Category Archives: analysis

Eurovision 2015: the postscript

So Sweden won, again. Italy won the public vote, and would have made a more interesting 2016, while Russia got booed and cried. The UK wasn’t last – that honour went to the hosts.

It’s rather more interesting to knock out the top 3, which would have seen a return to Brussels in 2016. Stig and Elina edged the battle of the moody duets, but Mørland winning the composers’ Marcel Bezençon represents a moral – and musical – victory in my eyes.

@grahnort: the stage is a more human scale this year

Host 1:”Shall we speak Chinese?” Host 2: “Please don’t.”

Making a welcome return:

SATW
the Scandinavia and the World comic

Both Vienna and ORF came in under budget, and with €27.8 million income made a profit of €4.5 million, just saying, WoCo. The hordes of hosts did a grand job, without trying too hard. Vienna may well be having a well deserved moment – see the quoteworthy Oh Vienna: observations from the 60th Eurovision Song Contest in the FT.

Some more #some treats:

2016 will surely see perfect polymath Måns on hosting duties – just who is the real Måns? His welcome home performance in Lund, where he was given a magnolia tree by the mayor, was rather more gritty than the stage one, and the song held up surprisingly well without the wee men.

Apparently Stockholm is having issues with arenas, which may mean Göteborg…it has trams, but isn’t it the Swedish Herning? Another Nordic Eurovision may well lead to countries wearying of the charms of Scandi prices crying “Pass” – when I go to sleep I can still see the Moldovan fans counting their small change outside McDs in Malmö.

Meanwhile, ArenaCPHX is taking shape out on the edgelands of Amager, ready for 2017…

Featured image: Eurovision.tv

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Eurovision 2015: symphony of a thousand

Predictions! Semi 1 and semi 2 predictions rethought here and there. See Mik’s ranking at the foot of the post.

Bigging up #AUT as hosts who realise it’s not all about them.

Featured image: Spittelau power station goes disco with #ISR 


1 Slovenia

  • Ann: Will suffer as show opener. Idea: come together at the end. Edged by #NOR as my winner, but FTW for Eurovizh going forward.
  • Mik: Worthy qualifier and opener, but the live performance is dissappointing.

2 France

  • Ann: La France shafted once again.
  • Mik: Belongs to 1977, but she has a good voice and I like the build up of the song. And what an impressive video wall. But this a dreadful draw.

3 Israel

  • Ann: He’s only 16, you know.
  • Mik: Golden Boy delivers and this cheerful up tempo song will do well.

4 Estonia

  • Ann:  Still charmless and repetitive. Shouldn’t knock a man for trying hele _nine_ times, but Stig sucks the air out of my world.
  • Mik: Still a favourite and very convincing. Yes, they are moody but what an act.

5 UK

  • Ann: Jolly good show. Could salvage something from coming after Estonia. Not.
  • Mik: Tricky: a lot can go wrong on the evening. Main worry: stage presence. This could be the new Scooch or be a Brotherhood of Man and do well. I am afraid it will be Scooch.

6 Armenia

  • Ann: Cape Fear.
  • Mik: Diaspora vote and nothing else: it is just not believable and the shouting at the end…

7 Lithuania

  • Ann: Innocence lost. Gay cruise-tastic.
  • Mik: Very refreshing, and they know how to sell this simple song.

8 Serbia

  • Ann: The fans help this one bring the house down. You go girl!
  • Mik: Very Eurovision, and it just works on the evening.

9 Norway

  • Ann:  A masterclass from start to finish.  Shouldn’t be too troubled by the draw – top 3 minimum. (What key is it in?)
  • Mik: Absolutely stunning and intriguing: this deserves a medal.

10 Sweden 

  • Ann: Next…computer generated, lacks edge, musical magic and sparkle. No surprises here, and won’t triumph from this starting position.
  • Mik: Not as good as it thinks it is or maybe we have seen it too much.

11 Cyprus 

  • Ann: ♥️ A true muso. Shame they Disneyfied the a cappella section, but it was a risk.
  • Mik: The song has been Disneyfied, and the intimacy has gone, but he is very likeable and charming.

