Eurovision 2014: First semi preview

The first semi-final is here, after months of speculation. It’s main feature being five very strong entries near the top of bookmakers’ lists for the overall prize: Armenia, Sweden, Ukraine, Hungary and Azerbaijan. As a result, it’s a tight race to win the semi. The strength of the former Soviet bloc, Hungary’s pimp slot and Sweden’s all-round professionalism means a case can be made for all five.

Those who think Hungary is a contender for the whole shebang should be looking at 5/1 for ‘Running’ to win this heat. The final two slots have an enviable record in the semi-finals, one of them always getting placed between 2008-12. Even in last year’s reversal of that trend, Romania was the televote winner from the second-heat pimp slot.

That is an enviable Soviet bloc Hungary is up against, however. The likes of Armenia and Ukraine don’t just have neighbours to rely on, but diaspora in the west too – the former in Spain, France, Netherlands and Belgium; the latter in Portugal and Spain.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan has a formidable semi-final record, and can rely on the ex-USSR nations and Hungary. Even Russia is getting in on the act: expect surprise Portuguese points here because the backing singer and prop opener in the Russian act is a famous Portuguese artist.

Otherwise, I’ve been benignly sceptical of Sweden from the off, but even I have to admit that it’s a highly polished package on stage. Therefore, I’m largely leaving this semi win market alone.

Beyond the five very likely qualifiers mentioned above, I have a further three I am reasonably confident will reach the final: the Netherlands has impressed me greatly during rehearsals and is my biggest play for qualification, though the value has largely gone now; Russia benefits from that strong former Soviet representation, which should be enough; whilst Belgium’s Axel has enough of a niche that should also help him over the line.

The qualification conundrum is: who gets the other two places in the final?

I’m going to discount Latvia, Albania, San Marino and – slightly more reluctantly – Iceland, as having too much against them in the circumstances. All bar San Marino are badly drawn, and none of them offer a jury-friendly package. That leaves two from the following four: Estonia, Moldova, Portugal and Montenegro.

There’s one very good reason not to get too heavily involved in these borderliners: this heat contains the two countries who usually post a jury-only tally which can be a lot more unpredictable. In San Marino’s case, we’re guaranteed to have no televote, and it usually happens in Albania too, whose jury have come up with some maverick scores in the past. A stray, surprise 12 or 10 from either could make the difference tonight.

So, it’s a case of fingers crossed if you are going in on any of these, but here are some of the arguments you could use: if it’s the “four of the last six always qualify” rule, then that means leaving Estonia out; if you want to emphasise the acts juries would probably prefer, that’s artistically-presented Estonia and ballad-y Montenegro; if you’re thinking about televoters relatively starved of upbeat entries, Portugal and Estonia have an edge.

In terms of voting allies, Moldova comes out on top with plenty of friends in the former Soviet bloc and among diaspora in Spain and Portugal. Estonia has Latvia, and perhaps a smattering a points among the Soviet and Scandi blocs. Portugal has Spain, France and to a lesser extent Belgium.

I’ve not been impressed by Montenegro in rehearsals, but it’s worth bearing in mind that all of its 20 points in the 2012 semi-final came from the two rogues sources mentioned earlier, more predictably in the case of fellow Balkan nation Albania, more surprisingly from San Marino.

It feels like pot luck making up my final two here, but I fear that Portugal is included among my borderliners more out of hope than expectation, and I’m going for Estonia and Moldova to complete my prediction of the ten qualifiers. I’m not going to offer any bolded tip in this semi, but rest assured I have a few planned for the second heat.

That said, it is worth following the market in-running – in the past, this has tended to overestimate anything with a disco beat, or that reflects overly-British taste (camp or gimmicky entries). Either way, it’s a fascinating guide to changing opinion.

Do let us know your ten qualifiers below, as bragging rights are up for grabs. Good luck to all of you tonight, and don’t forget to stay tuned as the qualifiers draw first or second half in the final at the press conference immediately following this fascinating semi.

92 comments to Eurovision 2014: First semi preview

  • sonovox

    I have the exact same ten, Daniel. The one I hated leaving out was actually Albania.

