Eurovision 2016: The selection season ends

The Betfair Eurovision market has been a temperamental beast this week. As the Melodifestivalen Final points were being revealed, Sweden’s odds went as short as 2.4 when Frans’ ‘If I Were Sorry‘ stormed into an early lead with the international juries. Those odds drifted out slightly as he was eventually pulled back in those jury scores.

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A televote landslide was expected to cement victory, but as it turned out the distribution of televotes was far flatter than ever experienced before, no doubt as a result of the first appearance of app voting in the final which allowed five votes per act. Frans’ 14.9% winning percentage saw punters decide Russia deserved favouritism instead. The Sweden drift continued when, as the host country, their individual random draw placed them #9 in the grand final.

It seems remarkable that Sweden’s odds drifted from under 3.0 to 9.0 on the basis of these two bits of information. Firstly, any statistician would confirm it’s pointless to compare Frans’ televote with the likes of Mans or Loreen, given the app voting and the clear changes it brought. Secondly, Conchita and Mans won from #11 and #10 in the running order. It Frans doesn’t win Eurovision, I don’t think it will be because of his slot in the final.

But the drift may have also partly reflected other more significant concerns. Principally, an inconsistent set of international jury scores tapped into a feeling that Frans’ intimate, barely-more-than-spoken vocals are far apart from the powerhouse stuff that Eurovision juries more consistently recognise. Nonetheless they have also shown an increasing acknowledgement of the most contemporary songs. ‘If I Were Sorry’ definitely falls into that category, and yet it now stands at well over double the price of the comparatively dated if more typically Eurovision-y Russian favourite.

Working down the outright market for the most recent selections, Malta also found itself yo-yoing before and after the Thursday night reveal of Ira Losco’s new song ‘Walk On Water‘. It came down to near enough single figures before drifting strikingly on being released. I think the drift was justified, because it has the feel of 100 ideas in search of a song. We are promised a staging sensation – let’s hope that delivers more than the song itself.

Serbia came up with something different than we’re used to from the Balkan powerhouse. ZAA Sanja Vucic sings in English for the Winehouse-esque lament ‘Goodbye (Shelter)‘. There are a few superficially ethno moments, but it’s a very western and accessible effort. Vucic’s stage movements are a little off-putting in the preview video, but the whole package will be worth monitoring closely in rehearsals.

Azerbaijan ‘s reveal felt a little more predictable in that the song was a well-produced Swedish import. ‘Miracle‘ delivers a more impactful chorus than many of those fishing in the same midtempo genre this year. But I could’ve done with a more stripped back middle eight to bring greater variety to the refrain. Much will depend on how far Samra’s vocals can be improved from what we saw in the 2012 Azeri selection process.

Donny Montell finally won the Lithuanian selection with ‘I’ve Been Waiting for This Night‘, which feels competent enough to qualify but perhaps too generic to do much damage on the Saturday night scoreboard. Still, his victory was better received than the significant revamp to the Israeli and Albanian entries. Hovi Star has gone all Sam Smith in the new ‘Made of Stars‘, whilst Eneda Tarifa’s new version of ‘Fairytale‘ feels very anonymous.

There are still a few more pieces to fit into the jigsaw. The Bulgarian entry will be revealed next week, whilst at some point in the near future we will also get the Eurovision version of Italy’s song from Francesca Michielin. The next big moment in the pre-rehearsal period is the Amsterdam preview party on April 9. In the meantime, keep your comments coming below.

183 comments to Eurovision 2016: The selection season ends

  • Thanks to ESCKAZ bringing this to my attention, tonight Lithuania are doing a preview show of Semi 2, and have already written some of the most interesting comments: http://esckaz.com/2016/lit.htm#en_20160319_1

    In summary: the panel think that Semi 2 has “10 Donnys” (lol), they think neither Nicky from Ireland or Ivan from Belarus can sing, they don’t like Ukraine at all and appreciated Georgia’s effort.

  • Chris Bellis

    The feelings about Sweden’s song were the same ones I had about “Satellite”, causing me to miss out. At 9.0 Sweden is good value. The song is very catchy and a breath of fresh among all the power ballads. I agree with Daniel that there’s been a change in the zeitgeist in the last two or three years.

  • Out of curiosity, how many people here are going to Amsterdam on the 9th April? Maybe have a sofabetters meetup?

  • Chewy Wesker

    I don’t think Frans can win from #9 myself, I tweeted the other day that although Frans has a modern contemporary pop song, I don’t think it’s strong enough to say in people’s memory for long. Both Conchita and Mans were much more memorable acts that were staged to perfection and that were able to pull off a first half draw. Frans could fit easily into any boy band with his good looks but those can only get you so far, his song “If I Were Sorry” reminds me of maybe Jamie T -“Sheila” or The Streets -“Dry Your Eyes” more kinda singing/rap that I don’t think is going to do well in Eurovision, however the betfair market is maybe a little over priced at around 8 in the winner market which is remarkably weak, but Russia will score heavy on the night of the final so maybe it’s a justified price.
    Donny Montell and his song “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night” has a beautiful simple pop hook to it, that’s been missing this year, Lithuania tend to pull this off very well most years with last years Monika and Vaidas “This Time” and 2013 Andrius Pojavis “Something”both spring to mind, Lithuania always bringing a smile to my face and bit of fun to the competition.
    The dark horse this year is I think without a shadow of a doubt is Serbia ZAA Sanja Vucic and her song “Goodbye (Shelter)” as Daniel mentioned similarities to Amy Winehouse, I agree totally, and I’d add maybe a little hint of an Adele feel and look about her too. If Serbia reveal more of an intimate side of the song with their staging, then I wouldn’t rule out the win for them this year. I think draw will play a big part this year, and I think the competition will revert back to producing a winner from the “Goldilocks Zone” not too early and not too late but just right so I’ll be looking hard at who gets drawn from 16-21.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Sweden’s entry leaves me confused. I sort of like it, it is catchy, and can see the potential but am not completely sold on the performer.

      I too, Chewy, thought of Mike Skinner’s The Streets when I was first watching Frans’s video.

      But it’s not an altogether happy comparison.

      “Dry your eyes” drips with authentic emotion (and minute observational detail), and leaves you empathising with Mike; whereas “If I Were Sorry” – what is the message here?

      Is it an unrepentant, victim-blaming song?

      Is Frans a cheeky chappie cutie; or a sly little mockney-lite sh*t?

      In the video, he reminds me of an undernourished, youthful Joseph Gordon Levitt.

      Just now watch his winning Melodifestivalen performance. Interesting. He is better live. The camera likes him. Feels a bit Junior Eurovision? (Could be a good thing, that?) I feel the song lyrics hold him back, though.

      Clever and poignant visual highlighting of her “mistake” and “lies”. That’s crucial, right there. And helps overcome some of the problems of the unsympathetic video.

      Savvy for Sweden to be sending something stripped back, after the super polished spectacle of last year.

      More interesting than I first thought.

  • Hey Daniel. I agree almost every time with your analysis about the chosen songs. From most song reviews, I feel yours are the most objective from a very subjective matter…..especially at this stage in the contest season.

    Obviously, many values for laying certain bets are very tempting. But I prefer to judge the available live performances and final studio versions of this year’s entries dispassionately. Keep the good work up Daniel :-)!

    • Black n Blue

      Frans is #94 on Ireland’s Spotify. I’m starting to wonder that if he’s doing really well now, can you imagine where he’s going to be the week of the contest? Top ten across Europe? Will it be too much for a Jury to ignore?

      • Hippo

        It is worth keeping an eye on, but hundreds of songs a year will get to these chart positions without coming anywhere near the sharp end and just fade away.
        Frans may turn out to be one of those. He’s been around these positions for over a week now and hasn’t broken through. For example, It’s one step forward and two steps back in the UK, down to 132nd on slightly over 27,000 streams.

