Eurovision 2017: Second semi-final preview

The first heat was a competitive one in which there was enough strength in depth for a shock non-qualifier (Finland). The second semi feels like there’s a bigger group of more secure qualifiers, and a lot of mediocre songs scrabbling for the last couple of places.

Bulgaria is a deserving odds-on favourite to win tonight’s event, and I can’t see beyond ‘Beautiful Mess’ doing so. This contemporary ballad is well staged and beautifully sung by Kristian Kostov, who showed plenty of emotion in yesterday evening’s jury rehearsal.

Other jury bait that impressed last night came from Denmark and The Netherlands. Neither song is everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no denying the vocal capabilities on offer, and that should help Anja and O’G3NE through.

Romania looks another highly likely qualifier, though its core strength is coming from the televote. ‘Yodel It’ hasn’t quite maintained its explosive start to rehearsals – when big cannons were literally wheeled out – partly because nothing else happened with the prop. But this is an entry that will come alive with a full arena.

The same can be said with Israel’s ethnopop banger ‘I’m Alive’. Imri was at his vocal best last night after a few shaky run-throughs earlier in the week. It’s hard to see this very Eurovision-style offering failing from the pimp slot.

Estonia are similarly short odds to qualify from the penultimate slot, but whilst I love ‘Verona’, it doesn’t feel quite as secure in its prospects. The song is obviously dated, and the two protagonists spend a lot of time apart. But I suspect there’s enough appeal for it to go through anyway. I hope so.

Hungary’s ‘Origo’ is another entry I like that I’m putting in the probable pile. Joci put in a passionate performance in front of the juries, and plenty of countries in this heat have a market for this kind of ethnic song. You might find it drifting in running for qualification as British punters get their heads around it.

We are moving towards borderline territory now, but I think Austria’s Nathan Trent has enough charm to include in my qualifier list. He stands out among the first four acts as a friendly face, and ‘Running On Air’ is the kind of middle-of-the road song that holds up well with semi-final juries in particular, although he wasn’t at his best last night.

Things are really murky by this point. Among those early slots in the running order, Serbia have voting strength on their side, FYROM the catchiest song, and Malta the best performer. But with some strong packages from #5 onwards – Romania and The Netherlands before the consequent break, I’m reckoning there’s not enough to make viewers vote for them from this part of the draw.

I don’t discount any of them from sneaking through, and I’ll say the same thing about Ireland. It’s not a convincing package, but there’s a demographic for Brendan Murray’s little-boy-lost looks. Switzerland is another that I give some faint hope to, based on the earworm-y chorus of ‘Apollo’. But it’s very forgettable and poorly staged. Still, it’s not as hopeless as Lithuania and San Marino.

That leaves me looking for two qualifiers from Croatia, Belarus and Norway. It may be wishful thinking because I enjoy it so much, but Croatia is one of the most memorable three minutes of this semi-final, and I’m including it among my qualifiers for that reason. Norway is a better song than both, but feels like wallpaper in the context of this semi-final, and I’m suggesting it just misses out as a result. Belarus at least makes me feel happy, and it fills my last qualifying spot for that reason.

Good luck with your bets this evening, and let us know what you’re thinking below.

159 comments to Eurovision 2017: Second semi-final preview

  • johnkef

    My qualifiers are

    1. Bulgaria
    2. Romania
    3. Denmark
    4. Netherlands
    5. Israel
    6. Croatia
    7. Estonia
    8. Malta
    9. Austria
    10. Belarus

    Though apart from Bulgaria, Romania, Denmark, Netherlands and Austria i don’t feel the others are certain Q’s. Serbia and Hungary can make the cut but no one else can.

    • Keanu

      Paddy power have an 8/1 offer on these 6 nations qualifying to the grand final from tonight’s semi :
      Denmark
      Croatia
      Hungary
      Israel
      Norway
      Estonia
      #whatoddspaddy

      I think could be close in this landing ?

    • johnkef

      So happy Estonia didn’t make it. I hated that song from the first time i saw. I never understood why everyone had it so high. I placed a bet at 5.50 not to qualify. It wasn’t a great amount but i feel sooo happy that my instict worked!

  • Me 10 qualifiers from this semi:

    Austria
    Romania
    Netherlands
    Hungary
    Denmark
    Norway
    Belarus
    Bulgaria
    Estonia
    Israel

  • Hippo

    I’m still in a mix over this semi, I have a fairly certain five, a likely three, and then about 6/7 that could qualify or fail just as easily. There’s only three I can rule out with 100% confidence.
    Anyway, my thoughts on each:

    Serbia- Going first is the main negative here, the semi is so open and Serbia’s song so hook-less and staging so forgettable that it is difficult to put it above enough equally average attempts. There are a few entries that should get a poor jury score however and Serbia feels like it’s doing just enough to get a middling ranking by default. It’s a fairly friendly semi, so I feel they can also get a top 10 with the public or close to it if the
    diaspora comes through. Borderline.

    Austria- Draw the negative again. Nathan is doing a good job with very limited material here. I think this is through with the jury, although I have my doubts on the memorability of this with the public. Again, borderline.

    Fyr Macedonia – Not a definite nq, but it feels the lowest in the pecking order of those with any chance. I’d be surprised if it is able to beat all 6 rivals for one of the last slots.

    Malta- Large jury/televote split goes without saying. I think the televote will be just too low to pull this through but it shouldn’t be as far off as the odds suggest.

    Romania- The first of the televote songs in this semi. Will need (and get) a large haul as I expect juries to tear this apart. Might be too low on juries for a top 3 place, but will qualify.

    Hungary- I’m going back to my initial thoughts of this not making it. I think it just falls short on both sides, juries won’t dig an ethnic rap and whilst there is a market for this with the public and it’s not as forgetful as some entries, I don’t think there’s enough people in enough countries who will vote for this. That said, its another borderline.

    Netherlands- Ogene are well above this song. I am confident on this going through, which would be mainly due to vocals. Another where the jury will be much higher.

