The countries have rehearsed and the date of the first semi final is nearing ever closer. 18 countries will do battle on the 9th of May over who will ultimately advance to the final on Saturday. Unfortunately, only ten of these countries can proceed to the final and deciding who those lucky ten will be is enough to do one's head in. However, let's explore the predictions from the bookies, the press poll as well as our own opinion as to who should qualify from the first semi final.
The bookies are one of the first places to check who is pipped to qualify as they are usually the most accurate source when it comes for Eurovision predictions. Over the past week, the qualification predictions for each semi final have fluctuated greatly with some countries improving their odds while others slipping slowly down the board. One of the most notable examples would be Belgium's Blanche, who arrived in Kyiv with many people expecting a stand-out stage show. However as the rehearsals continued, she began to slip down the board and while starting the week as a dead-certain qualifier, she sits in tenth place just managing to hang on to a place in the final. On the other hand, Sunstroke Project from Moldova have had their odds shortened considerably due to an impressive and upbeat stage show they performed last week. Currently the group sit around 8th place in the semi final ahead of Cyprus and Belgium after being placed just outside the top 10 prior to arriving in Kyiv.
As of Monday 8th May, prior to the dress rehearsal, the bookies are predicting that the ten qualifiers will be:
1. Sweden - Robin Bengtsson - "I Can't Go On"
2. Armenia - Artsvik - "Fly With Me"
3. Portugal - Salvador Sobral - "Amor Pelos Dois"
4. Azerbaijan - Dihaj - "Skeletons"
5. Greece - Demy - "This Is Love"
6. Australia - Isaiah Firebrace - "Don't Come Easy"
7. Finland - Norma John - "Blackbird"
8. Moldova - Sunstroke Project - "Hey Mamma"
9. Cyprus - Hovig - "Gravity"
10. Belgium - Blanche - "City Lights"
with Latvia, Poland, Georgia, Iceland, Slovenia, Albania, Montenegro and Czech Republic being left behind.
The Press Poll, which is organised by Eurovision-based website EscToday, is an evaluation by journalists working at the press-centre at the time of the first rehearsal. First introduced in 2015, the poll asks the question: "Which three countries had the best rehearsal of the day" in terms of vocals, stage design, LEDs, camera work and so on. The maximum number of points that a single country can get is 175 points and while no country has ever achieved this, the highest scoring entrant was Ukraine's Jamala in 2016 with 119 who ended up winning the entire contest. The poll managed to predict 18 of 20 qualifiers in last years contest as well as the the top 3 as well as each countries respective placing. Let's take a look at how journalists in the press room evaluated the rehearsal of the 18 first semi-finalists.
The predicted qualifiers according to this semi final's press poll are: Armenia, Finland, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Portugal, Sweden, Australia, Cyprus, Latvia and finally Greece.
Interestingly, when solely looking at the predicted qualifiers from the bookies and the press poll, the only difference is that the Press Poll have replaced Belgium, who received 0 points in the poll, with Latvia's Triana Park taking her spot. Given that Latvia is positioned in 11th, one place behind Belgium, in the bookies and they have a bright, vibrant and colourful stage performance it will be interesting to see whether Latvia sneak past Belgium after today's dress rehearsal. Other notable differences include Finland and Moldova's high placings of 2nd and 3rd respectively as well as Sweden's relatively low placing considering they are one of the favourites to win the semi final and first in the bookies prediction of who is most likely to qualify. In both cases it seems that Albania, Czech Republic, Georgia, Iceland, Montenegro, Poland and Slovenia are predicted not to qualify, however given how close this semi-final is in terms of the odds, there is still a chance that perhaps one or two of them will manage to sneak into the final or cause a surprise upset.
As you can see, there are numerous ways of trying to find out who is going to qualify but ultimately for most of the countries it comes down to the performance on the night. Stay tuned for more updates, interviews and news articles right here on the website and don't forget to check out our various social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!