Eurovision 2014: Grand final first rehearsal

It was difficult to draw too many hard and fast conclusions from a rehearsal bedevilled by technical problems. With the draw and participants decided only last night, this first full run-through of the final is a more rough and ready affair than its semi-final equivalents. Anyway, these were my impressions as it progressed.

Ukraine’s camera angles are as tight as ever, though I think Mariya is wisely saving her vocals for tonight. Poor running man came crashing out of the wheel and landed on his arse near the climax. Meanwhile, Teo is clearly relishing his chance to perform in the final but the draw kills any small chance Belarus had of having an impact on the scoreboard.

The fact that the tempo slows again for Azerbaijan’s Dilara isn’t helpful for her. However, the nation does have that amazing recent record to uphold. Iceland’s Pollaponk at least inject a bit of energy back into proceedings but it feels very lightweight in the final line-up.

Norway’s Carl Espen provides a nice contrast but it’s a very early draw for something so quiet, and his chances have not been boosted. Like Ovi’s piano, Romania has officially come full circle, and is so ridiculous it’s now bloody brilliant. The way Ovi was mugging to the camera today, I think he knows it too.

I’m not sure a jolt into the humourlessness of Armenia’s ‘Not Alone’ is necessarily helpful for Aram. Those transfixed by Romania’s everything but the kitchen sink approach might find this builds too slowly, but it does pack a powerful punch towards the finish. Montenegro are on next with their worthy Balkan ballad, which is as you’d expect.

Poland is the opposite of worthy, and that contrast is to its advantage – Cleo is always highly professional in her commitment. Greece is at its best with a larger crowd to feed off. As a result, I find it hard to say what coming after Poland does to either country’s fortunes.

Austria is a lovely contrast but is another one transformed by the atmosphere created in a buzzing hall. They’ve done everything they can with the camera angles to accentuate the money notes. It certainly has far more impact than Germany’s following effort, ‘Is It Right’. Eliaza’s vocals start off very shaky and the streamers are so overdone the girls look like performing Mummies at the end.

There’s a short break before Sanna comes on and performs ‘Undo’ the way she also does. This is as solid and polished as ever. There are technical problems before France come on, and these continue during a shambolic rehearsal, with the Twin Twin lead singer missing his cue and not finding the beat at all. Better to have this kind of stinker before the jury performance.

The sound mix doesn’t sound particularly good for the next two songs either. Russia needs utter commitment to its kitsch routine, and the casually dressed twins are keeping things in second gear this afternoon. The same can be said for Italy’s Emma Marone who is vocally shaky to begin with but has effectively added more audience interaction into the second part of her routine.

Slovenia’s ‘Round and Round’ feels like it deserves its place in the final during this run of songs. The same can be said for Finland’s ‘Something Better’, though I worry that both may be a little too bland to spring a top ten surprise.

Ruth Lorenzo can’t be accused of blandness, and she is in good form this afternoon. The lighting has improved, she is wearing a better dress and the wet-look to her hair suits her, as indeed does this draw. Switzerland’s Sebalter is all charm yet again, and rather blows Finland out of the water.

Hungary offers a big contrast. Andras is pretty consistent in the way he delivers this, and ‘Running’ is as before. I was rather disappointed in the way that Malta came across last night having previously thought it would be a very safe qualifier. It made it to the final, and there are no surprises here.

Denmark’s Basim still isn’t generating the magic of his national final performance. He is going through the motions this afternoon, and it may be a different matter when singing to a packed home crowd. The banner now just features a heart with the word “Love” – there’s no picture of the singer alongside it.

There are more technical problems that delay proceedings at this point. Once they’re sorted out, The Netherlands create the same hypnotic staging triumph for ‘Calm Before the Storm’. The performance is as good every time.

In the penultimate slot, San Marino’s Valentina finally gets her moment in the final, and that’s an achievement in itself. It was intriguing to see how the UK’s ‘Children of the Universe’ comes across in the last spot. Molly has some henna patterns on her hands, going the full yogi. The first verse is still a little underwhelming but the middle eight onwards packs a real punch.

The UK are given some extra help when the Danish presenters then go to Graham Norton in his commentary box for about a minute’s interaction. Simon Cowell would be proud of this attempt to keep Molly in the memory. It certainly gives a little added advantage on top of the pimp slot.

