Eurovision 2013: The semi discrepancy

I’m going to explain a thesis which is open to debate but I strongly believe in at this pre-rehearsal stage. I have a few betting strategies in mind that are informed by it, though I’d be interested to know just how many people disagree with the idea before we even get to the implications of it.

My thesis is that the first semi-final is weak and that the second heat is much stronger. This goes against what the outright win market currently suggests: four of the top five favourites from the semi-finalists feature in the first one, including market leader Denmark and now second favourite Ukraine.

Debate on the web seems split over which semi is superior. For me it’s no contest; I don’t know of anyone who believes as strongly as I do that the second semi is a tougher test. Here’s why.

Firstly, when I compare equivalent entries based on their position in the win market for each semi, I’m taken by how much I think the first heat representative is overrated in general and the second heat representative is underrated. For example, take market leaders for each semi, Denmark and Norway. When looking at the outright betting list, I think the former is overrated and the latter underrated.

Moving onto the second favourites for each semi, Ukraine and Georgia: again, I think the former is overrated and the latter is underrated in the outright win market. The same can be said when comparing third favourites Russia against Azerbaijan, then fourth favourites Netherlands against Greece.

There are exceptions, none moreso for me than the fifth in bookmakers’ lists from each semi, Serbia and San Marino. I think the former is bubbling under because of an unpolished national final performance and the latter is bubbling over with spurious hype. But when moving down to the next in bookmakers’ lists from each heat – Belarus and Malta – we return to my pattern. I think Belarus is overrated and Malta underrated.

Looking beyond the top six in the market for each semi, towards the borderliners, I tend to see what first semi-finalists don’t have going for them and what second semi-finalists do. In the first semi I’m not sure of a strong enough vocal performance that’s required for the songs from Ireland, Austria, Moldova, Belgium and Lithuania. In the second semi, singing capabilities are not universally strong, but we have vocalists from Finland, Bulgaria, Israel and Iceland who all confidently carry their song.

Elsewhere in that second semi, Albania and Armenia have voting strength, Romania and Switzerland have been given a chance by the draw whilst Hungary has charm.

Overall, I think the second semi is full of acts that give televoters a reason to pick up their phones, including plenty of strongly performed and/or memorable upbeat numbers that each offer something distinctive. On the other hand, I think the casual viewer may get rather bored by the slowish monotony of the first half of the first semi, before being unimpressed by much of the second half.

The running order of that first semi informs one strategy I have in mind. The market leaders for the first heat are all female slow or midtempo numbers drawn back-to-back in the first half of the draw (with plenty of other female ballads elsewhere). It’s not ideal for any of them. Given this, the effect this heat may have on the casual viewer that I have explained above and my belief this semi lacks strength in depth, I’m looking around for surprise top three candidates at good odds. To take the most extreme case as an example, there’s no way Croatia should be the biggest price of the lot at 150-1 with Ladbrokes going a quarter the odds a place.

Meanwhile, I’m less hopeful of a long-priced each-way reward from the second semi, despite its better strength in depth, mainly because three of its market leaders are better positioned, with the top two very well drawn indeed.

The next strategy will come into play once the envelopes of the qualifiers have been read. It reflects what I wrote in one of my top ten tips articles back before the 2010 contest, entitled From semi to final:

Every year it seems that one semi is stronger than the other. This has been most pronounced in 2010 when at the start of Eurovision week, none of the first ten in the betting market to win the contest were participating in the first semi–final.

Therefore, the weaker qualifiers in this semi-final look highly likely to be in the bottom half of the final and you can bet against them reaching a Top 10 position. Conversely, to qualify from semi 2 with a poor draw and/or a lack of friends is an indication that a Top 10 spot is very possible.

This was an obvious statement to draw given the betting market for the 2010 event, and it stood up: only two songs – Belgium and Greece – managed to reach the top ten from the first semi-final.

My thesis is a little more controversial this time, especially given the high position in the betting market of first semi-finalists Denmark, Ukraine, Russia and Netherlands. I’m not necessarily saying we will only get two songs from this year’s first semi in the final top ten – though I wouldn’t be as surprised as most.

