After the shock exits in the first semi-final (Turkey were trading at 1.1 and below on the exchanges to go through), the second heat proved more predictable, with the top ten in the betting market all making it – the longest priced qualifier being Moldova, tipped here yesterday.
Those qualifying have now drawn their slots in the running order for the final. So we know the full list for Saturday’s show – you can see it here. Here are my initial reactions to the draw.
1. I got a text last Monday from a pal about to pop to the bookmakers, asking for decent-priced tips for the Top 5. I suggested Finland, Bosnia and Denmark (aptly enough, given the SMS was from a friend in London). They have now been drawn 1, 2 and 3 in the running order: unfortunate for both him and those entries. Not only are these slow or midtempo numbers on too early, being next to each other also damages all of their chances.
2. Likewise, none of the uptempo trio of Ireland, Sweden and Estonia will benefit from their consecutive early draws of 6, 7 and 8. And with Russia at 10, it really is the tweenie section of the show – at least the kids won’t have to stay up too late.
3. The main contenders among the Big 5 should be very happy. France at number 11 will feel very adult after the kiddie pop that precedes it. The UK at number 14 is sandwiched between outsiders Switzerland and Moldova, whilst Germany at number 16 comes between the contrasting Moldova and Romania. This doesn’t do any of those three any harm at all.
4. Azerbaijan (19) is another that apparently benefits from so many other fancied entries coming in the first half. There is some speculation about whether the contrast between the superb vocals of Austria (18) and Slovenia (20) compared to the Azeri female singer may do some damage. However, whilst Nadine Beiler and Maja Keuc offer us different visions of girl power, Eldar and Nigar provide the girl-gets-boy story instead, so ‘Running Scared’ may still be able to hold its own.
5. There are some unheralded entries with a great slot near the end of the show. These now have far greater chances of a top 10 finish. Around loads of female stuff, Iceland (21) offers us six blokes who look like they’re down their local pub, AND they’re singing in honour of their dead songwriter friend – a story every commentator will pick up on. Meanwhile, Ukraine (23), Serbia (24) and Georgia (25) have plenty of voting allies and provide lots of contrast in the final three positions.
This afternoon, we get the first dress rehearsal for the final. I’ll be watching it in the press centre here in Dusseldorf and I’m expecting it to tell me a lot more about the extent to which these first reactions are borne out. I will post an article summarising my impressions of it early this evening.
Then I will watch the TV feed of this evening’s second dress rehearsal – the one that the juries vote on. Having done so, I will give my betting selections for the final in another article around Saturday lunchtime here on Sofabet.
In the meantime, what are your reactions to the draw? I would love to know who you’re expecting to benefit and suffer most – please do share your thoughts in the comments box below.