Eurovision 2016: The second semi-final

According to the betting market, there’s a clear-cut nine qualifiers in this semi-final. It’s headed by Ukraine, after an impressive set of rehearsals catapulted Jamala to second place in the outright market. Australia’s Dami Im raised her game for the jury rehearsal last night, and the two rightly dominate the win market for this heat.

Serbia is another strong package, which means I think it’s difficult for anyone else at attractive each-way odds to break into the top three. Israel’s Hovi Star is grabbing plenty of jury points in particular, and Belgium’s Laura Tesoro will be bagging lots of televotes with her disco pimp slot, but it feels to me like they will both just fall short of this solid top three.

Next in my list comes Latvia’s Justs Sirmais, who offers a passionate rendition of ‘Heartbeat’ every time. It’s a highly suitable opener to the show. My criticism is that the staging, whilst not a disaster, isn’t distinctive enough. I really enjoy the performance every time it’s on, but I find myself forgetting about it too quickly afterwards.

Bulgaria’s Poli Genova does have distinctive staging, but I’m not sure it’s particularly helpful for ‘If Love Was A Crime’. She’s far too lonely on stage for this upbeat song, with a slightly bizarre outfit and choreography. Still, she was at her best in last night’s jury rehearsal, which should help her into the final. (Although I reckon she’s the most appropriate candidate for the last envelope, so you may have to hold tight.)

Three places left, and we move onto the similar cases of Lithuania and Poland. Neither have been particularly inspiring during rehearsals, but both acts sung well last night, and have a decent set of similar voting allies to rely on in this semi-final. I think that will be enough, although I’d choose Lithuania to finish above Poland, if you feel either are in danger of slipping through the net.

That brings us to the final qualifying place – Norway occupies the position with bookmakers. However, it felt like coming right after Jamala was a disadvantage for Agnete in last night’s jury rehearsal. She starts off weakly – being much better in the higher register than the lower one – and the staging adds to a sense of coldness. The contrast with Ukraine is not a positive one. To be fair, Agnete is strong in the chorus, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her make it.

FYROM are also in the running with bookmakers, as Kaliopi attempts to repeat her 2012 qualification. There aren’t so many voting allies this time around, but enough not to completely discount her, despite the terribly dated song. Belarus and Albania also have a few allies, which I hope isn’t enough for them to squeeze through given what’s on offer. Denmark and Ireland provide bland packages that aren’t particularly well sung. I love Slovenia’s charm but it just looks a little too amateurish, whilst Switzerland is hopeless.

I’m going to take a chance on Georgia going through instead. Describing it underlines the challenge – this slice of Britpop rock is the least Eurovision-y thing in the semi-final. But ‘Midnight Gold’ has musical credibility, and it might score well enough with juries set next to a lot of vanilla radio pop that feels a little karaoke in this semi. Especially as it’s securely performed and very well visualised – the effects used for the bridge really lift that section.

Add to that a few allies in the eastern bloc, a televote appeal that’s niche but not limited to one part of the continent, and a decent slot in the running order. That’s why 11/8 with Betfred for Georgia to qualify at the time of writing is my suggestion for a small flutter this evening. Good luck to everyone tonight, and keep the excellent discussion going below.

187 comments to Eurovision 2016: The second semi-final

  • Hippo

    The dust has barely settled on semi 1 and whilst I was much more confident predicting that, I only got 7/10. With that in mind I’ll throw in a few curved balls in my prediction for tonight:

    1.Ukraine
    2.Latvia
    3.Serbia
    4.Israel
    5.Belgium
    6.Australia
    7.Georgia
    8.Lithuania
    9.Belarus
    10.Norway
    ———————
    11.Poland
    12.Bulgaria
    13.Ireland
    14.FYRoM
    15.Albania
    16.Slovenia
    17.Denmark
    18.Switzerland

    Best of luck all.

  • Montell

    My guess for tonight

    Latvia
    Israel
    Serbia
    Ireland
    Lithuania
    Australia
    Bulgaria
    Ukraine
    Georgia
    Belgium

    Poland is the most likely candidate to replace Ireland or Georgia.

  • The certs
    Ukraine, Australia, Belgium, Israel

    The potential banana skins (but should be in)
    Serbia, Bulgaria, Latvia

    The diaspora reliant **** songs
    Lithuania, Poland

    In the mix
    Ireland, Belarus, Georgia, Albania

    See you next year
    Macedonia, Slovenia, Norway, Denmark

    Hopefully never listen to you again
    Switzerland

    The potential banana skins, all have a negative, Latvia slot one and not a good track record. Serbia I hated last night (but do really like the song). Bulgaria as many have said, poor record and not good staging

    The diaspora songs, are both not good and perhaps only 1 goes through

    In the mix songs all could sneak in. Georgia is the only different song in this semi, a lot of people will hate it though. Albania as bland pop as it is, has a great slot. Belarus is visually excellent, but the songs isn’t great. Ireland has diaspora and should score well from UK, it’s come a long way

    Only really worth mentioning Denmark and Norway of the rest, Denmark is a tacky dated A1 B-side reject, lets hope it fails. Norway is struggling after Ukraine and sounded pretty bad last night

  • Montell

    Regarding Georgia. We may be overrating it at least a little bit. Most of us here are men and men in general like this kind of music more than women. This song is relying more on male votes than female votes. I haven’t seen how they look on TV but I heard it looks a little bit like music video or something. I don’t know about that but Cyprus video did not impressed me on Tueday. Those wolfs popping out of nowhere did not looked good. I heard Georgia is using split screen effects. I don’t know how will that work on today’s viewers but let’s hope Georgia qualifies.

  • I find it really hard to write off Macedonia. Kaliopi isn’t just an awesome singer and an infectious nutter, she’s a genuinely big deal. Anyone that can go up against Zeljko Joksimovic with a similarly under-produced and dated song and still collect a few 8s and 10s and end up mid-table in the final cannot be underrated.

    This afternoon I saw a photo of Donny’s poodle head and white jacket for the first time. The Barbara Dex award is still up in the air, let’s put it that way. I was an advocate of the song to be a possible winner back in January based on the studio version, but I can see that it hasn’t become the package it should have, so if we’re going to get a shock non-qualifier tonight, I’d say it’s them.

    We’re probably going to see the winner of Eurovision 2016 tonight. I’m keeping my fingers, toes and other things crossed that my trades go my way. Good luck to all!

    My ten are:
    Latvia
    Israel
    Serbia
    Macedonia
    Lithuania
    Australia
    Bulgaria
    Ukraine
    Georgia
    Belgium

    Good luck to all!

  • teo4

    Well, all of my favorite songs squeeze into this semi. Crossing fingers for Denmark – hopefully they will qualify (despite their bad betting odds and even my own disbelieve), am positive about Bulgaria and finally, I expect Australia to dominate the contest. Here are my predictions:

    1. Australia
    2. Ukraine
    3. Belgium
    4. Serbia
    5. Latvia
    6. Poland
    7. Bulgaria
    8. Lithuania
    9. Israel
    10. Norway
    ——————–
    11. Denmark
    12. Georgia
    13. Fyrom
    14. Ireland
    15. Albania
    16. Belarus
    17. Slovenia
    18. Switzerland

    A very good bet is Fyrom NQ. I think 2016 is diaspora’s and neighbour voting end!

  • Ande

    Here’s mine…

    Almost certain:
    – Ukraine
    – Australia
    – Latvia (Value bet: Top 3 Semi 2 at 5)
    – Belgium

    Very likely:
    – Serbia

    Probable:
    – Bulgaria (Value bet: Not top 3 Semi 2 price varies)
    – Poland
    – Lithuania

    Borderline:
    – Israel (Possible NQ value at 3.5)
    – Norway
    – Macedonia

    Have a shot:
    – Belarus (Value bet: Q at 4.1)
    – Georgia
    – Slovenia
    – Ireland

    Longshots:
    – Denmark
    – Albania

    No chance:
    – Switzerland

  • johnkef

    Good luck to everybody for tonight and i hope that the picture will be clearer tonight for saturday’s final. My pics for tonight

    1. Ukraine
    2. Australia
    3. Israel
    4. Serbia
    5. Latvia
    6. Belgium
    7. Bulgaria
    8. Lithuania
    9. Georgia
    10. Albania
    11. Poland
    12. Macedonia
    13. Norway
    14. Belarus
    15. Denmark
    16. Ireland
    17. Slovenia
    18. Switzerland

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Bulgaria is left out and Poland qualifies instead, but i decided to follow my initial instict in this semi which was more accurate for semi 1. I hope that my prerehearsals views will be right!