However, I do think it will be more of an achievement to get through from that second semi. Obviously, if an act just sneaks through in one of the lower qualification spots, a place in the final top ten is going to be difficult to achieve. But punters can often get a reasonable handle on who was in the top five of a semi in the process of watching it.

They should bear that in mind when on the lookout for some top ten market value on the day of the final. I know I will be. Conversely, many of the songs that get through from the first semi are going to be worth looking to lay in the final top ten market.

What do you think of the points above? Do you agree that the second semi is a tougher heat and if so, is that having any impact in your search for value? Let us know below.

53 comments to Eurovision 2013: The semi discrepancy

  • dicksbits

    I ranked all songs in each semi final as if I was a jury member. There is no doubt the second semi final was MUCH harder to rank than the first one.

    Addressing the main argument above: it makes rational sense that if a country can qualify from a semi final that is tougher with fewer friends then by default it must be a good song, and therefore will be in the top 10.

    I think it’s hard to see value in an ‘outsider’ making the top 3 in SF1, unless Serbia looks extraordinary on the night in the last slot. Even then we can only get 12/1. I think it’s more than likely Denmark, Russia and Ukraine will occupy the top 3. Croatia has grown on me, but were rather wooden in Amsterdam. I’m not sure that song has enough appeal to attract me at 150/1 e/w. Sounds like throwing £££ away.

  • Nick D.

    I sense that Montenegro might – and perhaps should – be on your radar as a “surprise top 3 candidate at good odds”, coming as the sudden gear change following the four market leaders and a very worthy-but-dull first half. I’ve not been following closely this season, but do you have an opinion on that one?

    • eurovicious

      It’s my favourite song and I’d love to see it qualify but I don’t think it has a hope in hell of top 3 in the semi. In the unlikely event it does qualify, this will be due to ex-Yu support and jury (again very very debatable) and it’ll only scrape through. I don’t thik it will qualify. It’s rap in Serbo-Croat – no matter how great or contemporary it is, no-one outside Yugoland is really going to love it, and rap has a terrible track record at Eurovision. I’ve seen multiple people compare Igranka to Rambo Amadeus and Woki with yer Popo, and while I can’t fathom that personally and think the former comparison in particular shows up their ignorance, it does indicate the song and performance will be perceived by a broader audience.

  • Right up my street daniel, semi 2 much much stronger for me too. Some flags indeed being raised by this. Quite probable that one between russia and ukraine will just miss the top10, especially given the strength of the georgian/azerbaijani entries. we can’t really get half the top10 filled with ex-USSR countries in the 50/50 era, a bit hard. Plus, some top4/5 lay opportunities amongst denmark/russia/ukraine/netherlands. strong competition for jury votes and a potentially weak televote could indicate netherlands for that. but it’s true, georgia and azerbaijan are very underrated in the win market. also, azerbaijan seems to be for the top5 what greece used to be for the top10 (8 consecutive top 10′s 2004-2011), but still azerbaijan gives 0.50-0.60 to be top10 with one of their best and most user-friendly entries sung by a hot competent guy in a female filled competition. licence to print money? :)

  • Daniel

    Hi guys, thanks for the feedback. I’ll answer all your thoughts in one go. I’m not sure at all about which particular song, if any beyond the market leaders, may break into the top three from the first semi. As you state Dick, Serbia are the most likely candidates.

    But those market leaders don’t have everything going for them the way the semi has panned out, so it’s worth considering the options. Rehearsals will tell us much more on how strong these options are, such as the likes of Montenegro, Nick D.

    Croatia did look wooden at Amsterdam but you can’t get an act less well suited to the venue. Of course, there is an element of taking a punt whatever you choose beyond those market leaders. Croatia is not well drawn but offers a package with appeal to east and west, potential jury respect and some allies. At over 37/1 for it to sneak into third? Not so bad.

  • Nope, I’ll join you on the SF2 is stronger thesis, and from a different angle – , and you can calculate the historical ‘average’ placing of a country in the semi finals. The key marker of strength for me is the projected tenth place song, and what its average finishing place is.

    For SF1, that would be jointly Estonia/Slovenia in tenth with an average finishing place of 13.22. For SF2, Finland with a 9.88.

    SF2 has more countries that regularly qualify in the top ten that SF1. So my read is that SF2 is much more competitive.

