Eurovision 2014: Second semi preview

EBU Head Jon Ola Sand announced that three points covered 10th-12th place in Tuesday’s first semi-final, reminding us how thin the margin can be in these heats. Still, with no Albania and San Marino, there probably won’t be any jury-only scores this time, which makes the job of predicting a little easier. Just a little, though.

Let’s start with who may be winning this semi: my money has been on Greece from the start to carry on its fine record in the heats since 2008 (the form figures read 142142). I still recommend it at 10-3 to win the semi in a few places, including bet365.

‘Rise Up’ is a typical Greek entry in that it’s a wonderfully-staged televote magnet. From the arena, Eurovicious described its effect on the audience in last night’s jury rehearsal as “destroying [the competition]” and that was the way it came across on the TV feed too. The question remains the juries themselves, but in a semi-final like this, it’s head and shoulders above those fishing in the same pond, such as Romania, and there’s not that much jury bait to push it significantly down their rankings.

Norway, along with Romania, is Greece’s main rival in this market, but Carl Espen has a difficult job winning this from the #3 slot, despite the classy nature of ‘Silent Storm’. He doesn’t open up enough in the first half of the song to get televoters on board. The other leading lights in the market – Austria, Israel and Malta – are also hampered by early draws.

Malta is a highly effective opener and has been my biggest play in the qualification market, as a safe, middle-of-the-road option to go through. It’s not much of a price for that any more though. If you want to get involved in Austria this evening, my instinct is that broadcasters will wait till the last envelope to announce Conchita Wurst’s progression to the Grand Final. The To Qualify market on Betfair will still be offering odds in-running.

There’s quite a few in this semi that fill the “probable but by no means certain” qualifier category. Among them are Finland, Switzerland and Belarus. Finland should offer enough in its own genre even if it’s a little lacking in character. Switzerland and Belarus have plenty of character thanks to charismatic lead singers that overcome other weaknesses.

The longest-priced of these is Belarus. ‘Cheesecake’ isn’t really to fans’ taste but Teo does a wonderful job of selling it on stage. Alongside his male backing dancers, he has turned what could’ve been a Robin Thicke parody into an infectious, tongue-in-cheek three minutes.

I have to add Lithuania to my list of qualifiers because I have crunched the numbers so many times concerning how many points it can usually rely on from its plentiful allies. To put it in context: in Moldova’s case on Tuesday, this exercise resulted in a very borderline 45-47 points; in Lithuania’s case, I come out with 58-60 points in this smaller semi-final. These calculations never work out exactly and if the juries treat ‘Attention’ in the same way as Serbia 2013, that would put enough of those points in jeopardy. But I’m sticking with Vilija.

I have room for one more place and it’s a toss-up between Israel and Poland – take your pick. I worry that female jurors (two in most five-person panels in this semi) and viewers will take against Poland’s blatant smut, but it at least gives ‘My Slowanie’ a USP compared to Israel.

Whilst Mei gives a fine performance, the Hebrew section, terrible draw and uninspired choreography are lead weights she can do without. It’s a bigger price as a non-qualifier, so on a value basis, I’ll put Israel in my non-qualifier list. That list also includes Georgia, Macedonia, Ireland and Slovenia, though I can’t rule out Slovenia after an improved stage performance last night.

Ireland has to be my other recommended bet tonight – at 7-4 with Paddy Power not to qualify. ‘Heartbeat’ has always been a borderliner as a song, and it’s not being sold effectively here. My main problem is not really with Kasey’s adequate vocals, but the disparate elements on stage that fail to work together. I don’t think it comes across as well as Ireland’s much-criticised presentation last year, which was a marginal qualifier.

Good luck to all of you tonight, and continue to let us know your ten qualifiers and main bets in the comments section below.

94 comments to Eurovision 2014: Second semi preview

  • Dash Berlin

    With so many countries here that are light on friends, you would think the better songs make it through, but I doubt it.
    I’m going for
    Malta
    Norway
    Austria
    Finland
    Belarus
    Lithuania
    Switzerland
    Macedonia
    Greece
    Romania

  • Very tough tonight, good luck to everyone.

    Malta
    Norway
    Austria
    Lithuania
    Finland
    Belarus
    Switzerland
    Greece
    Slovenia
    Romania

  • teo

    My predictions in descending order are:
    Greece
    Norway
    Romania
    Austria
    Israel
    Malta
    Finland
    Belarus

    and for the final two spots, I think it will be a battle between Ireland, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland and Lithuania. I would say Poland and Slovenia, leaving both Ireland and Switzerland out due to lack of friends.