  • Mrs Shrewd

    My ten qualifiers – Armenia, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Ukraine, Netherlands, Belgium, Montenegro, Russia (just) and Latvia.

    I realise I’m pretty much on my own (or amongst fanboys) in seeing charm over amateurishnesss of the Latvian entry, but at the price I’m chancing my arm with a speculative bet.

    I’ve also put in a small lay of Russia to qualify. With the draw for this semi they really should qualify with any old muck, but it feels like they are doing their best to prove that theory.

    Good luck everyone and thanks Daniel for all the updates so far

  • My predicted qualifiers, in running order: Armenia, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belgium, Moldova, The Netherlands and Hungary.

    Best of luck everyone!

  • 100% agree with your analysis and your 10 qualifiers.

    Montenegro has been staged completely wrong, even down to the colours of the backdrop. They’ve just messed it up altogether. Portugal is too dated and silly. I’m disappointed with the camera angles and backdrop for Estonia’s otherwise good routine, but it’s still good enough to sneak through on merit. Moldova don’t deserve to qualify IMO, but they always seem to manage it.

    Armenia or Hungary to win the semi even though I have been luke warm on both of them until I saw the jury final last night. They both look great on screen.

  • Chatterbox5200

    My 10 predicted qualifiers are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Hungary, Sweden, Netherlands , Belgium, Estonia, Russia and Montenegro

  • In singing order, my 10 Qs prediction is:

    1. armenia
    2. sweden
    3. russia
    4. azerbaijan
    5. ukraine
    6. belgium
    7. netherlands
    8. hungary

    100% with you on the 2 of 4 amongst estonia, moldova, portugal and montenegro. just for the fun of it, I will go for who I think ‘deserves it’:

    9. portugal
    10. montenegro

    Good luck!

  • dicksbits

    (In random order): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Hungary, Sweden, Russia, Netherlands, Ukraine, Estonia, Montenegro.

  • teo

    Daniel, my predictions in descending order are: Armenia, Sweden, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Netherlands, Russia, Belgium and, for the final two, I give an advantage in Montenegro and Portugal. I think there’s a real value in Portugal ‘to qualify’, I’m sure its gonna be close anyway and thats why I think its worth on betting some reasonable amount on Portugal. As for Estonia, both early draw and lack of friends are two factors that I think its not a favourite to qualify but an underdog.

  • Dash Berlin

    I’m not too unconventional either
    Armenia, Sweden, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belgium, Moldova, Portugal, The Netherlands and Hungary.

    Portugal could easily be Estonia or Iceland, but the late slot might just be enough

    Daniel – quick question, with the big 5 heavyweights in this semi final, could you see the bulk of points going their way, so the 9th and 10th qualifying songs could well have lower than normal points, which as you say, a random 10 or stray 12 could prove to be all the difference?

    • Daniel

      Hi Dash, that’s a reasonable point you make. It’s worth bearing in mind that by my calculations, Moldova has about 45-7 points from friends if historical voting patters are followed. That represents a line between qualification and non-qualification for me.

  • I’m amazed at how polished Russia sounds. They must have s–tloads of backing. They are going through on merit too.

  • Ben Gray

    Okay, this is my final prediction. Quite a controversial one at that too, but I figured it’s worth turning my thoughts for one or two songs upside down. The reason for that is the market tends to order songs by power and strength – and if that power and strength doesn’t come through aurally, then they look for it to come through visually, and if it still appears “weak”, then it’s out. I’m sticking my neck to out defy that subconcsious line of thinking.

    Armenia – Q
    Latvia – Q
    Estonia – NQ
    Sweden – Q
    Iceland – NQ
    Albania – NQ
    Russia – Q
    Azerbajian – Q
    Ukraine – Q
    Belgium – Q
    Moldova – NQ
    San Marino – Q
    Portugal – NQ
    The Netherlands – Q
    Montenegro – NQ
    Hungary – Q

    It’s probably wrong, I think the first 5 are all good enough to go through on different merits, but something’s got to fail from there. Estonia is “stronger” but Latvia is going to win over a lot of people, the arena lapped it up last night. I’m also going to factor in (I hate to say it) Tanja’s got that hawkish Charlotte Perelli face which is probably just natural Slavic features but looks a lot like botox. It sounds bitchy I know but viewers won’t vote for someone they don’t find attractive. Remember Perelli only scraped through in 2008 as well.

