Eurovision 2012 – In a week’s time, the participants of semifinal 1 will all be in Baku ready to start their rehearsals. Which 10 acts will be triumphant on May 22nd and make it through to the final? Hulluna takes a look at the competitors, the current betting odds, predicts her 10 qualifiers, and wants to hear if you disagree.
One of the songs that people either love or hate, Albania‘s Rona Nishliu has shown that whatever your feelings about the song ‘Suus‘, her voice is one of the most powerful in the contest this year. It is a 200/1 outsider in the betting odds, and not doing well in polls or OGAE votes. Will the viewers on the night succumb to its power and originality, or close their ears to Rona’s high notes? Although some will rave about it, I think that many, especially in Western Europe, will be turned off. It’s so different though that it stands out and she may just sneak a surprise ticket into the final. I rather hope she does, even though it makes me tense up.
Austria‘s Trackshittaz stole the show in their national final with cheeky ass shaking and glow in the dark wiggling bottoms. It’s easy to dismiss their rap based song as a novelty act this year because of that, but the song is actually a catchy different sing-a-long number, they’re bright characters in demand by the press, and they promise a huge show on the stage in the Crystal Hall that will probably work well on TV to the 125 million viewers. Again, an act that will stand out and although odds only have them at 150/1 to win the final, and polls are not in their favour, I think on the night they could just make it through. I hope they do, I love them.
Iris from Belgium has odds of 150/1 to win the final and has failed to make an impact in pre-eurovision polls and votes. Despite an appearance at the ESC in Concert event, she has been a little low key and isn’t really being talked about. I think that the song ‘Would You?‘ will get a little lost against stronger ballads such as Spain’s or Azerbaijan’s. Despite her good voice, her use of breathing (or lack of) on it irritates me and distracts from the song. Which doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s a no from me for this to qualify. Or to even remember the tune for more than 3 seconds.
Cyprus was an initial fave for some people. A bouncy catchy sing-a-long europop song, the sort you predictably expect from Greece. Ivi Adamou‘s song, ‘La La Love’ has the mass appeal to old skool Eurovision fans and has picked up votes from OGAE and in some polls, giving it odds of 33/1 to win in the final. I’m not sure people want something as inane any longer though which could mean it doesn’t do as well as expected; lyrics of ‘la la la la la la la la la‘ are not particularly insightful.
Soluna Samay was an early favourite to win the first semifinal for Denmark and has been doing well in the polls since. Whilst it is a pleasant enough song, I’m not sure I understand the reason why people think it will do quite SO well? It’s safe and a pleasant tune. It’s probably a cert to qualify for the final.(Not that there is ever such a thing anymore – ‘Habba Habba’ last year!) Odds to win the final: 16/1
Oh Finland, yet again another let down for me. As a former resident of Finland, I watch the national selections in despair each year as they don’t choose acts that have character and oomph, and choose to send twee safe acts. Will they ever raise their game to the level of Lordi again? Pernilla Karlsson sings in Swedish and the pretty little ballad tootles along and sadly, for me, then goes nowhere. Has it got the same charm of last year’s Finnish entry to get it through to the final? I don’t believe that it has. With odds of 125/1 to win the final, bookies seem to agree.
Greece are often pretty predictable and this year was no different with a europop smash by Eleftheria Eleftheriou in a traditional short skirt. Her sexy shimmy and big smile will do her no damage on the night. They’ll pick up votes from lots of countries as always, and if she performs well on the night, I think they’ll do enough to easily qualify for the final. The bookies see them as a strong contender in the final at 33/1.
Hungary are a bit of a strange one for me, Compact Disco can come across as deadly serious one minute, and having fun the next. Bands often struggle in Eurovision and it needs to be a special and strong song to work. Is this song good enough? Not for me. Nothing special at all. Compared to the likes of A Fiend in London last year, which stuck in your head, ‘Sound of our Hearts‘ washes over me and isn’t really that catchy. I think they will struggle to make an impression, especially on first time viewers, and fail to qualify. 150/1 to win the final.
Iceland are the dark horse for me. Whilst many cannot see how Sweden can be beaten, I’ve got real hope that the likes of Iceland and Italy can push Loreen all the way and make a contest of it. The Icelandic song is gorgeous and the lyrics are beautiful. I didn’t see the appeal initially, and now love it. It will appeal to the masses (especially now it has been re-recorded in English) and a good performance that stands out on the night could really give them a chance this year. Would it be a bit too similar to last year’s winning duet? Perhaps. I’d say a definite qualifier for the final, and at 20/1 they’re worth a bet each way for the final. OGAE members are loving it, placing them in the top 3 so far.
