Three days before the semifinal allocation draw on the 28th January, the five allocation pots have been revealed. Forty-one countries will be competing at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. In comparison to 2019, Ukraine and Bulgaria have returned to the contest while Montenegro and Hungary have withdrawn. Excluding the Big Five countries: France, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Spain; plus the host country The Netherlands — which are automatically qualified for the grand final — thirty-five remaining countries will fight for twenty final spots within two semifinals which will be held on the 12th and 14th of May in Rotterdam.
Since each country can only vote in one semifinal, the automatic qualifier will be drawn to select the semifinal in which they can vote. Afterwards, three or four countries out of each pots will be drawn in one of the semifinals, leading to one semifinal with seventeen and one with eighteen participating countries. The pot distribution takes aspects like neighbourhood and diaspora voting into account, trying to minimize those effects on the competition and focus more on the songs. The pots will be presented as follows:
Pot 1 consists of Albania, Austria, Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia & Switzerland.
This pot can be called the "Balkan" pot with 4 former Yugoslavian countries (Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia) and neighbouring Albania. Considering that Austria and Switzerland both have a lot of Balkan immigrants — at times leading to diaspora voting — putting these seven countries together makes sense. Previously Montenegro was a part of this pot, but it is missing here as they have withdrawn for 2020, while Austria and Switzerland have been added.
Pot 2 consists of Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway & Sweden.
This pot can be called the "Nordic" pot with all Scandinavian countries and the North Baltic country Estonia which has a strong connection to Finland. Geographically, Australia definitely stands out here. However, considering the voting pattern since their debut in 2015, Australia tends to vote in favor of Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden which might be the reason for this decision.
Pot 3 consists of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia & Ukraine.
This pot can be called the "Eastern" pot with seven former Soviet Union countries. This pot could lead to very interesting combinations. For example, Armenia and Azerbaijan have poor relations to one another other due to the ongoing conflict, and normally put each other in last position. Since only half of the participating countries can vote in a semifinal, having 0 points can be a big disadvantage for both of them. Another polarizing combination could be Russia and Ukraine. Due to the Crimea situation and the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine, these two countries tend to ignore themselves despite diaspora voting which still exists here. Moldova benefits a lot from this pot as they are culturally connected to Romania and frequently exchange a lot of points. Romania is in Pot 4, which means the chance of being in the same semifinal is way higher.
Pot 4 consists of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Portugal, Romania & San Marino.
This pot seems to be pretty random at first. However, a few relations can be seen here as well such as the very obvious one between Cyprus and Greece, who famously reward each other with high scores due cultural similarities. In addition to that, Greece and Bulgaria are neighbors and tend to exchange points as well. Since Portugal has many Romanian immigrants (as well as Spain), Portugal tends to give many points to Romania. Again, Romania benefits a lot from this decision since Moldova is in Pot 3, raising the chance to be drawn into the same semifinal.
Pot 5 consists of Belgium, Czech Republic, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania & Poland.
Again, it is hard to summarize this pot into one term. Latvia and Lithuania obviously have a Baltic connection. They might also benefit from Estonia being in the "Northern" pot which raises the Chance of being in the same semifinal. Since Ireland tends to favor the Baltics in the Voting (especially Lithuania), it is reasonable to put Ireland in the same pot as them. Poland and the Czech Republic are geographical neighbors. In the case of Belgium and Israel, there does not seem to be strong voting patterns to the other countries. It must be said that all Belgian neighbors Germany, France and The Netherlands are automatic qualifiers and Luxembourg does not participate which means that Belgium cannot count on neighbor voting no matter which semifinal they will be selected for.
What do you think about the semifinal pot allocations? Which Country benefits the most from it? Let us know down in the comments.