Eurovision 2015: Mar 14 Update

If the bookmakers and pundits are right, tonight’s Swedish final will be an evening-long coronation for Mans Zelmerlow. I can’t argue with the polls and stats which suggest as much. ‘Heroes‘ promises to be a fan favourite and box-ticking front-runner in Vienna if selected, and Sweden’s Betfair odds have been contracting significantly this week as a result. I doubt there’ll be any significant difference from the utterly professional and polished routine we saw in the semi-final.

In the circumstances, it should be far more informative to focus on the Norwegian final tonight, whose songs we haven’t yet seen performed live. Current favourites Morland & Debrah Scarlett with the classy ‘A Monster Like Me‘ have fallen a little under the radar since the initial excitement of the song reveal. It’ll be interesting to see if a decent performance and possible victory tonight will change that.

The winning televote percentages in both events are something I’ll be looking out for after the results are called. Both shows should offer some slick entertainment; take your pick of the usually reliable webcasts from Sweden at 19:00GMT or Norway at 19:25GMT.

It’s been a busy week of heated debate over the most recent national selections. Let’s start with the UK, because the charleston-swing of ‘Still In Love With You’ caused an immediate backlash as it aired, which was then beaten back by a strong defence in our comments section. I went through some of those emotions myself: initial bewilderment at what sounded like a new theme tune for Strictly Come Dancing; followed by the realisation that despite a poor structure that seemed to offer little in the way of a chorus, the verse was at least an earworm, and it did bring something different to the table.

As the dust has settled, I can only offer the conclusion that this is incredibly dependent on staging and performance. There are plenty of reasons for pessimism: the singers are unknown and untested; the BBC doesn’t have a fine history of ingenious staging; and the swing genre has a poor record in recent Eurovisions – Germany tried variations on it in 2007 and 2009. But I’m not carving ‘RIP Electro Velvet’ on the gravestone until I’ve seen it in rehearsals.

Elsewhere, the Czech Republic and Poland revealed songs that sounded like plenty of others already selected, which is not to their advantage; I think Armenia’s ‘Don’t Deny’ is every bit the mess that bringing six strangers from different continents together suggested it would be; Portugal continued to showcase its ability to choose something pretty hopeless in terms of getting anywhere on a Eurovision scoreboard; and Israel’s ethnopop ‘Golden Boy’ at least brings the fun, but is incredibly lightweight with car-crash potential in the hands of its inexperienced performer.

I think the Romanian and Austrian selections are a cut above these – solid songs with some sense of a USP. Voltaj offer something more jury-pleasing than Romania’s recent entries, whilst hosts Austria have done their duty in selecting something respectable from The Makemakes that probably won’t see them having to host again. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both hovering at the fringes of the top ten on the night of the final.

In my opinion, Belgium’s ‘Rhythm Inside’ – a Lorde-meets-Timberlake number sold by fresh-faced Loic Nottet – was the most intriguing selection of the week, and of the season so far. The main argument against its chances is that it’s too cool for school by Eurovision standards, and doesn’t offer a mainstream experience exemplified by winners such as ‘Only Teardrops’.

Even so, I think ‘Rhythm Inside’ has enormous potential if the staging and performance come together. Structurally it’s what you would want from a Eurovision song, it’s the production that’s distinctive. It’s interesting and contemporary enough to have its own life on the radio or MTV. That in itself means it should be respected, at least until we see how it comes across in rehearsals.

By next Saturday night, we will know the full set of this year’s songs. Do let us know your continuing thoughts below.

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100 comments to Eurovision 2015: Mar 14 Update

  • Hello. How I can watch Melodifestivalen? There will be online broadcast? Thanks.

  • Expecting Sweden odds to drop after Mans wins Melodifestivalen. Sweden odds may drop even more!

  • Pizza tonight, anyone? 😉
    #TeamPizza

    • Squall

      You’ve backed the pizza? I personally don’t think they can pull it off, but will suffer the same fate as plumbo a few years ago.. they also had hundreds of thousand YouTube views, but finished a disappointing fourth against very weak competition. It seems the so called “Harrys” are not really watching MGP.

