Eurovision 2016: Odds and ends

We’ve been eagerly awaiting the running order for both semi-finals, which we’ve now been told will be published this coming Tuesday. What with the Amsterdam Eurovision In Concert gig involving 27 of this year’s acts on Saturday 9th April, it feels like next week will provide plenty of clues.

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In the meantime, we have a few odds and ends to clear up from the song selections. In the former category we have San Marino’s Serhat going with the disco version of ‘I Didn’t Know‘. Whilst this pushes the entry into the category of cult classic, I don’t think it will also be tipping it into qualifying territory.

Italy’s Francesca Michielin is already in the final with ‘No Degree of Separation‘. I think it lacks enough impact for televoters on Saturday night, but it might be a good idea for Francesa to bring her piano with her to differentiate herself from the competition, and ingratiate herself with juries. They’ve responded very well in the past to Italians with pianos.

Talking of 2011, the last song revealed that year proved to be the winning one. Bulgaria are looking to repeat that feat with Poli Genova’s ‘If Love Was A Crime‘. I’m certainly intrigued by this entry: it’s radio-friendly, well structured, full of hooks, and could be getting points from both east and west, televoters and jurors. At the very least, it should put them back in the final for the first time since 2007.

One of my concerns will be how the vocal riff that we hear at the start of the song and intermittently after is recreated live on stage – anything that sounds like a vocal shouldn’t be on the backing track, though special effects are allowed on live vocals. Given effective execution here, and with the rest of the song, ‘If Love Was A Crime’ can make a decent impact on the Saturday night scoreboard.

Otherwise, the news from the betting market is that France continues to make inroads on the leaders, overtaking the likes of Croatia, which we got to see performed live here. Nina and Amir are just two of those performing at the Amsterdam event. Beforehand, there are preview parties in Riga on April 2nd and Moscow on April 3rd. The former will be a first chance to see Poli perform ‘If Love Was A Crime’, whilst the latter will be the only preview party to include hot favourite Sergey Lazarev of Russia.

I’d highly recommend following the excellent esckaz.com for news and videos from all these events. I’ll be reporting from the Amsterdam concert next weekend. Do keep your thoughts coming below.

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115 comments to Eurovision 2016: Odds and ends

  • Frans is continuing to do well on Spotify outside of Sweden

    https://twitter.com/Schlagerprofil/status/715878764073369601
    https://twitter.com/Schlagerprofil/status/715874491172302849

    He’s been bouncing between #80 and #130 on Spotify UK ever since he won Melfest. Being on one of the promoted playlists is obviously helping, but this is unprecedented stuff – far more impressive than making iTunes charts because of the much higher volumes. He’s about to clear half a million streams in the UK alone.

  • Murun Buchstansangur

    If a song is on a playlist then presumably it gets streamed whether the listener wants to hear it or not? If that’s the case then its hard to know how relevant the half million streams in the UK are.

    • Ben Cook

      Yes, though of course you can skip the songs you don’t like.

      Regardless, I still believe this is shaping up to up a global hit and top 3 minimum in the contest. Amazes me that some people cannot even see the appeal of a young guy singing a bang on trend Lukas Graham/Bieber-style song.

      • John G

        Well, it’s marmite for one thing

        • John G

          I mean (IMO, it’s not just a little annoying, but very) so you have to really push against your instincts to back the song, and the early draw didn’t help.

      • Murun Buchstansangur

        Yeah, but surely you don’t have to get to the end of a song for it to count.

        I agree its a very good song that could well be a worldwide commercial hit, but there are plenty of negatives that have been well discussed on here. I agree with Hippo that unless it becomes a pre show europe wide hit it won’t be challenging.

  • Chris Bellis

    For some reason there’s always been a preponderance of negative posts about Sweden’s entries on this site. I gave up posting about Sweden here for that reason, contenting myself with my winnings over the years. You’ve only got to compare the effort they went to with the pathetic effort we made to see why they do so much better.

    • Henry VIII

      Go away Bellis. We hate Sweden and we hate you. In fact I’m surprised you dared show your face here again.

      (The above was just my April Fool’s prank that I felt obliged to contribute before the day’s end).

  • Black n Blue

    France (not to be confused with Frans) have become the 3rd favourite to win. Notably, with Amir doing Amsterdam and London, they may continue to shorten even more, since I think his hand-clapping, foot-tapper song should suit the small venue audience, more so than a televised arena performance.

