Eurovision 2017: First semi-final preview

This feels like a tricky semi-final. At the time of going to press, the Betfair qualification market has a clear top ten. These are, in descending order: Armenia, Sweden, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Greece, Moldova, Finland, Australia, Belgium and Cyprus.

But there were good vocal performances from Poland, Georgia, Iceland and Slovenia during last night’s jury rehearsal. Potentially there is room for one or two of the betting top ten to fall through the safety net; but working out which, and their possible replacement/s, isn’t an easy task.

Let’s start with the contenders for the semi win, and thus the safest qualifiers. Armenia are current second favourites, but Artsvik is vocally strong, ‘Fly With Me’ is powerfully realised on stage, and it comes at a perfect time in a friendly heat. It’s my idea of the most likely winner of this semi, though I also respect the claims of both Portugal and Sweden.

These two entries couldn’t be more different: Robin Bengtsson offers a slickly-staged, contemporary pop package which is copy-and-paste each time; Salvador Sobral a heartfelt, authentic slice of jazzy nostalgia – which you watch with heart in mouth as his tics make each performance different.

I think these three are the only guaranteed qualifiers tonight, which indicates just what a conundrum this semi is. One issue is the number of foreboding, downbeat entries. Azerbaijan, Finland, Australia and Belgium fall into that category among the Betfair top ten; Poland, Georgia and Iceland also.

Azerbaijan is staged in an alienating way, Finland is beautifully staged but feels very Nordic in an eastern-leaning semi, Australia is leaving many viewers cold, and Belgium has a terrified singer whose fear is palpable. I think all four songs deserve to go through on merit, but these concerns mean qualification isn’t guaranteed.

The upbeat entries from Moldova, Greece and Cyprus display less artistry, but are a welcome respite in this semi. Moldova is paper thin, but very well executed; Greece improved last night from a low bar, offering something typically Eurovision-y; and Cyprus ticks a lot of boxes, being contemporary and effectively staged.

The same can’t be said of the other upbeat entries in this semi: Montenegro and Latvia look and sound rather amateurish. I can’t discount Latvia from the pimp slot, just to muddy the waters further, but I would be confidently calling this a non-qualifier from any other position, and I don’t think it has enough quality or appeal even with the late draw.

That leaves the quartet of Poland, Iceland, Georgia and Slovenia, who all performed well last night, giving themselves a shot at qualification. The problem with the first three is that they only add to the downbeat nature of the semi-final; Poland’s diaspora arguably gives it the best chance of this trio.

Slovenia does at least feel like it adds something else to the heat, even if it’s dated, life-affirming kitsch. With the penultimate slot in the running order, it’s not bad value to qualify.

I haven’t mentioned Albania or Czech Republic, because like Montenegro, I would be shocked to see them qualify. On this occasion, my list of qualifiers does correlate with the market top ten as listed in the first paragraph, none of whom are at a price worth tipping. My advice instead is to back Armenia at current odds of 11/4 in the semi-final win market.

I wish you all the best of luck – feel free to add your thoughts below.

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152 comments to Eurovision 2017: First semi-final preview

  • johnkef

    Thanks David!!! I agree with you in most of the cases. My Top10 is

    1. Armenia
    2. Portugal
    3. Sweden
    4. Finland
    5. Belgium
    6. Azerbaijan
    7. Greece
    8. Cyprus
    9. Moldova
    10. Iceland

    My shock non qualifier is Australia. A cold song from a neutral country in the worst possible slot. Most of the people believe that No2 is the worst slot, but it has 10/22 Q’s when No3 has only 5/22 !!! I have taken Australia Nq @4.00

    My biggest bet of the Semi is Armenia to win, bought pre-rehearsals @7.00

    Good luck to everybody

  • Excellent semi-final and one that I think from a bettors point of view we should be looking to oppose the shorties. I’ve taken on 4 of the odds-on shots tonight and on;y need one to fail to make a profit.

    Longer term I like Australia, as I think the head of the market is wrong… two songs not in English leading the way just looks crazy to me.

    I may be and probably will be well off with my to qualify predictions, but we all have to put 10 up… mine are

    Australia
    Greece
    Cyprus
    Czech Republic
    Georgia
    Finland
    Albania
    Sweden
    Azerbaijan
    Armenia

    Put a finger to keyboard and typed up some of my reasoning here http://www.cherryanalysts.co.uk/2017/eurovision-2017-semi-final-one/

    As always good luck all and lets enjoy one of the best weeks of the year

  • Chewy Wesker

    1. Portugal
    2. Armenia
    3. Sweden
    4. Greece
    5. Moldova
    6. Cyprus
    7. Finland
    8. Poland
    9. Azerbaijan
    10. Belgium

    Australia Azerbaijan and Belgium look very week in this semi, taking on these at their odds looks the wise bets for tonight.
    Good luck to all sofabet punters tonight Enjoy

  • My 10 qualifiers for tonight.

    Sweden
    Australia
    Finland
    Azerbaijan
    Portugal
    Greece
    Moldova
    Cyprus
    Armenia
    Slovenia

  • This has been my call since Friday:
     
    Sweden
    Australia
    Belgium
    Finland
    Portugal
    Greece
    Moldova
    Cyprus
    Armenia
    Slovenia

    Kasia’s vocal in the jury final last night was outstanding, and Svala was also vocally brilliant. Kasia theoretically has the Polish diaspora, but they only really turn out for acts who are very popular at home (Donatan-Cleo, Michal Szpak), not for entries like this. She’s not really a name in Poland as far as I’m aware. So while I don’t rule its qualification out, I’m happy to err on the side of NQ given that the song and story are less accessible than Monika Kuszynska or Isis Gee, for instance, both of whom barely scraped through.

  • Sagand

    1.  Armenia
    2.  Sweden
    3.  Portugal
    4.  Finland
    5.  Greece
    6.  Poland
    7.  Cyprus
    8.  Moldova
    9.  Azerbaijan
    10.  Australia
    —-
    11.  Belgium
    12.  Slovenia
    13.  Latvia
    14.  Georgia
    15.  Albania
    16.  Montenegro
    17.  Czech Republic
    18.  Iceland

  • PurpleKylie

    I have: Sweden, Australia, Belgium, Finland, Portugal, Greece, Moldova, Cyprus, Armenia and Latvia.

    Azerbaijan as the shock NQ, I could see Australia being that instead, but the Aussies tend to get a far more generous jury score than what is deserved. I’m very torn on Poland like EV, but I’m also leaning more towards a NQ for them.

