Well the first semi final came and went without any real drama. There weren't any real shock qualifiers. I thought Switzerland would qualify ahead of Hungary. I think Albania probably got in on the jury vote and poor little Montenegro and San Marino - yet to see the final. It's always quite difficult to judge who is singing well when in the arena and how a song comes across on television is always very different. It was a tense moment when Ireland was the last country called - big relief all round at RTE!
I was fortunate enough to be asked to join the BBC3 crew to give my views on the show. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed it. Slightly awkward at times though as it was so noisy in the arena. Having watched it back, I now realise I need to smile more! I was called all the names under the sun on Twitter - creepy was my personal favourite. I prefer sleazy myself! It was a fantastic experience and I am very grateful that I was given this opportunity. I'll be on tonight, immediately after the results are announced.
As for tonight, I think this is the stronger semi and there could be one or two upsets. With five former Yugoslav states together it'll be interesting to see how the votes are split. Will Sweden's Loreen win this semi? Will she just miss out? We'll know in a few short hours!
Security has been really strict here over the last few days. It's taking quite a while to get into the press centre as they're searching everyone thoroughly. On Tuesday night there were plain clothes security guards sitting in the audience. There weren't exactly difficult to identify as they were watching everyone like hawks and looking thoroughly miserable! There are armed guards with sniffer dogs patrolling the arena and warships on the horizon of the Caspian sea.
The other night I had an unfortunate incident with a taxi driver who ripped me off. Given that it was an official taxi, I thought it would be fine. Alarm bells started ringing when he was incredibly reluctant to put on the meter and then when it came to paying the swine claimed I gave him a 1 AZN note when it was a 10. It could have been worse of course but still a little irritating to say the least!
Last night a group of us went to a bar near the old town. It's basically gay or gay-friendly - a little illicit but interesting nonetheless. There were lots of transvestites and transgender women there along with local men. I got chatting to one of the lads there and he was telling me that life as an out gay man is incredibly difficult and so most choose to conceal their sexuality. Not so different from other places then really. Don't ask, don't tell.
Here are my predictions for tonight:
- FYR Macedonia
Of course I'll probably be completely wrong! Enjoy the show!