    Speaking of the London ESC party, I’m surprised that Frans won’t be making an appearance. Didn’t he live there for a few years or something? It’s a bit odd that there’s no promo tour lined-up for him considering his song is charting on Spotify in several countries across Europe.

    • Ande

      He’s still in school, his parents makes sure he finishes it.

    • John G

      It’s interesting with France, of the bookie favourites it’s definitely the one without ‘pedigree’. Swe, Rus, Ukr are all heavyweights and Aus’ first result was strong.

      France I think have somewhat rebounded from an underwhelming live vocal on YT to climb the ladder and it is the songs exuberant, bouncy and catchy televote appeal that is probably doing the trick.

      On the night, draw will be important. Long sections of Jai Cherche are in spoken French, which can be quite fluidy (like Hebrew, say) and France are no staging stalwarts.

      However on the plus side Amir is quite the French Ruffalo, it will likely serve as the breakout uptempo number like Israel or Serbia did last year (there’s always one) and if it’s staged to emphasise it’s charm it could do well.

      Neither Serbia or Israel were top 4 last year though.

      Picking a top 4 this year is tough! There seems to be a dearth of candidates besides the top 2. Everyone else has an Achilles heal

      Aus – repetition
      Fra – poor previous
      Mal – poor previous
      Ukr – gloomy
      Cro – insubstantial
      Lat – offbeat
      Arm – offbeat
      Aze – now something of a wildcard country, vocals

      Of course the fun part each year is which will be top 4/the winner out of them. I’m favouring Malta personally as its vaguely current and Losco is a seasoned singer. And Latvia, but as I’m not on Betfair it’s hard to go all in.

    • PurpleKylie

      Personally I really like France, but anyone who think based on live performances that they can even score top 10 are quite frankly wasting their money. The guy sings fine but has no charisma or stage presence, which is important for solo singer acts in Eurovision. I’d be more than happy to lay them for top 5.

  • Henry VIII

    This is for Chris. SM update for Top 15 in the betting:

    Only ESC songs with 5 mill+ YT views (from all instances)
    Italy
    Sweden
    Russia

    Only ESC song in iTunes EUROPE Top 250
    Sweden

    Only ESC song in Spotify GLOBAL Top 100
    Sweden

    I originally posted this on the BF forum and although this is 1/4, this is accurate and easily verifiable (I’m not that sad. And I’ll be glad when 1 April Foolishness is over in 2 hours).

    • I have been looking at the official Eurovision YouTube account and looked at all the views from the official videoclips there. This is the ranking so far (behind every country the aging number. For instance Italy’s video is the youngest and was released this week. Hence the ‘1’. Bosnia’s video was posted first on the Eurovision YouTube account, hence the oldest aging nr. ’43’):

      2.465.990 POLAND 20
      1.971.745 AUSTRALIA 32
      1.955.293 ARMENIA 39
      1.639.457 BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 43
      1.415.409 FRANCE 23
      1.304.329 SERBIA 25
      1.215.826 AZERBAIJAN 22
      1.017.099 THE NETHERLANDS 37
      914.207 SPAIN 18
      873.155 MALTA 7
      799.953 UKRAINE 42
      793.431 CZECH REPUBLIC 30
      779.767 RUSSIA 15
      765.510 BULGARIA 4
      668.252 CYPRUS 41
      653.628 BELGIUM 26
      604.355 GREECE 31
      549.955 CROATIA 5
      459.689 F.Y.R.MACEDONIA 34
      427.504 SWEDEN 24
      373.266 ALBANIA 16
      365.685 UNITED KINGDOM 14
      334.048 ISRAEL 19
      328.380 MONTENEGRO 35
      323.535 GERMANY 10
      318.763 DENMARK 27
      256.568 ICELAND 6
      255.920 ESTONIA 29
      248.890 AUSTRIA 9
      245.942 HUNGARY 11
      228.420 LITHUANIA 17
      215.035 ITALY 1
      208.602 IRELAND 40
      207.730 MOLDOVA 36
      195.440 FINLAND 38
      170.798 NORWAY 13
      160.536 SAN MARINO 3
      133.088 BELARUS 2
      127.054 SLOVENIA 33
      124.410 SWITZERLAND 21
      119.878 GEORGIA 28
      110.560 LATVIA 12
      95.339 ROMANIA 8

      But I’m incredibly ware with analizing YouTube hits. Why?