    I’ve also got a horrible feeling that Slovenia might be a shock qualifier, although I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

  • My 10 are
    Portugal, Armenia, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Cyprus, Australia, Belgium, Azerbijan, Moldova

    I think AZE although a bit weird, have televote “friends” in this SF to see them get through coupled with good jury scores.
    Belgium is safely through
    Greece I have as going home, it’s a toss up between Greece and Moldova since neither will get much love from the juries, so both will rely on televotes – I don’t think there is room for both to Q

    Poland, it was good enough for the jurys last night to get some crucial points, coupled with its televote power, will be enough to qualify

  • Hippo

    My thoughts on tonight’s semi-final:

    Sweden- solid top 3. Juries always give Sweden more love than warranted and I think they’ll go heavily for this slick performance and chartable song. Should be top three on televote also although the early draw isn’t great.

    Georgia- Struggling from this early and it’s a repetitive entry. Not short of allies and won’t be disgraced when the results are out but not threatening to qualify.

    Australia- Juries will push this through I feel but will struggle with the public. His look and the staging isn’t great and he’s on early but I would be surprised if this doesn’t go through.

    Albania- hopeless. just three minutes of big notes; there’s literally nothing else. looses out in that category to Georgia and Poland anyway. light jury support and minimal diaspora will save from last.

    Belgium – Not as bad as I’ve seen a lot say but its not great. I have it borderline out just based on lack of support to fall back on with the public unlike other countries here.

    Montenegro – not qualifying but might do a little better than expected. following three dour ballads its televote might be ok and they do seem to benefit from questionable jury points.

    Finland- I see a largish jury/public split here. will easily qualify on both but could be a jury top 3.

    Azerbaijan- like most I seem to agree this is through but nowhere near as comfortably as the odds suggest. I’ve been willing to take it on due to the odd staging, Azerbaijan’s narrow miss in 2015 with another arty ballad, the refined performances around it and the fact they’re effectively getting points from one fewer country than the rest (guaranteed 0 from Armenia).

    Portugal – semi winner. Has the narrative and a performance that makes you pick up the phone. It’s not a bad semi either by Portuguese standards and this should have a real impact tonight.

    Greece – safely through on both sides though televote stronger – reverse to Finland.

    Poland- Borderline. I have it just out as apart from diaspora I don’t see much for this and juries shouldn’t be too fond despite the vocals.

    Moldova- I don’t think juries will have this in the top 10 but there should be a strong public vote. Moldova have previous with these fun songs and its good to see them going back to that.

    Iceland- non qualifier. I’ve been opposing this all season as I can’t see it doing well on either side. The song doesn’t go anywhere and Svala isn’t voteable.

    Czech Republic – likely last place. Staging wrong, song dull as dishwater, no voting power etc etc.

    Cyprus – Always had this qualifying. Friendly draw, G:son track record, solid enough singer. through in 7th-9th and filler on Saturday.

    Armenia – overrated in markets. I don’t see this threatening the semi win or the whole thing. Again, it’s more for Armenians than anyone else and doesn’t work on the first listen in my opinion. Staging, weak East and weak female field will see it higher than most years though. 3rd or 4th in the semi.

    Slovenia- dull ballad and looses out to both Portugal and Australia. No real voting power and juries won’t have high either. NQ.

    Latvia- takes a real disaster to miss out from last, and this isn’t that. It has a usp and takes a risk and there is a market for this.

    1-18 prediction:

    1. Portugal (Jury 1, Televote 1)
    2. Sweden (Jury 2, Televote 2)
    3. Finland ( Jury 3, Televote 6)
    4. Armenia (Jury 4, Televote 3)
    5. Greece (Jury 7, Televote 4)
    6. Moldova (Jury 11, Televote 5)
    7. Australia ( Jury 5, Televote 10)
    8. Cyprus ( Jury 6, Televote 7)
    9. Latvia (Jury 10, Televote 8)
    10. Azerbaijan (Jury 8, Televote 11)
    11. Poland (Jury 12, Televote 9)
    12. Belgium (Jury 9, Televote, 12)
    13. Georgia (Jury 13, Televote 13)
    14. Montenegro (Jury 15, Televote 14)
    15. Iceland (Jury 14, Televote 16)
    16. Albania (Jury 16, Televote 15)
    17. Slovenia (Jury 18, Televote 17)
    18. Czech Republic (Jury 17, Televote 18)

    Good luck all and enjoy the show.

  • glc

    New to this but here are my guesses:

    Sweden
    Australia
    Belgium
    Finland
    Azerbaijan
    Portugal
    Greece
    Moldova
    Cyprus
    Armenia
    Latvia

  • beanie0784

    My 10 to Q:

    Armenia
    Portugal
    Sweden
    Cyprus
    Greece
    Finland
    Azerbaijan
    Belgium
    Moldova
    Poland

    Main bet is Cyprus Q, with a smaller Australia NQ. I think the former is severly underrated – an appealing jury and televote package with very few weaknesses, and the latter overrated and in need of some kind jury scoring to see it through to Saturday. Good luck all!

  • Tim van Dijk

    My prediction for this tricky semi:

    – Armenia
    – Sweden
    – Portugal
    – Greece
    – Azerbaijan
    – Finland
    – Cyprus
    – Moldova
    – Australia
    – Poland

  • My 10 qualifiers:

    Sweden
    Australia
    Belgium
    Finland
    Portugal
    Greece
    Moldova
    Cyprus
    Armenia
    Latvia

    My sole bet: Latvia to qualify at 2.5. It’s the pimp slot, it’s colourful and exciting and it’s a cohesive package. If Eldrine can get to mid-table in the final I don’t see why this can’t at least qualify.

    Finland’s a shoe-in and I think Australia’s a bit too good to not qualify but I can see it coming bottom 10 on Saturday – “easily”. Sweden is, I think overrated and I can see Greece, Finland and possibly Cyprus all beating them.

    I’m letting Belgium through because it’s still a good song and I think televoters will award Blanche a “aw bless, she’s nervous” vote as they did Austria’s Zoe last year. If she fails, we’ll all know why, and this opens the door only to Poland or Azerbaijan for me.

    Azerbaijan is my shock non-qualifier. This entry is a change of direction for them and they came perilously close to not qualifying in 2014. The song isn’t that catchy, Dihaj looks like she could be cast in The Fifth Element, and the staging is what it is. If it gets through I totally understand why, but somebody had to get the chop.

    Slovenia’s out for me. Omar might have the pipes but he looks like a crack dealer and sings it with all the facial emotion of a Royal Guard at Buckingham Palace. I can see Georgia maybe sneaking through, but it’s tricky to make a case for all of the first three getting through. I hope Poland don’t sneak through, they really don’t deserve it this year. Shame about Iceland too, but the whole package seems very underwhelming there. Albania’s too dour, the Czech Rep is nice but out of its depth, and Montenegro is just downright shite. Last place for him I reckon.