    I would also rather Iceland qualify instead of Russia, but I think it’s too big an ask. They may well both go through, though, at the expense of… San Marino.

    Yes it’s dull and dated, but it’s also the safest, most conventional, accessible song the country has ever sent, and it is, unbelievably, more powerful than Senit’s song in 2011. With the hosts dropping in the underdog narrative during the show before a commercial break, that is going to give Valentina a real boost. I just think it’ll happen and surprise everyone. If she qualifies, someone else has to fail, and the easiest target is the brash novelty song that fewer people can instantly relate to. Sorry Iceland.

    Latvia, Russia and San Marino are the ones I feel least certain about, and should they all fail, I will say Estonia, Iceland aaaaand… Portugal. Moldova really is just awful, friends or not.

  • In terms of the semi win market, I’m on Hungary at 7/1, which was just a knee-jerk reaction to the draw if I’m honest. Not confident at all, which is why I’ve also played Azerbaijan e/w at 9/1, which is obviously safer. With the draw I would expect one of the two to snatch the win from Armenia, but then of course Ukraine and Sweden probably can’t be discounted either!

  • eurovicious

    I’m gonna go completely wacky and in addition to the 5 that everyone including myself seems to agree are surefire qualifiers (Armenia, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Hungary), pick a totally different “second 5” to Daniel: Portugal, Latvia, Iceland, Albania, San Marino. Before you laugh me out of town, I don’t necessarily think all of these will get through, but I do believe there’s an argument for each of them, especially in value terms given how polarised the market is. I was in the arena last night, not in the fan block but up in the rafters with the locals (Danes and Swedes), and the only 3 songs that got a really big audience response were Latvia, Iceland and Portugal. I see no reason why that won’t be the same for viewers at home – they’re exactly the sort of fun that people tune into Eurovision for. Juries aren’t anathema to fun, as we saw with the jury success of Finland, Malta and Greece in the semis last year, and Portugal in particular comes at a much-needed point in the show; the audience relief was palpable. Daniel has already mentioned the Danca Comigo precedent in an earlier article.

    There’s a jury case for Albania and San Marino, and both are less offputting than Moldova and Belgium (I haven’t spoken to a single person who likes Mother, including ordinary people outside the fan bubble) and more European than the Dutch song (let’s not forget Birds – Birds – only came 9th out of 16 in the televote and 6th in the jury vote last year). The case for Russia NQ is apparent. Estonia fails to connect emotionally and looks and sounds like old-school Eurovision after the out-of-the-box double opener of Armenia and Latvia, both far more memorable. It also looks like Tanja isn’t singing at points when she actually is, because you automatically think “no-one can sing that well while being spun round like that” (she can, she’s done years of musical theatre). The case against Belgium has a lot to with the running order and flow of energy in addition to the musical, visual and thematic package and is as follows: my reason for putting a 4-figure sum on Moran Mazor not to qualify last year was that when she came on immediately after the incredibly fun Alcohol Is Free, the audience in the arena during the rehearsal palpably deflated and switched off – everyone went for a piss either mentally or literally. I felt something similar on a smaller scale last night when Mother came on right after the exciting, dynamic Tick Tock. Unlike Moran, he’s helped by singing in English though. Mother is also only 10th in the press centre vote, which is far from an accurate predictor but can tell us certain things when read correctly. I have Mother as a borderliner.

    Montenegro is too short in the odds; it’s great, but has no allies and hardly any diaspora, and is the only song apart from Portugal in a foreign language. Moldova is bizarre, offputting, you just switch off – it’s a jarring effort, every inch like something beamed in from a bad Eastern European national final from the late 2000s. Valentina really sells San Marino and as a package I think it works better than Crisalide and she connects more; it’s more emotional and warmer. eurofishface out.

