World of Chig   

Prepare for the Easternvision song contest!

Ten countries through. Six of them correctly predicted by me yesterday (increasing to seven tonight after watching the performances - I have proof in writing). Seven of the ones I wanted to get through (see yesterday's list below) made it. This always happens. I should always go with my heart and use my wishes as my predictions!

Not one country from what we might call 'Western Europe' is through, with apologies to Slovenia. Not one country through tonight was in Eurovision in the 1950s or 1960s; the one with the longest Eurovision history is Turkey, who first entered in 1975.

The full ten qualifiers, in the position they've been randomly allocated in Saturday's final are;

03 Belarus

06 FYR Macedonia
07 Slovenia
08 Hungary

11 Georgia

14 Latvia

17 Serbia

21 Bulgaria
22 Turkey

24 Moldova

My prediction success appears to have stalled at six. Since the qualifying round was introduced, I started with seven correct in 2004, peaked at eight in 2005 and bottomed out at six last year and tonight.

I'm not shocked by any individual song that got through tonight, except perhaps Georgia, but by the geographical shift. Slovenia was the most Western country to get through, and out of the ten, only Turkey was in Eurovision before the Berlin wall fell. Shocker. Not one of Jacques Chirac's Old Europe made it through. Only four of the ten qualifiers are in the EU, and they're all former Eastern bloc countries; Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia and Slovenia.

All of this can only help Scooch (he said, optimistically). The only songs approaching 'pop' to get through were Belarus and Turkey. Well done to Slovenia and Belarus for getting through after failing in all three previous qualifiers, but I'm absolutely gutted about Andorra (four tries and still no final) and Malta. Poor, poor Olivia.

It's worth noting that, after both of the commercial breaks, the next three songs all failed to get through, strengthening the conventional wisdom that people go away in the break and don't come back in time. In fact, the first FIVE songs after the first break failed to qualify. There was only one Eastern country in those six songs which failed to qualify in the first three after the ad breaks, but that was Albania, which was rubbish, so wouldn't really have figured anyway.

The Netherlands, as expected, suffered from the ad break again. It's apparently the third time they have been drawn immediately after a break, which is rotten luck. Edsilia gave a superb performance of a not brilliant song, and will go no further.

It was pleasing to see that the qualifying songs were dotted right through tonight's running order, with the songs performed first and last both getting through. There were four from the first third, two from the second third and another four from the final third.

On the plus side, the TV presentation was superb, wasn't it? The stage, lighting, backdrop and the TV sound were all excellent. Even the Finnish hosts were good. There was no Te Deum at the beginning or end of the show though, so it didn't feel like a proper Eurovision show. Also, Paddy and Sarah on BBC Three didn't read out our e-mails. I shall have words!

PS. It looks like Haloscan is down, so I don't think you can leave comments at the time of writing this (23:55). I certainly can't access them to read them. Curses.

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