The majority of the countries that qualified seem to come from the Eastern part of Europe with the only exceptions being Belgium, Portugal and Iceland which come from the Western part of Europe. The semi-final touted as the weaker of the two, had in store a number of surprises.
Starting off with our country, Malta, Thea has gathered massive popularity amongst the Eurovision community and although she was not one of the favourites to qualify, her performance on the night made her stand out, and most of the international fan websites, along with comments from different fans along the globe believed that Thea should have made the finals with relative ease – surprisingly so Malta did not make it. The judges should have been able to elevate Malta amongst the finalists, but having countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland and Turkey who have awarded Malta high points recently not voting in our semi-final proved to be vital. The buzz around is that Malta just missed out a place in the finals and ended up 11th in the semi- final.
Another two countries which were touted to qualify to the finals by the betting odds and fan website were none other than Slovakia and Latvia – both ruined their chances with weak interpretations of their entries and this proved vital as their Eurovision experience ended in the semi-final. From the countries that qualified there were a number of surprises – Moldova and Bosnia Herzegovina were certainly not amongst the favourites to make through Saturday’s final – but strong performances along with some help of neighbourly voting helped them to qualify. The Russian song which was being called the ‘coffee break’ of this year’s contest, surprisingly so made to the finals – making the Russians one of the few nations that have always qualified to the finals. Even when they don’t bother in presenting a decent song – the Russians will make it – their neighbours love them too much to forget them at Eurovision.
The Belgian song, considered to be one of the best in this year’s competition was always surrounded with doubt on whether it will qualify or not. This is not because of Tom Dice’s vocals or because the song was below par, but Belgium have never qualified to the finals since the semi-finals were introduced – in fact this was a brilliant result for the country and probably the only glimmer of hope that if one sends a good song, the European public and the jury might like it and put it through to the finals. The Portuguese entry was also a surprise qualifier, and many considered it to be the main competition for the Maltese song. Portugal have managed to qualify for the past three years now, and this year they certainly made it through thanks to Filippa’s great live vocals and the favourable draw.
Estonia was considered to be one of the songs that it is too good for Eurovision as its style is certainly something different and it does not have the wide appeal other songs might have and this seems to have been its downfall. On the other hand, the chirpy happy tune from Finland didn’t manage to impress the viewers along with the jury as it didn’t manage to qualify. Many locals considered it to be a sort of tune which would have fitted perfectly the movie ‘Heidi’. Poland’s staging was considered by some strange, and the whole legend act did not translate to the viewers, even though Marcin gave a strong interpretation of his entry. The FYR Macedonian song was probably too common and lifeless to be considered by the voters – the staging didn’t help either and being put amongst the stronger entries in the semi-final pushed it even lower.
Greece, Iceland and Serbia along with Albania were always considered the main favourites to make it through the semi-finals – presenting upbeat numbers and strong performances made their passage to the finals rather easy. Belarus managed to make it through – it was always considered a borderline song – and it seems that neighbourly voting helped in pushing it amongst the top 10 of the night. The dream ends for some and continues for other. Malta’ dream, for another year stops here, and one wonders whether it is even worth participating anymore – our artists do get the so called exposure, but sometimes the disappointment is too much to bear after working so hard.