Eurovision 2016 – Semi Final 2 Results

semi2qualifiersThe Second Semi Final of the 61st Eurovision Song Contest took place tonight in Stockholm and what a Semi it was. From start to finish, Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw but on an amazing show. Well done to the host broadcaster SVT, I’m really looking forward to Saturdays show! (I especially liked Mans here…)

The show started off with an amazing opening act on “What is Eurovision?” Do watch it, it reminded me of the interval act from 2013, the Swedish Smörgåsbord  also starring Petra.

We also got a bit of history of the Eurovision Song Contest in the form of Numbers which amazed the nerds like me…

So on to the qualifiers. The ten countries that made it to the Grand Final are:

  • Latvia
  • Georgia
  • Bulgaria
  • Australia
  • Ukraine
  • Serbia
  • Poland
  • Israel
  • Lithuania
  • Belgium

So hard luck to Ireland, Switzerland, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia, Denmark, Norway and Albania who don’t make it through.

For those wondering I got 9/10 again on my predictions! Damn you Georgia!

We shall find out the running order for the final tomorrow ahead of the Jury Final tomorrow night. Join me again on the @UCCExpress Twitter account for some views and opinions on the final which will air at 8pm on Saturday Night on RTÉ One with Marty Whelan and on BBC One with Graham Norton.

 

Eurovision 2016 – Semi-Final 2 *UPDATED*

Welcome to my Preview of Semi-Final 2 of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest which takes place on Thursday May 12th in the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. Eurovision is getting that bit closer and its time to look at the contestants!

*UPDATE* Today April 22nd the European Broadcasting Union has withdrawn membership services to Romanian Broadcaster TVR following non-payment of debts totalling over €14.5m (CHF 16m). This means that only 42 contestants will compete at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with 18 in each Semi-Final. There is no change to running order.

Semi Final 1 takes place on Tuesday May 10th, check out my preview here.

The new voting system will also apply to the Semi-Finals, but we won’t know the full details of the results until after the Grand Final which takes place on Saturday May 14th. Sweden, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom are automatically qualified for the Final.

19 Countries are competing for the 10 places in the Grand Final available and Irish hopes rest on Nicky Byrne. Hopes will be raised as the United Kingdom will be voting and performing tonight along with Germany and Italy.

Semi-Final 2 seems to be the tougher of the two Semi’s with some excellent songs (and some not so great) from countries who normally do well. Getting out of this Semi will be quite the task for many of the entries and will be dependent on good performances for the Juries and Televoting Public!

So on with the show!

All betting odds are from PaddyPower for outright winner and taken on 20/04/16
Continue reading “Eurovision 2016 – Semi-Final 2 *UPDATED*”

Eurovision 2013: Semi Final Two Preview

Welcome to the preview of Semi Final Two of the 58th Eurovision Song Contest. Earlier I previewed the entries in Semi Final One which takes place on Tuesday 14th of May. Semi-Final Two takes place on Thursday 16th of May in the Malmö Arena in Sweden. 17 countries are vying for ten places up for grabs for the Final of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday 18th of May. Statistically this is the harder Semi-Final as there are more entries, but a lot of the favourites are in Semi-Final One meaning that it might be easier for some of the weaker acts to get through to the final.

As well as the 17 countries participating, Germany, Spain and France will be voting in this Semi Final. All odds taken on 08/05/2013 from PaddyPower.com

1. Latvia: PeR with “Here We Go” Odds: 150/1

One of the more rockier entries opens up this semi-final. I am not sure what to make of this. To be honest I cringed a lot. While I do like a bit of rock music, this isn’t a very strong entry.

Prediction: I am not sure if you would consider this singing. So I do not see this getting through to the final.

2. San Marino: Valentina Monetta with “Crisalide” Odds: 80/1

Malta bring us back to Ballads which made up much of the first Semi-Final. This is a much better entry then last year. San Marino have threatened to pull out of the 2014 edition if doesn’t qualify. It is worth noting that it is a fan favourite coming second in the OGAE International Poll.

