Editorials & Opinion

What would XTRA do: The running order of semi 2

Ever since 2013, the producers of the Eurovision Song Contest have taken matters into their own hands. They decide upon the running order for the semifinals and the finals. Now, we like to have a bit of fun ourselves as well, so what would XTRA do? Miki and Nick sat together to come up with the perfect running order for the semifinals in Lisbon. After a well received first semi, we now bring you the second part: Semifinal 2.

Semi 2: Strong, in theory

Where semi 1 has the songs to make it a bloodbath, semi 2 has the countries. The first half is loaded with countries that, especially in the past five years, have a very decent record: Russia, Romania, Australia, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Serbia. You also have Moldova and San Marino there. Following the ‘rule’ of never having more than five qualifiers from the first half, you will get a few prolific victims there. But how to put them in the right order to give them all a favourable spot?

Finding the right opener

An opener is never easy. You need something that opens the show with a bit of punch and you want to make sure you don’t immediately eliminate a song by giving it the #1 slot. A strong song is a good bet, with a bit of staging if possible. However, the song should never put people off for being weird or boring. That is why we have decided to open with Australia.

Following Australia, you can go for a bit of a weirder song. Taking the group to soloists/duets ratio into account, a group is also a good option. That soon brings you to either Moldova or Serbia. We have decided to go for Serbia’s Sanja Ilic and Balkanika at #2. After Australia’s Jessica Mauboy and Serbia, a man is a good idea for #3. You’ll want a bit of punch, so we can choose between Denmark and The Netherlands. As we need The Netherlands later on, Rasmussen is our pick for #3.

Buffer zones

After the dark Vikings from Denmark, you’ll want some lighthearted fun. DoReDoS from Moldova are sure to offer that, so it’s #4 for them. It might sound harsh, but San Marino are a proper buffer zone. EBU will probably use them to separate two songs that need a bit of help. Those two are Russia and The Netherlands. By putting Russia at #5, you’ll probably get them after the break, which will help them. Giving The Netherlands #7 is purely because Waylon won’t have a lot of staging, so you can keep him away from the breaks.

Group ratio then suggests a group at #8 is smart, so say hello to Romania’s The Humans. The half is then closed by the one they feel will stand out in the middle. Once again, lighthearted fun is your way to go, especially when a prolific name performs it: Alexander Rybak for Norway.

Man power

Interestingly, the second half has quite a few men: Poland, Ukraine, Montenegro, Georgia, Hungary and Sweden. That automatically means you need to properly split the ladies from Latvia, Malta and Slovenia. That means you really only have one female uptempo song and that is Slovenia, as the other uptempo songs, Sweden, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary, are being sung by men.

We’re opening this second half with Latvia at #10. The more serious and soulful note will stand out right after Norway. After Latvia, you’ll be wanting another uptempo. And after calm, soothing and soulful, we need Europe to wake up: AWS from Hungary go into #11. It’ll be too aggressive to be near the end of the show, but it’ll be hard for people to forget about it in this slot either.

Europe will be craving for some peace after Hungary’s madness. That’s why we once again want a calm ballad. However, the calm ballad needs to have enough power to counter Hungary. That is why opted for Montenegro in #12. Vanja Radovanovic will have enough punch to make his “Inje” stand out after “Viszlát Nyár”.

Sweden need a break

It is likely that Sweden will need to be right after a break to set up their staging. That is why we put them in #14. That leaves open #13. In that slot, we’re looking for a female, so we opt for Malta with Christabelle.

It’s now been two songs since we had some ethnic flavour from Montenegro in #12. There is no better time for Georgia’s Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao than #15. Too close to the end and the remarkable side of their song gets lost, too early and it’ll be forgotten. #15 is perfect for them.

After Georgia, it’s time for some uptempo songs to close. With two men in a row, you’re now going to play the bonus of the only female uptempo song of the half at #16: Lea Sirk from Slovenia needs to stand out and this is the right place for her.

Ukraine is, in our eyes, a sure qualifier, no matter where you put them. Their uptempo song has flavours of a ballad as well, so it’s a perfect fit near the end of the show. If they bring the flaming stairs, they’ll be visually appealing enough to keep people drawn in at the end of the show at #17 as well.

The closer of the show is Poland. The DJ set up is one of the most current songs of the year. The song feels like a right end to the semis, so Gromee ft. Lukas Meijer goes into #18.

And here it is…

After a lot of consideration and thoughts, we’ve finalised our running order. These eighteen songs aren’t easy to order, so Christer Björkman and his team will have a tough job to do. Below you can see the running order Miki and Nick came up with in full.

  1. Australia: Jessica Mauboy – We Got Love
  2. Serbia: Sanja Ilic & Balkanika – Nova Deca
  3. Denmark: Rasmussen – Higher Ground
  4. Moldova: DoReDoS – My Lucky Day
  5. Russia: Julia Samoylova – I Won’t Break
  6. San Marino: Jessika ft. Jenifer Brening – Who We Are
  7. The Netherlands: Waylon – Outlaw In ‘Em
  8. Romania: The Humans – Goodbye
  9. Norway: Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write A Song
  10. Latvia: Laura Rizzotto – Funny Girl
  11. Hungary: AWS – Viszlát Nyár
  12. Montenegro: Vanja Radovanovic – Inje
  13. Malta: Christabelle – Taboo
  14. Sweden: Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off
  15. Georgia: Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao – For You
  16. Slovenia: Lea Sirk – Hvala, Ne!
  17. Ukraine: MELOVIN – Under The Ladder
  18. Poland: Gromee ft. Lukas Meijer – Light Me Up

Let us know what you think about our running order! What would you change? Make sure to let us know!

Nick van Lith

I'm one of the founding members of ESCXTRA.com. Eleven years after the start, I'm proud to say that I am now the Editor-in-Chief of this wonderful website. When I'm not doing Eurovision stuff, you should be able to find me teaching German to kids... And cheering on everything and everyone Greek, pretty much. Pame Ellada!

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