  • RonH

    My prediction in alphabetical order: Albania, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Israel, Latvia, Norway, Serbia, Poland, Ukraine.

    Poland is my last guess which could very well be Lithuania as I fear Polands starting order.

  • Latvia
    Ireland
    Australia
    Bulgaria
    Ukraine
    Norway
    Serbia
    Poland
    Belgium
    Belarus

    I’d like to say Georgia but I suspect that’s probably more of a personal bias (it’s the sort of music I grew up listening to) than something that’s actually likely.

  • Chewy Wesker

    Ukraine
    Australia
    Latvia
    Belgium
    Bulgaria
    Israel
    Lithuania
    Poland
    Norway
    Georgia

    I think the market has got this semi spot on. Good luck to sofabet punters tonight, and I’m looking forward to Jamala and her performance of “1944”

  • johnkef

    the Greek commentator suggested to try and count how many times Rykka bends her knees…

  • Dobs

    Following that I’m thinking Australia could be in for the win.

  • Think there might be a lot of shocks and upsets tonight… So very good surprise performances…

    My prediction…

    Latvia
    Bulgaria
    Denmark
    Ukraine
    Israel
    Serbia
    Belgium
    Norway
    Belarus

    Still not sure why they are in it (cough.. For Money) but also Australia will qualify…

  • 360

    I’ve been on Australia for a while, although yet to see her performance. Everyone else seems to be not quite coming together and reports are that Dami has only improved as we’ve gone along.

    I would describe Ukraine’s performance tonight as manic, and not in a good way. She seemed crazy and the only lines sticking out were about everyone dying. Good vocal so she’ll probably qualify, but it wasn’t connecting for me.

    EDIT: Just realised I missed Dami while the livestream was down on iplayer. Wonder how many folk that’s affected.

  • Chris R

    Anyone know how Laura Tesoro did in jury rehearsal ? I think she has sung the song much better than she did tonight.

  • eurovicious

    Prediction:

    Latvia
    Israel
    Lithuania
    Australia
    Slovenia
    Bulgaria
    Ukraine
    Georgia
    Albania
    Belgium

  • RonH

    Looks like the Ukrainian Eurovision Buble is exploding quite fast, as was to be expected.

  • eurovicious

    Further thoughts:

    Ukraine is not winning. I don’t think it’ll win, it failed the “Ben’s mum” test, and it massively failed the “eurovicious’s mum” test, in that she found it unpleasant and was actively off-put by it, despite me having explained the context.

    Australia, great vocal and presentation but it isn’t good enough – or European enough – to win.

    Serbia: red and black, cage of light, angsty screeching women dressed like dominatrices via Blake’s 7 – this will underperform expectations.

    Lithuania is coming over better than I could ever have foreseen and will exceed all expectations. Israel is great. Georgia was fucking kickass. Slovenia was great and really connected, and Bulgaria came over really well.

    STOP TELEWOTINK

  • RonH

    Anyone who is interested in the points of Eurovision Is strongly advised to check out this new analysis of the points given since 1975! With a multidimensionale analysis of the votes the map of Europe is redrawn. A must have for future betting analysis.
    http://www.datagraver.com/case/network-analysis-eurovision-song-contest-1975-2015

  • George

    So many people absolutely adore Ukraine but at the same time so many actively dislike it. It will be really interesting to see how this does in the final. Of course you can’t “negative vote” for songs so I think top 5 is a given, with it doing much better in the east than the west. A Russian victory looking ever more likely. I saw an interesting comment though about how this being Ukraine’s entry may actually make people feel bad about voting for Russia, with the politics being fresh in their minds. Could hurt it a little? Probably not enough to kill its chances.

    Early signs show Australia leading iTunes from tonight whereas Ukraine is smashing YouTube, unsurprising given its a performance you’ll want to see again rather than a song you’ll want to hear.

  • Montell

    My thoughts:
    It’s either Ukraine or Australia who won the semi final.

    I liked that there were no shock Q or NQ in this semi.

    Australia should be the second favorite. Absolutely loved it. Amazing song, amazing voice.

    Ukraine – was disappointed a little bit but only because everyone was praising it and my expectations were huge. Still this was top performance and probably still be in the top 4 in the final.

    Israel goes straight to top 10 in the final.

    Georgia. I love this song but when I watched the performance I thought they might not make it. Love to see them in the final.

    Serbia’s staging is shit. Sorry but it just did work for me. Serbia will struggle to finish in the top 10 on Saturday.

    I loved Lithuania’s performance. Donny knows what he’s doing.

  • Black n Blue

    I’ll organise my thoughts tomorrow, but here’s my takeaway points from tonight:

    -1944 doesn’t work in this sort of competitive environment.
    -Sound of Silence has won me over, they’re going places.
    -What’s the pressure works on so many levels. My mum loved Laura. (Not sure what it is with Laura and the mums!)

  • johnkef

    Suddenly everybody loves Australia!!! Welcome on board!!!

    • RonH

      Was already on board for Australia, but now also in the boat of Belgium, think the low countries both will hit top ten and possibly top five.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Always liked the Australian song (have said here previously that this Oz entrant could be this year’s Sanna (Sofabet community underrated) and had studied Dami’s rise on Oz XF, wherein her natural, winning personality (at variance with her unsuitable “Sound of Silence” video performance) was in ample evidence.

      But I’d always absolutely hated the odds that were on offer for Australia and had been a bit doubtful if Dami would find a way to insert her personality into the performance of a song which felt v serious.

      The lack of natural allies, her possible lack of Mulan princess-ness and the fact that this was Oz’s second appearance in EV was enough for me to look everywhere else for value.

      SCU = Sofabet Community Underrated. Will that catch on?

  • johnkef

    Can the Gods of Eurovision make it happen a Russia-Ukraine back to back in the 2nd half?

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Is the running order decided by the EBU (or another EV institute) or is it decided by the host country’s broadcaster?

      I hope the latter, as I feel people from a socially progressive country such as Sweden would take a small pleasure in deciding to have Ukraine perform soon after Russia.

      Doing such would further develop a natural political narrative, which would then arguably become the talked-about centrepiece of the evening.

      Fingers crossed!

      • George

        Indeed, it’s SVT approved by the Reference Group.

      • Someone will correct me if wrong, but the shows producers decide the order – but EBU fold can overrule if they disagree
        eg SF winner put on first because host doesn’t like them, or showing overly “special” treatment to their own act eg surrounding it with the acts that finished 10th in SFs

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Darn! Daniel’s just tweeted that Belgium drew first half.

    But Ukraine gets a second half berth, so hey ho!

    The dangerous Australia in first half. That’s first half is looking a bit stacked!

    I’m guessing that Belgium will be the show opener. Anyone any inclinations if that opening is a bad draw (or maybe not?)?

    • Rob4

      depends where it finished in sf – if it won it will be after sweden

    • johnkef

      1st slot has produced just 2 5th places in 18 years of televoting and nothing higher…

    • Belgium can be a great show opener. But if it is no.1 in the running order i’m afraid it didn’t do well in the semi. Instead a no.11 or higher could indicate that it did really well. I don’ think that the Swedes will put anything dangerous in slots 8 or 10 either.

      Oh, and I’ve just realised that they have secured all the neighbours’ 12’s since no one is present at the final! For heaven’s sake not Sweden again. Let it be Italy to make amends for last year!

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Bollox – Belgium on bloody first :-(.

      Better than on second, I suppose.

      Clever sandwiching for Sweden, emphasising the Swedish stripped-back simplicity.

      Good draw for Ukraine. Just wish it was following Malta.

      Australia looking dangerous and well positioned..

  • Well, I got 7/10 on predictions. Also, just to quote myself:

    I’d like to say Georgia but I suspect that’s probably more of a personal bias (it’s the sort of music I grew up listening to) than something that’s actually likely.

