It’s the event that truly starts to shape Eurovision 2019. On Monday, January 28, the semi-final allocation draw will take place at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
It’s a big event for two vitally important reasons. Lisbon officially hands over the host city insignia to Tel Aviv, and we’ll get to see who will be performing and voting in which semi-final.
Monday’s event will be hosted by two of the recently announced Eurovision 2019 hosts. Assi Azar and Lucy Ayoub will be handling proceedings, giving some Eurovision fans their first look at what we might be expecting for Tel Aviv in May.
The first part of the draw assigns the pre-qualified countries (Big 5 nations France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom + host country Israel) to vote in one of the two semi-finals.
This is followed by the semi-final allocation draw. And ahead of this part of the draw, the EBU has released the six pots countries will be selected from. Countries are grouped into pots based on historic voting patterns. This is to help ensure each semi-final is not dominated by countries that may all vote for each other by default.
Countries that share a pot are essentially split into the two different semis to prevent a “bloc” vote.
Whereas last year, the pots remained mostly static, the EBU has made some big changes this year – but which countries will it help?
Semi-Final Allocation Draw Pots
There’s not many changes at the start of the draw, admittedly. Pot One drops Switzerland, embracing some fully Balkan realness. In Pot Two the Nordic countries are together, whilst swapping Estonia in for Ireland.
Pot Three remains exactly the same as 2018, encompassing Eastern Europe. But after that, things get interesting.
Last year’s hosts Portugal return to the draw in Pot Four, alongside Australia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Whilst an obvious link might be hard to find here (except the Baltic duo), there’s a potential diaspora link. With high Lithuanian, Polish and Latvian communities in Ireland, those three countries regularly score high on the Irish televote.
Pot Five focuses on Western and Central Europe. Notably, Switzerland‘s request to be placed in the second semi-final has been accepted.
Finally, Pot Six is similar to 2018’s Pot Four, keeping Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Moldova together. With Bulgaria gone, and Hungary moved to Pot Five, they welcome San Marino and Malta instead.
You can see the full draw below:
What do you think of the allocation draw pots? Do you think this could help or hinder certain countries? Let us know all your thoughts down below.