Tonight’s jury performance should tell us much more. I will be tweeting it live. Stay tuned and keep the conversation going below.

86 comments to Eurovision 2014: Grand final first rehearsal

  • It sounds like from what everyone is saying about this rehearsal is that nobody has a clue who is going to win!

    What’s your take on the debate about whether 26th is “too late”? I’m baffled why so many fans are saying 24th is perfect for Netherlands, but four and a half minutes later for Molly is a “stitch-up”, like all of Europe will fall into a drunken coma during San Marino, only to be woken up when the lines open.

    • Daniel

      Hi Ben, I subscribe to the theory of “the later the better”. There’s no evidence to suggest otherwise. The pimp slot is a good thing.

      If there’s any concession to the alternative view, it’s that Eurovision has become a ridiculously long show. Viewers’ attention ebbs at times. But that can happen during a run of dull songs in the middle as much as at the end.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Have posted elsewhere, not realising a new pertinent post on a new thread had landed!

        Here’s a link to it:

        http://sofabet.com/2014/05/08/eurovision-2014-second-semi-preview/comment-page-1/#comment-37767

      • Ron

        I believe “later is better” works – according to known psychological principles – with (concentrated) jury members. There is some proof for this in ESC. During the 41 years of the contest with only juries giving points (1956-1997), the pimp slot won 6 times (14.6%). To give an example, I absolutely don’t believe Riva with ‘Rock me’ would have gotten the title in 1989 singing mid field.
        Not sure though if this also works for televoters in ESC. Especially not if the UK song does not fly from the start (as Daniel suggests). I have organised numerous ESC-parties over the years and noticed that people tend start organising their scoreboard, or take a quick toilet break before the interval act and the voting start, once they get a feelling the competition is over. But it all remains highly speculative. In the end the quality of the song will have to do the job. About that issue enough is said I suppose. Hope this is of any help.

    • John G

      My concern about going last is in afraid viewers may mentally bookend the competition. The Recency Effect certainly helps later entries and is why most countries celebrate a later draw, but I do wonder if the casual viewer doesn’t mentally switch off a little once they become aware they’re onto the last song.

      Sure, Russia and another country won recently from the penultimate slot, which suggests that going late is no hindrance, but I think people engage in a certain ‘settling in’ for the first two or three tunes and a kind of ‘disconnecting’ on the very last song – that is to say, Molly will need to make an impression to keep people from going for a drink or a whizz. Fortunately, COTU is a big drama number, so I hope it assuages my fears.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Excellent points Ron and John G both, given me pause for reflection.

        One of your points, Ron, reminds me of the actions of large swathes of spectators in the stadium near the end of a football match, all missing the end of play, aiming to get a head-start to their cars and so to a less hassled get-away.

      • How does this bookending theory work with the fact that pimp slots have been proven to work miracles in the semis, though?

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          On the subject of psychology, I’d like to comment on the sticking-your-head-in-the sand principle.

          I didn’t like The Netherland’s song on first hearing it and dismissed it as ‘boring,’ ‘Americanised’ and ‘indistinct.’ I stuck to that stubborn position, even on reading unanimous testimonies to its wonderful ESC rehearsal staging.

          Dumb and stubborn of me because from reading commentators on a number of sites it seems to me that The Netherlands is the consensus winner. There’s no holes in its package or placement. From what I’ve read the singers seem to be carrying a trace of that Alex & Sierra magic, perhaps?

          I think my precious Molly will finish Top 3.

          There was so many weak packages near the head of the market in the pre-rehearsal betting period that I looked around for a big priced contender and didn’t get further than Malta and Switzerland. I think my Top 10 bet on Switzerland will land and further I think it might go top 5, because, to my mind, there are still a lot of question marks over a number of entries near the top end of the market.

          • eurovicious

            There’s a Rock And Roll Kids/Fra Mols till Skagen thing going on with Netherlands. Its visual and musical understatedness makes it really stand out, and it’s a “real music” beacon in a show of hamster wheels, seesaws and trampolines. Even if the EBU would prefer the BBC win, I think Netherlands can potentially do it.

            One question I’m asking now is whether it will even be read as “country music” or just as a lovely, authentic ballad along the lines of the two entries I mention above. In that sense, I’m no longer convinced its Americanness is necessarily a hurdle.

