Eurovision 2014: The Grand Final

It’s been a strange year for Eurovision betting. Ante-post plunges on a Norwegian bouncer and Armenian comedian abated by rehearsals, to be replaced by an Austrian bearded lady and a Dutch country and western act. Sweden’s cookie cutter Eurovision entry has just about held fast at the top of bookmakers’ lists as a concession to normality.

In this atypical year, with none of the front-runners quite ticking all the boxes, to some degree one’s gut has to come into play. That’s no bad thing in Eurovision, because it’s the acts that form an emotional connection with viewers that end up succeeding. It’s something that all recent winners have in common: Emmelie, Loreen, Ell and Nikki, Lena, Rybak etc.

Something else they had in common was a good draw – 17 or later. Each formed that emotional connection with viewers at a crucial part of the show. It’s worth pointing out that this can be done earlier in the show with something amazingly memorable – the Russian grannies almost beat Loreen in the televote having performed early on in sixth.

But the juries extended Loreen’s superiority, and the power of national panels in the contest is more powerful than ever under the new ranking system. Juries like to see artistry, musicality and professionalism on stage, whatever the genre. So I’m looking for a combination of these factors: an emotional connection, a good draw and a jury-friendly package.

The entry that best ticks these boxes comes from The Netherlands and that’s my recommendation for the win at a best-priced 4-1. I like the song, and mentioned it in the comments section as a dark horse for a top ten placing a few months ago. I would never have imagined tipping it for the win until watching its first rehearsal, when I was captivated by the staging triumph on display.

It’s all about the sequence where the TV feed circles around the two performers and they seamlessly switch between making eye contact with the camera and each other. It’s this year’s most believable love story, and its widespread popularity on itunes following Tuesday’s semi-final was testament to the connection made. It’s perfectly drawn to provide that tonight in the 24 slot.

It’s my guess that it won last night’s jury vote, and the revelation of tonight’s voting order – decided as in the last few years by a computer model that aims to initially mask the final result – did nothing to dispel that feeling. Thanks to Ben Cook for pointing out the countries from which Dutch entry Anouk got high points last year, which seemed to provide a correlation between where they are placed in the voting order and the positions from where Emmelie got her 12s last year. Admittedly, this is highly speculative.

The main point of concern for The Netherlands is its possibly poor impact in the large former Soviet bloc. (Except of course, the Baltic States, where ‘Calm Before the Storm’ has charted best of all, which leaves us with the seven others from this region.) In a normal year, you’d expect a Western European winner to be picking up perhaps 5s and 6s here. One straw I clutch is that Belgium’s Tom Dice didn’t come away completely empty-handed from this region when almost winning the jury vote with ‘Me and My Guitar’ in 2010. But it’s the main argument against a Netherlands victory and it’s a valid one.

Thing is, none of the runners are without caveats. One of the other big emotional connections of the night comes from Austria’s Conchita Wurst. I’m not a particular fan of the derivative song or vocals. However, it has an impact in a Eurovision context because ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ taps into a clear and uplifting narrative.

But it feels like there are more doubts here. As well as question marks about televoting impact in certain parts of Europe, it’s a more divisive act for juries and it’s less well drawn (though memorable). I’m not dismissing a strong showing on the scoreboard, but I think the price reflects fans’ hopes more than a cold, hard analysis of her chances.

The other act contending for a place at the top of bookmakers’ lists is Sweden. In one sense, you could argue the case for ‘Undo’ as a default winner given that it offers the most polished, traditional Eurovision package among the market leaders. I’ve never been a particular fan of the song, but the Swedes are masters of production, and there’s an impressive wall of sound created.

My problem with ‘Undo’ is that it doesn’t offer viewers enough of an emotional connection: not in the way it’s sung, nor in the way it’s staged. Arguably, female balladeers from Austria and Spain offer more genuine passion. Sanna is also moderately drawn in 13. That’s enough for me to oppose it at current prices.

Finding the other podium finishers is fraught with counterargument, so I want to be looking for better prices. If we stick to the jury / draw / emotional connection factors, that brings the UK, Denmark and Hungary into play, all at half-decent each-way odds. Of the three, I’ve gradually come round to the idea that Hungary’s angsty storyline is too dark for a Eurovision audience.

Denmark and the UK are therefore my other podium suggestions. Basim had been rather lacklustre in rehearsals, but brought things back to the national final standard for the jury performance of ‘Cliche Love Song’ last night. Televoters looking for an immediate, joyous moment in the final 30 minutes of the show need look no further. Juries may not be quite as kind, but it’s a perfectly acceptable retro-pop package.

The BBC have done everything they can to get a good result for Molly. She provides a credible, jury-friendly, well-staged entry in the pimp slot, which I steadfastly believe is an advantage despite the interesting debate on both sides in our comments section. My worry is that ‘Children of the Universe’ is not quite impactful enough for televoters to win the whole thing, even with that running order boost.

I don’t have an entry from Eastern Europe in my top three. I feel I should address this by saying that Ukraine and Armenia both offer packages that can easily reach the top five given the voting power behind them, but have been rather stymied by the draw – at numbers 1 and 7 respectively.

