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ESC Reporter | February 21, 2018

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How will the Semi-Final draw affect voting?

How will the Semi-Final draw affect voting?
Eric Nocito

After the Semi-Final Allocation Draw live from Copenhagen City Hall concluded, some countries were happy with their placing, while others started to get a little anxious.

The draw proved surprising, since many countries reliant on neighbor or bloc voting, are now separated from their beloved allies.




Semi-Final 1 results

There are three Nordic countries voting in the first semi-final that are known to usually vote for each other (Denmark, Sweden, and Iceland). Also, there are seven ex-USSR countries in this same semi-final, which are notorious for voting for one another (Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). Ukraine is separated from neighbor Poland, but has the advantage of having Portugal at the night, who surprisingly have given Ukraine their 12 points in the past.

Although Moldova has allies in this, they are separated from their best companion and neighbor, Romania, which is in Semi-Final 2. The Netherlands have Belgium and Spain has Portugal.

Unfortunately, Montenegro and San Marino are pretty much alone and fending for themselves, although San Marino has voting allies Azerbaijan and Albania. Even though Hungary surprisingly receives many points from Iceland, which may help them, they are missing their top point-givers Finland and Romania.


Semi-Final 2 results

Speaking of Semi-Final 2, the voting is more spread out. Only two Nordic countries, Norway and Finland, are in the semi-final, and three ex-USSR countries (Belarus, Georgia, and Lithuania) who typically don’t vote for each other as much.

Germany will be voting in the second show which may be of advantage to Austria. Voting allies Malta, United Kingdom, and Ireland are all together in the show, while Greece is seemingly alone, missing the usual points from Spain and Albania, and blind votes, due to Cyprus’ withdrawal.

Macedonia and Slovenia will take a hard hit since Bosnia & Herzegovina’s, Serbia’s, and Croatia’s withdrawal, but at least they still have each other. Switzerland has allies UK, Ireland, and Finland, while Poland has Germany and Lithuania. Unfortunately, the draw split-up placed Romania’s most loyal neighbor, Moldova, in the first semi-final.


Neighbor voting absent this year?

But the nail-biting worries of countries not qualifying, based solely on their neighbors, might prove advantageous for the Eurovision experience. This possible dilemma may motivate the countries to try harder and pick an entry of quality or one of a offbeat nature.

In particular, Sweden received a historically-tough placing in the first half of the first semi-final (despite the exceptions of Russia, Ukraine, and Denmark in 2013). Head of Delegation, Christer Björkman, looked on the bright side of the draw.

“There’s a lot of strong nations in it,” said Christer Björkman to “I like being in Semi-Final 1, because it gives two days extra between the semi-final and the final to recharge. Our artists are usually very exhausted after the semi-final and if you’re in the Thursday show, the rehearsals start already the next day.” Björkman also stressed that he hopes that Denmark likes what Sweden does, because they will be voting in semi-final.

Without Cyprus, will this be the year that Greece doesn’t qualify? Does Slovenia, Macedonia, and Montenegro have a chance without Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina? Will the final end up just being filled with Nordic and ex-USSR nations?

And the most important question…Will this be the year that Valentina Monetta of San Marino makes it to the final?

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