        • John G

          Squall – the best way I can put it is that people watch the semis with a view to picking and assisting qualifiers. Recency helps with this. The viewer mindset is a bit more pragmatic and is often watched by die-hards who view the whole thing as an entire A to Z. They don’t neglect the first or last song.

          The final is more of an anything-goes party atmosphere, where the casual viewers get stuck in as well. I’d argue the many casuals pay less attention to the immediate bookends.

          – re: the head-in-the-sand fallacy, oh boy, I call it the Molitva debacle. ‘Song has to be in English to win I said’, and even ‘Satellite is too contemporary’ I said. How wrong was I.

          • Ron

            Talking about head in the sand: not a better myself but usualy put 10 to 20 euros on the dutch song, just for fun if i like it. Did that last year and many before and was just about to do it 6 weeks ago at 700/1 after hearing about the famous stage designer hired by common linnets. Last moment I put the credit card back in my wallet due to the extremely negative coverage in the dutch media convincing me it would be a pointless thing to do 🙂

          • Ron

            But then again I rember also disliking Dinge Dong afther the national final in 1975, oh boy.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Hi Ron, that 700/1 sounds painful 🙁 Feel for you.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Just watching Dinge Dong. Am disturbed that I can easily imagine Molly in her costume from the 2nd Semi rehearsal fitting in seamlessly in that stage performance.

      • eurovicious

        I kind of agree with this. A semi with 15-19 songs is a different ballgame to a final with 24-26 songs. Viewer fatigue sets in and people have already made their mind up. Imagine you’ve sat through the whole show eating Twiglets and pouring alcohol and fizzy pop down your neck and are bursting for the lav, then when the very last song finally comes on, if it doesn’t grab you within the first 20 seconds – which COTU doesn’t – you’re gonna go and empty your bladder. #powertothebathroom

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          To anyone then: if number 26 in the running-order, the final position, isn’t the pimp slot tomorrow evening in Copenhagen, then what number is?

          The Netherlands at 24? Is it Denmark at 23?

          If you had to opportunity to pick a running order berth for your country, before the other countries running positions were known, such as the Danish delegation did, which number position would you choose?

          • John G

            For me, pimp slot is a variable of a)somewhere between about 2/3s through to the penultimate slot and b) well drawn between contrasting and hopefully poorer songs – so this year is 18-25, we have The Netherlands standing out, and Spa/Hun/Swi depending on your tastes. If I’m right they will all be significantly boosted this year.

            I hope I’m wrong about the UK and I’m just being a pedant, but I did sigh when we drew last, when about 16th onwards would have been fe-fi-fo-fine for me.

  • Really liked Molly’s staging there. Also watched back Spain – what can I say? The big notes she was famous for on X Factor are still there!

  • Ronald

    Netherlands and Austria both big market movers. Are punters pinning too much of their hopes on iTunes downloads? Would the big 5 have a better chance if they too had an opportunity to win public hearts and minds in a semi-final? And why has Graham Norton been selected to chat to the host just after the UK’s performance? I wouldn’t be happy if I was one of the other contestants.

  • Nick D.

    Thankfully, the casual viewer won’t remember a past visit to Graham Norton’s booth to say how lovely Josh Dubovie was. I hope.

  • Quick question, I assume there’s no way at all of seeing the rehearsals feed outside of the press centre? Forgive my naivety – but djjamesmartin made me wonder how you “watched back” the Spain performance, hence my question!

    • eurovicious

      Yeah, there’s no way, recording the screens is verboten. Fansites have been choked off for broadcasting a live audio stream of rehearsals before now too.

  • Donald

    Current thoughts from me are focusing on the new voting that Andrew referred to early with Ron, a combined total from jury 1-26 and televote 1-26 to give a 1-10 placing means a song that does well with both is essential to win or place top 3/5.

    This leads on to a further though, will this help the ballads??
    My thoughts go back to Pastora Solero two years ago. Is Ruth (Spain) better this year? or Conchita (Austria)?

    So based on Pastora result they may need new voting to work?

    I love when a track bounces out at me during their semi just like Running Scared did in 2011.

    Okay past two years since have been different with obvious winners, (I did punt Pastora against Sweden in 2012 even though had heavily backed Loreen from early doors as I am a “dance head”. ) I should have put in on Lorreen but I am a sucker for a great ballad and Pastora was awesome singer in fairness. Is there a great great ballad this year, I think not. Slovenia is actually the only one that gets close in my books and San Marino and both qualified.

