So we now know the 20 Countries joining the big 5 plus our hosts Ukraine for the Final of the Eurovision Song Contest here in Kiev on Saturday night.
We’ve had two Semi Finals where 8 countries were eliminated from each. After each Semi Final we had the usual tears and tantrums, mostly from the press. Biggest shock from Semi Final 1 was Finland, one of the pre contest favourites who didn’t make the Final. We Welcome back to the Grand Final after a 4 year absence Moldova. The band “Sunstroke”who represented Moldova in 2010 are back including the “Crazy Sax Guy”. Also promoted out of Semi Final 1 are Poland, Greece, Belgium, Azerbaijan and 6 time winners Sweden.
If Sweden can win Eurovision 2017 they will have equaled Ireland’s 7 victories. Ireland won’t add to their total as they failed to progress. Australia kept up their 100% qualifying by once again emerging from Semi Final 1 and if they win on Saturday night they have to nominate a European country to stage it.
There is a well known quote by Benjamin Franklin who once said “the only thing certain in life is death and taxes,” well we can rewrite that to say “Death, Taxes and Romania qualifying for the Grand Final of Eurovision. They have qualified every year since the introduction of the Semi Final and in my opinion blew away the opposition in Thursday’s Semi Final. I can almost see the fear in the Romanian delegation (photo) faces as they realise there is a strong possibility that they could actually win this event and have the “enjoyment” of financing and staging the contest next year.
Joining Romania from Semi Final 2 are Bulgaria, Belarus, Croatia, Hungary, Denmark, Israel, Norway, Netherlands and Austria. Big shock from Semi Final 2 was Estonia not qualifying, they were considered one of the favourites in the betting. Croatia who some thought would finish bottom of Semi Final 2 actually qualified and at the press conference even the artist was a bit surprised but delighted, look out for this one, it’s unique in the fact that he sings his song with 2 voices.
Of course the “Big 5” always have their place in the Grand Final and this year the UK have Lucie Jones singing “Never give up on you”. When the song was chosen back in January it didn’t receive a warm reception from the UK public but the European press here in Kiev are saying it’s the best UK entry in years.
Favourite to win on Saturday night is Italy, they’ve been top of the betting for weeks. If you’re watching on Saturday night and think that a man in a Gorilla suit has invaded the stage don’t panic it’s all part of the act.
What I enjoy around about now is the rumours and back stage gossip that goes on. Firstly it’s been reported that the Portuguese singer suffers from a serious heart condition and medics are by his side 24 hours a day, he did not arrive in Kiev till just before Monday’s semi final rehearsal.
Portugal who qualified from Semi Final 1 is considered one of the favourites, let’s hope the excitement isn’t too much for him.
Norway had to replace one of their jury members before Semi Final 2 due to the fact he was reported to have criticised the Irish song in the press, Norway and Ireland were both voting and performing in Semi Final 2.
In answer to a previous question “Is Kiev ready to stage the biggest music event on the planet”? I have to say “yes it is ” So settle down in your favourite armchair on Saturday night and join over 200 million people across the world for the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest live from Kiev.