    • G U 1 D O

      Stunning post eurovicious. There is no value in anything other than the win market on Betfair and your comments re the audience response for Latvia, Iceland and Portugal is gold, I think. I’m halfway through watching semi 1 on BBC3 and the only songs I can remember at this point are Latvia’s cake homage and a La La La one that I can’t place but might have been Azerbaijan. My first bets were to sell Armenia after thirty seconds and Sweden after twenty. I can buy them both back at a healthy profit now but if either of them wins, let’s say it’s not a vintage year…

  • chewy wesker

    Sorry guys it’s the betfair market for me i’m afraid.
    Armenia
    Sweden
    Azerbaijan
    Ukraine
    Hungary
    Russia
    Netherlands
    Belgium
    Montenegro
    Estonia.
    I did try to edge one out but I like Estonia so much, and the the Netherlands has so much class to really rule it out.
    However I do think russia give the most value here to go to the final. At around 1.28 russia to Q that’s my tip for the night buying money.

  • Montell

    My NQ guess:
    Estonia
    Iceland
    Albania
    Moldova
    San Marino
    Montenegro

    Good luck, everyone, and have a good time watching Eurovision this week. Aaah, Eurovision is like second Christmas to me.

  • john kef

    1. Armenia Q 1-3
    2. Latvia NQ 14-16
    3. Estonia Q 9-10
    4. Sweden Q 4-6
    5. Iceland NQ 11-13
    6. Albania Q 11-13
    7. Russia Q 7-8
    8. Azerbaijan Q 4-6
    9. Ukraine Q 1-3
    10. Belgium Q 7-8
    11. Moldova Q 9-10
    12. San Marino NQ 14-16
    13. Portugal NQ 14-16
    14. Netherlands 4-6
    15. Montenegro NQ 11-13
    16. Hungary Q 1-3

  • Hi Daniel, is it too late to ask you who you think won the jury vote last night? I remember you correctly saying last year that you thought Denmark won it in SF1.

  • Milo

    Thanks Daniel, here are my predictions in order of rank:

    1. Azerbaijan
    2. The Netherlands
    3. Sweden
    4. Armenia
    5. Hungary
    6. Ukraine
    7. Belgium
    8. Estonia
    9. Montenegro
    10. Russia

  • eurovicious

    “Latvia and Iceland” is trending on Twitter in the UK now because of all the people saying they were the best. This is what I’ve been getting at. The entertainment potential, the viral potential, the way the audience loved them both last night. Let’s hope the juries aren’t averse to their charms.

  • eurovicious

    The 4/6 rule holds. Correctly called (and backed): Estonia NQ, Belgium NQ, Moldova NQ, San Marino Q, Iceland Q, for the arguments I set out above. Happy with that.

  • I thought San Marino might have been in with a shout after all after the performance – lovely singing and beautiful staging. Obv got a big jury vote. And I think Axel blew the vocal two nights running. Pleased Portugal and Moldova failed.

  • Mrs Shrewd

    Do the qualifiers draw their final half in the press conference tonight?

  • chewy wesker

    Sweden now the market leader, actually I was impressed with Sweden tonight and also Ukraine, Armenia didn’t float my boat and I wasn’t that impressed with hungary too, Andras sprint along the runway was more of a “jogging jogging jogging” I was hopping he’d put more effort into it. Draw is gonna be major factor this year, but i’m thinking ukraine with nice late draw political situation could swing it now in such an open year, Molly’s staging could really give the uk a lift if they do use crowd with the lightsticks.

    • annie

      I wasnt that impressed with neither of them either. Armenia underwhelmed and I am not even sure why… Maybe because of the coffin slot. And it will work better when it will be sandwiched between others and Hungary… Well Andras looked extra nervous. And nervousness is off-putting, And I thought I heard his voice slip a few times… I am curious if he can get his act together better for the final.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Daniel tweets that Hungary have 2nd half draw 🙂 Chewy will be delighted.

    So far 2 out of my 3 bets on the outright (UK and Hungary) have 2nd half draws. Which is fab ‘n all…but serves to reinforce to me of the pot-luck element of backing on the Eurovision outright market.

