Behold: Jedward fans were in the audience tonight

The jury final, which counts for 50% of the total score, just took place and Wiwi and Vebooboo watched from the nearby press center. From screeching cats to shooting flames, here’s what we saw.

1. Finland – LOSER
Following a fantastic rehearsal earlier today, Paradise fell flat, especially in the first verse. Only 20 years old, Paradise seemed to falter under the pressure. The song just didn’t have the magical appeal it usually does.  Poor thing…come back to the press centre and we know two bloggers who will comfort you.

2. Bosnia – ON PAR
Dino got the crowd involved within the first 10 seconds and from there it was pure bliss until the end. No major changes from the semi-final. The key question remains whether the song will be memorable given its early starting position.

3. Denmark – WINNER
A Friend in London had a hard act to follow.  We have listened to the Danish song at least 20 times in five different versions, and this was by far the best performance the group has ever given. It was pitch-perfect and full of emotion.  The audience roared at the end, and we just hope the jury viewers heard it.  We do have one fear: that this song might be too good for Eurovision.

4. Lithuania – WINNER
Evelina shocked us by making the final, as many of us had written her off before she ever took to the stage on Tuesday.  But she brought it again tonight, and added a bit of sass at the beginning.  The sign language segment is still a bit of a risky move, as it potentially detracts from the quality of her sweet voice.  Will Ewelina win?  No–the song just isn’t that good.  But will she steal votes from Amaury, the bookies’ favourites? Most def.

5. Hungary – WINNER
Kati had an amazing rehearsal earlier today.  We’ve had some questions about her ability to handle crowds and the pressure that comes with Eurovision.  All those doubts have been erased.  Kati made a bold move tonight and decided to lower the register.  It paid off.  It meant she hit all her notes and was able to carry through with a lot more power.  You go girl!
6. Ireland – ON PAR
After three amazing vocal performances, Ireland dropped things a notch this afternoon. BUT, they raised the bar from a performance perspective. Which will the jury care about more?  Everyone’s dying to know. Regardless, we expect them to be the crowd favorite tomorrow.

7. Sweden – LOSER
Eric Saade had a shaky and nervous voice throughout the first half and missed several key notes, especially when dancing.  He just seemed out of breath.  He appeals to the younger demographic, but unfortunately the jury members are old enough to buy beer.

8. Estonia – WINNER
She mistakenly gave away the magic trick with her wand (dropping the yellow handkerchief), but otherwise Getter Jaani was on point tonight.  Her voice was infinitely better than during the second semi-final, and the dancers made sure to perform their tricks in front of the cameras this time for maximum effect.

9. Greece – ON PAR
Just to be clear, we don’t like this act.  But the crowd seemed to appreciate it, and we do have to admit that both the singers and dancers were all in top
form tonight, just as on Tuesday.

10. Russia – LOSER
Alexey sang the first a capella verse better than ever.  The downside was that he was out of breath and his “Do you feel my heart beat, Dusseldorf?!” line totally flopped. And it flopped the second time as well.  Alexey seemed a bit tired–how late was he out last night?? Maybe he’s still recovering from the Russia party we attended earlier in the week.

11. France – ON PAR
This is the act everyone was waiting for–the bookies’ clear favourite with 3/2 odds to win.  Amaury sang flawlessly, and arguably has the competition’s best voice.  But the staging was really weak: a bunch of clouds on an LED screens with some lightning when the song gets dramatic. Amaury should take a lesson from Austria’s Nadine on how to stage a slow song.

12. Italy – ON PAR
Nobody has paid any attention to the poor Italians, who have returned after such a long time away.  To his credit, Raphael sang well.  But this song ain’t gonna win. We promise.

13. Switzerland -WINNER
Poor Anna, crappy positioning right after the only other jazzy song in the competition. But at least she starts after an interlude when everyone is refreshed from their toilet break.  Anna’s voice was great as always, and her backup instrumentalists interacted more with the camera than usual.  She could easily sneak into the Top 10, especially with Paradise faltering.

14. UK – LOSER

Blue is expected to place because of their fame.  But the staging was super cheesy, the background music was way too loud, and there tons of pitch problems, particularly from Antony Costa.

15. Moldova – ON PAR

Well, none of us are expecting this to win, but they gave a good show as always.  Good for them. Someone please vote Moldova. <strong>16. Germany – WINNER</strong> Lena is lucky to follow one of the weaker acts of the night.  After a bit of a shaky rehearsal, she delivered her best when it counted.  The German audience obviously appreciated her efforts, and thanked her with huge applause. Maybe we will end up back in Dusseldorf again next year after all…

17. Romania – ON PAR
David Bryan has got the best dimples in the competition, and he made sure to get close to the camera as often as possible.  The delivery was all in all a copy-paste from Thursday, though. Nothing lost, nothing gained.

18. Austria -WINNER
This girl can sing.  Period.  And the staging is really well thought out. She’s lucky with her starting order, which is spread far enough away from Lithuania and France to stand out.  We can’t see her winning, but she could squeak into the Top 10, at least among the jury.  If only she had a slightly better song.

19. Azerbaijan – LOSER
Sandwiched by two power singers, Azerbaijan just doesn’t hold up vocally, primarily due to Nikki.  The song itself is memorable, though, and the staging is superb.  But will that be enough to propel one of the contest’s favourites to the title?  We don’t think so.

20. Slovenia – ON PAR
Same Same from Thursday.  She’s really good…but not good enough to win, especially since we still have difficulties understanding what she’s singing in English.

21. Iceland – WINNER
With perfect placement right after an interlude, Iceland stands out from the other acts as the only traditional group number.  Add to that the sympathy vote that stems from Sjonni’s death and we may have a surprise recipe for success–well, at least for a Top 15 finish.  We still don’t understand how a country of just over 200,000 people can consistently find such high-calibre talent to compete with each year.  It must be in the hakarl (rotten shark).

22. Spain – ON PAR
This isn’t a serious contender, and likely would never have made it through a semi-final.  Having said that, we had a blast listening to it.  It’s just a bit
of a weird change of tone following such a moving song.

23. Ukraine – WINNER
The novelty appeal of the sand lady will wear off for about one-third of viewers, who will have already seen the act in the second semi-final (or the sand lady on YouTube).  But nobody can say porcelain-doll-Mika can’t sing, and the jury will likely appreciate the novel approach to staging.  She also couldn’t have a better starting position, following a relatively shallow entry.

24. Serbia – LOSER
With such a strong number from Bosnia, and Montenegro not competing this year, Serbia can’t count on as many points from the Balkans as usual. We thought the jury would really like this one–the song’s actually in the original language (gasp!) and has real character.  The LED back-drop and colourful 60s gear couldn’t be better thought out. But unfortunately Nina’s voice was hoarse tonight.  And this is, after all, a song contest.

25. Georgia – WINNER
The term ‘winner’ is very loosely applied to this entry.  It won’t actually win, or even get close. But with Turkey out of the mix, it stands out even without its ideal starting order.  As a result of all these factors it may crack into the Top 15.

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David Thielen

I think Iceland has an outside chance. If the votes split so there’s no single group running far ahead of everyone else, and instead we have 5 or 6 acts that are very close – then Iceland could be the surprise that come slightly ahead of the others.
But only if it’s a close run race split amoung several acts.