      –> First of all, some of the artists have official VEVO-accounts or official accounts from their record company. Sometimes the videos posted there are way more popular. They have more views.

      –> Some artists are big names in their countries. Which is the case with some Balkan artists, like Deen from Bosnia-Herzegovina or Douwe Bob from The Netherlands. Hence lots of views.

      –> Some video’s have been posted quite a while back, hence the high nr. of views. Some other video’s are really new, like Malta and Bulgaria, but they accumulated much more views in a shorter period.

      –> Some countries, like Netherlands and Belgium are way more densely cabled with glassfiber internet and other means of internet, hence the higher views in countries like Netherlands or Belgium.

      –> And then there’s the demographical behaviour of people on the internet in less democratic countries like Armenia and Azerbaijan. They tend to be (voting) more fanatical on channels like YouTube. Hence why the motivation of Eastern-European televoters has been quite high as compared to some Western-European countries.

      So be careful over-analizing YouTube views :-).

      • Black n Blue

        Thanks for putting those stats together Mr. Werk.

        I agree. The hits on the Youtube channel are easier to compare than say from the artists own account. For instance, I remember Poland 2014 having like 50 million hits before the contest on Donatan’s account (who himself is a big deal in slavic countries).

      • Henry VIII

        YT is useful but, as you suggest, it’s worse than useless looking at just one channel. If you see my post directly above, 3 of them have more than 5 million views. Now compare that with their views on the ESC channel above.

        It’s not hard to do a quick sum. Type, say, Malta Eurovision 2016 into YT and on the first half of the first page you’ll get all the major instances and you can just add up the biggest viewed.

        • Henry VIII

          * search string should be – country, eurovision, artist, name of song – to get all instances, as the early ones won’t have the country or eurovision in their title.

    • Chris Bellis

      Thanks Henry. That confirms my gut feeling, and from tests with friends and relatives.

  • PurpleKylie

    Live performance of Bulgaria here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hsa_xDbAVg

    Live performance of Malta here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Amnon2pHQ2U

    Both are from tonight’s Riga Pre-Party

    • The good thing about Bulgaria this year is Poli herself. She’s a damn good performer, both vocally as well with connecting with camera’s. On top of that she’s a georgeous looking woman, and that always helps. The more handsome, the better.

      The song however……I’m not sure about that. It’s modern, but the studio mix / production also sounds a bit childish with those electronic robotic voices in the background.

    • Ow! Those vocals for Bulgaria do not sound good at all.

  • I don’t think the Riga party performances has told us anything we didn’t already know or expect.

    • Henry VIII

      I was quite impressed by them all but loads of people thought they were a let down. I don’t know what they were expecting in that casual little gig.

  • Mr Wolf

    Does anyone know about the new voting system, can public still vote while juries are announcing jury points?

    • PurpleKylie

      No-one knows, I’ve just calculated how long the show should run assuming that they don’t overrun this year and assuming they announce the jury votes AFTER the voting window is closed:

      Intro and songs (inc ad break) = roughly 2hrs
      Voting window = 15min
      Jury voting = 30min
      Televote results = 15min

      That adds up to a total of of 3 hrs on the dot, and that’s not even including an interval act. I would prefer that they don’t do the jury voting while the public can still vote.

    • Black n Blue

      Well in Melodifestivalen they have voting during and after the jury result so I’d be inclined to think that this would occur under the same system at Eurovision.

      I hope it doesn’t happen. If country ‘A’ wins the jury vote, than people may get complacent and not vote for them thinking they’ve won it already. It would be counter-productive.

  • Some gossip coming out of Team Russia thanks to ESC Kaz’s various interviews is that Sergey has been very careful to emphasise that the choreography we have seen in the video, and the choreography we’ve seen in recent videos including that of the Moscow preview party is NOT what we will see at Eurovision. He said they are preparing a special performance which Sergey apparently described as “typical Fokas”. Not sure if that’s promising or not.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      “typical Fokas” – now that’s a memorable phrase.

    • This may be a newbie question, but who or what is a Fokas? Google seems to be bringing up results for some mathematician, and I’m guessing Sergey isn’t suggesting he’ll be doing trigonometry onstage.

