Eurovision 2016: The grand final

And then there were five. The market has decided all but a handful of acts are rank outsiders. Behind the top tier of Russia, Australia, Ukraine, France and Sweden there’s a gap to Malta, which is the falsest position of all in the outright. I don’t think France is going to win, but I wouldn’t discount any of the other four from taking the trophy – each has plenty going for them.

Let’s start with hot favourites Russia, represented by Sergey Lazarev with ‘You Are The Only One’. Arguments for are: country/singer popularity, exciting staging, and impressive iTunes downloads. The main concern is a dated song that could potentially be mildly marked down by juries. Given the latter, I can’t recommend backing it at odds-on – shorter than Mans Zelmerlow, Emmelie de Forest and Loreen at the same stage. If you do think Russia has enough firepower to win – which is a very valid opinion – the best strategy may be waiting until the 40-minute jury voting sequence, when it may not be leading the scoreboard. If it’s being beaten at this point, what price will it be? It shouldn’t be odds-on.

Australia are second favourites, having been hot on the markets since Dami Im’s semi-final appearance with ‘Sound of Silence’. This is a recognisably Eurovision package – a big female power ballad – but also manages a contemporary, Sia-esque feel. The popularity of the song with iTunes downloads indicates it is televote-friendly across Europe, and not just in one part of it as might have been feared. It’s a jury-friendly entry too, with a money note at its climax. I can envisage it winning this part of the vote.

Respected rival in that constituency is Ukraine’s Jamala, whose ‘1944’ is a far more difficult and untypical Eurovision number. It’s a war lament for the Crimean Tartars who suffered mass deportation in World War Two. Its power comes from an intense live performance with staging to match. That was enough to wow bloggers throughout rehearsals. Now it faces the voting public and juries, where its difficult nature may mean it’s not universal enough for victory, unless the topical Russia / Ukraine narrative takes root. But much as I’ve loved it over the last two weeks, I don’t think there’s enough for viewers to latch onto for this to happen.

Sweden’s Frans didn’t get as much exposure in the semi-finals, being one of the automatic qualifiers who got a minute-long rehearsal clip played instead. As a result, ‘If I Were Sorry’ has fallen slightly under the radar in terms of final week hype. But that hasn’t stopped it doing impressively in iTunes downloads. It seems likely to do very well in the western televote, and maybe the eastern one too. Juries may also reward its contemporary, commercial nature, though it’s the opposite of vocally driven.

In sorting my four contenders into a predicted order, I’ve imagined each racing on their own road with potholes along it. These potholes are moments when they fall reasonably below a high score, whether it’s because of juries or televoters, differing appeal in Western or Eastern Europe, or a more general niche rather than universal sound. I’ve placed the country with what I think are the least potholes in its road first, and the others behind it accordingly, to come up with this top four:

1. Australia
2. Russia
3. Sweden
4. Ukraine

I don’t think France is a top four finisher because whilst it’s a nice song with a charming performer, it seems to fall short in the arena setting. The staging is partly to blame for that. Amir is alone on stage throughout, and doesn’t command it like say, Mans Zelmerlow. In fact, there are a good few other performers you’ll see tonight who command it better than Amir. The four that spring to mind come from Serbia, Armenia, Latvia and The Netherlands, and these are my idea of the main challengers to the top four.

I envisage all of them doing well in the jury vote. Televote-wise, The Netherlands is rather hindered by a very early slot, and trying to persuade people to ‘Slow Down’ after they’ve watched the Czech ballad. A top ten finish may be the best it can hope for. The other three all have second-half draws, strong performers, and varying sizes of diaspora to rely on. Given a good jury score too, that means they’re knocking on the door of the top four.

I think there are another handful of countries that are competing for the final few places in the top ten, which has become a close bunfight in recent years. In that list I’d put France, Austria, Bulgaria, and one of the back-to-back early ballads of Italy/Israel. I’ve surrendered to the charms of Austria’s Zoe having completely underestimated it; and whilst I’ve been critical of the Bulgarian staging from the off, Poli was very confident during last night’s jury rehearsal.

That means I don’t think there’s a place in the top ten for, among the more elevated entries in this market, Belgium and Malta. The former is a classic case of a song that is far less competitive in the final than the semi. Starting the show rather than finishing it only reiterates that. Malta is to my mind one of the weakest packages left in the contest, and its high ranking in the markets can only be the result of a concerted campaign. I imagine that, like most Maltese entries, some juries may reward it highly, and a lowly televote will be more indicative of its merits.

In terms of last place, the Czech Republic has to be a front-runner given that draw, some terribly uninspired staging, and a weaker performance than usual during last night’s jury rehearsal. Germany’s even more hopeless staging means that it’s well in the wooden spoon race, and I can’t discount Hungary’s Freddie. The likes of Azerbaijan and Croatia at least may get a few regional votes.

That’s my reading of the runes. Do let us know your thoughts below, and best of luck to everybody tonight.

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228 comments to Eurovision 2016: The grand final

  • Tim B

    1. Australia
    2. Ukraine
    3. Russia
    4. Sweden

  • tpfkar

    Is the X Factor back any time soon? 🙂

    Good luck everyone

  • Jessica Hamby

    Hi all
    I’m on Georgia each way at 300/1. Given their late slot, spectacular lights and totally different sound to anything else I think they’ll be a breath of fresh air and pick up a lot of viewer votes. One shouldn’t underestimate the popularity of the genre either. My sadness is that each way is only for top 3. They may not reach that.
    Good luck to y’all.

  • I’ll offer a prediction, though my confidence level is relatively low.

    1. Australia
    2. Russia
    3. Ukraine
    4. Sweden
    5. France.

  • Montell

    My Top 10 prediction for tonight:
    01. Australia
    02. Russia
    03. Ukraine
    04. Armenia
    05. Sweden
    06. France
    07. Israel
    08. Netherlands
    09. Belgium
    10. Serbia

  • Black n Blue

    We’ve come to the end of a pretty manic Eurovision season. I’d like to give a shout-out to Daniel for all his hard work over the course of the year on the site, and also to all those involved on the comment threads, who add to the discussion and excitement of the build-up period. Thanks guys and girls!

    1.Ukraine
    2.Australia
    3.Sweden
    4.Russia

    That’s my call for tonight. It promises to be tight atop of the scoreboard. Every entry has its caveat, but I think for Ukraine the only possible drawback hasn’t anything to do with the music, but rather a skewed interpretation of the music as an anti-Russia platitude. When you take a step back from it all, This is an astounding song with an equally astounding presentation. I’ve been an avid supporter of the song from day one, and I think those who aren’t behind it will come to see 1944 as a gem in the rock of the modern Eurovision template. They’ve got a favourable slot in the order, and having cracked international media-outlets, the momentum is firmly behind Jamala. All that said, I’m covered for an Australian win too, both are my biggest greens atm.

    As for the voting, we’re all going to learn a lot from the system tonight, and should be able to get a full grasp of it in the coming years provided it’s retained. My guess is that if you don’t think Australia, Italy or Sweden can win than it would be valuable to lay them after the jury votes, since I think all of them are jury fodder material. On the contrary, I reckon it could be worth a punt to back Austria top ten after the jury vote, because I think Zoe’s in for quite a handsome televote, and she has a late draw to help people remember her, if the princess shtick wasn’t already enough. Other than that it should be a show to remember.

    Good luck to all, enjoy the show!
    …and slow down if you can’t go on 😉

    • Yep, I’m also covered for Ukraine and Australia. Russia doesn’t feel worth bothering with at those odds.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi Black n Blue,

      I’m in a similar position to you. I’m heavily invested in Ukraine EW at 25s, 20s etc (though I have a big win if Sweden come up trumps…although I have no faith in that happening; similar to my large bet on Belgium cracking the Top 10 at 12/1) and finally got involved heavily with Oz at 5s and 4s EW, after others reports and comments on Australia lifted the scales from my eyes.

      I’m with you, too, on Jamala’s performance. I rewatched that National Final performance, with the frequency of an addict constantly in need of another fix. Frankly I’d be startled if the juries didn’t award this top marks and I’d be a slice of disgusted if they judged it to be outside of the top 2. What more to you have to super-skilfully give or heartfeldedly do? Who else could sing 1944 the way she does?

      She IS the song. Performer, performance and song – indivisible.

      Still think it’s a darn shame Ukraine isn’t following Malta (instead of preceding it).

      I also agree with your sentiment that (unfortunately) Jamala will only truly be appreciated in time.

      Question: Does Eurovision allow for multi-voting? I assume so, yes? If so, will Ukrainian supporters be multi-voting the Hell out of it, similar to the frequency with which the Scots tend to support their acts in English based reality TV shows?

      If so, then I might go back in for Ukraine at EW at 9s to finish in the Top 4.

      Anyone’s thoughts on this?

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Just a by the by, but I have an EW double on Dami for Eurovision and Russell Knox (currently 6 shots behind Jason Day in The Players) so an Oz ESC win tonight could make for an exciting late night Sunday for me!

  • Thank you Daniel for the outstanding coverage.

    Good luck everyone.

    My very rough guess – Russia fairly comfortably.

  • Chewy Wesker

    I would like to see Jamala win for the Ukraine I think that it’s by far the best performance I’ve seen in the show, and if this is truly a song contest then “1944” should win hands down. I think Jamala fits into a winner camp for me, along with the likes of Mans, Conchita and Loreen. I do however think Dami Im could also fit into that list of past winners, with her look and styling making her sparkle and shine like a pop diva, but “Sound Of Silence” is a song you could hear year in year out, where as “1944” is unique in every way. If “Timeless Dream State” has anything to with the result tonight then it should take Jamala and the Ukraine over the line tonight. However momentum has really snowballed with Dami so I think she may just sneak it, and the trophy can’t go to Russia as it’s cheap and tacky, God if Sergey wins I will be sick for myself and the contest. Anyway here my list final 15

    1. Australia
    2. Ukraine
    3. Russia
    4. Sweden
    5. Latvia
    6. France
    7. Armenia
    8. Italy
    9. Austria
    10. Spain
    11. Lithuania
    12. Malta
    13. Israel
    14. Bulgaria
    15. UK

    My tip tonight is ITALY top ten 2.44
    Good luck to everybody tonight enjoy the show.

  • Ben Cook

    01 Sweden
    02 Australia
    03 Russia
    04 Ukraine
    05 Armenia
    06 Serbia
    07 Netherlands
    08 France
    09 Latvia
    10 Italy

    I have my fingers crossed for Frans. I am worried about Australia, but I’ll still have a nice win if he finishes top 4, and got some money on Australia before it got too short too.

  • RonH

    1 Australia
    2 Russia
    3 France
    4 Sweden
    5 Ukraine
    6 Austria
    7 Armenia
    8 Netherlands
    9 Latvia
    10 Belgium

    Also for me this is one of the most difficult years to predict. Love that as a fan, it scares me when betting. Will give the result of that afther the smoke is cleared. I wish you all a great night.

  • Hippo

    With less than two hours to go, I’ll just share my final thoughts on how the evening may go, in terms of the favourites at least.

    Russia- All season long I’ve been waiting for something to come along and topple this Russian effort and despite a late surge from Australia, I don’t think any country has managed it. Jaime-Lee, Margaret, Justs, Frans, Amir, Jamala and now Dami Im have all looked to put pressure on Russia at one point or other- and all have failed. A lot has been said about Russia being a false favourite and whilst I agree current odds offer no value at all I still think Russia have this because quite frankly I don’t think anything is getting near it on the televote. It won’t win the juries, but it will be close enough to edge ahead at the last I feel. Sochi 2017.

    Australia- When I heard the snippets I rushed to Betfair as quick as I could to back this then once the refrain reared its ugly head I rushed right back to lay it. I’ll be frank with this. I think it’s a steaming turd of a song shouted half out of tune. It’s not much better than ‘the last of our Kind’ in my book and a weaker composition than most of the female ballads this year and the favouritism is getting old already. In my view this would the worst winner since Dima Bilan – though all options aren’t great this year. I say that because it can win. I have to acknowledge that here (if only out of fear of the Dami Army tracking me down ;)). The EBU want this to win, that’s clear to all. It will be the jury winner and it is making progress on Itunes, suggesting I may be in a small minority with my views on this – it will do well on the televote. With all the Nordics brushed aside this will become the default choice for them and in particular their juries (I’ll get to Sweden) I feel and looks to have connected around Europe too. It will make the podium and finish a highly respectable second I believe but from 13th (yes I know the last two winners were first half) with Russia, Latvia, Ukraine and Armenia to follow I doubt its getting close enough to Russia on the televote. It all depends on how big a lead this has with the juries and my guess is not big enough.

    Ukraine- Connected with me from the off. I also felt from the off I was in a minority on this. It’s not just that it’s sad or depressing it’s that it’s completely inaccessible and appealing (very successfully) to a niche market. It’s appealing to a lot of people in too few countries. It’s getting the votes it was always going to get and I don’t feel its winning many more. For every one person who gets it, there’ll be a hundred more who see it as a crazy lady screeching her head off. It’s also not a certain jury winner either and red – didn’t win its own national jury. Like I said recently, there’s a thousand examples out there of fluff beating serious emotional performances in jury votes. The Wiktorias on the juries are not going to go for this, as won’t western juries in general. My reading of the draw is that this also came 3rd in semi 2 behind Australia and possibly Latvia. Just a hunch based on 2013’s draw. I would love it to win and have it covered following the drift just in case but I don’t see it. 4th is my guess.

    France- This could have won. This isn’t going to win. There’s not much more to add that hasn’t been covered many times everywhere, another sad case this year of what could have been. He’s not getting top 5 either or top 10.