      • A little bit, yes. I’ve got three greens in Norway, but because I’m so focussed on Melfest, I’m barely playing MGP at all. I’d like the pizza to win though because it would help my large greens on other countries.

  • chewy wesker

    I’m sure Mans Zelmerlow will pull if off tonight, “Heroes” does pack some punch and has enough lift in it to challenge for favourite in Eurovision this year. I’m not overly keen on the projections in the background and flashing all around him however. But I do think “Heroes” will have a much wider appeal than “Good bye to yesterday” and although Estonia is one of my personal favourite songs this year, I think Sweden will get the televote over them. Norway’s “A monster like me” is a little dull and just like last years Carl Espen and “Silent Storm” I think it may well lose momentum in the coming weeks and I expect a drift on Norway’s price if this song is selected tonight. I’m also not overly keen on Belgium’s song too “Rhythm Inside” Now I’m sure staging will come over very well with this track, and I’m understanding that Loic Nottet has all the dance moves and I have no doubt his youthful good looks will have the young girls of the Twilight generation picking up their phones to vote for him, but I think the song isn’t all that. If there is one song that is getting me thinking on a possible winner this year, then I’d have to say that Slovenia, with “Here for you” lead singer Marjetka has a lot of star quality, I really do love her look with the headphones and the vintage wedding dress it ticks so many boxes in my book and at 14 on betfair for the win it is generous price, if you don’t think the opera pop of Italy or the punk rock of Finland are in contention, I eagerly wait for Azerbaijan and Australia for their releases, hopefully they can shake things up a bit, in what I think is a pretty weak year…..(so far)

    • Henry VIII

      Chewy you don’t like the projections? They’re what make it and what makes Heroes a contender. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were lots of projections next year until they become old hat.

      • chewy wesker

        The projections on “Heroes” are OK I’m sure lot’s of people will love them, I just have seen this much better done, that’s all. Where they spray a fine mist onto the stage and then the lights and lasers are projection on to the mist giving a more 3D effect.

  • Chris Bellis

    Chewy
    Agree about Slovenia and have put my money where my mouth is so to speak, not long after I first saw it. I was amazed to see so much support for the UK entry from seasoned contributors to this forum. Even in the video you can see it won’t cut the mustard. However my usually accurate reference (non Eurovision fan) voters in my family like both, unfortunately, so I’m on my own.

  • Tim B

    Fantastic, Norway’s struggle in choosing its own song means that it has no chance at winning eurovision, especially in its current form.

  • I feel like if “Miracle” last year had the same staging as Heroes, everyone would be saying the same things.

  • Boki

    Interesting stats from MF last 5 years, Mans looks even better than Loreen in 2012. Yes, I know that the comments will follow about weak competition this year but still tremendous result.

    juries average public vote esc
    2010 4.66 20.1% NQ
    2011 7.36 23.70% 3rd
    2012 10.36 32.70% 1st
    2013 8.27 15.80% 14th
    2014 11.09 25.80% 3rd
    2015 11.09 35.10% ?

  • dicksbits

    Just out of interest, can anyone remember the years Sweden has started as the favourite? I can remember as far back as 1996 when they were, and priced at 2/1 on the day of the contest (Norway won of course). Loreen?

  • PurpleKylie

    I had a great time at MGP, so happy me faves won! I saw the dress rehearsal and was impressed by how simple yet wonderful their staging was, can’t wait to see it with a bigger production, I’m sure it’ll be another top 10 for Norway, maybe even top 5!

  • dicksbits

    I agree. Some have said Norway is dreary, but I think it’ll pick up jury love and end in the top 5-6 songs in the final.

  • Tim B

    Norway’s overall song quality is strong, like last year, but the staging makes it pretty dull imo. So many male and female duets. How will people pick between Norway and Estonia, for example? Neither of them have a USP.

  • Henry VIII

    Norway has 2 months to work on the staging.