    Denmark- Again, how much can vocals do here? My guess is enough to get Denmark through but I would not be backing at these odds and have opposed in top 10 and top15 markets. If I had to pick one that everyone tends to agree will do fairly well and qualify but is a bit of a shock like Finland then this would be it. I have them through, but wouldn’t be surprised if all the polishing on this poor song doesn’t get them through.

    Ireland- The first definite non qualifier. Technically decent vocals but not to everyone’s taste and out sung by others, dated song, not brilliant staging, no voting power, poor comparison to Bulgaria. There’s just too much going against this.

    San Marino – I don’t think this is fun or novelty enough to pick up many televotes and not good enough on merit to do well on either side. Definite nq.

    Croatia -I have this as a qualifier and closer than a few others. It’s ridiculous enough to do very well on the televote and there’s some diaspora there whilst juries can’t fault his vocal and it’s hardly a semi overflowing with jury songs anyway so he has to get something on that side too.

    Norway – has running order in its favour over the other borderliners and a great hook but not much else. I suppose being modern will help with the juries too but this could go either way.

    Switzerland – lacking a usp. Switzerland is friendless and can’t afford to enter a song that gives you little reason to vote. After a messed up jury performance and off staging, I think this is really struggling now. I would be surprised if this makes it, although it’s not dead and burried.

    Belarus – Missing Russia as that 20+ points would have made them safe in my book. I think there’s still enough here for them to get through and its not one of my main concerns but it isn’t certain.

    Bulgaria- Running order and the semi have fallen very kindly, and like most, I can realistically only see this winning the semi. I think juries will go heavily for this as the closest follow on to Dami Im. Probably tops the televote too, although Romania or Estonia could pip it potentially as I feel there’s something not adding up with the whole package. With the high jury/televote split however, this is the only song I see winning the semi.

    Lithuania- Can diaspora get this through? No. The best the diaspora can do is save this from last place. Can’t see where it’s getting any other points.

    Estonia- Typical old school Eurovision duet. Cheesy and classy and will do very well on the televote from here. A certain qualifier but juries will hurt this. I do think the popularity of this with fans will be replicated in the public results too.

    Israel – Safe qualifier and ideal show opener. Will do well in this semi with the pimp slot but will struggle without it in the final.

    Overall 1-18 prediction:
    1. Bulgaria (Jury 1, Televote 1)
    2. Netherlands (Jury 2, Televote 6)
    3. Estonia (Jury 8, Televote 2)
    4. Israel (Jury 4, Televote 4)
    5. Romania ( Jury 14, Televote 3)
    6. Croatia (Jury 10, Televote 5)
    7. Denmark (Jury 3, Televote 10)
    8. Belarus (Jury 11, Televote 7)
    9. Serbia ( Jury 12, Televote 8)
    10. Austria ( Jury 6, Televote 11)
    11. Norway ( Jury 7, Televote 12)
    12. Hungary (Jury 13, Televote 9)
    13. Fyr Macedonia ( Jury 14, Televote 13)
    14. Malta ( Jury 5, Televote 17)
    15. Switzerland ( Jury, 15, Televote 14)
    16. Ireland (Jury 16, Televote 16)
    17. San Marino (Jury 17, Televote 15)
    18. Lithuania (Jury 18, Televote 17)

    I’m keeping things small in this semi, just some on Croatia, Israel to q and a bit Hungary, Switzerland Nq.

  • Sindi

    My prediction has exactly the same qualifiers but in slightly different order. I have more faith in Austria as everyman-friendly pop. My last three places were decided with difficulty between Denmark, Belarus, Croatia and Norway.

  • Croatia to qualify the best of the week for at odds-against…

    Honestly surprised that this isn’t priced up at 1.6x

    Juries should eat it up and following San Marino dirge can only help, along with an allie friendly semi

    http://www.cherryanalysts.co.uk/2017/eurovision-2017-semi-final-2/

  • PurpleKylie

    I have:

    Austria
    Romania
    The Netherlands
    Hungary
    Denmark
    Croatia
    Belarus
    Bulgaria
    Israel
    And the last slot I’m torn between Norway and Estonia, but I’m leaning slightly more towards Norway because it’s a more jury-friendly song

  • Stuart

    My 6 certainties to qualify are: Denmark, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Romania, Estonia and Israel.

    My 5 countries certain not to qualify are: Lithuania, San Marino, Malta, Ireland and Macedonia.

    I feel that Austria and and Belarus are highly likely to get through.

    That leaves 2 from 5 to get through for me. Could be any of them, but I’m going with Norway and Switzerland

  • Tim van Dijk

    This semi-final is indeed much more difficult to predict. But my 10 qualifiers are:

    – Bulgaria
    – The Netherlands
    – Romania
    – Denmark
    – Hungary
    – Israel
    – Estonia
    – Norway
    – Serbia
    – Croatia

  • Ron

    Something that is getting overlooked in these predictions is that at least three ballads qualify every year. In 13 out of 17 semis, 3, 4 or 5 ballads qualified (including three on Tuesday night) and in another two semis, six ballads qualified.

    People are totally overestimating the chances of the mid and uptempo songs tonight IMO.

  • My call:

    Austria
    Malta
    Netherlands
    Romania
    Denmark
    Croatia
    Switzerland
    Belarus
    Bulgaria
    Israel

    While Estonia was vocally OK last night, particularly when they were singing together, I’m aware this is a package that comes over as dated rather than retro, that did remarkably badly with the Eurojury jury (second to bottom out of all participating countries, with only San Marino faring worse), and that was damaged in the revamp (which stripped out a lot of the bass, making it tinnier and less sensual and emotive). The separation of the two on stage (which has increased since Eesti Laul, the delegation’s stated goal being to keep the two apart “for as long as possible”) is also a potential issue. I loved Laura’s song in Eesti Laul 2009 only to see her sabotage its chances with a weak, passionless vocal, and the same issues have been on display throughout rehearsal period this year, as well as in the winning Eesti Laul performance which Estonian juries ranked a mere 5th out of 10. While Koit’s vocals aren’t as exposed or unreliable, he isn’t always entirely vocally solid either, plus pulls too many “gameshow host” expressions (as if coyly winking “It’s time for the next round!” to the camera), making the song come over cheesier than it should.