    Sweden- It’s not the hit it needed to be. Spotify plays in countries whose televote tens and twelves are going to be decided on diaspora isn’t enough. It will have a good post contest life but won’t get the points on the night. This needed momentum- a shed load of momentum to overcome the 9th slot with a barely sung vocal and a performance that vanishes into the ether. What has been the argument for it winning? Mainly that “its contemporary”- I’m sorry 😉 ,but that’s not enough on its own, It’s not televote top three or jury top three and I can see it failing out of the top 5. 6th.

    Armenia- Now we’re getting speculative. I had this as a dark horse and I can still see it doing very well. There’s a fine line between sexy and slutty and it was crossed somewhere back in Yerevan. The interpretation of the LoveWave has veered far too much onto the physical side rather than the emotional. One wins the jury, one doesn’t. It’s experimental, modern and unique with a solid enough vocal so will be a jury top 10 at the least. With a large and spread diaspora, the male sexual vote and the impact of being a show closer it’s also televote top 5. In fact I think it will come 5th.

    Latvia- Skipping Malta who would be 1000-1 were it not for the bot that seems to have the purpose of making wherever Ira comes seem a disappointment, the last country I’ll cover is Latvia. This should be 40-1 max. It has a late draw, clear jury and televote appeal and a mix of Eastern and Western appeal, and the indications point to it being at top 3 in its semi. This is in a niche, but it’s an accessible, mainstream niche, a niche that can be appealed to in every country in Europe and the Oz. If there’s one country to surprise it will be Latvia, they are going to be picking up points consistently if not quite as highly as the others- but two sevens is better than one twelve. Do I think it will win? No, unlikely but it’s not impossible and should trade much lower during the first part of voting. Bronze medal for Justs.

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

    Best of luck to Daniel and everyone else on this site.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      The Racing Post reality tipster tipped Latvia as the best EW bet. You make a more compelling case, though!

      In fact, reading his article was like reading a summary of sofabet commentators’ posts…

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        And if as you say it is clear that the EBU want Australia to win then is it that Latvia are of a magnitude of danger to that outcome such that the key point of the running order is that Jamala is being used as a deramp on Justs?

        • Hippo

          I don’t think the ebu/ svt are actively disadvantaging countries intentionally with the draw- apart from the other female ballads maybe that could split the Oz vote (Czech, Serbia). I’m guessing they’re trying to even things up maybe in the second half. I.e. Russia won semi 1 easily with Armenia a distant second therefore Armenia gets a late draw to try to make for a closer result. Tv magic and all that. Latvia and Ukraine were relatively close on points in semi 2 my guess.

  • What do you think the UK’s chances are?

    I still don’t think Australia should be in the competition this year and I think there are better songs!

    Russia, Bulgaria and Armenia are my favourites!!!

    • Jessica Hamby

      Can’t help wondering if the referendum will inspire people to vote for them, like a sort of sign of approval / wanting them to stay in.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I just wonder if the 4 /5 favourites will divide the jury vote amongst themselves so much that someone who captures the public on the night can come through.

  • johnkef

    It has been a long and very stressfull Eurovision year with the market reacting strangely at least. First it was Poland, then Sweden, then Russia, France then Ukraine…My first impression after all the songs were known was that the win would go in one of the following 3 countries. Russia, Australia and France. After those three my guess was Armenia, Latvia and Ukraine could be near the the Top3 with the correct staging.

    I never liked Russian song and did not bet any amount of money on it. The same with Sweden apart from a 20 pound bet for a Top4 placing @3.55 just for the fun of it.

    France had the potential to be a winner, but this is the reason i never trust a country that hasn’t proved the previous years that wants to win the contest and is really trying. Luckily i had invested just a small amount of money while it was still @13.00 and because of the instant price crush i didn’t have the chance to bet some more. Thank God!

    For the same reason i never trusted Croatia, Bulgaria, Malta and avoided any bet on them. I hope that those who bet Croatia @7.00 or Bulgaria @16.00 or Malta @18.00 learned a lesson.

    My biggest bet for this season since day one was Australia. I knew that EBU wants an Australian win for the expansion of the contest everywhere and apart from that Dami Im had a song similar to Polina’s last year when the same thing happened. Everybody had Russia written off until the first rehearsal and then boom! The same with Dami until the night of the semi and then suddenly Australia was not a fanwank anymore.

    I have Australia’s win @12.39
    Winner without Russia @ 2.62
    Top3 @4.18
    Top4 @ 3.22
    Top5 @ 2.37

    I can have some descent earnings even if Australia doesn’t win and in prices higher than the Russian win.

    My other big bets are on Israel’s Top10 @3.20, Top15@2.23 and the same with Austria @3.12 and Top@3.85 (pre-semi)

    I expect Czechia to finish last.

    Whatever happens to Ukraine this night, it’s the song that really marked this year and it deserves a Top3 finishing at least.

    I would like to thank Daniel for the amazing coverage of the contest and all of you that helped me with your suggestions, ideas, arguments. I hope i did the same to you!

    Good luck to everybody for tonight!

    My predictions for tonight are

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

  • Mr Wolf

    My prediction:

    1. Australia
    2. Russia
    3. Ukraine
    4. Sweden
    5. Armenia
    6. France
    7. Latvia
    8. Bulgaria
    9-15. Serbia, The Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, Croatia

    With 1.-3. and 4.-6. order wouldn’t be so sure.

    GL & HF everyone!

  • Thomas Cromwell

    1. Sweden
    2. Russia
    3. Australia
    4. Netherlands

    Good luck all.

  • 360

    I would have loved to see Bulgaria with better staging and costume, its one of the catchier songs and the crowd seemed to really get behind it. Dark horse for a top ten but I don’t see it doing better.

    Still expecting an Oz win overall here.

  • mb79493

    I actually thought Spain were great.

  • Ana

    Grimmy tweeted ‘Burial on production #Eurovision’ re: Ukraine performance (red lighting, creepy dancers). Well well well, someone’s stint on X Factor taught them on how to do a hatchet job on a performer. Or he’s been reading sofabet while on there…

  • johnkef

    what the heck is happening with Spain? 4th favorite?

  • Piresistable

    If this was the X Factor we would be making a big thing about the location of the Spanish and Austrian girls in the shot with Justin Timberlake.

  • annie

    I watched the show with non connoseurs and the only ones that caught their attention in a good way were Spain, Ukraine, Georgia and belgium
    And France as a good looking guy for late 20s girls

  • Donald

    Hi all, best wishes to everyone. As sais was too busy to really contribute this year, Sosin hey! Let’s see.. wil good staging would have been home and hosed, Did they use it to memory hole Rusdia! ANYWAY good luck all .

  • annie

    Wow this is making me dizzzzyyyy

  • eurovicious

    Two thirds of the way through the jury vote and What’s The Pressure has almost 5 times more points than Heartbeat, fml

    If an Australian-written song performed by an Australian singer representing Australia wins, Eurovision has no point. Or maybe that’s the idea – turn the contest into a global brand and destroy its USP in the process.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Congrats to all those who made money.

  • 360

    Well a big congratulations Ukraine supporters. I am *very* happy to see Bulgaria so high though, my personal favourite. I said it would go high and had plenty potential to do better based on the song alone.

  • johnkef

    A DARK SONG CANNOT WIN THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST!!!

  • RonH

    The only question on my mind at this moment is which song will win next year? Teardrops from Auschwitz or MH17 flying through Ukranian skies?

    • no, it won’t be that. Tonite shows that juries and televoters opt for originality and soul. They rejected Russia as a possible winner because they were not convinced it was a good “Mans 2”. Anyone who tries to “out Jamala” Ukraine next year will suffer. This thing goes in pendulums and that is what Russia backers never really grasped. Historic turning point we have seen tonite.

  • John

    Oh the humanity. The travelling Poles pushed Netherlands into 11th and cost me a fair bit in the process. :0

    I’m having a debate with my housemates about whether Poland was a hot televote number or whether the diaspora were out in force. I think a lot of us forgot to factor in the pure televote effect and how it boosts …certain countries.

    Well, I sure did. To see Netherlands and Malta slip out of the top 10 will be my defining memory this year.

  • Ben Cook

    Poland coming 3rd in televote was totally ridiculous. An argument for getting rid of it altogether!!

  • In the money thanks to going EW on Oz.

    Thanks to all for a fab season. See you at X Factor. Xxxx

  • Montell

    How Bulgaria managed to finish 4th with that awful staging is beyond my understanding.

  • johnkef

    Very happy with my almost 130% ROI but was so close to 250% with the Aussie win. I’m glad both for Ukraine and Australia and both with Russia’s and Sweden’s result which i never touched.

    Wonder how those who heavily bet on Russia or the itunes Miracle boy feel now…with all the respect to the Swedish and Russian supporters but i had to get that out of me!

    Another myth was busted this year and proved that the audience can love and vote for something original or sentimental. It doesn’t mean that because the tv shows prefer something happy or shallow, the audience cannot appreciate or aknowledge quality.

    There were some impressive completely under the radar results.
    Congrats to Bulgaria who could have been a contender had it been staged properly.
    Lithuania finished 9th out of nowhere.
    Michal Spak had his 3rd strike after national final,
    Latvia and Serbia were sunk from the semis and maybe for Latvia we knew but Serbia…dark songs don’t do well in Eurovision…hehe

  • The UK jury vote on Georgia needs some serious deconstruction! Was it mere attention seeking???

    • Ron

      It’s what happens when you appoint people to a jury who have absolutely no interest in Eurovision and have clearly never watched it before. Under no circumstances could Georgia be said to have the best song or performance in that 26 entry field or be anywhere even close to it.

    • That’s an easy one to deconstruct. It sounded like an Oasis/Arctic Monkeys song. In my Eurovision party everyone reached for their phones to vote Georgia.

      Britain voted for it because it sounded British.

      • eurovicious

        Georgia was kickass and really stood out for originality and innovation. And yeah, it was really British. Knocking it just for being different (like Graham kept doing in the commentary!) is ridiculous, it has a ton of musical merit and they brought a great show…

        • Chris Bellis

          My whole household thought it was the best too. I am eating my words about Ukraine though, as many people here must be. I said it was the best performed song in the contest, and I knew it was getting loads of non eurofan attention, and even posted links, but I went with the dark songs don’t win eurovision thing. Ah well, bottom five for UK still worked, even if Sweden let me down. I thought Frans owned the audience and he’ll be back.

      • fused

        Yeah, I agree. I think the British jury voted for Georgia because it sounded like a British indie rock band. It was my favourite too! I’d say it was by far the most interesting song. I’m not surprised a lot of hardcore Eurovision fans hated it, but I appreciated that they were taking a risk and that it was different from all the others. It wasn’t yet another earnest power ballad or yet another inane electrodance track.

        That’s not to say I have any problem with power ballads or European electrodance, my other two favourites were Australia and Lithuania, but you know what, 26 songs, sometimes it’s refreshing when something isn’t following the same trends as everyone else.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I’m ecstatic with the results. Ukraine winning…plus Belgium finishing a perfect 10th! (And as a side note: my other long-time favourite (though one I didn’t actually back), France, finishing a v respectable 6th)

    My ROI% figures must be ridiculous.

    However, on a personal note, my primary feeling is one of partial redemption.

    A few years ago Daniel kindly asked me to guest author a headline article or two on this site, but that was before my behaviour during ESC 2014, where I posted incessantly and out-of-hand in bigging up the UK’s chances. My Grand Molly-Folly. I think it was about a year before I dared showed my face again on this site.

    I felt embarrassed, humbled and guilty – as I know how potentially influential comments are on this site, and the dogmatic campaign (virtually) I was indulging in probably cost some readers a pretty penny or two.

    So, I’m relieved to have been one of the few who swam against the general tide (and this time hopefully without being dogmatic) this season, re the Ukraine and Belgium.

    Hopefully, any losses I’ve previously influenced have been recouped.

    I really mean that, as I’m far from being a rich person…so I really can understand the everyday consequences of losses from gambling.

    Plus, although I probably have less experience betting on the ESC compared to the majority on this site, and much less skill in tracking and evaluating iTunes charts and the like, and less skill and knowledge in a number of areas, I daresay I have more performance experience etc than the majority of commentators on this site.

    So I think I should focus in a non-dogmatic way in bringing that angle to the sofabet knowledge-sharing.

    • eurovicious

      Don’t feel bad for thinking the UK would win in 2014, so many people did… it sounded like a Florence And The Machine song, she had the MPDG look and it was in the pimp slot. It’s easy to be smart in hindsight.

      • fused

        You know, it’s odd with Molly, because as an act she should have been the sort of thing I love. I love and listen to a lot of alternative pop female singer-songwriters like Florence and The Machine, Ellie Goulding, Marina & The Diamonds, Lene Marlin, Foxes, Charli XCX and if we’re just talking about Eurovision, two of my favourite winners ever are Lena – ‘Satellite’ and Emmelie de Forest – ‘Only Teardrops’.

        But Molly did absolutely nothing for me. I don’t really know why, it’s not so much that I actively disliked the song, it just didn’t interest me in any way. The main thing I liked/remember about her is her being all “WTF?!” when she was presented with a curly-whurly cake during the final.

      • Ande

        I concur with fused. I felt slightly underwhelmed but had no active dislike for the song.

        You may say presentation was the main culprit but Molly was no MPDG either. Being just barely good looking enough for an MPDG it was apparent even in previews and music videos she lacked the necessary energy and charisma.

        If the UK were Norway there would’ve been an argument for making the top 10. But the UK is not Norway, no.

        Face the facts, Guildo made a mistake. I’m sure everyone but him are over it by now.

