Outrage after the first semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. One of the fans’ favourites, Finland, failed to qualify for the Grand Final on Saturday. Many fans ask themselves how this could possibly have happened. In this editorial piece, I’d like to draw your attention to a new myth, which is now starting to gain interest after one of the most prolific victims ever. I’m talking about the myth of the impossible 6/4 split.
The 6/4 split
What even is the myth of the impossible 6/4 split? So far, in the history of the contest, it has never happened that more songs qualified from the first half of a semifinal than from the second half. At most we’ve had a 5/5 split, just like last night. It seems to be rather impossible to have six qualifiers from the opening half of the show making it on own merit.
On own merit? Yes. The first and possibly most prolific victim of this myth could have happened in 2008: Charlotte Perrelli’s Hero finished in twelfth in her semifinal, meaning she wouldn’t qualify. A rule from that year however suggested juries could actually save their highest non-qualifier, meaning they still put Sweden through to the final. Two years later, in 2010, Sweden still became one of the clearest and first victims of the myth when Anna Bergendahl finished in eleventh from the first half, with Armenia, Israel, Denmark, Ukraine and Azerbaijan qualifying from the same half. Another example could perhaps be Valentina Monetta, as her Crisalide (Vola) finished in eleventh as well after performing second.
Norma John missing out
If we now look back at last night, we see that we do indeed have five qualifiers from that first half. Sweden, Belgium, Australia, Azerbaijan and Portugal have made it, as you all know. All of those five have something that made them a more likely qualifier than Finland.
The main talking point here is Belgium. Blanche’s odds collapsed after her first rehearsal and she was the most likely non-qualifier from a group of six decent entries for a while. But if we now look at the European charts, City Lights is the best scoring entry of all competing entries so far. Add to that that she probably had her best performance during the jury rehearsal and you have a very likely qualifier indeed.
My personal thought went to Australia missing out. Isaiah had some vocal mishaps last night and that could well have cost him some televoting points. But once again, he had a much better showing with the juries. It’s sad for Finland and Norma John. They sent a decent entry with a better chance of qualification than in the past two years and yet fail to make it through. In my eyes, merely due to drawing a ballot that said ‘1st Half’.
A bold statement perhaps, but I feel that had Cyprus, Poland or Greece been in Finland’s place, they would equally have missed out. The five qualifiers were pretty solid. It’s just that this myth seems to have gained less of a following than the eternal curse of performing second in the Grand Final.
Is this a one time thing for 2017?
No, it definitely is not. Just take a really quick look at the first half of Thursday’s show and you’ll see we’ll get another surprise. We now have, in my eyes, seven potential qualifiers in that half: Serbia, Austria, FYR Macedonia, Romania, The Netherlands, Hungary and Denmark. Unless we break the myth, two of them should normally fail to qualify. I dare to say Serbia is likely to be one of them. But the other one is one big mystery. I don’t dare to give guarantees for most of them, except possibly Romania.
It is fair to say that I am a solid believer of the myth of the impossible 6/4 split. Being drawn in the first half is no issue, as long as the competition there is not as strong as it was this year for Norma John. I’m curious, yet terrified, to see who the victim will be on Thursday. Or will we break the curse and bust the myth? I doubt it.
Let’s look back on Finland’s effort last night below. Let us know what you think about this article on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below!