Eurovision 2016: Semi-final allocation draw

This morning’s semi-final allocation draw is a sign of Eurovision season getting into gear. It means the qualification markets can open. It was also the moment that the artwork and theme for this year’s show was revealed – we will “Come Together” in Stockholm this May.

You can see which of the 37 semi-finalists are in which heat here. Sweden, Spain and France vote in the first heat. The UK, alongside Germany and Italy, will vote in the second semi, which is good news for the likes of Ireland, Poland, Lithuania and Australia. Still, with 18 countries in the first heat and 19 in the second, it will take more than a few friendly voting allies to qualify. Song quality is more important than ever, which brings us onto the most recent selections.

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Awards Analysis 2016: The Golden Globes

The 73rd Annual Golden Globes, hosted by Ricky Gervais in Los Angeles tonight, will provide the year’s first significant shake-up in the Oscar betting markets. The Oscars themselves don’t take place until February 28th, but before those little golden men are handed out we can expect numerous twists and turns in the main categories.

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The film industry awards calendar is historically a game of two halves. By New Year the majority of critics’ groups have already chosen their winners and a consensus has started to take shape with the films/actors enjoying most success gaining the early momentum. After the Golden Globes comes a sequence of more respected presentations from the industry guilds – directors, producers, actors, writers, cinematographers, editors etc all have their own awards ceremonies. Crucially, these are the people whose collective votes will determine the Oscar results, not the film critics who have already had their say.

We will cover the Oscars more thoroughly in the near future, but for now the focus is on the Golden Globes and highlighting a couple of key categories that represent some value in the context of Oscar betting.

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Eurovision 2016 Introduction

The final is on May 14, but Eurovision season is already upon us, with participating countries at various stages of selecting their songs. Albania has already picked Eneda Tarifa, though you can expect the usual revamp of the winning song, which translates as ‘Fairytale’.

Elsewhere, the Belgian and Lithuanian shows are underway. The Belgian choice will be made on January 17; the Lithuanian selection will take considerably longer – though there is already some interest in Donny Montell’s bid to return to the contest. This coming Tuesday, we will find out the songs competing in the Finnish event, and the San Marinese artist.

You can expect the usual coverage here on Sofabet, aided by the invaluable comments section. Here’s to another fun-filled few months; do let us know your first thoughts below.

The Voice UK 2016 Discussion Thread

ITV have the rights to The Voice from 2017, calling into question the future of the X Factor, which is not currently contracted beyond this year. Meanwhile, the BBC’s last series of The Voice starts this evening, with a new judging line-up which sees Boy George and Paloma Faith join Will.i.am and Ricky Wilson. If you’re watching, please feel free to use this thread to discuss.

CBB 2016 Discussion Thread

Celebrity Big Brother kicks off at 9pm on January 5 on Channel 5. The participants are not yet officially confirmed but a list was leaked to the tabloids. Bookies make Scott Timlin an early 3/1 favourite, followed by 7/1 David Gest and 9/1 Jonathan Cheban. X Factor interest is brought by 2012’s Christopher Maloney, available pre-show at 20/1 – will we get some lasers shooting out of that CBB eye logo? If you’re watching the series, please feel free to let us know your thoughts below.

X Factor 2015 Week By Week Voting Statistics

The eagerly-awaited voting stats can be found here. Here’s our take on them.

1. Plan A was on course from the get-go

In 2012, Ella Henderson was 3rd in the first public vote; in 2013, Tamera Foster was 6th; in 2014, Stereo Kicks were 11th. Louisa Johnson won the first public vote. And the second, and the third. Unlike with their Plan A in previous years, producers were never playing catchup with Louisa – it was a case of ensuring nobody overtook her.

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Louisa Johnson Wins The X Factor

Congratulations to Louisa Johnson, who has justified red-hot favouritism to win the X Factor. Congratulations, too, to X Factor producers – a Plan A has come off at last. And congratulations to Sofabet commenters who were confident from the beginning that Plan A would come off. We’ve been sceptical at times about how effectively they were selling her, but you can’t argue with the results, and I’m content to end the series with a modest profit on the win market.

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With only 5.7 million people bothering to watch yesterday’s show live, however, you do have to wonder whether squeezing out the golden egg has come at the cost of half-killing the goose.

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X Factor 2015 Final: Ché Rodded

Ché Chesterman departs the X Factor in third position, after a night of the expected full-on pimping for Louisa Johnson. Before the announcement of who was leaving, the betting markets had put even more distance between the three acts, Louisa shortening and Ché drifting.

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We’d wondered how they’d fit in three songs each tonight. We learnt when one round of the songs announced yesterday proved to be merely a glorified introductory sequence, an opening prelude to the musical symphony ahead. When the songs proper started, Che was first up with ‘Valerie’. He was shown drumming up support after a tearful family homecoming, then visiting his former school before performing at the Royal Albert Hall. It wasn’t a bad VT – when the crowds were shown, they were decent and enthusiastic.

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