    They don’t get as much help before their nationals as the Swedish acts, where Melodifestivalen is a huge production in its own right, the biggest program on Swedish TV, watched more than any other program in the year, including ESC itself.

    But now Monster Like Me has won in Norway they’re a commercial prospect as well as the national representative and will get all the help they need.

  • I don’t know but it’s the type of act that is the relevant thing for staging potential, ie a couple. Think Azerbaijan when they won in 2011 and Netherlands 2nd in 2014.

    In fact Monster tried to copy The Common Linnets’ single shot and their camera encircling but you could tell it was a hasty production. They weren’t even lit properly.

    • Boki

      I get what you mean but Azer/NL came to the rehearsals with something fresh and unseen. Based on historical evidence I doubt that Norway will change the staging concept, this is it, only it will be better produced. But you never know of course…

      • Henry VIII

        No, they had both been seen before and both came to rehearsals with something completely different to how they had performed it before.

  • Now I’ve herad Azerbaijan, Russia, Norway and Austria, I can’t help but thinking that songs like Sweden, Belgium, Slovenia and Latvia will stand out. To a lesser extend maybe Israel and Netherlands too.

    Why? The best entries so far are all slow-tempo entries or ballads (Azerbaijan, Austria, Italy, Spain, Romania). There are quite a few duets (Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, Czech Republic). And even camera-work seems to be inspired by last year’s TOP 3 (I could almost see Man’s pimples!).

  • Daniel

    A few reveals tonight. First up, it’s San Marino:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0SF3hs8MHkM

  • dicksbits

    I have a sneaky suspicion about Belgium. If they get the staging right it could easily be top 5

  • Daniel

    And in case you missed it earlier, here’s the Azerbaijan song:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RY1Y6dPX71I

  • From Russia With Love? Swedish Thunderballs! This makes me think Sweden will win it again this year.

  • I’ve been listening to the songs and watching the videos to see where there is value out there at current odds on Betfair. And I think it lies with Iceland. They’ve jetted the dancers and will instead bring in four backup vocalists including Hera Björk and Fridrik Dor (who was runner-up in Iceland). This should provide some sturdy vocal backing as Hera, in particular, is great with the high notes. Sure, the song is a bit repetitive being primarily about the chorus but I don’t necessarily see that as a huge disadvantage. It certainly does not sound much more repetitive than “Only Teardrops” does it? Being a mid-tempo radio song with a Disney-esque flavor sung by an unknown fresh face who appears to be a mix of Lena and Emmelie de Forest, I think this song could well stand out at the end of the night as one of the best contemporary pop songs and appeal to televoters and juries alike. Of course, much will depend on the performance and the staging but unlike Sweden which is not going to improve much from here on out, Iceland could still make some tweaks and changes that could take us all by surprise.

    Having said all of this, Latvia is my personal favorite but I think it may be just a little too leftfield for this contest.

    • Seronie

      Problem with Iceland, (and Finland and Denmark) is that for the Nords, historically, the neighbourly vote is a zero-sum game. Generally one, at most two, will place top 4 or so. No more than that – as the 12/10/8 scores are hoovered up. If it’s Sweden top and then Norway or Finland this year, it doesn’t leave much pueng for the others.

      Iceland, Finland and Denmark should be avoided like bombs IMO. Except for the top 10 market (and even then).

      • In that case, you’ve got to avoid Sweden and Norway (just joking). It is true that the Scandinavians will be taking votes off each other but Denmark should not get that many votes to begin with and I’m not so sure about Finland either. I actually think that Iceland could top this thing with the right staging and performance. In any case, I think Iceland with place higher than Norway. Where Finland will land in the standings remains a great mystery.

  • SirMills

    The outright market on betfair suspended! Did I miss something, has Russia won already?

  • yea betfair market suspended, whats going on?

    • Montell

      You don’t hear R&B in Eurovision a lot. I think this song could stand out.

    • This is not to be written off.

      • You’re sure? I find the song to be quite ordinary – nothing contemporary or innovative about it. Besides there already is an electronically-infused R&B song at Eurovision namely Latvia.

