Oooh, this is a tricky one - I think I'll struggle to repeat the nine out of ten I got right on Tuesday! The second semi, on the face of it, contains three entries that ought to be a class apart - namely Azerbaijan, Denmark and Switzerland. So reading through the reflections of those at the rehearsals it's been somewhat startling to discover that Switzerland are as good as being discounted, Denmark are regarded as struggling to qualify, and even Azerbaijan - the bookies' favourites to win the contest outright - are not seen as certain qualifiers. Having had a look at some of the rough recordings of the rehearsals on YouTube, I must say I can't really see what the problem is with Switzerland - the vocals seem as strong as on the studio version, although admittedly the backing singers maybe aren't quite up to scratch (to my mind that was Selma's main problem when she unexpectedly came a cropper in 2005). But perhaps this is a moment to believe in the wisdom of crowds - the thumbs-down for Switzerland seems so widespread, there must be a fundamental problem with the song or the performance that I just can't see. So I've struck them off my list of potential qualifiers.
As for Denmark, the rehearsals do seem a little underwhelming - but they weren't that bad, and with the quality of the song my gut feeling is they'll just about scrape through. I think Azerbaijan will qualify as well, although it's very hard to see them winning the contest now. Another difficult one to call is Georgia - I don't rate the song at all, but I've given them the nod on the basis of aesthetics (never to be underestimated at Eurovision). So my prediction for the ten qualifiers goes like this -
Speaking as quite possibly the world's only joint Eurovision/Scottish nationalist blogger, I of course can't let the long-overdue appearance of a Scottish performer on the Eurovision stage pass without mention. The individual in question will naturally be performing for...Cyprus. This will be the first Scottish involvement in the contest since 1996, when the brilliant Karen Matheson (of Capercaillie fame) sang for...France.
It's worth noting that the last Scot to actually sing for the UK - you know, that country we're allegedly part of - was Scott Fitzgerald some twenty-two years ago. Even more startlingly, of the dozens of acts to have appeared in UK national selections since 1997, just one has been Scottish.
The 'Union Dividend' in action!