        • Ben Cook

          He’s probably going to fall out of the top 200 soon but that he’s making any sort of impression on international Spotify charts (particularly the UK) this far off from the contest is impressive – a lot more so than iTunes charts, because of the much higher volume. He’s been getting 200,000 streams a day from outside Sweden. This isn’t just a few hundred Eurovision fans.

        • Ande

          First day Frans is not on top in Sweden, on the other hand foreigners now account for 40% of streams. ‘If I Were Sorry’ has broken into the top 100 of Poland, Canada, Iceland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

      • Ande

        It depends if the jury criterias includes “hit potential” and/or “vocals”. The former would be very beneficial for Sweden.

        • Black n Blue

          I agree with that Ande. What I’m thinking is that because Frans is charting far higher than anything else, than naturally there’s going to be more pressure on the Juries to simply go with the song that everyone likes, rather than having to justify voting for less popular material instead. Not saying that this will be the case, but again the fact that If I Were Sorry is even present on international Spotify charts without an ounce of promotion abroad, is still highly impressive.

          • Ande

            Yes, but the downward pressure from dedicated ‘Eurovision fans’ might be greater than the upward pressure brought about by chart success. That is UNLESS ‘hit potential’ is a judging criteria.

  • Ben Cook

    Frans now #94 on Spotify UK. 38,464 streams yesterday.

    • Mr Wolf

      It has now “hit warning” title in two of the most trendy Estonian radio stations. They’re playing it very often.

    • Hippo

      Impressive. Though before we get carried away there are 42 countries voting in Eurovision and juries too.

      Not too encouraging in Sweden’s natural allies. 178th and falling in Denmark, not in the top 100 in Norway.
      Also not in top 200 in France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Spain or Australia.

    • Ande

      Interesting! Was able to find out that he’s number 40 in Finland. Do we know how he’s doing in other countries. Are any other Eurovision songs charting?

      • Hippo

        I think Barei was around 80 in Spain, Jamie-Lee around 100 in Germany and Dami Im a surprisingly/worryingly low ranking in Australia (130 or higher I think). I don’t think anyone else is charting in a foreign country or doing great in their own so that’s something for Frans, but then again MF being the highest profile selection gives him a significant advantage.

        Of course theres no data for loads of countries with Spotify and weak eastern penetration so it’s a very imperfect science and probably something not to pay too much attention to yet.
        Worth keeping an eye on though.

  • From what I’ve seen so far, I only find these entries potential winners:

    –> FRANCE (Charmer and more than capable vocalist, the ‘Mans’ of 2016. Underestimated):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uz0iDlEMXM

    –> SWEDEN (Another charmer, SVT is damn smart with this entry. ‘Satellite’ meets ‘CATS’)

    –> RUSSIA (And another charmer, though I think the song isn’t as ‘new’ as for instance ‘Heroes’)

    –> AUSTRALIA (Exquisit live performer, and in this year’s field pretty outstanding):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr5U-nd1fVI

    One note about Amir of France: I think he’s been unfairly judged based on his ‘live’ performances. From what I have seen he’s a more than capable vocalist, who simply sings a very difficult song. The best vocalists of the contest almost never win. It’s all about the total package in the end, and then a few vocal hicups are never that damaging.

    Sergey, Dami Im, Frans…..and Amir are among the most charming artists in the competition this year. It’s always very pleasant to see these four artists performing, regardless of some vocal or camera-specific irregularities. The hard-to-define ‘X Factor’ applies on them.

    Rounding up the remainder of the countries who have a shot at a good TOP 10 result (not real contenders for the victory though):

    –> LATVIA (Is my 5th favourite to actually win it. But the song is perhaps too ‘dark’)

    –> UKRAINE (Every year there are a few countries that are no-hopers for victory, but shoe-in’s for TOP 10’s)

    –> ESTONIA (Completely ‘relevant’ song, the ‘dark’ staging is completely helpful IMO)

    –> AZERBAIJAN (If it wasn’t for her ‘live’ vocals perhaps contender for gold. But eh, Azerbaijan 2011?)

    –> AUSTRIA (Severely underestimated. Catchy song, but exquisit live performer)

    –> ARMENIA (Another entry that is underestimated. I reckon the intro gives away a huge stage act)

    –> SERBIA (Nina Zilli meets Amy…so only logical that she can do an 8th, 9th or 10th place no?)

    –> CROATIA (Charming song, no winner. I’m not captivated by her looks. She misses some ‘X-Factor’)

    –> GERMANY (Great vocalist, with quite an original, low-key pop-entry, slightly underestimated)

    –> CZECH REPUBLIC (Easily the best Czech entry ever, most sincere ballad IMO)

    Some people argue that ‘dark’ or too dramatic/emotional staging can be off-putting. Yes, for a really high TOP 3 score yes, but France 2009, Albania 2012, Norway 2015 have proven that for them there’s a spot reserved for the (lower placings inside a) TOP 10. They are the songs I bet on for the TOP 10 market. Guaranteed profits :-).

    Songs that don’t do it for me….at least at this stage:

    –> CYPRUS (It’s actually quite ‘fresh’ amidst the field, though song misses some pure rock vibe..too ‘Swedish’)

    –> ICELAND (Although I have respect for her works, I think she again wrote a too complicated entry that doesn’t ‘stick’)

    –> HUNGARY (Pretty much overestimated in every aspect. Unoriginal stage act, no ‘hooks’)

    –> POLAND (It isn’t a ‘Kuula’. Will qualify, but song is too dated. Greece 2015, Iceland 2013)

    –> MALTA (Severely overpriced I think. It’s a complete ‘non-hummer’ for me. Just do the test…whistle it!)

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      To focus on Australia…

      Australian were the one country I made a mental note last year not to back this year, figuring the goodwill Welcome-Oz votes were done, dusted and counted in 2015, with no extension to be forthcoming.

      (I remember a commentator on this site analysing the surprise 2nd place of a returning-to-the-fold / field Italy, in 2011.)

      When I first saw the singer in this year’s Australian entry, it crossed my mind that this constituted a voting demographic / geographic dead zone of a combination. Australia with a cold Korean-looking lead singer! Where are the automatic votes from that package?!

      Plus the singer – she looked a bit awkward, plus it’s difficult to see her eyes. For example, without checking – what colour are they? I do worry about singers (or performers in general) who can’t sell a performance with their eyes.

      I was involved in some musical theatre work today, surrounded by fabulous singers, and yet kept finding the “Sound of Silence” playing in my mind.

      Had a look at Dami Im’s background and as you say, Songfestivalwerk!, she’s an amazing singer…and, surprisingly, instantly loveable.

      She underwent the full Leona Lewis confidence arc on Oz XF.
      Check this,

      [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvgEyfdIO-o&w=854&h=480%5D

      And this is jaw-droppingly brilliant,

      [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB6CQlFMfBs&w=854&h=480%5D

      The hurdles for Dami in Eurovision are many a) how will the Eurovision audience get to know and appreciate her? b) or her and her adorable Noah? and c) good and underestimated song though it is, does the “Sound of Silence” provide her the showcase to allow her charisma to shine through?

      Certainly, the video for Sound of Silence misrepresents or underplays her strengths, I feel.

      Still think the top price of 14/1 is plenty short enough for Australia.

      (N.B. I notice I’m posting the odd lengthy piece. I hope I’m not starting a drift towards my epic “Molly Folly” nonsense from a couple of years ago on this site. Just something to take heed of when reading my opinions.)

  • Black n Blue

    On the topic of Frans, forget Lena and The Common Linnets. To my ears, Sweden have nailed the Tom Dice effect to a ‘t’. A cute guy, with a stripped back production, performing a low key song in a borderline spoken tone. Six years ago, he got plenty of Jury love, a sprinkling of high points from the west and a lowish televote to drag him out of the top 5. Similarly, my view of ’If I were Sorry’ is that it’s too introspective, unambitious and generally too western sounding to take down the contest, unless they pull off something quite remarkable at rehearsals. Sixth place is where I’d currently position it.