  • Hey Daniel,

    Thanks for a good preview! What importance do you give the ad breaks? Last semi both entries (Iceland and SM) before breaks qualified, although that’s obviously a tiny sample and I haven’t yet had time to search for old data. This semi, Poland and Switzerland are before the breaks, something that worries me slightly as I have a big Poland lay for the same reasons outlined by you.

    • Daniel

      Hey squall, it’s a point of contention. There’s no concrete evidence to back up the idea that coming before a break in Eurovision gives you an advantage. But with my fascination in X Factor techniques, I can’t help thinking it’s a little helpful.

    • Boki

      I did a quick search last night for last couple of years, many qualified before the break but those were mostly high quality entries who would qualify anyway so couldn’t make a significant case.

  • chewy wesker

    Here goes semi-final2 qualifiers
    Greece
    Norway
    Romania
    Austria
    Malta
    Finland
    Switzerland
    Poland
    Belarus
    Slovenia
    Very tough semi tonight, if I had a gun to my head I’d say Finland were certain to qualify tonight available at 1.23 lots of weaker songs above it and below it in the betting, also with only 15 countries in this semi again safer to back than lay. Good luck everyone

  • Nice analysis Daniel. Quick question, whats has changed in terms of the scoring system comparing with past years? i have read someplace about some changes in the scoring system. Thank you

      • I have read that article, i can understand the major impact is that now we have to worry about songs ranked 10th and below. The only thing i dont understand is how you map a ranking from 1 to 25, to the usual 12-10-8 etc points. If you convert the full ranking from 1-25 to the normal points system, then it still wont take into account points given my each country, for countries ranked 11th and below.

        • Ron

          As I understand it the difference is as follows: instead of adding up televoter and jury points (1-12) to determine the final ranking and points of a country (televoters points deciding in case of ties) under the new system televoter rankings 1-26 and jury rankings 1-26 are added up to get the voting preference a country. This means a song will get no points if either televoters or juries puts the song at the bottom of their ranking since it can never reach the top ten in the combined ranking anymore. If i’m wrong please correct me.

          • You’re right, Ron. For each country, the jury 1-26 and televote 1-26 are combined, and the 1-10 of that combined ranking get the 12-10-8 etc points.

            George, I think what you’re pointing out is that the 11-26 of each country’s combined ranking doesn’t translate into points. That’s true – whether country X is 11th or 26th on country Y’s combined ranking, it will get 0 points. The significance of the 11-26 is that where country X is in the 1-10 for country Y’s jury but not for its televoters, or vice versa, it now matters where from 11-26 it ranked with that other constituency. That wasn’t the case until last year.

  • synth

    Here’s hoping:

    Greece
    Norway
    Romania
    Belarus
    Switzerland
    Ireland
    Slovenia
    Malta
    Austria
    Finland

  • Donald

    Hi Daniel, any in this semi to get a boost from performance like the Netherlands?

    • Daniel

      Hi Donald, I don’t think lightning will strike twice, but I do expect the Greece price to come in substantially if they draw second half in the final. A few hours after the press conference, we will also get the actual running order, so you cane cleft a lot of ups and downs in the outright tonight.

      • Donald

        Thanks Daniel, great predictions tonight, Austria last even. Very Good night here 🙂 Romania surprised me, and Slovenia came across well also.

        The kids will like that French moustache thing on Saturday reckon.

        Looking forward to Sat and rest of the week. Good to be back in the zone. Health is wealth too…

        Wonder can one of the big 5 topple what we’ve seen! If not it’s 2 /3 horse race in my books. Again thanks..

  • Justin

    Not a big betting heat for me but I have already been backing Greece EW.

    I have had a small amount on Belarus Q which looks a shade of value at the current price given it’s decent draw, the charismatic staging and three or four friends.

    The five going out I predict to be Slovenia, FYR Mace, Georgia, Ireland and, despite the allies, Lithuania.

  • Bete

    My prediction:

    1. Greece (winning this semi easily)

    2. Romania
    3. Switzerland
    4. Malta
    5. Austria

    6. Norway (can’t see televoters going for this)
    7. Finland
    8. Lithuania (will get lots of points from UK, Ireland, Poland & Belarus, very surpised if this fails to qualify)

    9. Israel
    10. Belarus

  • dicksbits

    Israel at 9/2 NOT to qualify looks like a very good bet!