  • Interesting read, as usual! What I must admit I don’t quite get though, is the direct connection between over-/underratedness and the absolute strength of a semi. Couldn’t it be the case that a semi was overrated, but still the stronger one – and vice versa? I mean, how people rate it shouldn’t really affect the actual strength.

    That being said though, I agree with your assessment that semi 2 is the strong one this year.

    • Daniel

      Hi squall, I get where you are coming from. I think what I am trying to explain is that as well as being overrated in the overall market, the market leaders of the first semi are slightly hampered by the context of that semi.

      My paragraph that starts, “Overall….” is the most important in this respect. What are televoters going to go for en masse on that first semi? Not necessarily as much as we think an early drawn, female-heavy set of acts from Denmark, Russia and Ukraine and Netherlands all back-to-back.

      Televoters in the second semi potentially have standout visual and vocal upbeat performances from Finland, Bulgaria, Greece and Norway. If they like things a little more slow or laid-back, there’s solid stuff from Malta, Iceland, Israel, Hungary and Georgia. Not to mention rock from ally-rich Armenia and Albania, a sing-along penultimate song and a crazy last number. A wider choice for televoters and thus a much tougher ask to make a mark.

  • eurovicious

    Solely in terms of my own music taste, the first half of SF1 will be my low point this year and the second half of SF1 my high point. Netherlands to Serbia is a solid run of enjoyable songs. There is little for me in SF2 apart from the lightweight fun of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania, and the strong but familiar ballads from Israel and Georgia. However, I recognise that my own taste isn’t that of the masses, and that the entries I like most in the second half of SF1 could easily be the least “polished” on stage (more on that below).

    I agree with your above conclusions except that I just don’t get Norway, and I’m not the only one. (This isn’t a bad thing for its prospects – I didn’t get Fairytale, Satellite or Euphoria either.) To me it comes over as completely flat and disinteresting. I’m reminded of the split reaction to Taken By A Stranger in 2011, which I loved but my close friend (who I’ve watched the contest with every year since 2006 and whose Eurovision tastes are normally very similar to mine) didn’t like at all. I react to “Feed” the same way she did to “Stranger”, and for the same reason – I don’t buy (or more honestly, I don’t even see) the song’s subliminal drama. I feel Norway’s entry this year is too esoteric to achieve broad resonance with televoters – in its own way, it’s more esoteric than Birds, and definitely more “threatening”. The opening in particular is very jarring, and it’s the almost-threatening aspect of her performance (especially as a woman) that I don’t think will go down well in many a household. Her voice and the composition also aren’t remarkable enough to achieve across-the-board jury support in a field with stronger voices and stronger compositions with more mainstream appeal and positive feeling (Georgia ticking all of the above boxes). When it comes to I Feed You My Love (even the title I find ridiculous), I’m reluctant to say “Eastern Europe won’t like it”, because I said this about Satellite and I was wrong, but I think northeast Europe may respond to it while southeast Europe will ignore it. It’s not fun, and all recent winners except Molitva (which won in the pre-jury era partly because of regional and diasporal effects) have been “fun”, even if this was in really annoying ways,

    Obviously I wasn’t at either of the preview events, but I’m not worried about Austria’s or Moldova’s vocals from what I’ve seen. I agree very much on Ireland, Belgium and Lithuania.

    An element of Eurovision that I’ve only noticed this year, and that I find both fascinating and concerning, is how much a song’s “polish” affects perception of it and how much this matters to both the majority of fans and viewers in general. An example that shocked me and that really showcases this effect is the huge difference in reaction Love Kills met with when it won the Belgian national final, then when the spruced-up version was unveiled a couple of months later. Suddenly fans who hated it, thought it was awful and had it at the bottom of their list were singing its praises, talking about how much it had improved and how good the “new” version was, and scoring it much more highly. From a musical perspective, this really bothers me – it’s the same song, the same composition, all they did was improve the production, make a professional video and studio-process the vocals. Are we that superficial these days that we judge songs by their packaging rather than their artistic merit? From an analytical betting perspective though, this observation can be made use of. The overall package is hugely important, so (for instance) if Alyona grinds joylessly through Solayoh with eyes of terror (pic.twitter.com/zd2w71oC0W), if Andrius leers, flails and winks his way through Something like a cartoon sex offender, and if Cezar pulls his “having a difficult poo” face throughout It’s My Life in order to convey his artistic torment (something you really don’t need in a europop song), that significantly hampers their respective qualification chances even though I think they’re all enjoyable songs. Meanwhile, the Scandinavian entries are all highly polished as usual, but I just don’t find any substance or sincerity to any of them with the exception of Sweden, which is uplifting and which Robin imbues with genuine passion and charisma and tremendous likability. As such, the question hanging over highly polished but hollow Denmark is not whether it’s a song or a simulacrum, an original work or a cynical collection of Eurovision tropes, but whether viewers and jurors care or even notice the difference.