    The track that bounced out was The Netherlands and (excuse the pun) by a country mile. They are so good and so vocally competent they make it look easy (it is not though). The public got in in seconds on Tuesday night, lots more will tomorrow and as for juries as Daniel so well put in a lovely way last night “lighting doesn’t strike twice”.

    For what it worth if I was to pick two songs to give to a plugger to have a serious go to try get playlisted off the final list they are Hungary and The Netherlands.

    I think the bass line etc, on Calm After the Storm is bit of magic use of familiar sample not just using for the sake of but the performance by Ilse and Waylon and staging does allot also and instantly and to use Daniel thinking from 2011 ticks allot of boxes.

    So the above where I at for win market.

    60 years next year for Eurovision, Abba won in Brighton, Molly has the fiery rain but has had no semi final, do the producers really think they can do an X-Factor job?

    Just like poor Paddy Power couldn’t bring himself to go odds against Ireland not qualifying last night I would be very careful getting drawn into heart ruling the head even though would love to see Abba reform for the interval in London or Manchester next year.

    Back to voting split analysis for me for few hours before Daniels tweets.

    Does anyone know if semi final results have much influence in final running order even allowing for the draw for first half or second half?

  • hansenus

    Hi a guess question for Daniel or others. Who do you think won yesterday´s semifinal Austria or Greece? I backed Austria although i strongly admit Greece was a severe value yesterday as well. Plenty of the buzz of Austria was created from the dialogue with Conchita after lines closed. I think it was very close among these 2 yesterday. What do you think?

  • What do we actually think about tomorrow’s scoreboard presentation? I have a feeling that we will again have a huge winner with at least 50 points difference between the winner and the runner-up. Do you think the actual voting procedure should be changed to add more excitement to this particular element of the show (like it is the case with the semi final envelopes now)?

    I wrote an article about that, which you can read here: http://12points.tv/all-news/item/2686-in-depth-%7C-how-to-improve-the-eurovision-format-part-4

    • eurovicious

      I never enjoy the voting part of the show because it rarely goes the way I want. I’m in it for the music, I’d be happy if it was just a concert of 26 fab songs.

  • Ron

    If the winner has a lead of 50 points it will indeed be a long wait. But I don’t expect it will go that way this year with so many contenders. With a smaller margin the change that was introduced last year will help. The points are no longer given in a predetermined order. With a margin of 20-30 points for the winner the EBU can and will create suspense by manipulating the order of points given in such a way that different countries take the lead at certain times during the voting procedure. Those who do not like to get manipulated (or disappointedin the end) should keep a close look at the order in which countries are selected to award their points.

  • george

    i think conchita’s beard will alienate male voters

    it creates a sort of cognitive dissonance

    i think most men are relaxed about having sexual feelings for an attractive tranny but when you mix symbols of masculinity and femininity it becomes hard for the brain to process

  • george

    anyone have a link to a youtube playlist of the finalists in running order

  • In stadium Facebook video of Molly at the jury final. Some tiny glimpses of the TV feed.
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=623688031034737&set=o.40603259119&type=2&theater

  • Daniel,

    What was your opinion on the Armenian jury rehearsal this evening? I’ve read pretty varying reports, from weaker than usual to stronger than usual, and would be really interested in hearing your point of view!

    • Daniel

      Good question squall, and my answer has a general utility beyond this specific example. In most cases you get a facsimile performance of the one that you’ve already seen (in the semi-final). Picking up on tiny details that make no qualitative difference can get blown out of proportion, so I tend to avoid it. Even allowing for that, I can honestly say I didn’t notice any difference between Aram tonight and what I saw on Tuesday night.

      • You’ve definitely got a point there – sometimes it’s tricky to interpret the Twitter flow when it contains wildly varying takes on the same performance (of course that’s bound to happen sometimes). So I think your approach makes much sense.

        As for Aram mp3 I find the outright drift interesting, considering he’s one of maybe two (Ukraine being the other one) eastern candidates in an otherwise very west-leaning field of front-runners. You’d think that there’s a higher risk of a vote split for the western entries.