Prediction: This isn’t a bad song. But with Italy not voting in this Semi-Final it could find it hard to pick up votes. It may struggle, but I think it will Qualify. Also the curse of number may strike.

3. F.Y.R Macedonia: Esma & Lozano with “Pred Da Se Razdeni” Odds: 150/1

Macedonia have decided to use the formula that worked for Azerbaijan back in 2011 and have sent a duet. Granted this is very much a unconventional pairing! But musically it works. The only issue here is that it does not really catch you. Macedonia will also suffer as many of its Balkan neighbours are in the other Semi-Final.

Prediction: While a good song, I can’t see it getting the votes. Pity.

4. Azerbaijan: Farid Mammadov with “Hold Me” Odds:25/1

Another curse associated with Eurovision is the curse of last years hosts. Many people will be watching closely to see if it strikes Azerbaijan this year after their hosting last year in Baku. This year they have entered a ballad by a male singer so that does mark it out from most of what we heard in Semi Final One.

Prediction: Azerbaijan I think will continue its run of successful entries and will qualify for the final easily, but will it be in top 10?

5. Finland: Krista Siegfrids with “Marry Me” Odds: 66/1

Finland who have one of the more dodgier records in Eurovision, has this year sent a song that is assured of qualifying. This is a fun uptempo song that you find yourself nodding along to. Its  “uh-oh, ding dong”‘s tick plenty of Eurovision  boxes! But it doesn’t harm its chances.

Prediction: A fun song, Finland will qualify easily and finish mid table.

6. Malta: Gianlucca Bezzina with “Tomorrow” Odds: 80/1

To be honest I was waiting for this type of folk type pop that is becoming popular again. This song about love certainly is one to make you smile!

Prediction: Should Qualify.

7. Bulgaria: Elitsa Todorova, Stoyan Yankulov with “Samo Shampioni (Only Champions)” Odds: 200/1

Now Bulgaria normally sends something a bit different and this year is no exception. This is certainly different! There is so much happening style wise here that I don’t know where to start. Not my cup of tea.

Prediction: Is going to languish in the Semi’s… I hope.

8. Iceland: Eythor Ingi with “Ég Á Líf” Odds: 100/1

Back to the slow ballads with Iceland and apart from the name of the country I can’t pronounce anything else to do with this entry. It isn’t popular in this house with the sister saying “that its sounds like its from an old Irish film like Songs for a raggy boy, or a chessy song from an ad”. Also Iceland decided not to translate their entry this year, I’m not sure if that has worked for them.

Prediction: Won’t qualify.

9. Greece: Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis with “Alcohol Is Free” Odds: 66/1

Now this is more like it. Greece bring us back to some rock, and they do it better then Latvia. While I agree with the sentiment of the title of the song, I am assured that Alcohol is not free in Greece! This one will have you bopping along and saying “Alcohol is Free” very fast for the chorus!

Prediction: This will qualify.

10. Israel: Moran Mazor with “Rak Bishvilo” Odds: 150/1

Israel have decided to also send a ballad this year. While Moran is an excellent singer, yet again this song doesnt hook. It will struggle to qualify if at all.

Prediction: Israel somehow always qualify, so no change there.

11. Armenia: Dorians with “Lonely Planet” Odds: 100/1

Armenia are back following their withdrawal from the 2012 edition as it was hosted by Azerbaijan (arch-enemies, not just in Eurovision). They have entered a soft rock song this year and while it does stand out, it may have a hard time getting votes as it shares this Semi-Final with Azerbaijan.

Prediction: Sorry Armenia, try again next year.

12. Hungry: ByeAlex with “Kedvesem (Zoohacker Remix)” Odds: 100/1

This is one of those songs that have a 50/50 chance of qualifying. It is very different and simple. Its one to just listen to and close your eyes. Go on.

Prediction: Im not sure what Eurovision voters will make of this. I think it will squeek into the final.