    I’ve made the mistake before of smearing the ‘Dark Horse’ term on songs that simply didn’t suffice in the end. (So there’s your disclaimer people, you can’t say I didn’t warn you!) To win outright, I’m sort of in a tizzy, pretty much stirring around a large boiling pot of countries. Israel and Belgium are two I’m keeping my eyes peeled for to surprise. With the former there’s a song that’s undergone a remarkably good revamp, with possibly the strongest crescendo of anything entered this year. If it was Norway sending this, it would soar into the top 5 and perhaps go all the way. Israel being at the helm of the entry is the only possible caveat I can fathom. Do the Israeli team have the skillset to put on a winning production in the modern template of the contest?

    Don’t sweat Belgium isn’t winning this! I’ve only plugged them due to the evident perception shift. In January there were many criticising ‘What’s the Pressure’ by virtue of it being relatively worse than ‘Rhythm Inside’ and most of last year’s bunch. Now, in the context of the 16′ bunch it doesn’t sound all that bad. Laura has this endearing naiveté about her that may appeal to televoters, and I think there’s a certain charm to gotten from the song itself. There’s not an ounce of pretension in it. On a good night, I’m thinking it might just do a Bellarossa and come 10th-11th against the odds. Not sure where any other dark horse would emerge from. The sharp end of market has finally settled down into something close to palatable for the first time all season.

  • DR have uploaded a video of Denmark’s last rehearsal before May, seems they’ve tweaked some of the choreography, including a cliche walk down the catwalk at the end. *facepalm* Also worryingly, there’s no signs of additional backing singers. It’s worth pointing out that this year DMGP used pre-recorded backings for the first time… http://www.dr.dk/event/melodigrandprix/videoer/video-klar-til-eurovision-se-danmarks-sidste-proeve-inden-stockholm#!/

  • Those of you who have an eye out for the running order, usually it’s been released the Monday after the HoD meeting. If it is released today, don’t expect it coming out before Bulgaria’s song is released.

    If it isn’t today, then we should get it within the next week going by previous trends.

  • San Marino are going with the disco version instead… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYKFKgwVbV4&

    I was literally in the middle of uploading my amazing recap of all the songs, then they decide to troll me! >__<

  • Chris Bellis

    It wouldn’t be Eurovision without the plagiarism headline. (Apologies if others have posted this before)

    http://www.thelocal.se/20160313/swedish-eurovision-entry-in-plagiarism-storm

    I can’t see it myself, but there is one song that’s a distillation of every Kate Ryan-Vanessa Paradis-Mylene Farmer song you’ve ever heard – Austria. I still like it though, but I’ve learned over the years that my taste for French pop is not shared by Eurovision audiences.

    I’m still backing Sweden and laying UK as usual.

  • Does no one want to discuss Bulgaria? Can’t say I blame you really….it should qualify though and I’d bet on it getting the pimp slot. It’s absolutely vital that both Bulgaria and Czech Republic make the final this year. I think CR will get put second to last in the running order with Cyprus (another country that barely ever qualifies, with a highly suitable show closer) on last. Calling it 😉

    • Montell

      Bulgaria and Czech Republic have very good songs. I love them. Both counties perform in the second half of their semis. They have to qualify. I feel really bad for countries who fail to qualify more than 3 years in a row. Everyone is tired to see the same countries in the final. It’s about time Greece and Denmark stay in semi and let Czech Republic and Bulgaria go to the final. They are totally worth it.

    • Chris Bellis

      Re BG – I don’t think it’s a patch on Na Inat. Too middle of the road and forgettable. However, it’s well sung and well put together, so it must qualify.

    • Ben Cook

      Bulgaria.. fairly decent song but is let down by its production. I think they could’ve made it more dancepop

    • Hippo

      Cyprus have qualified three out of their last four attempts, so I don’t think they’ll get the pimp slot. My money would be on Malta with its Swedish links. I’d guess Bulgaria will qualify and come around 20th in the final.

  • It’s three out of six since the juries came back.

    Cyprus 2015 – One Thing I should Have Done – Q
    Cyprus 2013 – An Me Thimase – NQ
    Cyprus 2012 – La La Love – Q
    Cyprus 2011 – San Aggelos S’agapisa – NQ
    Cyprus 2010 – Life Looks Better In Spring – Q (10th)
    Cyprus 2009 – Firefly – NQ

    Not a great record really. They have Swedish links too with the Thomas G:son song, not that I think that would necessarily be a factor which decided the running order though.

    • Keyser Soze

      2009 semis were 100% televote though.

      SVT weren’t that sympathetic towards countries that rarely qualify in 2013. They pretty much ruined any chance San Marino and Montenegro had to qualify with the running order.
      I think Iceland and Belgium are getting the pimp slots.

    • Hippo

      Oh yeah, I got mixed up with 2010 and ’11. For me those years just- as Serhat might put it- melted into each other.

  • PurpleKylie

    As is promised, here’s a video of my mum reacting to a recap of this year’s songs, she struggled to say much but hopefully you will find this interesting 🙂

    • Montell

      Nice. However, your mom was listening to recap of the songs without hearing them before. This is not the same as in Eurovision where people listen to full length songs and only then there’s a recap. It will have different effect. When your mom watches Eurovision I think she will like more songs than she thinks in this video.

    • I’ll say this for your Mum, she had Donny Montel figured out to a t.

    • Chris Bellis

      You put your mum through this torture! But thanks for an entertaining video. Just one point, when you were both a bit negative about Sweden’s entry, the dog obviously disagreed. Intelligent dog.

    • Ande

      Thanks a lot! I liked how the dog barked in 😀

    • Aw bless. My Mum largely agrees that nothing really jumps out at you this year and that they’re all a bit samey, (all the contenders are at least.) From anywhere towards the top of betting at the moment, Croatia seems to do well with Mums.

  • MManuelTB

    Anyone have any thoughts about my thoughts?

    i) The Bulgarian entry completely grabbed me by the nuts with its extremely hooky chorus. Could this not very well be top 10 material?

    ii) Like PurpleKylie and her mum, I too think Australia may be wildly overestimated at this point. Anyone else think it may slide down to the lower echelons of the top 10/15?

    iii) I really liked Belgium (like PurpleKylie’s mum) when I first heard it, but I do realize its disco-theme may or may not (and my guess is it won’t) be outdated enough to be new again. Still a potential qualifier.

    iv) I’m wondering, will the large amount of EDM-infused, more modern entries take the wind from each other’s sails? Leaving room for such entries as Cyprus, Ukraine, Serbia, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands to gain a stand-out boost?

    • I think there’s possibly some truth to the idea that all the EDM may cancel each other out. I guess we’ll find out in a couple of months.

      • Chris Bellis

        The EDM tracks are all quite different from each other I would say. I think it will be the other way round.

        • None of the songs in this years contest are really EDM as a lot of people see it (Avicci, Swedish House Maffia, etc.), but simply electro-pop. EDM in this definition hasn’t appeared at Eurovision quite yet- Cascada were more euro-dance circa 2009.
          —————–
          I actually think that Samra, with good vocals (coming from where is besides the point), can bring Azerbaijan back to their former glory. France have a great package that can win, but they can easily ruin it, unless they finally learned from past mistakes. They can take Italy’s place as highest Big-5 this year- Francesca has a good song but will be drowned out with the big voices and more memorable hooks in the final.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Bravo to your mum, PurpleKylie 😀

    What a great sport she is. Definitely an interesting watch and resource.

    Would say more but “Post Comment” button is sinking from view as I input each successive line!

  • Murun Buchstansangur

    Same here, but can be overcome by using the tab key to get to the Post button.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    There’s a small number of countries who stand out to me as possibly being value bets.