    I can’t say I feel unhappy to be proved wrong about that. 🙂

    Anyway, I’m calling it. Australia has won this contest. Great performance, much more coherent staging than Russia. It’s theirs.

    Though if you choose to disagree with me go ahead, since I called Georgia totally wrong.

    • eurovicious

      I think it’s too boring and not European enough.

    • Dobs

      Poor Joe and Jake, what will they have to do to get top 10 amongst this lot?!?! I think (unfortunately) it will go 1) Russia 2) Australia 3) France – if he manages to sing in tune. If not he will drop to the lower end of the top 10.

      EDIT: I meant to post that at the bottom of the page, sorry for invading your post! I thought Australia were very impressive too but the average Eurovision viewer are pissed sand looking for something very different. It pains me to say it but people will want to watch Sergey.

  • Prediction for running order around sweden:

    7. Germany
    8. Poland
    9. SWEDEN
    10. Netherlands
    11. Czech Republic

  • I said before if Belgium gets 1st half it’ll open.

    Latvia is the dark horse this year, most people in agreement said they liked it – yet it drifted wildly leading up to the contest from 30s to 200s. I never understood that, but then often the songs we like do that. Too modern for EV? It’s this years Belgium from last year.
    Now it went through from the 1 slot, is doing well on the downloads and should get good jury votes. Sorry but I snatched most of the decent odds on it top 10, it may actually be a top 5 candidate at this rate (2nd half draw too)

    As for Australia, I did try and let you know from last nights show that it was really good. Hope some of you caught it in double digits.
    The 2 SF shows were excellent to watch, really looking forward to the final now

    EDIT – sorry, I re-read that it sounded like I’m saying told you so or something like that, did not mean it to come across that way

    • Montell

      I took Australia months ago. I didn’t have courage to announce that since everyone here seemed to have their own reasons why Australia will fail.

    • eurovicious

      Yeah but you’re right 😀

      I don’t think Latvia’s staging is intimate or warm enough for it to win anymore, but it should do really well, and I never understood why it drifted so much in the past few weeks.

      Re: Russia, maybe we’re all trying to be too clever? It’s #1 in iTunes downloads and below evens in the odds, and those of us who were disappointed in it on Tuesday were disappointed in large part because we were comparing it to the video – a video which the viewers on Saturday night won’t even have seen. Russia’s staging does impress on its own terms. It is heartless though, and that nags at me.

      Or maybe Austria will surprise us all… hey, if people can speculate about Belgium winning (lol), I can about Austria 😀

  • Nice openers can be either France or Bulgaria. I don’t believe they will put it there though… I believe they’ll start with Azerbaijan , just to keep the uptempo songs for later (there aren’t many up to 13).

    • I imagine Belgium might have finished around 4-6th in SF2, so maybe they go with something else. It is the ideal opener, but Belgium would be miffed if it turns out they finished 4th and got stuffed up the order so much. Guess we’ll find out soon enough!

  • Hippo

    8/10 qualifiers for me tonight and the two I had out I had in 11th and 12th so I’ll take that. We’ll know in a few hours but this is my running order prediction:

    1 Azerbaijan
    2 Hungary
    3 Poland
    4 Germany
    5 Israel
    6 Bulgaria
    7 Italy
    8 Belgium
    9 Sweden
    10 Czech Rep
    11 Netherlands
    12 France
    13 Australia
    14 Lithuania
    15 Croatia
    16 Georgia
    17 Serbia
    18 UK
    19 Austria
    20 Russia
    21 Ukraine
    22 Malta
    23 Latvia
    24 Armenia
    25 Cyprus
    26 Spain

  • Hippo…..that running order will not be far out……feel they may want some distance between Russia and Ukraine…??? swap Ukraine and Armenia???

  • Well the running order will be out soon, but I will be surprised if Australia isn’t getting slot #12 or #13 considering there’s nobody in the first half from semi final #1 that could have come close to victory.

  • Rob4

    what time is draw?

  • John

    Interesting semi-final. I think it’s fair to say with the Scandi washout that the roaming workers of Europe had a field day voting for home this year.

    We had quite a few people braving it on the stage on their own. Turns out Donny’s unpolished staging worked very well, and the catch song was able to shine. Dark horse! Bulgaria’s lonely gamble paid off as well.

    Otherwise, only Ukraine, Latvia, Oz and Georgia stood out for me, and all have top 10 potential. Latvia won’t be plonked first again. Oz have stunning vocals. Georgia RAWKED OUT. Ukraine aren’t runaway winners, just merely in the mix, and there’s too much of a dip and if you’ll pardon the expression ‘ethnic warbling’ during the middle minute.

    Armenia, Cyprus and Georgia don’t want to be put anywhere near each other with their deft camera work. They will only suffer from viewer overload and it’ll be a pity as it’s nice to see countries who ‘get’ how to use the technology this year. As opposed to some of the kitchen sink stuff this year. Russia.

    I think Russia have staged themselves off the podium, but it’s tricky to pick an alternate. In any case my top 6

    Rus, Oz, Arm, Ukr, Swe, Fra.

    Sweden have a huge scandi-boost now, and may stand out for it’s understatedness (which is why I hope Latvia steals its thunder, as I simply cannot like it).

    I’m fascinated trying to fill out the top 10. I’m thinking Latvia and the Netherlands, then Georgia/Cyprus and finally Israel. Georgia are 8/1 for this feat.

  • The scandi-bloc, isn’t it only Norway and Denmark though?

  • annie

    well, I have to say that running order does look good for russia and ukraine, doesnt it?

    at first glance it doesnt look like a particularly good order… i mean things like upbeat happy song like austria/uk back to back…
    i feel sorry for Laura. She slayed her pimp slot, shame she got first half, she could have done so good.

    oh and Germany has a good chance to do a repeat last place IMO

  • John

    Bah. I may as well tear up my betting slips. The dutch have been dumped on third. Armenia are LAST when viewers will surely have ‘fancy camera’ fatigue. Sweden are before Germany, who are favourites for last place EYEROLL.I still think last place is bad for televote unless you’re 3 telegenic Italians.

    Ukraine and Russia plum draws.

    I’m off to bed to fume. Hope others had better luck with the draw. -_-

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      This is what pisses me off about Eurovision betting. The late-breaking frustration is akin to that sparked from having what seemed like a great ante-post bet on the Chester Vase…right up until you find your horse has been drawn on the wide outside of a 26 runner field!

    • Ben Cook

      “I still think last place is bad for televote unless you’re 3 telegenic Italians.”

      Oh come on, the idea of being “too late” to get televotes was knocked into a cocked hat last year.

      • John

        Well, I do think we can overanalyse and get picky about the draw. However there’s always context, and I still believe being on dead last sees an attention span drop off in the casual viewer. Maybe a knockout tune can power through that, or maybe Italy was a one off and 26 songs is an endurance for anyone.

        Armenia will also suffer from losing the impact they had in semi one after some duffers. Every trick has been tried by the time they show up.

  • Dani Intercity

    Great draw for Australia @13. Mans won from 10 and Conchita 11. Dami stole the ESC show so far…

  • Bugger me. I’ve never had a Eurovish….ION (why the fuck am I paying that woman’s wages?) where I’m so burnt!

    Looking at that running order, I reckon the first home win in 22 years can’t be ruled out.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      You reckon?

      I was v intrigued to read the other day that Justin Timberlake would be performing at the Grand Final on Saturday.

      That can only be of help to Frans, yes? As, in the EV field, it is young Frans who (at face value) has the potential to be the next JT?

  • Hippo

    Seems like Bjorkman really hates Czech Rep. Tried to knock them out in the semi and failed and gives them the death slot. Loves Australia of course, they could come in tenth place and theye’d still get 13th. The mess that is Bulgaria and Germany surrounding Sweden. Should have seen that coming. Latvia and Ukraine next to each other very odd, similar beat and both fairly intense performances.
    I can’t wait for an Eastern Country to win again and hopefully put an end to these producer draws.