    Hungary is my favourite entry tonight, but I tend to think (perhaps over-pessimistically) that it’ll be this semi’s Blackbird. As well as it being downbeat and sad, entirely in Hungarian, and incorporating a lengthy and agitated rap, I think it will be perceived as “non-European”. Europe doesn’t especially like gypsies/Muslims/brown people (categories that are conflated with each other) and sees them as a disruptive other, and in terms of a counterpoint vote, I don’t think this introspective, mournful entry allows people to say “I support Roma” the way Conchita’s rousing and triumphant song allowed people to say “I support gay people”.

    Malta’s qualification record is excellent and it gets a notably high jury score every year; I think Claudia sells this well enough to get it through. The solidness of Imri’s vocal last night – which was excellent – sealed Israel as a Q for me. Ireland is abominable. Lithuania is irrelevant.

    I will admit to doubt as to Belarus. I’ve felt throughout that it’s joyful, distinct and vocally solid, indeed one of the most solid packages in the second half, but I didn’t think it was that good in the jury show last night and for me it got a bit lost in the mix coming between Switzerland and Bulgaria. The precedent of juries putting Samo Shampioni last out of 18 songs in the 2013 semi gives me some cause for concern.

    I do have Switzerland through despite the Pepto-Bismol staging. (Or for Dutch readers, the dubbelvla staging: https://cmgtcontent.ahold.com.kpnis.nl/cmgtcontent/media//001442000/000/001442034_001_33682_708.jpg. ) It’s better, warmer and more accessible than many of the identikit ballads, the vocal for me is fine (she had a wobble last night, but no worse than Isaiah’s), and I think the final minute once she deplinths and interacts with piano stud during the quieter middle-eight is excellent. It’s that final minute that really sells it.

    Tasked with picking one more qualifier between San Marino, Croatia and Norway, I’ve opted for Jacques based on sheer memorability and impact as well as the outstanding vocals and rousing chorus. (Plus his backing guys are hot; I can’t decide whether to call them The Bang Gang or The Erection Section.) Jacques’s perceived personality is warm and confident, and the hook is memorable and stands out great in the recap. Norway, I think, will struggle – the band’s masks hinder connection, Aleksandar’s vocal is very low-key (the song isn’t at all vocally driven and there’s no opportunity for him to display prowess), and the song takes too long to get going and is pretty boring. Plus the “kill kill kill” vocal samples – not a good message and jury-unfriendly.

    There’s a minor concern that Serbia could do a Poland based on the fact that a strong concentration of South Slavic (Croatia/Macedonia/Bulgaria) and diaspora countries (Germany/Austria/Switzerland) are voting tonight. The entry was looking and sounding like a dog’s breakfast a week ago but, almost for the first time, it was actually alright in the jury semi – not outstanding, but fine, competent and in tune. Arguing against this is the fact that Kasia had a much later draw, a much better vocal, and stronger staging (the odd dove manifestation never harmed anyone), as well as a ballad with much more inherent drama.

    I will, of course, have San Marino on redial. For Valentina, for Jimmie, for Uncle Ralph, for schlager, for disco, for ljubav, for for Eurovision, для дух ночі. Avanti my disco warriors!

  • Black n Blue

    There’s less fixed variables tonight than there was on Tuesday. I see Bulgaria as the last possible win contender, even though I think Romania will likely grab the most attention from the press.

    So my definite qualifiers are Romania, Bulgaria, The Netherlands and Israel. I see Estonia, Austria and Denmark as probable qualifiers and I have Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Norway and Belarus filling out the remaining spots.

    Dance Alone is one of my own favourites, but I really struggle to see who the demographic is for this, and why things like Jana’s slutdrop for want of a better word, are even apart of this performance. It reminds me of Mei Finegold’s entry for Israel a few years back where the team just took a wrong turn with the live performance, by harshening something that needed to be a bit more clever and restrained. NQ.

    I don’t have much hope for Ireland. Daniel cites the cute-boy aspect, but to me, Austria ticks that box more convincingly, and the song is miles better. As somebody said on here earlier, Louis Walsh, Linda Martin, Johnny Logan and any other Celtic artifacts need to be kept away from our selection process in the future if we’re to achieve any mild success.

    It’s definitely one of the more unusual Semi finals of recent years. I disagree with those who say it’s the worst ever in terms of quality-I recommend they go watch back the 2nd semi of 2014, which Conchita and Carl Espen aside was awful. To get back on point, it’s unusual because there looks to be several countries with top 10 potential for the final, but only really 1 that could possibly contend to win. A few days ago I had a nibble at Norway top ten and Top 5 could be within range for Romania.

    I’m also anticipating the draw. The producers are already suffering from a headache regarding the 1st half running order. Romania and Bulgaria also drawing 1st half would probably give them migraine. The order is starting to remind me of 2011, with a very front-loaded show in store. If we’ve got Italy 10, Bulgaria 11, and Portugal at 13, it may open up the opportunity for someone in the 19-24 bracket to sneak through.

  • And this (which came out on Friday) should be Serbia’s entry. I’m just going to pretend it is.

  • Chewy Wesker

    semi-final 2

    1.Bulgaria
    2.Netherlands
    3.Romania
    4.Estonia
    5.Denmark
    6.Israel
    7.Hungary
    8.Belarus
    9.Norway
    10.Croatia

    Tonight’s tip is to back Croatia Jacques Houdek bring home the bacon 2.06 available on exchange as I type. Good Luck to everyone Enjoy.