12 Australia

  • Ann: Not keen. Doesn’t feel very Eurovision, not very sympatico.
  • Mik: Bruno Mars from Australia. It will get a lot of sympathy votes.

13 Belgium

  • Ann: If this wasn’t #BEL I’d be ROFLing.
  • Mik: Wow: it all came together on the night. Will impress both jury and televote.

14 Austria

  • Ann: Darryl Hall and John Oates. Nice hat.
  • Mik: Good effort but it doesn’t really go anywhere.

15 Greece

  • Ann: Tepid moussaka with a twist of James Bond.
  • Mik: She does have breathing difficulties. But what a build up.

16 Montenegro

  • Ann: More than a touch of the Robert Palmers here – with his own daughter. Cross fingers this finishes below 19th (#MNE, 2014) and below Serbia, so Željko flounces off in a huff never to return.
  • Mik: Yes, we have heard it all before, but Željko is still very talented.

17 Germany

  • Ann: One for the clip shows.
  • Mik: It’s ok, but she lacks likeability and tries too hard.

18 Poland

  • Ann: Surprise qualifier. If only it was a better song.
  • Mik: She has had her 15 min of fame, it is just a very boring song.
Le_monument_de_la_liberté_(Riga)_(7585762710)
Milda – more than a passing resemblance (Source: Wikipedia)

19 Latvia

  • Ann: Cake successfully baked! Aminata seems likeable. Will she split the arty poseur vote?
  • Mik: What an energy, very fascinating. She knows what she is doing and it will be rewarded.

20 Romania

  • Ann: Still liking this, feels genuine, but needs better styling up front. Not keen on the Coldplay moment.
  • Mik: A song with a message, but not strong enough.

21 Spain

  • Ann: Guilty pleasure.
  • Mik: It is an old Eurovision formula that has had its day. Next.

22 Hungary

  • Ann: Back to the toilet.
  • Mik: I do like this one, but it lacks energy and won’t do well.

23 Georgia

  • Ann: Frankly, who cares? Get over yourself.
  • Mik: Talk about a fighter. It just works.

24 Azerbaijan

  • Ann: More interesting than at first sight: kinda Lord of the Rings tribute.
  • Mik: It doesn’t go anywhere, not memorable enough. Bottom.

25 Russia

  • Ann: Vocally not flawless in the semi, but this could do it. I’d laugh like a drain.
  • Mik: Winner.

26 Albania

  • Ann: Another surprise qualifier. On point with the cape (but changed for the final?).
  • Mik: How this could go through is a mystery to me. Last.

27 Italy

  • Ann: Popera, in Vienna? This is going to feel like the interval act.
  • Mik: Italia has got talent: it is everything you would expect from Italia. It’s definitely a hit, but a bit of a one hit wonder. Top 3.

dudler
Prost – you made it! Enjoy a glass of Almdudler, Eurovision partner 2015

1. Russia
2. Italy
3. Sweden
4. Australia
5. Norway
6. Belgium
7. Latvia
8. Estonia
9. Georgia
10. Serbia
11. Israel
12. Slovenia
13. Lithuania
14. Cyprus
15. Greece
16. Austria
17. Poland
18. France
19. Montenegro
20. Romania
21. Armenia
22. Az
23. UK
24. Germany
25. Spain
26. Hungary
27. Albania

Eurovision 2015 semi 2: #buildingbridges

Update: 9/10, a Swedish style result from Mik, dropping only #POL in favour of the shoe chucking #CZE. A mid-table 7/10 from Ann, dropping #LAT, #MON and #POL in favour of #ICE, #IRE and dared to be different #SMR.

Pointless stats include a BPM for the qualifiers in this semi of 99, as opposed to 92 for semi 1. A disappointing lack of capes on show. We say a fond farewell to Mel G, who must surely return as a solo artist in 2016.


So, semi 2. Seven to take an early bath in the underwhelming Donaukanal. Bolded is out, Mik’s full ranking at the bottom. We’re not so much in agreement this time! Check back on Friday for results – plus cape, globe and tree counts.

