What did last night's Eurovision mean for the UK's chances?
We don't want to get anyone's hopes up, but...
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So that’s the first semi final out of the way. Well done to Montenegro and San Marino, both qualifying for the grand final for the first time in their history (and on Sammarinese singer Valentina’s third attempt).
Poor old Latvia (personal favourites, and we're disappointed that “#justiceforlatvia” didn’t set Twitter alight) fell at the first hurdle, along with Portugal, Estonia, Albania, Belgium and Daenerys Targaryen and the Unsullied representing Moldova.
The Netherlands were perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening. Though not to everyone’s taste the song, choreography and staging came together for a flawless performance causing The Common Linnets to be marked out as this year’s dark horses. A top ten placing isn’t out of the question.
As expected the favourites are through, both Sweden and Armenia – though perhaps not with the flare everybody had expected. The Danish camera work and general performance of a genuinely tired looking Aram MP3 did not do the song justice. The fireworks were great, but he looked lonely on that stage, and you have to wonder whether the Armenian delegation had assumed victory would easily come to them? It just didn’t work, and as of this morning Aram MP3 has slipped to second place among the bookie’s favourites having led the pack since March.
Leap-frogging Armenia’s entry is newly-installed-as-favourite Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen. Having attempted to win Melodifestivalen seven times you can probably understand why Nielsen’s a fan favourite, generating a lot of interest… but does that convert in to votes at the final? Sanna’s clearly hungry for the win but the song is a pastiche of the boring bits from Miley’s Wrecking Ball and that could prove to be her downfall.
It’s too early to write of Sweden and Armenia HOWEVER lots were drawn after the show to decide whether or not the qualified finalists would perform in the first or second half of the show on Saturday. Recent Eurovision winners have generally come from the second half as TV audiences naturally tend to forget performances that happened earlier in the evening. Both Sanna and Aram drew first half performances.
Who does this work out well for? Well, Hungary and the United Kingdom (forth and third bookmaker’s favourites respectively).
The UK’s Molly Smitten-Downe’s odds have been shortening since her first rehearsal gave us a glimpse of that elusive golden shower (ahem) which is the winning entrant’s firework of choice. Those odds tumbled further with the second rehearsal and finally when yesterday she randomly plucked “SECOND HALF” out of the bag. It’s all going very well so far.
Now, we don’t want to get anyone’s hopes us BUT… she’s in a very strong position. A second half performance with her two main competitors earlier in the evening multiplied by the fact that she’s genuinely loved by all of the international media in the press centre and the fans out in Copenhagen. A buzz is building. Are we looking at VAUXHALL 2015?
Of course, it’s not that simple. Hungary drew the second half too, and if easy-on-the-eye András Kállay-Saunder wants the Eurovision crown literally ALL HE NEEDS TO DO at Saturday’s final is to take his top off at the Final and it's IN THE BAG.
Words Robin Holley
Image Sander Hesterman