    They are Sweden, Latvia, France, Ukraine, Armenia, Iceland and Belgium.

    I have differing reservations about all of them.

    I’ve done some reading around on various sites about the chances of Iceland, in pursuit of trying to shed light on why there’s odds of 50/1 available for them. There’s extremes of opinion regarding their entry.

    If there’s a point / factor that I’ve yet to read (or have missed) being mentioned, it’s in regard to the negative attached to Greta’s charisma-free performance at Baku in 2012.

    Watching it, I agree that she does appear a bit manically caught in the headlights (nutty vacuous), but that’s not evidence that she can’t perform – that performance of Never Forget signals that she didn’t establish a connection with her duet partner / co-performer, maybe can’t be trusted to perform in a epic love duet etc.

    Perhaps, she was miscast?

    Perhaps, a solo performance of the intense, driving, dark, weird, disturbing Hear Them Calling is what plays to her strengths?

    Just how much value there is to be had from a Eurovision entry that can be described as intense, driving, dark, weird and disturbing (and a mix of copies) is another matter.

  • To those having trouble with the “post comment” button on longer comments – we’re not sure what the problem is, but we’ve updated the site’s backend software in the hope that sorts it out.

    If you’re still having problems, can you let us know what operating system, browser etc. Thanks!

  • Hippo

    Some interesting odds available towards the bottom of the scoreboard.

    PaddyPower are offering 7/1 that Ireland will qualify and finish 21st or lower. Great value considering Ireland’s shortage of friends, genericness of the song and weak vocal. Being a former member of westlife will only get Nicky so far.

    7/4 for them not to qualify may be worth taking on as well, if only as cover for the above.

  • PurpleKylie

    There’s a rumour going around that Ukraine is planning to use 3D mapping like this in Stockholm:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX6JcybgDFo

    I don’t understand what fancy 3D graphics have to do with a dirge about her grandmother…

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Ah! I wondered why the across the board price drop.

      I’ve had my first bets of the EV season on Ukraine, EW at 25s, 22s.

      I’d thought that maybe the price drop was a favourable response by the EV betting generalists to watching the video attachment on the main Oddschecker page.

      I still wouldn’t state with confidence that the prices I took are value, though.

      It’s just that the singer is so bat-shit crazy emotional, charismatic and memorable, singing a song that’s a bit of everything, that so in a boring looking EV year Ukraine felt worth an EW punt.

      Iceland is also bat-shit crazy and memorable but less emotional (or a different kind of emotional, anyway), and doesn’t showcase the lead singer’s vocals the way that the Ukrainian song allows.

      • Black n Blue

        Photos of victims on stage would be going too far. Thematically, this one should be leaning more towards general human perseverance, rather than overtly implying that a certain country is to blame for a genocide and that the struggle is not over etc, etc.

        That sort of ‘finding the light in face of adversity’ motif is what we need to see from 1944. That can be achieved through lighting effects, the mannerisms of Jamala, and if they want to go for a gimmick than hopefully it’ll be one that brightens up what is currently quite a dirgy feeling, esoteric package. Unlike previous entries such as De la capat and Face the Shadow with sociopolitical subtext, in Jamala you have an artist whom emotes the song extremely well, so I’d be keeping a watchful eye on Ukraine for rehearsals.

    • Some old photos in the background would make for some cool staging.

      • I’d certainly hope for something in the staging that links it to the Crimean genocide. There’s a very real historical trauma behind the song, and I’d hope that the staging would tell that story rather than leaving the audience thinking it’s just some lady wailing.

        • How on earth could the ESC organisers allow a song clearly breaking their rules? I suspect it is because they are anti-Russian.

        • Anyway, was there a genocide in Crimea? I thought it was deportation (with deaths on route etc).

          • PurpleKylie

            No it was the deportation as you say, they were either shipped off to Central Asia or to Siberia and most of them ended up dying from the harsh weather.

            I also did my research and this didn’t just happen to the Crimean Tatars, this also happened in the Caucasus nations and the Baltic nations (the latter of which is a big reason why there is a significant Russian minority in the Baltics).

          • Henry VIII

            So Phil must be hoping for staging depicting slow deaths from cold rather than the quick butchering of a genocide.

          • 230,000 people (almost the entire Tartar population of Crimea) deported, of whom 100,000 died. Close enough to call it genocide.

          • Well, maybe not people freezing to death (family show and all that), but at least something in the staging that conveys the concept of the historical tragedy.

          • johnkef

            Many countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans have faced similar tragedies like the Tatars did. That’s why i believe Ukraine will score pretty high in those areas. It’s a definitely Top5 and maybe higher and has soul as a song, but i cannot think how Ukraine in the middle of a civil war can host the Contest.

            My opinion is that Ukrainian entry can hurt Russia’s chances of winning the contest. If we see those songs performing close to each other in the final, you can write off Russia as a winner.

          • Yes, I agree. A lot of people hearing 1944 won’t know the story of the Crimean Tartars, but will know other stories that will have equal meaning to them, and for that reason it will resonate.

          • Jesus, are people still going on about the possibility of 1944 winning? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

            Sad songs do not win Eurovision.

          • Henry VIII

            Molitva did.

          • Sad songs can win – after all, Only Teardrops wasn’t exactly Happy Happy Joy Joy.

            That said, it’s not one I’m expecting to win, though I do think it will do well.

          • PurpleKylie

            Molitva fits Eurovicious’ theory of “overcoming adversity”, in this case finding solace in prayer. It also helps that it was very powerful and anthemic, which is what you need for a ballad to do well.

            1944 is nothing but 3 mins of bitching about Stalin and Russia to a warbling tune.

      • Hippo

        I wonder how far they will be allowed to push this. I’d say photos of victims is going too far, the song title itself is more explicit and less open to interpretation than don’t deny was so they’re already getting a lot of leeway.
        I think there is a law of diminishing returns with staging like this. Of course they are trading on a sympathy/ let’s piss of Russia vote already (you watch the Lithuanian jury give it a 12), but too far and it becomes preachy. It’s treading a thin line already.

        • Yep, not victim photos. It would need to be a bit more cryptic and show-don’t-tell than that, to avoid either falling foul of the political rules or becoming preachy.

        • Chris Bellis

          Televoters are not noted for their political knowledge. Some juries will vote for anyone if the price is right. “1944” is a mess by any criteria. Not only do I not see it as Top5, I see it as borderline NQ.

          • Mr Wolf

            Don’t wanna whine, but if there’s so strong opposition here for “1944”, why there are 0 layers in TOP3/4/5 markets?
            Can’t find any action there for more than a week. Clearly extinct.

    • missdisco

      I’m surprised that Ukraine would go for complex staging with this, but then, they’ve had two hamster wheels. But they’ve also tended to be more restrained on the serious songs.

      Visuals at eurovision are getting so complicated and this shaping up to be a very showy year, that I wonder if the winner will end up something very unfussy and simple.

      (which makes me worry for Iceland, which has so much winnerness about it)

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        What continually fascinates me about Jamala’s performance is that she simultaneously means every word of it and doesn’t mean a word of it.

        Watching her, I’m on the verge of tears and of laughing out loud, simultaneously.

        With absolute certainty, I can then say that she is charismatic and memorable. And the singing performance builds and builds.

        Even if you think it is all a load of overblown shite (which it possibly is), Jamala leaves it all out there (and then some). Whatever she is accessing, whatever she is resourcing, she is definitely pouring something into it, definitely giving something.

        Both real and fake, both overblown and artistic, both structured and wild.