  • Montell

    Since semi final on Tuesday I was thinking about Netherlands a lot and I came to conclusion that they must be overrated? Before semi final what we didn’t know was how the staging looks on TV. And yes, the staging is very nice and fits the song perfectly. But that’s all there is. The song is the same and it cannot be for everyone’s taste. I think people are too fascinated by the staging instead of the song. When my family members heard/saw this song for the first on Tuesday time they said they liked it but there where no reactions like “wow, this is beautiful, I just love it”.
    Then I was thinking about song popularity on iTunes and I think song’s popularity on iTunes doesn’t fully reflect of what people vote on Saturday. Most people in most countries don’t even use iTunes (well, at least in my country). Still, I have no idea of who is going to win but I have a suspicion that is not Netherlands.

    • John G

      The Netherlands have a lot of strong factors going for them though

      – good draw, late in the show and with complimenting songs before and after
      – middle of the road song with jury appeal – ‘real music’; and televote appeal – is a good song, one that stands out to casuals and also works as an antithesis to the gimmicky kitschy eurovision entries
      – most importantly, like Loreen, it creates it’s own intimate moment between the viewer and the song, it has a transportational quality. The staging lifts it from a nice relaxing number (unremarkable) to something striking and achingly romantic.

      I’d be very surprised if it isn’t a safe top 4 and I think the east will back it too. A winner? Perhaps! One could argue Netherlands are the only country with every base covered.

    • Ron

      Maybe you are right. The intention of the artists however is to bring far more than just nice visuals and stagedesign to pimp up the song. Ilse and Waylon are convinced music in the end is nothing more than bringing feelings and emotion to the stage and thereby touching peoples heart in one way or another. For them there is no better genre than (modern) country to do just this due to the simplicity of it (3 chords in the whole song). Ilse has a strong record in this with 8 number one albums in The Netherlands most of whom have country influences. Tonight on dutch tv the concept of the act was explained in detail by some experts. The first long shot from above is meant to make viewers curious and draw their full attention. The next shot lasts (for ESC or any other TV shows unheard) 1 min and 45 seconds during which both artists try not only to hold viewers attention to the max but touch their hearts. The total act has only 7 shots (which by the way is 3 more than originaly intended) compared to 70 shots for most other songs. This is clearly new for Eurovision and a leaque in its own. Therefore you cannot measure its effect with the same standard you measure ESC songs in general. Daniel tonight called it ‘captivating’ which seems exactly the intention. Wether or not they touch enough peoples hearts we will see tomorrow.

      • Donald

        Hi Ron, shame about the 700/1 miss, be some ew to be sitting on… They’ll be another day, they do come around again. As a matter of interest who is the stage designer they got? They must have a great chance, it is very good and cool as.

      • Ande

        Few shots has been tried many times before and is generally not recommended for eurovision. The main advantage is that it creates a more intimate effect with viewers that are already engaged. The problem is that it is less likely to re-engage someone who has lost focus (by talking to a friend, looking at their scoreboard etc.). The million dollar question is weather the Dutch can spellbind viewers from the get-go and keep them that way till the end.

        Also worth noting is that these type of subtle songs are growers meaning they gain for each repeat performances in contrast to your typical attention grabbing Russian grannies or Polish boobs.

  • Donald

    Hi Daniel, did UK really steal the show tonight? notice few good comments online..

  • Chatterbox5200

    This link of the UK’s Jury’s Final performance has just been posted on EscXtra’s live stream.

  • Chelsea

    Hi Daniel,

    Love the site! I was wondering whether you will posting your predictions as to who will win or the top 5/10, I believe you have done this before the final in previous years? It would be great to have your expert insight.

  • George

    The UK is an unknown quantity because we don’t know how it looks on screen. The staging is really fantastic, but so was Armenia’s when we first saw it and the camera work let that one down completely. I’m feeling quietly confident for her to do very well but I’m not going to predict until she’s performed.

  • Scott

    If I was to back a massive favourite at rubbish odds it would be Sweden. A relatively average song with potentially alienating yodelling which has been polished beyond all belief, has an amazing performer behind it and a genuine wow factor.

    I ran the Netherlands song past my girlfriend – who’s open to a bit of country music, not a massive fan – and her point was that it didn’t really go anywhere or grab her attention. The staging made it. It’s a perfectly decent song but I wonder if we’re falling into a ‘it’s different, so it must be good’ trap.

    Armenia – there must be a reasons why that was a massive early favourite. On performance, it’s baffling – and not surprising that it drifted. If you’re going to build the audience up that much you’d better have something bloody good at the end. It’s alright.