  • Mr Wolf

    My list of Q: Bulgaria, Netherlands, Israel, Austria, Belarus, Denmark, Romania, Estonia, Hungary, Croatia

  • Obi

    Macedonia written off by every poster. Only bet of the night for me is for them to sneak through

  • Hippo

    Since pretty much everyone agrees Bulgaria is winning this semi, I just want to ask how we feel “Beautiful Mess”will go down on esctracker? Top, high, middling, very little? Personally, whilst I respect it’s chances of a top 5, especially if it gets lucky with a second half draw, I feel it might underwhelm with the public, looking a little short in the outright now in my opinion.

    • Ron

      The fact that it’s sung by what looks like a JESC 2016 entrant may hamper its chances. It will be interesting nonetheless to see what the public actually go for after the semi and how sales compare to Semi 1

  • My 10 qualifiers

    1. Bulgaria
    2. Croatia
    3. Israel
    4. Austria
    5. Estonia
    6. Hungary
    7. Romania
    8. Denmark
    9. FYROM
    10. Belarus

    Shocker non-qualifier: The Netherlands

  • My qualifiers for tonight:

    Serbia
    Austria
    Romania
    Netherlands
    Denmark
    Norway
    Belarus
    Bulgaria
    Estonia
    Israel

    Was terribly tempted to include San Marino, I think they could surprise, but I’ll be realistic. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Malta swipe it ahead of Norway though.

    No bets for me tonight. Enjoy!

  • I’m going
    Serbia
    Austria
    Romania
    Netherlands
    Denmark
    Croatia
    Malta
    Bulgaria
    Israel
    Switzerland

    Its tough, I’m opposing Norway, Belarus and Estonia – but they could easily push out Malta/Switzerland
    I’m very confident that Croatia or Serbia go through. That amount of voting power for them both can’t see both fail, surely (its not just televote, they also jury vote for each other too, which makes it different to Poland on Tuesday)

    San Marino make things a bit interesting, since their jury votes are “interesting” and the televote points, not actually sure how they allocate them

  • annie

    Its the first time I listen to Bulgaria and if I hadn´t read here that it´s favorite to win I would never know it. I find it pretty average, just like my co-viewers….

  • eurovicious

    Interval thoughts: Estonia was even worse than I expected, but Switzerland also didn’t work for me at all, to the extent that I feel like switching Switzerland and Norway in my Q prediction. Switzerland didn’t really communicate any personality or identity, whereas the songs to either side did, especially Belarus but also Norway which visually worked well and had a distinct identity.

    Ireland was really bad. While his voice isn’t my cuppa, I feel bad for him, it’s like he’s been set up to fail, stuck up alone on that dour stage in that terrible hot air balloon with a dated insipid song. You could tell he was nervous/uncomfortable.

    Other than that everything was more or less as I expected, most of the songs came together well and it was fun and varied. Israel is solid af, Croatia worked really well (I almost don’t find it kitsch at all anymore, it works on its own terms), Romania was great, Austria communicated a ton of personality, I can see Nathan in the lower reaches of the top 10 because he really brings character over and it’s a breath of fresh air. I kinda feel worried for Denmark cos as competent as Anja is, it’s really generic and comes over as irrelevant filler. I’d love Hungary or Macedonia to get through instead of it.

    Serbia was OK but communicated no personality. Jana beats it on that front, not just cos of the pregnancy VT but because the whole act has much more character.

  • annie

    despite being on relatively early Romania was trending almost up to now on twitter. Do you think they could have won the semi?
    I thought they were good, but I expected them to come across with even more power…I guess they saved some of the energy for the final.

  • Chewy Wesker

    9/10 I had Estonia when I should of had Austria.

  • George

    Estonia is the OGAE flop of the year then…

  • Hippo

    Need to stop picking duets to come third in semis…
    8/10 for me, had Nor and Hun 11th and 12th so close I guess.
    Knew they’d announce Bulgaria first to give best shot at second half.
    Congrats Kylie, 10/10.

    • Sagand

      The probability of Bulgaria drawing second half is the same whether they were first or last if it’s a fair draw. (If they are rigging it they would need him to be in the first three)

      • George

        I’d say the best to pick second half is probably the 3rd-6th region, by probability the first few are more likely to pick second half.

        Not long to find out!

        • Sagand

          The maths of the situation is they all have a 30% chance of second half.

          • George

            If they all picked from the bowl at the same time, yes. But they don’t.

          • Sagand’s right.

            If you pick first, your probability of second-half is 0.3.

            If you pick second, your probability of second-half is (0.7 x 0.33333) + (0.3 x 0.22222) = 0.3.

            If you pick third, the maths gets more complicated… but it’s 0.3, all the way down to picking tenth.

  • Simon 'le chat'

    Italy and Portugal may get a place but neither will win.
    Remember the French favourites a few years ago?
    To win this competition you have to sing in English.
    Horse racing, footy betting, rugby betting the bookies are ahead of the field.
    However there are a few markets left where they are exposed and Eurovision is one.
    Bet on what the public will want and enjoy, not what you think they want.
    Romania is the buy for the Le Chat camp.
    Frank Ifield meets Bewitched.
    Buy, buy .buy now.
    It will be too late after the live performances.

  • Mark-Jay

    I agree with Simon. I would question WTF is going on behind the scenes if Italy are crowned the winners. If any other Country (any eastern bloc Country) sang this song it would be 100/1 ++ I don’t see it.

    I feel that Belgium, Romania, Portugal and Bulgaria for Top 4.

  • 8/10 for me. Quite fair that FYROM and Estonia were left out however. Their performances were lacking a lot. Especially for Estonia, Laura sounded terrible. The Netherlands deserved qualification, although this kind of song is probably jury-boosted.

    It’s quite interesting that the first question to Kristian at the press conference was whether he has received any message from his mentor Dima Bilan after his qualification. With most of the Baltic and ex-Yugoslav countries absent from the final his chances are getting better and better…

    Very happy for Hungary as well! The key changes to the violin parts were staged amazingly and the audience loved it.