    • Dirge or not…………it sounds like an entirely subjective remark that reflects personal taste. In the end Ukraine will end in the TOP 10. It won’t win. But there’s a market for these kind of specialty, alternative, dark entries. A few examples:

      France 2009? (T: 17th; J: 4th)
      Ukraine 2010? (T: 13th; J: 6th)
      Germany 2011? (T: 15th; J: 12th)
      Albania 2012? (T: 8th; J: 3rd)
      Netherlands 2013? (T: 11th; J: 7th)
      Norway 2014? (T: 16th; J: 9th)
      Latvia 2015? (T: 8th; J: 2nd)
      Norway 2015? (T: 17th; J: 7th)
      Estonia 2015? (T: 5th; J: 11th).

      • Ande

        Though going by the NF Jamala’s strong point is the televote…

        • Henry VIII

          Ande her strong point was the televote IN UKRAINE where the voters, who are/were at war/war-like crisis, were whipped up into a patriotic fervour. The rest of Europe will find it a bit odd.

          That list of Songfestivalwerk shows how badly these songs do.

          • Not sure I’d read too much into that jury result in Ukraine. It wasn’t exactly the most rigorous or thoughtful of juries – 3 hours of Ruslana ukraining and stopping Verka Seduchka from picking his nose. I read that jury result as a deliberately-engineered hair-trigger outcome to build a bit of TV tension.

          • Ande

            I’m not too worried about the Ukraine televote. Like johnkef pointed out many people can empathize with tragedy without being personally affected, it’s quite easy for commentators to help viewers make this empathic connection. Further more viewers tend to be more forgiving for wierd structure and left wing shenanigans.

      • PurpleKylie

        Excuse you, I refer you to the Oxford English Dictionary before you accuse me of not making an objective analysis of that dirge:

        dirge
        dəːdʒ/
        noun
        1) a lament for the dead, especially one forming part of a funeral rite.
        2) a mournful song, piece of music, or sound.

        Dirge dirge dirge dirge dirge dirge dirge DIRGE

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          I suppose there is a strong element of self-pitying dirge about it. But it’s also a challenging and angry protest song, a never-forget song. It’s also v foot-tappable and danceable.

          I’m reminded of a lyric from the Pet Shop Boy’s old hit, Left To My Own Devices – “…Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat.”

          V un-Eurovision feel to the first few lines of Ukraine’s new unofficial national anthem!

          “When strangers are coming
          They come to your house
          They kill you all”

          Is this Saturday night prime time fare?

          An open question…

          In terms of the Everest Test, does the song-performance package leave you uplifted in some way?

          I ask this question with my mind’s eye making reference to the success of misery lit.

          Is Jamala’s victimhood heroic?

          Is it aspirational?

          Jamala intrigues and titilates me in many ways. She’s got that kooky-sexy thing going on. I could imagine her dueting with San Marino’s Serhat on a love duet techno version of Phoebe from Friends classic “Smelly Cat”.

  • A Eurovision Top 15 market is now open on Betfair exchange. Happy Easter!

  • Martin F.

    Sergey Lazarev performing his entry on Russian TV:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jITHfZOkhk

    No idea how similar this will be to the ESC staging (the camerawork surely won’t be as shoddy, at least!), but the styling and the moves feel like they might be quite final… what do you all reckon?

    • Ben Cook

      He sounds good but I think he’s miming to a pre-recorded vocal. Still, I don’t think vocals will be the problem on the night anyway. The performance does feel dated.

      • Ande

        Acts like ‘My Number one’ or ‘This is our night’ are likely too dated to win a modern contest so presentation really is key for this entry. I’d think most of this choreography is meant for Eurovision. The camera zooms out during critical moments to show puzzling motions without anything really happening (01:20, 01.25, fire breathing at 1:37, 2:10, 2:38, top down view at 3:23) suggesting a technical aspect to the staging. The most glaring deficiency is how they’ve prioritized choreography over connecting with the audience. On the plus side Sergey has avoided the “slutty pitfall” and shouldn’t be too worried about vocals when he has room for two dedicated backing singers.

        Russia is running a huge risk with a likely jury/voter-gap similar to Italy 2015 or even Sweden 2011. All in all they must be worth laying.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Exciting song and the engaging performer reminds me a little of a more muscular Frank Lampard. Maybe a bit formulaic and lightweight but a strong package.

      I understand why its favourite but not why it’s as low as 17/10.

    • Montell

      It will be a shame if this wins. Even Azerbaijan 2011 was better although I didn’t like their song either. My main problem is that the song is dated and I don’t sense any sincerity in all of this. It left me emotionless. What I saw was a nice choreography and that’s it. You could argue that “Heroes” last year was also very calculated song but it was at least current with a way better structure, catchy chorus and spectacular staging. Russia only has its diaspora. Last year “A Million Voices” was one of my favorite songs but let’s be honest this year Russia sucks! I think Eurovision gods will not let them win.

      • I agree with Ben and Montell that this comes across as dated. The choreography looks a bit Josh Dubovie (oh yeah, I went there.)

      • Henry VIII

        At least the Russians make an effort but I agree that there are more interesting and modern entries than “You are the only one”. If it wins but doesn’t get the majority of western votes the ESC should make more of an effort to limit the influence of the indissoluble Russian hordes. Like giving them an early slot no matter what.

      • Black n Blue

        I have to disagree with you there, Montell. Ell and Nikki’s victory was an insult to all those on the night who could sing in tune. For all its shortcomings, Sergey’s entry doesn’t irk me anywhere near as much as Running Scared did five years ago. You are the only one is still a well constructed, finely produced Europop song, that does exactly what it says on the tin.

        The crux of the problem, when we put this song into a winning context is that it fundamentally goes against the grain of quality entries (The Common Linnets, Loic, Aminata, Margaret Berger etc) that have helped to shift the perception of the contest from that of a camp variety show into a palette for contemporary, commercially relevant music. Like Gav over at ESCtips expressed, Russia’s entry comes from a Eurovision of yesteryear which in theory renders it obsolete within a 2016 contest.

    • Hippo

      Hmm. This does seem to be what Russia are working with for all promotional events. Whether it’s what they’ll keep in Stockholm we’ll have to see. If Fokas just takes this choreography and has Sergey stood on a box, stapler or seesaw they won’t win. Effective, modern presentation is all that can help this with western juries and to a lesser extent western televoters.

      With Russia, the more maths I do, the less I think they can win. If we assume that the winner is going to need in the region of 500 points to win, I can’t see them making it. Dima Bilan got 248 and 272, Sakis Rouvas got a measly 151 in 2009 with a very similar song. On a very good night, with a great running order Russia can get up to 300 televote points. Maximum.
      That however still leaves them needing 200 points from juries and the only songs to get this level of support are ‘Heroes’, ‘Love Injected’, ‘A Million Voices’, ‘Euphoria’,’ The Madness of Love’, ‘Is it True’, ‘It’s My Time’ and ‘Fairytale’. Needless to say, ‘You Are The Only One ‘ has nowhere near as much jury appeal as those efforts. Sakis for reference got just 93 jury points,the similar Eric Saade attempt 106. With the ranking system, any anti-Russia juror can and will drag them down just as far.

      Unless we get a year even closer than 2011, the sums don’t add up for me and I think we might have a false favourite on our hands. Russia have a shot, but it’s not as likely as the odds suggest by far.

      • Henry VIII

        Can we actually assume the winner needs about 500 points? Or, from a different angle, if Russia can’t get 500 points then who can?

        Seems a strong likelihood there is no runaway winner and there could be several, or even many, at the top with only a few points between them.

        • PurpleKylie

          The average winning score in the last 10 years is around 280, so if you double that lets assume that unless we get a super close year like 2011, you need 560 points to win

          So let’s assume that Russia get 270 points from televoting, but only 105 from juries, that means a total of 375 points, which equals around 186 points with the previous voting system, nowhere near close enough to win but enough to get 2nd or 3rd.

          • Ben Cook

            I don’t think Russia’s going to win either, but you can’t just pluck figures out of thin air. Last year’s Russian entry was hardly cutting edge and it got 247 points from juries, so anything is possible.