    The UK is fascinating – I worry we may be reading too much into everything. It does tick all the boxes, perhaps a little too clinically. I’d be interested in whether Daniel reckons an X Factor steer is on here – there’s a lot of evidence throughout the show that the producers are massively influence by that genre, and the UK would be a stable host for the 60th anniversary (on that note, Ukraine are first up)

    For myself, I’m hoping either Hungary or the UK can do something. I got Hungary early doors on very good odds and it’s a cracking song. I’m hoping people will see past/won’t eregister the challenging aspects, but slightly worried. The UK’s price will crash tomorrow so it was now or never – it stands a decent chance tho, and I am steered a little by the thought the producers wouldn’t mind it winning.

    Final point – does anyone know when the final performance is likely to take place and the interval will begin time wise? I’m due to be out but would like to keep an eye on things for late value?

    Good luck all.

  • dicksbits

    I must say the odds to finish last offer lots of value I think: Germany 5/1, France 9/1, Iceland 10/1, even San Marino at 4/1. Any of these could daily come last this year.

  • I just placed a bet on Betfair for Spain finishing TOP 4 (I find some nice odds 10.5/1 on Betfair). After seeing this dress rehearsal performance from today I am impressed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKl9iHd2mNY .

    If Netherlands, UK and Austria are doing wonders staging wise, then do not underestimate Spain. The rain theme is perfectly interwoven in the staging. From the LED-visuals to Ruth’s entire wetlook, and the way she “dances” with her own hair.

    From grid #19 I think this is an almost certified TOP 5. Juries love good belters (Albania 2012, Ukraine 2013) and together with Conchita, Ruth is among the best belters in this contest. Goosebumps!

  • Chatterbox5200

    “The voting order has been determined by the results from last night’s Jury Final. An algorithm has been created to try and make the voting as exciting as possible”

    Daniel – what, if any clues does this give us to the possible winner, considering that the last few countries to announce their votes will be Switzerland, Georgia and Slovenia?

    • Swiss very friendly with The UK over the years
      leaves the UK just out in front, with two Russian friendly countries to vote..

      • Kelly Ann

        Erm, Georgia is by far the least likely of the ex-Soviet countries to vote for Russia (and their jury will almost certainly drown any televoting points this year more than ever), and Slovenia doesn’t vote for Russia any more than any other random country does (why would it, it’s a long way from Russia and has no cultural links)?

    • Rob4

      actually both Switzerland and Slovenia are more Austrian friendly countries over the last 5 years. Georgia is more UK friendly.

    • George

      Interesting that the Nordic countries are relatively early on (#6, #16, #18, #23), and that’s where the Netherlands has been making the most impact on iTunes. If it wasn’t for Belgium at #32 I’d be feeling less confident about their chances.

    • Daniel

      There’s usually too much focus on the last few juries when it’s about two-thirds of the way through you should be looking. Emmelie got 12 points from the following places in the voting order out of 39:

      6th, 8th, 16th, 27th, 28th, 30th, 33rd, 35th

      • George

        Ireland at #27 certainly looks good for the UK then, as does Spain at #31 (I’ve been seeing lots of love from the Spanish towards Molly).

  • Simon 'le chat'

    We are “Children of the betting shop”!

    Well friends, I have just gone through all the songs with my masterful judgement accrued from 30 years playing in Club Bands and nearly 50 watching the Eurovision Song contest. It’s not the contest it used to be like when Lulu came joint first with three others on 18 points. Do you know I didn’t have to look that up? I remember it in b & w sitting up late on my parents bed with my elder brothers.

    Anyhow I digress. I have listened to them all a few times and cross referenced them with the Missus and Miss B and these are our conclusions:

    Sweden: Home advantage, likely favourites- too much yodelling- dated- red line through
    Netherlands- sounds like Police ‘Every breath you take”. Good song. Haunting. Memorable.
    Austria: Transvestite/beard hence Youtube hits. Big production song like Bond. Good singer. Not quite ge. Red line.
    Armenia: Dirge. Builds up a bit but still dirge. Red line.
    Ukraine: Sympathy vote perhaps. Very Nicole Shirslinger. ‘Nuff said. Red line.
    UK: Bonnie Tyler Molly, a good cry in her voice on “children” but the song doesn’t go anywhere after it. Red line.
    Hungary: Horrible video about parental abuse. Horrible song. Red line.
    Greece: Trumpet intro, very clubbish/modern. But are the grey whiskers of Euro ready for this yet?
    Denmark: Very Olly Mears unoriginal crap. Red line.
    Norway: Dirge. Singer has horrible tash. Red line.
    Roumania: Average. Red line
    Malta: Very Mumford and Sons. Clear vocals. Good song and draw.
    Azerbajan: Ok but never get’s going: Red line.
    The rest: They don’t count. Red line.