    • Chris Bellis

      Guildo – the “Molly Folly” as you call it was just one of those things. Don’t beat yourself up. On the day Molly’s nerves got to her, which is the KOD for Eurovision. The lesson is that even seasoned professionals can succumb to nerves when they are faced with a huge audience. It wasn’t a bad song, and sung well might have done a lot better. Look at the live video of Molly on the final, and compare with her previous performances and you will see that she was far better than on the crucial night of the final. Look at Amir last night – finished on a bum note and thereby dropped a few places (IMHO).

  • Well, I ended the night with a small profit. Putting down a safety bet on Australia actually reduced my profit, but a green result is a green result.

    On an emotional rather than financial level, I’m happy with the result. When I listened to Jamala’s song, it got me thinking about my travels in Eastern and Central Europe, and the extent to which the legacy of Stalinism and World War Two have impacted on history of all those countries.

    We live in one of the most prosperous regions in the world, but behind that prosperity is a dark legacy of blood, loss and trauma. When Jamala hit the high notes, those notes travelled not only to Crimea but to the gas chambers of Auschwitz, the crushing of the Prague Spring, the forests of Srebrenicza. Her scream was the scream of countless lives snuffed out and lost to history.

    After 61 years, the Eurovision has finally produced a song that truly encapsulates what it means to be European.

    Before you ask, yes I am still drunk from last night.

    • well said my friend. When all the number crunching is done, victory is due probably to the fact that Ukraine did much better in the televote than most people on here ever imagined. So why? it sounded “woeful and a hard listen” from the comfort of our western European homes, but punters came out and voted for it, adding to her impressive jury showing (Jamala actually lost the SF2 to Dami, yet won the final….a talking point.) That they did suggests that its “spoke” to them somewhere, as you outlined Phil.

      I guess the Ukraine drift on Thursday night/Friday was due to that semi result and Dami’s powerful showing. Loads of people mocked the subsequent press poll result. They called the top three unerringly.

      Lessons? SF results are not always a reliable guide to final performance. And a song can drift and …..still win.

      Has a shorter price favourite ever lost before? France 2011? Not sure it was as low as 4-6.

  • Montell

    Very happy with my profits this year. Most of my money went on Australia and Ukraine to win. Australia was my number one pick in the outright market as soon as I heard the song on YouTube. It was the only song that to me sounded like a potential winner. Very powerful, radio friendly song and it had a USP being from Australia and being sung by a Korean singer. USP of the singer is that no one would expect such a powerful voice from a little girl like Dami Im. Then I backed Ukraine after extremely positive reactions from the rehearsals. I didn’t know what people saw in the rehearsals but it seemed I couldn’t ignore their reactions and sudden price shortenings. I have to say just before SF2 I also decided to back Russia even though I didn’t like the song nor staging. But my thinking told me Russia was going to shorten even more after the semi final so I wanted to get myself in better position before the final. If I hadn’t backed Russia then profits from Ukraine would have been twice bigger but backing Russia was important risk management decision.
    Second most profitable bet was backing Belgium in the top 10. I did that early in April. What’s The Pressure is one of my favorite songs this year and I saw huge tele vote potential in it. Surprisingly it was the other way around. Belgium was liked more by juries than by viewers at home. 10th place is worthy place for Belgium.
    Small losses came from backing Netherlands, Serbia and Israel to finish in the top 10. Small profits came from laying Austria and Malta to finish in the top 10.
    This year I feel very happy that Eurovision broke so many rules. What an amazing event Eurovision is.

  • Chris Bellis

    Amir’s performance was ok until he finished on a bum note – what an idiot. If you’re not that good a singer, never end on a note that’s uncomfortable. I had no money on France, I just liked the idea of them winning as I am a Francophile. Lesson, as eurovicious (I think it was) already noted – the French always manage to cock it up in some way, despite presenting an appealing song. Not as badly as we do though. The papers today are full of how Joe and Jake did us proud and it’s all a conspiracy etc. They must have watched a different performance to the one I saw. Dated rubbish song, sung datedly and rubbishly.

    • Montell

      I voted for UK yesterday. Performance was OK although not special in any way but I simply liked the song and the looks of Joe & Jake.

    • eurovicious

      Not as badly as Germany does either. There’s nothing wrong with Ann Sophie and Black Smoke or Jamie Lee and Ghost, they just staged both of them terribly. NDR can’t stage anything intelligently or in a modern/accessible way without Stefan Raab’s Brainpool on board.

      • Agreed. Both Black Smoke and Ghost felt a bit robbed. Quite possibly Jamie Lee could have done better if they’d toned down the costume and staging a bit. I’m not saying turning her costume into something that isn’t her, but at least find a way to make it look less messy.

      • Chris Bellis

        Can’t argue with that EV, especially Black Smoke. What possessed them to have her start with her back to the audience, seemingly for half the performance? If you’ve only got 3 minutes, you have to make it work. I didn’t back it, but it deserved better. That song is still on my playlist and I still like it.

        • fused

          ‘Black Smoke’ is the only song from last year’s contest I still listen to! I like it, it definitely deserved to do better than to get no points at all.

          It’s not the song from last year’s Eurovision I listened to the most though, that would be ‘Goodbye To Yesterday’. I must have played that loads last year and into this year. I’d almost forgotten it came from Eurovision.

          I think Jamie-Lee’s everything but the kitchen sink outfit might have contributed to Germany not doing well this time. Not so much that it was off-putting, but it was distracting. The song became more of a background event, and by the time all the songs are performed people will remember the costume, but probably won’t recall how the song goes. I think Croatia had a similar problem. Everyone was talking about the dress, not the song. It’s probably best if the outfit and staging somehow compliments the song rather than distracts from it.

          As for Joe & Jake, despite kind of slating them on here when they were chosen as the UK entry, I warmed to them. Not them as performers or their song, but I ended up thinking they were nice enough and I wanted things to go, maybe not brilliantly, but to go alright for them.

      • johnkef

        In terms of Germany, politics are a factor. Germany is not a beloved country in many parts of Europe because of their policy, particular in the south. Add to that the East European abhorrence and Germany is struggling really hard.

        Instead of trying to adapt to the contest measures, they try to bring the contest to their own measures, the same thing they do with the economy, but as in economy they other countries are not eager to follow them..

        I really like theis songs all these years but i could hardly see them doing well.

        • Germany failed for 2 reasons…
          1. Staging was awful (she looked silly, yes that’s her fashion sense and I’m fine with her wearing what the F she likes, but the German delegation should be advising on something that suits the song)
          2. Most can agree, it’s a good song, but its not immediate. It’s the sort of song after a few listens you really start to warm to. However, playing in the middle of 25 songs that mostly have an immediate impact, it was never to stand out

          • Montell

            Agree. When I heard Ghost for the first time I said meh. But after another listen I liked it much more. In comparison I liked Black Smoke after first listen but it still ended being last. I feel bad for Germany.

          • Ande

            I have the opposite feeling, I thought I liked Ghost on first listen but the more I listened to it the more obvious it became how flat it really was.

            At my Eurovision party the casuals who felt intrigued by Ghost were already bored by the end of the song. In other words the songs structure was the main problem only aggrevated by a static performance. By the time people started voting they only remembered Germany as the pokémon with the moon.

      • alscott67

        Eurovicious is right about Stefan Raab. He gets what Eurovision is about. We are bemoaning Germany’s record, but they won only 7 years ago after a record as bad as ours. At the time I thought that if they could win, anyone can. The song, singer and presentation just have to be ‘right’. Stefan Raab generally gets it right. Germany haven’t got it right since (and neither have us).

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Was out yesterday evening and didn’t see a second of the contest. Additionally, I hadn’t seen virtually anything of the rehearsal or semi-final footage, so I’ve just skim watching the Grand Final with relatively fresh eyes.

    Some thoughts I’m jotting down (just for a bit of fun)…

    1) Laura and Belgium provide a supreme show opener. Impressive, dynamic, young, fun, danceable stuff. She looks fab on that inviting disco-floor and wouldn’t it be ace to be out there with her or among her cool dance gang? Even better than expected. Upgraded video transplant.

    2) Classy, gorgeous but boring. She stands while iterating her standing status. While everyone else got a seat on the Orient Express she had to stand. Gabriela is like a statue, coming after Laura’s high-energy performance.

    3) Still imagine Take That’s Marc Owen singing Slow Down. Choice of song lyrics were unfortunate. The main chorus line sounds like it could be the advertising jingle for a euthanasia clinic. Would have been amusing if Gabriela had followed this! The designed song pause is strange but main guy, Douwe, handles it comfortably. Well performed, the band feels tight. Douwe is engaging but has old, hooded Renée Zelweger eyes.

    4) Samra is out of tune and just about holding it together. Unintentional comedy of her warbling “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle.” What the heck are her dance troupe wearing? Fancy dress costume standard sword n’ sandle & Xanadu themed tat. Whole thing just looks cheap. Dancers moving in odd staccato stop-go manner. Without any thematic purpose. Samra’s vocal Brittney & Christina stylings obviously relied upon as disguise for her general vocal deficiencies. Her tits look great in that gold lame cat suit. Her tits are the only quality thing in that entire presentation. Was that a light volley of boos I heard ringing out at the end? Weak karaoke standard.

    5) I dislike his rasp of a voice. Jesus! Imagine this guy and Samra in a duet! Yikes! (Although they’d have handsome looking babies.)The problem sometimes with these great-rock-voice singers is that if they over perform in a short space of time the voice’s rasp can begin to sound pained. On the softer spoken lines his voice is barely audible. He’s evidently losing his voice. He’s a strong, confident-looking performer. Backing singers / whistlers sound great, although looking dressed by Primark. That martial artist cum drummer is terrific value! He’s great and somehow links to the “million temples” reference. Exactly how then the Primark 3 link to the “million hearts” reference is perhaps inexplicable.

    6) This Italian bird is hot. Despite her modelling gardening dungarees. What is this about? What does any of it mean? Onscreen graphic flourishes look cheap, intentionally basic and frreestyle. Is this a children’s TV programme, with the presenter on her last day and doing her own thing? She’s flashing passion and a trace of anger now. Nice background balloons. Set topography slightly reminiscent of the 17th at the Player’s Championship. Confusing. A few steps / incarnations away from going the full Jamie-Lee? Are they pen pals? Yet at the centre of that oddly themed package was an engaging performer and an enjoyable song.

    7) Hovi has a lovely tone. Eye-catching guy, yet subtle charisma. Repetitve Bowie themed lyrics. Am annoyed at him now for saying “made of stars” one too many times. Seriously, how many times does he repeat that phrase? Likeable guy. Would like to hear him sing other songs.

    8) I’d forgotten how insanely catchy this tune is. Poli is a pretty girl and giving it beans. Holy tat! People weren’t kidding about the dross costumes! She’s dressed like a baddie out of Blakes 7 or UFO. Can’t believe what I’m seeing here. The signature dance-move takeaway is a weird knee knock (minus the palms floating back and forth). Now the body pads are lighting up. She’s like a techno Green Cross Code woman malfunctioning. And here’s a pointless brief, end appearance by the diversity squad. Don’t want to be in her gang. Absolutely incredible that this came 4th. Director, costumer and choreographer should be shot for that crappy hodgepodge. Poli is a game trooper. Didn’t betray a hint of embarrassment.

    9) Young Joseph Gordon Levitt is in good form. He’s enjoying himself here. That was entertaining. Home advantage gifts a favourable running order sequence and a receptive, supportive arena audience for the home performer(s). Commanding performance and the right kind of cocky. Well done.

    10) Amazing achievement to relegate an atmospheric, interesting song to securing last place. The wrong kind of self-indulgence. The fancy fashion puke ensemble is what happens when a teenager is handed too many stuffed envelopes by the Kids Company.

    11) Oh! I so love this song. Amir looks great, sounds good enough and the camera still adores the way he moves. Humph! There are no staging ideas whatsoever. Thus…simply focus the camera on your main man. KISS. Do not have it floating all around in swirling long-shot arcs. Lots of shots that highlight the vastness of the stage. Thoughtless and dumb.

    12) Poland doing nothing for me. He’s a quality singer, but I’m already forgetting this. Am v surprised this came 8th.

    13) Dami makes for a beautiful doll. Loving the styling. Sitting on a box. Still sitting on a box. (Any thinking going on outside this box?) Interesting strategy considering how repetitive this song is. Now she’s down from the box and moving. Picking up, good camera angles emphasising forward motion and travelling. Funny how her voice is glorious, keeps on finding more and more elevation, yet has the odd shouty flash. Overall, she looks and sounds terrific. That was a v effective package, eventually.

    Just had a look on Oddschecker history to see that at one point in the evening PP had Oz at 1/40 and WH had them at 1/50. Is that right!!

    Enough of my retrospective commentary. Just aiming to entertain.

    Am still stunned Bulgaria finished 4th.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      I wonder if anyone else feels this way but I haven’t really enjoyed much of the show at all. There’s a lack of charm about the whole shebang.

      The acts come and go as if on a high-tech factory production line. The design of the arena feels fine, with the performers easily able to interact with audience members. But there’s this repetitive and unpleasant virtual reality feel to most of the stage show presentations.

      There’s seems to be an absence of warmth in general. And the 3 minute limitation on the songs begins to grate after a while, too. I’d liken that aspect to watching a stage play where the actors are delivering their lines too quickly, without letting themselves, the dialogue or the play breathe.

      Bizarrely, I think I had more enjoyment from watching the Swedish entry than anything else in the first half. They established an intimacy that was otherwise absent. Belgium was enjoyable for how they created a venue from the technology. I felt like I was watching people perform in a recognisable place.