          • PurpleKylie

            Picking random figures is what I was doing as it was purely a hypothetical scenario, I’m not saying those are the scores I think Russia WILL get.

            Also Polina’s song was pure jury bait, cutting edge or not. It’s harder to get jury support with an uptempo song unless you totally nail the whole package

        • Hey Henry VIII. I think these images I made from my Excel grids might be helpful. I slightly changed them by taking into account the new voting system.

          With the new system applied to the 2014 contest, we would have had a 38th vote; the full 100% televote:
          http://i.imgur.com/684ocPa.jpg

          It would have been a thriller right until the very end, when only Netherlands and Austria would have been waiting for their sets of televote-points. This would be the TOP 5 then:

          535 points – AUSTRIA
          422 points – THE NETHERLANDS
          391 points – SWEDEN
          318 points – ARMENIA
          236 points – HUNGARY

          And here is the same score sheet applied to the 2015 contest with the new voting system in mind:
          http://i.imgur.com/dDTQ0Iy.jpg

          Also here, a voting thriller until the very end. But for different reasons. Sweden would have received their televote-points as 3rd last country. Russia and Italy would still not have received their points. This would be the final TOP 5:

          642 points – SWEDEN
          550 points – ITALY
          533 points – RUSSIA
          378 points – BELGIUM
          360 points – AUSTRALIA

          So in any normal situation a winning country should look a bit like Denmark 2013 or Austria 2014. Then a score anywhere between 500 and 550 points should be the winning score.

          Obviously, looking at Sweden 2012 or Sweden 2015 the winner should easily cross the 630 points.

          But then there are less ‘dominant’ winners like Germany 2010 and especially Azerbaijan 2011. In such situations the winner should get points anywhere between 400 and 470 points.

          I think it’s safe to say that this year’s winner won’t cross the 600 points. I start to think that the winning country might even have trouble crossing the 500 points. Especially after seeing that Russian live performance :-/.

          • PurpleKylie

            Yeah it’s feasible we could have a winner not crack 500, like if say the winner won both the televote and the jury vote with 260 pts and 210 pts respectively, which would make a 470 pt total.

            Again just to clarify, these are just randomly picked numbers in a hypothetical situation 😉

          • johnkef

            EBU always finds a way to make things interesting with the change of rules every 3-4 years. My estimation is that the winner will be in the 450-500 points range.

            It’s a year that there isn’t a song that really stands out and we might see 6-7 songs scoring more than 300 points. Last year we had 2 huge gaps on the scoreboard

            a. 6. Latvia 186 pts
            7. Estonia 106 pts

            b. 9. Israel 97 pts
            10. Serbia 53 pts

            I believe that we will see something similar this year. The quality is not that high, but there are so many average entries that i cannot see them scoring outside the neighbor-diaspora blocks. I can picture a scoreboard with the countries finishing 15th-26th scoring at the 10-60 pts range ( old 5-30 pts) maybe a little bit higher if there’s a Balkan or Eastern country with both friendly neighbors and diaspora.

            Then, there’s the medium group wih countries that will have a small impact outside their comfort zone scoring some low points here and there, scoring between 100-200 pts and finishing in the 7th-14th area.

            And then, as i mentioned before, 6 or maybe 7 songs that will amass the majority of the points. This is the year that the staging and running order will play a huge role. Till the rehearslas start the market will be very anxious.

      • Panos

        It’s obviously an approximate method, but still a good way to approach and try to solve the ”can Russia win” puzzle. I am not re-inventing the wheel here, but another, even more simple, line of thought is to try answering the question ”can Russia be top3/top4 with the juries in the final?”. Any1 who feels confident in the answer, either way, has a yes or no answer to whether Russia can win.

    • I smell a lot of ‘Russia 2011’, ‘Turkey 2012’ and ‘Greece 2009’. This year’s Russian entry now seems even more dated than just the plain song. The dancers….are so ‘2005’. On top of that…this Sergey isn’t a charmer like Mans.or this year’s Amir or Frans.

      No, this has sunk considerably with me. Time to lay!

  • PurpleKylie

    According to a Croatian friend, Nina said in a recent radio interview that she’s performing at #4 in the semi. Don’t know how true that is, but hopefully that means we’ll get the running order soon…

    http://radio.hrt.hr/radio-rijeka/clanak/nina-kraljic-o-pripremama-za-eurosong-i-jos-ponekom-detalju/115699/

    • Ben Cook

      Croatia is 4th in the alphabetical order of semi 1 first half in Croatian, so she might have misunderstood

      • PurpleKylie

        Ahhh I see xD

        I’ve asked a friend who’s kinda a ITK at SVT and he said that the running order has been made, but has no idea when it’s coming out, so hopefully we should get it soon.

  • Now that all of the songs are out, I’m trying to work out which ways the outright prices are going to move before rehearsals. There are two events and two polls I can think of that will (rightly or wrongly) cause fluctuations in the market over the next few weeks;

    Amsterdam
    London
    OGAE
    Eurojury

    What’s interesting is that none of the three market leaders (Russia, Sweden, Australia) are promoting in Amsterdam and London this year. This might mean that we should see some countries slightly higher in price experience slight price crashes, with the market leaders potentially drifting. The three I can see shortening as a result of doing well enough in the above polls and events are LATVIA, CROATIA and FRANCE. Although the crash on France has already happened to some extent, I believe it could come down further and I think it is the likeliest winner of OGAE this year.

    • Henry VIII

      I wouldn’t be surprised if those three shortened. The Top3 not turning up is bad for them, live practice is always good. The Russian and Australian singers are experienced at least and the Swedish toddler seems super-confident (maybe too confident).

    • Ben Cook

      I’m seriously puzzled about all the love Croatia is getting. It’s pleasant but cannot see how it can be a contender. It’s just so wishy washy.

      • Ande

        It’s a strong chorus with a very strong singer. Also the theme of the song lends itself to a potentially very strong staging narrative of overcoming adversity.

        Think Nina alone on a dark stage with water effects on the floor and cloudy imagery on the walls lighted up by lightning at the start of the song. The stormy imagery can be aided by (preferably dark blue or black) smoke being pumped out in the first verse. When she sings “daaarkest night” the background clouds slows down to a halt and the stage goes pitch black. At the start of the chorus a single white beam lights up Nina, symbolizing the lighthouse guiding her. The beam flickers out by the end of the chorus while in the second verse the stage gets somewhat lighter and the smoke gradually disappears. During the ending key change the Nina herself turns angelic as she becomes engulfed in her own “Lighthouse”. No more clouds, only a happily beaming Nina!

        Here’s a clip of Ninas singing it live…

  • Henry VIII

    Nice spreadsheets SongContestWork! (to use the English version, which has more chance of winning). When I said “Can we actually assume the winner needs about 500 points?” I was trying to be polite but realise it can have two meanings. What I meant was “We can’t assume that the winner needs about 500 points” but I see from your long post that you agree with that.

    With the new system it’s important to look at ways the juries and public differ in scoring. I was looking at difference in deviation from lowest to highest scores between jury and televote from your two years but their doesn’t seem to be much. Looking at something else, for example, last year’s T3:

    Country, Jury, Public

    Sweden, 363, 279
    Russia, 247, 286
    Italy, 184, 386

    Sweden – on 10th, the public forget it more, juries take notes and are less effected by running order.
    Italy – on last, easy choice for a non-concentrating public, juries more musically pompous and more likely to disdain popera as not credible.

    • On top of that, the fact that the first half of the grand final last year was packed with potential winners, potential TOP-5-ers and potential TOP-10-ers really helped Russia….and especially Italy….with the televote.

      A similar thing we see this year in both semi finals. In a weird coincidental way both semi finals have really strong first halfs. Thus it can cause a bloodbath in the minds of televoters.

    • It puzzled me though to figure out why Estonia last year didn’t do so well with the juries as opposed to the televote. Something similar happened with the Eurojury last year.