    Conclusion.
    For me it’s between 4 acts, Netherlands, Austria, Greece and Malta. I’ll put a line through Austria because once you get over the girl with the beard the song aint good enough. The best song by a country mile is Netherlands but the bookies know it and they’re 3/1. I’ll still back them though, money for old rope. Greece (25’s) and Malta (100/1 Ladbrokes) each way.

  • Scott

    I don’t know whether I’m falling victim to confirmation bias here in my bid to believe Hungary or the UK can win it, but iTunes sales surely only reflect the voted of those who are particularly engaged with the contest. It’s like The X Factor – compare that to those whose only involvement is watching the Saturday final and taking a quick fancy for a song for the reasons Daniel pointed out in his excellent article.

    We often say the people who watch X Factor and the people who buy records are very different beasts – that’s why the producers try to steer viewers in a certain direction. I’d assume that would be the same with Eurovision.

    My remaining fear over Hungary is red and blacking – though fire doesn’t seem to have the same destructive impact on Eurovision as The X Factor, so I’m hoping the same will go for this – and the subject matter perhaps being a little too in the viewers’ face. Again, I’m gambling the casual viewer will not register it enough to put them off. It was – and in my opinion remains – a good value bet, though my confidence in it is dipping.

    The jury order strikes me as very difficult to interpret and in danger of leading to further confirmation bias, so I’m leaving it well alone.

    One extra note – as someone who got into all this from Betsfactor I know how big a night this is for Daniel, so good luck sir.

  • Because I personally believe the jury vote to have been between Netherlands and UK, I took a look at the voting order and worked out which countries gave Netherlands more than 6 points in 2013, and UK in 2009. This isn’t ideal but neither country usually does particularly well.

    Netherlands: 6, 13, 16, 18, 23, 24, 27, 28, 30, 32, 37
    UK: 2, 4, 9, 11, 15, 20, 22, 27, 31, 34

    If they are following the previous pattern of attempting to hide a country’s success early on, with them peaking around 3/4 of the way through, it looks good for Netherlands.

    This could mean nothing of course, especially as I haven’t looked at any of the other potential jury winners.

    • Ron

      Hi Ben, as I believe UK is overrated my first uneducated and totally unobjective quess is another:

      At first SWE and/or ARM and/or UKR are kept in the race. Then it becomes a 2 horse race with AUS taking the lead over NETH. After jury 29 NETH takes the lead (or gets a maximum chance at least): LIT 29, AUS 30, SPA 31, BEL 32.
      In this speculative scenario the remaining question would be if the five remaining juries make the difference.

    • Ron

      On the other hand it is also possible that the situation is too close to call between 2 or more countries in which case any theory fails completely 🙂

  • Justin

    There is a very noticeable run of nordics and their friends from 16 to 29. Denmark vote much earlier in 6 and Sweden are in the early part of that run.

    In fact virtually of all Denmark’s and Sweden’s allies fall in the range 13-29.

    Just conjecture of course – but could Sanna have won the jury vote?

    If it was Basim then I think we are back to Copenhagen next year!

    • It could be Denmark or Sweden, but equally Netherlands appears to have gone down well in Nordic/Baltic countries as well. It looks like we might have some exciting voting tonight

    • Ron

      Justin, thats also also possible. Problem this year is a bit that SWE, DEN, NETH and AUS all should find their base for winning in the north and west.The first three give their points early, Austria late. Is this a (weak) sign Austria did not do extremely well after all with the juries?

  • Kevin

    Hi there, just wondering what time approximately that Daniel will put his preview up. best of luck to everyone with their wagers. superb coverage this year by so many on here, hugely enjoyed and appreciated

    • Daniel

      Hi Kevin, it will be some time in the late afternoon. The comments here are just as informative though so keep returning for those.

