Eurovision 2014 result

Congratulations to Austria’s Conchita Wurst, who wins the 59th Eurovision Song Contest, ahead of the Dutch act The Common Linnets and Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen. From a betting point-of-view, this was the third year in a row that the top three in the betting filled the first three places. The market was once again remarkably accurate by kick-off.

It took a while to get there, with juicy prices still available on Austria and The Netherlands when rehearsals started. I hope you too took advantage of the trading opportunities presented. It was a decent if far from record-breaking year for me, on a par with last year’s profit.

Full results can be obtained from eurovision.tv, where you can see that San Marino just squeezed out Portugal by one point for the final qualification spot in semi one, whilst Slovenia in tenth were more comfortably clear of eleventh-placed Lithuania in semi two. The full jury and televote results also give us plenty to mull over in due course. Your comments and insight are, as always, encouraged below.

97 comments to Eurovision 2014 result

  • Justin

    Well done Daniel and thanks for all the reporting over the last two weeks.

    Definitely a year where waiting for rehearsals was the right approach.

    Only a small profit for me this year after building up too many liabilities pre-rehearsals – and spending the last week trying to dig myself out of them!

    I have the hamster wheel man to thank too for getting Ukraine into the top 10 and saving my bank balance.

  • ChrisR

    Had a quick look at the u.k. Results…. Our jury just about all scored Poland last, our phone vote scored Poland 1st… Who would have thought that doing the washing would appeal so much… Think I might do a little more analysis..

    • Chatterbox5200

      They also topped the Irish televote too. Although the staging might have captured the interest of many men forced to stay in and watch Eurovision with their partner, It might also have something to do with the number of Polish people now living in the UK and Ireland.

    • The fact the UK is overrun by Polish people might have something to do with it.

  • I’m interested in the ramifications of the new transparency. I wonder if the 1-26 ranking system can survive this public revelation of how it actually works, e.g. Poland in the UK/Ireland (last in the jury vote, top in the televote, 0 points).

    Apart from being obviously a bit of a farce, is it not bordering on grounds for a complaint to Ofcom? The organisers are already aware during the Saturday show that, due to the jury vote of the night before, it’s mathematically impossible (or is it? Correct me if I’m wrong here) for a viewer’s vote for Poland to translate into points for Poland.

    In other words, you’re invited to spend money on a vote which can’t affect the result – and when you look at it like that, is it very different from the phone vote scandal of a few years ago (when some programmes kept charging people for calls after the lines had closed)?

    • Nick D.

      It’s not impossible. If the jury and televote results exactly reverse, all combined scores are equal and the televote winner gets 12 on tiebreak. That’s vanishingly unlikely, but a few points are hard-but-possible. I think that that combined with full explanation makes it just barely Ofcom compliant – I fully expect that to be tested in the coming days.

      • TimC

        There are 26 songs. The EBU and the BBC know that the chance that the televote would 100% mirror jury vote but in reverse is so astronomically unlikely that it can be ignored as a potential outcome. Basically, the BBC knew that votes for POLAND would have zero impact on the UK combined vote, but they took the calls (and the revenue they generate) happily.

        If it walks like a phone vote scandal, and it sounds like a phone vote scandal…

        The voting system needs some tweaking, to make sure the phone vote winner gets some mention in the actual country vote submission!

      • Thanks, Nick (and UnCalquera, below). I should have more coffee on a Sunday morning before throwing around terms like “mathematically impossible” 😉

        Would be interested to know, from somebody with a better grasp of maths than I have, what are the chances of an entry which is last in the jury vote getting combined points? In other words, of all the theoretically possible 1-25 combinations of the UK televote (or 1-26 of Irish televote), what percentage of those would have resulted in Poland getting points?

        • That’s not possible to calculate I’m afraid, because all those combinations have different likelihoods of occurring. But as said, I think it’s unlikely for an entry 26th-ranked by juries to score, just like it’s unlikely for an entry 26th-ranked by televotes to score.

          • I mean if you assume that each possible combination of 1-25 is equally likely to occur, surely it’s possible to calculate then?

          • Yes, but that’s never going to be the case in reality. The outcome of the calculation will be wildly different given that assumption, compared to the actual case (where a 1-1 combination is hugely more likely than 1-26, for example). The distributions will be completely different, and the simplified calculation will have very little to do with reality.

          • Sure, I agree. I’m just interested in it as an intellectual curiosity.

      • Yes, but if two songs have the same score, the one with more televotes gets more points.

    • But isn’t this exactly how the system was meant to work; to act as a balance to diaspora voting? And in this case, wasn’t it also very predictable that many juries wouldn’t take to the soft-porn presentation and sexist lyrics? (A shame, really, because it’s a cracking song.)

      As Nick says, it’s far from impossible to get points even with a 26th place with juries. Unlikely yes, but letting people vote on an entry that’s still unlikely to get points hardly sounds like a “scandal” to me.

      • Hi squall, indeed it’s exactly how the system was meant to work, I’m just interested in speculating about how the public will react to it now that we can see it transparently in action.

        • I’m sure some people will be upset, but at least it didn’t change any vital outcome. Last year’s Melodifestivalen got a completely different winner because of juries – some people grumbled briefly, but it was quickly accepted.

          In any case, I agree that this transparency is for the better!

          • The problem is that the UK has 58 points to allocate and it gave none of those to the public’s favourite. This fails the Clapham Omnibus test. Solution? If we cant give points to all 26 we shouldn’t get both sides to rank all 26

          • I think there are two related but somewhat separate issues here. One is the absurdity of the public favourite getting 0 points, as Jim says. The other, which motivated my initial post, is that jury votes are known before phone lines open – and as TimC says, that means the broadcasters are happily taking revenue on some phone votes which they already know are extremely unlikely to affect the outcome.

            Of course we knew all this last year about how the system worked – I just find it interesting to see it laid bare this year, and I wonder how tenable it’s going to be given the Clapham Omnibus test.