This semi has five male and seven female solists, plus five duets. Factoring in semi 1 and the seven Golden Ticket holders gives us a grand total of 9 male and 18 female soloists, 5 groups (including one trio) and 8 duets. (According to ESC Insight’s Sam I’ve gone wrong somewhere in the female solists and groups, but heck.)

In terms of tempo, five in this semi are more or less happy, 11 are snoozefests and one is hard to call. Lumping all 40 together gives us 13 moments of joy, 22 depressives and 5 who are still making their mind up. Who said Eurovision doesn’t reflect life?

Lithuania

Ann: Happy happy! Get a room. Warning: three minutes only.

Mik: Please keep it simple and don’t change anything. Such a contagious chemistry between them: great fun on stage. Kissy, kissy!

Ireland

Ann: Pleasant enough ballad, and ballads go through. Should benefit from everyone feeling happy, but still needs the luck of the Irish.

Mik: A shame, but it does belong to another contest and era. Too introvert, boring & depressing.

San Marino

Ann: 40 songs in one, good effort. Full credit to the entire population of the Republic. Let’s make Valentina smile again!

Mik: Not even good enough for Junior Eurovision or Eurovision 1972. Stay tuned for the female rapping! We expect better from Mr. Eurovision. We want Blue Johnny Blue back.

Montenegro

Ann: Mr Joksimović, this is so cheap you are even ripping yourself off. Namechecking herbs? Please. Sergej and his skater brought something new to the genre, including the first Visit Montenegro vid. Be off, the lot of you. 

Mik: Zjelko-time: he does know what works, but we do have moved on and no Balkan neighbouring votes in this SF. Strong hook though.

Malta 

Ann: Keep Eurovision Warrior free. One’s more than enough, and this one isn’t scary enough. 

Mik: Safe and boring, just not pleasant and memorable enough. Uninspiring.

Norway

Ann: Epic. Musical storytelling at its best, intriguing and interesting. Nordic noir done right. Plus best video: food fight! Shout-out for Mørland’s Magnus Carlsson style baggy crotch.

Mik: Wow: my favourite this year. A precious jewel that will get lots of votes.

Portugal

Ann: Thanks for coming. Pleasant enough, until the key change. Yikes. 

Mik: Is this contemporary Portugese music? It just doesn’t go anywhere. 2nd Last. Just give US what we want: fado!

Czech Republic

Ann: Extended toilet break. See above. And remember: Beauty never lies

Mik: They know what they are doing. Very convincing and professional, but will it suffer from the duet year? Hit for me.

Israel

Ann: Who writes this stuff?

Mik: It just can’t get cheaper and Nadav will never be the next Justin Timberlake. The happy sound could do well among the ballads this year. A guilty pleasure.

Latvia

Ann: Not for me. Not as good as it thinks it is. 

Mik: Could work well, straight after Israel: there could not be a bigger contrast. Challenging and a bit too difficult but the jury vote will make it possible.

Azerbaijan

Ann: Aka Sweden, part 1. Another one for clunky key change corner, and some shocking lyrics. Are their entries computer generated?

Mik: I like it: yes it ticks all the Eurovision boxes, but the strong melody does the trick.

Iceland

Ann: Frozen in a fancy frock. Yuk.

Mik: Contemporary, but really not memorable. Formula with little Girl, great voice and bare feet: not this year.

Sweden 

Ann: Sigh. If Eurovision is meant to be World Idol, so be it, but where’s Simon Cowell? Pleasing twang at the start, but gets dull, fast. More bonkers lyrics.

Mik: Måns and Klabautermann do sell the song, but Avicci won’t be happy with this rip off. Top 3.

Switzerland

Ann: Why isn’t this called Warrior? You are testing my patience now. 

Mik: Boring, uninspiring and straight from a Swiss High School musical. Last.

Cyprus 

Ann: Hurra! Sort of hipster Norge, although this wuss tells us what he didn’t do. Beautiful control.

Mik: Lisa had exactly the same song in 2004, but it works for me. He makes the song.

