The 2007 Semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest has produced one major story. All ten qualifiers are from the East and Central Europe. Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia are all from ex-Yugoslavia. Moldova, Georgia, Belarus and Latvia are all former Soviet Union states. Turkey are the most South-Eastern outpost and Hungary and Bulgaria are to the East.
Countries tipped to do well such as Switzerland, Cyprus, Malta, Norway, Denmark, Andorra and Netherlands along with Portugal, Iceland and Belgium once again miss out. Whether it is political voting taking a stronger hand than ever remains to be seen until the voting numbers are revealed but there is rising anger in the press centre at what feels like a fix to many Western European journalists.
Head of the United Kingdom delegation, Dominic Smith told esctoday.com that "From the United Kingdom's perspective, it makes you doubt what our motivation would be to enter the semi final, there absolutely no motivation with this result. I was sorry to see Denmark not there, Switzerland was good, Netherlands was good".
Christer Bjorkman, head of the Swedish delegation told us: "There are no big surprises here. To be quite honest, they send good songs. I had hope for Andorra, and maybe Switzerland. They take it seriously and their voters are more devoted, but I do understand the frustration". Asked if this result worries him about Sweden's chances on Saturday, Mr. Bjorkman said "Yes, because there are ten more good songs in the final".
Head of press for the Norwegian delegation told esctoday.com after the result: "Obviously we are very disappointed. Everything went so well for us until the voting. This shows that we need to reconsider the system with the semi finals, this result certainly sends us warning signals to the Western countries".
Stella Gliana, Head of the Greek delegation was less worried about the result. "I'm not that surprised. I was expecting Andorra and switzerland and I haven't had a chance to look at this too much yet. The performances of the qualifying songs were very strong. Serbia – although on stage the act wasn't astounding, the song is incredibly strong and she is a powerful young lady has a wonderful voice".
A senior director of NOS, the Dutch broadcaster has informed esctoday.com that "I heard there was a lot of anger in the hall. I think the EBU has to find out what to do about this problem. It would be smart to have a discussion within the EBU and with the Western Countries because if this goes on for three or four more years, countries will be withdrawing. Asked on whether the Dutch were already considering withdrawal, we were told "no, not at the moment".
The first singer to give a reaction on this subject to esctoday.com is Edsilia Rombley, one ofthe fans' favourites here in Helsinki. The representative of The Netherlands was asked about the voting, Edisila felt that it was definitely an issue, although it hadn't occurred to her immediately. Asked if she would try again to win the Eurovision Song Contest, she said "No! No way, not until they find a proper way to judge and reduce the televoting in the competition".
There is sure to be more on this story in the upcoming press conference and meetings amongst Western delegations in the next few hours. esctoday.com are live in the press centre and will be covering live.