      • Fokas Evangelinos. The famed choreographer/stage director who was responsiblefor the staging of acts like:
        –> 2014, 7nd place for Russia and the twins Tolmachevy with «Shine»
        –> 2013, 2nd place for Azerbaijan and Farid Mammadov with the song «Hold me»
        –> 2009, 7th place for Greece and Sakis Rouvas with the song «This is our night»
        –> 2008, 1st place for Russia and Dima Bilan with the song “Believe me” and 2η place for Ukraine and Annie Lorak with the song “Shady Lady”
        –> 2007, 6th place for Belarus and Dmitry Koldun with the song « Work your magic»
        –> 2006, 2nd place for Russia and Dima Bilan,
        –> 2006, Creative director of the Eurovision Contest held in Greece
        –> 2005, 1st place for Greece and H. Paparizou with the song «My number one”
        –> 2004, 3rd place for Greece and Sakis Rouvas with the song «Shake it”

    • PurpleKylie

      “Typical Fokas” equals stupid giant prop.

      After the giant stapler and the giant seesaw, what will they come up with next? A giant middle finger aimed at the rest of the contestants?

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Had my girlfriend watch all the Eurovision entries.

    She still hasn’t forgiven me. Seriously.

    She had control of the laptop, and switched onto the next one as soon as she got bored. (It was a condition of her agreeing to listen to the songs!)

    The 2 she really liked were the disco tracks – San Marino and Belgium. Just the tracks I expected a musician to enjoy!!

    She also liked Poland (!), Latvia (until Justs screamed and screeched his way through the final section), found Norway interesting and listened and watched and mildly enjoyed the Russian video all the way through. She wasn’t surprised when I informed her that Russia was the bookie’s favourite.

    She laughed, noting that if you only knew Europe via Eurovision you would be led to believe that American English was the mother tongue of virtually all of Europe – and Australia.

    She listened to the pre qualified finalists first, and after hearing France’s entry (already having heard Italy’s) she commented that some countries handicap themselves from the outset by insisting on lyrics in their native language.

    She thought the Swedish entry was pathetic and that the singer was an ugly waif.

    Nothing quite divides opinion like the Swedish entry. I did counter that he is much better in his live staged performance…but she didn’t believe me.

    Was surprised that she didn’t enjoy Spain more than she did (which wasn’t much).

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Meant to say that we both rated the Cypriot entry, which came as a welcome relief after the waves of mush and meh.

    Both agreed that the singers, though, are a rough looking gang of buggers.

    A bunch of typical Fokas.

  • PurpleKylie

    Some more performances of entries we haven’t heard live yet, this time from last’s night’s Moscow pre-party:

    Live performance from Armenia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1xPwtBaQj8

    Live performance from Macedonia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u31cairvXM

    Live performance from Azerbaijan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsKEmdt3C1E

    Live performance from Cyprus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJN7N8U57jU

    • Hippo

      Very promising from Armenia, Samra for Azerbaijan not as bad as I expected too.
      I’m disappointed with Cyprus – thought they’d be a little better and have more energy.
      Kalliopi as competent at ever but the song still lets her down.

      Still very early days yet.
      By my count the only serious entry we haven’t seen any live from yet is the Czech Republic. Top 10 potential for them so I’ll be looking out for that one.

    • Russia

      I think this is properly live as opposed to pre-recorded. Sounds and looks good but I still feel it’s going to fall slightly short of winning. I just think a lot of people are going to roll their eyes at it – it’s cheesy, dated and over the top.

      Very disappointed by Samra’s vocals

  • Keley Ann

    Does anyone know what happened to eurovicious? His twitter account has been deleted and not seen him post here for a little while now, I was actually hoping he’d write another set of articles about the run up to ESC again as he did last year.

    • Montell

      I miss eurovicious too 🙂

    • I’ve just sent him a message ;). Hopefully he’ll pop up on here soon…

    • eurovicious

      Hey Keley Ann and Montell 🙂 thanks – I’m “playing in the shadows”… I’ve taken notes for an article this year but not sure what to say as I basically agree with everything Daniel has written plus the bulk of reader comments… so I’ll try and put something together, just not sure what my angle is (or if I even need an angle). I don’t want to do a repeat of last year where I go over every single song, because it’s 30 shades of beige and thus very hard to gauge pre-rehearsals as the blander the field, the more the staging and performance make all the difference. Plus trying to get over/work around the fact that the contest is so uninteresting this year (2013/2014 were bland, but this year is approaching anti-culture) that I honestly don’t give a fig what wins… if there is any justsice it will be Latvia, as long as it’s not Sweden, because if a non-sung song wins the jury vote, the end times are here…

      • Panos

        But a non-sung (ish) song has already won the jury vote in 2010 marginally ahead of Douwe Bob, sorry, Tom Dice.