      I’m not looking forward to watching the second half.

      And on second thoughts, Dami’s impressiveness (or connection) relied on her voice. She looked like an exquisite doll and facially had about as much expressiveness as one, too. Strange to say (with Oz finishing 2nd) but I think I was right all along about that song not matching her personality.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Finished skim watching the second half.

        From the first half I’d say that there were 2 near-perfect packages. By near-perfect I mean cohesive, ticking all the boxes for that package, and v difficult to imagine any improvements for that package.

        Imo, those entrants were Belgium and Sweden.

        In the second half, for me the 2 near-perfects were Ukraine and Austria.

        Possibly, it could be argued, that Armenia should bring that number up to 5.

        I find it instructive to watch Australia and Armenia back to back. For me, Iveta blows Dami out of the water. Good God, Iveta is a sensational super diva. She’s phenomenal…and those legs!

        How did Australia absolutely smash the jury vote? It was good…but not that extent of good.

        As for Russia, the staging was such a flawed concept in so many ways. At times, slightly embarrassing even. Fokas messed up.

  • Thomas Crowmwell

    What a disappointment.
    Such a poor song raised to the podium by faceless non-descript self opinionated self serving juries. The U.K. jury was :

    CeCe Sammy
    Bea Munro
    Seamus Haji
    Sean McGhee
    Kiran Thakrar.

    Never heard of any of them?
    No, neither have I.
    And Georgia?
    What?
    The organisers are going to have to have a serious look at what happened last night and how it happened because if this is the direction of future competitions, we are in for a decade of dirges.
    Awful result for the viewers and the competition as a whole, and particularly for Australia who were robbed.

  • Black n Blue

    Thrilled with the result. I made a good profit this year and I’m glad that I stood my ground on Ukraine after Thursday night. The reason I’m saying this is because when I watched the 2nd semi final with family, my mum proclaimed 1944 as “awful” before Jamala had even sung the chorus. My initial reaction to this was “Oh shit, the public aren’t going to get it!”, and then I wrote something on a comment thread here saying the above a lot more eloquently. In the coming hours, rather than laying off Ukraine in the outright, I decided to sleep on it, and by Friday I’d re-evaluated that Jamala could still do it, and that my mum’s reaction must have been some sort of an outlier, which turned out to be true.

    Nonetheless, it was among the best Eurovisions I’ve watched in a long time, just on sheer entertainment value. I’ll be able to contribute more of my thoughts once I’ve fully woken up!

  • Hippo

    My final thoughts on what has been a highly enjoyable and unpredictable and extremely close Eurovision.

    Where else to start but with the winner? Congratulations to Jamala and Ukraine. I have mixed feelings on it, on the one hand, It was my personal favourite of the year and it’s great to see a genuine song emerge over Russia’s dream team and Dami’s cold and equally as calculated number. On the other hand, as neither the jury or televote winner with an undeniably political entry I do worry about the ramifications for the contest’s reputation. Time will tell. I’m happy to be proved wrong on this anyway and out of the three frontrunners deserved it the most. Mind you, everyone one was right on it in a way- the dark songs don’t win the televote rule still stands somewhat 😉
    Kiev I assume will host and it will be interesting to see if Russia does show up. Laying the Oz and backing this in running gave me a nice enough sum on the outright but certainly not as much as I’d targeted. Still, beggars can’t be choosers and I’m relieved Australia didn’t win, that would have hurt me a lot but became a necessary risk. On the topic of Australia, something didn’t feel right about the coronation of Dami and a lot of the people I was watching with felt the same. Televoters got this one right I feel. I don’t have anything against her or Australia but for the sake of fair play (and my wallet), I’m glad this fell short.
    Will they be back? I’m not sure, maybe with Asiavision they’ll be a little occupied. The Ebu does need to decide either way though, either make them a permanent member or don’t- I’m not fussed either way, just no more “one-offs”.
    Kontopoulos, Kirkorov and Fokas solidify their reputation as perennial also rans. I don’t know what more to say on Russia. The maths I had put them about 90 points behind Australia at the end of jury voting. I hope they don’t become disillusioned with the contest, but I don’t know if they’ll be around next year.

    Looking at the rest of the table a few more points I want to make:
    Serbia- I’m not sure what went wrong with this one, reports I heard from the jury rehearsals were a solid vocal . Edging through in 10th and then crashing on the juries- I don’t know, maybe Ukraine stole its thunder? Will sadly go down as worse than Bojana which is madness.

    Latvia- charting not too badly at the time of writing this, a little shouty but solid vocal and modern, strong composition. 8th in the semi is incredible even from 1st, the fact it made no business at all with juries and televoters is beyond me.

    Poland- This was not just diaspora. This was much more than that and dare I say he picked up more tv points than Margaret would have. Beyond belief really what people saw in this. He overshadowed Dami, not the other way round 🙂 Bjorkman must be kicking himself for this.

    Bulgaria- 5th in the semi, 4th in the final. I think it must have been the lull of 2-7 then 9-10 that gave it such a result. Again, Bjorkman thought he was helping Frans but turned out the other way round.

    France- pulled it together on the night and I’m glad he didn’t crash as I thought, hopefully France will be in the game next year too. Does end the win or flop rule of ogae winners.

    Malta- Hmmn. Something isn’t right with this, especially that Montenegro 12. Too often Malta are doing way better than they should with juries. If this was Azerbaijan there’d be a lot of questions asked but I feel a blind eye will be turned.

    UK- A perfect example of no reason to pick up the phone and that amateurs don’t do well. The writing was on the wall since day one for this and opposing this was a large play for me. No doubt the “its all political” b.s. will start of again.

    Sweden – Out of all the entries this year. I think I best had a handle on this one. I’m pleased for Frans, now he’ll get the global hit and that’s good for the competition, but it wouldn’t have made a good winner. The rest of the Nordics need to sit down and have a huge rethink – Estonia last in semi 1, Finland 15th, Iceland 14th, Denmark 17th in semi 2, Norway 13th.

    Overall my best and worst from this year:
    Best-
    Lay Sweden win (covered in play) and top 3 and 4,
    Lay Australia win in play- in for a penny…
    Back Ukraine in play,
    Australia jury win
    UK 21st-26th,
    Germany last place.
    Greece nq
    Denmark nq
    Armenia top 10

    Worst-
    Latvia win/top 4/top5/top10 and semi top 3 (just glad I didn’t touch top Baltic!)
    Serbia top Balkan
    Bulgaria nq
    Azerbaijan nq
    Israel nq
    Italy to beat Malta

    Looking forward to next year, there’s a few countries I’ll have my eye on as a speculative punt pre song, I’m glad we’re going East again too, hopefully the Scandi/Australia favouritism will die down a little. Maybe even the random draw will be back 🙂

    Note to self: back the song that emotionally connects- I had goosebumps with Jamala at the national final but ruled out the win despite knowing the impact of the song. Should have been on much earlier to save my nerves.
    The new voting system is brilliant by the way, such tension but such value available. A necessary step in stemming jury influence whilst limiting diaspora effect enough. The removal of 8 and 10 points being read out seems unnecessary though and would give more time to assess the situation.

    Big thanks to Daniel and everyone else on here, it’s been hugely enjoyable debating this year with all of you.
    Looking forward to next year all ready 😉

    • Chris Bellis

      Great comments Hippo.
      Your note to self is on the money. I thought Ukraine’s was the best performance, but was persuaded by the “too dark for Eurovision” argument. I balanced my book, mainly by laying UK ages ago, and Belgium Top 10. I wish I’d done BG as well, especially as I spend such a lot of time there, but no Bulgarians I know thought it had a chance. Sentimental “patriotic” money always goes to UK. I do the same with football. Lay UK is a golden rule in these things.

    • Mr Wolf

      “He overshadowed Dami, not the other way round Bjorkman must be kicking himself for this.”

      I actually got the same feeling during the Final.
      I think it effected really-really badly to Dami (she actually could have won with better running positioning).
      Dami was ma favourite in Semi’s but yesterday I really felt Jamala and Spzak were the true stars of the night lol.

  • Jack

    The televote results of Semi 1 really surprised me…. Hungary top 3?? San marino 11th??

    1. Russia 194
    2. Austria 133
    3. Hungary 119
    4. Armenia 116
    5. The Netherlands 95
    6. Azerbaijan 93
    7. Cyprus 93
    8. Bosnia and Herzegovina 78
    9. Malta 54
    10. Croatia 53

    11. San Marino 49
    12. Czech Republic 41
    13. Ireland 24
    14. Greece 22
    15. Finland 16
    16. Estonia 15
    17. Montenegro 14
    18. Moldova 9

  • Mr Wolf

    My best bets:

    *Buying loads of Ukraine in March (around 20’s and 30’s) and selling it pre-Semi
    *Buying Ukraine back after the Semi around 13-15
    *Buying loads on France in the first days of April and trading it off pre-rehearsal
    *Buying loads of Australia around 1st rehearsal and selling it off after Semi
    *Buying loads of Russia around 6-7 and trading it off around 3 (although I would have got more if I had waited)
    *Ukraine and Australia TOP3/4/5
    *Poland and Belgium TOP10
    *Australia winning the Semi
    *Belgium TOP3 in Semi

    I was tempted buying Hungary TOP3 in Semi (8-9 was such a value), but now I’m glad I didn’t 😀 Would have been painful miss.

    Bad ones:
    *Trading Sweden, Poland and Germany in January-March
    *Should have waited a bit more with Australia before trading it off
    *Netherlands TOP10
    and the biggest one
    *Losing money in TOP5 market (where I had biggest investments) since Bulgaria beated both France and Armenia. The sick thing was that I really believed in Bulgaria and was buying Bulgaria at TOP3/4/5/10 markets in April and May, but traded it off with losses after rehearsal.
    I remember saying here that I’m wondering if Bulgaria is gonna be this year’s Belgium or Slovenia. After the rehearsal it seemed the latter one, but what a surprise on the Final. But it really worked yesterday.

    Although I made decent profits I’m still frustrated about my TOP5 market losses and about my poor play with Bulgaria.

    This year gave me a lesson how important is the momentum and the narrative (and contrast/context) in this contest. I think there’s much to analyze on the human psychology/emotions point of view.
    Last year it was more straight-forward and the results were more similar to Semi-Finals results.
    I think the running order played also more role this year.
    I really felt Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine and Austria in the Final.
    In Semi2 I felt more Australia (and Belgium).

    I hope you guys did well!
    Really great community here.

  • John

    A quick thanks to Daniel this year for his usual sage advice. He’s less given to hyperbole and subjectivity and having backed a few misses on other advice (Serbia, Latvia) it’s good to have a level headed blogger. I’m sure he’s surprised as me that Netherlands just missed top 10.

    A few of my own lessons learned this year (where I accrued my first net loss since 2007).

    – The one to watch – the first BANGER of the evening will always hoover up the televotes like a sponge. This year, I think toes were tapping across Europe for Bulgaria. People have a drink or two, we’re 45 minutes in, some poor songs, then BOOM. Always one for a possible top 10 or better. Worked for Nadav Guedj and Roberto Bellarosa. I bet Bulgaria had some awesome e/w odds after their semi drift.

    – Brings me to – trust your OWN instincts. I didn’t back Ukraine heavily enough. I was persuaded and dissuaded into dodgy choices when listening to the din of reactions to the rehearsals. I must remember if my instincts are cautious (Serbia had no melody) to listen to them.

    – If the voting stays the same, the diaspora countries will be empowered next year, and probably on shorter odds. Will have to do some lurking and pouncing. The ‘usual suspects’ will likely be doing salmon-like televote leaps next year. Poland will have me scratching my head for years to come. Another Johanna Is It True IMO. A song from nowhere.

    – You get potent Ukraine/Russian entries? Once they peak e/w, back them. I have missed out before, and now, and would like to avoid that in the future.

    Anyway that’s my take home. A bit of a lean year so I hope everyone else had lots of fortune. ‘Ukraine’s tree moment was THE moment of the rehearsals’ was indeed the best advice this year.

    That and Germany for last place!

    • alscott67

      I think the Polish thing with the diaspora effect would have happened for a few years now, if the current voting system had have been used. I’m particularly thinking about Donatan and Cleo receiving no points from the UK, when in fact they had won the UK televote. If that had have been replicated in a few more countries, then there would have been the same effect as what happened with the Polish entry last night.

  • Thanks Daniel for great insight as well as my fellow commenters. Always a pleasure to debate on here.

    Big question now is, can Ukraine host this thing? And can they do it to even a tenth of the standard we saw in Stockholm?

    Enjoy the summer and we’ll do it all again in the Autumn.

  • alscott67

    I think the Ukraine song winning this year is a disaster for the contest. In fact, I hesitate to call it a ‘song’. There was no melody, she couldn’t sing and at the end I felt like jumping off a cliff. I look forward next year to the Irish entry which will consist of somebody wailing for 3 minutes about the potato famine. Well, hey – it’ll be ’emotional’ and ‘full of feeling’ won’t it? It seems that’s all it takes to win these days. Never mind having a decent song. Give me the likes of Spain or France anyday. I want my Eurovision winners to make me feel great and happy, not have lyrics about people being murdered.

    On a more serious note, I do fear for the contest being held in Kiev. Is it really safe enough there for a contest of this size? I know the hostilities are more to the east of the country, but I can only think that the contest would be a prime target for some nutcase looking to make a point.

    Finally, I didn’t like only the top mark from the jury results being read out. I was having to read the rest of the results at the bottom of the screen too quickly, and it all felt rushed. They should go back to 8,10 and 12 to give the viewing public more time to peruse the lower markings.