      • UnCalquera

        But if the audience is not given the right to vote a song that is /unlikely/ to win, the counterbalance power of televoting is missed, as a jury bait, hated-by-people song could not be ranked 25 in the televote and would be in an advantage compared to songs such as Poland’s (or an even worse example, Igranka)

    • First of all, let me say that I’d be the first to welcome a reversal to the old system of merging the votes from juries and viewers. Not necessarily because I think the new system is unfair, but because the previous one was so much more predictable – and therefore profitable (to me, at least).

      That being said, I don’t really understand the reasoning that it’s unfair to let people vote for an entry that’s already so far behind that the vote has virtually no chance to make any impact. In my opinion, this happens in almost every election: votes for other candidates than Republicans/Democrats in the US presidential election, to take a high-impact example.

      One could of course argue that just projected chancelessness (that after all is open for anyone to see) isn’t enough for it to be considered unfair, but rather that the problem is when current voting tallies not known to the pubic show the entry as being too far behind. But even this occurs in virtually every electronic voting: towards the end of the voting session at BGT for example, it’s pretty clear which act(s) has no chance whatsoever. Should they close the corresponding phone line at that point in the name of fairness? If not, why is it ok with obviously wasted votes there, but not in Eurovision?

      • You could use the same reasoning to defend the programmes in the original phone vote scandal – “your call would have had no chance of making a difference even if we’d counted it, so does it really matter that we charged you for it and didn’t count it?”

        I agree with your logic, I just think there’s a basic smell test here. Would somebody who votes on BGT just before lines close be surprised to learn that, given the current state of the vote and the limited time left, their vote turned out to be meaningless? I suspect they would not. Would someone who voted for Poland in the UK as soon as lines opened on Saturday have been surprised to learn that no matter how many millions of people did likewise there was practically never a chance of Poland scoring a single point from the UK? I suspect they would.

      • TimC

        Squall, your logic here is false.

        Yes of course, if you take part in any televote, you have to accept that if another act polls more televotes than the one you vote for, your vote will not be for the winner. The fact that the voting window might be, say, 20 minutes, and you might cast your vote after 19mins55secs and you are unaware that your choice is already far behind is irrelevant – you knew all of that could be the case before you decided to vote. It is one pile of votes vs another pile of votes, and we all know its the bigger pile that wins. There is no misrepresentation going on here.

        However, this Eurovision situation is entirely different. Here we have a system that no matter how high the *winning* pile of votes is, it will almost certainly have no effect on the combined vote, due to a situation the BBC/EBU knew about 24 hours before the phone vote was even opened. The fact that they press ahead with advertising on the “make your vote count” basis, getting potentially thousands or even millions of votes for an act, that ends up *winning* the phone vote, knowing full well that the money the public spent on those votes would achieve nothing, really sounds unethical. To me anyway.

        Remember the Strictly semi-final fiasco from a couple of years back similar to this? Except this case is in some respects even worse. Misleading the public? Unethical behaviour? I predict OFCOM will be getting involved in this. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.

        Not that it affects the top-3, in this case, it must be stressed.

        • Why is the logic false? Because in the first case, you expect most viewers to understand that their vote may be wasted, but in the second you expect them not to? While this might be true in a lot of cases, it doesn’t follow that there’s any “misrepresentation” going on here: the rules are published for anyone to see, even as an easy-to-follow video.

          Also, why are we still saying “almost certainly” when it’s very clear that an entry still can get points despite a last-place jury rank? The max score in that situation under the old system was 6p I believe (or 7p?), in the new it’s likely to be around 3p. Where exactly is the threshold for when this is enough of a scandal to call in the OFCOM?

          • TimC

            Everyhting is about the sell, and to me, the situations are very very different, as I and others have described.

            Regardless, OFCOM either will investigate or they won’t. Like you, I will be interested to see if it does trigger them to look into it, they will no doubt have their own internal criteria for assessing these things.

    • Ron

      Andrew, without a lot of mathematics it’s easy to answer the question if televoting for a song the jury ranked 26th in reality still has “any” significance. The maximum combined score the song can get is 27. Yesterday songs did receive points with that combined score. I give you an example: The jury of Azerbijan gave Austria 24th place in the ranking, the televoters gave it third place. With the combined score of 27 it received 1 point. Some ECS’s were decided on a smaller margin.

      • You just confirme my theory about jury/televote-mashing. I’ve guessed so far from the detailed result tables. (But I didn’t check all of them, only the German ones out of curiosity about that strange 11/1 thing)

  • ChrisR

    Interesting… One thing I didn’t realise is that it wasn’t a fair playing field, I just started looking through country specific results, and the first country I looked at, Albania didn’t have a phone vote, their result was 100% jury. Think I might dig into this properly..I think you are spot on chatterbox with your Poland vote theory

  • UnCalquera

    It is perfectly mathematically possible to score points being last in either of the votes. In fact, if all songs were to be exactly reversedly ranked by jury and televotes there would be a 25strong tie for first.

    • Not exactly. If two countries have the same place with jury and televotes combined, better televotes win. But yeah, your point is right. Austria got twelve points with (3/2) or similar results and even 1 point with a (24/3) result if I’m not mistaken. But 0 points from a (24/2) result.

  • Nick D.

    Small plays, small losses for me, mostly mitigated by Netherlands finishing top 4 and beating Sweden. Never quite found my mojo this year and all my instincts were off.

    Biggest loss is on Azerbaijan top 10, and I find it eye catching that they did so stunningly badly on televoting, coming last or near last in many countries. In terms of song, draw, staging, neighbours, friends that makes total sense, in terms of their history it makes none.

    Unless, of course, the more stringent anti-power voting rules introduced this year with no specific country in mind found multiple cases where they needed to be applied…

  • Alen

    I know we hear that every year now but the Juries got to go! Or given much less %.

    Poland was in the Top5 of Televoting but not even close to Top10 thanks to the Juries.

    Greece would have been much higher too.

    If I’m not wrong Switzerland would also have ranked higher if not for Juries.

    Austria would have even got 12 points from Germany but “only” got 7 cause the jury members didn’t really get her and called her a he/she/it on live tv and ranked her outside the top10 (even 13th out of 15 in semi2).