    Anyway, the last time svt did it the strongest songs from the semi to draw second half were (in order of placing in semi )-
    Denmark 1st (Den more points than Aze)
    Azerbaijan1st
    Greece 2nd
    Ukraine 3rd (Ukr more points than Nor)
    Norway 3rd

    The running order draw then went:
    18th- Denmark
    20- Azerbaijan
    21- Greece
    22- Ukraine
    24- Norway

    This year the significant countries are:

    18th- Russia
    20th-Latvia
    21st-Ukraine
    26th- Armenia

    The question is if they’ve done the same thing again? if they have it means Russia won semi 1 with Armenia 2nd and Latvia (1st or 2nd) beat Ukraine (2nd or 3rd) in semi 2.

  • What a piss draw for Netherlands. There you have it :-). Well, let’s swallow the piss and move on.

  • Biggest winners from 1st half:
    – Sweden (despite the fact that it was drewn earlier)
    – France
    – Australia
    They got a relatively late draw and/or are surrounded by lacklustre entries. I’d say that Sweden can pull it off from that 9th position, or at least TOP 3. But Australia, 13th, well that’s a sign. BBC, AVROTROS, TVE, ARD….ready to prepare your bidbooks?

    Biggest losers from 1st half:
    – Netherlands
    – Italy
    I think SVT reasoned that these two countries already had enough advantages the past years. But coming after a similar ‘slow down’ song isn’t helpful. Italy is smashed in between two other slower entries. Belgium is a great show opener and might do harm to the three songs coming after it.

    Biggest winners from 2nd half:
    – Russia
    – Ukraine
    – Austria
    Although Ukraine coming after Latvia might indicate that they wanted to last the emotions from Latvia a bit longer with Ukraine. Russia is a pimp slot. Austria actually too.

    Biggest losers from 2nd half:
    – Spain
    – Serbia
    – Armenia (perhaps?)
    A string of upbeat songs after Austria? Still, I think UK will do very decent this year from that spot.

  • RonH

    Until we know the results of the semi finals it is hard to draw conclusion about the role of SVT in this ranking order. At this moment I’m inclined to conlude Australia must have won the second semi while Austria came first or second after Russia in the first. Netherlands and Belgium might have done well but not as well as Australia and Austria in their which explains they Did end up at the the beginning and not the end of the first half (with the weak Czechs in between)
    If Australia did not win the first semi (with a landslide) the 13th spot is much harder to explain or justify, given their ranking in the semifinal and last years final.

    • Montell

      There’s no way Austria could have finished in the top 3 of the semi. That would make no sense.

      • RonH

        I know many find it hard to believe Zoe could do well. Even after she got by far the biggest applause of the night at Eurovision in Concert (Ukraine, Latvia and France present). Probably same thing last tuesday. But can we be sure this is just the taste of Western (gay) Eurovision fans? I’m not so sure, even though I belong to the target group. Zoe’s promised land might appeal to more people than many think. When I first heard the song I knew it would do well. How well we will soon find out.

        • Ben Cook

          I don’t think she’d have finished top 3, but I agree it’s been unfairly labelled a fanwank by the “don’t call me a fanboy” brigade. It’s going to do pretty well.

          • Chris Bellis

            It does help that she’s a good singer and the entry is a re-worked and re-worded version of a song that’s already been a hit for her in several eurovision countries, or is it just me that thinks this is so similar?

          • RonH

            Very interesting, did not know that one. Thanks for
            sharing! Being ironic I would say its hard to make a copy thats better than the original. It still looks very much a (self)copy though. Just no one to file that law suit I suppose.

  • Ron.H

    Here is my current prediction for the Final Top Ten, ranking order effect included:
    1 Russia,
    2 Australia,
    3 France,
    4 Austria,
    5 Sweden
    6 Ukraine,
    7 Armenia,
    8 Netherlands,
    9 Latvia,
    10 Belgium.

  • Just checked the ESC Tracker. Australia is racing up and catching up fast with Russia. I’m still calling this for an Ozzie win.

    • George

      Australia is nowhere to be seen in ex-USSR countries apart from the Baltics & a low place in Russia, though. She’s going to struggle there.

      • eurovicious

        I’m with George. Where’s the star quality?

        • Your concern is partly why her career in Australia is showing signs of fizzling out, (mainly because Sony gave her shitty songs though,) but as with X Factor, it’s a personality contest. People like Dami herself, and the casual audience get the chance to see that in both her performance and green room segments. The fact that she can sing her pants off is secondary but very helpful. I’ll be so happy for her if she wins. Never mind Australia, I think she deserves it. #DamiArmyNewRecruit

      • By ex-USSR countries you mean, Ukraine, Estonia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania? (as these are the only countries Russia is charting in, so presumably, the only countries that have many EV iTunes downloads)
        Australia is charting in Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia – so not doing too bad, is it?

        • George

          When I posted she wasn’t charting in Ukraine (or at least I didn’t see) – does show how little downloads affect the charts in these countries though.

          I just see Russia doing a lot better in the west than Australia will in the east. (I would really prefer an Australian win, personally.)

  • Donald

    Missed last night, too busy with work. Will catch up on it later tonight and catch up on Sofabet, had one reasonably heavy bet last night placed for weeks on a country not qualifying and in it went. That will do, on to tomorrow. Thanks Daniel and all on Sofabet.

  • Chris Bellis

    Seems as though the bookies got it more or less right for the semifinal 2. Sweden will get votes in the final from resentful Nordic countries (and Iceland) I guess.
    http://esctoday.com/135933/eurovision-odds-nordic-struggle-predicted-ukraine-surges-ahead/

  • Lake

    Are people already writing off Ukraine as a winner?

  • WOAH! Australia just overtook Russia on the ESC Tracker!

    • Lake

      I wasn’t expecting that #20 in Ukraine!

    • Sin

      the absolute number of sales are single to double digits tho. Not exactly indicative of Saturday result. Check for yourself. http://www.digitalsalesdata.com/diydsd.php?Region=143447

      • I suggest you read the line on that link that says
        “Since actual sales figures are no longer available, the following figures have been generated by a statistical model.”

        They haven’t had figures for over 2 years now, and I don’t need to mention that digital download sales in music has increased over the years since virtually nobody buys physical music copies

        Last years iTunes sales, which the tracker reports, was pretty much spot on with the result (apart from Italy – because nobody had seen it yet)

        • Ben Cook

          Rubbish! Download sales peaked 3 or 4 years ago and have been in serious decline the last 2 years due to popularity of streaming

          That’s not to say the figures are completely meaningless, but you should only bother looking at the bigger music markets. A #23 in Belarus IS meaningless.

          • eurovicious

            The overwhelming majority of people in Eastern Europe don’t pay to download music from iTunes.

  • George

    Why is Russia so short? No way it’s as foregone a conclusion as the odds are showing right now.

  • Hippo

    Does look like Oz won the second semi. I mourn the loss of musical taste if that is the case, it was verging on an out of tune shout at times. Looking good for a second place for them, Russia have this wrapped up it seems barring absolute jury crucifiction, I’m currently thinking :
    1.Russia
    2.Australia
    3.Latvia
    4.Ukraine
    5.Armenia
    6.Sweden

  • Are you deducing Aus 1st place in SF2 from the 13th position in the running order? If she came second in the semi to Jamala, given that Dami drew a 1st half draw, you’d have expected AUS to get a plum draw anyhow….10th to 13th, probably 13th, so the draw alone doesn’t really help us assess how she fared methinks.

    • Hippo

      Partly, but I honestly think that 13th draw was theirs wherever they qualified from. There’s a relatively significant bit of iTunes behind it too which surprises me how people have connected with it which was always my worry.
      I’m also not convinced Ukraine was top 2 in the semi and it may have been a narrow third to Latvia, if they’re doing the same evening out the second half draw they did in 2013.

      • I’m not sure. Sweden’s Sanna came 2nd in her SF in 2014 and got 13th spot in the running order. Belgium also came 2nd last year in their semi and….surprise surprise, got allocated 13th slot again. There was an I-tunes reaction and a big cheer, but I can’t rule out that Ukraine won the semi. Having said that, no song has won from 21st slot I have been told this morning, so is this another “coffin slot” for Jamala??

    • Lake

      I’m guessing people are also factoring in:

      – Australia is the top iTunes seller.
      – Australia had a bigger crowd reaction (all-stadium standing ovation), while most of the audience didn’t stand for Jamala (although they were still excited).
      – People still think Ukraine’s is too polarizing for casual viewers.

