Nina

The EBU has tried so hard to make the game of Eurovision fun and fair. From jury inspections to fraud investigations to allocation pots, they have made every effort to rid themselves of the phenomenon known as “bloc voting”. Sadly, some things cannot be stopped completely, and Monday’s allocation draw has proved that immensely.

Although we can unanimously agree that we will have some relief at the second semi-final, it’s obvious that strong alliances exist in semi-final one. We will look at both semi-finals and how the odds stack up for and against some countries. Some of the facts in this editorial will be more obvious than “Flor-De-Lis” singer Daniela Varela’s fabulous weight loss, and we are fully aware that the song choice is very important, but we are solely looking at trends and voting patterns in accordance with the draw, and the only way to make the argument stronger is to repeat the strong points over again. Let’s dig into the semi-finals and see what we can predict.

Semi-Final One

Every year, there is an “easier” semi-final, and a “harder” semi-final. Usually, the one without Russia is easier. This year is no exception, and so Russia’s placement into the first semi-final (as normal) has made it the more intense semi-final.

Married Couples

Putting the Soviet bloc aside for a moment, we see four pairs of countries eagerly waiting to give each other their twelves.

Trijntje
Will the Benelux bond benefit Trijntje?

First are the two survivors of the Benelux trio, Belgium and the Netherlands. Both are in the same position as last year, having each other and France to get points from. France might be more generous to francophone Loïc Nottet this year, given that his song is leaps and bounds better than Axel Hirsoux’s last year.

The Netherlands have already revealed their song. For the third year running, the land of tulips and stroopwafels has sent a magnificently strong entry. This has been caused by Anouk’s transformation of Dutch Eurovision in 2013 and her ever-growing rivalry with last year’s co-runner-up Ilse de Lange. In order to enact catty revenge, Anouk’s friend Traincha and her song “Walk Along” have been sent.

The song has already seen positive and negative views, similar to the Common Linnets, but knowing how the Dutch do things now, we can expect almost all positive opinions by the time of the contest. Already, they have a leg up from having Belgium and France voting for them. Looking specifically at the past two years, Denmark, Finland, and Estonia have been particularly helpful as well. Luckily, all three of those countries are in the same semi-final and will likely give Traincha the boost she needs to place well in the semi-final and final.

Going to the Balkans, we see that Macedonia in particular has picked a relatively weak song knowing what the other countries in the semi-final are capable of. Albania is their sole true supporter left, as both Croatia and Bosnia have left for this edition. This isn’t enough to help Macedonia into the final, and the way things look now, we should scratch them off the betting odds for another year. Albania, however, has picked a strong song that will warrant high points from Greece and Macedonia, given that the retouching doesn’t destroy the song like last year.

Moldova and Romania can continue their love affair after last year’s separation. Every year, the two countries will give top points to each other. With a linguistic and cultural connection, this can be expected.

We also can look at Estonia and Finland. The two Finnic countries in Eurovision have already been poised to place high in the odds despite neither one having even picked their entry. The two of them are usually helpful to each other, although Finland more so to Estonia than vice versa. Estonia has usually given their points to Russia instead, which brings us to…

The Soviets

Russia is in a slightly tougher position this year without its former comrade Ukraine competing, and being separated from its little brother Azerbaijan. Thankfully, several other countries are lining up to give twelves to Mother Russia. Estonia, Belarus, Moldova, and Armenia are notorious for giving points to Russia. They all have large ethnic Russian populations who remain enthusiastically patriotic both inside and outside of Eurovision. Russia will be keeping its semi-final qualification record intact for now, it seems.

Cut Ties

Nina
Can warrior Nina survive without obvious allies?

You may have noticed that we did not mention Georgia in the Soviet bloc. Not so strangely, Georgia is not overenthusiastic about giving Russia points. After all, Russia did occupy two parts of Georgia way before the Crimean crisis last year. Georgia has formed a strange voting bloc with two other countries that seem to be nearly unrelated in any other way: Ireland and Lithuania. Georgia has picked a strong song this year, Nina Sublatti’s “Warrior”, and it has been given good reception, having won the latest poll on wiwibloggs. Sadly, the only dependable neighbor Georgia has left in this semi-final is Armenia. Could this possibly lead to Georgia’s third non-qualification?

Denmark has lucked out in the past few years. Their international sound has usually captivated Europe, primarily its northern neighbors. Sadly, Denmark has been given a short straw when it comes to its semi-final. Finland isn’t so brotherly with Denmark as the other Scandinavian countries, and those are all in the other semi-final. That’s not to say that Finland won’t throw out some points, as they gave Soluna five points, Emmelie seven points, and Basim six, but it might not help so much in the end. The Soviets (except Estonia) aren’t too kind to Denmark. Most of them didn’t even give too many points to Emmelie! Could we see Denmark take a tumble in the semi-finals this year?