  • eurovicious

    Interestingly, a lot of people I’ve spoken to today think Ireland will struggle to qualify.

  • eurovicious

    Macedonia and Greece were better yesterday, Greece was still really good though. Macedonia was not on form tonight and I’m back to NQ on it. Lithuania and Finland were better than yesterday, I can see either or both qualifying now. Ireland is such a load of shite. Slovenia was really solid – with that performance, that song and that draw, would I be overconfident in saying it’s sailing through? Revised prediction: as per my comment yesterday but Finland qualifying in place of Macedonia.

  • Montell

    Daniel, you even predicted that Austria will called last. That’s just impressive 🙂

  • eurovicious

    Now that we have 3 new songs in the market top 10:

    Greece: is not going to win but is pretty surefire top 10 unless juries Can Bonomo it. (Under the new system, if juries mark down Rise Up as badly as they did Can Bonomo in 2012, which I don’t think they will, it would be outside the top 10 rather than the 7th place that Can achieved despite being 22nd in the jury vote.) I can see Greece “doing a Netherlands” on iTunes right now, it’s very Dizzee Rascal/”music that young people like” (that makes me sound like Ralph Siegel).

    Netherlands: is not going to win for reasons I outlined yesterday. Lots of people love it but for plenty of others it’s a widdle break. You don’t connect with the performers or wanna hang with them. It’s AM radio and you can’t win without getting the (ex-)Soviets on board, and by that I don’t mean the culturally Westernised Baltic countries, which for the purposes of (not only) Eurovision we can consider a transitional zone between the Nordics and the ex-USSR, I mean RU/UA/BY/MO/AZ/AM/GE. The Russkisphere does not do low-key American country music for obvious reasons. Country and western has some small-scale popularity in (former Soviet satellites) Romania and Bulgaria so I don’t include them in this, and I don’t see Poland/Hungary/the Balkans having any problem appreciating the Dutch song either.

    Austria: is not going to win because as awesome as it is, putting the drag issue to one side, the song simply isn’t everyone’s cuppa. It’s a Shirley Bassey Bond theme and those don’t win modern Eurovision. As much as people will vote for it because of the Conchita factor, others will not vote for it for the same reason. Top 10 is a strong possibility but it’s not a radio hit. And a lot of Western Europe is just as homophobic as we’re always accusing Eastern Europe of being, so the question is less “will Eastern Europe scupper Conchita’s success” and more just a general “will enough people like this or be able to connect with it?”

    Later alligators.

    • John G

      Good analysis and I largely agree. I think the juries will show moderate enthusiasm for Greece so a top 10 is probable. Netherlands is lovely but lacks crossover appeal and Austria isn’t to broad enough tastes either.

      Tough year to call. Could UK steal it? 😛

    • Yeah well, uhm, nice analysis. But who IS going to win then? I still have Denmark as a TOP 3 contender. There’s no attention for this song right now because of the semi’s……but I still think this could work perfectly on screen.

    • It’s in the best interests of this competition that Austria does NOT win. I’m not homophobic, but it’s going to drag the contest back ten years, and the juries will be very conscious of that. I just hope that we can continue the post 2010 trend of the winner being a bloody good song. Still happy to say this is going to be a Netherlands vs UK battle.

      • Henry VIII

        I’m not sure the juries will care about that. They only serve with the ESC for one or two years maximum. Who knows, maybe they’ll want to make a political point and vote for Austria.

    • hansenus

      Ohhh eurovicious, i rellay hope this analysis abot Netherlands and Austria will be wrong, but you really hit in the spot with your words… I can only expect the harm you talk about will not be enough to take away the triumph

  • Montell

    I think there was a tie between 10th and 11th place because calculating results took longer than usually.

  • George

    UK is the only contender I can see getting points from all over. Perhaps not 10’s and 12’s (which will mainly go to Netherlands in the west and probably Ukraine in the east), but 4-7’s along the way could mean a lot.

  • Ron

    Netherlands has a dream draw, singing in second half with quite a few less good songs (and my guess is, it has a good chance the organisation will award it the 26th position just as the title of the song suggests) while Armenia, Sweden, Norway and Austria compete in the first half. So don’t rule them out yet guys.

  • Ron

    Itunes: 1 netherlands, 2 armenia, 3 austria, 4 sweden, 5 hungary, 6 greece

  • Ron

    Uk has the pimp slot, Netherlands 24th after Denmark

  • Ron

    Uk has the pimp slot, great position for Netherlands, 24th after Denmark and before San Marino. Austria sings 11th, sweden 13th.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Is the “Pimp Slot” as big an advantage in Eurovision as it is in X Factor?

