Yes, it's that time of the year again, and with non-heartfelt apologies to the handful of people who traditionally storm off in disgust at this point, here is the eleventh (gasp!) running of the annual ritual of the Scot Goes Pop Eurovision prediction. As David Dimbleby used to say about the BBC exit poll, it's sometimes accurate...sometimes not so accurate. 2010 was my golden year when I got almost everything right, although I've correctly picked the winner for five of the last ten years. Sometimes that was relatively easy because there's often an overwhelming favourite, but I've noticed over the years that overwhelming favourites for the Eurovision tend to go one of two ways - they either win by a landslide as expected, or they crash and burn and don't even get close to winning. In a sense, the latter is what happened to last year's Italian song Occidentali's Karma (although admittedly by that point it had been caught in the late betting by Portugal).
This year, as you may know, there's once again been an overwhelming favourite over the last few weeks in the shape of Israel. I must say I have my doubts about whether it will win, although I'd better be cautious in case my own personal tastes are interfering with my judgement. But I have a suspicion that the juries won't go for it, and that it may even be a bit too 'challenging' for a lot of televoters. [UPDATE: And I see in an echo of last year that Israel has just been unexpectedly displaced as bookies' favourite by Cyprus.]
I don't think Israel will have any great problem qualifying from tonight's semi, though. In no particular order, here are the ten countries I think will make it through...
Of those, the one I'm least sure of is Greece - although with Cyprus in the same semi, there's a guarantee of points from at least one source!