    Norway made it to the final! After the Latvian elimination I was discouraged for Norway as well. But they made it! Hope to see them at the left-hand side of the board on Saturday night

  • Black n Blue

    9/10 for me so better than last time. Like most here I had Estonia as a qualifier, but you could tell watching it live that it was total rubbish. A fair result overall. It felt like each thru deserved their place.

    Was watching with the family tonight, and Bulgaria was the unanimous favourite with them. Still waiting for the draw but it looks as though they’re right on track to equal and possibly eclipse Poli’s result.

  • 2nd half draw for Bulgaria! Game Over…

    • annie

      honestlyyyyyyy, he didn ´t even do one mix in that bowl……

      • Hippo

        Yeah, when I was saying above about increasing his chance of a second half draw, I wasn’t necessarily only referring to on probability…

        Still don’t think it wins, covered at 19s other day so it wouldn’t be the worst outcome for me, but there’s only so far it can be pushed.

  • Shai

    Austria – 1st half
    Romania – 2nd half
    The Netherlands – 1st half
    Hungary – 1st half
    Denmark – 1st half
    Croatia – 1st half
    Norway – 2nd half
    Belarus – 1st half
    Bulgaria – 2nd half
    Israel – 1st half

  • Shai

    Austria, Poland, Denmark and Croatia are my candidates to get death slot number 2 from the producers

    • Rob4

      boy, and don’t they all deserve it…

    • eurovicious

      There are only two ways to approach the running order. One is as though no slot is a miracle. The other is as though every slot is a miracle.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Moldova or Israel going first, followed by Austria or Poland and Croatia.

    • Black n Blue

      I think you’ve just killed me EV xD

    • Ok, let’s see who gets the running order right… If someone does, don’t gamble again, you will have exhausted your luck at this…

      1. Moldova
      2. The Netherlands
      3. Belarus
      4. Croatia
      5. Poland
      6. Austria
      7. Azerbaijan
      8. Hungary
      9. Armenia
      10. Italy
      11. Israel
      12. Denmark
      13. Portugal
      14. France
      15. Cyprus
      16. Belgium
      17. Greece
      18. Norway
      19. Bulgaria
      20. Spain
      21. Sweden
      22. Ukraine
      23. United Kingdom
      24. Romania
      25. Germany
      26. Australia

  • Hippo

    My running order prediction:

    1.Israel
    2.Poland
    3.Croatia
    4.Hungary
    5.Moldova
    6.Denmark
    7.Armenia
    8.Austria
    9.Belarus
    10.Azerbaijan
    11.Italy
    12.Netherlands
    13.Portugal
    14.Germany
    15.Spain
    16.Australia
    17.Greece
    18.Norway
    19.Romania
    20.France
    21.Bulgaria
    22.Ukraine
    23.UK
    24.Cyprus
    25.Belgium
    26.Sweden

    Quite a hard one.
    Key considerations, split up all the ethnic in first half, start safe, fast and typical, spread fun songs as best as possible, help favourites, fast slow, male female each different as much as possible from song to song.

  • niko

    How do you bet on a contest where you don’t understand one of the favourites? Normally, I might not like all of the favourites, but I can at least understand why many people might like it. Bulgaria this year just leaves me totally cold. It is bland, generic and boring, a three-minute snooze-fest. It was without exaggeration the performance tonight I was the least interested in. To my ears, it sounds like something that should have 100/1 odds. And still everyone else seems to like it. This is weird, I’ve never experienced anything like this in Eurovision.

    On the other hand, I like the Netherlands, but their performance tonight was a bit disappointing and flat, I think. I wouldn’t bet on them reaching the top 10 now.

    I’m pleased with the results overall however and I think it is a pretty good final field all things considered. We’ve gotten rid of a lot of the boring stuff and have a good mix left, so Saturday’s going to be fun.

    • Agree about Bulgaria. It’s just a good song but I cannot feel that special felling of a winner. I do feel this feeling for Portugal. Italy’s song is also good but no special feeling. I really think Portugal will be the winner.

      • I’m on board with this. The market currently suggests a three-horse race, but I also think Belgium has drifted too far – it has a second-half draw and is doing fantastic on ESC Tracker. It’s hookier and more emotive than Bulgaria.

        • Hippo

          That. I’ve had Portugal number one for nearly two months and that hasn’t changed, but I’ve mainly been adding Belgium these last few days. We can sit here all day and say the performance isn’t that good or she isn’t selling it that well (and some will), but every objective indicator suggests this did very well -at least with the public- in the semi final. People ignoring all of that just seem biased against it. It has the beating of Bulgaria in the televote, as well as Sweden who are also trading lower and right now from that position in the running order between the aggressive Ukraine and arrogant Sweden, I fancy them to beat Italy in the televote too. I would not want to have Belgium red.

  • Black n Blue

    I’ll give the running order a go:

    1. Israel
    2. Poland
    3. Belarus
    4. Hungary
    5. Austria
    6. Denmark
    7. Moldova
    8. Netherlands
    9. Croatia
    10. Armenia
    11. Italy
    12. Azerbaijan
    13. Portugal
    14. Germany
    15. Australia
    16. Norway
    17. Belgium
    18. Spain
    19. United Kingdom
    20. Cyprus
    21. Sweden
    22. Ukraine
    23. Bulgaria
    24. Greece
    25. France
    26. Romania

  • Dana

    Nothing from tonight making much of an impact on Itunes currently. I wonder if Belgium are still in with a chance?

  • I know this is a Marmite comment BUT….

    I have missed ONE ESC since 1967 and with the elimination of Estonia this evening I feel a part of my Eurovision soul has died….

    OK…growing up is hard……but it hurts.

