I got seven out of ten right on Tuesday, which is probably roughly par, given that no-one in their right mind would have predicted Lithuania's success. I can just about understand how Belgium made it through, but Belarus remains a mystery. Perhaps it was the big silver egg hatching open to reveal a half-naked woman that did the trick? Who knows. But I was delighted to see that my fears about Ryan Dolan's live performance were totally unfounded, which means Ireland must now be in with a great chance of a top ten finish on Saturday night.
Watching Russia and Ukraine perform back-to-back brought home to me that not only is Russia the better of the two songs, it also has a greater impact as a performance. A simple catchy tune, a massive key-change, lyrics about world peace...yes, I think the Russians have bought the manual. So while the bookies may yet be proved right about Denmark being the likely winners, I have a feeling they may have the wrong country in second place.
If I'd been voting 'honestly', I probably would have plumped for either Russia or Ireland (it would have been a close call), but as I've mentioned in previous years I have a personal rule of only voting for entries sung entirely in a language other than English. So that left me scratching my head about whether to vote for Estonia, Moldova or Cyprus. In the end I went for Moldova on the somewhat illogical grounds that they were the same performers who last year brought us the insane genius of "you have never been to my show, you haven't seen before how looks the trumpet".
As you'd expect, Swedish television produced a much slicker show than some of their counterparts have managed in recent years. It was a great idea to have just one presenter and therefore dispense with the customary scripted flirting, although I'm not sure Petra Mede was the ideal choice as sole host. Her English diction is undeniably exemplary, but surely there's more to life than diction? All in all, though, I enjoyed the show far more than I expected to, partly because my expectations were fairly low. A number of the songs seemed better than I remembered somehow.
Here's hoping for more of the same tonight. These are the ten countries that I think will go through -
Iceland (Ég á Líf - Eythor Ingi)
Azerbaijan (Hold Me - Farid Mammadov)
San Marino (Crisalide - Valentina Monetta)
Norway (I Feed You My Love - Margaret Berger)
Georgia (Waterfall - Nodi Tatishvili and Sophie Gelovani)
Finland (Marry Me - Krista Siegfrids)
Greece (Alcohol is Free - Koza Mostra featuring Agathon Iakovidis)
Armenia (Lonely Planet - Dorians)
Malta (Tomorrow - Gianluca Bezzina)
Switzerland (You and Me - Takasa)
I hope I'm wrong and that Israel make it through at the expense of one of the above ten (well, except Norway or San Marino), but I have a feeling it may be too uncompromisingly intense an entry.