Slovenia

Ann: Second to last, folkens! Classic and classy.  And why has no one ever had an imaginary violin before? Ljubljana is lovely at this time of year.

Mik: Radio friendly and contemporary, though a bit worried about Maria’s stage presence. Mr. Cameraman focus on hubby & fake fiddle player and it will manage top 3.

Poland

Ann: There is no place in time and space where this was a good idea. 

Mik: All very sweet, nice and innocent, but the song is just not good enough. There are plenty of ballads to choose from this year and this isn’t the lucky one.

Mik’s fantasy league:

1. Sweden
2. Slovenia
3. Az
4. Norway
5. Cyprus
6. Lithuania
7. Latvia
8. Czech
9. Montenegro
10. Israel


11. Iceland
12. Ireland
13. Poland
14. San Marino
15. Malta
16. Portugal
17. CH

Featured image: Reichsbrücke von oben licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Eurovision 2015 semi 1: #WeLoveVienna

Update: 8/10, inc #BEL! Huge relief. Of the INs, a full house of wailing women brings the average BPM (beats per minute) rate of qualifiers down to 92, says Statto Sam. Of the OUTs, mildly surprised #MDA didn’t make it.

All very monochrome. Plus points for the orchestra and Mel G in the cake shop (rather than the cape shop) on BBC3.


Grüß Gott! We’re back for Eurovision 2015, giving it the full Vienna.

Ahead of the pack, we dropped in on the Stadthalle in Jänner, catching a surprisingly interesting Holiday on Ice exhibition, mirroring the conditions outside. 2015 being Vienna’s year of the foot, there’s even a Song Contest Walk laid on. Well impressed!

Below are our predictions for semi 1, where for once we are in complete agreement! Six to make a quick return to Vienna’s striking red and black airport. Bolded is out, while you can find Mik’s full ranking at the bottom of the post. Check back on Weds to see how wrong we were.

For the record, we make it three male and hele eight female solists in this semi, plus three groups and two duets. Five vaguely up tempo numbers, eight ballads/downbeat tunes, plus three hard to classify.

Moldova

Ann: Good opener. More sleaze than Liberty X, but the shock effect should see a Ukrainian make the final. Is the UK voting in this semi?

Mik: Liberty X couldn’t have done it better and very catchy cheeky dance routine. Will make it to the final and do nothing, because it is all a bit too much.

Armenia

Ann: Not even the diaspora can save this woeful dirge. Apricot stone (2010) a better tribute.

Mik: Messy, unbelievable, bad draw. Diaspora vote won’t work this time. 

Belgium

Ann: Interpretative dance from the Belgians, again. Should benefit from the running order, but could it be any more pretentious and WTF is he on about?

Mik: Contemporary jury favourite, but a lot can go wrong; after all it’s Belgique.

Netherlands

Ann: Third time unlucky for the Orange People, surely. Starts OK, but what’s with the dress? Addendum: covering up has made the whole thing completely forgettable.

Mik: Starts well and she sings her heart out, but what a repetitive chorus: it just gets on your nerves very quickly. 

Finland

Ann: Miss. Needs masks (in a good way).

Mik: Too bizarre, there is a limit to the sympathy vote.

Greece

Ann: Tepid moussaka with a twist of James Bond. Saved by the diaspora.

Mik: A classic Disney song and I like it. Though she does have trouble breathing while singing and only barely makes the final high note.

Estonia

Ann: Slick empty package from two of the most charmless performers, plus one of the most annoying voices, ever to grace the Eurovision stage. Three chords, three words. Underwhelming, and will ultimately under-perform.

Mik: Absolute favourite, but poor chemistry between them could be a major problem on stage, or is it all part of the act?

Macedonia

Ann: Unseasonal but nice, what with all those drums. Is Daniel a looker?  (No.) Addendum: massive staging whoopsie.

Mik: First drumlyric of the evening. It’s ok, but not memorable enough.

Serbia

Ann: On message! Nice to see Serbia doing (largely) non-ethnic, but a bit tiring, and possibly too bonkers to have broad appeal.

