I've been so wrapped up in the Holyrood election and its aftermath that I've barely paid any attention at all to the Eurovision rehearsals this year. Anyway, I thought it was high time I got my priorities straight, so I've put myself through a bit of a crash-course over the last hour or two. In no particular order, these are the ten countries I think might qualify from the first semi-final...
I'm more than a touch surprised to find myself including Albania in that list, and with a fair bit of confidence at that - I didn't hold out much hope for them after I first heard the song back in December, but the traditional Cinderella effect has kicked in yet again. Compared to other predictions I've seen, the song I seem to be going out on a limb with is Switzerland - but I'm guessing its simplicity and charm might just see it through. Strictly on merit, Hungary really should be on the list and Russia shouldn't, but I've learnt from long experience that you don't get anywhere from a) betting on dance tracks at Eurovision, or b) betting against Russia at Eurovision. Hungary seem to have had problems in the rehearsals in any case.
This is the semi that UK viewers are allowed to vote in. I of course have my long-standing personal rule of only voting for songs performed entirely in a language other than English, but depressingly that doesn't leave me with many options on this occasion. Although Portugal are sticking with their usual practice of singing in their native tongue, I'm afraid I won't be able to vote for them for a fourth successive year - the song is unspeakably dreadful. So that only leaves Poland and Serbia. I'll need to have a think...