        • PurpleKylie

          The difference between Frans and Lena is that Lena had a load of charisma and personality in her performance.

          Frans by comparison is just a pissy teenager standing and mumbling for 3 mins.

  • PurpleKylie

    After saying that the running order would be out tomorrow, they’ve now said it’ll be FRIDAY >:-(

    SVT are trying to troll us all, I swear to god…

    • Black n Blue

      Is there any chance somebody at SVT wrote it down, and then lost the sheet? 🙂

    • Hippo

      That is both interesting and annoying.

      I wonder if the EBU has rejected the original or something. Maybe SVT had Denmark, Iceland and Norway as late as possible instead of the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

  • The Betfair Exchange outright market looks so weird at the moment. With one look you’d think Russia is the white hot landslide favourite and it’s a foregone conclusion, but we know it isn’t.

    Is this a picture of a market that’s more unsure of itself than ever and feigning a favourite?

    I admit Russia makes a solid case. The song is powerful, the staging will be memorable for better or worse, he’s popular and will sweep up Eastern televotes, has no obvious jury or Western-voter handicap either. The biggest argument it seems we can lay at its feet is how dated and desperate the whole thing appears to be. Are we wrong?

    • Black n Blue

      No I don’t think we’re wrong. It’s just we’re so used to knowing by now who can easily win (or at least have a few contenders with a serious shot at it). Not this year though. There’s no confidence in any one country to do well, and since Russia has the name, diaspora and a solid song that’s where the money’s going.
      I’ve often revisited this article since the 14′ contest.
      wiwibloggs.com/2014/03/28/eurovision-odds-armenia-denmark/44470/
      Aram Mp3 had an incredibly low price this time two years ago, and credit to him, his song felt like a far more justified market leader than You are the only one currently is. You just wonder whether anyone can break out of the pack like two years ago. I have a feeling we may be in for a similar sort of year, where everyone is heading into the contest on a blank canvas, and which ever one of the 43 can stand out could take it, regardless of where they were positioned in the odds previously.

      • Black n Blue

        Ok, well there’s some obvious exemptions from the 43, I’ll let you do the guessing!

      • Martin F.

        Some of the comments on that article are adorable.

        “The bookies are bad at picking a Top 3. Spain, Hungary, and Romania are the real title contenders. Unless they’re just hoping to make a lot of money off of people’s bets?”

        <3

    • I’m just wondering whether “dated and desperate” is too flimsy an argument against Russia at this stage. If they do win, I believe it will be a win by default, because it seems to be the one everyone is sort of mildly impressed by but nobody really loves. This is why I value things like the Mum test – mine has repeatedly used the word “strong” for Russia. Not “good” but “strong”.

      Sweden has numerous, varied and credible arguments going against it and I have it red, Australia just doesn’t have any feeling of a winner at all to me because the arrangement doesn’t swell and feels cold, I have it red, and France is curiously but disproportionately hyped, although I’m trying to stay open minded about it personally.

      I don’t think Croatia should have drifted quite as much as it has based on the TV performance, but Nina’s image and stage presence is definitely a concern for Stockholm. Looking further down the list I have identified four, maybe five countries that I think are overpriced at the moment, but naturally I won’t say which ones.

      Malta is the one I’m most fascinated by, because I read a lot of people writing it off, but without much solid reason other than calling the song messy or difficult. Funny thing is, I can actually understand exactly what they mean, but I also think that argument holds no more water than calling Russia dated and desperate. Both are very subjective comments. What isn’t subjective is that Walk On Water sounds chart-friendly and has impact, while the gospel helps to give it an emotional uplift.

      • Hippo

        I agree roughly with Black n Blue. Russia is a consensus favourite in the sense that everyone agrees they will do very well as in come top 3 minimum. In the absence of a clear winner that has been enough to give Russia it’s current odds. No one seems to be confident they will win however. Everyone seems to want Russia green but nobody seems to have them as their biggest green.
        The implied chance from the betfair odds still suggest it’s more likely that they don’t win than they do win.