    Enjoy tonight guys!

  • Sagand

    Already Italy is charting in seven countries on iTunes excluding Italy itself (and also in Iceland on Spotify) It’ll be interesting how the public reacts to the Italy clip.

  • Sulman

    Portugal was bad. Odds raising

  • eurovicious

    It really didn’t feel to me that Armenia won that semi. Wasn’t as good as I was expecting and didn’t stand out as much; seems too niche and too gay to come top.

    Greece and Belgium seem safe as houses. It was clear to me my the end that Blanche was incorporating her nerves into the performance – she’s embracing and utilizing that fear and shyness to quite emotive effect. It’s part of the performance, not an unwanted. She’s doing it.

    • Shai

      There was a moment in Belgium’s performance when she was giving a tiny smile as if she was saying: I got this, I manage to do it.

  • Hippo

    Portugal in 5’s. Would love to see what happens if it draws second half. Probably in 3’s.

  • 360

    Well. All I can say is I feel very vindicated with that Finland NQ.

    • I know we don’t really superimpose X Factor betting theory to Eurovision but when I saw the rehearsal footage with the red theme with Norma in black at the end of Blackbird I did wonder whether it may spell trouble for them. Not that that’s the be all and end all but…

      • James Martin

        There’s got to be something in it, or it wouldn’t have been used by Syco as a tool in their deramp arsenal all this time.

        I wonder how versed Bjorkman is in the dark arts.

  • Very surprised and disappointed by Finland not qualifying. Overall I thought the show was rather poor. The vocals for all acts are far too exposed and the music not loud enough. It reminds me of how 2010 sounded. Belgium was quite poor but the song and the sense of vulnerability still got her through and it’s charting nicely on esctracker so she might sneak into the top 10 yet.

    Portugal was definitely a moment, it’s charting at the top of esctracker currently, and will do very well.

    I do think Italy looked and sounded a bit rough. It’s got all the same ingredients but it isn’t coming together the same way it did in San Remo. It’s still the deserving favourite as such a complete and entertaining package, but under evens is too short now. It’s still got every ability to win but I am wobbling on the Italy boat, and it’s, surprisingly, the UK that’s rocking it.

    Lucie’s staging is quite marvellous and I am feeling a bit of an Everesty ‘moment’ in the climax. Could be polished up a bit more and I don’t expect the UK to win but wow, wouldn’t that be crazy if we pulled the rug from under Italy’s feet?

  • Shai

    Allocation draw:

    Swden-2nd half
    Australia-2nd half
    Belgium-2nd half
    Azebaijan-1st half
    Portugal-1st half
    Greece-2nd half
    Poland-1st half
    Moldova-1st half
    Cyprus-2nd half
    Armenia-1st half

    For the 2nd semi final winners there are left with 7 – 1st half spots and 3- 2nd half spots

  • niko

    Some quick thoughts:

    Portugal is a winner candidate, but a first half draw severely hampers its chances. If it is placed among the first 10, I think too many people will forget it by the end of the show.

    Finland not qualifying is a giant shock to me, the biggest I can remember for many years in the semis. I have no clue what happened here. Were they overshadowed by Salvador who therefore took all the votes from people looking for a beautiful ballad?

    Cyprus is a bit underrated to me, I think it was one of the freshest entries tonight. Modern song which could be on the charts, a somewhat memorable staging and pretty good vocals (compared to much of the competition). I think this could be left-hand side of the scoreboard at least in the televote.

    I watched the show with a friend who had not heard any of the songs before. When Italy came on, I asked for her opinion afterwards. She used one word: “Weird” and based on her tone, it was not a good kind of weird. I’m still having trouble seeing this connect with enough televoters to take home the trophy.

    So Italy, Portugal and Armenia all have first-half draws and Sweden’s the only favourite so far with a second-half draw. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    (And if you may allow me a personal opinion, I don’t get Belgium at all now. I’ve come around somewhat on the song itself, but how on earth do people vote for a song where the singer is clearly out of tune for most of the song? A bum note here and there, fair enough, especially if the staging is fun, but this is just painful to me. End of rant.)

  • This is turning into a real headache for producers……in what is close becoming a two horse race, the main contenders will have come and gone by half way…….can only raise UK hopes for late impact???

  • niko

    One question, by the way: are there any bookmakers who offer odds on the jury vote and the televote separately?

  • Black n Blue

    The draw is really shaping up nicely for the UK. They’ve easily the best package in the 2nd half so far.

  • I really don’t see Italy winning. My new favorite is Portugal. I was very touched by Salvador’s performance.

  • John

    Ugh, my fingers burnt OFF by Finland. Think being on after the break did for them. Viewers still settling. Plus Mel Giedroyc yapping over the big moment (in the U.K. Anyway).

    Didn’t Mans Zelmerlow perform like 10th or so? I mean an early draw hurts Italy and Portugal but only some, and I’ll be stunned if theyre on before 10th (unless their hype belies an actual dearth of points yet unseen). Italy are hurt more by the apparent messiness in their clip!

    So Bulgaria to step up then?

    Netherlands and Romania look like dark horses to me now and may benefit from a late draw. I do feel for the producers, it really is one of those years. A front loaded draw and sorry but the staging is SHIT this year.

  • RonH

    Tonight I found it remarkable that the live cam (showing in colours the results of the app-voting during the show) was very well predicting the qualifiers (for instance Belgium scoring high, Finland low). It proves to be an interesting tool for Exchange markets.

    • Very interesting Ron, I saw the app, how do you know if a country scored high or low? Do you click a number? I thought Iow as just clicking for a nice colour?

      • RonH

        You don’t have to vote dash, but do check the colours associated with the (average) points by looking at the voting button: blue = 1, red = 12 (yellow somewhere halfway). By clicking on the webcam button you see a building, in the second half of the song this building lights up in the colours of the given (average?) scores. There is the risk of bias, since the app might be used more in some parts of Europe. But I found it helpful: I felt sure Belgium was in the last envelope (and this was not a result of the performance ………).

  • Alpie

    I must tell you guys that I am not impressed by the Portugese song. It is just a good song which I do not understand a word of it. There is still a dark horse who can shock everybody.

  • And Armenia was nothing special to me. I liked Armenia last year much more. So Armenia is overrated in my opinion. I mean it cannot win for sure. Top 10 – Yes.

  • Ben

    I dont see anything stopping Portugal Victory right now?
    He could perform first and still walk this?

    I see nothing than a comfortably win for Portugal on Saturday? 🙂

  • Dana

    Surprised that Sweden is making relatively little impact on Itunes across Europe. Belgium and Portugal clearly doing the best followed by Moldova.