In terms of other top ten contenders, I feel safest saying that Greece may get a traditionally Greek result: that means around fifth in the televote, 14th with juries and 7th overall. But there’s precious little value in the market. Looking beyond the 2-1 mark brings in possibilities such as Spain (Ruth was impressive for the juries last night), Malta, Switzerland, or even Eurovision powerhouse Russia. I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them manage it but none of them individually stick out enough for me.

I usually tip up something in the last place market for a bit of fun, and this year will be no exception. It’s always a bit of a crap shoot: for example, last year’s favourite Spain managed to avoid the wooden spoon thanks to some points from the maverick Albanian jury. This year’s contenders have to include Germany and France, and I’m going to suggest the latter because it’s slightly better-priced at 9-1 with bet365. I love ‘Moustache’ as a song, but visually it’s a headache-inducing mess, and the vocals are all over the place.

Good luck to everyone tonight. As a reminder, my top three prediction is as follows:

1. The Netherlands
2. UK
3. Denmark

Do keep you thoughts coming below, both before and during the show itself.

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101 comments to Eurovision 2014: The Grand Final

  • Best of luck to everyone. It really is an uncertain year, I don’t think anyone can be sure about the winner, so all we can do is make predictions and see what happens.

    1. United Kingdom
    2. Hungary
    3. Armenia
    4. The Netherlands

  • Nick D.

    It strikes me that it might be tactically wise to wait to back Netherlands in play somewhere around the time Russia are on stage, on the basis that an enormous punt on Austria will have significantly distorted the market by then. What are the professionals’ views on playing that way?

  • Boki

    Hi Daniel,
    I totally agree with many things, especially with emotional connection factor but I completely fail to see that with Molly. It can be because we didn’t see her on TV yet…
    For the record, I think it’s between Conchita and Linnets with Aram on third.

    • Daniel

      Hi Boki, it is a concern for me too, but I have overridden it to some degree because of the pimp slot, “winner’s” staging and some extra quirks (such as the henna hands) in Molly’s performance.

      • Boki

        Fair enough, I might completely change my mind tonight but until then I found some value in Spain to be top big5 (was @5.5 yesterday).

  • DashBerlin

    The key to finding the winner this year, imo, is who gets the most points from the East. It’ll be fairly close between central/western Europe votes for the contenders, so which song will the east like better?

  • Very interesting read, as always! I’ll add my tips below in a bit.

    Just a question first though – I had guessed you would recommend opposing Sweden for Top3 @2.30 with Unibet. It’s a bet I myself see value in. Do you feel she might just sneak onto the podium after all?

    • Daniel

      Hi squall, I’ve laid it for top 3 myself. There’s a case to be made that there’s now more memorable competition such as Netherlands and Austria which will do well in the countries where she’s looking to score highest. It’s interesting that she hasn’t drifted given this.

      • squall

        Fully agree – she’s been amazingly stable around 4.00 in the face of other entries shortening dramatically. One can only imagine what the odds would have been had she drawn a second half slot (I myself couldn’t hold back a cry of joy when she got first half, given my liabilities).

      • squall

        Oh, and not only do NL and AU overshadow her – they also add to what I see as a tremendous squeeze for western/nordic/Baltic points.

  • Daniel, thank you for all of your hard work, valued insight and expertise this year. It’s been truly invaluable. I have some final thoughts to add on Betfair’s perceived contenders, (apart from pretty much having written Sweden off for the win myself,) and these are cross-posted on ESCtips and EntertainmentOdds as well. But before I go into that, I’d like to start with a question for you, Daniel. In the last two years, both years which had clear winners on the betting market, you’ve successfully picked out the winner in your Grand Final preview articles. In 2011 however, you went for uncertain market leader France, putting eventual winner Azerbaijan in 2nd place on the basis of, I quote from your article at the time; “not ‘feeling’ it in the way that I do with France.”

    This is another uncertain year, and I can’t help but question why you predict the Netherlands to take the trophy now, putting the UK in 2nd place on the somewhat vague basis of you not thinking it will be impactful enough. I don’t mean to challenge your logic in such a linear, formulaic way, but something tells me that there’s a bit of taste-driven denial in there somewhere. Maybe not exactly that, but I think you see what I’m getting at.

    I’ll now continue with my own thoughts as shared on other sites;

    At this point in the game, all sorts of wild suggestions start flying about and things can get so confusing, so it’s helpful to just take one big step back to square one. If the Netherlands really had a chance to win this year with that song, we would have known and the betting odds would have reflected it before Tuesday. I agree that staging can make or break a song, but to turn a rank outsider into a winner is a little hyperbolic, isn’t it? I actually think it would stand a far better chance in the first half in amongst all the craziness from the Eastern bloc, Austria and Iceland… but while slot 24 makes them dangerous, I think that after Basim’s (I know it’s dirge but let’s face it) televoter catnip – too many people are going to find the 6 minute streak of Netherlands and San Marino too mature and pedestrian for their tastes.