    • Ron

      In the old system, before televoting, it definitely was. It gave significant higher ratings over the years (as did the starting position as a matter of fact) Did not do the statistics for the televote system, perhaps quite a few people are making up their scoreboard halfway down the last song. The number of songs is much larger than in X-facto so it may work out differently. No matter what the truth is, the organisation to my opinion was extremely kind for the Netherlands, as they were last year for Anouk. Later in the show is absolutely an advantage, certainly for a song like Calm after the Storm that tries to sell an emotion.
      My earlier quess for a good position for Netherlands (and to some extend also UK for that matter) was based on some arguments:
      1) Countries that contribute largely to the EBU and stay loyal, also if they are not succesful over longer periods of time, are treated kindly.
      2) It would be better for Eurovision if:
      a) a song wins that puts music over spectacle
      b) the winning song does not come (again) from scandinavia
      c) the winning song does not bring political dispute (Russia, Ukraine, Austria)
      3) You want to end with some strong contenders and there aren’t that many to choose from in the second half. Hungary already had the pimp slot in the semi.
      3) The cooperation between the Dutch and the Danish organisers in the staging has been extremely cooperative and mutaly beneficial.
      4) Sietse Bakkers influence (the Dutch event supervisor of EBU) could not be ruled out by me.

      • The last time the final slot won was in 1989, though Katrina and the Waves won from the penultimate position in 1997. And remember – last year Ireland were in the 26th slot and they placed last.

        In the last decade or so, winners tend to have performed in the late teens or early 20s. With this theory, that’s Slovenia,
        Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Malta, Denmark and
        The Netherlands who may be at an advantage.

  • John G

    I think in a final of 26 last place is NOT ideal. People normally have a favourite by then. I’m very iffy about that draw.

    And can Sweden and Denmark please quit sucking each other off?

    #disgruntled

    • eurovicious

      I think the EBU wants the UK to win. A knowledgeable, experienced person from a fansite told me in November “I think the EBU decides who wins, by providing advice and steering countries in a certain direction”. We discussed it briefly, I poked further, and then I mentally dismissed it as overly conspiratorial, but I’m forced to take it seriously again when I look at the UK this year. That song is so calculated, so well-designed, as is the whole approach the UK has taken. Consider also their popup radio station as a trial for what they might do next year for when they host the 60th anniversary of Eurovision. Then Rob predicts the draw, the other two faves as of Tuesday (Armenia and Sweden) conveniently get put in the first half and the UK in the second half, and all the Eastern European and ex-USSR countries the EBU doesn’t want to win get the early slots – Ukraine, Belarus and Azerbaijan the three earliest possible slots in their half, and Conchita, Germany (the only big 5 country in the first half) and Sweden the latest possible slots. In the second half, Russia gets the second-earliest possible slot, and 2 of the favourites they’d be happy to have host the contest next year (Netherlands and UK) get two of the latest three slots. The UK is on last, with a pyro curtain and smartphone lighter-waving. It’s about as unsubtle as the drunk fanboys who keep hitting on me in the Fan Cafe when I wear a low-cut shirt with my chest hair sticking out.

      Is it really a coincidence that the entire ex-USSR apart from Russia has drawn the first half, and Russia has been given the second-earliest possible slot? Not to mention the last 6 in both semis was stacked with well-staged weak songs from countries that rarely qualify, thereby giving them a stronger chance of qualification and ensuring they don’t bugger off like half the Balkans has already done (and Latvia probably will), and ensuring there’s less competition in the final for the chosen one(s).

      I’m not convinced putting the UK on last will work; viewer fatigue is an issue, and Ryan Dolan came last from the pimp slot last year. Georgia, which you’d think would have more broad appeal, wasn’t helped by being second-last either. Hungary is in the winning window, but I think it’s too edgy to win. I have no idea what’s going to win and I have to stick with my existing prediction of the UK.

      Welcome to the era of steered Eurovision. This is exactly what we said it would lead to when they announced they were abandoning the draw.

      • Tim B

        Yes eurovicious, I totally agree with all of this and I was going to write up the same points. The producers know that Children Of The Universe has great potential to go down well in the East, so producers have screwed over all of the ex-USSR countries, including Russia and Belarus who aren’t even remotely considered contenders. I think the UK is the most likely winner; Hungary, Denmark and The Netherlands have fabulous draws but none of those have as much televote/jury combo appeal (if that makes sense) to score well enough from all over in order to win it.