Semi-Final Two

This semi-final is less allied, but there is still some hinting. We have found some interesting possibilities, however…

Lucky Lithuania

In 2014 Lithuania discovered that it takes more than an attention-seeking dress to qualify.
In 2014 Lithuania learned that it takes more than a crazy dress to qualify.

Lithuania is one of Eurovision’s endlessly hopeless countries, having never placed in the top 5, and cracking the top 10 once with a joke of an entry, albeit memorable. It seems that they might be in luck this year, given that they pick a strong song-artist combo.

The three countries that are prone to giving Lithuania points (namely Latvia, Ireland, and the UK) are all voting in Lithuania’s semi-final, as well as Poland. If there is no space girl fashion disaster, Lithuania could actually fare really well in the semi-final.

Central European Bloc

Now that the Czech Republic and Poland are back for good, we may or may not see the formation of a new bloc focused in Central Europe. This bloc would include Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Germany, and possibly Austria or Hungary. We will have to wait to see if this bloc will fully form, but for now, we can already predict Germany and Poland giving high points to each other.

Scandinavian Strong

Like the Soviet alliance in the first semi-final, the Scandinavians can be an obstacle for other countries in this semi-final. Ireland continues to be a wild card in its voting, as they tend to vote high for both Lithuania and the Scandinavian countries. Most info about this alliance is common sense and won’t be discussed further, but countries competing against them need to know that they have to step up their game… a lot.

Lots of “Bachelors”

Other than Lithuania’s helpers and the Scandinavian countries, the other ten or so countries left aren’t in a very advantageous position, with no neighbors to really help.

Azerbaijan, for the first time, has to rely on the merit of the song over neighbor votes. After investigations over bribes through multiple juries in prior years, Azerbaijan suffered a blow to their ego when Dilara Kazimova became the first Azeri act to place out of the top 8. They usually are helped in the semi-final and final by Russia, Moldova, Georgia (all in the other semi-final), Ukraine, and Turkey (both withdrawn). Even Sweden, their song supplier, barely gives them help. For the first time, Azerbaijan’s domination might collapse in the semi-final.

The other countries here are a mixed bag, mostly vying for British votes. Until we see what songs they bring, nothing can really be determined.

Although bloc voting is a tricky topic that can be met with controversial views, this year’s semi-final draw has showed that alliances are strong and the pots do almost nothing to stop them. We do invite you to share your opinion below: do you think this year will be prone to bloc voting in the semi-finals? Do you think the allocation draw was fair? Who might need an extra boost this year, and who has been helped?

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Deven O'Kearney
Deven O'Kearney
8 years ago

For the 1st time ever, I’m worried about how Denmark will fare in the semis. Unless they have a fantastic song, they are going to have a very hard time qualifying this year. It could sadly be the same for the Netherlands as well this year.

Meanwhile in semi final 2, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Azerbaijan, Malta and Ireland will qualify if recent history is to be believed. As they are the 6 countries with the best qualification records in the second semi final.

R
R
8 years ago

Netherlands 2013 was good. Netherlands 2014 was incredible. Netherlands 2015… not too great. That song is just average at best, it sounds like any other pop song and probably would get drown amongst all the other pop songs sent.

I’m curious to see how Azerbaijan will fare without its neighbours. Also the so called ‘Central Bloc’ – it’s about time Germany rallies some friends!

azerbaijan eurovision
azerbaijan eurovision
8 years ago

onooooooooooo. georgia lieader <3 azerbaijan votes goto georgia and of course 12 poiints go to georgia from azerbaijan

Alex
Alex
8 years ago

The jury loves Azerbaijan so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if they STILL made the final. And if they come back with a strong song, the money should probably be on them qualifying.

2L
2L
8 years ago

@Alex As a cypriot I have to agree with you that Greece and Cyprus should always be kept in different semifinals because I want my country to progress to the final on merit and not on the votes of our one only “ally”. I’ve done a little research and this is what I found out: Cyprus has progressed to the final on 3 occasions, 2004 with 149p and a 5thplace(12 from Greece), 2010 with 67p and a tenth place(none from Greece) and 2012 with 91points and a 7thplace(12points from Greece). On the two only occasions that Greece was in the… Read more »

Siggy
Siggy
8 years ago

I completely feel that azerbaijan may miss a final this time as they have hardly any neighbours. If it’s going to happen anytime it will be now. I also feel that Denmark will struggle. Their national final songs seem to be very weak. Fingers crossed for Czech Republic, Montenegro, Poland and San Marino to qualify in sem 2. Would be fantastic

Me...Lucy
8 years ago

Albania has a ”strong song” and Macedonia ”relatively weak” one ??? -_-Macedonia has its best entry so far and it’ll be even better in english. And Daniel’s voice is beautiful,didn’t y’all hear his cover of Stay ?