    The juries seems to tend to give ballads high points and destroy fun pop songs (just for example Portugal was 6th on Televote in Semi1 but somewhere close to the end with Juries). Broadcasters will watch these results and I don’t want a snoozefest next year. Ukraine and Denmark are the only faster songs in the top10 for example.

    I will agree that the ballads were stronger this year but still, I will never understand how 5 people can destroy a voting from 100’s/1000’s of voters that actually pay when the jury can just put a song dead last (like UK did with Poland).

    • Basically, juries have got to go because they affect the results? Some entries would have finished higher without them, and others lower?

      • Alen

        No, because they seem to kill the same type of songs lately (Portugal, Poland & Greece for an example this year).

        I still think the Contest should also deliver a variety but I can see countries choosing safer songs now just to score higher.

        I guess the jury ranking now full to last place instead of just putting their top10 is the a problem for the “fun” songs now.

    • Boki

      I think the fact here is that juries have too much power now with the new system, so fun songs are endangered species.

      One could argue that the televoters are given the same amount of power to kill “boring safe jury friendly songs”. That’s true but there are increasingly many of them so televoter aim is less effective.

      The new system is doing exactly what it meant to do, west is happy with it, east not really. What’s bad for the viewers is the snoozefest the esc is becoming.

  • Montell

    Daniel, thank you for all the hard work this year. I haven’t made profit like I did last year but at least it was fun job to analyze Eurovision this year. To it was the most unpredictable Eurovision I remember. Just like every year there’s something new to learn. Daniel, could tell what were you most profitable bets this year?

    • Daniel

      Thanks Montell. This was the year I took to trading the market (betting on stuff that will come down in price so you can hedge later if you feel like it) rather than just betting on stuff because I thought it would happen, and I was very fortunate here.

      I wrote an article on market springers a month ago and Austria was the obvious trade. So I took big prices then, and ended up never hedging out. Otherwise, I backed Netherlands in as many markets I could find after the first rehearsal. In the semi-finals, the Belarus Q, Ireland NQ and Israel NQ all served me well, and in the final, the France last place as well as some top ten bankers (Ukraine, Armenia).

      I should also mention my biggest losing bets. Lithuania Q was the heaviest in the semis, laying Sweden in the top three market cost me in the final, as well as some top 10 losers such as Greece and the UK.

      I would have suffered a bigger loss than those had Romania stayed in the top ten, but the blessed last country to announce pushed Ovi & Paula down to 12th, on which I can only say: sLOVEnia.

      • Sounds like our portfolios were similar in a lot of ways. Happy to hear you shared my opinion on Armenia top10 as an overpriced banker – although I must admit that I got slightly worried after the sub-par performance.

        Also I acknowledge how lucky I got when Romania were pushed out of the top10. Had big bets both laying top10 and backing a 11-20th finish, and am still baffled by the fact that they were so close.

      • John G

        I ljubav sLOVEnia after last night too. My Spain top 10 was a cliffhanger all evening. I’m also glad of a cheeky ew bet on Austria when they were 40/1.

        Still, as another poster has said, message of this year might be ‘probably don’t back the big 6’ on big money.

        By the way, the Armenian and Azeri jury votes are shockingly blatant. Each other last, then their rivals in the betting at the bottom, then top marks to their buddies. Not even trying to hide it, – very lucky not to get penalised this year. I’d say they may if it happens again. The Georgian jury ban is a good sign for that at least.

  • Kelly Ann

    My biggest frustration last night is that Finland just missed out on top 10 (which I’d bet on them to do)! I knew all along it was simply too strong a song to end up in the second half of the scoreboard, if only it had just got a few more votes!

  • Daniel, thanks for the tip of France as last-place finisher! Duly took it, and cashed. Cheers!

  • Daniel

    Thanks, squall. I do enjoy the last place market and have got lucky with it over the years.

  • Chatterbox5200

    I made a point on the previous thread about the case for including the Big 5 and Host Country in the semi-finals. It would appear that being in the semi-final gives an act an advantage – Austria and The Netherlands both won their respective semi-final.

    Admittedly, there are other factors such as the performance itself (song/performer/staging), running order, etc. However, viewers get the chance to see/hear the song before the final and therefore an opportunity to identify their favourites that they will vote for in the final, much like X Factor or BGT, where viewers have their preferences but may not pick up the phone until the final.

    It also gives the song an opportunity to build momentum. The Netherlands may be a case in point. Not many people were talking about them before their semi-final, but afterwards, interest in them increased considerably both on iTunes and in the betting markets.

    Since the introduction of the 2 x semi-final format for the 2008 contest, the only act to win that have qualified automatically, was Germany in 2010 (Lena). They are also the only Big 5 winner since the concept of the Big 4/5 was introduced in 2000.

    It might sound obvious, but the position achieved in the semi-final, appears to have a direct correlation to the position in the final.

    2014: Winner – Austria won their semi-final; Runner Up – The Netherlands won their semi-final 2013: Winner – Demark won their semi-final; Runner Up – Azerbaijan won their semi-final
    2012: Winner – Sweden won their semi-final; Runner Up – Russia won their semi-final
    2011: Winner – Azerbaijan finished 2nd in their semi-final; Runner Up – Italy (Big 5)
    (3rd place in the final went to Sweden, who won their semi-final)
    2010: Winner – Germany (Big 5); Runner Up – Turkey won their semi-final
    2009: Winner – Norway won their semi-final; Runner Up – Iceland won their semi-final
    2008: Winner – Russia finished 3rd in semi-final; Runner Up – Ukraine won their semi-final
    (Greece and Armenia, who came 1st & 2nd in Russia’s semi-final, finished in 3rd & 4th place in the final)

    Between 2004 and 2008 there was only one semi-final, with the Big 5 and the Top 10 in the previous year’s competition automatically qualifying for the final. However, there still appears to provide an advantage in the final.