        • My immediate thought was that it’s a better, less generic Basim. I think like Basim, Australia’s song will struggle to garner support in the former Soviet states – but with a couple of exceptions, decades of history only ever tell me that Eurovision’s highest scoring entries always have “hit potential”. They’re relatable, pleasant, with nice performers, they’re what people are used to hearing, but they also need that certain amount of strength to them. As fans, we are always focusing so much on the biggest, most impactful songs with the mind blowing staging and that’s very misguided. Australia’s song is easily the best uptempo song this year. It absolutely blows Sweden out of the water in terms of continental appeal. Sweden is too Swedish.

          • I’m actually blown away by the Australian entry. This is a true competitor for Sweden now. Time to extend my prediction into a TOP 15:

            01 – Australia (no “live” videos or staging details)
            02 – Sweden (stage concept copy-pasted to Vienna)
            03 – Russia (no “live” videos or staging details)
            04 – Belgium (no “live” videos or staging details)
            05 – Austria (“live” performance available)
            06 – Slovenia (“live” performance available)
            07 – Estonia (stage concept copy-pasted to Vienna)
            08 – Latvia (stage concept copy-pasted to Vienna)
            09 – Azerbaijan (no “live” videos or staging details)
            10 – Italy (“live” performance available)
            11 – Israel (“live” performance available)
            12 – Netherlands (stage concept derived from clip)
            13 – Norway (“live” performance available)
            14 – Denmark (“live” performance available)
            15 – Lithuania (stage concept copy-pasted to Vienna?)

          • Chris

            I’d shy away from making more exact predictions without having seen the “live” show. That’s like trying to hit a series of very fast moving targets at the same time. At this stage, all we can say is who might be in the hunt for gold and who is not and the latter would include Israel, the Netherlands and Lithuania (in my book).

          • Chris

            Also Denmark. Concerning Australia, when was the last time an R&B song won Eurovision? To me Australia just sounds like a carbon copy of a Bruno Mars song whereas Latvia has taken an FKA Twigs song and converted it to Eurovision – much more original in my book. Russia won’t win either in the current political climate. It just won’t happen. Too many people would not want them to host the competition. They could make the top 10 but there is a definite ceiling for them.

  • dicksbits

    I just grabbed ew at 16/1 on Skybet. A competent song, with a competent singer, this can’t fail to make a mark on the top 4.
    Add in to the mix all the hype surrounding Australia taking part this year, it will be quite a novelty for European voters to vote for them. Their odds began at 13/1, narrowed to 10/1 & 8/1, drifted back slightly when the singer was announced. Now that the song is out, and it’s quite good, I see a top 4 result as a distinct possibility. Odds will narrow now.

  • Guys, Australia’s song SOUNDS like a true winner. Majority of my risk was on Sweden, now i’m backingsome Australia. Australia may win!

    • yes – i’ve jumped ship also – large green on Australia and Sweden now; small green on Italy /Estonia… rest are deep shades of Red!

    • It kinda does. It’s much better than Cliche Love Song or your average Bruno Mars ditty. My concern with it is the usual question of whether continental and especially some eastern European viewers will go for a song with this specifically American sound. Plus the whole question of whether people outside of the UK and much of Western Europe will even vote for Australia or just think “what the f*** are they doing there?” and ignore it as a bizarre interloper. It’s an unknown. But they can be proud of this – it’s decent, it’s very right for the contest, and it’s a truly smart choice given the rest of the field. We know how much they want to win given they’ve been lobbying to take part for the past few years, and they send 2 commentators and 2 producers to the contest every year when not even every European country bothers to (about 20% of participating countries just have a domestic commentator who isn’t at the event and just commentates the TV feed).

  • Chris

    Australia sounds very American. We haven’t even seen the live performance yet. I don’t think the song sounds like a true winner. I find Latvia to be far more appealing than Australia but that’s obviously subjective. Nonetheles, this just seems like another flash in the pan – the day before yesterday it was Sweden, yesterday it was Russia, today Australia, tomorrow …?