If Russia sends a song like they did last year and qualify I’ll be so mad. Last year Albania should have qualified instead,I was so mad…although I must admit Albania had a better song but Russia had a better staging.

SpirK
SpirK
8 years ago

Now about semi final 2, it will really be an exciting one! Many countries that do not have a good qualifying rate are included (Czech Rep., Montenegro, Slovenia, Poland, Portugal, Cyprus, Switzerland, Latvia), others with a mediocre one (Israel, Ireland, Lithuania) Malta with 5/9, Iceland with 7/10, Norway with 6/8, Sweden with 6/7 and Azerbaijan with 6/6. So there are no certain qualifiers here. Here is the scoreboard based on voting patterns from 2004-2014: 1. Sweden- 155 points 2. Norway- 144 points 3. Azerbaijan- 120 points 4. Iceland- 113 points 5. Malta- 91 points 6. Lithuania- 86 points 7. Latvia-… Read more »

Branco
8 years ago

ALbania has chosen a strong song??

Then it’s NOT the song I have heard 🙂 That was a really dull, unoriginal an dated, pompus ballad….They SO should have sent Bojken lako, who came 2nd. A great rock song! What a left down…after the fantastic Identitet two years ago

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

I just can not believe this! Norway and Sweden in the same semifinal, Moldova and Romania as well, Albania and Macedonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Netherlands and Belgium, Russia and Belarus, Ireland and Lithuania. I am pretty sure that this isn’t going to work out so well. Czech Rep gave points to Armenia in all three years when they participated, so it is good that they are in different semifinals. Since Italy votes in second semifinal, that might go well for San Marino (hopefully) and for Malta, since SM came third in Italian tele-voting for JESC 2014. For Balkans, Macedonia-Serbia, Macedonia-Albania… Read more »

Herl
Herl
8 years ago

Also another thing: Russia are not occupy parts of Georgia as they did with Crimea, was Georgia who attack the Russian population in South Ossetia & Abkhazia and Russia had to intervene with their army to save them from a ethnic cleansing from the Georgians and the Georgian army got beaten in less of 1 week.

I’m sorry if i involving politics here, but its for a clarification of the issue among both.

Herl
Herl
8 years ago

I don’t think that Georgia is unhappy to get Russia in their final and had to give votes to them. They actually give 8 points last year to the Tolmachevy sisters and this year their singer Nina was born in Moscow from Georgian parents, so i expected a exchange of voting between them.

Alex
Alex
8 years ago

Although the allocation pots are a good idea, some countries need to be split up even further. For example, Albania and Greece should always be in opposite semis as well as Greece and Cyprus, Albania and Macedonia, Macedonia and Serbia, Estonia and Finland, etc…

Realist
Realist
8 years ago

i agree with padraig, yes we do vote a little bit for georgia here and there but its at a minimum!, not a very big voting bloc, and like he mentioned there is a big fat 0 when it comes for georgia voting for ireland :O

Realist
Realist
8 years ago

D even with all there friends voting last semi, they still would not have advanced on the tele, this year they got no neighbours, and with tightening of the juries it won’t be as easy to buy votes as we saw last year ( other than san marino as that was obviously bought) but i don’t see them not making the final particularly because they have a second half draw. if dilara’s song was in it this year i would consider laying azerbaijan but right now I’m not going to count em out.

joey
joey
8 years ago

I already felt bad for DENMARK!!! Oh boy!!!

Pingu
Pingu
8 years ago

Georgia has given Russia points each year for the past 4 years, I don’t know how that is cutting ties. I remember because i was shocked they did so, given the reasoning you gave of the occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. I would also suggest you stop overhyping Nina’s entry. Also, The Czech Republic and Lithuania are in no way neighbours.

