In 2010, my sense of who will win Eurovision has been in conflict with the betting markets for the first time in many years. I’ve never really seen the televoting appeal of the three early market leaders: Azerbaijan, Germany and Israel.
What’s more, only Azerbaijan can rely on friendly votes, and even this has been diluted following the withdrawal of Hungary and the Czech Republic. 29 of Azerbaijan’s 132 points in their debut year of 2008 were from countries now no longer taking part.
Therefore, none of these three can rely on as many friendly votes as previous winners Dima Bilan in 2008, Marija Serifovic in 2007 or Elena Paparizou in 2005. In other words, they have to be an Alexander Rybak, or Lordi, or Ruslana. I don’t believe any of them are on that kind of level.
Then again, there is nothing that stands out from the pack as these did in their respective years. This means the voting is going to differ widely across various parts of Europe, and that plays into the hands of those countries that can rely on solid televoting support, such as Turkey, Greece and Armenia.
We now have to bear in mind the views of national juries too. Of these three, the most likely to gain jury respect is Turkey, and that gives them the edge to become my selection. As mentioned before, every time Turkey has sent a big-name domestic star singing in English, it has resulted in a Top 5 placing.
In the case of Hadise in 2009 and Kenan Dogulu in 2007, this was despite far from convincing performances. Arguably, maNga offer something more than those two. A credible song performed by a quality group, visually memorable and in a different genre to anything else in the contest.
The theory is that Turkey’s guaranteed televoting friends and decent jury scores can combine with a reasonable stream of neutral support, and this may be enough to beat a field in which there is no obvious winner. It should secure them a Top 4 spot at the least, in my opinion.
Turkey’s main rival may well be Greece, of which many of the same arguments can be used. If anything the song is more immediate and visually memorable, though this may be offset by the juries being less impressed.
I don’t think Armenia has the same ability to win over a big enough sub-section of neutral observers, and if you are looking for a longer-priced place bet, I suggest Georgia.
This is a charming ballad, beautifully sung and visually memorable, which should have pan-European appeal. It’s just a shame it has been drawn right after the commercial break and before Turkey.
So, my prediction of the final result looks like this:
Do be aware, however, that the only thing we can be certain of in Eurovision is controversy, surprises and bad styling.