        The interesting thing is that the market can’t agree on who will challenge. Some say Malta can do it, others argue strongly for Sweden or feel Ukraine can sneak in. The fan money seems to be going on France and Spain. Latvia and particularly Croatia seem to have lost some flavour but they’ve been tipped too, whilst Serbia are dangerous if Sanja doesn’t start overacting again.
        I myself feel a totally different country will challenge. I don’t remember a scenario where the second favourite was over 10/1 on the exchange. It will certainly be fascinating to see the rehearsals and hopefully that will clear the picture a little.

        • I think Serbia’s song has a fantastic classical quality to it. It’s a ballsy, proper song with soul and substance, it’s better than Rise Like a Phoenix, but it doesn’t strike the right mood to win the contest. Ultimately it comes down to whoever makes Europe feel good the most on the night. Serbia should and deserves to do well this year, it could be top 5, but it lacks a simplicity and sense of happiness to win.

        • Montell

          Relax, everyone. Belgium is gonna win.

    • Corbyguy

      Russia just shortened to 2.64 on Betfair a few moments ago now settling around 2.74 but for how long before it shortens again. All other runners are 10+. Crazy!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Just watched Jamala’s performance yet again. It’s my guilty obsession.

    My latest description of her performance of 1944: a long, intense, self pitying, wallowing yet satisfying orgasm.

    Or maybe: a mega martyr-gasm.

    Or: a Jamalagasm?

    It could be I’ve been over-concentrating on the opening line, “The soldiers are coming”.

    I’m tickled also by the way she sounds the words “Our souls”.

    And have just noticed that her dress is reminiscent of Diana’s (in her kindergarten teacher days) famous sheer skirt from 1980.

    In snog, marry or avoid, I’d go for avoid and possibly snog (while no-one was looking).

    In an otherwise dullish year, thank bonkers for Jamala.

  • Hippo

    Well since we’ve already descended into adult conversation it seems Samra has given the Riga beaver a run for it’s money during a press conference in Moscow.

    Out of all the countries this might have happened to it just had to be Azerbaijan.

  • I think for Russia jury position needs to be considered.Given the jury points are given first,if Russia isnt top 4 then 2.7 is going to look very short to anyone with a big green on them before the televote points.Can Russia top 4 the jury?
    This year due to the way the points are given we almost have two betting events.IF Russia doesnt top 4 the jury there will be a big scramble to get onside the jury top 4 in running before the televote points.
    Pre rehearsals i think Serbia,Italy,Australia,Ukraine and Sweden have strong jury hopes.Id add Bulgaria if the delivery works.This is all pre-rehearsal of course and all of those could change easily,and its very fluid,but its a huge point to consider for people who adjust books right until the end.

    • johnkef

      Everyone in here is talking about the Top3 or Top4 in the jury vote for a song to have a chance for the win.

      I wouldn’t write off a scenario this year, with no entry that really stands out, with 5 or 6 countries having a small point margin between them (30-40 pts) after the jury votes.

      In a scenario like this one Russia could easily win even if it’s 5th or 6th

      • Ande

        Latvia has a decent chances with the juries.

        Yes, the point difference between Russia and the jury winner is the real point of interest. Either way a small point margin between jury 1 through 6th is a an unlikely scenario even in a close year.

    • Latvia has to have a good chance of winning the jury vote surely….

      • PurpleKylie

        Agreed. If this tweaked staging is outstanding, considering how much the juries loved Aminata last year, there’s no way they wouldn’t give another one of her songs a similar score

        • Aminata did really well with the juries last year for originality, I’d say. When you go on to enter another song that’s far more accessible, you trade off some of that originality. Heartbeat’s originality stops at sounding a bit like Depeche Mode at times. It’s quite a run of the mill song without the deep electronic gulps.

          • Kylie Wilson

            Well you could say that for 90% of this year’s songs as well, and for 90% of the winners of the last 7 years as well

      • Am I the only one who thinks Justs has an awful voice?

        • PurpleKylie

          You need your ears cleaned out

        • Daniel

          I don’t have a problem with his voice. I do think he has gained a tendency to over-sing the last half of the song though. He’s become a little shouty for too long of ‘Heartbeat’ in recent performances, which wasn’t the case in the first live rendition.

  • For me the potential winners this year are:
    –> Sweden
    –> Latvia (you are right about that Tim)
    –> France
    –> Australia

    –> Russia is a TOP 5-er for me…but falls short on the jury side.