    2007: Winner – Serbia won the semi-final; Runner Up – Ukraine (Qualifier)
    2006: Winner – Finalnd won the semi-final; Runner Up – Russia were 3rd in the semi-final
    (Bosnia & Herzegovina, who came 2nd in the semi-final, finished 3rd in the final)
    2005: Winner – Greece (Qualifier); Runner Up – Malta (Qualifier)
    (Romania, who won the semi-final, finished 3rd in the final)
    2004: Winner – Ukraine came 2nd in the semi-final; Runner Up – Serbia & Montenegro won the semi-final

    Looking at the results this year, Spain finished as the highest placed Big 5 act in 10th place, with the UK the next best placed at 17th, which could go to support the fact that a lack of momentum affected their final position, although France and Germany were always going to score badly. As previously stated, many other factors would also contributed to poor results for the Big 5, such as song choice, running order, staging, political voting/voting for your neighbours, sending Englebert Humperdinck, the belief that everyone hates the UK and won’t vote for them, etc, etc.

    Even taking all these factors into consideration, the lack of a presence in the semi-final does seem to have a negative effect on the result in the final, as can be seen from the highest placing from the Big 5 (Big 4 in 2008 to 2010 inclusive as Italy did not participate) and hosts since the two semi-final format was introduced.

    2014 – 9th (Host – Denmark), 10th, 17th, 18th, 21st and 26th
    2013 – 7th, 14th (Host – Sweden), 19th, 21st, 23rd and 25th
    2012 – 4th (Host – Azerbaijan), 8th, 9th, 10th, 22nd and 25th
    2011* – 2nd, 10th(Host – Germany), 11th, 15th and 23rd
    2010* – 1st, 12th, 15th 20th (Host – Norway), 25th
    2009* – 5th, 8th, 11th (Host – Russia), 20th, and 25th
    2008* – 6th (Host – Serbia), 16th, 19th, 23rd and 25th

    *25 countries participated in the final

    In my opinion, there appears to be a clear advantage to performing in the semi-final, and The Big 5 should benefit from being included. It will give the act an opportunity to perform in front of the audience, and may even lead to a change in their own selection process, if a place in the final was not guaranteed. It could even increase the TV viewers for the semi-finals in those countries.

    If the EBU felt that The Big 5 and Hosts must be present in the final, to maintain financial support from them, they could consider allowing them to perform in the semi-final and provide a bye to the final (possibly performing once the phone lines are open, and stating they can’t be voted for, much as a country can’t vote for themselves).

    It’s something to think about……

    • Alen

      The big 5 (and Host country) are played with a short recap in the Semis though. I do think however that a performance once in one of the semi-finals would be nice I guess.

  • Chris Bellis

    Chatterbox
    Couldn’t agree more. Plus it would stop all the moaners on youtube going on about the automatic entry system being unfair. Speaking personally this year I have once again broken even, (no) thanks to betting on the big 5. If I’d left them alone I would be quids in. I did bet on knowledge obtained from live performances, but that’s not the same as basing it on semi-final performances where you can see what’s really going to happen.

  • Peter

    Hey Daniel, Thank you again for sharing all your Knowledge and Insights about Eurovision, i really find your comments to be the smartest and Most enjoyable to read (and recommend them to all my Friends). Also, Great to have you Meet Here in Copenhagen this Year, Looking fortward to Vienna 2015!

  • Boki

    Thanks again Daniel for all the coverage!

    My highlights this year were Conchita winning, Israel NQ, Ireland NQ, Russia top10, Spain top10 and Spain top big5. I always felt I should oppose Molly but got scared due to positive response from all so found Spain as most attractive bet at the prices if Molly slips (and she did).

    Unfortunately everything I touched in the 1st semi went wrong and suffered a huge loss there. Other big loss was Greece on many markets (top10, top3 semi etc.). But the most painful one was a huge lay of Norway top10, was too confident about that one.

  • Nice profit thanks to an insurance bet on Austria at 25/1.

  • Donald

    Lots to take in on reviewing the voting, it is a shame really that jury voting can have such an influence on where countries end up overall with their Eurovision campaign. after all their efforts especially when the public vote for them in large numbers.

    At least it is out in the open now, Interesting to see the jury individuals also and how they voted, especially label people and radio people. Previous participants, writers, seem to be reasonably fair within reason but obviously still kill off the chances of the likes of Poland and Greece entries this year.

    Great comments above re Ofcom etc,

    Was not a bad result for me, would have been so so much better if The Netherlands won but at least had a good go. Spain being top 10 made big difference to me.

    Thanks Daniel for great guidance all week and for tipping up France to be last.

    Will digest result a bit more next few weeks and look forward to reading reviews here also.

  • Ron

    HI DANIEL and others,

    Thanks a lot for all information you have given over the last weeks. Today I made a dataset for my own data-archive to do further data analysis in the future. (As a political scientist I have always been interested in the data of ESC, not only for the contest but also for detecting political and cultural patterns and shifts).
    I drafted full seperate scoreboards for Televoters and Juries. It might be interested to see what the results would have been based on just Juries or Televoters. I can hereby give you the results. The data contain some interesting information.
    – How did juries and televoters divide the 2146 points at stake?
    – Who were the jury or televoter magnets? Was it as predicted?
    – Did the (new) jury system have major impact? (this will need further analysis of the data, the aggregate results I present here do not give full insight)
    – who brought you profit or loss?
    – Did the juries appreciate Molly in the pimp slot more than the televoters?
    Please draw your own conclusions as there are to many to sum up briefly.
    Kind regards, Ron

    TELEVOTERS
    AUS 286
    NETH 216
    ARM 193
    SWE 186
    POL 162
    RUS 143
    SWI 114
    UKR 110
    ROM 107
    HUN 94
    GRE 65
    BLR 57
    DEN 49
    ICE 46
    SPA 41
    NOR 39
    FIN 39
    MON 35
    GER 31
    UK 29
    AZE 26
    ITA 22
    SM 20
    MAL 19
    SLO 15
    FRA 2

    JURIES
    AUS 220
    SWE 200
    NETH 193
    HUN 138
    ARM 121
    MAL 119
    FIN 114
    AZE 108
    NOR 104
    DEN 85
    SPA 82
    UKR 78
    RUS 70
    GER 61
    ICE 59
    BLR 54
    ROM 51
    UK 51
    MON 48
    GRE 47
    ITA 37
    SWI 31
    SM 26
    POL 23
    SLO 21
    FRA 5

    note: for countries with either a single televote or jury result (ALB, GEO, SM) this score has been used in both counts. The data have not yet been checked on (small) errors.