    • Montell

      That’s so true. I think that us, punters, are always looking for value. Therefore very often we think that bookies are overrating or underrating some songs. But in fact most of the time bookies set their prices right. Recent years has shown that. As a punter who bets on Eurovision for the 4th year in a row I learned that the most important thing is to think with your own head and not to become a victim of group think. I always stick to my own opinion of when I heard the song for the first time. I even write it down. I also try not look at the odds before I listen to the songs. Only after I heard the song and noted my impressions I look at the prices and find overrated or underrated songs.

      This is my opinion about current top 10 contenders
      1. Sweden 3.75 (justified)
      2. Italy 4.25 (justified? a lot depends on the final song version)
      3. Estonia 5.5 (overrated)
      4. Slovenia 13 (justified)
      5. Finland 13 (still overrated)
      6. Australia 17 (justified more or less)
      7. Norway 17 (overrated)
      8. Azerbaijan 26 (justified)
      9. United Kingdom 26 (overrated as usually)
      10. Armenia 26 (overrated)

      • SirMills

        I really like this analysis Montell.

        Esc betting is not about predicting an outcome at this stage in stick by it. There are key variation’s along the way such as the staging which plays a really big role in the equation. It’s all about rating a potential and see if the current odds are higher or lower than your own expectation. I have an account on betfair and in most cases I see either back or lay opportunity.

        For what it’s worth here are my own thoughts on the front runners at betfair.

        1. Sweden 4.6 (justified)
        2. Italy 5.3 (A little bit overrated due to no final song version)
        3. Estonia 5.6 (over-rated the live performance won’t match the studio version)
        4. Finland 13 (Incredibly over rated, most music professionals respect their credibility and will judge according to music)
        5. Australia 14 (A little bit over-rated)
        6. Slovenia 17 (A little bit under-rated)
        7. Azerbaijan 29 (Still under-rated due to the certainty of an amazing staging )
        8. Norway 30 (justified)
        9. Russia 44 (Incredibly under-rated)
        10. UK 44 (justified, the song has potential but UK usually have terrible staging)
        11. Belgium 50 (under rated)
        12. Latvia 80 (really under rated due to this possible staging: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezv9gNW37LQ

        • Chris

          Thanks for that link, Sir Mills. Latvia is my favorite song so I am quite partial to this. The choreography is interesting to say the least. This could work really well or it could turn out to be a total mess depending on the camera work. But, yes, I agree Latvia is worth a punt even if it might be too far out there.

          • SirMills

            No problem Chris :). Yes, Latvia is worth a punt for sure @80-90 is a great value cause like you point out this could work really well and blow people away.

            I heard a really good comparison regarding Latvia somewhere. It’s like Albania 2012 “Suus” and Sweden 2012 “Euphoria” would make a baby then the outcome would look and sound like “love injected”

        • Let’s also provisionally factor into this that The Powers That Be will probably do what they did last year and give all the dodgier ex-Soviets (anywhere that the EBU doesn’t want to have hosting the thing) the earliest possible slots and favour Western and non-scary CEE countries (Baltic, Slovenia/Romania/etc) in the running order.

          • SirMills

            Yeah just like they did last year, but that didn’t stop Russia to finish higher than most people expected. There is so much EBU can do if Russia draws in the second half.

            EBU doesn’t want Russia to host this I completely agree, but the other point of view is that apparently Russia wants to host this!

  • Chris

    Yes but there is some ambiguity. How do you set the price for a song which you have never seen “live”? There are so many songs that look slick on video but fail to impress on stage i.e. Katie Wolf (Hungary), Nina Zilli (Italy), etc. Conversely there are songs that may exceed expectations once they are presented.

    I think Iceland may turn out to be one of those songs (maybe). The song is good but the presentation with the dancers did not look that good to be frank. The whole thing look pretty low budget and amateurish with Maria Olafs as Cinderella (without shoes). Now that she has won and Iceland is willing to invest in the staging and presentation and has brought in some top notch backup vocalists, I think we may get to see a totally different performance – a more “glamorous” Cinderella.