  • johnkef

    What’s wrong with Guatemalan people? Bulgaria No3 in the charts, Albania no4 and Armenia No5…

  • Dani Intercity

    Dami for the win. Get strong Conchita vibes at this stage.
    She has it all: the song, the voice, the staging, she’s unique and beloved by the live crowd.
    Super draw for her too @13 – just 4 songs performed between her and Sergey (who really could have done with 21/22 – I think SVT want Dami to be in striking distance).
    Hope you on when I posted up pre semi 2 prediction (she was 22s at that point) and thanks to Dash Berlin for jury review and Johnkef bigged her up earliest.
    Russia not good enough song; graphics not at all clinching the win like we thought and I feel there is quite an ill wind with copycat of last year remarks and a perception that pushy Russia is desparate to win.
    Russia/some other country may win but all I can give to this blog is my strong feeling that Dami will overcome Sergey.
    imho Dami’s price will come in even further after the jury rehearsal 2nite.

    Cheers all and have a good day 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • George

    Ukraine up to #3 on ESCTracker. Don’t write it off just yet.

  • Rob4

    yes there is now a strong case for Australia – Sweden is perhaps too early and may have jury weakness; Russia is too desparate and also may have jury weakness; Ukraine is perhaps not televote friendly enough?

    people were thinking there would be a default winner and i’m beginning to think Oz fits the bill – total yellow paint but that is often where people settle when they are faced with too difficult a choice elswhere…

    • Ben Cook

      I think there’s question marks hanging over all 5 of the main contenders, including Australia. It will almost certainly be one of them though.

  • annie

    Does my memory fool me, or is there really much bigger movement on the chartability tracker of songs. The order on esctracker seems to change all the time, some small, but also quite big fluctuations. I remember it being much more stabile 2013-2015… are people´s taste spread across bigger spectrum or have music buying/using patters changed ?

  • Montell

    It would be interesting to know how big is Asians population in Europe.

  • johnkef

    Russia is paying 1.60 right now!!! Not even Fairytale or Euphoria were paying less than 1.80!!! The odds are implying that Russia is gonna win by double score or something!!!

    Who’s buying in that price when you can buy better prices for a top15, top10 or top5 finish? If the price was in the 2.25-2.75 range i would be more inclined to accept the fact that Russia is the winner. Now it’s obvious that something is wrong! I don’t know if it’s a bot or Russian bettors that gamble for the first time but the market is wrong. This might be the first time that the favorite the day of the final, might lose

    • annie

      i think i remember denmark was 1.30 at one point….

    • iberbcn

      Hi all. I honestly do not understand this hate or call it not believing the obvious. I never write here though I always read you. Russia is winning and will probably be a runaway winner. Its got the full package and tick all boxes. Dami too shouty, Ukraine too depressive, France too out of tune and so on. This is my opinion 🙂

      • johnkef

        Russia is the obvious favorite and will probably win it. The problem is that the current prices are wrong. The site is mostly for Eurovision betting and betting for a song to win @1.60 with another 25 contenders and win 62.5% of the times is not possible. It’s not a football game with just one opponent.

        I prefer to lose some money one year than buying in that price and have a heart attack by the stress that such a bet will cause me

        • annie

          had Mans not won just last year I would totally agree.
          But I dont think there is precedent for similar productions to win one right after the other. it´s not copycat but there are sufficient elements in common for me to be uncertain it will win. there will be enough people who already did and will say that it is like last years…
          iTunes is another thing. A good song will be bought. But plenty of people cast a vote or two that will never buy the songs

          • Ande

            I’m tending to agree with iberbcn now.

            The only important box Russia doesn’t tick is the modern/credible song box. A jury score similair to Germany 2010 would be quite reasonable. Thing is, if Russia gets a jury score of 190 points they would “only” need about 320 televote points to win.

        • Dani Intercity

          Hi John. I think Sanna was still fave ahead of Conchita prior to the night of the final and it gradually changed as final went on. Sweden too I think were still favs ahead of Ukraine when Ruslana won. Denmark Olsen Bros were way down the odds day they won. Dana Int was not fav when she won etc etc. Lordi were not fav day of final when they won.

          You lost faith in Dami now? 🙂

          • johnkef

            Not at all. I like to be otpimist! i have backed Dami all the way and loaded her in Top 3-4-5 markets before rehearsals. My top3 is @4.18…, my top 4 @3.22, my top5 @2.37 and for the win @15.33

            Russia to win pays 1.67…just saying…

            I’m always trying to be realist. I would never bet in Russia, but until the end od the voting i don’t take anything for granted. I know i have played Australia getting the value i wished. If it wins, even better, if not i played well. And definitely i won’t be stressed to get 1.6 times my money back…

          • Ande

            Sweden was passed by both Austria and the Netherlands during the afternoon before the final.

      • George

        Russia too dated & will be seen as a cheap version of last years winner. You can come up with something negative for all of the contenders, doesn’t mean they’re not going to win anyway.

        • iberbcn

          Both of u I agree with. It is just that for me it has been very obvious since moment one. Call it a hunch or a wish or whatever. In any case my bets were when the price was 6-7 so not much to lose and have a few each ways on the contenders which hopefully will give me some profit.

  • Ilanni

    Belgium for Top15 @1.6 with Bwin if anyone is interested. Was 1.72.

  • Rob4

    if you don’t have a coral account they are offering 10/1 russia win for new sign ups

  • Black n Blue

    Aside from betting, with Justin Timberlake taking to the stage during the interval, surely he’d have to show up for the rehearsal tomorrow, so that they can do all the sound checking, visuals and everything else?

  • It seems the mist has cleared and this is more or less a three-horse race with one already falling behind and one that had secret rocket jets installed on its hooves for the entire season anyway. What shall we call this last horse? “Thunder and Lightning”?

    So, what I want to do now is show how things this year have fit into my own methodology which I have explained in great detail on more than one occasion in previous years. The highest scoring songs are either the most commercial… something timeless and/or of high class… or an accessible novelty. Add onto that a separate thing that was new for me this year which I named the ‘Everest Test’, a way of describing the somewhat intangible sense of rousing uplift in a song that gives it a winner’s feel. There’s lots of examples where these criteria have overlapped as well.

    The Everest Test is something that, for me, a song has to pass while ticking at least one of those other “CTAN” (Commercial, Timeless or Accessible Novelty) boxes. The reason for this is because I thought Australia would win last year. We hadn’t yet had a scenario where something very straightforwardly mainstream locked horns with cheesier, more anthemic, uplifting tracks that still had some commercial relevance in their own way. It had always been either or, in a given year. In 2010, there was simply no song in the competition that convincingly passed the Everest Test – or was even uplifting at all – and therefore the top 6 pretty much looked like a ranking of how likely the songs would be to have a commercial life outside of the contest.

    So, I figured it was reasonable enough to think that something more relevant and cool would beat something cheesy, but it turned out to be the other way around. The audience is more responsive to a song that gives you a winners feeling rather than a plain, good chart song. Decisively so, because the 2015 top 3 was filled with songs that all passed the Everest Test with flying colours – yet the least commercially relevant of those three, Russia, failed to win either the jury vote or the televote. Running order was probably a factor in the televote result there too. – But then immediately after, came Belgium, Australia and Latvia, easily the most current tracks on offer after those cheesier more uplifting ones. This clearly established the general pecking order for me, so that’s why first and foremost I entered this year looking for songs that passed the Everest Test and ticked a ‘CTAN’ box – and the first thing I found which raised my eyebrows was Lithuania’s I’ve Been Waiting For This Night.

    Of course, valid doubts came into play such as poor staging, song too generic, etc. As we went on through the selection season this year, it was starting to look like there was nothing that was really giving us any sense of ‘wow’, and the only thing I could find that remotely passed the Everest Test was Croatia, and it’s commercial relevance was rightly dubious because it’s not really doing anything on ESC Tracker as of today. So Malta’s replacement song then became my prime suspect, because I could tell Ira Losco is a bonafide popstar with a solid back catalogue of hits and she shouldn’t be underestimated. When Walk on Water was finally revealed, the intro definitely sounded like a winner and it was uplifting but… no, I didn’t quite get the feeling from it that says it passed the Everest Test, but it still sounded really good to me, even though it switched gears a lot which made it too complex.