  • Ron

    For those who don’t like the new jury system:
    At this moment I have no time to calculate the exact effect on final outcome compared to last years voting rules. I’m pretty sure however a VERY accurate estimate can easily be obtained from adding up the points juries and televoters would have given to each of the songs (from the database I described in my previous reply) and divide them by 2. This results in the following outcome (songs ranked to number of point and followed by the number of places they would end up higher or lower in the ranking compared to the official result):
    AUS 0
    NETH 0
    SWE 0
    ARM 0
    HUN 0
    RUS 1
    UKR -1
    POL 6
    ROM 3
    FIN 1
    SWI 2
    NOR -4
    MAL 10
    AZE 8
    DEN -6
    SPA -6
    GRE 3
    BLR -2
    ICE -4
    GER -2
    MON -2
    UK -5
    ITA -2
    SM 0
    SLO 0
    FRA 0

    Malta, Azerbijan and Poland were the main victims of the new system while Denmark, Spain, UK, Iceland and Norway benefitted the most from the change of rules. Please decide for yourself if this is fair or not.

  • Ron

    My own conclusion: though the top and bottom are not effected, in mid-range the new system is a disadvantage for cheap effect (soft-porn), the influence of diaspora or bloc-voting and benefits songs with better quality. Please keep these rules so ESC might become more of a SONG-contest.

  • I’ve offered some insight at http://djjamesmartin.wordpress.com/ – be warned that I don’t hold back!

    • TimC

      Personally, both myself and my partner disliked the UK entry this year as much as every other year recently, and I was not at all surprised at its performance. But regardless of this, I loved your blog entry, I was laughing out loud as I was reading it. Nicely written. 🙂

    • Ron

      djjamesmartin, same reaction the general public in the Netherlands had in the last decennium when one song father another did not qualify for the final, while at the same time they all song flopped in the Dutch charts. Am I corrected Molly peaked in the UK singles chart on 33? Don’t complain Europe does not like a song even the Brits don’t buy. Try another approach: beg Coldplay, Adele or any of many British star to bring home the glory and give them all freedom to do so.
      The dutch have done just that. Allready the media discuss which act could bring back the title for us next year. One of the names mentioned is Mr Probz (isn’t he 1 in the UK charts at this moment?), but there are many more who could do the job. This will bring more succes than blaming others hating the UK since there is absolutely no ground for that. I’m sure many would wish you succes, as I do.

      • I’d love to send Adele. But the terrible perception of Eurovision in the UK means it is impossible.

        • CommanderKeen

          But if UK keeps sending crap -> perception will stay terrible -> UK will keep sending crap. Somehow this circle has to be broken. The Netherlands did that by sending Anouk in 2013. But then again, Anouk didn’t care a flying fig about popular opinion and just wanted do ESC once for fun. Austria managed to find a gem for Conchita, Germany struck gold when they found Lena. So, it can be done. It’s a shame that the UK, the leading nation when it comes to European pop music, hasn’t done better in the Eurovision and doesn’t seem to care much either. Why can’t the UK send bands like Clean Bandit or London Grammar? Surely, someone, somewhere must be interested in participating?

  • jim

    thanks for excellent analyse Ron!

  • jim

    and btw djjjamesmartin, i think you speak very disrespectful of Conchita, calling him an “it”. Also saying it’s a gimmick you don’t seem to understand what it’s all about. Everyone must have an opinion, but do it in a respectful way. thanks

  • Montell

    “From a betting point-of-view, this was the third year in a row that the top three in the betting filled the first three places. The market was once again remarkably accurate by kick-off.”

    I have a feeling the will happen next year and the year after that. Now that jury names are public it’s not very difficult to find out who jury favourites were after the semi finals. You just ask them. I think this is how bookmakers might be working nowadays because the market was too accurate. All this means that it’s better to place bets before semifinals because at that moment there’s most value.

  • Montell

    Daniel, I noticed that there is no review article of Austria’s song. Haven’t you considered it was a contender when the song was selected?

    • Daniel

      Hi Montell, bookmakers odds largely dictate my reviews – those near the top get the treatment. The Austrian song was one of the last to be revealed and Conchita remained a rank outsider at the time. I certainly didn’t consider it a contender for victory at that point – I don’t think anyone else did back then.

  • Boki

    A question for all the lovers of the new system: was Aram so bad that he deserved to be 15th in his semi and 25th in the final? Belgium jury certainly was certainly thinking that. Same goes for Conchita in Armenia etc. It seems that some juries used their maximum power as an excuse for e.g. suppressing the diaspora votes without concern that the song actually had some quality in it.

    • Ron

      The new system brought him the same place the old would have, the juries overall placed him only two places lower compared to televoters (probably due to diaspora votes). I would accept a voting system in which off key singing the first half off the song brings greater punishment by professional juries. Stating the Belgium jury wanted to suppress diaspora votes lacks any proof.

      • Boki

        I’m not saying he would be placed much higher overall (it was just an example since many juries rated him fairer) but the fact is that some juries take too much liberty of punishing songs for some reason and the reasons are various (diaspora, homophobia, cheapness etc.).

        If you really think Belgium jury didn’t want to suppress diaspora then Armenian jury is not homophobic and UK jury didn’t really want to punish Polish soft-porn-cheapness, they only didn’t like the songs (all 5 members unanimously).

        • The Armenian jury wasn’t so much homophobic as it was desperately trying to shove any and all possible rivals to Aram Mp3 into the lowest ranks possible – not just Austria, but Hungary, Sweden etc., the sole exception being the Netherlands, who only joined the ranks of the favourites relatively late. And, of course, Azerbaijan, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish. (I do think it somewhat funny that the Armenian and Azerbaijani juries agreed on putting Austria second last.)

    • TimC

      Different situations those two, with different reasons.