    And then along comes Molly, dressed, and showered in gold. I was listening in on escXtra’s stream last night and I’ve also seen two in-stadium video recordings of the jury final performance. She performed with so much gusto and is really making her claim to the trophy. Being on last does slightly convert that “winner” edge into more of a “wow what a great ending” – but at the end of the day, it looks and sounds like a winner from top to bottom, even if it isn’t the song with the most impact, the most emotional uplift, the most commercial relevance, (though it has a fair amount of all of these,) it’s going to end up being the most agreeable. When I force myself to ignore all the doubt, all the hype, all the second-guessing and wild suggestions from within the bubble, I can’t see Molly getting beaten.

    In less than 24 hours time, we will know the winner and we will then sit back and watch YouTube clips of the other contenders and a part of our brain will come alive and we will think “why did we think this was going to beat that?” Try to put yourself in that mindset right now while watching the Dutch and Austrian performances. Of course it’s lovely, but really, what is there in those 3 minutes that really screams winner? I am feeling the unnerving pull of that hype for sure, but if I keep my impressions staunchly independent and go over all my notes, all I can find is that it’s sailing through to the final despite the lack of market faith but my gut suggested it wouldn’t best Anouk’s result. I do now think it will get higher than 9th for being more broadly appealing and radio-friendly than Birds, but even on Tuesday night, I was not watching that and thinking winner. I was just fascinated by the camerawork and beginning to understand what you guys were all talking about during rehearsals. I think Hungary is a more likely candidate for the trophy to be honest, but the current Betfair odds seem to be distancing him from the other favourites, which is reassuring for me.

    Moving on to Austria, I do believe there is potential for a Babushki effect in the voting, especially given the overwhelming amount of coverage Conchita has received. I’m actually irritated that I don’t go a single day in the last few months without seeing a picture of her. No, I don’t hate her at all, I’ve warmed to her via interviews, but if I think back to the Austrian national final in 2012 when I saw her for the first time, I was just so caught up in expressing my highest levels of WTF that I had a slew of “homophobe!” comments coming my way. I just had no idea what to make of Conchita, is it a drag queen, is it a transsexual, should I be amazed or should I be repulsed? That’s all cleared up now – but while the Babushki were universally appealing and loveable figures that brought instant smiles and fun, Conchita is not relatable unless you’ve faced similar discrimination in your own life. It’s not about homophobic or not homophobic. I’ve seen comments of Icelanders who haven’t got a clue what to say when they see her. Conchita herself has said in an early interview with Eurovision.tv “people don’t have to like it, they just have to accept it.” So the reality is, those people of the western audience who are liberal only have one less barrier to overcome than everybody else. Just because you’re liberal, it doesn’t mean you instantly love Conchita. The beard is ultimately going to be her best ally and her worst enemy simultaneously. If she really wanted to win, she should have entered a song that’s going to launch a pop music career for her. What she has entered instead is pure X Factor fodder, except with no VT that communicates her “story” to prep the viewer beforehand. All she has is 3 minutes on stage and a very equalising postcard to win all of Europe over, and she has to count on pan-European positive press coverage to act as her X Factor sob story video. It’s just not going to work.

    To Daniel and everybody else in the Sofabet community, good luck tonight and may the best win.

  • Here’s a video from the TV feed of Molly’s performance from this afternoon – she’s not in her stage outfit, there’s no pyros and she’s only in third gear compared to her amazing vocal in last night’s jury final, but it gives you an idea

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TXDu2b3-ZY

    I haven’t given up hope we will somehow do it but I do think I agree it’s going Netherlands’ way as I believe they won the jury vote. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t quite win the televote but manage to win overall if the televote ends up being split between a few countries.

    UK are definitely top 5 and hopefully top 3, and I agree Denmark are also in the mix, with Austria, Sweden and Greece battling for the other places. Hungary and Armenia I think will be lower top 10.

    Good luck to everyone tonight

  • hansenus

    Hello Daniel, thanks a lot one year again. I very much follow your analysis so i will just note the differences for me. My top 3 is:
    1 Netherlands
    2 Austria
    3 UK

    I think for many Netherlands is the obvious winner and for me as i said some days ago, too. Uk efforts enough for third or so but not more. Conchita for me is as powerful as Netherlands and both are far away from competitors but in this case choice is clear based on the draw. Furthermore, it is kind of deja vu based on other contests i have watched in my life, to imagine an artist with the character of Conchita finish second.

    I think tonight will be a “disaster” for scandinavians. All of them will perform under what is expected. I cant imagine Denmark even en top 10. As for me has no charisma at all. Same goes for Azerbaijan and Hungary both of who should underperform outside top 10.

    My strong candidates to sneak through these empty slots on top 10 at “high” odds would be clearly and in this order Russia and Spain.

    I hope that Sweden will not destroy our party and i dont think it will happen.It is a cheesy song lacking of passion as you say. Furthermore no sense to go back eurovision to Sweden next year. Being located after the advertises can be another signal of small actions done to limit the song impact just to avoid winning again. I think all in all, it is a worth lay top 5.

    Cheers, good luck everyone, lets take money out of betting slealer websites.

  • Chatterbox5200

    I agree completely with your opinions on this year’s competition Daniel – especially the doubts that you raise over some of the front runners. I personally have have never seen Sanna as the potential winner despite her position at the head of the betting.

    I still can’t quite split The Netherlands and UK for the win and have taken up the 17/1 on offer for the dual forecast.

