In/Out shake it all about

Ignore the fact that the last one went really really well for us. Semi 2 is a different kettle of fish altogether. So I’m going to pick one in, one out (always the most obvious still available), based on the first arena rehearsal and see what I’m left with.

IN 1: Ukraine. Best performance of the semi, both visual and vocal. Can’t fail.
OUT 1: Czech Republic. Truly horrid in every possible regard.

IN 2: Sweden. I’m still a little worried about it, but I can’t see it failing.
OUT 2: Georgia. I can see how it could, but I don’t think so.

IN 3: Portugal. Ends the running order really a bit special. Should get votes from all corners.
OUT 3: Iceland. The casualty of the start of the running order. All I can see is Jemini.

IN 4: Croatia. Not the best thing in the world ever, but the old fella does enough to see it through.
OUT 4: Cyprus. Doesn’t get going.

IN 5: Lithuania. You weren’t expecting that, were you? Potentially a cracking vocal performance, and the perfect antidote to all the preceding fast-tempo insanity.
OUT 5: Switzerland. Has failing fanfave written all over it. Last 30 seconds are nasty.

IN 6: Turkey. Yeah, why not?
OUT 6: Denmark. I never know what to make of Danish entries, except last year when I knew exactly what to make of it.

IN 7: M…m…m….Malta! Misfired yesterday afternoon, but I still have faith in it.
OUT 7: Albania. I used to fancy this one as a dark horse to win the whole contest. I don’t think so now, and suspect it might not make the cut.

That leaves me with five countries, three to qualify, two not to. And they’re Belarus, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, FYR Macedonia. And they’re virtually impossible to split, as they’re all going to finish on level points. However, I shall carry on:

IN 8: Hungary. A banker bet for the jury pick, if it needs it.
OUT 8: FYR Macedonia. One year it’s going to be obvious which side of the line they’re going to finish on. This is not that year.

IN 9: Bulgaria. Too good not to, even though it is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS FOR THOSE WHO ARE SENSITIVE TO STROBE LIGHTING.

Belarus and Latvia. One to proceed, one to go home. Basically, I’m being asked to guess whether Them Pirates are going to have one of their Spine-Tinglingly Good Performances or one of their We Can’t Actually Sing performances. And I’m going to back the former.

OUT 9: Belarus. By the barest of cat’s whiskers, and a little undeservedly.

IN 10: Latvia. Just.

So here’s my 10 to follow:

Ukraine, Sweden, Portugal, Croatia, Lithuania, Turkey, Malta, Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia.

They’re not going to be as right as Serviette 1, you mark my words…