    And you want the hype to build just at the right time. The problem with Sweden is that they have already invested in a very slick package. We’ve seen and it won’t surprise us. That’s why I think Iceland may be the most underrated song in my opinion. We already know that the song is catchy and suited for radio play. Maria Olafs also fits the role of Cinderella, we just haven’t seen the glamour yet.

  • Chris

    In fact, I think that may be part of the Icelandic “plan.” Take a good song but deliver it in a rather low budget and plain manner thus lowering overall expectations. Then tweak the song, spice up the performance, add some glamour to the delivery and exceed expectations when the time comes for rehearsals. That ensures that you generate buzz and hype just at the right time – it also syncs perfectly with a Disney-esque song performed by an Icelandic Cinderella.

    • Hence why it’s a preliminary ranking ;-). And that’s the reason why countries like Netherlands and Lithuani are not even close to a TOP 5 finish :-). Aahhh well, come on…it’s fun either ;-).

  • Well, Pixie Girl concept usually works in EUrovision but song is weak. Not a winner unfortunately.

  • Boki

    Now that all the songs were chosen maybe it’s time to … wait a sec. There is still Montenegro left, totally forgot about that one. Knez was once young and popular in the whole region but now old and forgotten, nothing to worry about. Having said that, the thing is I’m still intrigued by the two facts: presentation date and the composer.
    Why the hell are they waiting so long? Do they have an ace in their sleeve or simply late with filming the video about beautiful sea coast? My thinking is that their appetite became bigger since they finally qualified and want to impress further with a serious presentation/involvement. That was probably the reason for hiring Zeljko Joksimovic to write the song.
    He has a great record in ESC as a performer but also his Lejla composed for Bosnian singer Hari finished 3rd. I don’t know how he does it, sound like rubbish to me all the time 🙂 but somehow he found the winning formula of gentle, stylish, slow building ballad with etno elements usually called “a Balkan ballad”. I believe he wouldn’t pick something from the drawer just to take money and run (like mister Moja stikla), my guess is it’s another serious entry for an older gentlemen (I imagine Knez trying to sell that, otherwise there is nothing to sell).
    Car crash a la Englebert (ok Knez is not that old) or is it possible he will gather the Balkan votes? Even Albania went for “current” song, only pseudo-etno is the Israeli jumping jack. Can a Balkan ballad make a difference in a sea of others? Lyrics are available on eurovision.tv in several languages and it’s definitely a sentimental song. Adio.

    • I’m not seeing it doing well. I’ve always perceived Knez as naff, maybe Zeljko can work his usual magic, but I dunno, I doubt it’ll be Lejla 2.0 somehow. (I was hoping Zeljko would mine his earlier output and we’d get some “Knez goes 9 Dana” eurodance spectacular.) These are the lyrics, right? http://4lyrics.eu/esc/2015/knez-adio/ With every other ex-Yu country choosing to sing something internationally oriented in English, I think it’s kinda marooned, and I can’t see it being in the league of Moj svijet last year. Knez is such a C-list name (and performer) that I doubt he can do as well as Hari Mata Hari, Dino Merlin or even Sergej last year.

      • Boki

        He knows well he would be doomed by the juries in case of eurodance… and singing in native didn’t hurt before.

        • Boki

          Hey, the song is out and sounds much less boring as I expected, a touch of Balkan en Mediterranean – you are right it’s not in the same league as Moj svijet – it’s much better.

          • Well, I shall promptly eat my words… it’s so textbook Zeljkoballad it feels a bit same-old, though that won’t necessarily harm it. Not sure Knez will be as engaging and charismatic as Sergej though.

  • This year just keeps getting better. Nothing matches the quality of Guy Sebastian – “Tonight Again” imo. It’s excellent for the ESC to attract such a relevant and credible artist (to use the industry lingo) to write a modern song especially for the contest. And that fact will be on the mind of the organisers and jurers.