    Every element of the package can be excellent – all to be torpedoed by a draw from a hat (or whatever).

    I see why some SB bettors concentrate on the outright top 10 and / or on the qualifier and non-q markets.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Ah! Daniel tweets that Armenia have 1st half draw!

      Emphasises again the pot luck element in ESC betting to me. And why there was no value to be had backing a short priced fap in a huge field over a 3 minute sprint distance, when it was yet to be known whether the runner would receive a good or bad draw in the upcoming race.

    • chewy wesker

      I’m am guildo, but i’ve sold a percentage of hungary today and after seeing tonights semi-final. May get back in bed with it. We’ll see.

  • Donald

    This day will go down in history! The first time San Marino and Montenegro have qualified for the final. had neither though. Hungary second half draw, interesting…

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Yeeeessss! Daniel tweets that Sweden has 1st half draw. And the Sofabet community collectively rejoices!

    Will the UK and Hungary be 1st and 2nd in the betting come Saturday? Can that head of the market formation really happen?

    Plus: why the heck is Denmark out to 26/1 on the bf outright?

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Netherlands top 10 backers look like they could be in clover come Saturday night. Daniel tweets re their 2nd half draw.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Thinking on my feet here but aren’t the 18/1 EW for Denmark on the outright and the 5/2 for Denmark to be Top Nordic both a bit of value? Yes? No?

    • Like I said the other day looks like the odds are going to look completely different on Saturday, with Armenia Sweden and Ukraine all picking 1st half and now Netherlands looking like a dark horse

  • Netherlands are smashing on iTunes all over Europe. http://esctracker.com/

    A surprise contender! I just put a bit on at 20/1 just in case

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      God, I couldn’t be bothered listening to the Netherland’s song. I thought it was dreary and forgettable.

      Am listening to it now – knowing that it’s now into 10/1 with one oddsmaker – and I still don’t like it!! Sounds like an underwritten Fleetwood Mac song to me.

      Live and learn.

  • jim

    Wow Ben, that’s really impressive… could it be Netherlands is going to win this year?

    • annie

      If the guy looses the hat (to make him look much less country) well then who knows? They are telegenic, the music has a nice flow to it, it has the potential for a good draw… Wouldnt be horrid 🙂

  • John G

    Switzerland, Netherlands and Malta were all about 5/2 to 3/1 to place top 10 last week. Looking like Netherlands were the clever choice . Their odds have certainly dropped. I couldn’t pick between the 3 unfortunately. Netherlands is looking like a VERY striking entry.

  • I am from The Netherlands and I don’t know what to say.

  • Have to agree that the Netherlands might just come out and snatch it. Easily the best performance of the night without a doubt.

  • eurovicious

    I’m not convinced Eastern Europe will go for Netherlands and I think it’s too adult contemporary. They’re not young enough.

  • Ron

    Only 6 weeks ago Netherlands were up 1/700 for winning, even after their announcement to have hired a famous director to stage the song as intimately as possible. Seems a bargain now, knowing they drew second half (with Sweden and Armenia in the first) and score well in the itunes charts in 22 European countries.

  • Ron

    I mean 700/1 off course, it’s early 🙂

  • Dash Berlin

    It looks like Portugal got enough televote to qualify but got killed by the jurys, same for Latvia.

  • Some thoughts after watching the live show:

    Armenia – Very underwhelming. It’s just too boring for the most part, and Aram doesn’t look very telegenic. The outfit is wrong too. My favourite part was when the floor turned gold at the end.

    Latvia – Too amateurish. I was laughing and I would’ve been gobsmacked had it qualified.

    Estonia – Not surprised this didn’t qualify, there were too many long shots and the dancing didn’t come across as well as it could’ve done. The massive stage swallowed them up.

    Sweden – I was very impressed by this, it was incredibly professional. With better staging, this would’ve been a contender for victory and now that it’s been drawn in the first half is definitely the wrong market favourite.