        I think this is going to be like 2011 – an open year where the favourite that’s on the latest with the winner’s staging wins – and that’s the UK.

  • Alexandros

    I believe that Hungary has the best draw,as a win contender…21st among weak songs..ukraine,armenia have no chances anymore as they perform too early..austria and netherlands are next to grrece and dennmark,the two most dancing songs and eventually they will fade out as everyone will still singing “rise up” and “dabadabo stupid love”..!swedenis a tricky one before the break…and last but not least the Uk…molly is going to perform last in a bery mediocre eurovision,without any clear favourite…she can literally “shake the building” and make the best impression as the last one and everybody who votes after that will have fresh in memory Uk’s performance…
    All in all i think that Hungary is now a slight favourite and uk is close enough…

    • Ron

      Interesting, IMO the contrast between Greece/Denmark and the Netherlands will only work to the advantage of Netherlands. The greater the contrast the better to convince viewers the song stands out and differs from the rest. People by the end of the show will be tired of Hamsterwheels, Seesaws and Trampolines and might appreciate the calmness of the song and the artistic staging even more. The old fashioned SM song following will only confirm their feelings.

      • eurovicious

        I feel like Pollapönk could have so much fun if you let them loose on the hamster wheel, the seesaw and the trampoline.

  • I think one really has to see the running order in perspective. In my opinion the first 13/15 songs are rather bombastic, straight in your face (Ukraine, Iceland, Armenia, Greece, Austria).

    The 2nd half is much more “lighter”, even with up-tempo songs in it (Denmark, Italy, Hungary, Finland, Malta, Switzerland). That “lighter” feeling is enhanced with songs like Spain, Russia, UK and Netherlands.

    So in the first place…..the winner will not walk away with the points I think. Or….at least concerning the TOP 3. And IF there’s going to be a winner with more than 250 points, then I think it’ll be Austria.

    Also, it can’t be every time a winner from the 2nd half. Results from history don’t kind, only historical trends count. That’s something different. And that’s never a black-and-white phenomenon.

    Having said so, I think Spain, Hungary, Denmark and Netherlands have a good draw. UK? Perhaps too, allthough last couple of years we haven’t seen that much luck from last starting grid (still, historical trend): France 2005 (100% televote), Spain 2009 & Finland 2009 (first time 50%jury/50%televote), Ukraine 2012 & Moldova 2012, Georgia 2013 & Ireland 2013.

    Regarding the winners, a short overview:
    –> 2003, grid #04: Turkey (100% televote winner)
    –> 2004, grid #10: Ukraine (100% televote winner)
    –> 2005, grid #19: Greece (100% televote winner, “only” 230 p)
    –> 2006, grid #17: Finland (100% televote winner)
    –> 2007, grid #17: Serbia (100% televote winner)
    –> 2008, grid #24: Russia (100% televote winner)
    –> 2009, grid #20: Norway (50%/50% winner)
    –> 2010, grid #22: Germany (50%/50% winner)
    –> 2011, grid #19: Azerbaijan (50%/50% winner, “only” 221 p)
    –> 2012, grid #17: Sweden (50%/50% winner)
    –> 2013, grid #18: Denmark (50%/50% winner)

    Indeed, the 2nd half, statistically holds up as the better part of the show if you want to win.

    Still, this year’s running order must be the most difficult one for betters since…..since years. I think Austria is going to win this. There was loads of fuzz about Finland when it won back in 2006. Same with Dana back in 1998. This will only help Austria I think. IF there’s a ballad-win this year, then it’ll be Austria.

    Conchita’s beard falls completely flat compared to her overall performance tonight. Which was as stunning and “straight into your face” as Serbia back in 2007. Add 50% of (“X-Factor-panel-esque) juries….and I think we will be heading to Vienna.

    Or…perhaps Madrid/Barcelona, Boedapest, Copenhagen (again??), Amsterdam/Rotterdam or London/Manchester?

    • If it was 100% televote, I agree Austria would win it, but I think the juries will pull Austria down.

      • I don’t think so. Eurovision juries are like “X-Factor”-juries. They kinda judge impressive, outstanding novelties. How weird this may sound, as juries are there for other reasons.

        But in Austria’s case I think it’ll walk away with points from both sides. I’d say a secure 1st place with juries and around 4th overall with televoters. Which still holds up for an overall victory.