    I backed The Netherlands at 33/1 to win their semi-final, primarily as a result of what I read from yourself, and the other knowledgeable commenters on here. So I’m looking forward to seeing how well they did.

    Other bets that have tempted me have been UK to receive more than 1.5 top scores at 2.75 (surely Ireland will give us their 12 points), Spain/Switzerland for Top 10, France/Germany for last place and Denmark for a back-to-lay.

    Good luck everyone.

  • Justin

    Thanks Daniel for all the work.

    For what it’s worth I’ve been coming round to Sanna over the last two weeks and was quite relieved to see her draw first half. So my predictions are:

    1. The Netherlands
    2. Denmark
    3. Sweden

    I expect these to be followed by Ukraine then UK.

    Last place: Iceland

  • Kelly Ann

    I really think Ukraine is far from being a top 5 candidate, and is more in danger of finishing outside the top half of the scoreboard. It’s really not a very strong song without the whistled tune on the intro (which was the main hook), and I don’t think the routine is as ‘impactful’ as intended/it could have been. Add to that the opening slot and I think they’re in trouble when it comes to sourcing votes outside of their traditional sources.

  • Thanks for all your hard and involved homework again Daniel. I only ever punt for fun on this competition (and usually lose), but this year the UK seemingly have a credible chance to actually win it with so much in favour. Whilst on Oddschecker I noticed Ladbrokes had a nice 2/1 for UK in ‘top four’ if anyone is interested. Makes it a nice hedge bet especially if you are backing the UK or anyone else to win. Good luck everyone!!

  • peter

    Hi Daniel. Great work as always. Thank you. I agree with your excellent analysis and fancy The Netherlands as the safest winning option.I have also taken big prices on Spain each way, outright, top 5 and top 10. Good draw, staging and she’ll belt it out! Here’s hoping. good luck everybody.

  • George

    If Molly is going to make a proper push for victory, the east needs to give her 4-8 points like they have previous western winners, and The Netherlands very little. I feel that The Netherlands has the vote sewn up in the Nordics and parts of the west (similar to last year actually, but the difference being Anouk wasn’t a frontrunner) so it will all depend on the countries from the ex-USSR in particular. With the east themselves looking pretty weak I just can’t guess where those votes will go.

    My prediction:

    1. The Netherlands
    2. Austria
    3. United Kingdom
    4. Armenia
    5. Denmark/Sweden

    One thing I can’t get my head around though – why are the Nordics pretty early in the voting? Sure that may pretty much rule out a Denmark/Sweden victory, but I expected The Netherlands to be very strong there also from its chart performance.

  • sonovox

    Thanks so much Daniel and good luck!

    My wildly speculative top 10:

    1. Hungary
    2. Netherlands
    3. United Kingdom
    4. Ukraine
    5. Armenia
    6. Greece
    7. Sweden
    8. Azerbaijan
    9. Denmark
    10. Russia

  • After having had a good run predicting winners and making money from 2009-2011, I completely crashed with my predictions in 2012 and thus skipped last year. This year, I’m back to see whether 2012 was a fluke or not.

    Anyway, as things stand I have only decided to go for two markets. I am backing Armenia for winner plus top3, top 4, top5, etc. and I am laying Austria for winner, top3, top4, top5 plus top10.

    I think Armenia provides the kind of song that can still stand out at the end of televoting notwithstanding its early placement. The song also has broad appeal (Western and Eastern European, young and old, etc.). It was the early favorite and I don’t think the plunge it has taken in the markets is justified by the poor placement of the song or the way it is being performed. In fact, this may even work in its favor since it no longer carries the burden of being the foregone conclusion it was once considered to be. As is often the case, (the market’s) first instincts may well turn out to be right on the mark.

    As for Austria – this just seems like pure hype to me similar to the two Irish twins. This wo/man is no Verka Serduchka who was more entertaining. Dana International, at the time, also was more fresh while the song and performance were more playful. At the end of the show, I think people will just remember the hairy Austrian Mrs. “Sausage” for being a lady with a beard – the song will go under. It may turn out to be another hyped-up hot-air balloon to crash and burn on prediction markets reminiscent to Amaury Vassili.

    But you never know – I might be totally wrong again. I’ll just sit back and enjoy the show. Thanks for the coverage!! I also enjoyed reading the conversations on this site – good luck to you all!

  • Scott

    Well, I’m too far down the line with Hungary now so despite the red and blacking and edgy presentation I’m hoping it can do something for me. The odds were good value and remain so for a contemporary, up-to-date song which would with the word Eurovision stripped from it fit nicely on the Radio 1 or Radio 2 playlist. Hopefully the casual viewer watching for the first time will be won over by the song and not be put off.

    Otherwise, the UK is my other big hope. I do worry we’re in the UK bubble and have convinced ourselves disproportionately that we’re going to win, but there is a clear consensus among many people whose judgment I trust implicitly that it’s got a great chance. So it’s not a bad back-up.

    Other than that, I’ve got very low stakes on outside chances like Spain and a reasonable stake on the Netherlands prompted by the above article as insurance.

    Good luck everyone.