    • Martin F.

      Terrific post, sir.

      • eurovicious

        Thanks Martin :)

        • I keep coming back to this song, but sand artist aside, I think Ukraine 2011 is a great example of polish overriding actual song quality. it’s a good thing to have in mind as it helps to predict potential over-performance of a song. For this year, Austria and Russia spring to mind as potentially polished songs which could appear to have more quality than they actually do with the right vocal mix and presentation.

          • eurovicious

            I agree Panos, and that argument applies to Gravity even more. They can polish the turd all they want, but musically it’s far inferior than the 2011 song, which I didn’t think was by any means bad but wasn’t a standout number.

          • Ben Gray

            Ukraine 2011 might not have been a particularly good song, and once again, sand artist aside, I have to say that in between those mesmerising moments, I was blown away by Mika’s vocal performance. Girl’s got some pipes!

    • sonovox

      ‘Packaging’ and ‘artistic merit’ aren’t separate categories, however much we might like to pretend otherwise. Songs don’t somehow exist independently of their presentation. I’m not sure exactly what the cause for concern should be here.

      Interesting take on the Scandinavian bloc. I have similar reservations about Norway, though for me it’s the best song this year by a country mile. I dislike Denmark but find it very credible as a default winner. Try as I might, I can only find twaddle in the Swedish song, and I can’t even find the Icelandic song amid all the twaddle. With all this earnestness about, Finland offers welcome fresh air. It’s undeniably lightweight, but I’m buying it anyway.

  • Alexander S.

    It is a linguistic matter. What you mean by “strong” is obviously competitive or open. I can agree with that. But for me semi 1 is much stronger because it has more quality entries, while semi 2 has lots of kitsch and crap (imo). Most of my favourites come from semi 1.
    Also, I’m not sure the theory about songs doing well in the semis bound to repeat the same in the final is a well-structured one. Not only do different televoters vote between Tuesday and Saturday, but the juries pretend they have just landed from Mars and change their own rankings dramatically (Lithuania 2011 – semi and final!!). We already had at least 3 occasions in which the overalj winners did not win their semis, that is highly indicative of how we should treat the shows – rather separately.

    • eurovicious

      The key to doing this is to try and view songs as objectively as possible in terms of their potential within the context of the contest. You say most of your favourites are from SF1 – so are mine (the second half) but that’s irrelevant; if we’re talking about “strength” on this site, it’s dispassionate and in terms of potential success, and I agree with Daniel that SF2 is stronger, as it was last year and (funnily enough) often is.

      See my “jury drop” article for thoughts on Lithuania’s fall from jury favour in 2011. It was a dramatic change, but is explainable and predictable, and had a parallel in Bosnia 2012. http://sofabet.com/2013/04/08/eurovision-2013-the-jury-drop (“Even with a flawless vocal, a lesser ballad drawn late in its semi but early in the final can also do the jury drop, especially if joined in the final by superior ballads with a later draw. In 2011, Eveline Sasenko performed 17th in a semifinal short on ballads and duly topped the jury vote. But drawn 4th in the final and now outflanked by rivals like Maja Keuc and Nadine Beiler with more contemporary numbers, she sank to a miserable 20th in the jury vote. Similarly, Maya Sar managed a respectable jury score of 6th performing in the penultimate slot in a semi with a lot of strong ballads. But drawn 5th in the final and facing more competition still, her jury score fell to 15th.”)

  • dicksbits

    Norway: The big problem with this is that it could look very poor on stage if they stick with the national final setting. She moved very little and the drummer didn’t make any sense to the performance as it’s an electro song. her dress and hair were also severe – Norway need to rethink this ahead of Malmö to succeed. On a final note: the song does sound like something from a film. Could this help or hinder Margaret Berger’s success?

