Lots of things have gone on that I Can't tell you about, suffice to say that Porridge is lovely and Norman Stanley Fletcher needs company.

Moving on.....

What a televisual treat for the eye and ear last night was. I don't think that I have seen a better Semi Final in the Eurovision than this. It had everything you could wish to see. Bearded Ladies, Irish Failure, Some cracking songs and, overall, it was very very good.

Out of my 10 to qualify, I got 9 (yay). I'm not that disappointed Ireland didn't get through, there was a complete disconnect with the audience and even with the interview with your presenter, Kasey didn't seem to care that much and, frankly, it got the result it deserved. RTE Take note, change your selection process! Macedonia were unlucky too - they didn't do anything wrong, just disconnected. Lithuania is a shock no qualifier. They usually get through but I think that the Conchita factor stopped it from doing anything much. Georgia, again Is too complicated and not a shock.

Israel, however, shocked fans but not me. I saw this from moment one as missing something and when she minced round the stage to a song that is, lets face it, her shouting at me for 3 minutes in a bad way, there is an immediate disconnect. Mei clearly didn't have a song that the juries liked, and the televoters ignored her - as I knew they would. Fans, however, think its all anti Israel - no - it's anti shit songs. The IBA would be pleased though as they are being wound up this year so they might not be back.

So, then, onto Today - The running order as you have all seen by now is a bloodbath in the 2nd half. Will Sanna get though it and finish top half? - Will Conchita perform as strongly again? - Will the UK win? - Only one way to find out??

We're planning a 2pm live blog this afternoon and *maybe* a 9pm one, but that is under discussion but deffo a 2pm one ( thats 1pm in UK).

I'd best get me ready then.

P.S - Phil Explains it all - Part 4 - will be uploaded shortly!! 😉

  • James Blair

    Oh hallo there Dame Balding! Fancy seeing you here again, its getting to be a habit!
    Now you’ve shown us (you’re thoughts) here’s mine;)

    Ok you were right on Israel, the live performance was a let down. Woof woof is all I heard.
    I believe she may have garnered some votes so probably 10th tie or 11th.

    So onto the jury final, hmm this is going to be, as the Dutch day, very tooit.

    Austria so early on, may have chopped off about 40 odd votes. Likewise for Sweden.
    The combination of Austria, Germany then Sweden, maybe a trifecta too far.

    Given the possible trifecta of death, you could be looking comfortably at songs 22-26 for the grand prix.

    Yes and that includes San Marino! Nick informs me the Scout hut is being cleaned out, statues are being cast and they can cope with about 23 extra people coming into the republic. If you want a small cost effective ESC, vote for the little mermaid.

  • Darren

    Keep up the great work Phil, and thanks for echoing my views regarding Israel. In addition to what you said, there were two other scary women, one of which with a similarly shouty song, and the three cancelled each other out (I’m talking Lithuania and Macedonia respectively). Then mix in drawing the position of doom (2nd) and it becomes fairly obvious.

    I wondered if Molly might be selected as the closing song. Since I started watching the contest in 1978 at the age of 7, I wondered when I would get to see the UK open or close a contest. The opening question was resolved in 2012 with the Hump, and now finally we will close a contest.

    The winner performed last on 7 previous occasions, but the most recent was in 1989 before televoting. It used to be great position to win from, but some people now seem to think it’s a poisoned chalice. The last time the UK performed last was in 1966, when Kenneth McKellar got our worst placing to date. But then, Kilts aren’t popular as we saw last night, with the notable exception of Greeks offering free alcohol. 😉

  • Archie Pemberton

    Most people online seem to be calling it as a battle between Hungary, Netherlands and the UK (all performing towards the end). One notable exception is Keith Mills, who tweets that Molly’s chances are hampered by ‘viewer fatigue’, which apparently sets in about song 22 (!). Mind you, Keith has written a very sombre piece about Ireland’s semi failure (on esckaz) and is in a shitty mood. I think Molly’s song, complete with jaw-dropping pyros, could be a real ‘wow’ ending to the contest. One thing’s for sure; I will have to moderate my consumption of Blue Nun tomorrow night so that I’m not watching Molly through an alcoholic haze!

  • It’s interesting that the result for the last song has become progressively worse over the last four years; 4th in 2010 and 9th in 2011 (both out of 25 songs), then 11th and last (both out of 26). I think the viewer fatigue issue is real; 26 songs is a long time to concentrate. But I’m not entirely pessimistic; we shall see.

  • Darren

    I just checked and the semi finals have been won 3 times by the song performing last since the current 2 semi system started in 2008 (GR 2008, TR 2010, GR 2011). Admittedly those shows didn’t have 25+ songs in. But could it be that the songs performed last recently weren’t any good? Everyone has to wait until all are performed before voting and seeing the recap, and 50% of all votes are by juries who have to vote objectively.

    The semi finals are useful for gauging how well a song performs when placed in different parts of the draw. For example, Donny Montell in 2012 performed last in his semi and came 3rd, then mid-draw in the final and came 14th. Vania Fernandez of Portugal came 2nd in her semi when performing last and then 13th in the final. Possibly the latter is a good comparison, being an anthemic song by a female.

  • JimW

    Interested that you felt Semi 2 was better than Semi 1. I thought Semi 2 was very weak from a song standard to be honest with only Austria really standing out and Romania did get a good enough reaction from the people I was talking to. Greece was fun but it’s far too poor a song to be really enjoyable. For me Semi 1 was much better in terms of quality songs.