D
D
8 years ago

I don’t think you can really compare the Netherlands 2014 and the Netherlands 2015. Yes, their songs both received polarising reviews when they were released but for different reasons. Most people who didn’t like the Common Linnets didn’t because they thought they were boring, while most people who don’t like Trijntje (myself included) don’t like her because her song is obnoxious and repetitive. With an interesting show, you can fix boring (like the Dutch did in 2014), but you can’t fix an annoying song with interesting staging. Giving a show will let someone focus on the show and tune out… Read more »

SpirK
SpirK
8 years ago

There’s no doubt that the first semi final is the strong one, referring to participating countries. It has no less that three countries with 100% success of qualification (Russia, Romania, Greece), Armenia who has missed just one final, Denmark who has missed two. Serbia, Hungary and Georgia also have fair records. I’m not saying that all of these countries will qualify, just giving the success rates of the latest years. I don’t know what they are trying to do with the pots, but it isn’t working. Armenia/Georgia/Belarus/Russia are all in the same semi with Estonia also being present. Also, Moldova… Read more »

Padraig Muldoon
Admin
8 years ago

I’m confused when you say that there’s a voting bloc between Ireland, Lithuania and Georgia. Georgia have NEVER given points to Ireland. And the only time Ireland gave Georgia points was in the 2007 final and 2010 semi and final. :\

davved
davved
8 years ago

Happy that Sweden is in semi 2.. semi 1 is really difficult… but more interesting in terms of qualifiers… sure qualifiers could fail to qualify of a point or so..

will be really interesting

No Name
No Name
8 years ago

I’m really happy for my own country Sweden, the draw couldn’t have gotten better in our perspective I think. I am concerned about the big difference between the two semifinals though. There’s a risk that really good songs in semifinal 1 will get eliminated because of the amont of “big” countries that usually send good songs, but who knows!

PurpleKylie
PurpleKylie
8 years ago

“Albania is their (Macedonia’s) sole true supporter left” Have you forgotten Serbia?!?!

And last time I checked the map of Europe, the Czech Republic were nowhere near Lithuania, how can they be neighbours?

Wouter
Wouter
8 years ago

It surprises me that you think Netherlands will qualify easily, I think EBU will let Trijnje open the semi-final, so you don’t have a good startposition… and except the countries that were called in the article, we never get a lot of points from the rest. There was some good news that Trijntje will probably work with the same staging guy as last year and their idea was to make a videoclip out of the staging, they concentrate purely on the viewers at home and not for the audience(if it comes to staging)

Realist
Realist
8 years ago

poland had a lot of support last year yet just sneaked into the final, with such strong power from the jury i don’t think having a great Diaspora is enough to get you a win/qualification, with a second half draw its more or less through but if they send rubbish they arnt getting through, you also must remember that in the past poland still had the same Diaspora yet they only made the final once and both times they only snuck through.

EF0912
EF0912
8 years ago

When is Azerbaijan going to pick its song?
I really want to see Israel qualify I still can’t get over Mei Finegold but the song has to be good
Denmark could still qualify if they send Love me Love me – because of Greece and Romania
As long as Finland send Siru, Ida Bois , Opera Skaala , Satin Circus or Eeverest, they could definitely qualify .

Dhani
8 years ago

i actually hope my country , denmark won’t make the final this year. i think someone else who doesn’t qualify that often like macedonia or albania deserves it more from the semi final 1.

Realist
Realist
8 years ago

ireland can nearly be considered apart of the scandi bloc in this semi, albeit vying for votes less than the other scandinavian nations, ireland i think are lil 60-40 to qualify, according to past semi results ireland would finish 6th in the semi behind probably the locks (sweden,norway,malta,iceland,azerbaijan) atm id say were more likely than not to get through (as long as our entry is good) but Its by no means a relaxing place to be in :O

Calvin
Calvin
8 years ago

I did a ScoreWIZ simulation of the first semifinal on the premise that Russia sends a not-so-strong song, and it resulted in them finishing a distant 12th; if they don’t put in at least a little effort, I’m not sure that they’re as safe as everyone says they are.

YoungsterJoey
YoungsterJoey
8 years ago

Azerbaijan will likely (yet oddly) get votes from Malta and San Marino.

UK will likely vote for Malta. Italy and San Marino are bipolar when it comes to voting for each other, while they are widely expected to vote for each other, there has been a hit and miss, likely due to SM using only jury votes.

Deniz@TurkNL
Deniz@TurkNL
8 years ago

I don’t think that my country (The Netherlands will reach the final this year, I don’t think Belgium will either (While I really hope they do). For some reason my country always competes in the strongest semifinal.

I hope for Albania that they qualify, They really need a boost after all those years not in the final.

I hope for FYROM That they qualify, although it seems impossible, it is still my favourite.

The soviets will be a big problem. The 2th semifinal is really nice actually. I hope San Marino, Czech Republic, Portugal and Latvia qualify.

Joe
Joe
8 years ago

I really hope Ireland makes the final this year, ill be voting for them

Kamil
Kamil
8 years ago

Poland has in its semi: Germany, Italy, UK, Ireland, Czech, Lithuania and also Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Switzerland where a lot of Poles live and in last year people voting was high for Poland in these countries. It is good start position for Poland if we are talking about political voting.