  • john kef

    This was a tough year to guess and i wish everybody eventually got it right. My prediction for tonight

    1. Netherlands
    2. Armenia
    3. UK
    4. Austria
    5. Denmark
    6. Hungary
    7. Ukraine
    8. Switzerland
    9. Sweden
    10. Malta
    11-15: Greece, Azerbaijan, Norway, Russia, Finland
    16-20: Poland, Spain, Belarus, Montenegro, Romania
    21-25: Slovenia, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy
    26. San Marino

    I wish you all the best of luck! Thanks to Daniel and all the guys that helped with their comments and opinions.

  • Top4 prediction (in alphabetical order): armenia, netherlands, sweden + austria OR hungary

  • Donald

    Hi Daniel, thanks for great work and effort all through out a rollercoaster week and most importantly good luck yourself and to all on Sofabet tonight.

    I laid out my stall yesterday for the win and it hasn’t changed. Your opinion enhances it and if The Netherlands win they deserve it. I can’t see any real real serious competition for them when all taken into account and the song does connect instantly which can only help them with televote again tonight.

    For top 3 I think Hungary and Ukraine could surprise, My final thoughts could Poland make top 10?

    Hope Eurovicious enjoys the voting tonight. (that was one of the quotes of the week!)

    Again thanks, good luck to all, and enjoy the show.

  • Simon le Chat

    1. Netherlands
    2. Greece
    3. Austria
    4. Poland
    5. Malta (Nap top 10 @ 9/4)

    Thanks for the site and the write up Daniel and everyone else for their input. Good luck everyone and may the bookies satchels be emptied 🙂

  • I am Dutch myself. But at this point I think Netherlands is slightly overhyped.

    Yes, Netherlands stands out pretty will in this field of 26 finalists. I like to mention Belgium 2010 here. That final result was 6th overall from grid #7.

    But the televote ranked it down to 14th place. Obviously due to the rather weak running order for Belgium.

    And yes, the jury vote then helped Belgium considerably: 185 points for the Belgians. Only 2 points below the 187 points from Germany.

    But the fact that the juryvote always looks more “carefull”, more nuanced (With that I mean a favourite among juries is always less clear than with the televoters. Hence the total points given to the winner, which is always considerably lower than with the 100% televote), made it for Belgium difficult to enter the TOP 3.

    If Netherlands will be close to a victory, then it will be severly helped by juries like it helped Italy in 2011 (251 points with the 100% jury, which IS a bit of an exception on the rule). The 100% televote voted it down to 11th place with 99 points. Overall, the result was 2nd with 189 points.

    So I expect something similar with Netherlands this year. I need to point out that, like you mentioned several times Rob, Netherlands has a far better starting grid than Belgium 2010 and Italy 2011.

    Still, I don’t think it’ll bring the 100% televote for Netherlands in the TOP 3. I guess it’ll be something like this for Netherlands:

    210 points, 2nd place: 100% jury result
    120 points, 8th place: 100% televote result
    _____________________________________________
    170 points, 5th place: overall result, 50% jury, 50% televote

    And as we all know, in order to win you need to have strong backing from both televoters and jury panels.

    Having said so, IF Netherlands wins tonight, then I’m pretty damn certain that for the first time the Eurovision winner will not have won with the 100% televote. Then the winner of Eurovision will be one that came 1st with 100% juries and ended on a lower ranking with the 100% televote.

    But still I’m quite convinced Austria will win tonight. And comfortably so. TOP 3 with 100% juries and 100% televote.

    • By the way, I had a closer look at the running order of the spokespersons.

      The 2nd half of the voting, from spokesperson #23 (Norway) towards the last spokesperson #37 (Slovenia) have been given the most set of points to Netherlands in 2013. Except Moldova, Spain, Italy and Ukraine, Netherlands received a lot of points from the countries in the 2nd half of the voting:

      Running order for spokespersons of Eurovision 2014 compared to “Birds”, Anouk, Netherlands 2013:

      #23, Norway: 8 points
      #24, Estonia: 7 points
      #25, Hungary: 5 points
      #27, Ireland: 6 points
      #28, Finland: 8 points
      #29, Lithuania: 4 points
      #30, Austria: 8 points
      #32, Belgium: 12 points
      #35, Switzerland: 4 points
      #37, Slovenia: 7 points

      BUT, that running order for the spokespersons could also point towards a late surge for Austria, as it includes Hungary, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Slovenia

    • Donald

      Hi Gert, money down here now anyway, Netherlands all the way with few covers on the main dosh just in case. enjoy the show and get ready to celebrate, you guys going to take some stopping I reckon. Nothing is guaranteed on a bet but I think Austria and Sweden is the hype and the bookies have made favourites on their book for a bookies benefit. Time will tell, good luck tonight.

  • I have bet UK and Netherlands, if UK win i am laughing, if Netherlands comes though it covers any losses and makes for a small profit,

    a hopeful prediction for me is

    1) UK
    2) Netherlands
    3) Sweden

    One thing is for sure this has been a much more exciting eurovision than the last few years and i really hope we get the same again next year.

    Good Luck everyone!