    With regard to Ireland’s failure naturally I’m disappointed from a patriotic point of view but it was a very average song. It was performed poorly and the staging was awful so I wasn’t in any way surprised at the non-qualification. RTÉ had a guy on this morning on it’s main radio news programme and he was great. He dismissed all the usual voting theories, explained the new (from last year) way of ranking all songs and said that the Late Late studio is too small a space to allow viewers to judge how staging impacts on a song and that the staging last night just wasn’t good. In other words he was telling them they need to make more of an effort. Hopefully RTÉ might take note of that. Nobody in Ireland expects them to do a Melodifestivalen style contest but it might be nice if they stopped treating the Eurovision selection as some addition to the Late Late, give it its own show and stage it on a decent sized stage (of which there are a few in Ireland).

    Moving on to the final Austria and Sweden being so close together in the first half probably have taken them out of the overall running although I still expect them to do well. DR have given Sweden the latest possible draw it could get which is interesting. However by having both songs so close to each other they may just cancel each other out. I can’t remember where the ad breaks are positioned but unless there’s one in between them I’m ruling them out. Germany are doomed in between them and I think might be a contender for last place. I don’t think the winner will come from the first half now which also rules out Armenia, Romania, Ukraine and Greece for me.

    I think perfoming last is a mixed-bag. What might hinder the UK is that it will be the first time many people hear the song and while it’s catchy I don’t know if it has enough punch especially in the last minute where I feel it doesn’t really go anywhere. I know that will go for many songs because not everybody will have watched the semi-finals but even so in a marathon of 26 songs it will take an exceptional performance to make people change their mind at the last minute. Still think it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility if Molly really nails it and I’m sure it will definitely be Top 10.

    Personally I think the Netherlands now third from last might come up in the stakes. I hadn’t marked it down for a winner but expected it to be Top10. Now I’m think it could be there or thereabouts because it’s such a simple sweet song. It may have a slight problem being straight after Denmark but it also could be the perfect antidote to that song. The reaction to it on Tuesday from people I was talking to was incredible. It’s just whether that will translate into votes.

    I really can’t call this at all. Maybe we’ll be surprised on Saturday night and one or two might emerge from the pack but at the moment it must be one of the most open competitions in years which is great.

    • Archie Pemberton

      I agree with everything you say. The unpredictability of this year’s contest makes it all the more exciting and we haven’t had a nailbiter for years. If you look at iTunes and Oddschecker, it would seem that an Austrian or Dutch win is most likely. But it’s not over til it’s over!

  • Stan

    My thoughts on last night for what they’re worth

    Malta – Not my sort of thing but I can see why it would appeal and why it qualified.
    Israel – this is my favourite this year, but ten seconds into the performance I knew she wasn’t qualifying. Its a real shame because I’ve seen rehearsal videos where she was fantastic, but she was all over the place last night. I don’t think the draw helped her and being a bit later would perhaps have seen Israel in the final. This highlights the problem of deciding the draw behind closed doors. Israel was one of the countries expected to qualify and if she had been randomly given second you would just say fair enough. But she was specifically given the second slot, a position that tends to give poorer results. I think this is an issue, especially if it turns out she just missed out by a couple of points. (I also have not noticed any effect from the changes made to running order selection.
    Norway – very disappointing. Carl really came across as miserable. I can certainly see juries going for this but I cant see this winning now.
    Georgia – was never going to qualify but I think they performed it well and should be happy (even if the results show they finished last)
    Poland – last night was the first time I saw the staging and it had me laughing out loud. It is so blatant and t=yet very charming with it. I actually like the song as well, and it should be top half tomorrow.
    Austria – this was a complete revelation. Pre-contest I had paid much attention to this and thought the song was a bit blah. But my god she can sell it – absolutely stunning. If she performs it the same on Saturday I think she will be unstoppable.
    Lithuania – this was performed better than I was expecting, but its still crap.
    Finland – another big disappointment. I had considered this a b it of a dark horse, but I now think it will struggle. His vocals were a bit weak and its just not coming across that well.
    Ireland – Absolutely atrocious. Her vocals were terrible and the staging was a complete mess. However, it was nice of Conchita to lend her her dress.
    Belarus – every year there is a song I just don’t get (Rybak, Shine, Watch My Dance, Suus, Gravity). And this year Teo is it. It just awful, amateur rubbish. And the performance was so sleazy it gave me the creeps. Surely battle for bottom?
    Macedonia – I actually think this is one of the best sonmgs in the contest, but she was vocally bad and the staging was terrible. Surely after Kati Wolf people would realise that dancers in hoddies don’t work.
    Switzerland – another song thats not my thing but I can see the appeal
    Greece – Very happy about this qualifying. The vocals weren’t great, but were just good enough to not diminish the song. However, they need to get a lot better if they want to win (which I suspect would give Greek TV a coronary)
    Slovenia – I should have more faith in my taste. I love this. I think its really catchy and her vocals were much better than during the national final. This might be a surprise top ten.
    Romania – the staging really was awful. Which is a pity because this is a really good song which is very well performed (that note just went on and on – was there a backing singer helping?). This should do well, but I’m not sure the juries or televoters will be able to see past the gimmicks.

    Australia – it was nice to see her stick with the Eurovision tradition of singing completely out of tune!

    Finally – did anyone else have problems televoting last night. It took me a least ten attempts to get through for Israel, which is probably more attempts than the average viewer could be bothered to try.