  • Mark-Jay

    So pleased that Belgium are through to the finals. The draws have certainly thrown a spanner in the works for the two favourites. It will definitely favour the UK who are overdue a strong position and song in a second half slot. Similarly, Romania, Estonia and Belgium will all benefit from this (presuming the former two get 2nd half draws).

    I am going to say it again: Belgium Top 5!

    • I think we should be a bit more careful now. Yes, Belgium is a great song. But remember how Ukraine did last year on esctracker? Not so good.

      I agree on the UK for TOP 7, after seeing the full 3 mins of her performance. She blows me away (as a matter of fact, I actually think the guys from Wiwibloggs do a pretty damn job at predicting!). And I’m angry towards all those British fans who did NOT see the potential of the song and the charisma of this entry. The potential was already there, and is now only enhanced wonderfully by a good (deep bass) revamp and tremendous staging.

      Belgium however? I have a bit of an Albania 2015 and Croatia 2016 vibe here. Absolutely good song, but it could have been so much better staging-wise. Putting her on TOP 5?? Sorry, I find that an example on overreaction on the betting odds.

      From tonight’s semi-final Portugal, Sweden and Armenia impressed me most. We will see those back in the TOP 10. Add to that Italy and UK, certified TOP 10-ers now.

      Only after that, I would consider one of these three in the TOP 10: Moldova, Belgium and Australia. Of which I find Moldova the best call.

  • Sagand

    Belgium is doing best on esctracker atm, and has the most views on the uploaded perfromances on youtube. Could she have won the televote tonight?

  • Dana

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Blanche came 2nd in the televote on Saturday. It’s a great shame she can’t really sing, otherwise she could win it easy.

  • johnkef

    The great moment where Italy is back in odds has arrived!!!

    Some quick thoughts about what we saw.

    Finland- I should have trusted my instict more. Never again betting on a song that i don’t like

    Belgium- So fragile and authentic and such a great song. Blanche was the easy victim but that was not the case from what i saw. If we use the same standards Isiaiah should quit singing. So happy i bought her in the Top10 when many were talking about NQ.

    Portugal- I don’t know if he won the semi, but from now on he will be the face of the contest.

    Italy- I like the song, i like Gabbani but from what i saw on the clip was a Benigni caricature which is not exactly a televoting mgnet and Salvador’s simplicity and background looks more fascinating.

    Armenia- i liked the song and my mind did not change after the live. I still think it has a Top4-5 potential.

    • Ben

      Johnkef,

      do you see a comfortable win for Portugal on saturday?

      if so, do you see them winning both televote and jury?

      • johnkef

        I don’t know if he will win. but he has the momentum know. I know that Italy shouldn’t have been so short. For the moment i enjoy looking at the prices i have Portugal in the markets and my eyes have pounds signs on!!! I believe that Italy thought it would be an easy walk and now they have some pressure on them. Let’s see how they will handle it

    • Its strange, pre-rehearsals Belgium was a potential winner. Then everyone said “oh Belgium is so frightened on stage” – that’s how she’s supposed to perform a song she is singing about being alone.
      Now all of a sudden, its top of esctracker and I can see it being a Belgium v Portugal v Italy h2h fight in the final

      • johnkef

        It took us 2 months to get back to square one. Italy vs Belgium vs Portugal vs Sweden. hehe

        • Mark-Jay

          It’s good to see it back to normal is right. However, due to the “doubts” on Belgium over the past 10 days has allowed some great odds to be scooped up.

          I really think she can do it. As I stated yesterday- she is in her own zone singing this song and it suits her and it’s great to see the maker where it should be.

          Belgium vs Italy vs Portugal

          That said – Italy is incredibly overrated and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it fall north of the top 5.

  • RonH

    Belgium and UK are on the tails of Sweden!

  • RonH

    But I’m convinced Netherlands is the best buy at this moment.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi RonH. Do you think the Netherlands has a realistic chance of winning Semi 2? (I’m perhaps too invested in their results to think straight at this point.)

      • RonH

        I trust Netherlands will be top 3 in semi 2 and yes they can also win it. If they do AND have the luck to get one of the last three second half draws, I expect them to be place 21-23 in the running order of the final (track record of the last years and early draw in the semi taken into account). In that (unlikely) event we will suddenly have a four horse race (or five, UK included): por, ita, bel, neth and maybe uk. My biggest doubt of these is Belgium. Does Blache impress the juries? Do they go for song or singing quality?
        Or is all my reasoning just Westerners Karma?

  • kingston

    i think belgium using the black dress helped them to qualify… i don’t think they’d have with the (atrocious) white one in the rehearsal… i actually liked the graphics surrounding her and the glimpse of a concept– and that black dress sort of fit in… but as staging concepts and ideas go, the one thing that baffled me a bit was: who is she supposed to be? a damsel in distress? or (as previously thought) a tour guide of this futuristic city? but as EV said, she harnessed her nerves and incorporated them in showing emotion.. if only i have a greater grasp of a more solid emotion from her… maybe they should have employed an acting coach as well to guide blanche with her emotions and motivation through the whole song… rambling but yeah… thoughts whilst watching her perform… and i don’t know why but she reminds me of jennifer lawrence/katniss… did blanche’s sort of emoting made her more accesible as others than myself also sort of imagined her as katniss in this 3-minute song/story?

    • She just looked like she was defecating mid-performance, frankly.

    • zat

      Comparing her with Katniss is well spotted. It didn’t occur to me, but I noticed that her hair style was different this time. Not quite Katniss’ asymmetrical braid, but very similar. And like Katniss, not a singing voice but emotional and fragile…
      It’s very different from the video version (which I prefer) where Blanche looked more like a mysterious sphinx announcing the end of the world as we knew it.
      And the stage, as I see it, is just a hurricane with splinters of glass threatening to cut her into pieces. It’s weak, compared with the video, but it somehow works.

      As I see it, the staging is a major problem for most of the songs. It gets worse every year with the visual effects becoming more and more overwhelming. This year I get the impression that the stage is a visual war zone, and not every song can cope with that.

      If Portugal wins it won’t be because of the song but because of the intimate staging. The danger in this staging is that he could be seen as ignorant — ignorant of the world around him, just seeing his own feelings. If he is too much presented as an isolated person, not many will be able to relate to him.
      (Is that what happened with Finland? It was staged very calm, but it didn’t come over as something from this world — just some people in their own bubble.)

      Who’s also very good in mastering the staging is Moldova. They are a wedding party dancing at the edge of a volcano (more a huge black hole sucking them in) and they are completely ignorant of it, but in a sympathetic way. Many will be able to relate to it. Top ten at least.