Mik: Shouty fan favourite, but could it be more bombastic? It gets scary, especially part 2 of the song.

Hungary

Ann: Toilet break. Please donate via the app. Addendum: a breath of style after the madness of Serbia.

Mik: Could do very well, especially after Serbia. Her integrity sells this simple & innocent song.

Belarus

Ann: Eastern European version of the Netherlands, saved (not) by the running order.

Mik: Doesn’t work, but will get some points from Mother Russia, and nil from all the others.

Russia

Ann: What Hungary was trying to do. Makes use of every one of Macedonia’s drums, throwing in a Shiiine! for good measure.

Mik: She has got the whole package, very convincing: first SF winner, but hey sending the same song 3 times in a row?

Denmark

Ann: More MOR blandness from Denmark. Disinterested HalfBrit from Middelfart should nail it for them. Feels fake, and very long. Spookily reminiscent of Soluna Samay (DK 2012).

Mik: Safe, plain and bleak. Singer seems uncomfortable and it looks like he’s struggling…But in this ballad year its quirkiness sticks out.

Albania

Ann: Better than Greece.  What’s with the flappy sleeves?

Mik: Doesn’t work and just gets boring. A shame, though.

Romania

Ann: Bonus points for language. Could be this year’s dark horse (2nd to last often used this way) – just run the vid on the back wall. It’s a million times yes from me. Addendum: interesting outfit. Now improved!

Mik: A song with a message and a strong hook, even in Romanian.

Georgia

Ann: Frankly, who cares? Get over yourself. One for the dads.

Mik: Catchy and contemporary, a good draw helps this song a lot.

Mik’s semifinal score:

1. Russia
2. Estonia
3. Serbia
4. Georgia
5. Romania
6. Greece
7. Hungary
8. DK
9. Belgium

10. Moldova


11. NL
12. Finland
13. Armenia
14. Belarus
15. Fyrom
16. Albania

The Big Final: #join the competition

This could go down to the wire. Here’s a slideshow of fans and favourites:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Predictions! Some like to rank the whole thing but I can’t possibly rank 37 songs. Here they are in the running order, with Mik’s ranking in brackets. He’s done a good job : P

1 Ukraine

Ann: an opener for the dads? A poor effort for me. Cheap.

Mik: Good opener, a bit too calculated. (13)

2 Belarus

Ann: don’t have a problem with this, unlike Robin Thicke, but lacks impact

Mik: Cheeky, but boyband doesn’t work. Bad draw. (23)

3 Azerbaijan

Ann: Dilara doesn’t do fur – what’s not to like? Answer: the trapeze in a church gimmick. A show rather than a song.

Mik: Great voice, very nice and impressive staging. (9)

4 Iceland 

Ann: my favourite’s the one in the green. Happy enough to see it make the final. 

Mik: Witty, colourful. Better than you might think. (14)

5 Norway

Ann: despite/because of getting Carl in Matchmaker this makes me want to slit my wrists. Ditch the formation violinists.

Mik: A male Adele. Works for me: very convincing. Lyrics are beautiful. (8)

6 Romania 

Ann: this year’s Elitsa and Stoyan at least made the final. Shoulda done She’s after my piano instead.

Mik: Too much desperate action on stage, which makes it very dated. Would do well in High School Musical. (19)

7 Armenia

Ann: one for the production team – lots of lighting, pyros but not likeable and not enough of a story arc

Mik: Efficient dubstep that makes the song. But too angry in the end. (11)

8 Montenegro

Ann: and exhale…the real deal. Makes full use of the stage, musically interesting. But the dream of Cetinje is over with this draw.

Mik: Sweet, but not memorable enough. Gives a mediocre impression. But Sergeii is good. (16)

9 Poland

Ann: it’s ironic. Isn’t it? Funniest entry of the night. Donatan?

Mik: Clever song and very good gimmick, but tastes differ. Polish version is better than English one. (10)

10 Greece

Ann: who needs a trapeze when you’ve got a trampoline? Great fun.

