This morning the running order for the semi-final and for the automatic qualifiers in the final was decided. You can see it here. The draw in the final may well be crucial in a year where there is no standout song. In 2009, Alexander Rybak would have won from anywhere in the running order, for example, but arguably that is not the case with any contender this year.
It was thus most intriguing to see where the six automatic qualifiers (France, Italy, the UK, Spain, Germany and Azerbaijan) would be drawn in the final, especially as they provide a stronger set of entries than usual, as bookmakers’ lists indicate. With the possible exception of France, here are a bunch of songs that can be perceived to be jury-friendly. As for televoters, however, all of these entries feel like they needed a favourable draw for the biggest impact.
Most of the better entries that have to compete in the semis need not be as worried about where they have ended up in their heats. The draw here was arguably more important for borderline acts, whose qualification chances may hinge on a favourable slot. For punters though, it’s all of interest, as the winner and top 3 markets for each semi are at stake as well as those bets on qualifying or not.
Anyway, here are some initial points that stood out for me:
1. Spain were obviously delighted to draw the wildcard which allowed them to choose their place in the final for the second year running. At number 19 this seems like a boost for their chances, and their odds will presumably shorten in the Betfair win market as a result. But Germany got themselves an even better draw at 20 and having these two slowies back-to-back may not advantage either of them.
2. The UK were not so lucky, drawn first. Starting the show off with a ballad is never a good thing – just ask Paradise Oskar. France at nine, Italy at ten and Azerbaijan at 13 weren’t done any particular favours either, and the chances of any automatic qualifier taking the contest diminished slightly with this draw.
3. In the first semi, that’s more full of zany, upbeat nunbers, it was important for these entries to be drawn as late as possible to avoid being upstaged by whatever madness comes afterwards. Or at least not be drawn back-to-back, which might not have been good for either. Jedward got the pimp slot in the semi for the second year running. This was far enough away from the Russian grannies in 14th, but following Austria and Moldova, it’s a high-octane finish to the heat. Denmark and Hungary come across as six minutes of sanity at 13th and 15th respectively in the second half of this semi.
4. In the first half of this heat, Montenegro will have television viewers scratching their heads when it opens the show. Greece is only at three but will be happy to be sandwiched between Iceland and Latvia. Same goes for Romania at six, coming in between Albania and Switzerland. It doesn’t help Belgium at eight to be followed by another slow, simple number in Finland. Israel will be happy to be drawn after these two in 10.
5. The second semi is far more ballad-heavy, so Bulgaria will be gutted to be drawn at 8, next to a more accessible uptempo number in Ukraine at 7. Some of the Balkan songs are back-to-back too: Serbia at 1 followed by FYROM at 2; Slovenia at 9 followed by Croatia at ten. It’s a great draw for Norway, however, at 16, after rocky Slovakia and followed only by the slow Bosnian number and Lithuania. Sweden is at number 11, but coming after Croatia and before Georgia is a plus.
What are your first reactions to the draw – both for the finalists and semi-finalists? Let us know below.