    For the remainder of the TOP 13 (left hand side of the scoreboard is what matters for me):
    –> Armenia
    –> Czech Republic
    –> Ukraine
    –> Serbia
    –> Cyprus (I have to agree with Tim)
    –> Croatia
    –> Azerbaijan
    –> Estonia

    • Nice list! I usually focus on the Top 10 rather than 13, but in terms of your list for the left hand side, I would take issue with;

      Azerbaijan – This is a lightweight song performed by a terrible singer. Modern, yes, but also a potential non-qualifier. Top 13? Perhaps. Depends who they’re swapping points with this year. It’s gonna take a Miracle for this to challenge for Top 10 though.

      Estonia – As much as I love Play, this has to get through a tough semi-final and I worry how much televoters will take to it. The quality is there though, some might say, so it’s definitely one to watch.

  • Henry VIII

    “trying to feel you love through FaceTime” bemoans the fact that you’re not with them. “face time” would mean the opposite, ie you’re right next to them. Not according to ESC English.
    Number 2 in Helping People Break Your Own “Rules”:
    http://www.sbs.com.au/programs/eurovision/article/2016/04/06/eurovision-confirms-australias-song-lyrics-do-not-breach-contest-rules

  • Black n Blue

    Before we get the running order on Friday, I have a few predictions to share.

    Semi Final 1:

    1st half:
    Opening: Armenia
    Closing: Croatia

    2nd half:
    Opening: Iceland
    Closing: Malta

    Armenia is so dramatic and theatrical, you want the contest to open with a bang. They did get the opening slot two years ago, but I think LoveWave should be strong enough to qualify from anywhere. EBU will want Croatia in the final, so that they return next year. SVT may need to put Iceland after the ad-break so that they can get the special screen and projections sorted. Malta has Swedish involvement and would provide a strong climax to the show. The Czech’s might also be in the running for the pimp slot.

    Semi Final 2:

    1st half:
    Opening: Switzerland
    Closing: Australia

    2nd half:
    Opening: Georgia
    Closing: Norway

    A bit like with Moldova last year, and Latvia from 2013, sometimes the host broadcaster likes to put a rubbish song to the sword. Switzerland perhaps? If not, I think Serbia would be a great opener. It’s untested waters for Oz in the semis, they could be placed higher to help them out. I’ve heard people saying they Jamala will get the pimp slot. I’m not certain SVT want the show to end on such a sombre note. Have a feeling Norway will get it.

    It would be good to hear if anyone has their own predictions.

    • Hippo

      Semi 1: opener- San Marino
      The last time Svt did it they threw the no- hopers under the bus. I don’t quite think they’ll be cruel to Finland and Moldova were last year’s unlucky act. That leaves me with poor old Serhat. It’s a poor number but upbeat and will get the crowd going.
      Close first half – Netherlands: still a poor qualification record overall and will slow the show down until the second half.
      I agree on Iceland and Malta to open and close the second half.

      Second semi- opener: Lithuania – the title fits quite well and it’s not the strongest number, or a country to please in particular
      Close first half: Latvia – if semi 2 will provide a winner it will be Latvia They might give it every chance to win the semi and gain momentum.
      Open second half: Slovenia – a dreadful entry and complete no hoper. More by process of elimination – Denmark and Norway are neighbours, Ukraine too downbeat and depressing, Romania seem to be imune to a bad draw and Bulgaria need to make the final.
      Close second half: Bulgaria – a good catchy entry and poor record

      • PurpleKylie

        No way SVT will have San Marino open the semi, it would have the Euro Neuro effect of putting off the viewers. I think there’s more chance of them being buried in #3 or #4.

        My way of thinking is that the producers who come up with the running orders want a nice, non-offputting song to ease people into the show, so to speak. Austria and Latvia in 2013, Armenia and Malta in 2014, Lithuania in 2015. Only Moldova 2015 felt like the typical MF “let’s start the show with a real bang” choice.

  • Semi Final 1:

    1st half:
    Opening: Russia
    Closing: Croatia

    2nd half:
    Opening: Montenegro
    Closing: Cyprus

    Semi Final 2:

    1st half:
    Opening: Belarus
    Closing: Latvia

    2nd half:
    Opening: Romania
    Closing: Bulgaria

    • PurpleKylie

      There’s no way they would dare have the biggest name of Semi 1 open the show, unless SVT were really shameless in wanting to dent their chances of winning the semi.