    • If they’d kept it at the Eesti Laul version it’d have had a much better crack at getting through. They seem to have spent 2 months making it worse all round – vocally, visually, and the production. I was head over heels for it when it won Eesti Laul but they murdered it tonight. It was everything – Laura’s strained vocals, Koit’s “you’ve won a micro-combi oven!” cheesy grins, the terrible production, and the direction.
      (Laura also has a track record of vocal issues that I’ve long been aware of: http://twitter.com/EstoniaKat/status/306093523487293441)

  • Dana

    Running order is now out

    1. Israel
    2. Poland
    3. Belarus
    4. Austria
    5. Armenia
    6. The Netherlands
    7. Moldova
    8. Hungary
    9. Italy
    10. Denmark
    11. Portugal
    12. Azerbaijan
    13. Croatia
    14. Australia
    15. Greece
    16. Spain
    17. Norway
    18. United Kingdom
    19. Cyprus
    20. Romania
    21. Germany
    22. Ukraine
    23. Belgium
    24. Sweden
    25. Bulgaria
    26. France

    • kingston

      lolz… they couldn’t put italy at no10… nice placement of the frontrunners italy and portugal though…. that segment– songs 8/9/10/11/12 and even 13 feels like a real diverse euro song contest

    • Sagand

      After Portugal you have two wtf performances, then two vocalists who were poor in the semis and then Spain. It’s over twenty minutes until you see anything else of quality.

  • Croatia in 13th. Must have won the semi 😀

    • Italy 9th.

      Just leaving that here.

      I think the contest is Portugal vs Belgium now, not Portugal vs Bulgaria. They both have the perfect slots – Salvador has Conchita’s, and Blanche has the coveted “three songs from the end” slot.

      Israel is the perfect opener. It’s so much better on stage than in the music video. It’s a great entry that embodies classic Eurovision values of dance pop, folk instruments, hot guys and armpit hair.

      • John

        Israels draw has really naffed me off. It went down very well and now it’s been junked at the start, because of the now arbitrary ‘opening up tempo rule’.

        I doubt it will do a ‘Belgium’ this year and pressure the top 10. Lame. I was feeling clever about that bet.

  • RonH

    Tonight I took screenshots from the OSRAM illuminations of the voting results during the live show (as shown on the webcam of the eurovision app). Comparing the colours results in four groups of similar scores (I give them in running order) (asterisk = qualified):

    High rankings (red):
    – Netherlands *
    – Norway *
    – Bulgaria *

    Second group (orange):
    – Denmark *
    – Switserland
    – Israel *

    Third group (yellow)
    – Serbia
    – Austria *
    – Romania *
    – Hungary *
    – Ireland
    – Croatia *
    – Belarus *
    – Estonia

    Fourth group (green)
    – FYR
    – Malta
    – San Marino
    – Lithuania

    The app-users don’t have to be representative, but it seems the voting app is quite good in predicting. It will be interesting to see Switzerland is indeed killed by the juries, like some argue on the internet. We will know when all scores are published. My prediction on the basis of this small analysis is this might very well be the case.

  • BT

    Number 18 looks great for the UK coming after a run of Australia, Greece, Spain and Norway and then followed by nothing that will stand out too much bar Romania. Top 10 looks a solid bet now.

    • Simon 'le chat'

      I disagree BT. The song and performance are very good but the Uk could perform their entry ten times tomorrow night but they wont make top 10. Why? Political non vote. We don’t want to be a part of Europe so why should they want to vote for us?
      Good luck if you’re having a bet though.

  • Germany 3rd last place in a row? Spain has more identity and NTB appeal. Perfect Life (Shitanium) has no personality, no why, no sense of what it is or who it’s for.

  • Sagand

    I don’t think the production team went to much trouble to shuffle up the filler. In the second semi final the qualifiers that drew first half in the order they performed: Austria, Netherlands, Hungary, Denmark, Croatia, (then Belarus and Israel)

    Order they will perform in the final Austria 4th, Netherlands 6th, Hungary 8th, Denmark 10th, Croatia 13th (Belarus 3rd and Israel 1st)

  • I’m officially jumping ship from Italy to Portugal. The stars were aligned for Francesco but it’s not quite bringing the same magic of the studio version or San Remo to Kyiv as things stand.

    I can literally feel Kylie laughing and cackling somewhere in Kyiv. 😛

  • This is some seriously underwhelming charting for a supposed contender. By this time after her semi e.g. Blanche had five top10, eight top20 in total, and seventeen top100 in total.

    Bulgaria has zero top10, zero top20, and six top100 in total.

  • RD

    Fun facts: Lucie will perform a song penned by Emmelie de Forest in the 18th slot, the exact same slot where Emmelie won back in 2013. Kristian is second-to-last in the running order, like his mentor Dima Bilan in 2008.

    That being said, I’m kind of surprised by how undercrowded the succesful 17th-21st positions are. Many winners ever since the SF introduction have won in such slots (OK, Jamala was the first ever to win in the 21st position but it remains a nice place to be drawed in) and only Romania seems a contender this year (and they won’t be liked by juries). OTOH, having Belgium and Bulgaria so close to each other and appealing to (probably) the same age group (and after a looooooong middle section of the Contest) seems rather… interesting.

    Portugal comes after a run of energetic performances starting with Moldova and is followed by the two weirdest stagings of the year. They really seem to try to make him memorable for the audiences.

    Spain having the dead 16th slot and Australia having the early 14th were NID for me. Australia seems to have been the lowest scoring song in the televote among the 1st semi qualifiers. And the last placed song(s) will be among the group of Spain, Australia, Germany and France (France might have the worst camera shots of the year).

    Sweden and Denmark might have been placed really low among the qualifiers. Not surprising for Sweden: it’s the kind of visual performance that gets overviewed in YouTube yet it has much less views than, say, Slavko.

    And I’m not sure Poland has done that bad in the televote to merit the 2nd slot. Not with their diaspora. The first half does seem to be overcrowded.

    IMRI as the opener is more of a Maraaya than a Laura Tesoro for me.

  • 360

    Belgium and Bulgaria at #23 and #25 is dangerous territory for sure, with Italy and Poland back at #9 and #11. Sweden at #24 also.

    Edit: Oops, didn’t see the previous post about it. Still though, this might produce a shakeup, or eat into some of the favourites’ votes.

