Here is the rundown of the field for Saturday’s Finals along with where I think they should rank (though probably won’t). The Top 10 are in bold:
Azerbaijan (5): The reason I don’t see this winning is that it is formulaic to the point that it comes off as brewed in a lab after months of market research. It will probably rank higher, but it really shouldn’t.
Spain (17): based on the video’s circus theme, I expect an over-the-big-top performance. However, there are more circusy acts in the lineup.
Norway (15): The singer is dreamy but the song is sleepy.
Moldova (12): I love me some pop fiddle, but there are a lot of elements that work well individually yet do not play well with others.
Cyprus (19): this song is of the “cute guy with a guitar” family, but I think Belgium will be cornering the market for that demo.
Bosnia & Herzegovina (11): I think if there was a current global cause to rally around (such as the Iran Elections last summer) this song could have won the competition.
Belgium (8): This is a really sweet acoustic number by a cute guy and a guitar. Watch your back near Cyprus and Denmark.
Serbia (16): Continuing the circus theme from Spain. This one will probably rank higher than I’m placing it because it seems to be the rallying point for the Balkans.
Belarus (13): The whole turning into a butterfly thing is just cheesy enough for this to end up ranking higher, but the trend of up-tempo winners leads me to think this will be middle of the pack.
Ireland (4): Although the song is pretty, I can see there being some hesitation in adding to Ireland’s win count and crowning a singer as a repeat winner.
Greece (6): There is nothing catchier than “OPA!” but this is the personification of flaming cheese. And I love flaming cheese.
UK (24): the UK hates Eurovision and the other countries know this. Also, the song is bland to the point that the British David Archuleta will be performing it.
Georgia (14): The marketing for this song is so fierce that even I have been getting ads to vote for this song (I’m in the US). However, I think this low placement is an indication of how tough the field is.
Turkey (3): Excellent performance and potential voters spread out across the continent. However, the song is not overly catchy.
Albania (10): This song reminds me of Anastasia, but truthfully I probably ranked this a little too high.
Iceland (1): This song has been stuck in my head for days. It has Europop sensibilities and is lyrically interesting. However, there is the whole volcano thing that really threw a wrench into organizing the event, but surely she can’t be blamed for it. Can she?
Ukraine (23): I love me some Ukrainian pop music, but this is more of a meandering rant than a song. Frankly, I’m surprised this made it into the finals since I thought all Ukrainian support would have gone to Georgia.
France (9): This is a great summer jam, but I think it may suffer in a live performance.
Romania (2): Along with having the coolest performance in Semi-Final 2, they had the best Official Video of all the entries. However, the lyrics will probably hurt them with the juries.
Russia (25): not well received, and I wasn’t the only one referring to it as a song for a suicide note
Armenia (22): the fact that I had to look up this song three times because I couldn’t remember is not a good sign.
Germany (7): Top of the Byes, this number reminds me of Lily Allen. I’m curious what the live performance will be like.
Portugal (21): the only thing I remember about this song was that I was bored by it.
Israel (20): this was another song I was bored by and again I’m surprised that this made it into the final.
Denmark (18): blame Belgium.
Since this is my first full Eurovision experience, I don’t really have a reference in terms of what is considered good or bad, likely to win or lose or anything like that. There is also the concept of bloc voting between countries (Balkans, former Russian republics, Scandinavia) and other areas of politics that are fascinating but that I have no grasp of yet. For example, the BBC has projected that the entry from Ireland will be placing 5th and that Azerbaijan is the favorite.
We’ll know how things shake out by Saturday evening (Eastern Time).
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