In a way it feels like the beginning of the Hunger Games. Tomorrow night eighteen songs enter the arena, and only ten come out alive (for this round). The show is streaming live via eurovision.tv (log in a few minutes in advance in case you need to download the “Octoshape” plugin required to view the stream) at 12 noon Pacific, 1pm Mountain, 2pm Central, and 3pm Eastern. The ‘culling” has already started today, when the Monday night rehearsal in Baku was recorded and sent to the 21 national juries of the semifinalists and half the “Big 6” that will be eligible to vote tomorrow. The juries will watch the show and relay their points to Baku, where their points will represent half of each country’s scores (the other half being the televotes amassed during the live show).
Rounding up all the opinions collected on the Eurovision blogs, this first semifinal is seen as the tougher of the two, as well as the more diverse. Of the eighteen songs in the running, there seem to be six or seven sure things according to everybody: Iceland, Greece, Romania, Russia, Denmark, Moldova and Ireland. Greece is not necessarily deserving to go through, but has the formula that always seems to work for them: a pretty sexy singer, hot dancers, and ethnopop. Cyprus and Albania are in the next tier, and stand a good chance. Then Switzerland, Austria, Israel, Belgium and Hungary form the next tier, and all stand a slight chance. Latvia, San Marino, Finland and Montenegro are pretty much hopeless.
Every year offers a surprise or two, so stay tuned tomorrow to find out which “hopeless” entry sneaks in, and which favorite fades at the finish line!