  • Roach

    My thoughts upon reading have already been echoed by Squall. Not sure I buy into means of deciding SF strengths, with market leaders overrated & underrated respectively perhaps, but we would nearly all(?) still want Denmark in a match bet. Therefore struggle ‘SF2 is stronger’ logic based around this is fuzzy, for me.

  • Boki

    Hi Daniel, great food for thought as ever. Being on vacation, I need some time to gather my response about your theory but in the meantime let me pose the following question. Imagine we switch the following countries from the semis: Georgia with Ukraine, Azer with Russia and Norway with Denmark (with keeping the same order in the semis). Would you still think the semi2 is a stronger one or not?

  • Boki

    So, as Alexander says, term ‘stronger semi’ for me is normally related to its competitiveness but I struggle with drawing the parallel with latter top10 placement. Firstly the final draw can make things upside down. Secondly, if I rate a song strong (which is subjective of course) it could have a potential for top10 no matter from which semi it’s coming. I tried to illustrate that with previous question, those countries chances would more depend on final draw than semi origin.
    Having said all of this, there might be something in some cases like NL – friendless and poorly drawn – now I realize you indicated that in the article, although being in the weaker semi doesn’t tell us much about its chances.

  • Boki

    Forgot also ta say that semi discrepancy this year doesn’t look too big to me.

  • Daniel

    The updated rehearsal schedule is online at Eurovision.tv – one minor change that leaves us hanging on that little bit longer is the draw for the Big 5 to see if they will be in the first or second half of the final. It will now take place at their second press conference (not the first). This is on Wednesday 15 May, the day in between the two semi-finals.

  • dicksbits

    Amazingly Ladbrokes dropped their odds for Croatia from 150/1 to 50/1 to win SF1. A result of a big bet or are they avid readers of this site?!

  • Daniel

    Just want to pass on this great website which tracks the acts’ iTunes positions, YouTube clips, poll performance and odds. Do check it out if that sounds like your kind of thing.
    http://esctracker.com/

    • Boki

      Thanks for this one Daniel, it saves us some manual labour for sure. The one under my radar on YT hits is Hungary.

      • eurovicious

        It’s been a really big domestic hit, hence its surprise victory in A Dal, but I doubt this will translate to Eurovision success given the language barrier and the fact he can’t sing. A Hungarian hipster mumbling a foreign-language ballad in Shatner-style sprechgesang isn’t gonna pick up much televote (except from Romania) or jury.

        • trollgirl

          As i might have already given away :) im a big fan of Kedvesem and been following it closely to see how europe is taking it. So far what I can say that many people like it but even those who do are sceptical of its succes. Lookin at polls and rankings on all sorts of esc sites I noticed its mostly germans and scandinavians, and maybe italians who apreciate it. yes, the big no of YT hits seems to come from the homeland. i do hope there is a surprise chance for it to crawl into the final with some votes from germany, norway, romania, iceland…

          • Boki

            How do you know that big YT number comes from homeland? There are no stats, even comments are disabled on that clip.

          • Daniel

            In reply to Boki, I seem to remember that ‘Kedvesem’ had a huge amount of hits before it even won the national final, which suggested that it was a home audience watching it in droves on YouTube. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong on that.

          • trollgirl

            If I remember well it was over 500 000, maybe close to hitting the million at the final stage of the national selection. and his win stirred s lot of controversy in hungary, so I suspect a lot comes from there.
            But yes, hpefully not all.

          • trollgirl

            Im not hungarian, but like them a lot, so Im one example of outsider on the YT clicks ;) hopefully theres more of us.

          • Boki

            Thanks for the answers guys, as a Hun layer from the beginning (due to all reasons mentioned by ev) I was concerned about the number of hits that passed me by. Hopefully there are lot of fans who like Alex but just not enough for him to qualify :)

  • First of all Daniel, do you want me to turn into a Eurovision nerd first-class :-P ? Anyway, love the site! Eurovision for me has always been about the voting, the scorebord, the results…….the match-part of it so to say :-) .