I don’t need to say much about Ireland‘s Jedward. They’re back (cue groans from some on this site), building on last year’s appearance. ‘Waterline’ is a less Jedward-like song, and some say a lot weaker than Lipstick. But it’s also more mature and may appeal to the wider audience and be seen as less of a novelty. Expect a huge stage show from the Irish twins however (lighting up costumes and water effects are rumoured), and along with their existing fan base, I reckon they’ll do enough to make the final again this year and annoy their critics for a bit longer yet. They’re slipping in the odds for the final but still rate relatively highly at about 16/1 despite coming nowhere in OGAE voting.
Israel are another act that has not been talked about much so far. They’ve not been round Europe doing promo for their song ‘Time‘ which is an outsider at 150/1 to win ESC 2012. The 60′s sounding track makes you think you’ve heard it a hundred times before in other songs, and it has an annoying squeaky chorus. Not one of my faves this year, and I can’t see it qualifying for the final.
‘A Beautiful Song‘ by Anmary for Latvia is, I would argue, not beautiful. Pretty maybe, but not stunning. It’s a nice enough tune, but stuck in the ’70s and certainly not going to set the world on fire. Brownie points for getting Johnny Logan in the lyrics, but I don’t think that’s enough to get it through to the final. The betting odds concur at 150/1 for her to win in Baku.
Moldova‘s Pasha Parfeny always looks happy to be singing and a decent performance on the night will pick him up some votes. But with so many strong acts in this semifinal this year I can’t see it being enough to qualify, which is a shame. Bookies seem to agree and have him as an outsider at 150/1 to win the contest.
If you thought Albania was a song you either love or hate, wait until you hear Montenegro‘s. The brilliantly named Rambo Amadeus deserves to qualify for the totally out of the norm song he’s entered this year, as well as his name. I’m not even sure how to describe ‘Euro Neuro’. I hate it. With a passion. Yet I want him to qualify. It confuses me greatly! Unfortunately I’m not sure Europe is ready for the techno ramblings of Rambo. Most will probably be horrified and scream ‘That’s not a song!!’ I doubt he’ll qualify. He’s 200/1 with the bookies.
Romania have been creeping up in the polls and votes of late with Mandinga‘s infectiously summery song ‘Zaleilah‘. The synchronised drumming and bagpipes stand out a little from the pack and it’s a happy tune that may do well with lots of people. My initial dismissal of it was premature, and I now think it could qualify for the final and do quite well if they put a big stage show on in Baku. They’re now 20/1 to win, which are not bad odds.
The Russian grannies, Buranovskiye Babushki, are 8/1 to win the whole contest with ‘Party for Everyone‘ and they’re one of the favourites. It’s pretty inconceivable that they wouldn’t qualify from the semifinal. After going viral on the internet, the cute factor will no doubt pick them up millions of votes across Europe. Despite the song being pretty poor, their voices making Jedward sound like choirboys, and their dancing being nothing more than shuffling and wafting their hands about, they’re a shoe-in for the final, aren’t they? They look like a set of Russian dolls and everyone wants to adopt tiny granny. Will the novelty wear off? Not quickly enough. Definitely through to the final for me.
San Marino is the most cheesy act for me this year. I’m at a loss why an artist as talented as Valentina Monetta has got herself performing something so classless as ‘The Social Network Song (Oh Oh-Uh-Oh Oh)‘. A novelty song, but not remotely funny in my world of humour. She’s a bubbly personality but it’s just so cheesy it makes me cringe. I think this will be a flop in the semifinal and not make it to May 26th. The bookies have her bringing up the rear of the pack at 300/1. Ouch.
I personally really like Switzerland and have done so right from when they were the first act to be chosen for ESC 2012. Front man Gabriel has worked on his pronunciation and the chorus is actually pretty catchy and memorable (it’s only one word after all). I’m sticking my neck out on this one after the Amsterdam performance, and if they blitz it like that in Baku, I reckon they may just have a surprise chance of squeezing into the final. Maybe. 100/1 to win the whole thing would suggest the bookies don’t agree with me though.
Hulluna’s prediction for the 10 qualifiers from semi-final 1 (before seeing the rehearsals!):
Do you agree? Have your say below and let us know which 10 acts you think will qualify from semi-final 1.