PREDICTIONS: Eurovision Song Contest Semi 2 starring KEiiNO, John Lundvik, Leonora & Sergey Lazarev

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WHERE?: Expo Tel Aviv, Pavilion 2, Israel

The UK votes in this semi, alongside fellow Big 5 members Germany and Italy, which sees many more of our favourites perform than semi 1.

  • Who’s through and who’s on the 1st plane out of Tel Aviv? Read on for our semi 2 predictions 

Rehearsals started 4/5/19 and we’re updating our predictions to reflect them as they progress. Read on for our thoughts on the 18 entries vying for 10 final slots.

  1. ARMENIA Srbuk Walking Out (Lost Capital, tokionine, Garik Papoyan) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Opening the show doesn’t always mean you’re a shoo-in to the final as Azerbaijan proved last year, finishing 11th in semi 1. Srbuk will be ruing the absence of Ukraine from the competition because she finished 4th in last year’s The Voice of Ukraine. She’s Armenian and is a former runner-up in the country’s X Factor. The song has a skittery beat and a glorious key change but we think it will be touch and go whether this becomes Armenia’s 11th final appearance in 13 attempts. Srbuk’s impressive live vocal may just clinch it.

2. IRELAND Sarah McTernan 22 (Janieck Devy, Marcia “Misha” Sondeijker, Roel Rats) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

The twee nonsense lyrics blight what is a pleasing song with an insistent bassline and a singer whose deep voice has an Adele-like quality to it. It’s an internal selection and we’re baffled as to why RTE went with what looks like a Dutch writing team. Ireland is currently Eurovision’s most successful country with seven wins although they haven’t done so since 1996. We don’t see this making their 46th final in their 53rd appearance.

3. MOLDOVA Anna Odobescu Stay (Georgios Kalpakidis, Thomas Reil, Jeppe Reil, Maria Broberg) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Not a favourite with the bookmakers but we can find lots to appreciate here. Anna has a strong vocal, there’s a dramatic key change and this is a bombastic ballad that we can see gracing the final. Unlikely, however, to outdo Moldova’s best showing which was 3rd in 2017.

4. SWITZERLAND Luca Hänni She Got Me (Laurell Barker, Mac Frazer, Luca Hänni, Jon Hällgren, Lukas Hällgren) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Luca co-wrote this and it sounds very Enrique Iglesias with a catchy Turkish musical hook. He’s a part-time model who won a German TV talent show in 2012 and this is a real dark horse for us. Switzerland isn’t a country we’re especially Eurovision fans of but this should see the country easily make its 1st final since 2014 and has an outside shot at winning.

5. LATVIA Carousel That Night (Mārcis Vasiļevskis, Aleksandrs Volks, Sabīne Žuga) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

There’s an understated country ‘n’ western quality to this and a definite chorus which we find a little too nagging. Not one of our favourites.

6. ROMANIA Ester Peony On A Sunday (Ioana Victoria Badea) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Pre-selections would occasionally seem to go awry and so it would appear with TVR’s. Ester finished 8th in the public vote but swept to victory after runaway jury success. It’s a rather charmless and workmanlike effort which will struggle to make Romania’s 19th final.

7. DENMARK Leonora Love Is Forever (Lise Cabble, Melanie Wehbe, Emil Rosendal Lei) PREDICTION: Qualifier

The plink-plonk of the opening chords sound like raindrops and this could be a Eurovision favourite from yesteryear while still retaining the perky charm of something more modern like Satellite by Lena which won for Germany in Oslo in 2010. Just for fun it switches into different languages towards the close and this should see Denmark reach its 44th final in 48 attempts.

8. SWEDEN John Lundvik Too Late For Love (John Lundvik, Anderz Wrethov, Andreas “Stone” Johansson) PREDICTION: Qualifier

London-born Lundvik co-penned Bigger Than Us which Michael Rice will sing for the UK in Eurovision this year and so if he makes the final he will be competing against a song he co-wrote. We’re enjoying that this has gospel elements and love the choir but find the song a little predictable. The rousing backing vocals really lift it though and this could win the whole contest. If so Sweden would tie with Ireland as Eurovision’s most successful country with 7 victories. Sweden has only missed 1 final (2010) and has been top 10 in 7 of the 8 years since. Shaping up rather nicely in rehearsals.

9. AUSTRIA Pænda (Pænda) Limits PREDICTION: non-qualifier

This has a delicate vocal and is a self-penned song by a female singer. Austria have made 47 finals in 52 appearances, winning in 1966 and, notably, with Conchita Wurst in 2014. The song builds subtly but we’re not sure whether it has the foundations for a finalist.