      Regarding Aram, I can tell you the perspective of a couple of Armenians. I’m English, but I watched the show with my Armenian girlfriend. I like the Armenian track personally (more than she does, actually), but he was so out of tune at the start, it wasn’t good. My partner visibly winced he was so bad, she said she actually felt embarassed. But she still voted for him anyway! (My experience is that Armenians do like to support eachother, a lot more than we Brits do thats for sure). I spoke to her sister this evening, and she is a trained singer herself. She said he performed very poorly, sounded out of tune and overly nervous, and she was not surprised Armenia faired less well than some expected. I know, just two random opinions as far as you are concerned, but it does express some kind of answer. There is a large Armenian diaspora in Belgium as well.

      The issue with the bearded one is another one entirely. My theory is, that the western juries were overly swayed by a need to appear politically correct, and overrated this track massively, on purpose, despite it being mediocre in every sense other than the obvious gimmick. By contrast, some of the eastern juries felt the opposite pressure, and probably underrated it, again on purpose. Just my opinion, of course, but remember that Armenia was one of the countries where there was criticism of the Austrian entry even being allowed to compete.

      • CommanderKeen

        A week ago many thought Conchita couldn’t win because there would be no support from Eastern Europe (even though Ukraine sent in drag queen Verka Serduchka in 2007, which came in 2nd place, so that was a dumb thought to begin with). Now that Conchita has actually won, it is because the West wanted to make a political statement? Don’t buy into that kind of nonsense. If anyone wanted to make a direct political statement, they would have voted Ukraine. Austria won this ESC because it had the best song and the whole package made sense, and yes that includes Tom Neuwirth’s backstory, but Conchita Wurst wouldn’t have won this ESC with “Quero Ser Tua” (although it might have won with “Undo”).

        • TimC

          CommanderKeen, it is may view that many under-estimate the political pressures under which media outlets the world over operate under (and, consequently, the types of and attitudes of people who do well in such roles). In the USA, the polarization (and the whole slant of the “news”) is changed completely by the political slant held by the channel concerned. In the eastern parts of Europe, it is the the reverse, and the media agencies tend to a greater or lesser extent to want to back up their government’s views and suppress to varying extents viewpoints their governments might not like. In some cases, all these things will be deliberate, in others, they will just be caused by those kinds of roles appealing more to the people who hold the “correct” views in each case.

          Any suggestion that such types of inbuilt bias only exist in other countries would be deluding oneself, I suggest. Here in the UK, the BBC is regularly accused of political correctness excesses and a “liberal” bias, and I do not mean just by UKIP politicians, I mean by ordinary folks. Look in this weeks papers for some recent examples.

          I am not saying Austria would not have won anyway, it might, because the public, east and west, bought into the gimmick and the story of the act, reflected by the huge televote (that I definitely did not predict). However, on this site and elsewhere, commentators, pundits and assessors all under-estimated Austria, mostly we just didn’t think it would win. Why? Because the song/vocals are just not THAT good, and the view was the juries would bury it to some extent. But that did not happen. Why was that?

          Ignoring the fact that the western juries tended to give this very derivative and dated song with an obvious gimmick exceedingly high rankings and the eastern juries tended to give it exceedingly low ones, does suggest a some kind of bias, in both cases, to me at least. Not necessarily a deliberate one, in the direct sense.

          Now the fact that you may ‘not buy into this nonsense’ as you put it is fine, sir, every opinion is equal. But personally I believe these kinds of things have an influence in competitions like Eurovision.

        • Chris Bellis

          I “kind of think” that they over-estimate the political knowledge of the voting public or the juries for that matter. Otherwise why give a protest vote to a pro-Russian Ukrainian and support an Austrian entry on the basis that all East Europeans are homophobic? Makes no sense – especially as we’ve had several LGBT acts in the top ten over the many years I’ve been watching Eurovision, some of them from Eastern Europe.

      • Boki

        He was out of tune in the final indeed, much less in the semi. But that means nothing for the jury vote which happened on Friday jury rehearsal and based on reports from that evening he was ok (from escxtra: Aram is once again very powerful vocally, not missing a single tune. Well done, Armenia!)

        • TimC

          Yes, not as badly as in the final, but sadly he was also out of tune at the start in the semi. I cannot comment on the jury final as I haven’t seen that. The fan sites tend to be very positive (about everyone), so sure I would take their word for it. Perhaps ask Daniel what he thought about the jury final? His tweet at the time for Armenia was “Aram takes a while to get going but it’s a very powerful final minute”.

  • Jess

    Thanks Daniel for your analysis and comments this year. From an audience entertainment perspective I thought it was a much better year than 2013, given there was no clear favourite at the start of the competition.

    Just a few bets this year for me. Didn’t break even but I was pleased to get Israel NQ and Hungary top 5. I was also happy to see my initial thoughts on the songs (http://sofabet.com/2014/04/30/eurovision-2014-april-30-rehearsals/comment-page-1/#comment-37423) weren’t too far off the results, getting 6 of the top 10 (Austria, Spain, Hungary, Norway, Ukraine and Sweden). Just a shame I didn’t back them at that point!

    Can’t quite believe how massively the UK flopped. I think I got caught up in the fact that we were submitting a credible song for once. Let’s hope the BBC continue to do so!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Missed watching the last half dozen acts and the points declarations on Saturday night.

    Gutted and gob-smacked when I discovered the UK’s finishing position.

    Lost heavily and on reflection have reached the following conclusions.

    I’m more skilful at writing arguments and cases than at evaluating the information that leads to them. I’m better at writing than evaluating. A dangerous and expensive combination!

    Me reckons it’s time to take a break from betting and have a rethink about the effect of composition and writing on betting choices and behaviour.

    Maybe it’s not the strength of your argument that counts so much as it is the strength of your counter argument? ‘To my mind the Zeitgeist is a will-o’-the-wisp, who misleads us at least as much as he enlightens.’

    Well done to anyone in the SB community who turned a profit and / or who picked out Austria and Conchita as the winner.

    Quick commiserations for the French, finishing last with their fun, enjoyable tune.

