Eurovision dress rehearsals begin this Sunday, May 1. Opinions can change greatly during the rehearsal period – and so, therefore, can betting odds. Anticipating those movements offers an opportunity to make a penny or two even before the contest starts.
In previous years, much of my betting strategy has crystallised only during the rehearsals period, as I have scoured the various blogs and messageboards written by those present at rehearsals and caught up on the performances on youtube.
This year, I’ll be in Dusseldorf and blogging on the rehearsals myself. I’ll be trying my hardest to avoid some of the pitfalls you have to beware of when reading rehearsal blogs generally – a subject I wrote about in a Top Tip article last year.
Here’s what you can expect on Sofabet over the next two weeks.
To start with, we’ll provide an end-of-day summary of the impressions gained. In these first rehearsals especially, it’s important to keep perspective and not get too carried away. The whole point of rehearsals is to iron out problems that occur with, for example, the sound mix and camerawork.
What you hear and see in a first rehearsal may have improved dramatically by the night itself. It’s during second rehearsals and beyond that stage presentations start to reach a point approaching what will be seen and heard when it matters. And at this point, I will be providing more regular updates.
In particular, it can often take longer to smooth out the sound mix and harmonisation if more than one lead vocalist is involved. It wouldn’t susprise me if, for example, the likes of Blue’s ‘I Can’ end up sounding and looking better by the end of the fortnight than it does at the start.
Another thing to bear in mind is that some performers more obviously save themselves for the moment their performance counts. So some underwhelming first rehearsals from singers who have a strong track record of performing live aren’t necessarily a cause for concern.
The main reason opinions can change so much during rehearsals is that this is the first time the visual aspect of the performance becomes clear. This is a caveat I’ve repeatedly emphasised in my previews of entries based on what we know so far.
(For ease of reference, the entries I’ve covered in those individual articles so far are: France, Estonia, UK, Sweden, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Ireland, Turkey, Greece, Israel and The Netherlands).
So what questions am I most looking forward to having answered by the rehearsals? Jedward’s stage show for Ireland is last to be seen of the semi-final participants, but certainly not least in terms of intrigue. In the same heat, the effectiveness or otherwise of Sweden’s glass box-smashing gimmick and vocals will also be fascinating.
In the first semi, the vocals for Hungary’s Kati Wolf will be closely monitored by fans and sceptics alike. Now we have some idea of Azerbaijan’s staging, remaining unknowns include what Russia are planning for their opening thirty seconds and what will be the impact of Armenia’s promised dance routine.
One last thing. Due to other commitments, I arrive in Dusseldorf only on the morning of May 2. To ensure our readers get expert opinion from the venue also on the first day, occasional Sofabet commenter Martin Faulkner will be writing our May 1 article.
Martin is a highly experienced Eurovision journalist and punter whose judgement I value greatly. I could not have put our readers in more trusted hands, and I will of course be adding my own thoughts on the first day based on the video footage and reactions across the board.
In the meantime, what are you looking forward to from the rehearsals? Which songs do you expect to significantly climb up or down the market based on performance in rehearsals? Let us know below – as always, your comments make the site what it is.