        Conchita’s beard? Ughhh, so tired of that. Just judge her performance. It was impressive. Serbia 2007-esque impressive. I didn’t even notice the beard.

      • eurovicious

        The other way round. But it wouldn’t top the televote or jury.

  • Nick D.

    Thinking of the last place market, San Marino, Belarus and Gemany are obvious candidates and have horrific draws sandwiched between market leaders added to their difficulties. Need we look beyond those three for the wooden spoon?

    • eurovicious

      San Marino is most likely of those three, the other two will get some love love love love some love.

      • Dash Berlin

        San Marino is a trader, so I’m sure they will manage to trade a few votes to avoid finishing last – anything but finishing 26th will be a victory for them

  • Seriously, how is it that I’m hearing negative comments about the UK draw even after producers did EVERYTHING they could to boost their chances? To push it more they’d have to let Molly perform twice.

    Suggesting the final pimp slot is bad because the Irish chippendale performance last year bombed, or because there is a 10-ish sample size that says no winner has been from the last slot (4th is apparently good enough though), is just ludicrous.

    And after SAN. MAR. I. NO? Seriously, how more obvious can this pimping be made? Molly can now officially be dressed up as a cave woman if BBC feel that’s a good move (wouldn’t surprise me either); in contrast she’ll still look like the most contemporary performer ever.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Seconded. I’m in over my head with a ton of bets on the UK in a variety of markets, so I’m f**king ecstatic to see the UK with the pimp slot. The consensus was that the pimp slot was an advantage to have in the semis so it makes sense to extrapolate that the advantage is even bigger in the final, with more competitors.

        I expect that my Top 10 bets have landed, have v high hopes for my Big 5 bets, have strong hopes that the place parts of my EW outright bets are going to hit and am half-hopeful of the outright win too.

        In fact, the outright price EW is tempting me again.

    • I expect Molly will do well (top 5) but I don’t think she’ll win. I don’t think the pimp slot works in Eurovision like it does in the much shorter X Factor. Call it “pimp slot fatigue”. (Though, if she does win I’ll be happy as I have a little something on that.)

      • But what evidence is there of this “pimp slot fatigue”?

        And how exactly does the model look – I think we all agree that the pimp slot is excellent in 19/20-entry semis, but then slot quality apparently declines sharply exactly from there to 26th?

        To me, this is the same abuse of statistics as done by the people claiming that the 2nd slot actually is good in semis, due to a sample of eight semis having quite a few 2nd slot qualifiers. Although in that case I still believe most people do see that variance is simply playing us a trick – in the case of the final pimp slot, most people seem not to.

        • For me at least it’s mostly speculation. But we will soon see when the results come through on Saturday. The new system of non-random performance slots is very interesting.

          • With all due respect, I’d argue that this short term result-oriented reasoning is why these misconceptions have come up in the first place: we definitely won’t be able to determine the correctness of these theories by looking at the result on Saturday. Whether UK finishes 1st or 10th, we have no idea whether it was due to running order or quality of the entry.

  • Jimmy Chew

    I think it is incredibly difficult to be super confident in a song (the UK in this case) that:

    1. Hasn’t been picked by the public
    2. Hasn’t been validated in the semi finals
    3. Has a high of 104 in the charts outside of it’s own country (I know 2. is a factor in 3; but regardless)

    Personally I don’t get the hype; I think it’s a pretty average song really.

    The fact that the UK has few mates doesn’t help it of course

  • stoney

    Ok I don’t get involved with eurovision nowhere near the level lots on this site do. Id like to have a bet so where is the value this year? The uk will never win it again IMO. I was hoping for a similar x factor prediction thread to get an idea but haven’t seen anything. So any pointers today would be great 🙂

  • Dicksbits

    The best slots in the final have gone to Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Hungary. I agree that the UK is a very average song, despite being eurovision in sound.

    Denmark is definitely value now each way as curiously it’s drifted out to 20/1. But it’s probably the weakest of the big 6 contenders.

    Sweden is the safest ‘big ballad’ for ex soviet and the East to validate, but I’d be surprised if the EBU really want us to go back there so quickly.

    The winning song is indeed likely to get less than. 250 poins this year.

  • Montell

    What can I say, Eurovision has never been so interesting. No one is certain about the winner. I think voting on Saturday will be very unpredictable and we will not know the winner until the last country gives its votes. I kind of like it. Netherlands could win but there’s absolutely no value in current prices. It’s very possible that winner’s score this year will be lower than 200 and margin of winning can be just a few points.