Mik: Fun, cheeky, memorable hook and jolly trampoline act lifts you up. Could be a massive Summer hit. (2)

11 Austria

Ann: not for me – can’t get past the very dated song

Mik: A song with a message, which appeals to many, but might scare others. (5)

12 Germany

Ann: die Mädels are lovely but Unheilig is missed; seems to run on an endless loop. On as late as possible, but if I were NDR I’d be a bit cross.

Mik: Anonymous, amateurish and just gets boring in the end. A shame: 0 points. (26)

13 Sweden

Ann: does Sanna have a Sanna wig? She sings, the lighting works. Doesn’t rock my world.

Mik: All very safe. Get the  stylist sacked. Very impressive light show, which makes and explains the song. (4)

14 France

Ann: having a larf, oh yeah, but moustaches aren’t enough this year

Mik: Greece Lite, but not as good. Tries too hard. (17)

15 Russia

Ann: more twins, mystifying props; effective if unexciting

Mik: Dull and too clinical. And that paper sun? Why? (18)

16 Italy

Ann: the last of the real women with personalities not taking themselves too seriously, but a mega let-down after the fun vid

Mik: Poor vocals, messy performance. Very disappointing. (22)

17 Slovenia

Ann: surprise qualifier (1); pleasant enough but just goes round in circles

Mik: Very effective and pretty backdrop. But too dizzy. Flute works. But we want Maya Keuc back, next year. (15)

18 Finland

Ann: surprise qualifier (2); Coldplay is bad enough, but Finnish Coldplay? banal

Mik: Fresh boyband, with a stadium rock anthem. Doesn’t come across on telly. (20)

19 Spain

Ann: rousing but shouty; good use of two languages means a better effort from Spain though

Mik: Too much and too shouty. Impressive backdrop. Messy hair: remember an umbrella next time you go out in the rain.  (25)

20 Switzerland

Ann: our favourite Swiss folk musician cum lawyer gives the best show of the night

Mik: Best Swiss entry for years. Douze points for charm. (12)

21 Hungary

Ann:  Just say no. Too in your face however hard it tries to pretend it isn’t really. No to interpretative dance.

Mik: Works on stage. Very good storytelling song, with a memorable ending. (3)

22 Malta

Ann: very Teardrops in a pushing the buttons way, feels fake and churchy

Mik: Likable, yet forgettable. Just too Christian. (24)

23 Denmark

Ann: third time lucky on the banner, but still whiny on high notes and too hectic dancing (“hi-stepping dog do”)

Mik: Are they in Glee?  Home crowd pleaser. Fun, catchy and good live performance.  Maybe it was just too good for Junior Eurovision? (6)

24 The Netherlands

Ann: time for something different; comes over very well on TV, should spring a surprise amid all the noise and could even be a breakout hit

Mik: Classy professional act, with chemistry. It  will go down well in both East & West and get both jury and telelevote. (1)

25 San Marino

Ann: the pearl of the republic – felicitazioni to Valentina and Uncle Ralph, the San Marinese Andrew Lloyd Webber. You can stay home next year – but come back soon! 

Mik: Aguri, San Marino! She has finally made it to the final. Sweet and confident performance. Just not a strong song. (21)

26 United Kingdom

Ann: too many words, too Eurovision, too difficult…Eurovision won’t be coming home.

Mik: Love raspy voice and great track to end the show. Gets loads of help from DR.  Very cheesy Eurotrash lyrics, similar to Love shine a Light, but Power to the People is what makes the song. (7)

Semi 2: #joinus, the world

Update, 9 May: 7/10 for me and Stine & Lasse, who #joinedus for semi 2, 8/10 for Mik. Biggest surprises Finland and Slovenia, while Ann had FYROM/Tijana in place of Poland. Gonna miss her and Vilja, real women with personalities not taking themselves too seriously. Making up the 10 Austria, Belarus, Greece, Malta, Norway, Romania and, obvs, Switzerland.

Back on Saturday with our predictions for the final. Hint: Eurovision’s coming home…

Below are our predictions for semi 2, with a full ranking again from Mik. This time only five go – how hard can it be? Bolded is out. Check back on Friday.

