I have preconceived notions of Europe's opinions on yesterday night's shenanigans. However, I'm not going to read any of them before I write this. This is pure, unvarnished, what I think.
Actually, I'm resolutely not surprised by any of it. Apart from the scene which is currently unfolding in front of me, where Keith Mills of AKOE is being awarded the grand prize of 1500 Dinars for scoring 10 out of 10 in the first Serviette of Death. They'll have to change the card in the Official Eurovision Board Game which says "Keith Mills reports that you have no chance whatsoever of getting through to the final. Go straight to the final." That bit's surprised me.
Looking back at my 'Predictions of D00m' however, it all makes unusually much sense. My five 'definites' are safely through - my five 'definitely nots' are all looking up early flights home. Netherlands and Belgium missed out, and I'll be interested to discover late on Saturday night how it happened; Israel and Poland making it through was a mini surprisette and I'm assuming until I learn contrary that one or the other of them was the jury pick.
All I actually know for definite is that the top 9 in the televote were among the ten who appeared at the winners' press conference late last night, live on RTS2. And that the number of people in the arena was a disappointment. I've never seen a televised ESC event that sparsely populated before - hopefully things will perk up on Thursday as people start being in town for the main event and fancy some warm-up action.
This brings us to the draw - which, as remarked, was televised on RTS and looked live. I'm reasonably sure it was a fair draw, involving tightly rolled up paper hearts being drawn from a hat which may have been borrowed from last year's Latvian delegation. I'm puzzled by the numerical curiosity of positions 11 to 18 all being left for Semifinal 2 candidates, but then I studied statistics and probability to a reasonably advanced level at school and I know full well that truly random events will very often throw up an outcome that doesn't look random. At the same time, I have to say that Eurovision running order draws throw up seemingly non-random outcomes more often than they should do. I presume and believe that this draw was run in a fair manner, but they really ought to consider investing in a lottery machine so the process can be more transparently seen to be fair.
The end of the draw is absolutely brutal, and I think we now have to presume that the eventual winner is somewhere in the last four songs. Serbia is a spine-tingling change of pace after four slabs of cheery nonsense, but Russia and Norway both pick up something from the change of mood and are energised by it. I currently suspect that Norway will be picking up the first 12 of the night, when the United Kingdom of Stuff calls in. France now have even bigger problems than they already did.
Romania's a nice opener, one of the best for a good few years, but I don't think a big ballad can win from that slot. Such winning chances as Armenia may have had are now gone, and Israel have a draw from hell to contend with, as do Germany. The UK may have been helped in their quest for that mystical 15th place, but not enough to stand much chance of getting it. Bosnia's still a potential winner, but it's going to have to work really hard to do it from there.
Semifinal 2 first rehearsal is in around 115 minutes time. OnEurope will be in the arena, and should be back here making no sense, hastily, at teatime. We're also off for dinner at 6 in town though, so you might need to wait a bit longer than that!