Editorials & Opinion

XTRA Opinion: Our running order for semifinal 2

Yesterday, we took a look at our ideal running order for the first semifinal. Opening with Finland, closing it with Greece, the first semifinal turned out to be quite a challenge to shape perfectly for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Miki and Nick like a challenge, though! So here is our ideal running order for the second semifinal in Tel Aviv!

Opening with Sw…

No, we didn’t make a typo up there. We’re opening with Sw… But we weren’t quite sure whether to pick Sweden or Switzerland. Now, #1 is a slot where you can see how strong a song is. Like we said for semi 1, both Robin Bengtsson and Alexander Rybak opened their shows. That is why both Luca Hänni and John Lundvik could provide good openers there. The past four semi openers have been written by Swedes, so let’s do that again… Except both “She Got Me” and “Too Late For Love” have Swedish credits. It’s a very close call, but we eventually decided to open with Switzerland.

Lots of ‘identity’ in here

The next couple of songs in this half all have quite an identity. It’s not like we have a lot of similar songs in there, just similar themes and topics. For a running order, that means we will keep on looking for contrast. That is also why we opened with Switzerland. Assuming the Swedish staging will be similar to Melodifestivalen, where they didn’t use many LEDs or bright lights, we don’t want another dark staging to follow that. Opening with, assumingly, a bright staging for Switzerland means we can have Latvia’s Carousel in second.

We then need a bit of brightness again, so it’s time for the bubblegum staging Ireland might be giving us. Judging by Sarah McTernan’s first live performance, we might be in for a lot of pink. Following Ireland in #3, we then opt for a classic Euroballad: Moldova goes in #4.

Now, #5 can be a slot for an outsider for a good result. Like in 2018, we saw Rasmussen and Mikolas Josef in those slots. We therefore want another outsider, perhaps lower top ten with the bookmakers and decent fan support behind it. Time to throw in Sweden!

Ladies night

The first five make sense so far, but it does mean that we now have four ladies left: Ester Peony from Romania, Leonora from Denmark, Paenda from Austria and Srbuk from Armenia. Three of these will be quite dark, as we expect (Romania, Armenia and potentially Austria). That’s why we want to separate Romania and Armenia. For its contrast with the Swedish entry, we’ve opted for “On A Sunday” going in at #6. Following that, we don’t want another pure ballad.

That is why #7 is a great spot for Armenia. We’re keeping the second half in our sights now, as we see a severe lack of uptempo happiness there. That’s why we want to put Denmark as close to that as we can. That results in Austria going in #8, with Denmark taking #9.

A heavy half

Our second half contains the two major favourites for victory: Russia and The Netherlands. It then also has the ballads from Croatia, Lithuania, North Macedonia and Albania. Our uptempo choices are Azerbaijan, Norway and Malta. Enough to puzzle around with!

After Denmark, we want something a little more tame and a little less sugary to take #10. Jurij Veklenko (the artist formerly known as Jurijus) is a good option there. We’ll go for a big ballad after that, but preferably by a female singer. Besides, the past three times they’ve been put in the second half, namely 2011, 2014 and 2018, they performed at #11 – so it’s time for North Macedonia here, it’s a tradition.

We then need a bit of uptempo again, so #12 is a good spot for Azerbaijan. There might be a break after that, which will be necessary for our next song. We all expect Russia’s staging to be something extraordinary (whether that’s good or bad is up to you…), so #13 is a perfect slot for them. After Azerbaijan’s toxic relationship and Russia’s theatrical scream, we need something light-hearted. Preferably even a bit of a guilty pleasure, so here’s where we get Norway in #14.

Testing the waters, like we saw at #5 and #1, is also an idea for #15. Benjamin Ingrosso and Saara Aalto, two fan favourites, were put there last year – showing the producers how well they performed. That is why we’re putting The Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence and his song “Arcade” in this slot.

Following that, we do have time and space for a more bombastic approach. Croatia take #16. Albania go in #17, enabling Jonida Maliqi to show the difference between a classic big ballad (“The Dream” by Roko) and her “Ktheju Tokës”. It then leaves the semifinal to be closed by an uptempo song which wll most likely make quite the impression – think of Eleni Foureira’s “Fuego” in 2018. For that, we have chosen to go with Malta’s “Chameleon” here.

The full order

Below you can find the full running order like we at ESCXTRA.com would have for the second semifinal in Tel Aviv:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Latvia
  3. Ireland
  4. Moldova
  5. Sweden
  6. Romania
  7. Armenia
  8. Austria
  9. Denmark
  10. Lithuania
  11. North Macedonia
  12. Azerbaijan
  13. Russia
  14. Norway
  15. The Netherlands
  16. Croatia
  17. Albania
  18. Malta

We’re expecting the running order sometime within the next ten days. More about that can be found right here. Also don’t forget to check out our running order for semi 1 here!

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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