Eurovision Semi-Final #2 is TODAY – Here’s my predictions

Eurovision Song Contest 2021 continues 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 second semi-final will feature the last seventeen entries, with ten spots available to make it to Saturday’s Grand Final.

The competitors today will compete in the following running order:

San Marino – “Adrenalina” by Senhit featuring Flo Rida
Estonia – “The Lucky One” by Uku Suviste
Czech Republic – “Omaga” by Benny Cristo
Greece – “Last Dance” by Stefania
Austria – “Amen” by Vincent Bueno
Poland – “The Ride” by Rafal
Moldova – “Sugar” by Natalia Gordienko
Iceland – “10 Years” by Dadi og Gagnamagnid*
Serbia – “Loco Loco” by Hurricane
Georgia – “You” by Tornike Kipiani
Albania – “Karma” by Anxhela Peristeri
Portugal – “Love Is On My Side” by The Black Mamba
Bulgaria – “Growing Up Is Getting Old” by Victoria
Finland – “Dark Side” by Blind Channel
Latvia – “The Moon Is Rising” by Samanta Tina
Switzerland – “Tout l’Univers” by Gjon’s Tears
Denmark – “Ove os pa hinanden” by Fyr og Flamme

*- Second rehearsal live-to-tape performance used after a member of Gagnamignid was diagnosed with COVID-19

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

This is even harder than Tuesday’s semi, because there’s one additional song overall, and only FIVE songs that seem to have a total lock on landing a spot in the final – it WAS seven songs, but after hugely over fan favorite Romania shockingly failed to make the cut on Tuesday, anything can happen, and so I’ve moved two of my original seven into the “likely” category.

The five countries that are virtually locked into the finals from what I can tell are Switzerland, Iceland, San Marino, Greece, and Finland. These five countries have MASSIVE fan support (a first for the tiny enclave of San Marino, the smallest country in the contest and which had it’s best showing to date in 2019 with Serhat‘s extremely fun and deliciously earwormy ditty “Say Na Na Na” making the finals and landing at 19th overall) and seem to be a can’t miss. Two of the five countries have songs that have been predicted to be a potential winner – Switzerland’s “Tout l’Univers” by Gjon’s Tears and Iceland’s “10 Years” by Dadi and Gagnamagnid. Both acts were retained by their nations from the cancelled 2020 contest, where they were the two of the three main favorites to win (the third was Russia’s entry, “Uno” by Little Big, who did not return this year), but of course with different songs – songs entered for 2020 could NOT be used for 2021 despite the cancellation –  and it will be interesting to watch what happens.

Among the “likely” candidates, Bulgaria is once again a huge fan favorite, as are Czech Republic, Moldova, and Serbia – all of these are EXPECTED to make it into the finals, but as I said above, so was Romania, and it missed the cut, so any one of these could fall victim to the televote or a bad jury vote (which is what I think sunk Roxen‘s chance for Romania on Tuesday, as the staging was tepid, and the overall look was a fashion nightmare).

The tenth spot is hard to call, but I’m leaning towards Latvia or Denmark to make the cut as the final country to squeak through to the finals. Personally, I would LOVE it if Portugal’s incredible and awesome entry “Love Is On My Side” by The Black Mamba made it through, but alas, like Vasil‘s wonderful entry for North Macedonia on Tuesday, I don’t think it has enough public support to push through, which is a real shame; it’s the first time I’ve liked ANYTHING by Portugal, and yes, that includes 2017’s Grand Champion, “Amar Pelos Dois” by Salvatore Sobral, which I know the continent went GA GA over but which I never could get into. It’s a pretty song, but that’s about it. How it got the highest point total in ESC history is totally beyond my comprehension for the ESC fan base…sorry…

No matter who gets through today, they and Tuesday’s ten semi-finalists will face six more songs at the finals on Saturday – the Big Five and host country The Netherlands all have an automatic “bye” to the Grand Final:

United Kingdom – “Embers” by James Newman
France – “Voila” by Barbara Pravi
Italy – “Zitti a buoni” by Maneskin
Germany – “I Don’t Feel Hate” by Jendrik
Spain – “Voy a quedarme” by Blas Canto
The Netherlands – “Birth Of A New Age” by Jeangu Macrooy

Of those six, only France’s entry, “Voila” by Barbara Pravi, is showing signs of being a real contender for the winner’s circle, again on my part completely inexplicably – I don’t get how fans are getting behind this pretentious ditty, although if you don’t watch the video it’s nice enough, but not grand champion material IMHO. Italy’s full-on, in your face heavy metal entry “Zitti a buoni” by Maneskin, is huge in some quarters, but I don’t think it will be enough to take it to the top, it’s more likely to settle into the middle of the top ten when all is said and done; the country had their best showing for the decade in 2019 with the infectious rap-filled “Soldi” by Mahmood, who finished in a strong runner-up position, just 24 points behind 2019’s winner, “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence.

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!