  • Scott

    A few more meandering thoughts – as always keep an eye out for Hungarian confirmation bias.

    The words I keep hearing about the Netherlands are authentic, real, things like that. Which I would have associated with Abi Alton from The X Factor. Is that really what a Eurovision audience wants rather than a big old pop tune? Having said that, they undeniably have much better voices than poor old (young) Abi and the UK mainstream at least has proven itself open to a bit of light folksy stuff recently – see the likes of Mumford and Sons. When Luke did that kind of thing on The X Factor I seem to remember his votes shooting up (please correct me if I’m wrong on this). If the odds are correct we could find the UK doing itself in by giving the Netherlands 12. Would this appeal to a mainstream audience across Europe though, rather than just people who invest enough to buy the track.

    On Graham Norton being interviewed – it’s a strange one. Apparently a lot of people in Denmark watch the BBC coverage. In one of his books Terry Wogan talks of being unaware of this and going on to slate the presenters one year in Denmark (Dr Death and the Tooth Fairy) and getting a huge backlash. Odd that Danish TV seems to be acknowledging this though.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi Scott,

      My first ESC bet this year was on Hungary. Initially, I had high hopes, plenty of confirmation bias, and have also long considered it under-regarded.

      Watched back it’s Semi Final performance last night, and to be frank, I didn’t like it.

      Dark, confusing, with Andras vocally struggling, sounding whiny, and incredible to comment but I thought it lacked drama! I found Andras over-angsty to the point of emotional inaccessibility and the whole package a little overblown and contrived.

  • Scott

    Graham Norton’s thoughts this morning: he’s concerned about the UK placing and feels the Netherlands song is sweet, but may get lost in a 26 song contest.

    He just played it there. Staging really is key for this, it’s quite hypnotic. I find the song itself dull but worthy otherwise.

    Amusingly, Graham jokingly complained that the producer actually cares this year.

  • christian

    So guys, here’s the voting order… http://www.eurovision.tv/page/news?id=good_evening_copenhagen_-_voting_order_revealed

    Do you see any patterns? It seems to me, that there aren’t many nordic countries in the end (Finland on 28/37 being the last one). Given the idea, that the race is going to be tight, this hints at neither Sweden nor Denmark winning.
    Who else could it be instead? Hungary? Netherlands?

    Or do you think, there’ll be a runaway-winner?

    • Chatterbox5200

      During the “Fake Results” last night in the Jury Final, they had a winner with about 5 countries still to provide their results, and announced the winner before continuing.

      I know that’s what happened last year, and they are probably accounting for all possible outcomes, but I can’t imagine they’d want the same to happen this year. I would think that if they anticipate the voting will be close, they will want to keep people in suspense, and hanging on the points given by the last few juries.

  • Nurdin

    The first and only pattern I see from the voting order is that Austria has a borderline to several of the last countries, which could mean that they will boost their points towards the end of the voting process. So basically, they might have won when it comes to the jury points!

  • jim

    I think it’s gonna be the netherlands, Belgium votes faily late (thats a 12 point already) also slovenia is a good chance for very high point to netherlands, switzerland and austria too.

  • tpfkar

    I’ve been too busy chasing votes myself to spend much time worrying about televotes, but good luck to all punters here tonight. Personally think Netherlands and Austria are overhyped and Hungary, UK and Sweden may well be top 3.

  • CommanderKeen

    My take on the voting running order. Last year it was 5 countries (or so) before the end of the voting when it became clear Denmark couldn’t be overcome. With such no clear favorite this year it might be the last or perhaps second-to-last country that decides the winner (at least where jury votes are concerned.

    My guess is that the UK will peak when Ireland has voted. Sweden and/or Norway will peak when Finland and Lithuania have voted, The Netherlands will peak when Belgium have voted.

    The lasts few countries that vote seem to indicate a struggle between Hungary, Austria and Armenia. Of course, Austria and Hungary share some regional partners, including Slovenia which will casts it votes last, so it could go either way. It’s hard to imagine Austria getting many votes from Ukraine and Georgia, however.

    Whoever won the jury voting, I think it will be close in any case.

  • Right. I’ve got 15 quid to blow at BetFred. What’s the smart thing to do?

  • Ron

    Does anyone know a contest in which 4 hours before the contest the average odds on oddsbetter between the top three songs were this close? (Swe 2.47, Aus 2.87, Neth 3.42)

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