Eurovision Semi-Final #1 is TODAY – Here’s my predictions

Eurovision Song Contest 2021 gets underway this afternoon – in the U.S. you can catch it live streaming on Peacock beginning at 3 PM ET/12 Noon PT. or on YouTube with an active VPN – it will be geoblocked on the U.S. service without it.

The first semi-final will feature the first sixteen entries, with ten spots available to make it to Saturday’s Grand Final.

The sixteen competitors today will compete in the following running order:

Lithuania – “Discoteque” by The Roop
Slovenia – “Amen” by Ana Soklic
Russia – “Russian Woman” by Manizha
Sweden – “Voices” by Tusse
Australia – “Techincolour” by Montaigne*
North Macedonia – “Here I Stand” by Vasil
Ireland – “Maps” by Lesley Roy
Cyprus – “El Diablo” by Elena Tsagrinou
Norway – “Fallen Angel” by Tix
Croatia – “Tick Tock” by Albina
Belgium – “The Wrong Place” by Hooverphonic
Israel – “Set Me Free” by Eden Alene
Romania – “Amnesia” by Roxen
Azerbaijan – “Mata Hari” by Efendi
Ukraine – “Shum” by Go_A
Malta – “Je Me Casse” by Destiny

* – country is using it’s “live to tape” performance

OK, here’s my predictions based on my own gut feeling as well as the various fan polls around the internet…here we go!

Seven countries APPEAR to be a lock to get through to the Grand Finals based on the fan reception to them – those countries are Malta, Ukraine, Romania, Belgium, Cyprus, Lithuania, and Russia. One of these seven not getting through would be considered a HUGE upset, but it’s happened before to Belgium, where they’ve had huge fan favorites that didn’t even come close to making the final. Romania has also had trouble cracking through from time to time, but I think this year they’ll be ok and will make the final. We’ll see.

There are five other modestly large fan favorites as well – Azerbaijan, Israel, Norway, Sweden, and Australia. Of these five, the three most likely to get through are Norway, Israel, and for some reason that is still baffling me personally, Australia. Sweden’s entry was HUGE at the beginning but fan support has cooled in a MAJOR way on it in recent weeks – not sure why. Norway also does very well with the voting fans every year and should push through, although just by a thread, and it too has seen some dropping of fan support in recent weeks.

There are two more deserving songs that are likely going to be left out in the cold, and those belong to North Macedonia’s utterly EXQUISITE entry, “Here I Stand” by Vasil, and Ireland’s biggest fan favorite in years, “Maps” by Lesley Roy. I don’t know if either of them have enough push to get through but I’m thinking no, which is a shame as both are top notch songs, and Vasil’s in particular…. In the end, Croatia and Slovenia don’t seem to have a prayer unless the jury vote pushes them through somehow, and I just can’t see that happening. However, in 2019, everyone had written off North Macedonia’s “Proud” as not making the finals, but it did, and actually WON the Jury vote, so it’s possible there could be a jury surprise in store.

I’ll be back after the show with my analysis and observations – be sure to check it out on YouTube if you’re outside the U.S. or on your local broadcaster if they’re carrying it!