    • eurovicious

      Eastern Europe is safer than Western Europe on a general street-crime level BUT Ukraine isn’t a safe country and has totally porous borders with Russia. During the Maidan protests 2 years ago, Russian snipers were in Kyiv picking people off from the rooftops. So your concerns are absolutely legitimate. Ukraine doesn’t control large areas of its own territory (Crimea, DNR/LNR) and is in many ways now sadly a failed state. From that you can also extrapolate the likely state of their intelligence services compared to those of a Western country like UK or Germany.

      • Chris Bellis

        Ukraine is a gangster state, like quite a few former USSR countries, but Kyiv is relatively safe. For these sorts of events Russia is a lot safer though. I was in St Petersburg at the time of the G7 and I think they had virtually every police officer and FSB operative in Russia there. Ukraine won’t have reliable policing to that standard, so make sure your wallets and purses are well hidden. These events are like a magnet to all the petty thieves from the whole of Eastern Europe.

  • Guest

    Australia had won with old voting sytem.
    1. Australia 314p
    2. Ukraine 268p
    3. Russia 236p

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_bnKsOu3d5dUUtHRnc2QzZtRWs/view?pref=2&pli=1

    • eurovicious

      Which is why the new system is so much fairer. If they hadn’t made the change, last night a song that came 4th in the televote would have won!!!

      • Dec

        But a song that won last year coming 3rd in the televote is fine?

        • eurovicious

          No, not really, I’ve argued against this in the past… People overwhelmingly chose Italy last year. I think the 2013-2015 system is grossly unfair (and defacto amounts to mass fraud, as the song that wins a country’s televote can still get 0 points). I think the 2010-2012 system and to an even greater extent the 2016- system are the best solution we’ve had so far. I’d love ESC to be 100% televote in theory, but the 2007/2008 results show that in practice it doesn’t work ideally at all, as diaspora and regional effects take over. If anything, I’d possibly reduce the jury weighting to 33% or 25% rather than 50%, as there are definitely issues of paternalism with (to quote a friend) “the votes of 250 people counting for as much as the votes of 250 million people”, but I think there is definitely a place for the jury. (I don’t think there should be a permanent place for Australia in the contest, although I totally welcomed their guest entry last year.)

          The main issue for me is that overall, the jury vote serves to rank songs on how much like easily-digestible Anglo-American radio pop they sound, consistently marking down songs with national flavour as well as genre songs (especially hip-hop but also rock and folk/chanson/schlager).
          – Juries ranked Trijntje’s repetitive nails-down-a-blackboard “will this do?” shite-fest above Goodbye To Yesterday in the semi last year
          – Juries ranked Natalia Kelly’s Shine (remember that, anyone?) above Anouk’s Birds in the 2013 semi
          – Juries ranked Krista’s Marry Me (objectively poorly sung) higher than loads of better stuff in the other 2013 semi
          – This year juries ranked the poorly sung, unoriginal and entirely unambitious What’s The Pressure higher than Hovi Star, Douwe Bob, Iveta, Justs, Donny, Poli etc etc.

          Usual disclaimers about there being no objective measures of musical taste apply etc etc bla bla bla. But why send a virtuoso singer with a progressive song when you can send What’s The Pressure and come 6th in the jury vote? It’s cultural cringe and internalised Anglo-American cultural imperialism – the more globalised and generic something looks and sounds, the more juries reward it. The televote, not the jury vote, is there to record mass taste – juries, which were introduced specifically as a counterpoint to the televote, should be rewarding innovation, outstanding vocals (Czech Rep: 21st out of 26 in the jury vote, below Azerbaijan who didn’t even sing large portions of her own song) and songs that are creative and push the envelope. Otherwise we’re just going to have more and more homogenization every year. To quote Martin Belam’s Guardian article on this year’s songs, “We sometimes long for the days when the songs contained a bit more national character. If you put on the Spotify playlist, occasionally you forget you are listening to Eurovision entries and start wondering if you’ve stumbled upon a cache of secret demos for the next Katy Perry album.”

          The fact is right now, Eurovision’s musical content is so homogenous, globalized and almost wholly Anglophone that you could easily think it was Americavision – or actually, Americavision would probably have more musical diversity as a number of states would likely send hip-hop or country, or songs in Spanish. Oh well. When the only three words of any Slavic language in a three and a half hour final are “дай ми любовта”, we have a problem…

          • Black n Blue

            Wholeheartedly agree EV. If only someone like yourself was running the show…

          • Americavision would be awesome just to see all the gays panic if Alabama won.

          • Hippo

            Agree with all of that too. I miss the diversity. That’s why 2012 will always be my favourite year. We had udmurt, Estonian Spanish, Italian, French, Bosnian, Serbian, Albanian and Macedonian in the final alone. Not to mention all the different genres from out and out unashamed fluff to emotional ballads and everything in between and small superfluous yet endearing ethno elements added in. Now it seems the decision is pretty much Pop song in English or Ballad in English.
            A single song wholly in a foreign language (still not it’s own national language) in the final is a damn shame.

            Maybe such an ethnic song winning and moving back East will encourage other countries to think again and take a risk which can only be a good thing in terms of a spectacle.

          • That said, we have just had a winner that doesn’t sound at all Eurovisiony, breaks the “sad songs don’t win” taboo and is partially in Crimean Tartar. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of kvas, but maybe it’ll bring back some ethnic diversity?

            Either that, or we’ll see a rush next year of songs about historical atrocities. Expect to see the least famous member of Boyzone singing in front of a holographic potato.

          • eurovicious

            Hahahahaha!! 😀 If Ireland’s entry next year isn’t a holographic Steven Gateley riding a holographic jacket potato singing the song “When The Chips Are Down (You Gotta Get Back Up Again)”, I’m giving up my Irish passport.

            Naked with potatoes. Sounds like my average Tuesday evening.

          • John

            I agree that the juries and their agendas are a problem, but it’s a difficult problem to fix, and they are a necessary evil. They mitigate a worse issue.

            The effect of the diaspora vote is a systemic issue. We saw, in sharp relief with the new results method, that the ranking system as is favours diaspora countries, with Poland, Lithuania and others soaring like salmon up the rankings. The BBC have a handy link, via Daniel, outlining this.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36305838

            The issue with diaspora is twofold – first it only skews one way, in favour of the populace doing it. Secondly, it breaks the important rule of the voting – countries CANNOT vote for themselves. By simple virtue of living abroad, large populations can vote for themselves and skew the results in their favour, with the only mitigating factor being how bad their song is.

            I mean, we all know this, but my argument is that the endemic issue of juries playing by their own rules is less problematic. More or less as many juries are helping Russia as are helping Ukraine. More or less as many are working to halt diaspora power as are heedless of it. It’s all a soup that broadly balances out regionally and politically – and in the end the best song wins. (Or we get a default winner). Juries skew in both directions. The only exception is countries like Malta and Azerbaijan, whose juries skew one-way, bless them. And it’s not dong them much good.

            The diaspora effect, once again unfettered, is a greater issue. It effects qualification and finale results. Western Europe and the Microstates (there’s a band name) will get disgruntled and start to take a break quicker than you can say Andorra. I doubt the present system will last more than a year or two.

            And in any case, one might argue that although a country’s televote should have an unimpeded say in who their 12 points goes to, is it not a problem if country’s ability to give its 12 points free of an internal factor is compromised (i.e. if the UK are going to give Lithuania and Poland a guaranteed chunk of points from now on)? How ‘pure’ a vote is that?

            Of course, giving the answer to 5 jurors is problematic. And as we saw with the Danish juror who can’t read properly, such tings can rest on a knife edge. Perhaps this is just a knee jerk reaction on my part, but I am a bit troubled by this system as it stands. We don’t want to go back to 2007/8. Everyone was royally naffed off back then.

        • eurovicious

          As an addendum to this comment: I’ve just noticed there were only 2 Slavic-language songs in this year’s contest, and both did well enough in the televote to qualify but were marked down by juries. I don’t think Ljubav je or Dona were great, but when this keeps happening despite public popularity (one recalls the 2013 semis, where Igranka, Mizerja and Samo shampioni all did well enough in the televote to qualify but were pulled down by juries, and the treatment of My slowianie in 2014), I’d argue strongly that the broader context is one of Slavic-language entries being treated as cultural kitsch both by Western juries who don’t respond to them or find them too alien (somewhat understandably) and Eastern juries who look down on them as a provincial embarrassment (less understandably). Even last year, juries had Knez outside the top 10 in the semi and it was the televote that pulled him through to the final.

          • I don’t think it’s about Slavic languages, but about non-English languages (as you also touch on re the Anglophone bias). I mean it’s not like Swedish, French, or any other foreign language (with the possible exception of Italian actually) has been particularly well treated by the juries either. Bit of a shame.

          • eurovicious

            Agreed, there’s a broader overall jury bias against non-English entries.

          • Chris Bellis

            I agree, but it is a worrying trend throughout Europe. I miss all the ethnic songs of former times – it was why I started watching Eurovision in the first place. Young people in Spain don’t listen to Flamenco or other regional folk music any more, young people in Portugal don’t listen to fado, etc. This type of music is only to be found on Gold AM type radio stations. You do hear a lot of turbo folk in Balkan countries, but it is associated with chavs. The movers and shakers in the media wouldn’t be seen dead listening to such music (except when they are attending weddings and suddenly they all become tzigani for the day).

          • eurovicious

            Exactly :(. It’s “culture death, en masse” (as I referred to it in a 2013 article discussing the differences between Türkvizyon and Eurovision), and it makes me sad. I really hope Ukraine sends Dzidzio or Onuka next year, and that Verka is the green room host. And I hope Jamala performs some songs next year in the interval that are more representative of her great music. And I hope they keep Ruslana well away from the whole thing as she’s batshit.

          • Isn’t Ruslana a left-wing political activist now? (So, yes, basically batshit.)

        • Ukraine didn’t win its SF, the Jury vote or the Televote – that’s a first

  • Any post-mortems on why the betting markets got it wrong? Usually they’re pretty accurate, but after months of consistently predicting a Russia win, Sergey slipped into third place. Are we going with allegations of a bot rigging the markets, or something more mundane than that?

    Also, lolzers at the butthurt reactions from some of the Russian delegation. The composer of You Are The Only One is suggesting the jury system needs reform. Wiwibloggs say he “makes a good point”, which is a pretty clear indication that he doesn’t make a good point.
    http://wiwibloggs.com/2016/05/15/zero-points-21-juries-filip-kirkorov-call/142019/

    • George

      Russia was definitely too short. They drifted a bit before the final to a more reasonable level but after their performance shot right back to where they were. They did win the televoting so favourite status wasn’t that unfounded but perhaps not enough focus was put on how the juries would vote, which is always impossible to predict really.

      • True, although there were pretty clear indicators in this case that it would be a turn-off to at least some of the jurors. Though whether the average ESC fan putting down a bet would have thought that may be debatable.

        • It didn’t lose by that many points in the end, considering. It absolutely smashed the televote. Although it was predicted to do badly with the Jurys, not to that extent, you would expect it to sit in 5th-8th kind of place after jurys. I think it just goes to show that the professional jurys don’t like copies from recent years – the graphics wowed the televoters, but the jurys thought its too much like last years gimmick and the song isn’t actually that good

          • Ande

            Russia ended up in 5th place with the juries, in line with most of our expectations. The difficult part was finding challengers who would do decently both with juries and televoters.

          • Yeah, sorry, the positioning comment didn’t come out correctly. Let me just say, I expected it to get more jury points (regardless of position)

          • Ande

            Yeah, according to my projections Russia would get 120-220p from the juries so that was on the lower end of the spectrum. On the other hand their televote result was towards the higher end of my spectrum (projection was 220-370 points) so it kind of evened out. Russias final score would win Eurovision about 50% of the time so on Sofabet it was more a case about punters underestimating Ukraine and Australia than overestimating Russia.

            I myself severely underestimated Australias jury appeal, at least until I reevaluated the package on the day of the second semi final.

            When it comes to Ukraine I believe many underestimated their capacity to gather both jury and televotes.

            Under normal circumstances the likes of Sweden and France would also have been able to eat away some of the runnaway jury points given to Australia and Ukraine.

  • RonH

    Dutch TV brought an item of Russians claiming a complot of nations against them (and for Urkaine). They see proof in the low Western jury scores for Sergey.
    ESC, as should be expected after addmitting the Ukrainian song, gets pulled in the mud of European politics, while its intention always has been en should be to support international relations.

    • Yeah clearly the low jury scores can’t have been due to the terribly dated song.

      Also: winning the televote but not the competition, Russia would have claimed a complot with or without Ukraine in the competition. The victim mentality is strong with this one.

      (Funny that they didn’t find it unfair last year, when Italy won the televote far far more decisively than Russia this year.)

    • eurovicious

      Media-driven insular victim mentality: everything is a Western plot against Russia. Sergey got a good result, and 5th in the jury vote is generous – it’s not the Eurovision graphics contest.

      • Yes, I agree. Televote winner and 5th with the juries isn’t evidence of a NATO plot to wipe out schlager. In fact it’s better than he deserves, for reasons we’ve already discussed to death on here.

        I think I just amused myself with my comment about a NATO plot against schlager. Suddenly I’m imagining spy satellites being used to launch drone strikes against mullets in Germany.

  • Dani Intercity

    Hi all 🙂 Left Ukraine win bet in place but didn’t cash out on Oz to win. How low did betfair exchange go lol? Glad left Ukraine in place but thot no way would they overturn that lead ha ha. Well done winners. Anyone else not cash in their Oz chips? Televote barking now for Eastern countries and those with high immigrant populations around Europe.