    I definitely had the feeling for a while, that this might be a year like 2010 where there wasn’t really anything that passed the Everest Test, any song that was remotely rousing and uplifting in that way wasn’t convincing or commercial enough, so I should consider more straightforwardly chart-friendly alternatives, as well as keeping my mind open for the “TAN” of the “CTAN” (timeless or accessible novelty)… I identified Serbia as being a timeless, very well written bluesy pop ballad with a rousing climax that put it on my radar for a short time, and the Netherlands also being the sort of song that could bridge generation gaps but clearly wouldn’t pose any threat. I couldn’t find any accessible novelties this year like your Verkas, Babushki, Lordis, Conchitas.

    Meanwhile a lot of the hype was surrounding Sweden which despite being as current as you’d like, had an early draw and an understated song which surely had a ceiling for jury support given it has pretty much no classically musical credibility or conventional signals of talent whatsoever. If Mans couldn’t win the televote from slot 10, how is Frans supposed to overcome limited jury support from slot 9 with a less memorable package?

    You also had France, which, even though the song is very shiny and happy-clappy, it’s quite repetitive, structurally flat and most importantly – Amir’s live vocal cannot live up to the studio version. It’s a positive step forward for France and I’m looking forward to them building on this, but this has been a pretty spectacular fanwank in that it fooled the betting market for a while.

    Russia bought their way to favouritism, you’d have to be green to the point of delusion to deny it by now. The song is as dated and desperate as the staging. We all knew that straight away, but the point of driving the odds down is to mess with your head and make it appear better than it is in order to get PR. The mainstream media reaction to Russia has been rather muted after the semi-final.

    Now, I wrote off Ukraine pretty much all season because ‘Sad Songs Don’t Win Eurovision’. I’m going to be getting on people’s nerves at how often I’ll find myself having to repeat that in the future I’m sure.

    Australia however has been a bit of a head-scratcher because it’s not a particularly happy or uplifting song, it’s pretty bland, cold and the chorus is a bit clunky, although that does suit the song’s subject matter in a way. It’s certainly very commercial, but the studio version’s biggest downfall is that it is cold and lacks adequate progression for a Eurovision contender. But then we here love our music a little bit more, we set the bar a bit higher, and the simpler masses have responded better. It’s still an internationally flavoured, thoroughly modern song and as I predicted she would, she’s used a consistent pattern of vocal freestyling to add variation and progression to the song and she blew the roof off last night.

    So up until rehearsals, I haven’t been able to pick one song as a winner at all. I’ve constantly been flip-flopping which has made it difficult for me to bet my money efficiently. When rehearsal reports started coming in though, I did have a bit of a Eureka moment. Israel. Obviously this goes without saying that I hadn’t seen the TV feed at the time. The song had been largely ignored for the whole season, most worryingly in the OGAE and Eurojury polls. I figured that actually, its climax passes the Everest Test beautifully. It took me this long to realise because the song hadn’t been getting much attention, and it is infact perfectly chartable in that he looks a bit like a glammed up Sam Smith and the song is a bit like a mix of Smith and Adele. It has heart as well. If the staging was as good as people were saying, I did have to start piling on Israel in 90s, feeling Conchita and Common Linnets rehearsals deja vu. I’d kick myself so hard if I missed that again. Anyway, Israel looked a lot better in my head than it did last night, although that sweeping shot of the pyro curtain was gorgeous and I’m quite disappointed that it’s ended up drifting so harshly.

    So with the last possibility of a rousing, uplifting, happy, anthemic, cheesy song with some sort of commercial relevance or other CTAN qualities winning, I do have to consult my methodology and say “Ok, this is a 2010 sort of year, a straightforward chart song is winning, because there’s no timeless songs making a convincing case and there’s definitely no accessible novelties.”

    And that’s why Ukraine winning doesn’t make sense to me, it doesn’t fit in anywhere. It’s an alternative, emotional, mournful song that’s been put into contention by “durhurr pretty lights.” I’ll give Jamala the credit she’s due for an engaging performance and the TV magic the Ukrainian delegation have created, but the market made up its mind after she performed. She is still definitely dangerous from slot #21, but I guarantee you she is going to alienate a significant portion of televoters, especially west of the Iron Curtain.

    It is purely because there are so few songs on offer this year that are commercially relevant and well executed, let alone passing the Everest Test, or songs that are a TAN in the CTAN criteria, that Ukraine is going to do very well. If 1944 was entered into 2015? I’d say she’d be getting cosy with Aminata, narrowly out of the top 5.

    Having seen the semi finals and the pre-qualified countries on YouTube (which has been an enormous help this year,) it is clearly between Ukraine and Australia for the trophy.

    Russia are obviously commercial enough to be doing some business on iTunes, but I’ve noticed that they’re doing best in the countries Sergey was already famous in, and quite decently in Sweden too but that’s to be expected since it’s schlager, it’s the host country, and they’re nuts about the contest regardless. Pretty much every song is somewhere on the Swedish chart, so it’s important to look at who’s not buying. Likewise Ukraine, 1944 is doing best solely within the bloc + Sweden. Russia’s odds are beyond a joke at the moment.

    Australia is being downloaded in the widest spread of countries, which is completely natural because it’s an internationally appealing song. The running order certainly shows that SVT and the EBU have given some preference to Ukraine and Australia for the victory. Australia winning guarantees the EBU can host the contest somewhere secure and stable next year too which is always a plus. While I think Ukraine’s “piece of television” is superior to Australia’s, the latter wins on everything else.

    With Dami Im and Sound of Silence, they’ve created a cohesive package which links Dami’s ethnicity to popular culture. Gorgeous Far Eastern girls in futuristic settings is a highly marketable trope. Case in point, the growing international popularity of the Japanese girl-band Perfume, whose image is rather android-like. Look up “Spring Of Life” on YouTube, they took it to the first ABU TV Song Festival representing Japan. Wouldn’t surprise me to see them at the Asia-Pacific Eurovision or the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the near future, but I digress.

    As well as pairing Dami with the futuristic setting, they’ve given the song meaning by making her feel disconnected in the digital world and longing for real, physical love. Paging Eurovicious, she is a sparkly dream girl who has adversity (however superficial) to overcome. Lastly, where the song lacks progression and uplift in the studio version, this is delivered live by keeping Dami’s vocal completely solo until the second chorus, and finally the way she sings for her life at the end is quite breathtaking. You do not expect a voice like that to come out of a little thing like her and that is her USP. My Mum commented as such, although I regret to add the word “Chinese” found its way into her remark somewhere. Beard aside, it worked for Conchita. I do think she spends a bit too long on her box, and the holograms add very little to the performance, so the staging is certainly not brilliant by any means, but Dami herself makes up for it.

    Nobody has convincingly won the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, in music or presentation. This will go down in the history books as an exceptionally weak year. As much respect as I have for Jamala, it’s Dami Im that is going to upset the fewest people on both televote and jury vote while presenting a very commercial song that does not pass the Everest Test but when performed live, is rousing enough to get away with it.

    So that’s my methodology which I’m refining every year. It’s structural, linear and rigid, but that’s how I make sense of things. Does something not fit into a box yet defies my logic? Draw parallels with the past and make another box. Anomalies are unacceptable. I’m gonna look stupid as hell tomorrow if I’m wrong after this thesis of a comment, aren’t I? 😀 Well done if you made it this far. Have a cookie.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Ben Gray, that is one heck of a post. I take my hat off to you, for your generous share of a detailed insight into your methodology.

      Brilliant analysis. Can see myself returning to this post.

      Bravo :-D.

      • Ande

        Yes, thank you Ben.

        I have to admit that the you pointing out the petite girl – big voice USP made my closed eyes at least squint. Still I find the visual package very weak. Juries is the one target audience she has definite USP with though, I’ll be very difficult for any jury to motivate not giving her any points.

        The last few days it’s been difficult to look past Russia in the outright market. I’ve found resolve in backing Australia, Ukraine and Armenia in the top 4 and 5 markets instead, as well as a small bet on Armenia in the outright market as the running order and visuals heavily favors them.

    • Hippo

      Fantastic Ben, great comment and thanks for sharing. Whilst I differ on what I think the outcome will be (I’ll post my final thoughts tomorrow) I can’t fault your logic one bit.

