Eurovision 2015: Feb 28 Update

It’s another busy night for Eurovision watchers with finals in Moldova, Finland, Slovenia and Hungary. Sweden also holds the fourth and last heat of Melodifestivalen. Odds are available for the Finnish and Swedish events. It’s the former that throws up most interest, although how it plays out is anybody’s guess.

Easily leading online polls and heading bookmakers’ lists are punk rockers with intellectual disabilities, Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat. According to the odds, their only significant rivals are boyband Satin Circus. But those polls have proved unreliable before in indicating who will actually pay to pick up their phone and vote, whilst Satin Circus, who have the best song, didn’t impress with their performance in the semi.

This leaves the result potentially wider open in a varied field that includes the vocal acrobatics of Opera Skaala and infectious joy of Shava’s bhangra effort. The running order for tonight’s show is unknown, and televotes count for 90% of the points total. You won’t find a national final with a more different set of possible outcomes, and it’s worth watching for this fact alone.

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The Voice 2015: Battle Rounds

With the conclusion of the Blind Auditions on Saturday we now know the line-up of acts aiming for a place in the live shows. Ahead of the Battle Rounds which start this weekend we’re taking a look at some of this year’s leading contenders.

The format is similar to last year, with the teams of twelve being reduced by half during the Battle Rounds. Each coach gets two steals to make up a new team of eight. In the Knockouts which follow, each coach will be choosing three acts to take through to the live shows.

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Eurovision 2015: Feb 21 Update

It’s time to bathe in Baltic waters this weekend. Estonia and Lithuania hold their deciding shows on Saturday, Latvia on Sunday. Elsewhere, there are further heats in Sweden, Finland and Hungary.

It’s usually unwise for Eurovision punters to count their chickens with regards any national final. Nonetheless, given how far ahead ‘Goodbye To Yesterday‘ is in Estonian polls, it would be a major shock if it’s somehow scuppered tonight. A superfinal of three rather than previous Eesti Laul head-to-heads should calm the nerves of those who very early jumped on Elina and Stig to take the big prize in Vienna.

We know the song already in Lithuania, what’s to be decided is who will perform it in May. All the signs suggest Monica and Vaidas will duet on ‘This Time‘ in Vienna. That leaves Latvia offering the most intrigue this weekend, in an above-average event that pits semifinal televote winners MNTHA and Aminata against each other, though ElektroFolk and Markus Riva do more than make up the numbers.

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Eurovision 2015: Feb 14 Update

I took an afternoon nap last Tuesday and awoke to the news that Australia would be competing in this year’s Eurovision final. I had to check I hadn’t slept till April 1st, and still do a double take when I see the country towards the top of the Betfair outright market. In our comments section, James Martin asked the question: backer or layer? I’m waiting for the song – we’re promised it by early March.

This weekend is a big one for Eurovision watchers: Saturday features programmes from the other four countries making up the top five in that outright market. Topping it are Estonia, and the 1.10 shots to win Eesti Laul, Stig Rasta and Eliona Born, perform in its second heat with ‘Goodbye to Yesterday’. Thanks to Henry VIII, who posted a short clip of their performance in amongst the other prerecorded ones here.

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Eurovision 2015: Feb 7 Update

Tonight is the first Super Saturday for hardcore Eurovision fans with one final and four semis from the contest’s Northern Lights. The Danes hold their decider at 7pm GMT which is usually well produced with a reliable webstream. It’s one I usually get a little involved in based on a simple premise: the Danes love to choose something they can clap along to. Think of their 2001 or 2008 entries as classic midtempo, radio-friendly, clapalong examples.

When the songs came out, I tuned my clapometer and it settled on Anne Gadegaard’s ‘Suitcase’, specifically its A-chorus (the bit between the initial verse and the refrain), with second place going to Anti Social Media’s ‘The Way You Are’. World of Girls’ ‘Summer Without You’ was also pretty immediate but reports from last year’s Copenhagen Pride suggested the girlband’s vocals were aural shame. They’ve since ditched a member.

Both Anne and Anti Social Media attracted the early money after being given plum draws of #8 and #7 in the event – the most recent six winners have come from 8, 8, 9, 10, 6, 10. That continued after positive rehearsal reports last night and an audience poll which had them first and second of ten at 20% and 17% respectively. That’s hardly conclusive though, and it’s a relatively open field without a true standout plus any value gone. But as tonight’s only final, it will be the priority on my sofa.

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Eurovision 2015: Semi Allocation Draw and First Update

After today’s semi-final allocation draw, Eurovision season is properly underway. You can see which countries are in each semi-final here. 39 countries take part this year, which is two more than in 2014: Serbia, Cyprus and the Czech Republic return; Ukraine has withdrawn. That means 16 entrants in the first semi-final and 17 in the second semi-final, which should hopefully see a slight general improvement in qualifying odds.

Some early thoughts about the allocation draw are below, alongside an update of the entries chosen so far and what’s to come. This reflects a change to our traditional pre-rehearsal coverage. Instead of long-form pieces on the bookmakers’ contenders (which didn’t include initial outsiders Austria and the Netherlands last year), we will provide regular updates on all the most recently chosen entries and national finals of interest.

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Celebrity Big Brother 2015 Discussion Thread

Celebrity Big Brother starts tonight on Channel 5, and Sofabet commenters have already started discussing their speculative pre-series punts on rumoured contestants: stoney has gone for Marcus Collins at 7/1, while David is on Patsy Kensit. The line-up is officially confirmed in the launch show but there are usually spoilers beforehand. Do let us know your impressions in the comments below as the series unfolds.

X Factor 2014 Week-by-week Voting Statistics Analysis

As regular readers will know, we like to analyse the week-by-week voting statistics by converting them into a percentage of the mean vote available for each week. For example, in week 1, there were 16 acts so the mean vote is 6.25%. Andrea polled 19.2%, which equates to an impressive 307% of the mean. In week 9, there were four acts, so the mean vote is 25%. Andrea polled practically the same, 19.1%, but now this equates to only 76% of the mean.

Here are the full calculations. Unfortunately, the show decided not to release the freeze figures for the Saturday eliminations in weeks 4 and 7, so the figures for Jack and Only The Young respectively are skewed and we’re unable to work out what percentage of the vote came before and after the Saturday freeze. It’s probably not dissimilar to the final, when by our calculations, about 63% of the votes were cast after Andrea’s departure. Interestingly, the Ben:Fleur split was 57:43 before Andrea left, and 64:36 after.

What’s most remarkable is how steady Ben’s vote held. Pretty much every single week he was picking up roughly 130% of the mean, give or take a few percentage points. In other words, he was consistently gaining new fans each week, while Andrea never really expanded the base of support he took into the live shows – a testament to how firmly producers kept a lid on his appeal. We can show this in a graph, with Ben’s line looking impressively consistent, while Andrea’s is a nosedive interrupted only by his sympathy bounce in week 8:

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