    Iceland – YES POLLAPONK! This was just so much fun, it looked and sounded absolutely brilliant. It was polished and professional and after watching I was quietly confident it would qualify. This turned out to be the lucrative “Anti-fanwank” (copyright eurovicious) of Semi-Final 1

    Albania – Terrible staging, boring song, horrible facial expressions, with a dated dad-rock guitar solo bit. I have to wonder if it came last in the semi.

    Russia – Very professional, sweet performance from the twins. Deserved to qualify and I was absolutely delighted for them when they did.

    Azerbaijan – Absolutely loved this. Despite the market pretty much ruling it out for the semi win, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t up there.

    Ukraine – Underwhelming. The hamster cage man is fantastic but the song itself just doesn’t cut it and just doesn’t sound great, even though it’s very well sung by Mariya and the backing singers. Unlikely to be contending for outright victory from the first half.

    Belgium – Not entirely surprised this failed, as it was borderline and dated ballads fared extremely badly last year. His voice was impressive though, but it wasn’t enough by itself.

    Moldova – The beginning of the song was too low-key, but it sounded good when she got going. It looked great, and I was slightly surprised to see it miss out. Will be interested to see how close it was, but the juries probably liked it less than I expected.

    San Marino – The song itself isn’t great, but the staging was lovely and Valentina sold the shit out of it. Was absolutely gobsmacked when it qualified, though, despite it probably deserving to. Did anyone else notice this song was positioned so it could benefit from the ad break?

    Portugal – Looked good on TV and sounded fine, but the song itself is balls so I wasn’t shocked to see it fail.

    The Netherlands – Looked and sounded great, but I still wasn’t 100% convinced it was qualifying. Seems overrated for the final despite charting in many countries and drawing the second half. Should be a Top 10 now though.

    Montenegro – The ice skater gimmick had been criticised by pretty much everyone from the press but it looked stunning on TV, with the floor trail effect especially pretty. The song *NEEDED* her to distract from the boring song in a foreign language. I was hopeful this wouldn’t qualify but sadly it did, probably deserving to as well.

    Hungary – Stunning, stunning, stunning! The staging is absolutely breathtaking and this was the perfect show closer. It was clever and effective to have the contrast of the girl dressed in white and the man in black to properly convey the song’s narrative. The viewers’ interest is kept throughout. Slight niggles: András sings “She calls for ELP, she calls for ELP” and there was a noticeable vocal wobble at one point. I reckon this could’ve won the semi-final and with a second half draw it should be Top 4 in the final and may even go on to win.

  • hansenus

    Hello guys. I have followed your comments but felt bored to write this year a little bit. However i feel like posting something now. Aghhh… I wanted to bet for a couple of countries this year but i am doing the mistake to enter in more and more of them at lower and lower odds… UK(my fav song), Hungary(looked special and different to me), Ukraine (speculating on politics…) and finally now Netherlands…

    I couldnt resist to be honest to the latest Netherlands cause yesterday i got a tick they might be the winner completing this complex eurovision puzzle and catching it at 17-22 prizes in paf seemed like a bargain call.

    Just for your info this is the first time i am watching eurovision in my home country Spain so i can tell you what the commenter said about particular entries: he introduced armenia and sweden like two of the big favourites in the odds and then in particular he said when the turn of Netherlands came, that it is his favourite song!!!! Well this kind of thigs might make impact and difference. Put it together with the late draw, jury-friendly and viral social momentum including itunes and this could be it.

    Cheers!

    • Montell

      Lithuanian commentator had comments about three songs. He said that bookmakers favorite is Armenia but he is skeptical about it and that bookies are often wrong. Then he was fascinated by Sweden’s performance. Finally, when Netherlands finished their song he said this is his #1 song so far from what has been seen.

      Well, I kind of agree with him. To me the song itself isn’t so special but the staging is something I’ve never seen before. It grabs your attention for the whole three minutes. Is it enough to win Eurovision? I doubt it but Netherlands can be very happy because they will land in Top 10 again.

      I gotta say even though I lost some money yesterday I am very happy for countries like San Marino, Montenegro and Netherlands. These are they countries that must have been disappointed about Eurovision because they never do good. The fact that San Marino and Montenegro qualified to the final means that Eurovision in those countries will be appreciated more and they will be willing to participate in it next year and the more countries participate in Eurovision the better.