  • I did see Russia go to 1.8 for top 3 after the Jurys scores had come in and the televotes started.

  • Hippo

    Did anyone see what price Poland top 10 was at after the jury vote?

  • johnkef

    Daniel, i hope we hear your view in the following days about this crazy Eurovision year.

    • Chris Bellis

      Agreed. We need Daniel’s voice of reason to unravel a weird mess. Thank the lord my sweden top 5 and uk bottom five formula worked once again. I didn’t see Ukraine coming at all, and I under-estimated BG, or rather I under-estimated the effect singing in English would have (see EV’s point above).

    • eurovicious

      Wait, what was crazy about it? Are we talking about how the market behaved during the extended voting presentation?

      I think everyone underestimated BG, including BG themselves, but Ukraine and Australia seemed to be the two everyone was talking up for victory in the days leading up to the final, so I wasn’t too surprised with how things went in the end. Ukraine’s win was political though, a song of that kind in that context is unprecedented – if the same song and performer had been representing another country, or if everything else was the same but the song’s lyrics were about a breakup (a la Suus), it wouldn’t have won.

  • Daniel

    Thanks johnkef, I’ll write a set of bullet points in the next few days to continue the excellent discussion.

  • Alpie

    EBU said last year that Australia’s participation was one off.within the 60th anniversay of the ESC Obviously it’s turned out to be a lie. Australia attended the ESC 2nd time. They were almost gonna win a song contest where they are not supposed to be involved.. This is what I call a mess. Next time shall we expect a Chineese participation!!!!. Let’s name it Worldvision !!!

    I am happy that art, emotion, excellence, and simplicity with a sad narrative won this year. Life is not always full of joy. Take a look at Syrian refugees fleeing the war at home

    “When strangers are coming… They come to your house, They kill you all” explains the situation very well in Syria today.

    May the peace & love be upon you all.

  • fused

    While I know I haven’t really contributed much to the comments section for Eurovision (I have been reading) and I realise me plugging my blog on here might be getting a bit irritating, I wrote some stuff about this year’s Eurovision if anyone wants to read it.

    https://headphonedaydreams.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/eurovision-2016/

    • Montell

      Good read. Enjoyed it.

    • Chris Bellis

      I agree with Montell. An enjoyable read. Sums it up nicely – a weak year, but Sweden’s hosting prowess is a lesson for Simon Cowell. You didn’t make that explicit, but I’m sure you meant it.

      • fused

        Thanks. I think I was more saying “this is why Eurovision is much better than The X Factor” to be honest, but yeah, I definitely think The X Factor would improve by looking at how this year’s Eurovision was hosted. But that’s the thing, I don’t think they ever will. The X Factor is a bit too worried about straying from the middle of the road, takes itself too seriously and is too full of its own importance.

        Thinking about it, a major difference between the ‘Love Love Peace Peace’ song and The X Factor joke acts coming back for the final is with the Eurovision song, it felt more like an affectionate parody, like “we love Eurovision, flaws and quirks and all”. With The X Factor joke acts coming back it always feels more like “You liked these ironically because we told you to” .

      • Eurovision has become a slick, world class production thanks to the influence of X Factor, but it’s now Eurovision who are showing Cowell how it’s done. If he wants to re-energise the UK version, he’d do very, very well to learn from SVT.

    • Hah! Careful Daniel, you’ve got Rybak on your case.

      “And Sergey’s performance was AMAZING! With a more updated, modern song and some better (please) lyrics, you can definitely win again, both the jury and the people!”

      That sounds like what we’ve been saying all along. Except more tactfully and without using the word “drivel”.

      And Rybak’s a Poli fan? Not convinced that it was the betting markets that kept her from the top spot. More a case of someone with a catchy but flawed song that sounded unexpectedly good on the night. Also the sudden appearance of her backing singers in the last verse seemed to work well in adding a celebratory feel to the act. I still can’t get past the stupid chorus line though.

      If love was accounting, we would be an Excel spreadsheet.

      If love was an Internet meme, we would be Boaty McBoatface.

      If love was Ikea products, we would a flat-packed home storage solution.

      etc

      • Ande

        Well I think it fits, even today many kinds of love are called crimes…

        They will never break us down!

        Never mind wrong or right.
        Our love ain’t got no pride, so we change for better.

        Jamala’s song is far from the only one with a polititcal nature. Though I must admit, I haven’t seen anyone likening love with accounting before 😛

    • John

      Rybak: a bit of a twit.

      It really irks me when people use the word ‘ruin’ in that way. ‘Australia are in Eurovision, the whole point has been RUINED’. ‘Gamblers are RUINING the contest.’

      I think this year has proven not being favourite, or even in contention, doesn’t matter a whit.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      To say that betting is ruining the ESC is OTT but I doubt gambling really ever improves the integrity of anything.

      Tennis, football, snooker, cricket etc all have proven problems with match fixing that is a direct result of the influence of gambling and the criminal gangs who are often organising or fuelling said fixing.

      The phraseology of the term “gambling industry” also makes me laugh. Industry?! What exact good does this industry actually create?!

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      There was nothing amazing about Sergey’s performance. Fokas ensured there wasn’t a chance for Sergey to be amazing.

      A) The symbolism of the piece was fragmented, inconsistent and confusing. A real chop suey of a show. The ending and finishing shot was ridiculous.

      B) The majority of the time Sergey was in long-shot!

      C) The majority of the time Sergey was sideways to the camera, while in long-shot! SIDEWAYS!

      D) Sergey can climb steps. Wow!
      I don’t think parkour exponents will be poring over clips of his performance.

      E) It was derivative of at least 3 different ESC shows, adding to the datedness of the whole presentation.

      F) It reminded me of this…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3galpWp8pU

      Fokas messed up.

    • johnkef

      Rybak probably has financial difficulties and with his statement made sure he’s gonna get some extra money from his invitations to the national finals or other eurovision shows in these countries…well played!

  • eurovicious

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/eurovision-contestants-should-have-the-courage-to-sing-in-their-own-languages-a7030596.html

    “A European song contest should draw on the riches of Europe’s different languages, not aim for dull homogeneity.” Hear hear…

    • Chris Bellis

      EV – this is true, but when Poli sang in Bulgarian, arguably with a better song, she didn’t even qualify, let alone come fourth in the final. It’s a pity that the diversity is being driven out of this contest. I’ve read your posts and articles on this subject over the years, and you are 100% correct. I suppose the best thing about this year is, although I don’t like the winning song as a song, there is not a cat in hell’s chance that a song like that would ever win one of the dumbed down “talent” shows in Simon Cowell’s franchise. Simon Cowell’s influence spreads across the world like a plague that reduces everything to an anodyne mush.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Completely agree, though occasionally it’s a Cowell show that provides the only opportunity to hear people we would otherwise never see or hear…

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I occasionally dabble, to small stakes, in the golf markets. The supposed golden combination with golf betting is to be found in a player with excellent course form with good recent form.

    To a degree I disagree with that, and then there’s the fact that such qualifying players are often accordingly underpriced.

    In the Byron N this week, though, I do think Colt Knost looks a bit overpriced. For one reason or another I usually look out for his results.

    Typically, I avoid betting EW on golf but as he’s yet to win a PGA tour event, and as I noticed I had a few quid slumbering in my PP account, and as PP happen to be top price about Colt, at 70/1, and offering the most places on the outright, I popped a bit EW on him.

    A bit of a random post, this, I know. Just saying.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Colt finished like an express train on Sunday evening to finish co 4th, so a nice profit waiting for me in my PP account :-).

      After the 2nd round had finished I noticed that WH were offering a stand-out 100/1 on Colt, so I had a nibble of that…but because of WH’s reduced (number of) place terms, and the number of players tied for 4th, I’ve won buttons off that bet :-(.

      Colt is a dangerous and continually under-rated player who I could imagine winning a v big tournament one day, despite the fact he’s yet to win a pro event.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      The comments read as identical.

      Intriguing thread of logic that believes Ukraine should have been disqualified, leaving Russia as the winner, the country that finished 3rd!

      The other belief, that the result should be based on televote alone is of course also flawed.

      A result based on televote alone would have to based on a handicap system, to be just. Number of neighbouring countries, diaspora figures and so on factored in.

      I hope every one of these sore losers backed mother Russia to win.

    • Black n Blue

      On the flipside Phil, this just shows you how passionate super fans of this contest are. They always fight for their cause in the most illogical way possible. Will admit it’s almost as funny as the Russia today article. 😀

      • No. It shows how much in this social media era we lost the ability to swallow results more easily. Every result has to be contested, every bit of criticism shows how much we lost context of the entire game. Back in the 1990’s we (Netherlands) just ‘swallowed’ a 23rd place with 5 points (1997). But now it seems that an 11th place is far worse. It’s just madness really. And actually….it frightens me. I’m starting to believe that the EBU should send a huge disclaimer/warning before the contest results, so everyone is better prepared.

        Many people could have seen these results coming. period. Russia should have known that in comparison to 2015 they simply had an entry that would be favoured less by juries. It’s as simple as that. Also, the seriousness of certain nations (Russia) in participating in the contest equally frightens me. ‘They’ really see Eurovision as a deluded ‘Olympics of Music’. In a way that’s nice, but then swallow your loss better.

        By the way, this counts for all countries!

        • This is Phil
          Phil was hoping for a surprise win by Iceland
          Phil watched Iceland sink without trace in the semifinals
          Phil did not go to Change.org, and did not set up a petition
          Instead, Phil moved on with his life, other than making a mental note to download Greta Salome’s next album when it comes out
          Be like Phil

      • I’m not sure they are super fans tbh, they’re probably mainly Russians (and other ex-USSRs) being spoon-fed tales about the big western conspiracy preventing their beloved Kirkorov-spawn from taking the trophy that in a fair world clearly should be theirs.

    • eurovicious

      Guildo’s right. In an ideal world, yeah, the song that gets the most televotes should win Eurovision. But does anyone really think Michal Szpak had the third best song and performance out of 42 countries (the third best hair maybe, but this ain’t the Eurovision Barnet Contest), or that Czech Republic had the worst song and performance?

      350,000 signatures means it’s obviously gone viral on Russian online media. Yet when I scroll through the comments, I’m surprised just how many are from non-Russians. And unlike the ridiculous Cool Me Down petition, there are valid points in there – Ukraine won for political reasons with a song that probably shouldn’t have been allowed, as its participation and victory open the floodgates. Armenia was threatened with expulsion for waving the flag of a disputed territory for 1 second, yet Ukraine sang about a disputed territory for 3 minutes, were permitted to and won the show with it.

      I know from my own non-fan social circle that there’s genuine bad feeling out there among casual viewers that a political song won. My friend thought Ukraine was a racket and went to make a snack while it was on. She enjoyed Russia (though it wasn’t her favourite) but is so disappointed at political voting winning the day that she said she might not watch next year.

      The EBU’s official response to the petition is almost insultingly hollow: “Australia’s Dami Im won the jury vote. Sergey Lazarev won the televoting. They both deserve credit for their world-class performances, their great songs and for being magnanimous in defeat. They may not have won the contest, but responded to the outcome as winners. We respect and appreciate them for that.”

      It’s pretty easy to write lyrics that are sufficiently vague to be officially classed as non-political (just don’t mention any names or places) and let context do the rest of the work. That’s what Ukraine did this year and Armenia last, and it’s why the EBU is going to have to rethink what counts as political. (But it won’t, at least not before the 2017 contest.) Or at least make a distinction between geopolitical entries (those that air historical or contemporary grievances against other countries, participating or otherwise – Ukraine 2016, Armenia 2015, Israel 2007) and political entries (those about general rights issues and domestic items of discourse – Austria 2014, Serbia 2007, Serbia 2015, Finland 2015, Ukraine 2005, Norway 1980, Turkey 1980 etc.) My rule would be that the latter are fine – they don’t involve other countries, and it’s imperative that the potential power of Eurovision entries to say something meaningful and effect cultural change is protected, else the contest would be pointless – but the former should have no place in the contest, as they violate its founding purpose. It’s like kids having a fight at a birthday party: the “he hit me first” mode of cultural production and nation branding. Ah, Eurovision: where “put in” means “Putin” but “face time” doesn’t mean Facetime. There is no consistency, they just wing it and make it up as they go along. There is no governance because no-one holds them to account, and their money comes straight from a mandatory tax on the European population.

      The way the 5 jury votes are combined at national level needs to be rethought. I don’t understand how one person getting their order backwards makes the difference between the Danish jury giving Ukraine 12 and 0. How can one vote in five take a country from 0 to 12 or vice versa?

      On the plus side, it’s the first ever winner in a Turkic language and the first ever winner in a minority language. Amazing that a song in Crimean Tatar won Eurovision before one has even won Turkvision. But Ukraine is so rich in great musical artists and so strong on the staging and performance front that they don’t need to resort to sympathy votes to do well.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Which bit was Guildo right about, again?! Am confused on that one!

        You are right, EV, about the inconsistency of a blatantly political song being allowed to enter and win, whereas other potential entrants with political references or emblems have been stopped.

        I think Russia and / or Sergey fans should realise that Fokas’s mess of an overstuffed and flawed stage show was a big part of why Russia’s jury score tally was a relative failure (compared to its key contenders’ scores).

        And Russia fans should also acknowledge that a Ukranian song about an event that happened over 70 years ago would have had less relevance, traction, impact and resonance that it evidently did were it not for modern day Russia under Putin being a country that provides many people and peoples with much continued reason to despise it.

