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We Are One. The time has arrived (well on Tuesday anyway)… the first semi final is upon us and having now seen all the entrants, I will give my preview of this year’s first qualifying round and also my predictions for qualifying nations.

I have been on some forums and also on Facebook and have read that a lot of people believe that this year, the crop of songs is one of the best there has been. I have to disagree. I think there are a few really good songs, a handful of reasonable songs and the rest is pretty poor. My ratings regarding each song in my other posts seem to back this up. With 10 tracks to make it through to Saturday’s final, it is now my task to pick those that I think will make it through.

Denmark – The clear favourite to win the whole contest. Based on hype alone, this will qualify and should win the semi final although I don’t rate it as highly as some around Europe.

Ukraine – An amazing voice, hopefully they will sort the backing singers out and this great song will qualify in second I believe. This is still one of my favourite songs this year =)

Croatia – Beautifully sung, something a little different and not a big dance track with lots of electronic sounds. Raw talent here.

Russia – A decent song here and a typical Eurovision ballad. A good performance will see Dina Garipova qualify I reckon. Oh did I mention the key change? 😉

Netherlands – They have gone all out this year with their choice of act and really mean business with this track. Not to my liking, but I think it will qualify for Saturday with ease. Anouk is a huge star and failure at this stage would be a big embarrassment for Holland.

Belarus – After finally settling on a song, Belarus have a good chance with “Solayoh” and it should appeal to fans of more traditional European music, particularly the furthest Eastern countries.

Ireland – I’m taking a chance on this one. It’s actually a bit of a grower and this would be my wild card choice to make it through. It should get good votes from the UK who love this kind of thing. Perhaps Ireland’s reputation in Eurovision will see them through.

Serbia – Likewise with Ireland, this is a 50/50 prediction. The teenyboppers will love it, but these Pussycat Dolls soundalikes don’t do it for me, but could find itself in the final on Saturday.

Austria – One of the first tracks I heard this year and this has a very good chance of making it to the final. A very professional act and is capable of performing well live which is all important. A good choice of song for Eurovision and should be a top 5 qualifier on Tuesday.

Montenegro – I’m not sure what it is about this song, but it’s annoying addictive. I guess you could call this lot this year’s novelty act. Going by YouTube views, the song is very popular. The female vocal is excellent and its style reminds me a lot of Bulgaria’s song in 2008 “Take Me Away”. I reckon this will take the last spot from the first semi final and if you find yourself humming “It’s My Life” by Dr Alban to this one, you wouldn’t be alone 😉

So there are my ten qualifying predictions from Tuesday night’s semi final to make it through to the grand final on Saturday night. I picked 9/10 last year and I don’t think I will be as close as that this year. In my opinions the sings aren’t as good, but it’s definitely a closer contest this year. I will leave you with my favourite from this first semi final – Ukraine.