  • Hippo

    If Portugal had drawn second half I’d be saying game over. First half makes it interesting. I wonder if Bulgaria will be called first tomorrow to give the best shout at a second half- they need to even it out somehow as it’s looking top heavy. Regardless, I think Portugal will get 13th, Italy 10th.

    Good night for me, only lost some on Latvia to q but was worth a go at the odds. Traded Azerbaijan in-play and had Cyprus and Australia at 1.5, Greece at 1.28. Confident on my Portugal v Armenia, Portugal semi win and Sweden top 3 looks likely unless Belgium nicked it.
    Had a free run on Finland to q but loosing them helps my much larger Sweden top nordic.

    Italy currently fourth in esctracker behind Belgium, Portugal and Moldova. I’ve always been against the win but sort of accepted it will be close at least but now I feel it could underperform significantly. Likewise, I’m on the Uk outright at average odds 128 and top 10 at 7s as well as a little top 5 and trading a bit of that off has got me into a nice position (better ways to build a book than betting on Italy from fives to odds on) I don’t see the win but it is looking very strong in that second half and might get top 5. I had them sixth in my final pre rehearsals prediction (after being let down by other female entries) and with Armenia going to go early and dissapointing there’s room higher. Top big five at 21 is value in my opinion.
    Belgium could come back into a top 5 discussion also. Song quality shining through. She’s not as poor as some have been saying obviously but imagine what they’d be if the staging and vocals were a little better. I bought back in at 50 after checking esctracker waiting for the press conference but I don’t think she has the gas to go all the way.

    Not looking forward to semi 2 much, harder to call the qualifiers and I’m not risking much there at all.

  • Ande

    I’ve done a 180° on Portugal. Being the only competetive entry suprising in a positive way tonight I now believe it won the semi comfortably.

    I’m still not sure about its chances on Saturday though.

  • James Martin

    On the basis of the story so far and the preview of Italy tonight this is now a four horse race between Belgium, Portugal, Netherlands and the UK.

  • ChrisR

    I think Portugal got the whole package just right. In a year with a colossal stage which if not used well, will kill a strong songs chances, I think staging is as important if not more so than the song. I am trying to remain objective but Lucie looks out in front on the staging for me as well as with the quality of her voice. Now I am not saying she will win, but I am now convinced on top 10. I can’t see anything going against her at the moment. Favourable draw, looks great, sounds great, whereas I can find flaws in just about everything else. I even think the brexit thing helps. I know this post will bite me on the backside Saturday night when she trails in 19th, but my positive column for U.K. has a lot more in it than the negative. I got my out of last night marginally better than even, my profit from backing Poland outweighing my loss from Finland( which I backed purely on song quality, ignoring all my own advice)

  • Belgiums esctracker rise – I find this surprising, I didn’t expect it to do that well in the televote, but it seems clear that it was top 3 televote in SF1.
    It’s always been my favourite song, since first listen to all the songs, so I’m really pleased it not only Q but will get a good finish on Saturday. The big question, is could it win? Looks like it will finish top 3 televote on Saturday, will have one of the best slots in the 2nd half – and I assume (like most) that it will do very well with the jury, I originally thought it would qualify on the back of high jury scores.
    I would assume come saturday, its price will be in the teens at least, not the 20s

    Anyone agree?

    • Ben

      I can see this coming top 5, but cant see the win possible right now.

      In my eyes, this is portugals to lose, I originally thought this would win juries easily but struggle on the televote.
      Esctracker and the general feel of reviews and comments about the show last night, shows me I was wrong.

      Salvador has almost done the impossible, and become the face of eurovision 2017 over italy.

      I see this winning both tele and jury vote saturday?

      • Somebody will chime in I’m sure, but for something to win both tele and jury is almost unprecedented!

        I’d love a Portugal win, the reason I think Sweden and Belgium in good slots on Saturday will do well/top 5 and be potential winners, is down to the fact most viewers will know what the message is in the song. My friends didn’t love Portugal, but also said, they had no idea what he’s singing about. Another friend told me today “what was Italy? It looked like Faulty towers, singing Italian with a Gorilla” – obviously I know that’s one persons opinion, but the language barrier is a thing if you don’t know what the message of the song is

        • Ben

          but music is universal language, their is no barrier?
          That is why portugal is charting in so many European countries right now, why it is topping all polls, why it has most views from last night.

          The momentum is there like Jamala last year

        • Alpie

          if you don’t read english subtitle what is the message of Portugal? Love, Peace, Happiness or Separation. Simplicity and intimacy are welcome. I can have these feelings with Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra etc..

          As for Italy; one may have an idea what the song is about by the staging. The charming guy and melody are welcome as well.

          Therefore, I am confused a little bit. I guess I am looking for something striking like Conchita or Jamala.

          It is not my year I think.

  • glc

    Norway 09
    Germany 10
    Sweden 12
    Denmark 13
    Austria 14

    All won both jury & televote.

  • I’ve had faith in Belgium throughout, arguing previously that her nerves suited the song and that the song had sufficiently broad appeal that there’s a limit to how much they could balls it up. The fact she looks so terrified is a huge empathy winner and reason for people to support her by voting, it adds a meaningful component of underdog syndrome to a song that’s one of the main contenders.

    Apropos Poland in relation to my last article: http://twitter.com/MrAdamR/status/862034488406286336 – she creates life

    I figured it would likely be the case that only 5 rather than 6 would qualify from the first half, but I figured as Azerbaijan was vocally worse, more leftfield and less jury-baity than Finland’s similarly dark but more straight-up and simply-staged ballad, they were the most likely to go. Azerbaijan offered more spectacle and contemporariness though, it was more memorable with visual hooks. Every time there’s been a dark/sad introspective ballad in Melodifestivalen recently, from Emelie Irewald’s exquisite Där och da med dig to the 2013 entries by Anna Järvinen and Rikard Wolff, it’s failed to get anywhere near qualifying, coming last or second to last. I’m starting to think that songs like these, which require contemplative viewing, just aren’t suited to television entertainment spectacles that people watch while in family/friend groups in the expectation of having a good time. They’re songs that demand you lower your defences and give emotional focus, which is harder to do when you’re watching with other people.

    After last night’s excellent OK performance, I can easily see Italy winning. It really had a “this is the one” feel. His vocal may have been poor in recent rehearsals (I’ve never thought the entry was jury-friendly enough to win), but the performance they showed last night (the full 3 minutes of which are on Youtube) was great – invigorating and memorable, fun and a water-cooler moment, while still being really tight and musically strong. ie. not just really televoter friendly but also jury-friendly enough to do it. It was much better than the already decent San Remo performance. Finland’s failure to qualify makes me doubt Portugal’s ability to go all the way – OK, they’re very different songs, Portugal is full of warmth and love while Finland is about loss and sorrow – but I do wonder if 2nd is the limit; right now I’d see Portugal 2nd more likely than 1st. While they can still do very well indeed, songs like Amar Pelos Dois, Calm After The Storm and Fra mols till skagen are perhaps too introspective to go all the way in a televised entertainment spectacle. I dunno.