    I was sceptic about Conchita before semi finals but when I saw the performance yesterday I was stunned. The song is great and Conchita was singing like true diva.

  • scott

    I don’t get the fuzz about the UK. Mediocre 1990s song, will end between place 6th and 12th place. And don’t underestimate Armenia, still a big contender for #1. I think this will be the top 5:

    1. Austria
    2. Armenia
    3. Sweden
    4. Netherlands, The
    5. Denmark

    • Dash Berlin

      You say the UK has a medoicre 1990s song, and you predict Austria will win, with a 70s Shirley Basset B-side from a Bond movie that was never made?

      • scott

        Austria isn’t my personal favourite. But the combination of a – I agree – old fashioned Bond theme sung by a drag/lady with beard and the large media coverage will put Conchita on #1. Molly is just a nice girl who can sing her Love Shine A Light 2.0 very good. But she can’t offer something extra. But we will see… I am pretty curious…

  • Nick D.

    I see Azerbaijan ranging from 1.4 to 1.7 to finish top 10. That’s the same Azerbaijan that’s been in the Top 5 five years running and never lower than 8th, right?

    • Dash Berlin

      Its a good point Nick, however, Az has a terrible draw so is unlikely to pick up any televote outside of its “friendly” countries.
      I admit it will still score heavily, because they have this knack of finding people in other countries that like their song enough to buy 100 mobile phone sim cards just to vote for it

    • Dash Berlin

      On a follow up Nick, I put together my rough idea of how the songs will look in the jury list, and with Azerbijan up at 3, I think its a good chance of top 10

      Netherlands
      Armenia
      Azerbijan
      Sweden
      UK
      Norway
      Hungary
      Spain
      Austria
      Malta
      Italy
      Denmark
      Montenegro
      Ukraine
      Finland
      Switzerland
      Russia
      Slovenia
      San Marino
      France
      Greece
      Germany
      Belarus
      Iceland
      Romania
      Poland

  • eurovicious

    I’m starting to think the Netherlands can do it. The iTunes evidence can’t be overlooked, and I’m not sure the UK stands out enough or has a strong enough USP, it’s a little generic. Saying this for the first time but I also now think Denmark has a realistic chance. He’s a non-threatening boy with a catchy commercial song in the winning window. My issue with DK and NL though is that they’re both so American in specific ways. I can see the UK doing better than either in parts of Eastern Europe. But I still think the Netherlands might take it. They’re perfectly positioned.

    • Dash Berlin

      The Netherlands “iTunes Chart” love has died down steadily since Tuesday, people that liked it on the night bought into it, but subsequently people haven’t. Austria has overtaken NL now in iTunes spread.
      I have NL onside, so its still a win, but I truly do not see it winning for basically your previous comments EV, its a country song, its just not popular genre and with 25 other songs to vote for? I cannot see it

      • The iTunes love always fades after the entry is performed though, nothing strange there. NL still has plenty more strong listings than DK last year did at this time – however, DK last year had a much better global spread (and charted in more countries).

        Still, this charting is very impressive.

    • Rob4

      i’d agree with all these views but add this observation. both netherlands and austria were a surprise to the general viewers who responded viscerally to the quality of the presentations on view. there was no way of deducing this surprise from pre-contest material for these acts. the same goes for the uk. until its seen we have no idea what its impact will be. i have my doubt from the rehearsals for the uk though as it looks static and i can’t get past the tacky stage clothes!

    • Chris Bellis

      I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years in former soviet bloc countries, including Russia. You do hear country music on the radio and in bars everywhere, especially Poland and Bulgaria. When I was in Moscow last year I went to a country music festival, which was well attended, mainly by bikers on Harleys, all looking very gay (but don’t tell them that). I think a country themed song might go down better than some people are saying. My issue with this song is that however well performed it is, it lacks the hook of, say, an Alison Krauss number. I already backed it for a top ten slot, but I’m not betting at these prices now.

  • Pro

    Guys do you reallythink AUstria can win? I think theres a good value in lay. West europe may be gay-friendly but east europe is super homophobic. They wont vote for Conchita so dont think she will win

  • Ioannis

    I do not think that Russia can be overlooked either for a top10 finish. Despite the political tension, the ex soviets will shower it with high points.

  • There’s zero evidence of pimp slot fatigue. There hasn’t been a real contender for the win perform in 25th or 26th in years. The idea that 24th for NL is perfect and then 8 minutes later for UK everyone will be falling asleep is dumb. Georgia and Ireland did badly last year because they were always going to, wherever they were drawn (based on the fact they only limped through the semis). Dima Bilan won from second last.