    • eurovicious

      Hi Guildo, this was like me last year – don’t beat yourself up too much, hardly anyone saw the UK doing so badly. Ultimately I think it didn’t stand out enough and she looked a bit scary at times. Plus anecdotally I’ve heard of people saying “This is the winner” after Conchita came on, as well as after the Netherlands came on. Once people have made their mind up (*rips off velcro trousers*), the UK could easy have come over as irrelevant/an afterthought in the sort of way that Georgia did last year. Conchita was the strongest meme and Molly’s meme wasn’t strong or clear enough. (What do the verses mean? What does “we’re children of the universe” mean, what does “power to the people” mean?). I really thought it’d do super-well – watching it back now I’m still amazed it did as badly as it did – but I think not only were the songwriters cynical in how they wrote it (try and appeal to everyone and you end up having no brand, no clarity of message, just a diffuse feel-good anthem to no-one in particular about nothing in particular), I and others were also cynical (hey, when am I not cynical?) about thinking it’d win. It’s true that none of the top 5 fitted the non-threatening boy/MPDG template, which is really heartening and a break from the past 5 years, but they were all strong audiovisual memes. Rise Like A Phoenix wouldn’t have won performed by Sanna or Axel, the Netherlands wouldn’t have won performed like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymED0gRXdk4, Not Alone wouldn’t have come 4th performed by Jari Sillanpää, etc etc. – I’m getting silly now but the point is they all have a really strong message that comes through very clearly, and which didn’t in the case of UK, Greece, France etc. “It’s the performer’s perceived personality that sells or kills the meme” – and this worked for Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, Armenia and Hungary but didn’t for Molly (frosty mannerism, unclear message), Greece (they just wanna party) and France (I love it but the viewer reaction was obviously “?”). Poland also sold a strong brand/set of values flawlessly but juries killed it.

      • Montell

        eurovicious, how was this year for you from the betting perspective. You had great success predicting semi finals. Was this Eurovision profitable for you?

        • eurovicious

          Hi Montell, thanks, I mostly sat it out. I made a 25% return on the first semi like last year, but because I only had €200 on and not €3000, that was €50 :). I sat out SF2 (where I predicted all 10) entirely (now that’s karma), and in the final my only bet was on a UK win which I lost. How was it for you?

          • Montell

            I started in winter betting on Vilija to win Lithuania’s national final and I won almost €300. I thought to myself this is a good start of my Eurovision journey 🙂 And it was very good until the grand final. I won some in semi final 1 and even more in semi final 2 by predicting 9 qualifiers correct. Then as most of us I believed in the UK chances and got burned. I was laying Austria a lot and and placed some reckless “X country beats Y country” bets just before the final. Basically I lost everything that I earned in Lithuania’s NF and Eurovision semi finals but I take this as good lesson for next year.

            This is what I’ve learned:
            When accessing songs I shouldn’t let other people’s opinions outweigh my own opinion. Try not to be a victim of group think;
            I think I should place most bets before semi finals and less before final. The market is too accurate before final;
            I realised that Big 5 has disadvantage to perform only once. People (and jury) have their favourites after the semi finals already so it’s more difficult for Big 5 to expect good results;
            The jury votes for their neighbours as much as televoters (in SF1 Azerbaijan jury gave Sweden 14th place, Russia 1st place. Unfair).
            Diaspora voting is stronger in the final rather than semi finals.
            In SF 4 out of last 6 qualifies almost every year;
            In SF 1 out first 3 fails to qualify almost every year;
            Try to recognise fanwank song and lay it. There’s always at least one every year. I recognised that it was Israel this year.

            I’m looking forward to Eurovision in Austria and hoping to see you all here at sofabet next spring 🙂

          • eurovicious

            This is SO much like me last year, I got overconfident, not cautious enough, and too sure of my own convictions. And (three years on the trot) I’m much better than predicting semis than the final. I’ve never lost on a semi.

      • Just to make it clear though, Children of the Universe was not actually a cold, calculated BBC song. Molly herself wrote it, and she has made no secret of the fact that she wrote it first and foremost for the sake of her own artistry, with live performance in mind. It wasn’t deliberately trying to address everyone and ending up impressing nobody, it was 100% genuine. I don’t think there’s been any confusion over what her lyrics mean either, they are pretty clear. I think it’s just a case of us falling at the last hurdle. The vocals were critically missing the reverb to give it the necessary oomph, and Molly’s nerves got the better of her, (a real shame considering how good she sounded in the jury final.) All in all, I just think that Molly herself and the staging did not completely communicate what the song was about, but it was definitely heading in the right direction.

        As for France, the perceived personality absolutely killed it. The awful thing is – they killed it before the first verse even began.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjkqciwP034

        Tres tres uncool Twin Twin.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Cheers ev,

        Think I’ve learnt a lot about what to look for in Eurovision. Or I think I have! Maybe not.

        In future I think I may restrict myself to providing the counter-arguments to pro-pieces. Switch to that tack. Or maybe just read other’s thoughts and silently evaluate them. I can see an advantage or two in the active reader approach.

        .

  • George

    Question to anyone who had seen the rehearsals – did Molly perform it on Saturday in the same way she had always done? Everyone who had seen it in the press centre praised it to the skies, but on the night the resounding reaction was “meh”…

    People were even raving over her peformance in the jury final but she only came 16th with them. What went wrong?

    • squall

      The jury scoring is especially interesting considering that she more or less owned the Eurojury poll.

      At least this can put to rest any conspiracy theories on jury members getting secret instructions on certain entries to treat favorably.

      • Dash Berlin

        The performance of the UK is the most puzzling for me, especially from Juries. For example,
        Austrias 5 jurists –
        1st, 24th, 12th, 24th, 18th

        So 1 of them thought it was the best, 2 of them placed it 3rd to last?
        It didn’t do too bad on the Easts jurys, but nobody seemed inclined to vote for it.

        Also, Montenegros jury was clearly fixed

  • Ron

    George, in psychology they call this group think. Once a collective opinion grows, objectivity is lost and opposing opinions (you’ll find many here on this site over the last few days from people outside the UK, just look for them) are no longer taken seriously or seen as ‘result oriented reasoning.’ Thats why I only look for opinions of foreign source to get an idea of a songs strenght.