    • thanks for posting the YOUTUBE EV.

      Goodness, who’d be the close up cameraman with Francesco?! He does a different version every time!!

      I could be wrong, but I sense there are so many ESC buffs who have always disliked the “vulgarity” of Italy that they are now viewing Portugal’s shortening odds, Blanche’s resurgence, UK’s last minute rising from the dead as reasons why Italy cannot win. What next? Bulgaria joining the fray after a semi win tomorrow? (first half draw? Producers’ nightmare..could be like a boxing match where they stop the show half way!)

      May have massive egg on my face, but do not see Francesco 2017 as Sergey 2016.

      BUT…I am less sure than a week ago.

      I backed Portugal and Italy early with nice odds: Italy to win, Portugal e/w at 16s. Surely I will make a profit this year? (and UK, Romania and Netherlands top ten.)

      BTW….fairly modest bets!!

    • Ben

      EV… i think you have this wrong this year.
      You are in the minority that think this staging is better than Sanremo
      Italy SHOULD have won and it very easily COULD have won…..but portugal have come and stolen the thunder.

      They have become the face of esc overnight…winning polls/streaming/views/reviews.

      I would be shocked with Portugal outside the number 1 position come Saturday, with italy some way behind in strong second.

      • I don’t think it’s fair to compare overnight Italy to Portugal/Belgium last night, since viewers only saw a snippit of Italy last night (if they were even paying attention at that point). I’d also point out, Belgium are ahead of Portugal in the streaming/charts

        I actually don’t think Italy will win, in case you think my point is bias

      • Morning Ben. I’d love Portugal to win, I’d be very happy with Italy or Portugal winning, but when it comes to buzz and momentum – while I think Portugal won the semi last night – I think we should remember things like the fact that in 2011 all the buzz and momentum was about Jedward. Within Europe they totally dominated the media and reporting of that contest, becoming the face of Eurovision that year to the exclusion of pretty much everything else and to the extent that the Irish team really thought they were going to win by the Saturday. Of course, Conchita and Jamala had all the buzz and media momentum and went on to win, but it’s not always the case.

        • johnkef

          Jedward though had slot No6 that by that time had only provided one Top-10 finishing during the televote era. And don’t forget they had the momentum in a different way. They were those funny kids with the funny haircut and full of energy but the song was not exactly a masterpiece

  • Keanu

    Which 2 or 3 nations would you have finishing in top 10 places on Saturday .
    Fancies from Belgium France Australia Austria Netherlands UK .

    I now note odds have changed for some nation as Belguim odds on but would really like some thoughts I which to bet or any other for value of top 10

  • I also think the Youtube comments on last night’s Belgium performance are interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SznlioGhq2k

    “[The Polish commentator said] we can hear tears in her voice.” (98 likes)

    “This live performance makes me wanna cry. And it seems like Blanche is crying, too.. Love it!” (65 likes)

    “Tonight my mum said: finally a girl with a unique voice and without 100 layers of make up!!” (55 likes)

    “this made me cry, incredible” (348 likes)

    To be fair, there are plenty of negative comments saying she was too nervous/uncomfortable with a lot of likes too. But the fact it seems like she’s crying and we can hear tears in her voice is being read as a positive by many. To quote Salvador from last night, “If it is not plastic, people will like it”. In a really manufactured homogenized event, people are crying out for something real.

    • RonH

      All true, but professional jury members will know the difference between intended drama and emotion (like UK shows) and unintended nerves. Like I said before their judgement based on song (++] and singer (–) will determine Belgiums chance.

    • Dana

      Probably not representative, but the people I was watching it with all had Belgium (and Portugal) as a favourite- nobody commented on her vocal issues.

      I think she will take a hit with the juries, but perhaps not a huge one. They have voted for poor or average vocals before.

  • Some Wednesday morning post-Eurovision hangover music – Poland really should send something edgy and vibrant like this:

  • Poisi

    Just received this. Amar pelos dois from 46.30:

  • Simon 'le chat

    Neither Italy or Portugal will win.
    The performer must sing in English.
    I’m amazed the bookies haven’t cottoned on to this.
    They just don’t learn.

    • So, you think Belgium or Bulgaria then?

      Rules are there to be broken. Like the “4 out of the final 6 qualify” rule, which I think is dead and buried now. Last year’s winner was half in Crimean Tatar, half in crap English. Whatever happens, even if neither Italy nor Portugal wins, they’ll place very highly – and the fact these two entirely foreign-language entries are the top two bookies’ favourites and have all the buzz and momentum in an almost entirely monolingually English field shows a) great songs, performers and stories can transcend the language barrier, and b) we’ll get some linguistic revival at next year’s contest. It’s just 4 years ago that over half the entries were in languages other than English.

      • johnkef

        Agree with you EV with the 4/6 rule. EBU wants to give all the countries the chance to qualify and stay in the contest. Some of them though they cannot capitalise that big advantage and just like that we are somehow back in the one semi era where more or less the same countries qualify each year.

  • Can I say something about Belgium? My oowh my have all these betters and fans that were present in the press room in Kiev, wrong about Bbelgium. And I mean really really wrong. Only during Monday’s rehearsals some, SOME people thought that it looked kinda charming and that it could sneek through. But it’s not only that. Belgium is a prime example where the song quality is leading towards success.

    But I think ‘we’ underestimate the actual televote most of the time, especially when it comes to the factor ’emotion’.

    I see Belgium now 4th in the betting odds, 1st on ESCtracker and I have to say this to myself: I am sorry that I was so fff-ing wrong! Eurovision still is a contest that can be unpredictable. I have to reassess my predictions for semi final #2 now with a different eye….

    • johnkef

      Totally agree with you!!! All the polemics against her like she was the devil’s daughter or something. Isaiah was a lot worse than her vocally but i didn’t notice many people talking about that.

      And the quality of the song is beyond the borders of the contest. And she is a girl, fragile, immatureexposed for the first time. I am so happy that i was buying when everybody was laying.Now my book for Top-10 is @2.24 plus the 1.45 i got from her easy qualification.

      Check the views from the official channel, she’s just behind Salvador and the next song has 30-35% less views than her. This is a definite Top-5 with potentials for a Top 3-4 finishing. If you also check Finland’s views you can also see what happened yesterday. My guess is that they finished not 11th but 13th-14th.