        I myself never felt sympathy for Jamala. I responded to her passion. Yes she did and has looked slightly unhinged but that only added to the hypnotic magnetism of it all. Her performance, the quality of her singing, her song and the staging were compulsive, impressive and made for a pretty darn awesome spectacle and experience.

        • eurovicious

          That a voting system based on televoting alone would have to be calibrated to compensate for the in-built biases, which would be pretty much impossible to do – because after all, diaspora do have every right to vote for their home country, it’s a meaningful way of identifying and connecting with your homeland when you live abroad.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Ah, yes, I see. Thanks.

            What did you make of the Ukranian entry, just in performance, singing quality, staging etc terms?

          • eurovicious

            I’m familiar with Jamala’s other work and I prefer it. Her Подих/Дыхание album is great, though my favourite song of hers is the non-album single Чому квіти мають очі recorded for the soundtrack of the film Поводир. I’d probably find 1944 OK without the dodgy English, but she’s done better. Vocal and staging obviously fine.

      • sonovox

        A distinction between geopolitics and social politics might make sense in an imaginary world where those categories don’t constantly and messily overlap. Not this world.

        If anyone needs to revise their ideas about what constitutes ‘political’ it’s the people who can’t take this result. Who don’t like the idea that Eurovision could articulate anything other than a positive experience of shared European identity. Who don’t want to have to recognise, even for three minutes, the scope of human sacrifice and suffering that has made possible any kind of united Europe, however imperfect, for them to enjoy and celebrate. Who want even less to recognise that for some, that sacrifice and suffering continues. Who think that giving these narratives a voice on the Eurovision platform is somehow less valid than giving one to Conchita and her (political) exporting of value and identity. Who think that not identifying with those narratives somehow makes them neutral rather than privileged.

        There’s no more political stance you can have at Eurovision than being ‘anti-politics’. Politics is not something only other people do. It’s written into every song, every performance, and every response. As someone posted upthread, Jamala articulated an incredibly important aspect of the shared experiences that have forged modern Europeanness. She did it with infinitely more sincerity than most of the acres of ‘put aside our differences’ songs that Eurovision has seen over the years. She confronted the fact that overcoming difference involves pain. She even did this in a way that transcended local issues. This is all pretty much the exact point she made right after she won.

        FWIW I thought Ukraine was by far the best (and best-sung) entry this year. I never thought it could seriously win, but I’ve never been happier to see a 17/1 bet (had Australia at that price) go down the drain.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          I’m delighted you’ve written that swim-against-the-tide piece, sonovox. Wonderfully articulated and much needed, imo.

          Even so, I disagree with some of what you say, but that’s a v interesting point you make regarding Conchita. Definitely a case, there, of the personal as the political.

          Most people’s beef seems to be with the double-standards of the EBU, from what I can gather.

          Completely agree with you regarding the superiority of the Ukraine. I feel Jamala and the entry itself are not receiving the props it deserves.

          Little bit similar to the reluctance to recognise that Laura and Belgium, in their own way, were excellent and accomplished.

          When you remarked about ‘the acres of put aside our differences songs’ did you have Polina’s Million Voices in mind!

        • Very well put, sonovox!

        • One thing that does impress me about 1944 is that the best lyrics are the ones where she isn’t saying anything.

          Let’s be honest, the English lyrics are not amazing, and from looking at translations of the Tartar lyrics, they’re not much better. But those soaring high notes illustrate trauma and loss in a very believable way. She may not be singing any actual words, but you know exactly what she means.

        • eurovicious

          I get what you’re saying and the issue of silencing countries from broaching certain topics not being ideal. I myself have made the argument to people from Eurovision fan sites back in 2012 that their decision to “stay out of politics” by not covering any of the political controversies about Azerbaijan hosting (e.g. demolishing people’s apartments to make space for the arena) was itself a political stance. I’d hate a “say only good things” contest where, as you say, only positive experiences can be articulated, but I don’t think we’ve ever had that and I don’t think we’re in danger of having it – entries like Portugal 2011 and Greece 2013 have always been allowed. And yeah, geopolitics and social politics do overlap, but certainly in the examples I listed they can easily be separated. I cheered when Ukraine won for the simple reason I’d much rather they won than Australia (for obvious reasons) or Russia (ditto). I just think it opens a can of worms. Similarly, my friends who reacted badly to 1944 winning aren’t Russia fans and would probably side with Ukraine over Russia on any political issue, their concern is more that – in the absence of Syco-style VTs or opportunities for the contestants to speak directly to camera – Ukraine has found a way to hack the contest by inserting the “sob story” into the song itself. Because (and I say this as a Jamala fan, her last album was great) that’s what won on Saturday: the sob story. This trend of countries gaming the contest by inserting the sob story into the presentation itself has been coming for a while, you only have to look at the number of “issue” songs last year – “I’m fat”, “We’re mentally handicapped”, “I’m in a wheelchair”, “We got genocided by the Turks” – but Saturday represents this approach’s first triumph.

          Poroshenko yesterday confirmed that the original title of Jamala’s song was “Crimea Is Ours” in Crimean Tatar: http://vesti-ukr.com/kultura/148893-poroshenko-pesnja-dzhamaly-iznachalno-nazyvalas-krym-nash This obviously wouldn’t have been accepted in the contest. The fact that, like Don’t Deny -> Face The Shadow last year, the only change needed to take the song from “political” to “non-political” was the title, which isn’t even part of the performance, shows what murky waters we’re in here. I don’t need to make a counterargument about why this road is dangerous for the contest as Chris has already eloquently and knowledgeably made it: http://sofabet.com/2016/05/14/eurovision-2016-grand-final/#comment-72922 As to the argument that not welcoming 1944 in the contest is an act of “privilege”, the entire point is that while the whole “political or non-political” argument is fairly academic for Western European countries, the door opened by songs like 1944 and Don’t Deny is a powder keg for parts of Eastern Europe involved in frozen or active conflict. It’s because of privilege and complacency that the EBU unthinkingly allows countries to turn up to Eurovision with entries specifically designed to inflame existing tensions and push each other’s buttons – and I include “our love will last a thousand miles, closer to the crime (Krim) a step at a time) in that. Every single country has tragedies in its recent history that could be brought to the ESC stage, most especially Israel for instance. Singing about an ongoing frozen conflict or disputed territory is another matter altogether, and it’s in these cases that the airing of historical grievances is nakedly used as a cipher for decrying current events, something the EBU needs to be on guard for.

          • johnkef

            My guess is that EBU will change the rule before next year to stop the trend from spreading in other countries. EBU doesn’t want the withdrawal of countries in the future because of the politics or the creation of tensions between countries.

            In the last few years they have chosen a loose policy towards the songs that had political messages hidden, imo because they wanted to keep everyone happy. They did it last year with Armenia, because Turkey was out. I seriously doubt that they would have permitted Armenia’s song if Turkey was participating.

            Now that loose policy might create bigger problems than the ones it tried to avoid, it’s a matter of time the change. It would be a financial disaster for them having a contest without Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia etc.

          • Ande

            The main political spin on this came from the media and fans in the week leading up to the final, not the delegation or lyrics themeselves.

            – “It’s because of privilege and complacency that the EBU unthinkingly allows countries to turn up to Eurovision with entries specifically designed to inflame.”

            No, interpreting privilege that way misses the meaning of privilege. Using their privilege and not allowing this song would’ve been a much easier for the EBU.

            The EBU board did review the song and as ‘1944’ didn’t contain any direct language aimed at the current conflict the EBU approved it. I think this is a sound approach, evaluate lyrics themselves and come to a conclusion.

            The “political message”, being anti-deportation and anti-exile is something that is generally acceptet as a human right today. Banning this type of song while not using your “pirivilege” would mean a general ban on any lyrics that could potentially be considered political or offensive. Examples includes:
            – Ban any anti-war or piece song.
            – ‘The Grey People’ interval act.
            – Force Bulgaria and Ireland to change the following lyrics:
            “Never mind wrong or right, our love ain’t got no pride.” from ‘If Love Was A Crime’
            “Just touch who you wanna, kiss who you gotta” from ‘Sunlight’
            Both obvious references to the LGTB-movement.

            and the list goes on…

            Part of ‘1944’s appeal was the sob story yes, but that’s what people want from lyrics. A good lyric contains something that touches your heart. Otherwise you get a contest were every song rhymes lightning with exciting just to stay clear of anything that could potential offend.

            I got offended by a few of the other entrants this year but also wouldn’t want a contest where everyone who thinks differently to me are silenced.

          • Ande

            I get what Hippo’s saying but not how it would apply to my post.

            Do you mean that songs about historical events in eastern Europe are political while LGTB-songs, piece songs, womens abuse, and the refugee theme is not? Or should a song simply be banned when it has potential to pass a certain “offensiveness” treshold?

          • eurovicious

            I mean that songs about disputed territories or areas that are currently the site of a frozen or active conflict between participating nation states shouldn’t be allowed to compete in Eurovision, full stop. That’s pretty much it. No Ukrainian or Russian entries about Crimea or DNR/LNR, no Armenian or Azeri entries about Nagorno-Karabakh, no Moldovan or Russian entries about Transnistria, no Albanian or Serbian entries about Kosovo, no Greek or Turkish entries about Cyprus, no Georgian or Russian entries about Abkhazia or South Ossetia, etc etc

          • Ande

            Ok, I have a dissenting opinion. I think the EBU should push the limits as far as possible while still trying to avoid alienating countries to participate. A more lenient board makes for more interesting songs and most publicity is actually good publicity.

            Of course th EBU still need to be politically correct enough so that they won’t risk alienating too many countries from participating. That’s what the rule is in place for anyways.

          • sonovox

            Eurovicious – obviously there’s tons to be discussed here, and I wish my writing energies weren’t currently taken up elsewhere. Two main points in reply, though.

            First, you draw the connection from those 2015 songs forward to Jamala – but isn’t it telling that you don’t draw it backwards to Conchita? Why wasn’t 2014 an ‘issue song’ triumph in your book, exactly? Do you really think that 2015 would have been such an Issuevision without Conchita’s ‘I’m LGBTIQ’ narrative the previous year? Of course there’s a link, and this is exactly why both winning songs need to be recognised as ‘political’. Also, it’s wilful blindness to argue that the issues bound up in Conchita’s song are separable from geopolitics. Hers was a public performance on behalf of identities that have long been stigmatised and discriminated against, affirming and validating them through a narrative of overcoming. The fact that ESC is somewhat normalised as a forum for the public performance of those particular identities (a phrase which I know is still too general) doesn’t mean there’s no political undertow. Positively affirming LGBTIQ identities at Eurovision is a statement about what sorts of social values constitute modern liberal Europe. It’s a statement that Western powers with more liberal laws, and Scandinavian countries whose nation-branding involves leadership in social reform (viz Sweden 2013 interval act), get to determine the values of a shared Europe. And it’s a statement that other countries need to accept and conform if they want to belong. As loads of people interested in ESC’s queer history have pointed out, there are a whole host of other issues here concerning ‘pinkwashing’ and how a public performance of LGBTIQ-friendliness at Eurovision gets used to mask other social ills and human rights problems. I could go on – I mean come on, just look at the number of OGAErs who are thinking twice about the Ukraine, and who would have had the same attitude had Russia won. A winning song that explicitly affirms LGBTIQ identity at Eurovision is massively geopolitical in its meanings, end of. This is why trying to separate nation-state politics from wider issues at Eurovision is a way slipperier slope than the one you seem concerned about.

            Secondly, let’s get over this completely false idea that Ukraine’s win sets some kind of precedent for political content at Eurovision. Actually, if EBU had refused Jamala, it would have been quite historically inconsistent. Let’s go back to Greece 1976 with ‘Panagia mou, Panagia mou’, a song easily as explicit about Turkey’s recent invasion of Cyprus as Jamala’s was about Stalin. Catherine Baker posted this song with the following translated lyrics recently:

            And if you see shattered ruins, oh oh my Mother
            It’s not from other, from other eras
            It is burnt by napalm, oh oh my Mother
            Since yesterday, there are countless crumbled rocks
            And if you see newly dug land, oh oh my Mother
            They’re not fertile fields, fields
            There will be crosses planted on them, oh oh my Mother
            Which will decompose, decompose through time

            Or what about Bosnia & Herzegovina’s debut entry in 1993 about the pain of the then-current Balkan war? Even just last year, we had France with a song about war and historical trauma. I’m no lover of the EBU, and their arbitrariness on the rules drives me crazy (not least re. Australia). But their allowing Jamala to sing 1944, a song with zero explicit political references, was NOT an inconsistency, measured by the contest’s existing precedents. It just so happened that it was also a stunning performance that made Justs look like a histrionic child. If it takes such a song winning for there to be complaints, then the double standards are coming from the people complaining.

            Incidentally, while thinking about these precedents, I realised that I don’t know when the ‘no politics’ rule was explicitly introduced to ESC rules – and what prompted the change. (You can get the 1956 rules on the esc.tv website, and while my French isn’t fluent, I didn’t see anything about political content there). Anyone know the answer?

          • eurovicious

            I totally agree the number of “issue” songs in 2015 was in response to Conchita’s victory the previous year. The press picked up on this too, with Austrian’s Kurier broadsheet calling Bojana “the new Conchita” and Switzerland’s Blick tabloid running a story comparing the two under the hilariously un-PC headline “Is fat the new gay?” Of course Conchita’s performance and victory were political, I’ve written here before that a beardless biological woman with the same song and performance wouldn’t have won, as the context and meaning would have been totally different. On the day after the final in Copenhagen, Daniel and I also agreed that an anti-Putin vote had likely contributed to Conchita’s victory, given the extent that Russia’s “gay propaganda” laws had recently been in the international media spotlight.