    *If* the UK can win, we can do it from 26th. It’s better than singing 14th and getting lost.

    • Thanks for expressing this a lot better than I could!

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Yeah Ben,

      Very nicely put.

      The entire ordering of 2nd half placements from last year’s ESC final support your point.

      “Pimp slot fatigue” makes no logical sense to me.

      I hope the following image has pasted:

      http://chrisjocham.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a5dc5821970b0147e364c474970b-pi

      It’s simply an inverted bell curve against on a graph background. I’m imaging the vertical axis labelled as ‘Interest level’ and the horizontal axis labelled as ‘Time’. The title could be ‘ESC Final Viewership Attention’.

      The journey is set off on and everyone is excited by the adventure, a peak of interest. Routine sets in and boredom kicks in, the mind starts wandering. attention levels as to the immediate environment drop.

      But when the end is in sight everyone perks up. ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ is eventually answered honestly with ‘Yes, it’s round the next corner.’

      ‘And here’s tonight’s final performance: Molly Smitten-Downes representing the UK with Children Of The Universe…’

      Who gets bored at a climax? At a show’s final song? Even if you’ve been suffering with boredom-induced-fatigue, you automatically perk up.

      The ESC is only once a year, most times at a different venue, with different presenters etc, so I don’t see why people would get so bored anyway at watching a few hours of different, quality performers. People attend music festivals for days at a time. Modern TV viewers spend an entire weekend watching through their new box set.

      The deleterious effect of time on memory recall is indisputable.

      A graph form representing this effect in the ESC final (again disregarding advert breaks, quality of act etc) would describe a straight-forward linear relationship of position and time, save the primacy effect of the first song, ensuring a small peak starting-point.

      The ideal spot would of course be the last position, the freshest, the memory-recency-effect pimp running-order-gold position.

      Ask most people about what they were doing even back to just yesterday and they will struggle.I know people who would struggle to recall what they were doing half an hour ago.

      But short of a serious brain-mind condition, everyone can tell you what they were doing a few minutes ago.

      If the UK fails it will be DESPITE having the prime piece of running-order real estate.

  • Ron

    The longer I look at the battle field, the more I agree with Montell: the outcome is totaly unpredictable with 6 or 7 still in the running. Too many factors in play:
    The running order with many (previous) contenders in first half but also quite a few in good positions.
    The competition between the powerballads (Will they harm each other? Even Spain being 19th might take away some votes from Austria as well as Sweden)
    The jury vote, which is extremely hard to estimate this year, at least by me. The new voting system might have a large influnce on the final outcome as well.
    The Gay factor (will the Moldovian or Greek voter go for the women with the beard or, correctly put, the man in the dress?Will more gay friendly nations compensate this? Expect 12 point from Netherlands for sure)
    The Putin factor (It will bring Ukraine sympathy votes, but I don’t believe it has a chance from first position. Will it help Austria or not? I would not like to be a Russian jurymember ranking it above 26, given the anti gay laws, thats for sure. Many televoters in western countries on the other hand might enjoy a statement against Putin by voting for this song even more than voting for Ukraine, apart from the outstanding delivery and quality of the song off course.)
    The Eastern European taste (can they appreciate country music?)
    In the end I believe the jury final tonight and the final on saturday will be crucial. Armenia and Hungary could and should improve heavily on singing quality to stand a chance, though both songs still are among my favorites. Not sure about Denmarks ability to give a flawless performance either. If it goes perfectly well it has a chance. If nerves take over and Austria, Sweden or Netherlands drop a note this might harm them a lot. As far as UK is concerned. I believe the song is overrated, as British songs usualy are. The commentators of my own country (Netherlands) for instance had few good things to say about the song. i believe it misses the instant appeal of Love shine a light, though it does tick quite a few boxes.
    Has Eurovision ever been this interesting and exiting?

  • hansenus

    Oh my god, just saw for the first time Conchita performance in youtube and was shivering almost the 3 minutes from the gay-friendly audience screaming. That is for me a key factor. This year remains like a super complex puzzle to solve for all factors you guys have indicated here. But i think at the end it will be a fiere h2h for the victory between Netherlands and Austria, and only the two of them. The odds are converging to that impression from being completely wrong a week ago. Cheers

  • Ron

    Impressive and quite unexpected, the full album of Common Linnets that was released yesterday has allready reached the album charts in 6 European countries, 69th overall. http://kworb.net/eua/

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