So today sees the first real tangible signs of Eurovision 2012 with the first live show. While most of my posts are aimed at fans of the contest who follow ESC either all year round or for the national final seasons this one is aimed that those for whom Eurovision is only an annual event.
What's on tonight?
Tonight is the first semi-final, 18 countries from around Europe will compete for 10 spaces in the final, which will contain ten songs from semi-final 1, ten for semi-final 2 and six automatic qualifiers. Jedward will be competing for Ireland tonight. The second semi-final is on Thursday and the final is on Saturday.
Who votes tonight?
A 50/50 combination of expert jury votes and public televotes will decide the ten qualifiers.
What can we expect from juries?
Juries tend to be more conservative in their voting and do support countries that have stronger vocal performances. However they also do recognize a strong song when they see it.
When do Juries vote?
Contrary to what many people believe the juries vote based on the video tapes of the second rehearsal, which is done 24 hours in advance of the final. Today juries across Europe will decide their votes in the morning/early afternoon of the main event.
Does the winner of the semi-final matter?
The winner of the semi-final is not announced until after the final. While a song that wants to win Eurovision probably should win tonight, many songs that have won Eurovision recently came second or even third in their semi-final. The last person to win the semi-final and the final was Alexander Rybak [Norway] in 2009. Last year Greece won their semi-final but only came seventh overall. So no, winning is not essential tonight.
What performances should I be looking forward to tonight?
Montenegro have brought us one of the most bizarre songs ever to grace the stage. The song is called Euro-Nuero and is actually a massive anti-EU song. But most will not understand it, however you also can look forward to the Euro-Nuero monetary break dance.
For those who actually believe that Eurovision can actually produce a couple of hits Iceland is definitely one to watch. Greta Sálome & Jonsi have a big dramatic Icelandic ballad.
Things might seem to be getting a little boring but Romania are sixth up and should fix that with their song "Zaleilah". Hetrosexual males may want to watch for their lead singer.
San Marino have a really catchy but strange song about Social Networks. Once she starts talking about Cybersex you might want to note that she is 37.
Russia have the so called "Russian Grannies" coming to perform their song Party For Everybody. These are performers of various ages ranging from 47-76. They are really cute and definitely worth a watch. They are one of the favourites to win the whole contest.
Austria have sent their song Woki Mit Deim Popo [shake your ass] which is really entertaining.
Finally Ireland have Jedward and their massive fountain to try and convince Europe to vote for them. Jedward are widely seen as likely qualifiers tonight.