... as doomed, by my official predictions ...
I knew the rest of yesterday was going to be odd when they played The First Noel at me in the MiniMaxi. I kid ye not, the rest were there too and will back me up. You can trust them, they're a jury of respected professionals.
You need to know, don't you? You need to know about 21:00 to about 22:30 in the Beogradska Arena last night, and the 30 minutes which will follow it tonight, especially the last 10 of them. Bugger!
TA BUT NO TA
Estonia's misfiring horribly, not helped by major mic and playback problems in the two dress rehearsals.
Moldova's attempt at creating a cosy, intimate atmosphere on stage is thwarted by the use of lots of long shots of the stage and the arena, which makes the twosome and sofa look a bit silly.
Slovenia had their best run through for a while, but still seem doomed
Ireland - again, it's not working as it should do. It should be silly but slick. It's not slick.
Andorra. Oh, where do I begin? They've been doing this for five years, and they still keep finding new mistakes to make...
MAYBE BUT - ACTUALLY - PROBABLY NOT
Montenegro comes over reasonably well and has a basic level of competency to it. In a poor semi, that could be enough.
Israel, the same really. It'll get some votes, but you just feel, not enough
San Marino - I'm sitting on my hands over. As I said, it's great in the arena. It might not be on TV. Could be a surprise qualifier though.
Poland is a rather too clinical performance, it's all enhanced white teeth and ice blue dress and it's a hard package to love
LIKELY TO BUT YOU SHOULDN'T BE THAT SURPRISED IF ...
Belgium's doing nicely in the hall. You love it or hate it, if you love it you'll probably vote for it.
Azerbaijan manages to make a coherent narrative out of three minutes of impregnable nonsense. Might scare small children, but small children seem to be bred tougher than they were in my day...
Armenia ought to be in the next category, but it isn't. It's not really an interesting show, and the song is just a little bit Ela Ela, which is not such a great thing to be. I dare not tip it to finish below 9th, but it wouldn't be in my own Top 10.
Netherlands is the flip side of the Armenian coin. It does virtually everything better and ought to be Plate Of Chips For Table Sirusho. But it's a hard call...
Finland is only as low down as this because Europe might not be in a hard rock mood. It deserves to be third or fourth in the semi, but it might be Too Good For Eurovision.
YOU'D THINK SO, SURELY?
Slightly unsure about Norway, even, but it's got more about it than most of its challengers
Bosnia's almost certainly winning the semi now, it just radiates bonkers brilliance out of every corner. Every bizarre thing is there for a reason, even though I've no idea what it is in most cases.
Romania, slightly hampered by Nico, but sails through on sheer contrast following Finland
Russia ... in my view, on merit alone, this'd be near the very bottom of the pile with only Andorra offering serious competition. Dima was hamming it up so badly that it became a moment of comedy genius. Less is more, but I don't think he quite gets that. Still, it went big so I can't say it won't make it.
Greece didn't have the best of run throughs, but it's their best entry in years and it'd be an injustice to see it fail.
And now, at round about 22:50 CET tonight, we find out if I'm any less totally wrong than I usually am. Enjoy! You might like to play along at home too, in the comments section...
If you would prefer a consensus of other predictions/desires in the press center, here it is (complete with the stupidest question and answer in the whole world):