            I think 1944 met the current rules, so the EBU wouldn’t have had any basis on which to bar it from the contest, but I think those rules are going to need to be refined. I’m specifically arguing that the EBU needs to bar entries that are about disputed territories or areas that are currently the site of a frozen or active conflict between participating nation states – nothing more. I think is the specific line that needs to be drawn. It would allow songs about domestic political matters like Turkey 1980, Norway 1980, Portugal 2011 and Ukraine 2005, and about any other issues, but specifically not about territories that are disputed between participating nation states or areas of frozen or active conflict between participating nation states, even if couched in a historical context. Else it opens the door for the contest to be instrumentalised as a means for countries to attack their neighbours. That’s all. Whether my proposed rule would apply to Greece 1976 given that Turkey wasn’t participating that year, but had the year before, is open to judgement.

      • squall

        The complaint about 1944 being allowed to enter definitely has merit – if made before the competition. Being done only now, however, makes it painfully clear that this petition is nothing more than butthurt whining about Russia getting beaten (and not just by Ukraine, but I guess expecting petitions like these to make sense is a bit to much to ask).

        What evidence is there that Ukraine win was due to political reasons? Looking at jury rankings, there seems to be at least as much evidence of Jamala being opposed for political reasons (by Western juries) and Sergey helped (by Russian loyalist states). Why else would a number of (supposedly music professional) juries put Ukraine in the bottom of the pile? Why else would ANY jury give the 12p to the soulless and incredibly dated Russian song, let alone a handful?

        There are always irregularities and cheating, which should be investigated and cracked down on. But petitions like these from the fans of losing nations are nothing but poor jokes, and should be dismissed as such.

  • johnkef

    All the things that are happening since Ukraine’s win proves that Eurovision was, is and will be more than a Saturday night entertainment show at least in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and we have to take that in consideration when we try to figure out how the juries in first place will vote.

    The thing that amazes me the most is that the Balkan countries and especially the ex-Yugoslavian states have stopped to help each other. They did it back in 2013 and managed to disqualify in a semi with Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro included. Serbia and Croatia didn’t get the support they used to get and failed to have a decent finishing in the final last Saturday. Slovenian jury gave no points to Serbia and Macedonia in the semi, and just 5 points to Serbia and zero to Croatia in the final…What the heck!!! They ranked Serbia 11th in a range of 17 countries and they ranked the same song 6th in a range of 25 countries two days later…

    Even the traditional 12 exchange between Greece and Cyprus is not a certain thing any more.

    The current system might have many flaws but also helped to make the things a little more unpredictable.

    Also the 4/6 last songs rule was broken twice this year but my unofficial 22.50% of maximum points to qualify for the final is still valid. You can qualify with a little less, but you cannot disqualify with more. The limit this year was 108 points. Serbia qualified with 105 points but Bosnia failed with 104.

    Also Malta beat Russia in jury points in Semi 1…Malta should have been the winner last Saturday…

  • Chris Bellis

    I’ve spent a lot of time in former Yugo and Balkan states and there is no love lost between some of them. The ethnic mix, the religious mix, and even the alphabetic mix, contribute to a tinder box, Slovenians and latterly Croatians see themselves as modern Europeans and ally themselves with Austria and Italy. The rest look toward Serbia, Bulgaria and Russia. Bosnia is a mix of Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic, with the Serbian population in that country using the Cyrillic alphabet. What I am trying to say is that the EBU in allowing a blatantly political song has opened very raw wounds. Ustase (Croatian) death camps in WW2, Srebenitza, Bosniak contribution to ISIS – just a handful of grievances among a vast collection of historical atrocities. This isn’t a good thing for a song competition that is supposed to unite countries in peace. I feel very disappointed in the EBU. I also think they treated the Romanian entry very shabbily, but that pales compared with aggravating countries that have been involved in mutual attempts at genocide. Sorry about this rant, but despite the obvious quality of the winning song, I feel the competition has shifted down a dangerous route.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Good one, Wayne! Keep it coming with tips like this…

    http://metro.co.uk/2016/05/17/wayne-rooney-tips-england-squad-for-euro-2016-glory-5887540/

    Keep on upping the expectation level while driving the betting odds down!

    • Chris Bellis

      That’s the ticket. Get the sentimental Man U fans like my mother-in-law to pour their money in. Shame to take advantage of the mentally challenged, but I’ll make an exception in her case.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Hi Chris, yeah, we share the same angle on this, don’t we?

        I know which market(s) will be of immediate interest to me, though I’ll be biding my time on placing the bet(s).

        Just checked my WH bet history and I do recall it correctly: that I had 12/1 for England to finish bottom of Group D at the 2014 WC!

        Fascinated to see England at single figure odds to win E16, on the outrights!

        Odd side note: Most of my Belgium Top 10 bets were in my Sky account (with all proceeding smoothly, there) but I’m currently seeking to withdraw from my WH account. Had never used the WH Cashdirect/QuickCash deposit method before, but for one reason or another I needed to.

        What a palava! Just been about 10 minutes or so on live chat having an agent explain it all to me!

        I’ve never found WH site user-friendly. Always find PP’s the easiest to navigate, with the most attractive visual design and colours.

        • Chris Bellis

          Yes Guildo, we share the same viewpoint. I stick with Betfair for all its faults, but you do have to jump around to get the top ten, bottom five, top five bets etc. My brother-in-law is a semi retired bookie and he has umpteen computers in his “hobby room”, all with different feeds and websites. He sticks mainly with US greyhound racing. Like the sophisticated bettors on this site, he can calculate odds in his head and knows when to lay and at which point, and whether it’s good value etc. He was on to Ukraine as soon as the odds started shortening. His talent is that he has no interest in the contest as such (an Oasis fan) but wants to make money. The rest of us bring baggage to this contest. I am not clever enough to do what he does (he’s a member of MENSA and has won loads of IQ based competitions) but I stick with my little rules – always back against the sentimental money, and Sweden top five and UK bottom five for Eurovision. I am still ahead, but of course if I were as good as the clever ones on this site I would be double quids in. My point is that my brother-in-law didn’t give a toss about the “sad songs don’t win Eurovision” meme, but just saw how the odds were moving and acted accordingly. I wish I could do that, but I am entrapped by my desire to follow “rules” of betting. This year, some of them didn’t work. I am glad enough did so I made a very small profit.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            I do need to open a Bf account. An irrational prejudice has stopped me from doing so. The first gamblers (that I knew) who were FOBT addicts happened to be also constantly trying to persuade me into opening a Bf account. (Think they were after a referral bonus of some sort.) Since then I associate problem gambling with having a Bf account!

            Before the ESC Final I, mystified at the price drift, helped myself to 9s EW on Ukraine at Laddies. Felt good until, some time after post result, I read about the series of frankly daft odds available for 1944 on Bf. I’m missing out.

            I could write an article on the problem with “an X doesn’t win Y” thinking. It holds no power over me. I’m a trained counsellor (though, not a practising one, mind) and have listened to a wide variety of people express in minutia why certain things “can’t happen”.

            You’ve mentioned the mysterious figure of your brother-in-law before. Mention him some more! He sounds fascinating and I like to loosely liken him to a value-seeking Moriarty figure. If you’re looking in – Hello, there!

            Think I know what you mean about feeling entrapped by a desire to follow “rules” of betting. Like having certain lottery numbers which you’ve always backed and then have to follow? Or having a winning system and wanting to avoid feeling stupid or mortified by expanding upon or moving away from that system? (At least until it has proven to fail or definitely be broken?)

  • Boki

    Conclusion from the BBC article about Poland migrant effect could be applied to any strong diaspora nation:

    “But if Poles are voting for their homeland they are not doing so blindly. Last year their song didn’t do well and there was no sign of a migrant effect. So perhaps only if the song is good will the diaspora get behind it.”

  • Montell

    Priceless emotions of Ukrainian commentators watching announcement of televoting results.

  • Hippo

    What the Ebu doesn’t seem to get is that there is no difference between historical and political in a lot of these countries. For the western European countries that dominate the reference group, we’re looking back 60 years or so since there was a serious war between them, whereas that is not the case in the East or Balkans and countries pretty much at war with each other now are participating against each other. There is a huge difference between for example an Israeli jew, Irishman or Greek singing about genocide (historical) and a Crimean Tatar, Armenian or Bosnian (political). But then that opens a different rules for different countries can of worms.

    Either way, the Ebu’s definition of historical as “happened in the past” misses the point and is a very short sighted approach.

    A further problem as mentioned above is the impact of their own contest is underestimated.
    The organisers fail to grasp how important it is for Armenia to finish above Azerbaijan, Russia to finish above Ukraine and vice versa and so on. And the huge fuss that will happen if they don’t and feel perpetrated against. For Russia this was a vindication of them, this was the public effectively telling them you are better than Ukraine, not you had the better song. There aren’t many ways of beating a rival on a global stage that doesn’t take years of effort.

  • George

    Disqualifying 1944, a song that has absolutely no references to Russia nor the current political situation, would have been equally dangerous for the contest. Where would it end?

    Wars for Nothing for example had much more reason to be disqualified, given it was promoting a clear political message. A good message, for sure – but political nonetheless.

    • I would worry that getting too picky about “political” messages would lead to vapid non-messages like Wars For Nothing – something that told you that Boggie has reflected on the issue of war, and concluded that it is, on balance, A Bad Thing.

      See also: Hungary’s effort last year which equally concluded that Child Abuse Is A Bad Thing. Glad we’ve cleared up that topic.

  • Chris Bellis

    Phil – just to add – we never really got to know what Kjetil Mørland got up to in his early youth. I am sure it must have been pretty distasteful. Probably genocide at least.

    • I have a slightly off-the-wall interpretation of Monster Like Me, partly due to my professional background (I’m a mental health nurse).

      The statements made by Morland are quite similar to things you might hear some people with obsessive-compulsive disorder say. They’re plagued by intrusive thoughts that they’ve either done something terrible, or will do something terrible – when in fact they haven’t done/aren’t going to do anything of the sort. So, my interpretation is that Morland is an innocent man with OCD torturing himself.

  • The whole “protest” affair reeks of last year when the Conservatives defied the odds and polls to secure a majority in the House of Commons. Labour supporters held a protest at the legitimate result, with the famous defacing of a war memorial. I found that whole episode very, very ugly as I still do. Even though I am a Conservative voter myself, the losers have to accept the winner won fairly under the rules laid down. There could have been plenty of other occasions during the 50/50 era where neither a televote or jury winner was the ultimate winner; if the maths dictate someone else gets the most total points, that’s how it is.

    The new system was always going to dig the diaspora voting back up. In hindsight I think the EBU wanted an Eastern host next year as it’s been all-western since 2009, 2012 notwithstanding.

    As I say, the real problem is whether NTU can stage this. Yes, they did it in 2005 but it was a different show back then. NRK, SVT, DR etc. have changed the game. Production values are much higher and I don’t see how NTU can pull the contest off to current standards. They are not advanced or developed enough.

    • George

      They will probably hire foreign companies to do a lot of the production, as in Baku. I’ve heard it will probably have a similar budget to Malmö 2013.

    • To be honest I feel like we’ve reached Peak Staging anyway. Some of the more elaborate visuals fell flat (Iceland notably, though to a lesser extent Russia as well.) I think I’d probably welcome the staging going a bit back to basics.

    • eurovicious

      Ukraine’s private M1 TV has proven itself capable of pulling off technically amazing music shows. NTU should get them on board the way Germany’s NDR teamed up with Brainpool in 2010-2012.

  • Chris Bellis

    As I said earlier, the problem will not be whether Ukraine can do the staging – it can, no problem. I would like to give the following advice, based on bitter experience of one of my travelling group. Ukraine won’t have the organisation around the event periphery, mainly the policing. I was in Russia for the G8 in St Petersburg and they had drafted in virtually every police officer and FSB operative from the whole of Russia to maintain security. Ukraine won’t be able to do that, so all you unsuspecting people who go to Ukraine, make sure you take precautions, in every way imaginable, because it will be a magnet for every chancer in Eastern Europe. Clip joints, pickpockets, you name it. All very well getting ideological about the Ukraine v Russia thing – the petty criminals don’t give a toss. The Russian security forces do a good job in protecting daft tourists at these sorts of events – it’s a break from shaking down the ordinary people for minor offences, and they are under orders from the Chief Gangster himself. Ukraine doesn’t have that level of security, so please take care – watch out for pick pockets (they will be preceded by spotters who clock you leaving the hotel), and be careful about attractive men and women inviting you for drinks – they may be genuine, but watch out. Otherwise, it’s a great place, if you keep your wits about you.

    • To be honest, that’s advice I’d follow in most tourist destinations, especially in Eastern Europe.

      • Chris Bellis

        Hi Phil
        I just thought I’d throw it in just in case! The member of my group that was a victim in Kyiv also thought he was street wise, but he was no match for these characters. The police blamed the Dagestanis, but I took that with a pinch of salt. He was robbed in a very sophisticated way – they must have been watching him for a while. Another member of my group went into a gay bar that was essentially a total rip-off, with vast charges on all drinks. Ukraine is gay friendly, but only in certain parts.
        Just be careful, is all I am saying.

    • eurovicious

      If an attractive man invites me for drinks, I know to be suspicious…

      • Chris Bellis

        EV, if nothing else, you are in demand on this site – look how everybody pleaded with you to come back when you were quiet for a while. Myself, I have no illusions that when a tall beautiful model-standard Slavic woman (or man) invites me for a drink, they might not be doing it because of my charm or good looks.

      • eurovicious

        Yes. I’m just teasing. Here I’m judged for my thoughts and words, not on superficial factors.

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