      • Henry VIII

        Who says it’s the biggest name? The tiny fan community? It will still probably win its semi and, even if not, will still get a good slot in the Final.

        • PurpleKylie

          Ummm, the fact that he’s one if Russia’s biggest pop stars and is known in the East. No-one else in that semi has that big of a name recognition.

          • Henry VIII

            He’s completely unknown in the west. The west have sent popstars who were known worldwide. They weren’t given special treatment in any semi.

          • Henry VIII

            Sometimes you’ve got to break out of the fan bubble and the betting bubble to see things rationally.

          • PurpleKylie

            Excuse me, how am I being blinded by the bubble? And so what if he’s unknown in the West, what’s the relevance? And Anouk was given a favourable running order slot in her semi than you very much.

      • I think it could work. The song is rousing and uptempo, and bookies’ favourite like Armenia in 2014.

      • Tim B

        More reasons why Russia opening the semi would work;

        SVT could take a look on Oddschecker or Betfair and notice that the field could do with levelling out a bit.

        It would ensure high ratings from the very start of the show.

    • johnkef

      Semi 1

      1st Half

      1. Finland (only chance for the neighbor to qualify)
      7-9 Croatia- Russia- Armenia ( back in 2013 all the favorites were packed near the end for equality reasons. Sweden will treat the favorites fair because it will need to be treated fair in the future)

      2nd half
      10. Malta ( so that the 4 of the 5 strong songs of the semi are next to each other and give a climax before the end of the show plus they don’t need to worry about qualification)
      18. Czech Republic (is there a bet anywhere for Czech Repuplic to close the semi?)

      Semi 2

      1st Half

      1. Israel (an atmospheric song that is ideal for openning or closing)
      9-10. Lavia-Australia (the hot favorites of the semi)

      2nd Half

      11. Romania (let’s check if they’ll continue their streak with the 100% qualifications after a tv break with a mediocre song)
      18-19 Ukraine-Bulgaria (is there a bet anywhere for Bulgaria to close the semi?…)

  • John G

    1st:
    Finland
    Cyprus

    2nd:
    Belarus or Ireland
    Ukraine

    SVT have previous for burying no hopers in the opening slot.

    Bless em but they do play favourites

  • PurpleKylie

    Eurovision DE (NDR’s official ESC portal) says that only the top 10 of the televote will be announced in the final, 26-11 will automatically be shown on the scoreboard.

    At least the poor soul who comes last in the final televote won’t be seen looking heartbroken on TV.

    • Black n Blue

      Hmm… The televote reveal is going to be rather short isn’t it? I reckoned they would announce the top 13, i.e the top half of the final.

    • John G

      Hmm, that sucks. I liked the idea of revealing who got the piddling televote. For the lols if nothing else!

    • This is a competition. Deal with it.

      I think this kind of televote-reveal will significantly reduce the tension and excitement. And it isn’t even necessary for the sake of reducing time. Announcing all 26 sets of televotes will already last for a rather short period of time.

      Moreover, why even bother to change the announcement of the jury-vote for only the ’12’s? By doing so the complete voting procedure could be finished within 40 minutes.

      I do have an idea though why they made these changes. The news comes from NDR. And NDR are known to have significant influence on the steering group decisions. Because of the ‘1996-incident’, Germany already threatened to leave the contest forever. And my guess is that NDR doesn’t want to be announced first with the lowest set of televotes. It’s childish.

      Perhaps here we can still see the power of the BIG 5? I mean, if you heavily criticize the EBU for not tackling voter fraud, then what is the BIG 5? Competition fraud. Full 100% competition fraud.

  • Dicksbits

    How will they present 11-26 on the scoreboard? Before or after the top 10 is revealed?

  • PurpleKylie

    Right, after everyone has done some detective work on how the running order will probably go, this is what I think might happen:

    Semi 1
    1st half: Finland opens, The Netherlands closes
    2nd half: Bosnia opens, Cyprus closes

    Semi 2
    1st half: Lithuania opens, Australia closes
    2nd half: Belgium opens, Bulgaria closes

    I’ve done a full grid here if anyone’s interested, I tried to spread out all the favourites as much as possible… http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d77/purplefebruary/esc2016runningorderpred.jpg

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