      But I think I found the answer: Like Conchita’s beard Estonia also did a serious appeal to mess up televoter’s emotions (in a positive way). Elina seriously….cried. She shed a few tears during her performance. And that sold the story per-fect-ly.

      Suddenly televoters had a reference point: Tears. It didn’t go unnoticed by me either. And in a way…we both think like jury’s and televoters.

      • PurpleKylie

        I think the reason why the juries didn’t like Estonia that much was one of our biggest complaints: the song was too negative.

        Also the final was the only time she ever cried, and she really meant it. You should heard the collective gasp in the press room when it happened, which is funny because during the final we were all concerned if Elina was feeling ok when she cried, then about an hour later everyone was all confused when Edurne started crying, lol.

  • Betfair advice please!
    My book is currently green all the way down (not to brag or anything :P) and I’m trying to lay a country. The winnings for that country after laying are still green but it won’t let me do it, saying I have insufficient funds or have exceeded my exposure limit. I don’t have anything in my balance because I figure I’m using existing equity to lay. Where can I find out my exposure limit please? I thought having a green book means that would be zero?

    Also I seem to have this phantom ‘penny’ in my balance that Betfair won’t let me use to back… so if my balance is £2.01, I can only bet £2.00. Dunno what that’s about.

    • Henry VIII

      That’s an impossible scenario. Phone the helpdesk, and if you want, let us know what happened.

    • Artsipappa

      This is because it seems like betfair has changed their system. You cannot use the existing equity anymore because once your book becomes green you immediately get the lower amount to your balance (minus commission I assume).

      So lets say my current balance is 100€. I make some good bets and managed to have both sides 50€ green. This means that now my balance is 150€. And once the event is decided you wont ge the 50€ to your balance anymore, because you’ve already received it once your book hits green.

      So in eurovision if your lowest green iin outright is 100€ and all the rest are 200€. Now if the 100€ bet wins you dont get anything to your balance anymore, but if the 200€ side wins you get an extra 100€.. minus commission of course.

    • Okay, it took a lot of back and forth with them, but I think I understand now. When you have a green book, you are able to back with the total sum of your balance plus the amount of your lowest green.

      Also, when you have unmatched bets in waiting (to back at least) your exposure limit is the total sum of your balance and the stake of said unmatched bet. This is why I couldn’t lay, because I had an unmatched bet of a higher stake than my current winnings on the country I was trying to lay. Cancelling the unmatched bet resets your exposure limit to zero. This also only applies to green books.

      As for the ‘ghost penny’ this is probably showing up as a penny but is infact a lower amount due to betting against foreign currencies.

  • Quickly derailing the topic but it’s been confirmed by ITV that the Silent Assassin himself, Dermot O’ Leary, is returning to X Factor.

    Good news for Sofabetters everywhere.

  • Mr Wolf

    It’s interesting that we have so many similar acts with strong women singing ballads where strength is supposed to be in their powerful live performances.
    And most of them should rely on the same bloc of votes as well.
    I mean Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine, Armenia (and Australia).
    What are your opinions on that?

    • Ande

      They will cancel eachother out to some degree but this will be mostly be an issue for the weaker iterations with a bad draw come final night. My theory is many will still be strong enough to qualify but the accumulation in the final will make the vulnerable entries pile up in the basement.

    • Hippo

      It could split the vote, but it could help to highlight the superiority of one or two of the entries.

      I seriously don’t see Serbia making the final if Sanja keeps singing it the way she does, which may free things up for Croatia. Serbia may be this year’s “shock” nq.

      Armenia and Ukraine are unique enough to do well on their own terms.

      Australia are the ones I worry for. It’s the most overrated entry this year (third favourite to win, 1/3 to finish top ten) and the blandness of the song suffers in comparison. Czech Republic are also on very similar territory and are more appealing I feel.

      • PurpleKylie

        I think Serbia have a good chance, it’s a jury song and there’s enough diaspora countries in that semi to help them.

        I agree that Australia is vastly overrated, if it was Switzerland or Belarus sending this song, no one would give a flying monkeys. I also feel that Czech Republic could come across as more powerful live having seen live videos of Gabriela, compared to that plodding generic radio song the Aussies have sent.

  • This new voting system is simply awesome. And it’s already making me nervous. Just do a random simulation via:
    http://www.escnation.com/simulator/sim16.php

    • PurpleKylie

      I’ve been having fun with this too, the night of May 14th will not be good for my heart or my nerves!

      There are flaws with this system, but in terms of creating a TV moment having this new voting is a good idea.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    There’s a couple of terms of which I don’t have a proper grasp and which I often read in Eurovision chat and analysis.

    What is “fanwank”?

    And what is “a jury song”?

    I sort of know but sort of don’t.

    Anyone? Thanks.

    • PurpleKylie

      Well for me, a fanwank is a song that is wildly popular with fans but ends up bombing in the contest (for example Kate Ryan and Charlotte Perrelli)

      A jury song for me is a song that gets a lot more support from the juries than the public (for example both Austria and Slovenia in 2011)

    • Hippo

      Way I see it is ‘Fanwank’ are the type of entries that are loved by the online fan community and hyped up- potentially to do a lot worse than expected as the general audience/ juries are less enthusiastic.
      Hungary 2011, Iceland 2010, Sweden 2008 are notable. Usually quite camp, dated and/or a female whose vocals ‘slay’ and is ‘full of sass’.
      Spain and Austria from this year fit the bill.
      Returning artists are often ‘fanwanked too’.

      ‘Jury Song’ is a bit harder to pinpoint- basically any song that is likely to appeal significantly more to the juries than televoters. Well sung ballads, instruments on stage but juries aren’t easy to predict. From this year Serbia do fit the bill, maybe Italy and Netherlands as well.

      • Russia, may well fit the bill this year to – to a degree anyway. Don’t get me wrong, their diaspora vote isn’t going to go away, to an extent that it’s virtually impossible for anything from Russia to fall outside the top five, but it certainly ticks the camp and dated box, and I can’t see that not hurting it with both juries and televoters.

        • Ande

          Fans couldn’t persuade any ESC winning divas to return with grand power balads this year. Their constellation prize is a slightly overripe queen doing flamboyantly camp stomper-schlager with key change!

          • They did persuade one (runner up diva) actually, it’s just that they then dropped her like a hot potato for someone younger and then Poland ended up voting for neither of them!

  • Henry VIII

    It’s simply songs that only appeal to fans and do badly. Popular wanks are shouty divas, schlager, and anything sung by Kaliopi or Valentina Monetta.

    • Valentina only really fit the bill in 2013 though. She did pretty really well (especially by San Marino standards) in 2014, and I’m sure nobody in their right minds expected The Social Network That Definitely Isn’t Facebook What Us Breach the Rules On Corporate Branding Song (Ooh Ah Uh Oh) to do anything other than sink like a stone.

  • Made one of those top 43 videos, plus a little promo for this year’s Eurovision Wipe! escXtra have been kind enough to adopt me this year! https://youtu.be/yGfCxlFSOb8

    • I love Armenia too. Where do you think it will finish? It’s so different I can’t place it. Top 10 I’d say but beyond that…

    • Black n Blue

      Somebody had to place Switzerland last…Thanks Ben!

      As for Armenia, well based off of the unusual structure and sound mixing, they could crack the jury top 5. Not sure if televoters outside of the diaspora will get it. Could be too artsy for some, unless the staging is hands down amazing or something.

  • There are almost certainly too many odds-on To Qualify shots for Semi Final 1 at the moment. Something’s gotta give. My money’s on The Netherlands, Hungary and Iceland potentially failing, in order of most likely not to qualify.