Tonight’s theme is #joinus, the world. No, me neither. We’re doing this one from the sofa, tweeting at @annonescdk.

Malta

Ann: this year’s Teardrops, calibrated for the win. The dulcimer makes a welcome return to Eurovision.

Mik: Perfect jolly opener from the Maltese Von Trapps. Sibling connection does the job with this harmless fun song. (2)

Israel

Ann: Mei may have dropped her big pants but still needs some backings walking in a line. “And now it’s time for me to clean up your mess”? Just no.

Mik: Spot on! In control. Don’t have to clean up her mess. Sexy! Only maybe: too aggressive and shouty. (6)

Norway

Ann: despite/because of getting Carl in Matchmaker this makes me want to slit my wrists. Ditch the formation violinists.

Mik: Very silent, yet intimate. You understand and believe the message, and more importantly this goes for both jury and televote. (3)

Georgia

Ann: guilty pleasure. Not sure if I’ve listened to it all the way through, mind.

Mik: Hippie heaven. Will do better than any Eurofan thinks. (12)

Poland

Ann: it’s ironic. Isn’t it?

Mik: Babushky polski! Cheeky and catchy: is it too much? Borderline, but you have to love the local flavour. (4)

Austria

Ann: Pollapönk pre-empted this on the red carpet (which is one reason why they went through).

Mik: Overrated, dated and tries far too hard. Gay vote is in da house, but too bizarre for the rest. (5)

Lithuania

Ann: love it, love Vilja. Original, creative, catchy. Best result since LT United (them again)?

Mik: Fresh, likeable and the 1 you remember, despite the shouting and repetitive chorus. Nice contemporary dance routine. Diaspora vote? (10)

Finland

Ann: this is from Finland? Gosh. Nul pointer.

Mik: Coldplay from Suomi but lacks Chris Martin’s charisma. Great stadium track. (11)

Ireland

Ann: now this really is the nul pointer. At least she’s had her nails done. 

Mik: Insecure performance with poor vocals, poor song and those riverdancers in kilts go back home. Definite nul pointer.  (15)

Belarus

Ann: don’t have a problem with this, unlike Robin Thicke

Mik: Great fun and Teo is convincing. Brings a smile to your face. (7)

FYROM

Ann: Go Tijana! Women will like. Not quite the full package, but deserves it, darlings.

Mik: Superstar-diva but too static, doesn’t take me to the sky. Kati Wolf had a better song and did not do well. (13)

Switzerland

Ann: picked this one out from the start, folk musician, Eurovision participant, lawyer…go Sebalter!

Mik: Surprise! Warm, hearty, charming and most of all genuine. You want him to do well! (8)

Greece

Ann: who needs a trapeze when you’ve got a trampoline? Great fun.

Mik: All rise to this very catchy contemporary chart friendly poppy song. (1)

Slovenia

Ann: still needs to sort out her look; pleasant but doesn’t really go anywhere

Mik: Comes across as dull, grey and boring. A shame but will get a few jury votes. (14)

Romania 

Ann: what’s Ovi for? I really don’t think he sees it. Shoulda done She’s after my piano instead.

Mik: Plastic Up with People, very manufactured. Will qualify, but won’t get anywhere, once there. (9)

Semi 1: #joinus in Denmark

Update, 7 May: 7/10 for both of us. Neither of us predicted San Marino or Iceland, although we’re more than happy to see both #joiningus. Mik dropped Montenegro, while Ann dropped Ukraine. Making up the 10: Hungary, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Sweden and yay! The Netherlands.

The semi was not sold out so we were able to move forward and had a bird’s eye view of the green room for some sweet Montenegro moments. You can also see us arriving on @drgrandprix’s timelapse, at around 24 secs:

Back on Thursday with more predictions.

We’re off to semi 1 this evening, sitting in Olsen as a tribute to the snubbed Jørgen and Noller. From Twitter and the bloggage it’s pretty easy to work out how the show will pan out, but we’ll cover that elsewhere.