13. Norway: Margaret Berger with “I Feed You My Love” Odds: 13/2

One of this years favourites. It came 3rd in the OGAE International Poll, so Eurovision could be staying in the Nordic countries. After Hungry, Norway’s Margaret gets us going again. This does remind me of the entries the Ukraine used to send. Uptempo, rocky and sexy. Will go down well with the audience and should do well with the voters…. the juries are another matter!

Prediction: Norway on course for a rare top 5 finish! Will easily qualify.

14. Albania: Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko with “Identitet” Odds: 150/1

Albania brings us some more rock. It is a bit nondescript though. Nothing stays with you after listening to it. Could struggle with votes.

Prediction: With very few balkan countries in this semi, I dont see this qualifying.

15. Georgia: Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani with “Waterfall” Odds: 22/1

Georgia is also trying out the duet strategy that worked for Azerbaijan in 2011.  It is a stronger pairing then Macedonia, and so should do well. This song also seems to have that power and step up that is missing from many of the ballad entries this year.

Prediction: Will Qualify and will challenge for a top 10 finish.

16. Switzerland: Takasa with “You and Me” Odds: 150/1

If in doubt send in the Army! Well the Salvation Army. Yup, that is what Switzerland is sending this year! Takasa features the oldest person to grace the Eurovision Stage, 95-year-old Emil Ramsauer on double bass! This is a lovely twee song, but at least they are trying and a warning it grows on you!

Prediction: This song grows on you, so I wouldnt be surprised if it qualifies!

17. Romania: Cezar with “It’s My Life” Odds: 80/1

Wow, can he hit the high notes! That was a little unexpected! While it isn’t as good as last years entry from Romania. It certainly is a good entry.

Prediction: Something unexpected and with it finishing the show it should Qualify.

That is San Marino, Azerbaijan, Finland, Malta, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Georgia and Romania to qualify. We see if that actually happens! Semi-Final Two will be broadcast at 8pm on Thursday 16th of May on RTÉ2 and BBC3.

Handbook and App

Don’t forget the excellent 2013 Eurovision Handbook is available for download for your Kindle or Kindle enabled Device. Do get it as it is aid of the Irish Cancer Society, plus it is full of all the information you need for this years contest!

Also Eurovision has launched free companion apps for the show available for iPhone/iPad and Android devices. They look great and you can vote via the App (Paypal account needed for billing). See Eurovision.tv for more details.

 

 

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Eurovision 2012: Semi-Final Two Preview

Welcome to the Preview for the Second Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, if you missed Semi 1 it’s here! I will of course be making a prediction, which will most likely be wrong!

This year the 57th Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Baku, Azerbaijan. 42 countries will be taking part. Montenegro returns this year to the competition while Poland and Armenia wont be taking part.

10 countries from each of the Semi-finals will proceed to the Final and join the five automatic qualifiers, the Big Four (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) and last years winners and this year’s host Azerbaijan.

The voting will be again be by a combination of Televoting and Professional Jury.

The First Semi Final will take place on the 22nd of May, followed by the Second Semi Final on the 24th of May and the final taking place on May 26th. All shows start at 8:00pm GMT (9:00pm CET)

Ireland has been drawn in the First Semi-Final. France, Germany and United Kingdom will also be voting in this Semi-Final.

All the betting odds are from PaddyPower.com and are correct as of April 30th.

So on with the show!