  • John G

    Best of luck everyone, I’m calling a Dutch / Molly 1-2 (in either order) and how nice to get excited about the British entry! Thanks for the tips and sage advice folks

  • Rob4

    my prediction

    1. Netherlands
    2. Austria
    3. UK
    4. Armenia
    5. Denmark
    6. Ukraine
    7. Hungary
    8. Greece
    9. Switzerland
    10. Malta

  • Ron

    My prediction:

    1 Netherlands
    2 Austria
    3 Denmark

  • Andy

    1. Austria
    2. Denmark
    3. Sweden
    4. Greece
    5. Ukraine
    6. Netherlands
    7. Armenia
    8. UK
    9. Switzerland
    10. Hungary

    Best wishes to all.

  • chewy wesker

    Hi guys, There’s been a massive gamble on The Common Linnets and I must say after watching the semi-final, “Calm After the Storm” was staged to perfection, and looked very Mtv and almost so polished it would make any viewers watching think they had upgraded to a new super HD wide screen. Very clean was my opinion of it. But it had no quirky faults or any edge to it, and to be honest it really just went over my head. Punters like to get behind a winner and we all love it when we back a song and see the price come in. however we seen it with Norway which was backed into 5/4 before it even was selected from the national final, and again with Armenia backed into 1.92 and now with a drift of 11 available on betfair. I think that’s what’s happing again here with The Netherlands, I do believe the winner is coming in the second half, and I could make a good case for Molly winning for the UK she’s styled fantastically in a gold winning outfit, but last on isn’t the greatest draw, I think Russia won 2008 from 24th position but most winners going back the last 8 years it’s best to around 17th-22nd That would put Hungary in contention for the win, and in the driving seat for tonight. I think eurovision 2014 will be won Andras Kallay-Saunders it’s really is the only up-tempo dance track , with edge lift hook and some memorable bits of staging i.e. contemporary dancers, a chair being knocked over and a sprinting run down the runway (well a quick jog anyway) emotion and feeling it’s all in there. Andras has the a wonderful vocal ability and I can see Hungary smashing the jury and televotes.
    I’m calling it for HUNGARY.

    Those of you who are after a top 4
    1.Hungary
    2.Armenia
    3.Denmark
    4.Ukraine
    Also my tip for tonight is a lay of Austria in the top 3 market i’ve been match at around 2.12

  • teo

    Nice analysis but I dont see the UK in the top 3 Daniel. I think The Netherlands are going to win, totally agree to your argument:
    My top 5:
    1. The Netherlands
    2. Austria
    3. Armenia
    4. Denmark
    5. Ukraine

  • A big question for tonight: does one dare live-trade on Betfair, with the risk of not being able to close positions when needed?

    They really chose a bad day to have technical problems, from our community’s point of view.

  • Henry VIII

    Thanks Dan for a very insightful article. I’m largely in agreement, except perhaps on the UK. My pick is the Netherlands but the UK sharing the podium would mean 2 of the traditionally weakest non-block vote collectors in the top 3. I also find Molly facially nervous and therefore rather distant.

  • My biggest bet this evening (unless you aggregate all the negative positions on Sweden), is Armenia top10. You can get 1.33-1.35 on Betfair, or best priced 1.29 with Betfred.

    Doing the calculations on allies, I come to the conclusion that they’re likely to get 99p from allies alone, given the composition of the final. Such a bet should usually have odds in the range of 1.1-1.2, so either I am missing something here, or the market is.

  • If this helps you guys, I have the market prices last year for top 10 and top 5
    Denmark 1.02 (1)
    Azerbaijan 1.1 (2)
    Norway 1.22 (4)
    Ukraine 1.18 (3)
    Russia 1.38 (5)
    Georgia 1.4 (15)
    Greece 1.43 (6)
    Italy 1.73 (7)
    Netherlands 1.71 (9)
    Germany 1.9 (21)
    3.15 bar
    Malta 4.9 (8)
    Hungary 5.1 (10)

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    V pleased with that sequential introduction to the acts segment.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Car crash vocals from Aram in this first minute.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Germany and their Oktoberfest answer to Pink.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    The Russian twin on the left was fitter, I think.

    What is it with the running order theme tonight? 2 consecutive ‘Rise’ songs; And Twin Twin followed by the Russian girls.

    Surprised they didn’t place Hungary and the UK as sequence neighbours.

  • Montell

    After watching the whole thing I’m not even sure if UK will be in Top 10. Netherlands will win. Norway and Switzerland will be in Top 10.

  • annie

    yes I also think uk was a bit late and lackerd impact. and as said her shoes and dress were baaad. ….and san marino wont be last…. all my non-fan casual viewer friends appreciated it.

  • eurovicious

    I’m sticking with UK FTW now I’ve seen the show. NL is a bubble just like Austria; it isn’t good enough, broad enough in appeal, there’s no hook and the performers are too old and inaccessible.

  • Montell

    Guys, in Lithuania there were some serious broadcasting problems when Molly was singing. We saw blue error screen for like half a minute. Was this problem only in Lithuania or in all countries?

  • Alexandros

    Boring netherlands,too slow…dull austria,terrible vcocals by aram…i think uk wasnt perfect but for sure greater than the others…I am going for Molly..!!!!