  • Scott

    My takeaways from this year’s contest – and I’d be interested in the opinions of those who have done this before:

    * Follow trusted tipsters, but don’t bet too much too early: basically I lobbed a lot of money on Hungary very early doors. Hungary came recommended by people I trust and still do, and I remain convinced it was still a good shout. With the right staging and without the strong competition of Conchita’s narrative it could have become the story of the night (worthy song about horrendous topic presented in an accessible way which didn’t alienate those just looking for a music contest). Putting down something like £10 would have made me a lot of money had it come in. Instead, even as I was getting less confident I saw the staging – hilariously wrong for trying to sell such a difficult topic to an audience looking for fun – I put too much money on other bets to try to cover me, leading to me then putting more money on Hungary to ensure I made a profit if that happened. The tactics were a shambles. Basically – get an early tip, go low on that and see how it develops. The odds will be so high you’ll be in line to make a fortune if it comes in.
    * Follow your hunch – Slightly before and right after Conchita’s semi-final I began to get Dana International vibes and put down £2 at huge odds. Had I gone in with a three-pronged approach – £10 on two tips, £10 on my own – I’d have made a huge profit. Instead I didn’t quite trust myself enough.
    * Make money on the semis – less people watch them and the market isn’t as accurate at that stage. At this point I have to thank the likes of Daniel and Cherry Analysts for sorting me out on these and confirming my feeling that Ireland were definitely screwed and Slovenia had a very good chance of getting through.
    * Follow the best narrative – Conchita was the winner as she had the best story. It was a good song brilliantly performed, but it had a subliminal X Factor-style narrative behind it all – it wasn’t pushed down your throat with a VT, but the lyrics, styling, staging and crowd combined to win over the audience. The semis are really good for getting a feel for this. In other years the Netherlands could have been the alternative ‘has Eurovision gone serious?’ narrative, Sweden could have been the ‘after so many attempts she’s finally done it’, Hungary could have been bringing a serious issue to a mainstream audience.
    * Avoid the big five – you don’t get to see them in advance, so you can’t see how a crowd react to them. Their value is always bad, especially when the UK crowd charge in and get patriotic (to be fair, I did make some money out of poor Paddy Power by doing the reverse and betting against Ireland) and there’s no chance for them to build up a following during the semi. These countries are now at a huge disadvantage.

    End of the day, lessons learned and I broke even, so I can’t complain too much.

  • sonovox

    SF1 wasn’t kind to me, to put it mildly, but I clawed back most of it on Belarus’s Q and the top 10 finals market, where I had both Russia (thankfully stayed strong there) and Ukraine.

    I’m amused by how amazingly wrong I was about the performance of Austria, and am massively glad I had it firmly in the category of songs too risky to invest in either way, since I would have been a layer. Happy enough to see it win, though I think it was far from the best song, and very happy to see Netherlands in 2nd – liked it from day one, and the staging was magic, though of course like everyone else I was nonplussed by the chart-storming post-semi.

    Bit sad for Molly; I think she deserved better. In the end it looked like a plea for empathy rather than articulating an actual audience connection though.

    I think 2014 has been good for contest credibility overall. Bring on the next one.

  • Montell

    I think semi finals are more predictable because there are less songs there comparing the final. It easier for jury, televoters and punters to rank all the songs correctly. In the final there are many songs. Most songs are relatively equal to one another therefore jury and televoters results across the Europe are very different. There’s more randomness in the final, more factors come into play.

  • Something to consider with Conchita. One of the arguments against her winning was that viewers would find the sight of a bearded lady surprising and feel uncomfortable.

    But not only did Conchita do a ton of PR around Europe in the weeks leading up to the contest, the story of conservative Eastern European calling for her performance to be blocked became an international news story.

    So even if viewers weren’t familiar with her song, they perhaps already had a passing awareness of the Austrian bearded lady and were able to judge her performance without being distracted so much by the “lady with a beard!!!” novelty.

  • Chris Bellis

    The lesson for me is to take opinions on this site and others with a bucketful of salt. If I had not bet EW on Sanna early on at 7/1 (third hearing) I would be nursing losses now and not a healthy profit. Against advice here and elsewhere. As I said earlier, the other lesson is to leave the big five alone – you don’t get enough chance to hear how resistant to nerves etc they are. The semi-finals give you the chance to evaluate the songs and performances in real world situations.

    • Scott

      You should always take advice on betting sites with a pinch of sites. We’re all just typing away here trying to come to conclusions on a massive jigsaw puzzle.

      It was a very good call on Sanna – for me that song didn’t work until I saw it in the semis, when the yodelling aspect seemed to have become less jarring and it had more impact. Unfortunately the odds had fallen off a cliff by that point. Thankfully Conchita was my back-up when the ones I expected to do well (Hungary and the UK) failed me.

      Robyn makes some very good points about Conchita. I’d argue that Conchita was the exception that proves the rule to Daniel’s heteronormal theory.

      Some other points to consider:
      * For those who saw the pre-publicity, they were slowly being drawn into Conchita’s story. He came across really well in interviews and got people who may otherwise have listened with prejudice used to him.
      * For those just watching on the night with a beer, who won’t have seen the pre-publicity, who won’t be paying attention to the postcard thing beforehand, the slow reveal was genius. The casual listener had 45 seconds to get used to an old-fashioned Bond-style song song really well before having to confront their prejudices. By that point, many may have been shocked, but would already have bought into the song.
      * Would that song, if it was performed by an average blonde girl from Sweden, have won Eurovision? I doubt it. It was all about the full package. About Conchita’s story and determination which tied in nicely, It was an exceptional package in a year when there wasn’t a Euphoria, a clear-cut stand-out song, and a year when most of Europe wanted to stick it to Russia.
      * The Dana International principle/X Factor principles – if the narrative is there and the package is perfect, it can override people’s prejudices.

      Final thought – I’ll definitely be paying a lot more attention to the semi-finals next year, as they give a clear-cut preview of what’s going to happen in the final. Imagine if The X Factor showed you exactly how the staging was going to be at the weekend…

  • eurovicious

    A worthwhile read on the geopolitics of this year’s Eurovision by one of my favourite bloggers: http://dev.null.org/blog/archive/2014/05/11#0307_geopolitics_conchita

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