01 Serbia: Željko Joksimović with “Nije ljubav stvar” (Love is not an object)

This is Željko 2nd attempt at Eurovision, having represented Serbia and Montenegro (as it was then known) where he came 2nd in 2004 with “Lane Moje“. This is a powerful song and definitely has the chance of doing well. It will be a top ten finisher, but will it win? I dont think so. Odds: 12/1

02 F.Y.R. Macedonia: Kaliopi with “Crno i belo” (Black and white)

We stay in the Balkans for the next entry, this starts off slow, but then really gets going. Lots of musical influences at play here with Kaliopi who is well known around the Balkans and could bode well for the voting, but can’t see her picking up too many votes outside of the Balkans. Odds:125/1

03 Netherlands: Joan Franka with “You and Me”

This is a happy, feel good song of Eurovision of old. The Netherlands hasn’t havent had the best results of late at Eurovision and I don’t think this year will be different with Joan. It is a nice song, but will the televoters like it? This could be rescued by the Jurors. Odds 50/1

04 Malta: Kurt Calleja with “This Is the Night”

Malta keeps up its tradition of sending modern songs. This is a better entry then some of the previous entries, but it isn’t as good as some of the entries,but it is catchy (ye eh eh eh eh). Kurt has a chance of qualifying I think. Odds: 150/1

05 Belarus: Litesound with “We Are the Heroes”

Litesound, whos members hail from Belarus, Russia and Italy, finally managed to win the right to represent Belarus this year. They have entered a bit of a pop/rock tune. Its not that great (needs autotune!) or memorable, could struggle to get out of the Semi. Odds: 100/1

06 Portugal: Filipa Sousa with “Vida minha” (Life of mine)

Portugal again attempts to do something different and this year has entered a ballad in the Portuguese “Fado” style. While there is no doubt that Filipa is an amazing singer, but it will have to depend a lot on stage presentation to get through. Odds 150/1

07 Ukraine: Gaitana with “Be My Guest”

The Ukraine likes to send strong women to Eurovision and this year is no different with Gaitana. This is a upbeat catchy song which will definately be heard in clubs! This will go down well in the hall, if the stage presentation is as upbeat and powerful as the song. One to watch. Odds: 66/1

08 Bulgaria: Sofi Marinova with “Love Unlimited”

A number of countries tried out dance songs last year and this year Bulgaria is trying out one. Love Unlimited is certainly a song you can dance too, but is it what Eurovision audiences want? Odds: 100/1

09 Slovenia: Eva Boto with “Verjamem” (I believe)

At the half way point is Slovenia, who have entered a Ballad. Eva has a beautiful voice and it perfectly suits this haunting song. This could be one to surprise us if it gets to the final. Odds: 50/1

10 Croatia: Nina Badrić with “Nebo” (Heaven)

Croatia this year sent one of the top performers in Croatia to Baku, and it has paid off. Nina has a wonderful song which will win people over. This is a song you should listen to ahead of the show! Odds: 80/1

11 Sweden: Loreen with “Euphoria”

Sweden, who were pipped at the post last year, are back with a vengeance! It is this year’s pre-contest favourite, which can be the kiss of death! But I think Loreen could pull it off. It is a song that ticks all the boxes and is definitely a possible winner! (Yes im typing while bopping around to it!) Odds: 9/4

12 Georgia: Anri Jokhadze with “I’m a Joker”

This is, erm, different. But it is a bit of fun at the end of the day. It wouldn’t be Eurovision without it! Interestingly Anri is the first male performer to represent Georgia! Im looking forward to see what he will do on stage with this! Odds: 125/1

13 Turkey: Can Bonomo with “Love Me Back”

There is no doubt of the Mediterranean influence on this song! Turkey have remember why they have done well in the past and sent Can Bonomo, a DJ, Producer and musician. This is a song that will be remembered and will certainly qualify! Odds 20/1

14 Estonia: Ott Lepland with “Kuula” (Listen)

Ott who won Estonian Idol in 2009; the lead role in High School Musical in 2010; the show Laulupealinn (Singing Capital) in 2011 and of course Eesti Laul, the Estonian national selection. He is hoping to add the Eurovision Song Contest to this list with this very powerful ballad. It stands out as being the only male ballad so far. He also wrote this song himself. He will do well! Odds: 50/1

15 Slovakia: Max Jason Mai with “Don’t Close Your Eyes”

Max is a bit of hotty, in the rocky kinda way! Max who is also a guitarist brings proper rock music to Eurovision this year. He reminds me a bit of Jon Bon Jovi! Its a good song and better then some of the other rock offerings we have had this year. Odds 100/1