  • Curtis

    I think there was a big lack of show-stealing acts and it’s the UK, with their easy-access feel-good song and the pimp slot, that should benefit. I really like the Netherlands song and it was stunningly executed, but I’m not convinced its appeal is broad enough to win.

  • ChrisR

    I thought Iceland would have a real chance if it were in the last third running order.. also Greece. As it is, I just dont think Molly was a winner, too static. Hope I’m wrong, but my main financial interest is in Switzerland Greece and Spain making top ten.

  • Montell

    Expect love score from Lithuania to UK because we haven’t seen half of the performance due to some satellite problems. I think this might happened in other countries. This is why UK cannot win. Some technical problems ruined their show. I am praying that this happened only in Lithuania.

  • annie

    so is this the wurst situation?

  • stoney

    No surprises with uk scoring poorly. It really doesn’t matter what or when we sign, no one likes us.
    Good to see Netherlands still in with a shout at the half way point

    • Curtis

      Yes, I’m going to get some stick from friends and family – I’ve been talking Molly up against their conventional wisdom of “everyone hates us”. Turns out that sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one!

    • Ron

      Has nothink to do with liking UK or not. Stated several times over the last few days it is was overrated. It’s just not good enough.

    • Peter

      I agree, the UK has simply been overrated. Molly is a likable but not very compelling performer and the song was a bit all over the place

    • CommanderKeen

      Yes, poor UK results are because everyone hates the UK, not because of poor entries. Keep thinking this and get used to seeing the UK on the right hand side of the score board. Not that Molly was that bad, but it wasn’t winners material either.

    • This year no one liked Russia – they were booed! – and they still managed to come in a very respectable sixth place. The UK doesn’t inspire those sorts of emotions. I think the UK’s staging really let the song down. Molly didn’t look like she was really having any fun. And from a distance her henna tattoos looked like streaky fake tan!

      • Montell

        I agree. From the time I saw her on Saturday I knew already she won’t win and I doubted she will be in Top 10. The song is pretty good though. It was worth a lower Top 10 if we rated the song only. I agree that performance wasn’t very likable. She didn’t look like manic pixie girl 😀 Her outfit and tattoos was the biggest mistake. I liked her much more in this video http://youtu.be/fFqYbibLh8k

        I can tell the same about my own country. Vilija was very charismatic and charming person in the national final. She was smiling and having fun http://youtu.be/PWi0zF6bFto I won good money predicting that she will win in Lithuania. In Eurovision, however, she have chosen weird outfit and she looked like very aggressive woman which she is not. She wasn’t herself. Also the song in Eurovision was a slight remix of original song heard in NF. Three bad decisions and this how you end Eurovision journey in the semi finals.

      • CommanderKeen

        Seventh place…, but I agree with you on that. Russia can send a turd and still get douze points from its cronies.

        For years Austria and the Netherlands have fared very poorly in Eurovision. These are countries without any automatic points from friends, but they have managed to up their game and came in first and second this year. So, it can be done.

        There’s no reason why the UK can’t win Eurovision. Nobody hates you, just send better songs.

  • stoney

    Just need Netherlands to hold on to second spot for betfred to refund my stake

  • Chatterbox5200

    It seems like The Netherlands won their semi-final and Austria won theirs.

    Maybe there is a case for the Big 5 and host to take part in the semi-finals, but receive a bye to the final. It seems that allowing the public to see the song performed before the final has it’s benefits.

    • Ron

      Eat your cake and have it too? Why not just cancel automatic qualifiers and don’t complain if you don’t get to the finals for some years in a row, just like the dutch? In Holland it at least led to a different approach to the selection of songs. Today allready some great suggestion for top acts that could do the job next year were mentioned in the papers. Try to convince Adele to carry the flag and see what happens.

  • Dash Berlin

    What happened to the UK? Who could have predicted such a poor showing

    • Boki

      People outside UK.

    • I predicted it. I was never convinced about Molly. Daniel knows it. For me she’s simply not that charming on stage. She has the looks of an “icy queen”. And also during the chitchat in the greenroom, I kinda……felt a bit down by her reaction when she got that big pie: “I will only eat it myself!” :-P.

      Her vocals are also not my biggest favourite.

      Having said so……I think UK should be satisfied with the performance. I liked it. Just not a TOP 10 candidate.

    • I was expecting at least a top 5 finish! This is my take on it. “Children of the Universe” seemed strong in theory, but on the night, after the early love bomb of Conchita and following the very strong second half, it just didn’t command enough attention to inspire votes. The curse of the pimp slot strikes again!

    • Alen

      Well my bf who never saw her before said “she looks like a bitch and never smiles”. I sadly had to agree 🙁 She looked very icy on tv during the performance 🙁

  • Hmmm. I just scraped by and avoided a major loss by Armenia placing in the top 4 and 5. Anyway, in the course of the show, I thought Austria put in the best performance with NL closely behind. Aram simply did not “feel” like a winner while Conchita did. S/he is a great actress and perfomer. The visuals were also excellent and the crowd clearly favored her. So congrats to all of the winners!

  • Kevin

    France last at 9/1, what advice again from Daniel.

  • Yes, that was a good call. The song wasn’t bad but the performance was messy to say the least.