    • I’d say to qualify from semi #1 in random order:

      RUSSIA
      ARMENIA
      AZERBAIJAN
      CZECH REPUBLIC
      ESTONIA
      CROATIA
      CYPRUS
      MALTA
      ICELAND
      AUSTRIA

      From your three countries who have the potential of failing, I think Netherlands and Hungary have the highest chance.

      • Chris Bellis

        Agreed. I think Austria will struggle too, on the basis that it’s a quirky song sung in French. I like it, but bitter experience has shown me that my taste for this type of pop isn’t widely shared outside Francophone countries.

      • Unless it gets the pimp slot, I’m almost certain Austria won’t qualify and I’m thinking Bosnia & Herzegovina probably will. I would definitely give them more chance than Greece, for example.

        • At this stage talking in terms of “definitely” is a bit too soon.

          What works in Austria’s favour is this:
          –> Sugarpop yes, but definitely the best ‘sugarpop’ in years.
          –> Fanwank, perhaps. But the arrangement and instruments used give it at least a unique feel (the guitar intro, the orchestration, which is rather classic, ‘pingpings’ on the violin, wonderful cello music), and makes it less of a typical Swedish schlager.
          –> Zoe has plentiful charm and charisma. During the Austrian final it struck me that she perfectly catches the camera. There’s an ‘angelic’ feel to her personality.
          –> Vocally she’s very capable. I don’t buy the criticism on her vocals, sorry.
          –> There’s already a clear stage concept in place. The full-frontal camerawork is effective, strengthening the feeling that Zoe is walking towards you in a nice garden from a fairytale.
          –> Could be the ‘Latvia 2002’ of this year.

          What works against Bosnia’s favour is this:
          –> Ernst Stavro Blofeld. I don’t know what happened to Disco Deen, but he looks outright scary and frightening.
          –> It’s a messy song if you ask me. Probably the worst Balkan entry together with Montenegro and Slovenia.
          –> In this strong semi final, I think the rather downbeat, dark nature of the song isn’t striking enough as compared to Austria’s upbeat entry.

          • I have to agree with Chris and Tim. Austria is very unlikely to qualify. It’s sweet and pretty, as is she, but from a commercial and Joe Public perspective it’s just sickly, twee, weird, in French for some reason, and largely irrelevant.

            The highest compliment I could give it is that its arrangement has flourishes of ethereal Eurodance music from around 2003. When it was first selected I was immediately reminded of this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg1Izip9hSs

            The only way it is qualifying is if the arrangement was modernised into something more gentle and electronic, and the stage concept changed to fit the original lyric video a bit more, with passing clouds and a kind of futuristic goddess thing going on. Right now it’s just irrelevant dated fluff with one of the lamest and most forced “big finish” endings I’ve ever heard in my years as an ESC fan.

            I don’t dislike it but it’s not something I could listen to in its current form. It needs a remix.

  • Ande

    Did a “what does my friends think” to a couple of friends. They usually watch ESC on the night but otherwise are just semi interested. As a side note they are age 30 and 25 and listens to cheesy low key stuff.

    Grades – Caught attention? – Country – Comments
    3 2 No AU Gereric, boring
    5 6 Ya RU Generic but fun, more interesting then AU
    4 4 Ya LA Good before popcorn*. Wierd. Good voice.
    4 1 No CR Interesting lyrics, bland song.
    3 3 No MT Bad in its genre, half baked
    5 4 YN ES Pretty nice
    4 3 No FR Like language variation, generic.
    5 4 No SR Tries to much. Lacks energy but is ok.
    4 4 No PL Starts well, ends worse
    4 4 Ya UA Likes lyrics. “Can’t she stop shouting?”
    4 5 NY BE Generic, she tries to be Michael J.
    5 6 Ya IS Nice, stylistically pure.
    5 6.5 Ya NO Fine pop, wierd composition and chorus.
    7 7 Ya NL In the beginning: “This is good”. Different.
    5 5 Ya GE “Is she emulating a reindeer?”
    3 2 Ya MD What is this? Wen’t for bathroom. Ew.
    5 3 Ya CY Not pop! Otherwise generic.
    5 6 Ya IE Noticed because Westlife.
    4 3 No LI Not credible. Immature teenager.
    6 6 Ya EE Makes the best out of a ok song. Different.
    5 4 Ya BA Sticks out. Bad. Likes lang.+instruments.
    2 3 Ya MK “Song would be better without her.”
    5 2 No FI “Pretty nice.” “No.”
    5 4 Ya UK “So cute, feels like JESC”

    *Popcorn was referring to the bubble bursting sounds coupled with the visual red circles, they found them distracting.

    • Henry VIII

      If anyone else does this can you write the country or the first few letters of the country for thick lazy b’stards like me.

      MK?

      Is EE really Estonia? It only has one E unless I can’t spell.

      • Ande

        I had to use the 2-letter codes to fit it on one row each and for everthing to line up porperly. I did a few mistakes, GE is supposed to be DE (Germany), MD should be ME (Montenegro) and SR = RS (Serbia).
        http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/ctycodes.htm

        _______________________________________
        Anyways, here’s the list with spelled out Country names, they graded each song between 1 and 10.

        Grades |Caught their attention| – Country
        Comments

        3 2 |No| AU – Australia
        Gereric, boring

        5 6 |Yes| RU – Russia
        Generic but fun, more interesting then AU

        4 4 |Yes| LA – Latvia
        Good before the “popcorn” began popping. Wierd. Good voice. “Popcorn” was referring to the bubble bursting sounds coupled with the visual red circles, they found them distracting.

        4 1 |No| CR – Crotia
        Interesting lyrics, bland song.

        3 3 |No| MT – Malta
        Bad in its genre, half baked

        5 4 |Y/N| ES – Spain
        Pretty nice

        4 3 |No| FR – France
        Like language variation, generic.

        5 4 |No| RS – Serbia
        Tries to much. Lacks energy but is ok.

        4 4 |No| PL – Poland
        Starts well, ends worse

        4 4 |Yes| UA – Ukraine
        Likes lyrics. “Can’t she stop shouting?”

        4 5 |N/Y| BE – Belgium
        Generic, she tries to be Michael J.

        5 6 |Yes| IS – Iceland
        Nice, stylistically pure.

        5 6.5 |Yes| NO – Norway
        Fine pop, wierd composition and chorus.

        7 7 |Yes| NL – Netherlands
        Right from the start: “This is good”. It is different.

        5 5 |Yes| DE – Germany
        “Is she emulating a reindeer?”

        3 2 |Yes| ME – Montenegro
        What is this? Wen’t for bathroom. Ew.

        5 3 |Yes| CY – Cyprus.
        Not pop for once! Otherwise generic.

        5 6 |Yes| IE – Ireland
        Noticed because his from Westlife.

        4 3 |No| LI – Lithuania
        Not credible. Immature teenager.

        6 6 |Yes| EE – Estonia
        Makes the best out of an ok song. Different.

        5 4 |Yes| BA – Bosnia & Herzegovina
        Sticks out but is not good. Likes language+instruments.

        2 3 |Yes| MK – Makedonia
        “Song would be better without her.”

        5 2 |No| FI – Finland
        “Pretty nice.” The other one: “No.”

        5 4 |Yes| UK – United Kingdom
        “So cute, feels like JESC”

  • Ande

    Here’s a checklist to identify potential fanwanks in ESC 2016.

    Semi Final 1
    http://s10.postimg.org/4apg1jrsp/SF1.png

    Semi Final 2
    http://s16.postimg.org/lanwhi65x/SF2.png

    Grand Final & Favourites
    http://s14.postimg.org/z803my7qp/image.png

    Are Dalal & Deen and Kaliopi in trouble?

    • Henry VIII

      I like the cut of your jib Ande. Anything can be analysed, however artistic, if broken down into small enough units. (Although tomorrow for me, when I’m not so tired).

  • Boki

    Breaking news: there is a leaked picture of Sergei’s esc outfit!
    http://guysofeurovision.tumblr.com/post/135788773385

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