As I skipped Countdown duties this year, Mr Phil has exhorted me to produce some content more interesting than his meet and greet write-ups, and I immediately thought “I can meet that threshold!”
Then I thought “…hopefully.”
So anyway. In exactly two weeks and two hours. Or less than that if this takes longer to write than I expect, or you’re reading it tomorrow which you might well be. Actually, you might be reading it in three weeks’ time so you can laugh at me, though being able to laugh at me usually takes longer than three weeks.
In roughly two weeks and two hours, the first participating song of the Grand Final of the Gran Concorso will be taking the stage. And using the POWER OF MATHEMATICAL LOGIC (and some really fairly wild guesswork), in this essay I will deduce what that first participating song will be.
We can straight away rule out our hosts from ITALY, they already have their startnummer and it’s 9 (the James Newman memorial position at which point UK viewers will start drinking). Not opening.
I’m going to say that neither ALBANIA nor FINLAND will be opening the final either, because even though they’re clearly the kind of entry the producers say “That’d be a great opener!” for, it’s not terribly fair to have either of them do it twice.
We can reasonably expect a banger, inasmuch as there are bangers, and on that basis we can eliminate all of the other 37 entries as well.
I may need to slightly relax my criteria here.
On that basis, we can definitely eliminate SWITZERLAND, NETHERLANDS, PORTUGAL, ICELAND, GREECE, AZERBAIJAN, AUSTRALIA, NORTH MACEDONIA, POLAND, MONTENEGRO, SWEDEN. If you’re trying to start a party, those wouldn’t even take the cake out of the Tupperware tub. I don’t think LITHUANIA, SLOVENIA, CROATIA, ARMENIA, SERBIA, MALTA, CYPRUS, BELGIUM, GERMANY or UNITED KINGDOM feel like show-openers either.
Just to review the shortlist, we still have Latvia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Moldova, Denmark, Austria, Norway, Israel, Georgia, San Marino, Ireland, Estonia, Romania, Czech Republic, France and Spain in the running.
Now, traditionally, the grand final on Saturday Week 2 is opened by a song that has qualified to take part in it.
Accentuate the negative
This may be a controversial thing to say, but I don’t think all the 17 songs on the shortlist are going to be in the final. I know, I know – accentuate the negative etc but EVERYBODY isn’t going to do well this year.
I can’t see SLOVENIA, BULGARIA, DENMARK, GEORGIA, IRELAND or ROMANIA in the final, hard as I try. And there are two of them I’d quite like to be. Work that one out between yourselves.
Shortlist of 11. Latvia, Ukraine, Moldova, Austria, Norway, Israel, Serbia, San Marino, Estonia, Czech Republic, France, Spain.
Three of those are BIG MOMENTS in the running order, and I think UKRAINE, NORWAY and SAN MARINO are going to be treated better than that even if they land first half.
Eight possibles. Latvia, Moldova, Austria, Israel, Serbia, Estonia, Czech Republic, France, Spain. I think I’m going to chalk off Latvia and Israel for the same reason I chalked off Albania and Finland – it’d feel unfair to put them so close to the start twice, and if they’ve qualified from 2nd slot they’ve earned a break.
So Moldova, Austria, Estonia, Czech Republic, France and Spain are all sweating if they pull a FEST ARRRRF ticket. Of those, ESTONIA and CZECH REPUBLIC feel least like show-openers (and I know there is that WEIRD THING of how many times producers have picked the closing song of Semi 2 has opened the final, but still.). I’m also not totally convinced that Austria are qualifying, if I’m completely honest about it, but I’m going to leave them in play.
So I think we have a plausible shortlist of four, and I reckon whoever is the first on this shortlist to pull a FEST ARRRRF ticket is doomed to open the contest and perhaps end up as the new Herreys, or even the new Baby Doll:
MOLDOVA – Would be a cracking way to get a party started, and almost completely disposable.
FRANCE – Would probably put a curse on the production or something, but it’s Rai anyway.
SPAIN – Would grumble like all living heck about it, but it didn’t do Azucar Moreno any harm apart from the performance being completely nadgered by the technology buggering up.
AUSTRIA – Would be moderately relieved just to be there, most likely.