    • Ron

      Great review Ben and well reasoned and thought out. I do have a slight concern though that there’s no sign of Dami M on the charts in the Baltics, Ukraine and Belarus with only a solitary lowly position in Russia. Could she struggle with the ex-Soviets and in the Balkans?

      • Could’ve sworn Dami was in the top 10 of Estonia’s chart earlier today Ron. A low position in Russia is fair enough but she has a similarly low position in the UK as well, which isn’t bad going considering most Brits don’t even know the semi finals exist. Perhaps this song is a bit American for them, but I don’t think that will do too much damage. As for the former Yugoslavia… save for Slovenia, I’m told by a Serbian friend that they actually don’t have iTunes music stores down there due to legal conflicts between Apple and the government. They do have Spotify though. Check ESC Tracker again, no song at all is charting in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia or Albania. I don’t know what the situation is with iTunes in Albania.

        • Ron

          Just noticed there are a fair few comments in Russian and from Russians under her Youtube clip, Ben so perhaps all is not lost and I’m reading too much into things

      • Dani Intercity

        Morning Ron. Dami may well struggle in these regions but I feel Sergey will struggle more with Western juries and thus Dami will be stronger overall.
        I think the big ‘live’ act will be overwhelming by Dami 2nite (as with Conchita’s) and the reaction will be overwhelming and she can do it.

        • Ron

          Good point, Dani. 1s and 2s and 3s from the ex-Soviets and Balkans wouldn’t necessarily knock Australia out of contention at all providing they’re pulling in 12s, 10s and 8s from everywhere else.

    • Thanks for this Ben, and I broadly agree with what you’ve written here. I too noticed that Sergey seemed to be mostly charting in countries where he’s already likely to be famous anyway.

      I also have to agree that this is a weak year, albeit one with a few gems (just shedding a small tear for Iceland), and the lack of penetration on the iTunes charts reflects that.

    • Black n Blue

      Fantastic review Ben, I agree with every paragraph of your comment. I have come around to expecting the same top two as well. Dami and Jamala are cutting edge, in a year of smooth and safe.

    • Ben Cook

      Bit premature to write off Sweden. He had a great jury final and despite not competing in the semis has continued to build on iTunes/Spotify. I’d be surprised if he won jury vote but televote is still up for grabs.

    • johnkef

      This is the reason that i love this blog! We may diasagree or not in our perspectives or the way we analyse things about the contest, but we have some arguments to justify our opinion or estimation!!! Amazing post!

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      I’m already back reading your fabulous post, Ben :-). Doubtless, you will already be in the course of refining your theory again. I feel I could (try to) add to it myself, right now…but then another question arises: if you do come to near-as-darn-it creating a grand theory of everything ESC winner predictive system, then where will the value then lie?

      The odds will never be the same again?

  • Dani Intercity

    Great review Ben 🙂

  • Dicksbits

    I think the running order gives so many clues as to how countries did in their respective semi final. It’s all been said really, but I am now convinced that SVT would love Australia to win. Realistically I don’t think Frans will quite get there, and could end 4-6th. Ukraine 2-3rd, Russia 4-6th too. I agree with the view that there is probably a ceiling to the amount of jury love Sweden will get, partly denying them victory. France is struggling to make top 10 I feel.

    It’s been said elsewhere that Latvia are worth an ew at 100/1. I don’t believe this is viable, or worth the risk.

    Last Place in the Final and UK Finishing Position are so wide open, they represent risky bets for a casual punter like me. Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic could all come last. Or someone else! UK could finish anywhere between 12-21. I think it will pick up some jury love and is a modern song in penultimate place.

    I don’t think The Netherlands or Belgium or Austria are worthy of a risky ew bet. Making the top 4 is a big ask. If you held a gun to my head I’d back Belgium, despite singing first.

  • A very interesting year comes to an end in a few hours.The outright has been crazy this year,and with fanwanks following fanwanks a year of constant flux in my book building up free ammo.Unlike some who do this for a living,i do it because i love the contest,and have experience of pricing markets.I tend to swing from years winning small amounts/break even/small loss,to years winning big amounts.Im happy with that and this year looks no different.
    My top four is this,1 Ukraine,2 Sweden,3 Australia,4 Russia.

    I have Ukraine a huge green (in my eyes) and bought more at 14s on the drift,Sweden big green,Australia a months utility bills green and Russia a small red.The rest of the book ranges from +200 to -500 apart from Austria (i love it),Armenia,Serbia and Italy that are higher greens.

    I will put an amount into the book in running at 2.5 for Russia to get it level.If it doesnt hit and wins,il not lose sleep.Its not a big amount.

    Now the four in reverse order.
    I think the Russian song is pure rubbish.Really bad.If it wins,it wins,and it very much can win,but im not ripping down my greens to level the win amounts out and putting red exposure on a host of others.I like hating it,so not winning on it means i can keep hating it.If it hits 2.5 in running its levels you devils.

    Australia.I dont like this.It doesnt give me any emotion at all.However the staging is nice,the production good and strong delivery.Good judges like it,so iv kept it a decent green,but nothing to scream about.Happy if it wins but il of forgot it by monday.

    Sweden.My daughters both put their bets on Frans,their friends did as well (i have a huge esc party and put everyone a few quid bet on).Their friends all passed his vid on to their friends.He was playing in Mcdonalds.In Durham.Its a fantastic song,sung by a great young man.Might not have the jury firepower,but we will just have to see.There are huge amounts of western votes to be had.A very good green.

    Ukraine.Iv sold down my others greens a bit to buy a some more Ukraine.I fully understand how divisive this entry is.I also fully understand why this cant win in very good judges eyes.Talk of death,pain,suffering etc.However.Iv been watching ESC for a long long time.My first solid memories are Brotherhood of Man winning in 76.In all that time since no delivery has moved me to tears.None.Ever.Jamala did.The moment the tree from Avatar emerges as she laments the loss of a child is spellbinding.It might be too intense for an Esc audience,but i dont care.Its a masterpiece in my eyes and im going in with it my biggest green.

    A special thankyou to all the guys on the betting bench.Their work has helped a great community come together in friendship and shared knowledge.I respect everyones opinions in this betting community,and also enjoy hearing them all.

    Good luck to everyone tonight,and above all,enjoy the best night of the year.

    • Rob4

      this is pretty much exactly as i see it. my big profits will be either ukraine or sweden – i have healthy ew’s so shouldn’t matter if they just fall short. i have nowt on russia because it’s drivel but it could win if they’ve bribed enough juries and distributed enough SIM cards. i see australia as the yellow paint winner and will make a small profit if it does.

      both DB and I are from Durham – perhaps that’s why we think alike?

      PS my earliest memory of eurovision is ’76 also… so many coincidences!

      PPS i do have sneaky feeling malta will do better than most are thinking – but then I’m quarter Maltese so maybe just wishful thinking.

  • Mr Wolf

    One week late, but Estonian most popular weekly magazine had an Estonian jury preview where famous singers, composers and journalists voted.

    The results were (excluding Estonia):
    1. Sweden 132p (only one of the 14 gave less than 7 points)
    2. France 72p
    3. Malta 60p
    4. Australia 51p
    5. Italy 38p

    Last year they got it like that:
    1. Sweden 148p
    2. Australia 62p
    3. Italy 60p
    4. Belgium 57p
    5. Russia 52p

    And in 2014 The Netherlands won.
    The voting is ofc pre-rehearsals.

    Just one interesting note.

  • Great review Ben. Were you Tolstoy in a previous life? I also share Durhamborn’s near visceral dislike of the “painting by numbers” Russian effort. I know a Jamala win would challenge future artists and songwriters much more than Sergey’s effort and have a positive transformative effect on ESC, so I too am going with it, but prepared to realise in pure betting terms this may well be wrong. Does bring up some real ethical issues if you are sincerely a lover of ESC as a semi-serious spectacle. Should one make money by backing songs you really dislike?? I have never really backed a song I disliked intensely, although opportunism did set in with Fairytale in 2009 and some early nice prices. But that was a merited winner, (in its own ESC way) while lacking Jamala’s/Conchita’s “Molitva” element……

    anyhow…..great discussions on here. Whatever the result, a small plea for contributors to avoid “I told you so syndrome” after 23.30 pm tonite and let us all be gracious in either victory or defeat.