      More or less the same happened with Belgium in 2015. An amazing song and staging that bettors thought that would look very agressive and far to left-field to succeed.

      • Sagand

        To save for posterity the youtube views as of now are:

        1 Portugal 204577
        2 Belguim 170456
        3 Greece 129482
        4 Poland 109135
        5 Moldova 107376
        6 Azerbaijan 89382
        7 Armenia 85424
        8 Montenegro 78607
        9 Sweden 77895
        10 Cyprus 73601
        11 Latvia 72138
        12 Australia 61787
        13 Finland 37101
        14 Georgia 33447
        15 Iceland 26568
        16 Albania 25205
        17 Slovenia 21879
        18 Czech 16947

        That probably isn’t that far away from the televote, Montenegro pushed out by juries and Australia given a leg up.

        • But then Ssweden. Everyone thought it would be TOP 3 in this semi final. But look at the odds now. Was the ‘slickness’ of Robin’s act taking away charm? I heard a few people saying that, but Sweden 7th in the semi final? If that happened, I am also pretty stunned by that.

          My oowh my……I think I will shut down from Eurovision internet until Thursday evening. I am still shocked by the results. Especially FINLAND. Please help me….

          • Mark

            Robin is the worst Swedish entry for some time. Totally lacks charm and warmth. Looks like a bad TAKE THAT performance from 1994. Could be lower than eight even ?

          • Ande

            Robin doesn’t have Mans levels of charisma and the camerawork/lighning was worse than in MF.

            Sweden is in my oppinion now more likely to place in the lower top 10 than higher. It should still be somewhat helped by the jury.

        • meridian_child

          Could be dangerous to transfer these views 1:1 to the televote. You don’t know where the views all come from. A country with a huge population and a hype about the own entry could get a lot more views than the others.

          Last year for example from all 10 Qualifiers Malta and Austria had the lowest views. This was pretty right about Malta, but Austria was even 2nd in the televote last year in the Semi.
          Also Barei’s short clip had much more views than Amir’s or the one of Frans.

        • annie

          I think that the fact that the top 10 views and actual top 10 more or less overlap has more to do with the fact that people who didnt watch the show and wanted to catch up with the events mostly watched only those that qualified (i wasn´t at home and didn´t bother with most of the ones that got eliminated) rather than with popularity.

          • This is likely correct annie – there isn’t any evidence that people that voted for a song would necessarily want to see it again on youtube

  • anna

    I’m interested to know you guys’ thoughts on Ireland’s chances of qualifying? 3.85 on betfair exchange to qualify..

    • Hi Anna. To me, it’s nails down a blackboard – a cheesy song with a thin nasal vocal – and the hot-air balloon red and black staging is bad. Slovenia’s similarly old-fashioned entry offered a better vocal and was better staged and still didn’t make it. My 5 qualifiers from the first half are Austria, Malta, Netherlands, Romania and Denmark.

  • Hippo

    Yeah, the pleasure some took in her struggles was a little distasteful. I stayed away from the qualification markets on her as I wasn’t sure what would happen, whether it would connect or not. Your top ten looks safe as houses now and top 5 is possible. Don’t think it’s strong enough for the win but I have it covered just in case.

    • Seconding this. I’ve been kinda insulated from the Belgium negativity, because my own little bubble of people like Tim and Dash Berlin always had it down as qualifying, as did Daniel and Rob. I obviously think people were absolutely right to be legitimately concerned about her nerves, but it did start to take on an uncharitable quality from certain corners. There seemed to be two kinds of reaction – empathy from people who liked the song and really wanted her to do well, and were genuinely concerned for her (most people, e.g. http://twitter.com/robholley/status/862026118278328320), but also “lol she’s a little baby”-level bullying from people without the empathy to put themselves in her position, with an added dash of #gaymisogyny (nobody on here that I’m aware of, but more than a few people on social media and in the usual fan circles).

  • alexx

    My views on the first semi….between jury and televote…i expect armenia and portugal biggest scorers….on the televote the biggest mover had to be moldova…i would be shocked if they were not top 3 on televoting.
    Belgium very lucky to qualify…most of the actual singing was done by the hidden backing singers…i would say belgium were not top 10 on televoting……all my betting bank will be on belgium not finishing in top 10.

  • Keanu

    Hi there any semi final 2 tips for Thursday on those qualifying
    Switzerland ?
    Croatia ?
    Israel ? Any of these or other value plays

    Much appreciated if any one could respond to those they think will be qualifying at odds against prices

    • johnkef

      Second semi is the worst semi of all times with just 5 worthy songs. If i were EBU just for this year i would give 13 tickets to the first semi and 7 to this one.

      Since this is is not the case, leave aside Bulgaria, Romania, Denmark, Netherlands as qualifiers and San Marino and Lithuania as certain non qualifiers and bet the higher price on its song be it to qualify or to non qualify. You have more chances to get money back than invest in just one

      • The interesting thing is, despite the songs, San Marino and Lithuania are two of the most vocally solid performances in that second half. Estonia and Israel have significant vocal issues while Norway’s vocal is underwhelming, in large part due to the nature of the song. Valentina and Jimmie are absolutely nailing it; I’m much more positive on Spirit Of The Night than the consensus. As someone who didn’t like her 2012-2014 entries, it works for me – they bounce off each other great and I find it energizingly competent. I have it down as NQ because of lack of relevance and it coming bottom among Eurojury jurors, but IMO they really deserve a decent jury score for how well they’re performing it, Jimmie in particular. In such a weak second half I’d be delighted if it went through.

        I think Lithuania is boring and irrelevant but I also don’t think it’s that bad, at least it’s doing and saying something original and is competent. Get Frighten would have been much more fun though.

        • Dana

          Yes I don’t think I would write off Lithuania or San Marino either. Lithuania always do significantly better than predicted. San Marino usually do better also- literally nobody thought they would qualify in 2014 and even Serhat finished 11th in the televote last year.

        • johnkef

          Because of the voting allies Lithuania could be near the qualification spots but apart from diaspora i cannot think of anyone picking up the phone to vote for it.

          Valentina trying for the 4th is not a thing anymore. She got the pitty votes back in 2014 but now she is asking for more. Serhat last year was pure fun! I still watch the video and laugh.

          I believe that one big mistake most of the eurovision betting commentators do is that they take the juries too seriously. Of course they judge better the quality songs, but especially in the east, even the scandis have no problem to give some help to friends and neighbors no matter what the quality of their song is. That’s why there was no chance yesterday for Greece to be disqualified with so many allies and i do think that it was a Top 6-7 with the juries. The same that happened with Azerbaijan last year.

    • Dana

      Macedonia could be a shock qualifier. Wouldn’t rule out Switzerland either. In both cases I think the fan press have overacted to the live performances like they did with Belgium.