The public areas have been done in the nick of time, and maybe don’t quite live up to the pre-show hype:

A big round of applause herfra for the creative use of shipping containers, which we’ve been anticipating for months, not so much for the less than subtle branding for Host City partners REDA. Danes on Facebook noted a lack of twin touchstones hygge and Danish design, plus someone commented that it looked like it had been thrown together in a couple of hours…

What about the music? Below are our predictions for semi 1, with a full ranking from ordensmenneske Mik. It’s tricky, because after you’ve heard the songs more than three times you have a love/hate relationship with them all and can’t decide if you like them or not, but we need to lose six of these lovelies. Bolded is out. Check back on Weds to see how wrong we were.

Armenia

Ann: a class act but not likeable and not enough of a story arc for the big win

Mik: Intriguing 3 minutes. If he catches the camera right and doesn’t look too stressed or serious this goes straight to the final. (1)

Latvia

Ann: charming tipping over into annoying, maybe rein Jöran in a tad to go through

Mik: Recipe for hyggelig amateurism, convincing though. And a very good draw, makes a nice contrast to Aram Superstar and his serious business. (7)

Estonia

Ann: the most complete show of the night, entertaining without resorting to gimmicks

Mik: Contemporary catchy dance and singing class. (4)

Sweden

Ann: manufactured and clinical; those ornamental flourishes grate but soars to a climax

Mik: Professional plastic sing-a-long, straight from IKEA. It will give you goosebumps. (2)

Iceland

Ann: trying too hard. LT United without the xtra factor (who was your favourite?)

Mik: LT United light, but we can’t all be Winners. And it has been 8 years. (14)

Albania

Ann: trying too hard (2), but lovely voice

Mik: Little girl with great voice, but uninspired & whining song with poor Albanese English lyrics. (15)

Russia

Ann: best use of twins, best use of mystifying props; effective if unexciting

Mik: Cutesy twin girls will do the trick, with their charming, though very calculated act on stage. (8)

Azerbaijan

Ann: Dilara doesn’t do fur – what’s not to like? Answer: the trapeze in a church gimmick.

Mik: Impressive stage show helps this classic jury jewel. Very convincing. (3)

Ukraine

Ann: ticked off – a poor effort, first ever NQ for Ukraine?

Mik: Gets on your nerves, but Crimea crisis will give this contemporary trash some sympathy vote. (10)

Belgium

Ruslana2
Ruslana shows her appreciation at the Belgian national final

Ann: should be safe enough, as long as pple remember it’s a song contest, with added interpretive dance UPDATE: Out; might have made it with a Ruslana hologram

Mik: Belgique’s got talent goes Eurovision, but the sentimental old fashioned style won’t make you pick up your iphone. (12)

Moldova

Ann: a slight led down from my fave country – borderline, needs more Pasha, plus Aliona’s smile

Mik: Fascinating and Barbu-esque. Maybe too shouty for some, but it sticks to you. And we all love her accent. (9)

San Marino

Ann: a pearl in a shell, a diamond in the rough…too many metaphors. Ave atque vale – and arrivederci! 

Mik: There is no pearl in the shell: Old fashioned boring Siegel trademark. (16)

Portugal

Ann: it’s Beautiful Song without Anmary, no #suzyshake here

Mik: Suzy-shake flying the flag for Portugal, but without charm, sparkle or cheekyness. All that’s left are her very poor vocals, but Martha does a good job! (13)

The Netherlands

Ann: unexciting but does enough for now

Mik: This years dark horse: real musicians, real emotions, real chemistry between them and it looks very good on TV. The jury will love this! (5)

Montenegro

Ann: no Zjelko ripoff – this is the real deal musically. Despite Skating Dolly goosebumps city – see you in Cetinje!

Mik: Now we understand why Montenegro once joined the Serbian Republic. Zjelko has inspired many in a good way, but he wouldn’t approve of the roller skating. Might just miss out. (11)

Hungary

Ann:  I have nothing to say. MTV fodder.

Mik: Contemporary catchy believable song with a message and a hunky Hungarian. (6)