16 Norway: Tooji with “Stay”

Tooji is Norway’s answer to Eric Saade, but with Iranian roots! (Read total ride) This is a good song, which Norway has managed to do over the past few years. But this is one of their best entries in a number of years. Odds: 25/1

17 Bosnia & Herzegovina: Maya Sar with “Korake ti znam” (I know your steps)

And Bosnia sends another ballad. It is a lovely song and it is better then some of the other ballads this year. Maya is a fantastic singer, and will most likely own the stage in Baku. Odds 80/1

18 Lithuania: Donny Montell with “Love Is Blind”

I wonder will he wear the blind fold in Baku, it does work and he is very cute! But the song is only so-so. But it may still get through!  Odds 100/1

So that is all the entries for the Second Semi-Final.

Prediction

So who will get through to the final? Some of it easy to guess, some of it not! So in no particular order,

  1. Sweden
  2. Norway
  3. Ukraine
  4. Turkey
  5. Serbia
  6. Slovenia
  7. Estonia
  8. Croatia
  9. Lithuania
  10. The Netherlands.

What do you think?

Super Tuesday: No clean sweep, but Romney still the frontrunner

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 31:  A supporter of Repu...
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With the majority of the results in for the ten states holding Primary Contests for the Republican Party Presidential Nominee, Mitt Romney has managed to win six of those states including the Ohio. Rick Santorum managed to win four states and came second in a number of them. Newt Gingrich managed to win in his home state of Georgia, but his southern strategy seems to have faltered in other states.

Delegate Projections

After the contests, Romney has opened a good lead on delegate projections. According to Google Politics Romney now has 415 delegates. Rick Santorum has 176, Newt Gingrich 105 and Ron Paul 47. With the elusive figure of 1,144 still a good distance away it is still an open race with states with big delegations still to vote.

All delegate projections for each state are taken from Google Politics and Elections

Alaska

In the Alaska Caucus Romney won a third of the vote, while Santorum came 2nd on 29%. Ron Paul hoped to do well here and he manged third 24% while Gingrich came last on 14%. The delegates split as follows, Romney 8, Santorum 7, Paul 6, Ginrich 3.

Georgia

Georgia is Newt Gingrich’s second win in this primary cycle. Georgia is of course his home state which he represented in Congress. For that he was rewarded with nearly half the vote on 47%. Romney managed second place on 26% and Santorum third on 20%. Ron Paul trailed badly here on 6%. The delegates will be split Gingrich 46, Romney 13 and Santorum 2.

Idaho

In Idaho Mitt Romney swept the boards winning 62% of the vote at the Caucus. He takes all of Idaho’s 32 delegates. Santorum and Ron Paul were tied for second place on 18% with Gingrich on 2%.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts proved to be an even better results for Romney as won over 72% of the Primary vote. Romney has proven that he is still popular in the state where he used to be Govenor. He takes all 38 delegates from Massachusetts. Santorum finished on 12%, Paul on 10% and Gingrich on 5%.

North Dakota

North Dakota had some good news for Rick Santorum as 40% of Caucus goers suppored him. Ron Paul came second here on 28% with Romney close behind on 24%. Gingrich again brought up the rear with 8%. The delegates will be distributed as follows, Santorum 11, Paul 8, Romney 7 and Gingrich 2.

Ohio

Ohio the bell-weather state which is normally pivotal in  the Presidential Election proved to be pivotal in this years republican primary also. While Santorum had some difficulties over not registering delegate slates correctly, it was a state that was neck and neck in the final opinion polls. In the end Romney won the state on 38% but Santorum was only pipped to the post as he ended on 37%. Gingrich managed to come third here on 15% beating Paul who finished on 9%. The delegates will split 35 to Romney and 21 to Santorum

Oklahoma

The conservative voters of Oklahoma backed Rick Santorum as their guy in their primary giving him 37% of the vote. Mitt Romney finsihed second 28% while Gingrich’s southern strategy got him a third place finish with 27% and Paul came last on 10%. The delegates split 14 to Santorum an 13 each to Romney and Gingrich.