      • Dash Berlin

        When faced with 26 songs and the televoters pick up the phone to vote for their favourite….how many will be Netherlands? I really struggle to see it topping televotes and doesn’t have the allies to count on. I had to back it last night when the price was coming down, but I really don’t see it winning.
        The iTunes charts normally do react after the Semis, they aren’t indicators as to what will win though.

        One of the most interesting things I picked up last night, was when Montenegro did their flag piece before the song, the jigsaw with 2 young children, I automatically liked the singer when I saw this. I backed out a bit of my lay after the performance too, it worked a lot better on TV than I’d heard it would.

        I would be happy if one or two countries outside of the norm made the top 3/5, or even if the UK won. Countries that don’t do well could then look at how pitiful the UK has done recently and think “we can do that if we don’t send some shit about skydivers” and hopefully we will have more participants next year.

        • Montell

          I agree. However, I’m starting to believe the new voting system is working against diaspora voting really well. This is good for a country like Netherlands.

        • eurovicious

          Agree, Sergej’s postcard was ace.

        • hansenus

          Te itunes react to the semis, right. But in semi 1 was the 2 big favs among others and they reacted much more to the Netherlands than to them, so that is the key i think.

        • I think one thing we can conclude here then. Juries only do have a very important influence on the results. Especially when it comes to “simple songs” that are really devoid of gimmicks. Just a small list of songs, that ticked the right boxes with juries….and less so with televoters:

          –> France 2009, 9th place (17th televote, 4th jury)
          –> Belgium 2010, 6th place (14th televote, 2nd jury)
          –> Italy 2011, 2nd place (11th televote, 1st jury)
          –> Estonia 2012, 6th place (12th televote, 6th jury)
          –> Spain 2012, 10th place (18th televote, 5th jury)
          –> Albania 2012, 5th place (8th televote, 3rd jury)
          –> Netherlands 2013, 9th place (11th televote, 7th jury)

          As you can see…….juries can indeed help a song into the TOP 10. Sometimes even doing wonders.

          • eurovicious

            I love simple songs. It’s like Sieneke said in 2010 about Ik ben verliefd: “It’s a simple song that goes not out your head!”

  • eurovicious

    The fact there were apparently only 3 points between 10th and 12th place last night shows what a lottery it is and explains why everyone I’ve spoken to predicted between 7-9 correctly.

    Latvia trended more than any other song last night, and Portugal and Latvia are 5th and 6th respectively on the iTunes tracker thing, so I think we’ll soon be finding out that the juries killed them the way they killed Igranka, Switzerland and Bulgaria last year.

    • Donald

      Probably right Eurovicious, How you? My niece loved Latvia and was straight on YouTube after and iTunes, now here one, she downloaded Netherlands! Asked why, loved Ilse’s dress, and it’s a nice song…

      Wonder has it got momentum. sort of in Hungary camp at the minute for the win. New voting though might give UK a chance finally..

  • Peter

    My question for today: Can The Netherlands win Eurovision? They jumped to Nr. 3 with the bookies and are now Nr. 1 of all titles with iTunes after last night’s performance

    • Milo

      Hi Peter and all,

      Its a spectacular song – simple but powerful. Its not your typical camp / boppy esc type entry and I think that the Netherlands, like last year, want to differentiate itself from the rest.

      From the moment I heard this song I thought it sounded like a winning entry. At that time the odds were approx 200/1 and as can sometimes happen, we can be swayed by the bookies and therefore hesitated before getting them at pretty good odds in the outright / top 10 and qualifiers market.

      I really think that the Netherlands stand an excellent chance this year of winning. Lets be honest, everybody reading this blog should vote for the Netherlands – it might make my own country (Ireland) and others like Latvia etc to stop sending generic camp songs to the ESC. Yes these entries can be fun for a while but this is a song competition: we should all vote for and reward who actually deserves to win and this year, that country is the Netherlands.