      • I have Switzerland down as Q on balance, though I think the staging could be better (the final minute or so is great, especially her interaction with the fabulously attired piano guy during the quiet middle-eight). I also don’t think Macedonia is anywhere near as bad as Serbia (song, vocal and staging), but I currently have it down as NQ partly out of cynicism/herd mentality/trusting fellow pundits and partly because even though the song is called Dance Alone I don’t think her being alone on stage works that well, and her perceived personality doesn’t seem to suit the song too well. It’s also quite shoegaze and low-key as dance-pop entries go, in a way that appeals to Gays Who Like Robyn but lacks the immediacy and vibrancy of its competitors. I work on the basis that 5 songs qualify from each half, but the remarkable weakness of the second half of the semi could theoretically push a 6th song from the first half through. My qualifiers from the first half are Austria, Malta, Netherlands, Romania and Denmark.

        While one semi is normally better than the other, in previous years I haven’t always agreed on which, but this year the gulf is so marked that everyone seems to be on the same page. At least in the first half of the second semi, some of the bland entries are really well performed; in the second half, it feels like nothing is coming together apart from Bulgaria and Belarus. 5 of my 6 personal favourites were last night, the remaining one (Hungary) is tomorrow night and I don’t expect it to get through.

        I have to agree with the consensus that the hosting isn’t very good this year – the most competent and experienced one with the best command of English (Timur) has been relegated to green room duty. There needs to be more of him and also he should be in lederhosen.

  • By the way, this was the first time since the 1st semi final of 2011 that 5 countries in a row qualified for the final :-).

    • johnkef

      And another fun fact. Greece won Euro 2004 and next year won Eurovision. Guess who won the Euro last summer…Portugal…

      • PurpleKylie

        Also, Greece hosted the 2004 Olympics in Athens, last year it was in Brazil – a Portuguese-speaking country…

      • And, if I remember correctly, Portugal won the Euro last year without winning a single game in 90 minutes. Could Portugal win by doing a Jamala i.e. not winning the televote or jury vote?

        Edit: And by placing third in their semi, ha.

      • johnkef

        Guys i need some help from you for a small experiment . I don’t want you to cheat, i wanna see how eurovision experts mind works. I just counted the Top10’s since 2004( 13 years in total). So we have 130 places in total. If you had to guess what would the split between first half and second half be what is the most possible score you would say? 1st half + 2nd half= 130

    • I was surprised at that. It’s partly why I didn’t have Azerbaijan and Poland qualifying.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Off topic: Sorry – there’s nowhere else to post this. Tennis fans might want to keep an eye on Kristina Mladenovic for the win at the French Open. She’s currently 33/1 (so you can probably do better on Betfair) and will likely drop soon. She’s against a much lower ranked player shortly in Madrid so I don’t think that will affect her odds much if she wins but any victories after that may well cause her odds to fall.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Just noticed you can also get 100/1 on her for Wimbledon. Imo that’s massively overpriced so might be worth a dabble.

      • Jessica Hamby

        One last one to show you what I’m talking about.

        https://twitter.com/WTA/status/862364333203902464

        As you may remember, I prefer the long odds shots.

      • Matt

        Seconded. I trade tennis tournaments as well as the specials and Mladenovic is vastly improved. She has a big game so potential on grass but clay is where I consider her to be a contender. French looks pretty wide open this year too so definitely a nice shout Jessica.

        • Jessica Hamby

          She’s won tournaments on hard courts as well and at 100/1 I think you would be mad to miss out. There’s no such thing as a cert but I’d be very surprised if she doesn’t make the second week. At those odds even a small investment has the potential to give good returns.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Also worth remembering that she was a doubles specialist and has only started concentrating on singles this season. Even though she is only 23 she has already won the French Open in doubles and reached Wimbledon and US Open finals too. She can do grass and hard courts just fine.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Having seen the way Eugenie Bouchard just destroyed Angelique Kerber (and did for Sharapova earlier in the week) she’s clearly back in form too. 66/1 for Roland Garros and 50/1 for Wimbledon. You can probably do better on Betfair. She also looks good for those who trade.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I hope some of you had faith and got on. After another victory today, Maldenovic’s odds have fallen. If she wins again tomorrow, albeit a harder match, they’ll drop again. You can still find some very nice odds for Wimbledon in particular. These will fall between now and the start of the tournament, never mind what happens once the tournament starts if she makes it through the first few rounds.

  • George

    Something I just realised – if Portugal wins on Saturday, it’ll be the second time in a row a country has won on its return. Both with a less mainstream song too.

  • Alpie

    Johnkef if you were start betting today with all the info available how would you make your list? Forget what u have done for the past weeks. Would you still put Italy first and Armenia second on your list?

  • johnkef

    you are asking me two different things here. The bets i make have to have a value. When a make a Top5 or Top10 doesn’t mean that i have bets on all these countries or that i don’t have on any other country. Eg Sweden and Bulgaria. I haven’t touched them cause there wasn’t a price that had any value. Even Italy. I have a bet on them @2.42 but is there to cover my loses in case Portugal or Armenia wins.

    I believe that it’s between Portugal and Italy now with Belgium, Bulgaria and Armenia following

    • Chris Bellis

      The reaction of all my non eurovision pals confirms your view john. Sweden is the slickest performance so could sneak in, but wouldn’t deserve it.

  • Rob4

    Just thought i’d post briefly the reaction of the non-eurovision people i watched with last night. Belgium was tops. Moldova and Portugal and Sweden and Greece (?) were liked. everything else got a reaction of meh to yuk to jaw on on the floor.

    • Alpie

      Rob, Could you share their impressions after the semi 2 tonight

      • glc

        I also watched with 4 friends who hadn’t heard the songs before:

        They thought Australia and Belgium were good songs but badly performed/staged – and were surprised either made it through, and that Sweden was very average,,,

        Their favourites were Moldova & Portugal (by far) and also Azerbaijan and Montenegro.

        Armenia – acknowledgment that it was good but little response.

        Finland – I don’t remember any reaction at all – even the other ballads (Georgia/Albania/Iceland) were found more noteworthy I think. No one noticed or was interested that it didn’t qualify.

        Both Greece and Cyprus an acknowledgment that they were decent and would qualify but not much else.

        Quite liked Latvia, they were shocked it didn’t make it.

        • glc

          I should add that they were all very shocked and impressed with the UK clip and all thought it would be our best result for a while – I remember the same group of friends being completely indifferent to seeing Molly perform in 2014 (i.e. the last time there was hype about the UK)

  • SInce yesterday, we know which song will go first at Saturday night… Mamma mamma mia!

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