Tennessee

Tennessee proved to be another good state for Rick Santorum. Here he won on 37% of vote leaving Mitt Romney trail on 28%. Newt Gingrich came third on 24% while Ron Paul came last on 9%. The delegates will split Santorum 25,  Romney 10 and Gingrich 8.

Vermont

Back in Vermont it was good news for Mitt Romney in a state that borders Massachusetts. Here he won 40% of the vote with Ron Paul finishing in second on 25%. Santorum was close behind on 24% with Gingrich trailing on 8%. The delegates split Romney 9 and Santorum and Paul both get 4.

Virginia

In Virginia it was Mitt Romney versus Ron Paul, as the other candidates failed to get on the ballot. Mitt Romney easily won on 60% of the vote, leaving Paul with 40%. This results means that Romney takes 43 of the delegates and Paul takes 3.

Analysis

Romney retains his lead, but yet again Santorum highlights Romney’s lack of support among conservative voters. While Romney has picked up some high profile endorsements this week its not all in the bag just yet. Santorum continues to bring the fight as can be seen by the close results in many states, especially Ohio.

Newt Gingrich seriously needs to look at his game plan, while he has won two states (South Carolina and Georgia) he is trailing 3rd in most Southern States and is in fact last in many states outside of the south. He needs to reconsider his plan, or drop out and endorse Santorum.

Ron Paul at this point just hopes to be King-maker at the Convention in Tampa. He is steadily picking up delegates in the proportional primaries and is focusing especially on caucus’s where he does seem to do quite well. I can’t see him winning any race, but whether or not becomes King-maker will be interesting.

The next contest are on Saturday with Caucus’s in Kansas, Guam, Northern Marina Islands and the US Virgin Islands.

Its Super Tuesday!

ST. CHARLES, MO - FEBRUARY 7:  Republican pres...
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Today ten states hold their Republican Primaries today to chose their nominee for the Presidential Election this November. Between them 416 (18.2% of the total delegates) are up for grabs today, but the amount available in each state varies from 17 delegates in Vermont to 76 in Georgia. The following are the states voting today.

  • Alaska (24),
  • Georgia (76),
  • Idaho (32),
  • Massachusetts (38),
  • North Dakota (25),
  • Ohio (63),
  • Oklahoma (40),
  • Tennessee (55),
  • Vermont (17),
  • Virginia (46)

Mitt Romney goes into today after winning the last five Republican contests (Maine, Arizona, Michigan, Wyoming and Washington) but it still could all be upset if former Rick Santorum could stage an upset especially as it is a virtual tie in Ohio, which is normally a swing state in the Presidential Election and so tonight could prove critical.

Newt Gingrich has home state advantage in Georgia according to polling and should win there, but its not looking good for him anywhere else.

In Virginia only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul made it on to the ballot and could be Paul’s first victory in the race for the nomination.

But if all goes well Mitt Romney may solidify his front runner status if he wins enough delegates and creates a big enough gap. He certainly is able to outspend the rest of the contenders and with the Super-PACS taking big media buys in the large states he should do quite well. Also with the state he used to be Governor of voting, Massachusetts, he should do well there.

NBC have a great guide to the states that are voting (PDF).

Offical Video – Sinéad Mulvey & Black Daisy – "Et Cetera"

The official video for the Irish Eurovision entry is online and the song is really growing on me! Check it out!

To quote a friend who just heard the song “Holy crap, that song is awesome!” (He does mean in comparison with previous years!)

In other news Georgia has withdrawn from the Eurovision Song Contest this year. It was claimed that the lyrics infringe the rules of the contest.

I think most of the songs have now been been chosen and that means the running order will decided shortly and that means preview time for me! I am looking forward to that.

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