      • eurovicious

        Some of us love our camp! The Netherlands is in my top 10, I voted for it in my OGAE vote, but I don’t love it – I love Austria, Hungary, Poland and Latvia.

    • eurovicious

      The Netherlands can’t win. it’s too adult contemporary. But I think it’s a cert for Top 10 now, poss top 5. Eastern Europe other than the Baltics won’t go for it, the performers aren’t young or aspirational figures, and it’s very American. I have it anywhere between 2nd and 9th – it could be anywhere from Gualazzi to Birds.

      • I’m not sure being too adult contemporary is a problem. It wouldn’t stop it winning the jury vote at least, and perhaps if the televote is split between a few songs winning the jury vote might be enough this year.

        • eurovicious

          Can Netherlands do a Gualazzi? Absolutely. Will the same people that voted for Rybak, Lena, Ell/Nikki, Emmelie and Loreen vote for it? Absolutely not. And before someone accuses me of dealing in absolutes, that’s not cast-iron – but it’s imperative to remember.

      • Hence this example Eurovicious ;-):

        –> France 2009, 9th place (17th televote, 4th jury)
        –> Belgium 2010, 6th place (14th televote, 2nd jury)
        –> Italy 2011, 2nd place (11th televote, 1st jury)
        –> Estonia 2012, 6th place (12th televote, 6th jury)
        –> Spain 2012, 10th place (18th televote, 5th jury)
        –> Albania 2012, 5th place (8th televote, 3rd jury)
        –> Netherlands 2013, 9th place (11th televote, 7th jury)

        Juries can do wonders. Perhaps not making victories happen (Allthough….so far we NEVER had a Eurovision victory that came out on top with juries and NOT with televoters), but TOP 10 for sure.

        Could this be beneficial for Molly too?

      • Henry VIII

        Euro I don’t follow, what’s wrong with being contemporary? Anyway it’s storming iTunes like nothing else ever has.

    • Henry VIII

      Yes. Netherlands are on a bit of a roll. They finished 9th last year with (my personal fav) Birds which, although beautiful, was depressing, had limited staging appeal compared to the Linnets, and was drawn in the first half immediately before the very memorable Cezar “It’s My Life”.

      This year they’ve sent a cute boy girl song with superb staging in the mold of 2011 cute boy girl winners Azer, and they are in the second half and destined for a good slot.

      • eurovicious

        I love a good slot.

        • Peter

          Thanks for all the thoughts on the Netherlands, I guess I always wished they would be top 10, and now the online reaction to their performance yesterday is kind of overwhelming, hence the question how Far it can go. if they fail to impress televoters in the deep east are western votes plus jury votes enough for a victory in a year that has difficulties to decide on a common favorite (although Sweden is obviously getting there)?

  • eurovicious

    Here’s a prediction: San Marino and Montenegro weren’t in the televote top 10, but were brought over the threshold by the juries. Because if Latvia and Portugal were televote top 10, it means two of last night’s qualifiers weren’t. One recalls how Birgit was 13th(!!!) out of 16 in SF1 last year but limped over the line because she came 8th with juries.

  • Alex

    I’m very suprised the EBU didn’t take serious action on the SM/Albania/Montenegro vote swap in 2012. Stuck out like a sore thumb

  • I think it’s fair to say anyone who backed The Netherlands late last night before the odds tumbled may find themselves with a good return on investment. We’ve seen a definite shift in focus back onto the music in the last five years and that looks set to follow here. My cash is on the Dutch and the British. I’m not a four-figure, or even three-figure better like you guys – for me this is just a bit of fun, but I just don’t feel confident putting my money on Sweden.

    • Just….just be careful djjamesmartin. There coul be another surprise in the making: Switzerland. Just combine the oozing charisma of Alexander Rybak with the happy “get together” feeling of Malta last year and then you have Switzerland.

      Not to mention Norway, Austria and Romania.

      It’s kind of funny. But I do have the feeling that quite a few Eastern-European nations will struggle on the scoreboard next Saturday.

  • Also… as a strategy – who thinks a nibble on Austria is a good idea ahead of SF2, and then sell it at a profit when the fanwank comes in?

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