    • Chris Bellis

      Mark, it would be very difficult to avoid the “I told you so syndrome” if Sweden and Belgium come in the top five…but I’ll try, in return for others not doing the same if I’m wrong. The hardest year to predict for a long time. Good luck to everyone.

    • Dani Intercity

      Indeed this 😉

  • As the clock ticks down to the contest itself, I’d like to propose a vote of thanks to Daniel for maintaining this very interesting and useful resource. Thanks also to those of you who’ve contributed to the very spirited discussions in the comments threads.

    Hold on to your wallets, guys and gals, it’s going to be a ride.

    • Ron H.

      I am happy to vote in favour! This website and Daniels comments ar by far the most interesting source of information about the ESC.

    • Chris Bellis

      I would second that. Always an interesting and entertaining read, and free from trollery without being bland. I would also like to thank him for the tip for the second semi-final. I would never have thought a performance could improve so much from the original mess, and Daniel tipped it.

    • Dani Intercity

      Hoorah Daniel 🙂 Enjoy Eurovision all and bet within your happy and affordable zone 1st and foremost 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Proposal of thanks to Daniel seconded!! If Sofabet, (like God)didn’t exist, it would have to be invented!

  • Here is my TOP 13 prediction. So all the left hand side of the scoreboard:

    https://songfestivalwerk.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/voorspelling-top-13.jpg

    01. AUSTRALIA
    02. SWEDEN
    03. UKRAINE
    04. RUSSIA
    05. FRANCE
    06. BELGIUM
    07. SERBIA
    08. ARMENIA
    09. LATVIA
    10. THE NETHERLANDS
    11. UNITED KINGDOM
    12. ISRAEL
    13. ITALY

  • Hippo

    Any thoughts on the spokesperson order

    http://www.esctoday.com/135972/eurovision-2016-final-spokespersons-announced/

    I’m assuming they’re still playing the usual close- pull away- takeover game and can play it more freely without televote combined.
    Interesting is that from 29th to the end we have Croatia, Serbia, FYRoM, Albania, Slovenia and Montenegró. That doesn’t strike me as an Aussie or Swedish bunch and all the Nordics are quite early.
    Ukraine late surge it seems with Lithuania, Poland and Estonia there too.

  • Thmoas Cromwell

    Strange market- Russia are still odds on but drifting while the money is pouring on the Aussies now down to 3/1

    http://www.oddschecker.com/tv/eurovision/winner

    For those yet to make up their mind, click on the above link and the left hand column which has a link to a video of each song. The Russian video and staging is truly remarkable but I don’t believe it is enough to win because the vocals are not outstanding.
    The Ukraine song is a jibe at Russian foreign policy but the girl vocalist, for all the huge emotion in her performance, sings sharp which on a stage where she is alone is going to be fatal in my view.
    The French sing in French too much and the song is mediocre.
    That leaves Australia and Sweden in the top 5 betting. I fear the Aussies- Graham Norton reckons they will win, and Sofabet give them every chance too describing the act as ‘the slickest’. However the price has gone and at 3/1 and less they represent very poor value.
    I still like Sweden drifting out to 16’s. I’m already on the nose at 14’s but will have a little more each way at 20’s with Corals.

    For those who like to watch the markets, check the above link out during the show- the twists and turns in the betting are really exciting and a fascinating insight to the way the markets operate

  • johnkef

    It has Australia written all over the place!!!!

    • Ilanni

      eurovision.tv says ” The order has been worked out through technical consideration and operational logistics, and unlike the last few years no algorithms were used. “

  • Joni

    “The order has been worked out through technical consideration and operational logistics, and unlike the last few years no algorithms were used.”

  • Montell

    I love this website. Following, analyzing and betting on Eurovision has become a real passion for me. Thank you Daniel and the rest of the sofabet community for valuable input. Enjoy this year’s Eurovision, good luck with your investments and may the best song win.

  • sonovox

    Looks like the same order they used last night, meaning that they’ve not taken the actual jury final results into consideration. If (hazy) memory serves, this is different to 2015 at least?

  • Haven’t had much time to comment this week unfortunately, but from what I’ve read on here everyone’s been enjoying it and there’s been some really useful input.

    FWIW I think Russia is too short and should be a 2.5 – 2.75 shot.

    Australia to win and Armenia e/w are the best bets to oppose it with. Along with Malta. I’m also on Belgium but as they’re opening the show that pretty much a loser now.

    I’ve put some more context around my view in the link below, along with a quick look at European history

    http://www.cherryanalysts.co.uk/2016/eurovision-2016-the-final/

  • Lake

    The Australian broadcaster held unofficial live app voting for viewers during the primetime replay broadcasts of the semis.

    SF1 Results: http://www.sbs.com.au/programs/eurovision/article/2016/05/13/australias-favourite-performance-eurovision-semi-final-1

    SF2 Results: http://www.sbs.com.au/programs/eurovision/article/2016/05/14/australias-favourite-performance-eurovision-semi-final-2

    Not including the Big 5, Australian viewers voting on the app & website liked Belgium, Malta, Austria, Croatia the most.

    In terms of frontrunners, viewers HATED Ukraine, but did like Russia.

  • Ilanni

    You cannot make out much out of those rankings though. As the app was asking to just give a positive or negative reaction to songs and not rank them or state a favorite.( hence the small differences in the percentages)

    • Lake

      I agree the rankings are pointless, but it can show general trends.

      For example, Ukraine is very polarizing with 53% of people disliking it.

      • Ande

        Yes, very little new information. These kinds of polls favor safe acts like Malta greatly while punishing polarizing and provocative entries like Georgia.

      • George

        But how much of the 47% liked it enough to vote for it? We all know it’s a polarising entry but the people who like it seem to *really* like it.

        • Yes, that’s a good point. Arguably one could say Russia is also a polarising entry (look at all the people saying it’s drivel) and they seem to be doing well regardless.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Hi George, yes, that’s a v good point. It’s one that has had a bearing in Trump’s success and will have a bearing on the UK EU Referendum result. The passion of believers / fanatics. The “getting the vote out” factor.

      • Ron H.

        Last night on prime time a Dutch national News program had quite a long item about the Ukrainian song, including an interview with Jamaly, that concentrated mostly on the present situation in the Krim.
        Don’t know why they presented this as a news item (I can imagine there was a lobby behind it) but I trust it will increase televote for this song tonight. Did any of you see similar examples elsewhere in Europe?

  • Good luck to all tonight. After a dismal X Factor we deserve it!

  • Milton

    The market seems to be obsessing on the itunes charts, but meanwhile Jamala is busily seizing the narrative. She was on the front page of the Guardian and is dominating the Eurovision coverage on the BBC and Sky News. The BBC feature this morning showed a clip of her semi final performance with a caption saying that she wants you to vote for her as a protest against Russia.

    She has dropped all pretence about it not being political as you can see in this Guardian interview which made the front page of the newspaper this morning:

    http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/may/13/eurovision-2016-ukraine-singer-urges-vote-for-crimean-ballad

    She is there to make a point and to make it as strongly as she can. Last night in the rehearsals there were tears. I expect there to be floods of carefully choreographed tears at the most effective moment possible tonight, which will guarantee her and her cause headlines all over the world tomorrow. It will also make an enormous impact on the watching televoting audience.

    Ukraine has a substantial diaspora, but the forced deportation at the hands of Stalin touches many nations, many of whom have diaspora population in countries not normally considered a source of points for Ukraine. This powerful article spells it out very well:

    http://escinsight.com/2016/05/12/strangers-coming-1944-diaspora-stalin/

    There are shades of Lordi and Conchitas about Jamala going into tonight, she’s the one the viewers will be aware of and looking out for. I think she will win.

  • Lululu

    Ukraine cant win because of line movement. Australia will win.
    Also Ukraine doesnt have economical power to host ESC, country in very hard situation.

  • Jack

    Some people already pointed out Sweden could have even better support as there are no other Scandinavian countries in the final. What other countries do you people think have an advantage now that Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania etc. are not in the final?

    And what about the votes for Russia and Ukraine? A lot of countries usually support both Russia and Ukraine. Will that dampen the final result? Pushing another country to the top?

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