    Considering your theory…..I….I don’t know Daniel. Isn’t this a year that should be much harder for betters to predict? I mean, we have a new ranking system among televoters and juries. And on top of that, SVT decides the starting grids. At least they try to let every performance stand out. That doesn’t bluntly mean: 1)ballad 2)uptempo 3)ballad 4)uptempo 5)ballad. But it could indeed mean: 1)folk 2)traditional ballad 3)impressive vocal performance 4)cinematic ballad 5)rap.

    I think it’s kinda dangerous to say Denmark, Russia, Ukraine and Netherlands will draw each others attention away, when we don’t know the actual staging yet. Denmark is a near certainty. And Ukraine will bring lots of lights, a real-life giant on stage.

    Moreover, I think music taste is the most unpredicatble thing in Eurovision. For instance, I hear many people say Ukraine has a rather weak entry, that will certainly profit from its huge vocals. I personally, find it a bit like ‘Vreder’ (Netherlands 1993) and several songs from M People. I love it!

    I think it’s better to divide the semi finals in one semi that is easier to predict than the other semi. It’s kind of…vague to use terms like ‘stronger semi final’ and ‘weaker semi final’. What if a semi final 1 is full of Estonia 2013-like ballads and semi final 2 if crawling with Norway 2013-like electro. Quality-wise we know semi final 2 would be better, but both semi finals could be equally hard to predict.

    So in all honesty? Not…the strongest advice I have read so far.

  • tpfkar

    Great article and comments. I half-agree with the overall thesis. For me the cream of SF1 is stronger than SF2; I’m only with Daniel on Azerbaijan > Russia on his ‘head to heads.’ With the right draws and kind juries for NED/RUS, that consecutive SF1 draw of Denmark-Ukraine-Russia-Netherlands could be the top 4 in the final.

    But the quality then falls away and I have 8 acts in SF1 firmly in the no-hoper pile – all of eurovicious’s favourites :) This means that at least 2 will be heading to the final by default where I’ll be looking to lay top 10. So I’d say the battle to win SF1 (between the big 4 and Serbia) is hotter than for SF2 (Azer/Gree) but the qualification standard much higher in SF2

  • Here is the 3rd ESCBet/Tips podcast, for those who are interested:

    http://esctips.com/2013/04/25/podcast-eurovision-2013-part-3/

  • Alexander S.

    eurovicious: I don’t see how the “jury drop” theory justifies their actions. It is absurd to vote a song/performance 1st on Thursday and 16th+ two days later. No change in context can justify that. Imagine if the televoters had Sweden 1st in the semi last year and 15th in the final. My point is that juries are not doing their job well.

    • trollgirl

      its completely logical, especially with earlier systems, where they only rated the top 10 songs and beyond that everyone got 0 points.
      They simply found a few, in some cases 10 songs which they liked better, which very well could have been from the other semi or the automatic qualifiers… so in the final from getting 12 points form many nat juries they get 1-2 or maybe none.

    • Boki

      On notorious Lithuania example (No1 in semi, No20 final on jury score):

      Out of first 15 songs in the final jury score, 3 of them were big 5 countries and 9 were from the other semi, so one could argue they were all better than Lithuania. Only 3 in this top15 were lower in the semi and higher in the final than Lithuania but those were countries with lot of allies (Azer, Serbia, Greece) and juries are not completely immune to this. Below 15th place is everything possible due to low point differences and don’t forget the fact that many more juries participate in the final which might turn bad for some (like Lithuania in this case) or good for others (like Azer who won the contest).

  • Alexander S.

    Absolutely not convinced. I will give again the example with consistency of televoting between semis and final. A song that has been 1st can’t drop to bottom 10, no matter what.
    Trust me, now the new system will make the jury rankings lack consistency even more, because they will simply forget which entry they ranked where exactly in a field of 16/17.

  • Montell

    This is my scoreboard prediction of semi 1.One important factor that not yet taken into account is stage performance. Take a look and let me know what do you think.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/72276354/semi1_analysis.png

  • john kef

    Hi guys, interesting thoughts from everyone. I’ve done some data analysis for the double-semis era and it shows that semi-final 2 is a more open and difficult one.

