So the fickle finger of fate has started turning, the veal of fortune spins and 16 acts have gone “Yay 2nd!” or “Oh. 1st.” since I last posted. And so far, we have:

Pre-Austria

Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Estonia, France, Serbia, United Kingdom, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX

During Austria

Austria

Post-Austria

Albania, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Russia, Spain, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX

The first half of the show is a nice mix of things. Groups, soloists male and female, duos, uptempo, downtempo, classic Eurovision, effortlessly contemporary. The producers will be spoiled for choice in creating a varied and balanced opening half, pretty much whatever the six additions from semi 2 turn out to be. Any of Australia, Serbia and the UK would be cracking show openers, and you have to suspect that it seems elegant to declare the contest open from the green room while they’re setting up the front stage for the UK. France might then make a good instant contrast in tone, and also be a simple and straightforward setup following a complicated takedown. Australia, Belgium and Estonia look like the highlights in this section, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see all three nearer the end of the half than the beginning.

The second half is entirely female soloists and male groups, and although some of them nibble around the edges, only Georgia strongly hints at uptempo – nothing at all is what you’d call ‘fun’ (Spain’s fun is entirely unintentional, so I don’t count it!) We kind of NEED Lithuania, Israel and/or Sweden to qualify and land in this half of the draw or it’s going to be hard to keep the show from tailing off. They may well be sneaky and put Russia on last (seems like a benefit, but the stats say that it isn’t necessarily one), or they might decide that something like Hungary provides the perfect soft landing.

They could very nearly plant Romania at 19 and Italy at 24 to keep the bands apart and then just throw everyone else at the board at random and see where they land. It won’t make that much practical difference.

We will know more tomorrow night, and soon afterwards we’ll know everything!