Eurovision Song Contest 2016 First Semi-Final: Our Predictions

Our first semi-final picks are in; let the Eurovision Song Contest begin!

Iveta Mukuchyan from Armenia performs during the Eurovision Song Contest's first semi-final dress rehearsal. (Photo: Andres Putting / EBU) Iveta Mukuchyan from Armenia performs during the Eurovision Song Contest's first semi-final dress rehearsal. (Photo: Andres Putting / EBU)

It’s here! It’s May! I am so excite! The Eurovision Song Contest’s first semi-final takes place today; eighteen countries will battle for just ten tickets to Saturday’s Grand Final. After months of reading, listening, and watching videos,1 it’s time to put these entries on the stage. Who will be left standing at the end? We’ve made our picks …

But first, let’s talk for a moment about methodology. Ben, Mike, and I ranked the entries three times. The first ranking was just to get a sense of what we liked and what we didn’t once all the entries were selected, and this ranking did not factor into our final scores. It did help us gauge improvement and/or disappointment over time. For our second ranking in mid-April, we each compared each individual entry against the others in the field asking the question “which entry is more likely to qualify.” We used this same ranking process for our third ranking after watching all of last week’s rehearsal footage on the Eurovision YouTube channel.

For balance and to incorporate some on-the-ground perspective, we also used the press center votes,2 the YouTube views of the official music videos, and the betting odds from Oddschecker.com. A few maths later, and we had our picks! Without further ado, here in alphabetical order are the ten countries we predict will advance from the first semi-final:

  1. Armenia
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  4. Croatia
  5. Czech Republic
  6. Estonia
  7. Iceland
  8. Malta
  9. Netherlands
  10. Russia

Although we have pretty varying opinions on how these entries rank, as a group we are pretty sure most of these are somewhere in the top ten. Three are unanimous, picked to qualify in all nine rankings we took into consideration. Five more were picked to qualify in at least seven of the nine rankings. That doesn’t mean we’re going to be right, of course — a couple of entries in this semifinal have been trending upward at the last minute, and could easily sneak in. All we can do now is watch and hope.

The first semi-final takes place today at at 2100 CET / 3:00pm EDT / 12:00pm PDT, and can be streamed live via the Eurovision.tv website. Good luck to all the contestants!

  1. Over, and over, and over, and over … or was that just me?  
  2. Posted by escXtra and others  

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