  • Tom Ato

    In contrast to the homophobic allegations against Sweden’s singer Mans, I came across this regarding Guy Sebastian which was nice:

    http://thefix.ninemsn.com.au/2014/12/05/15/03/guy-sebastian-defends-his-move-away-from-organised-christianity-after-online-backlash

  • Henry VIII

    Daniel I miss the detailed reviews of each country. They were excellent.

    But I imagine very time consuming.

  • Guys, what do you think about Russia?h.

  • Chris

    Don’t kid yourselves that Russia will go anywhere. We don’t have to go into the song to determine this. The juries will undoubtedly be conscious of the political constraints out there even if they are not specifically instructed not to vote for this. They won’t want to answer why they voted for a Eurovision in Russia at this time with sanctions in place and in light of a song which has been interpreted as a propaganda piece by some. It just won’t happen. Russia to win is pure hype. Pigs will fly before this wins.

    • Squall

      It’s funny how there every year seems to be a lot of talk of some huge new political impact on the voting, but it just never materialises. In fact, anyone taking a contrarian standpoint has stood to make a lot of money (backing Germany said to be boycotted by southern europe, backing Russia to make top 10 despite having invaded Ukraine).

      I think the long-term lesson is that while there of course exists political influence (hell will freeze over before Arm and Aze give each other any points), it’s very static: any new phenomenon is likely to be limited in impact. So to assume Russia will not get any western points this year could be very dangerous.

  • Chris

    I don’t know about the televote. But who runs Eurovision nationally? It’s the same broadcasters that are spewing anti-Russian news (some would say propaganda) and ratcheting up talk of continued EU sanctions against Russia because of the conflict in Ukraine. And now you expect juries “appointed” by these very broadcasters to vote for a Eurovision to be hosted in Russia? It won’t happen – I’ll put money on the juries in much of Western Europe ranking Russia last. Whether this will be done by design or the juries (mostly mainstream apolitical types) intuitively will not bite the hand that feeds them – I will leave up to your imagination.

    • Luckily, we don’t need to guess: the jury score per country from last year (when Crimea had just been annexed and thus the “conflict” was very much more fresh in memory) is public. I’ve only been able to find one single of all the voting juries that ranked Russia last – most had them close to the middle (or in the ex-soviet cases, close to the top). Here’s to hoping you didn’t put your money on the juries ranking Russia last that time.

      Given the low quality of the entry last year, those jury scores are something Russia must have been extremely happy with. And this year’s entry is arguably the song of the year, in comparison. So given the scant evidence of any meaningful negative political impact (let alone conspiracies, I perhaps should add), a high finish looks likely.

      • SirMills

        I have been studying those jury votes from last year myself Squall and was kind of hoping it wouldn’t be brought to daylight. Solid 12th to 17th from most of the western jury which I think is pretty generous.

        Music professionals vote according to music not politics, just like politicians acts in favor of their politics not according to a message of a song they like or dislike.

        I really don’t want those political theories to fade out though for obvious reasons. Maybe musicians were not giving any hints of punishing Russia cause the song had zero chance of winning. With this song it’s a real threat we could go to Moscow 2016, so EBU has to step in, in one way or other. With a much stronger field this year and given EBU will take serious actions against Russia, I hope people will see the value in laying Russia for top 10 and top 4.

        • Donal Ryan

          SirMills, what action can the EBU take to prevent Russia winning if they get a second half draw?

        • They didn’t care about Eurovision going to Azerbaijan in 2012, but that experience wisened them up, so I’d agree that post-2012 they do now care about actively yet surreptitiously preventing dubious countries from winning, which I think is the underlying reason why the first-to-last jury ranking system and the producer-decided running order were introduced. But if the EU can’t even begin to face standing up to Russia, what chance the EBU? I don’t think Russia has much chance of winning, but the EBU is useless and – aside from putting Russia as early in their half of the running order as possible – to quote Sha, “the plan is there is no plan”. They can’t exactly brief juries against it, can they?

  • Tom Ato

    There is a real divide in opinions regarding Russia and the political impact on Eurovision. Personally I think they will do very well, but to actually win is a massive ask. I will end up laying the green I have on them once odds shorten further, but I wouldn’t have them a big red that is for sure.

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