    • 360

      Having taken some time to mull it over and seeing some of the acts together now…. (I didn’t see SF2 last night)

      I’m still not convinced by Portugal. It reminds me most of Poland’s entry last year. If Il Volo couldn’t win it with a similar song with three of them, I don’t fancy Portugal’s chances. Could be a shoe-in for top 5 but not for the win.

      I wouldn’t completely discount Gabbani yet. I’m reminded of Poli Genova’s surge to 4th last year, without any previous hype, just from being an early upbeat number that felt like it was getting the party started and getting the show on the road. Occidentali’s Karma’s previous hype and overwhelming youtube views, as well as potential to become a meme like Moldova’s saxophonist will all work in its favour too.

      I feel having seen them all now that Blanche and Bulgaria’s entry this year feel like the most obvious winners, and Gabbani too. Of the three, Gabbani has probably the worst draw, so the other two are probably the strongest sure contenders. I also feel that Bulgaria and Blanche will both go down really well with juries, as well as picking up a decent televote.

      Sweden is one I am just not sure on. If juries like it, it could really throw a spanner in the works, just by being the kind of mass appeal track that could pick up a bunch of 8s and 10s through the night, even if it’s not quite anyone’s favourite.

      So, I think that’s how I’d call the top 5 now. I do probably need to watch more of the videos so far to be sure, mind.

      For the top 10 I could see UK possibly getting there, and also potentially Moldova – don’t discount the value of the memes, especially since America’s last election. UK is a good package, better than we usually muster up, but spiteful post-Brexit voting could really be a thorn in the side.

      If I had to go orders I would say Bulgaria/Belgium at 1 and 2, and then Italy/Portugal/Sweden and 3, 4, and 5.

      Of course, another occupational hazard not to completely discount is Blanche’s nerves getting the better of her on the night and messing up, which could completely knock her out of the running.

  • John

    I would hazard caution those writing Italy off tomorrow.

    It has the coveted First Banger slot, when the audience are three sheets to the wind and a solid up tempo lands. Moldova steals its thunder a little but is still a repetitive dressed up affair.

  • glc

    Happy with SF2 results – had money on Croatia Q, Austria Q, Belarus Q and Estonia NQ (at 1.27), Macedonia NQ, Switzerland NQ. Only lost out on Serbia Q.

    Am a bit terrified of a Sweden win with the juries giving it a huge boost and a decent televote due to slot #24. Very average song so would be hugely disappointing (though Portugal is the only favourite I’m red on currently)

    Still think Italy will win – think the market is getting distracted but there hasn’t been any value in the price for months – I got it for 15.5 originally and then topped up at 2.7 a while back.

  • wef

    Really significant draw and incredibly interesting reading different views on it. I would suggest that not all of Bulgaria, Belgium and Sweden did well in the semi-finals. I suspect only one did with my money on Bulgaria even though personally I much prefer Belgium.

    I still think I just favour Italy but a Portugal win is, I have to concede, now a possibility.

    Other thoughts…. It seems highly unlikely to me that the producers haven’t put a contender for a really good finish in slots 12-22. A closer look at that section is needed. I’ve considered who is around who. It looks to be like several mini parts of this bit of the draw sees the songs cancel each other out except from 15-19 where is a lot filler and one very good all round package and that is the UK. I can’t see it not being in the Top10 and it has a good chance now of Top 5….. I certainly think that the producers think this- which is different from it actually happening.

    Final point- France playing the Molly role this year.

    • Croatia is the most interesting to me. Drawn 13th, the last 3 years that slot has been given to either a SF winner or runner up. It would seem odd to put them there and not Portual 13/Italy 11 unless they were top 2 in SF2 – with the voting power of the balkans in SF2, that is certainly possible. As such, I think croatia top 10 seems a great bet at current prices

      • wef

        I can see Croatia Top 10 as a good bet but did you see it last night? Bizarre…. Good performance though

        • Yes, it actually came across pretty well. First time I heard it, I was convinced it was a NQ, but after backing it to qualify last night, I’ve now found myself backing it to finish top 10….lol the madness

  • With ESC Tracker I think it’s important not just to look at how many countries something is entering the iTunes chart in but also how high. Thus, as of right now:

    Top 10 positions outside of home country:
    Belgium – 2
    Portugal – 0
    Bulgaria – 0
    Italy – 0

    Top 20 positions outside of home country:
    Belgium – 4
    Portugal – 2
    Bulgaria – 1
    Italy – 0 (bearing in mind it obvs hasn’t been shown in full yet)

    Top 40 positions outside of come country:
    Belgium – 9
    Portugal – 6
    Bulgaria – 3
    Italy -3

    Portugal is shown in pole position on ESC Tracker, as it’s charting in more countries than Belgium (including non-participating countries like Luxembourg and Macau), but Belgium’s chart positions are consistently higher. I don’t think Bulgaria is making that much of an impact on song level.

    • annie

      another thing to think about when considering esc tracker: how many sales does one actually need to chart in a country or another?
      I am making this up but lets say some countries a few hundred sales are enough to chart, as people dont buy music but many more people vote. we know from x factor that music buying people don´t overlap much with voting people, so esctracker shows voting popularity with a huge margin of error I think…

      • You’re right, it often doesn’t take that much. Also, paid downloads are increasingly in decline as more and more people (especially young people) just stream, though Spotify is still unavailable in all of eastern Europe apart from the Baltic states and Visegrad countries.

        • Chris Bellis

          Just a technical point. Spotify is popular with my friends in Eastern Europe but they all use a VPN to get it. Much as I use a VPN and a made up US address to listen to Pandora.

      • I think it’s been written in previous years on how much faith to put into the figures. Basically, you can use at as an indication on how popular that song is, it’s not the be all and end all, but to dismiss them would be foolish.
        Last year, the top 2 (Australia and Russia) I seem to remember were a lot more popular in terms of sales/top 10s (Ukraine were about 5th pre-final, but you can say that Ukraine was a powerful performance you wanted to vote for, but not listen to on your walkman/ipod/phone/device)

        The last time an automatic qualifier was a favourite (Italy funnily enough) they were charting to a similar level if memory serves me right.

