BGT 2017: The Post-Mortem

The pimp slot act wins. The market’s correct. Cowell is smiling. All’s right with the world. Unlike last year, when our BGT post-mortem assessed head-scratching in the Sofabet comments about what producers had been trying to achieve when magician Richard Jones won from slot 2 in the running order, this year it was very much a case of normal service resumed.

Pre-show joint-favourite Tokio Myers, backed in to odds-on after the performances, won from last place in the running order. Issy Simpson, pre-show third-favourite after a market move during the day, performed second from last and finished second. The other pre-show joint-favourite, Daliso Chaponda, drifted in the betting after underwhelming from the third-from-last position, and finished third.

Continue reading BGT 2017: The Post-Mortem

BGT 2017: The Grand Final

It looks a relatively open final of Britain’s Got Talent, which means treatment tonight will make all the difference – it seems likely that producers will be able to engineer whatever result they want. But their intentions are far from clear, and “has it reached the stage where they don’t much care who wins any more?” seems like an increasingly valid question. Still, trying to guess their intentions is what we do here.

Market leaders Tokio Myers and Daliso Chaponda both have the advantage of offering the franchise a new type of winner, proving its “variety” credentials. Tokio – as a pianist who mixes the classical and modern – provides something completely different, as Simon told us at his audition. Meanwhile Amanda Holden has often repeated the line “I’d love the winner this year to be a comedian” about Daliso, her golden buzzer act.

Continue reading BGT 2017: The Grand Final

BGT 2017: Running Order in the Semi-Finals

It’s Britain’s Got Talent week, with the five semi-finals from tonight through to Friday, and the final on Sunday. This means we get to update our graphs on who qualifies from which slots, and assess the running order’s importance.

One difference this year, already pointed out in our previous discussion thread, is that the judges will no longer choose between the second and third in each semi-final televote. The public’s top two will go through (and the judges add one wildcard) to the Grand Final.

Whether this means producers will feel the need to skew further their preferred runners towards the end of the show is open to debate. We now have five years of data with nine-act semi-finals (i.e. 25 data points for each running order position). Here’s the average percentage of the vote achieved from each slot:

Continue reading BGT 2017: Running Order in the Semi-Finals

Eurovision 2017: Grand Final preview

This year’s Eurovision looks like a three-horse race between market leaders Portugal, Italy and Bulgaria. Last year was nail-bitingly close between the eventual top three, where huge disparities between respective jury and televote scores added to the suspense. I think this renewal will be more reminiscent of 2014, where the top three all scored really well in both the jury vote and televote.

There might not be much between the three, and a good case can be made for all of them. After much deliberation, my selection for the win is Portugal. It’s created the most excitement in the last few days, and with good reason: the performance feels like the “moment” of the contest, and the success of ‘Amar Pelos Dois’ on iTunes Charts around Europe is surprisingly strong when you wouldn’t expect it to particularly appeal to the downloading audience.

Continue reading Eurovision 2017: Grand Final preview

Eurovision 2017: Grand Final rehearsal

This afternoon the press centre watched the first rehearsal for tomorrow night’s big event. Not everyone was in their battle outfits, and the important pre-show run-through is tonight for the benefit of the juries. Follow us on Twitter for our views on that as it happens.

Israel’s Imri was an example of the Eurovision performer who looks more relaxed now he’s made it into the final. ‘I Feel Alive’ is a great show opener. Poland’s ‘Flashlight’ is a complete buzzkill afterwards, but I will give Kasia Mos credit for her excellent vocals.

Continue reading Eurovision 2017: Grand Final rehearsal

Eurovision 2017: Second semi-final preview

The first heat was a competitive one in which there was enough strength in depth for a shock non-qualifier (Finland). The second semi feels like there’s a bigger group of more secure qualifiers, and a lot of mediocre songs scrabbling for the last couple of places.

Bulgaria is a deserving odds-on favourite to win tonight’s event, and I can’t see beyond ‘Beautiful Mess’ doing so. This contemporary ballad is well staged and beautifully sung by Kristian Kostov, who showed plenty of emotion in yesterday evening’s jury rehearsal.

Continue reading Eurovision 2017: Second semi-final preview

Eurovision 2017: Second semi-final dress rehearsal

After some technical issues, the first dress rehearsal of the second semi-final kicked off with Serbia’s Tijana. After disappointing earlier in the week, ‘In Too Deep’ is now at least meeting its low expectations, with the vocal better than before. But Austria’s Nathan Trent is a much-needed injection of charm and easy listening straight afterwards.

Continue reading Eurovision 2017: Second semi-final dress rehearsal

Eurovision 2017: First semi-final preview

This feels like a tricky semi-final. At the time of going to press, the Betfair qualification market has a clear top ten. These are, in descending order: Armenia, Sweden, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Greece, Moldova, Finland, Australia, Belgium and Cyprus.

But there were good vocal performances from Poland, Georgia, Iceland and Slovenia during last night’s jury rehearsal. Potentially there is room for one or two of the betting top ten to fall through the safety net; but working out which, and their possible replacement/s, isn’t an easy task.

Continue reading Eurovision 2017: First semi-final preview