    In semi-final 1 there are only 5 countries that have a 75% or better % of success in semi finals both in semi and double-semis era…(Russia, Denmark, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova). Only 8 have a +50% success in double-semis, 9 if you add Croatia’s all semi record 4-8

    In semi-final 2 there 8! (Greece, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Romania, Armenia, Norway, Albania, Georgia). There are 10 with a +50% (Israel, Finland) that become 12 if you count all semi record.(Macedonia, Hungary)

    In semi-final 1 there are only 8 countries that have an average finishing place lower than 10th ( 1. Russia 5.0…4.Ukraine 5.6, 5. Moldova 8.4…8.Ireland 9.8)

    In semi-final 2 there 11 ! ( 1. Greece 2.4 (that’s a good bet for semi final top 3)…8. Norway 8.0…11. Malta 10.0)

    If you watch the average points in double semis era the gap is bigger:

    1. Russia 106.25 – 1. Greece 129.6
    2. Denmark 96 – 2. Azerbaijan 127.8
    3. Serbia 91.3 – 3. Iceland 108
    4. Ukraine 90.8 – 4. Romania 99.2
    5. Moldova 69.6 – 5. Armenia 96.5
    6. Lithuania 65 – 6. Norway 95.5
    7. Estonia 64.4 – 7. Albania 81.8
    8. Ireland 60.2 – 8. Georgia 80.8
    9. Croatia 52.2 – 9. Israel 64.2
    10. Belgium 50.6 -10. Finland 62.8

    My conclusions therefore are:

    1. From the countries outside top-10′s only Netherlands is among the favourites so i can’t see a big upset between the ”usual suspects”.
    2. I can’t see Belarus qualifying with an average 38.2 points( 59 was their top score) and an average finishing place 13.8/18.2
    3. Greece’s worst finishing place in a semi-final was 4…The lowest points scored on a semi-final 110…In a semi-final full of frinedly countries a top 3 finishing has many chances…

    I hope i gave you some usefull feedback.

    • Boki

      Stats are always useful so thanks, although one should be careful with interpretations. Answer to Belarus low average is very simple: they were sending crappy songs nobody was interested in except some ex-Russian neighbors. “Solayoh” is a certainly stronger than entries from previous years, whether it qualifies or not is another story but it’s not due to the stats.

      Relatively high odds for Greece top3 (are they high actually?) could be explained by the fear of the new system – I guess people expect the juries will slash the Greeks and pull them lower than usual. Again it remains to be seen.

    • eurovicious

      This is great John.

  • Alexander S.

    Two issues worth considering (would be interesting to hear Daniel’s opinion too):

    1. According to the official Media Handbook, teleovoters are invited to vote via “the
    official app, telephone and/or SMS”. That seems new and in line with their future idea about Internet voting. I don’t exactly know how the application voting will be conducted, but could that mean free of charge voting? Or fans/diaspora voting multiple times (via app AND phone)? What changes to the voting patterns could this result in?

    2. We know that the qualifiers will draw their position in one of the two halves of the final during their shared press-conference after each semi, but we don’t know what exactly pot they’ll be given to draw from. The first 10 qualifiers on Tuesday night might be given a pot with 25 balls (Sweden is out), but they might also be given a pot with 10 balls (having 5 first-half and 5 second-half balls). The current logic of the producer-decided draw would be inclined towards the latter option. It makes a big difference if the semi qualifiers are evenly distributed in the final, instead of having one semi’s qualifiers occupy one half of the final (we’ve had that before).

    • Boki

      1. If I remember correctly, number of votes from 1 phone number was limited. Internet voting could be limited based on the ip-address but it’s much more open for manipulation.

    • Daniel

      Hi Alexander, in terms of point 2, I think they will have the full amount of balls when conducting the draw to see which half each entry will be seen in the final. Firstly, this is the fairest way to do it. Secondly, I don’t think it makes any difference to the Saturday night show which semi each act performed in.

    • eurovicious

      Wait, they have app voting this year??

      “the full amount of balls” – unlike Cezar…

  • Lucidityyy

    I totally agree. I googled “eurovision 2013 1st semifinal weaker than 2nd” just to check if anyone agreed, and I’m not surprised to find resonance. Personally I find many more songs in the second semi-final appealing and would be sad to see amazing entries for the second semi-final go while mediocre entries from the first one go through to the final. Oh well, c’est la vie.

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