  • Donald

    Ah well, covered myself luckily. and went ew on bets early in week, We were at the front end at least, and covered. Happy for Austria, it was a brave entry, bit gutted for The Netherlands gave it one serious go with a cool song and fab performance and staging. More tomorrow.

  • Kelly Ann

    Tons and tons of split results are now out – it’s fascinating. Funnily enough, all 5 Azeri jurors plus their televote put Armenia last and vice versa! I’ve already come across Georgia apparently using 100% televote as something was considered invalid with their jury vote?! http://www.eurovision.tv/page/results?event=1893&voter=GE

    • Kelly Ann

      Loads of countries didn’t meet the televote threshhold in the semis either – I’ve found Albania, Moldova, Montenegro, Macedonia and Georgia so far!

    • Ron

      Tons of interesting stuff there indeed f.e.: Poland 25th with dutch juries en 2nd with televoters. May show how important the commentators are in drawing attention: before the song the gay commentator said: “all straight men who fell asleep can wake up now, here is Poland” and after the song the straight one followed with: “the temperature on this side of our box is up”

      • PeterNL

        It might be a lot of diaspora as well, with so many Polish people working in the Netherlands nowadays.

        Indeed, a lot of interesting information there. Netherlands scoring higher in Televoting than in the Jury score surprises me.

        Also the bottom 10 of the Azerbaijian Jury is interesting with all the favorites in it.

    • Donald

      Have had quick look, Poland topped televote in UK and Ireland, and in Ireland one juror scored the Netherlands unusually low. All this stuff going to take time to digest but is fascinating as you say.

  • Thanks for that post, Kelly Ann. It’s not that much of a surprise though. Purportedly in one of the last contests the few forlorn “loonies” that voted for Armenia in Azerbaijan got a call from a government agency asking them what they were thinking. So there wasn’t much to think about for the jury – Armenia, the old foe, simply had to come last. I would have taken a bet at 10/1 that Armenia would be awarded the wooden spoon in Azerbaijan. There are unresolved territorial disputes at play. In this case, politics come first.

  • What the hell were London playing at voting up the man/woman beardy thing or whatever? I took 10 mins break out of my gig tonight only to switch on the radio and hear our scoring. What an absolute joke this competition has become. Sorry if I don’t sound pc, but it’s what everyone I know are saying.

  • Nugg

    I hated this years contest, the only positive I can say is the venue and technical staging and lighting looked amazing and the Danes did a great job in that respect hosting.

  • Scott

    Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. Of all the years I could pick for my first Eurovision betting run, the most open one in years.

    Right, some initial thoughts:
    * Hungary – At an early stage a good shout, as it was very radio friendly for Radio 1 and Radio 2 equivalents across Europe. It was always going to be a difficult job to stage it. The video should have alerted me to the problems, the semi-finals should definitely have had me bailing out. This was not the light end of US/UK pop that Europe likes, this was a car crash on stage. Red and blacking (copyright Betsfactor), overtones of violence, random running on the stage – it was nowhere near polished enough to pull off a tricky sell. But I was too far in. A big lesson learned.
    * UK – I’ve not seen the final sell, but by the sound of things it all went a bit wrong. Beyond that though, the song itself was
    a little bit too ‘this is what Europe wants, put all these things into boxes and it’ll be alright’ mode. They had a singer who
    had no interest in the contest prior to being picked (see Doctor Who – all the best Doctors have a geekish obsession) and were trying to write for Europe, rather than write the best song possible. There are lessons to be learned but they are in the right direction – I hope they don’t lose their nerve. Look at Ireland – it could be worse.
    * Big five advantage – is it an advantage any more. The semis give you a chance to iron out the flaws. Molly was an unknown quantity as a result of being one of the big five. Time to get rid of this? Obvious disadvantage is no bugger in the UK would watch if we weren’t involved, due to our demented logic of entitlement (see Ukip).
    * Austria – Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. I had a hunch about this one due to Dana International but didn’t go with it properly. Thankfully, I put a couple of bets on so covered myself to some degree if all else failed. I wonder how much of it was down to a ‘fuck you Russia’ mentality, which I would fully understand. Mind you, it’s probably more to do with a lack of a clear alternative spectacle in a relatively straightforward contest. If nothing else it was better than win from …
    * Netherlands – If nothing else, we’ve avoided a dull but worthy winner. God help us, it’s time to shut music down if even the Eurovisioncan’t provide a winner with some spectacle, glitz, glamour, some X/Y factor. The likes of Gary Barlow’s latest tedious effort at being Mumford and Sons belong elsewhere, Eurovision should have some degree of excitement.

    One positive – I’ve not seen the final, so people can slate me with that knowledge, but from what I saw of the semis we had a great selection of songs this year. Very few duds, and those that were there had there place to keep interest alive. It was unpredictable, which while a bugger for those of us trying to make some cash out of it made it more interesting for the casual viewer. The BBC and RTE have a few lessons to learn, but plus ca change.

    In the meantime, hoping for an equally predictable X Factor to last year’s at Christmas, and for the return of a certain Betsfactor.

    Hope no-one was too damaged by this year’s Eurovision. Felt like a bookie’s dream to me.

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