10. CROATIA Roko The Dream (Jacques Houdek, Andrea Ćurić, Charlie Mason) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

We weren’t fans of co-writer Houdek’s p-opera offering in 2017 which finished 13th and we feel similarly here. The crazy may be dialled down a notch (although not if you’ve seen a glimpse of the staging), Rise Like A Phoenix lyricist Mason is aboard and this might have made the final from the weaker semi 1 but we just don’t see it here.

11. MALTA Michela Pace Chamaleon (Joacim Persson, Paula Winger, Borislav Milanov, Johan Alkaenas) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Co-writer Persson has written for Kylie and Lady Gaga and this is a strong modern pop song that should produce Malta’s best result for years. Michela got the gig as a prize for winning her country’s 2019 edition of the X Factor. Fully expecting this to make Malta’s 25th final at 32 attempts. The country’s best ever result is runner up in 2002 and 2005 – and that’s not out of the question here.

12. LITHUANIA Jurijus Run With The Lions (Ashley Hicklin, Eric Lumiere, Pele Loriano) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Jurijus sang backing vocals for Lithuania in 2013 and 2015 – when the country made the final both times. This is an inoffensive entry with an English co-writer with Eurovision form but we don’t see Lithuania making its 14th final appearance at its 20th attempt.

13. RUSSIA Sergey Lazarev Scream (Philip Kirkorov, Dimitris Kontopoulos, Sharon Vaughn) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Lazarev won the televote in the 2016 contest but was beaten into 3rd by Australia and winners Ukraine when the jury vote was included. This is far less frenetic than You Are The Only One and sounds like something from a West End musical. Writers Sharon Vaughn and Dimitris Kontopoulos have penned efforts by Jedward, Ani Lorak, Sakis Rouvas and Farid Mammadov amongst others. Producer Philip Kirkorov also has close ties with the contest and finished 17th in 1995.

14. ALBANIA Jonida Maliqi Ktheju tokës (Return To Your Land) (Eriona Rushiti) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Albania has made 8 finals at 15 attempts and this is an authentic eastern European effort in its native tongue which we admire but don’t especially enjoy. The country’s best result was 5th in 2012.

15. NORWAY KEiiNO Spirit In the Sky (Tom Hugo Hermansen, Fred Buljo, Alexandra Rotan, Henrik Tala, Alexander N. Olsson, Rûdiger Schramm) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Our Song Of The Month for April may not win Eurovision for the 4th time for Norway on 18/5 (it’s currently 10th in the betting) but it’s everything we love the contest for. The song is inspired by the struggles for equal rights regardless of ethnicity, gender identity and sexuality. KEiiNO is a Norwegian supergroup that consists of Sámi songwriter, rapper, and joiker Fred Buljo, and Norwegian singers Alexandra Rotan and Tom Hugo. The group was established in the late summer of 2018 when Tom Hugo Hermansen and his husband Alex Olsson began writing Spirit in the Sky. All you really need to know though is that it is an ethno schlager banger of epic proportions. It pulls off the difficult trick of incorporating something traditional into uplifting enormo-pop and making it sound both seamless and effortless.

16. NETHERLANDS Duncan Laurence Arcade (Duncan de Moor, Joel Sjöö, Wouter Hardy) PREDICTION: Qualifier

We’re not hearing why this is the favourite in the pre-rehearsal betting. Although Laurence is swimming naked in the video which might help. It’s a pretty, guitar-led song which boasts a rousing chorus but we’re struggling to reconcile it with the curious title. The country has won 4 times, the last in 1975, and we don’t see this adding to that tally. Static rehearsal behind a piano.

17. NORTH MACEDONIA Tamara Todevska Proud (Darko Dimitrov, Robert Bibliov, Lazar Cvetkoski, Kosta Petrov, Sanja Popovska) PREDICTION: Qualifier

No longer the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Singer Todevska has real Eurovision pedigree: narrowly missing the final in 2008 and singing backing vocals in 2004 and 2014. The song has a rousing 80s Whitney ballad feel and we have this down as a dark horse. Should do so much better than FYROM’s best ever finish (12th in 2006).

18. AZERBAIJAN Chingiz Truth (Borislav Milanov, Chingiz Mustafayev, Trey Campbell, Pablo Dinero, Hostess, Bo J) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Azerbaijan has only missed 1 final in 11 attempts and we see this qualifying. Truth seems an odd title for a song with a more recognisable: ‘Shut up’ refrain. It’s a bit Sam Smith and Chingiz is strong on bear-like charm.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy KEiiNO. Link to watch here. Semi 1 predictions here and final predictions here. Are our predictions way off? Let us know why in the comments below.
  • Enjoyed this preview? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email neildurham3@gmail.com and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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