessed for SF1. I got 7 of the ones that I wanted. Not bad considering the strength of this round.
So I hope all of your countries do well in the final, even though I know that it isn’t possible for all of them to win! So how about a compromise: may no nation leave empty-handed. Nul nul points for twenty-ten!