        The spotify streams have Belgium comfortably the most popular too, and as EV correctly pointed out, Spotify/streaming has become more popular in the last 2 years, so perhaps this is an indication of why the itunes sales look less than before

        • What baffles me is how people could hear the Belgian entry for the very first time with Blanche’s live vocal and terrified expression, and respond to it with the same fervour we all responded to the studio version. She obviously qualified very very comfortably, but there’s got to be a ceiling to her score on Saturday with such a strained performance, surely?

          • I understand Ben, but a lot of people that saw the performance for the first time on Tuesday, were moved by her performance of a song which she is singing about being scared and alone. It might not be intentional, but seems to work

    • This comparison suffers from the fact that Portugal and Belgium already peaked as they performed two days earlier than Bulgaria. If you instead compare the same time frame after performance, both Belgium and Portugal completely obliterate Bulgaria.

      To quote myself from above:

      “By this time after her semi e.g. Blanche had five top10, eight top20 in total, and seventeen top100 in total.

      Bulgaria has zero top10, zero top20, and six top100 in total.”

      It’s not even remotely close.

  • Hippo

    With esctracker, Amar Pelos Dois is not the kind of song that you buy but don’t vote for whereas I can see how the others would be. Bulgaria is charting about what I was expecting. They have done all they can with it but it’s not a very instant song.
    Needs a Dami Im style leg up as I can’t see it winning the televote.
    The Uk is interesting in that 18 slot, that is around where winners and favourites have been put in the past in Swedish running orders (Denmark 2013), (Russia 2016) and it is surrounded by not much. My gut says fifth is the limit but honestly think it has a chance of being top big five and beating Italy. Italy is in a fight to hold onto top 4/5 more than for the win.

    • Ron

      I would be loathe to dismiss Italy’s chances of winning. Portugal and Bulgaria have had the massive exposure of being on the Eurovision stage hence their high placing in the odds but Italy could explode into life tomorrow night and bring themselves right into winning contention.

      The UK is an intriguing one, it could even make a shock entry into the top 3 from that very favourable draw.

    • Interesting that you say Bulgaria need a ‘leg up’ and you can’t see it winning the televote… Ukraine didn’t win the semi-final, televote or jury vote yet still won the contest…

      The way I see it Bulgaria will more than likely finish top 3 in the televote, l expect the usual Rusian backing countries to back a Russian. Interesting that there was a story going around last night on how KK was being investigated for going to Crimea, that should re-inforce the fact he’s Russian and therefore get a good chunk of vote transfer… Russia’s worst result in the last five years was 7th, that was literally during the war with Ukraine, with a poor song and yet people still voted.

      It’s then a case of where will the Jury mark it… another top 3 and it will be hard to beat

      • Ron

        Are Bulgaria not a bit gimmicky for a romantic ballad though? Salvador’s performance is at least touching and sincere but Kristian’s is a bit odd with all those special effects and I find him rather ‘stage school’ as well. One wonders what the juries will make of it.

      • Hippo

        I think the whole born in Moscow thing has been overplayed a little. He’ll do very well on both counts in my opinion too but if he’s not 30-50 ahead of Portugal for example at the end of jury voting I don’t think he’ll win.

      • 360

        Bulgaria reminds me most strongly of Russia’s entry from last year. It plays with it’s production a little on stage the way Dami Im did last year too, and comes across as both polished and creative. The only thing it’s missing is the heterosexual romance-on-stage feature, but none of the leaderboard front-runners have that this year.*

        I feel it will impact, and impact even more strongly if Blanche messes up a little. I’m currently projecting for Blanche to pick up some sympathy votes too though, putting the two back on a more even par.

        *except for Sweden, which, although only having men on stage, is the only song of the favourites to even reference heterosexual romance in its song, which it does openly. That in itself stands out to me as something that will help it, of the top 5 tips (Bulgaria/Belgium/Italy/Portugal/Sweden) pick up votes. Portugal may reference that too, but few voters will know that on the night – I certainly don’t.

        • Portugal may reference that too, but few voters will know that on the night – I certainly don’t.

          Fully agree with that comment… few will pick up on it, beacuse outisde of Portugal in Europe you could fit the Portugesse speakers in a decent sized pub… there’s a reason non-English songs don’t do well… Serbia the last non-English winner… yet that’s a dialect recognised in Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, Montanegro, Macedonia and Czech…

          • Chris Bellis

            “…outside of Portugal in Europe you could fit the Portuguese speakers in a decent sized pub…”
            You don’t live in Lincolnshire obviously. You’d need a stadium, not a pub. The Portuguese diaspora in Europe is (are?) quite significant, and concentrated in UK, Spain, France, Germany and Italy. All voting countries.

          • @Chris
            Fairish comment… 1.5m in France is significant
            But 88k in The UK doesn’t measure up to much… I think The UK will vote Poland, Moldova and Australia ahead of Portugal in the televote

            For a reference point there’s around 69k Bulgarians in The UK

          • Stoney

            I don’t think you even need to understand the words of the song to be touched by it. Its a beautiful song delivered eloquently. This is what should see it first past the post.

  • Hippo

    Should also say that although I also make Spain and Germany clear favourites for last it’s always worth considering an outsider. Thought of Australia but I’m sure western juries will give it enough to avoid that. I do think Austria has a chance at being last. It has a very poor draw, little voting power, low YouTube views and one 102nd place in Netherlands (except for themselves) on esctracker. I fear the juries pushed him through but now there are much more jury songs to reward and he can get completely forgotten. Austria have recent history of a televote nil points too and I fear there’s a possibility of that here.
    Bet365 offering 41, which I think is great value. Spain probably still gets it but worth a go at those odds.

  • Dana

    The ESC Tracker is a useful indicator of televoting potential- though it does tend to underestimate songs from Eastern Europe. From last year’s televote top 10 Lithuania, Poland and Bulgaria did “okay” and Armenia totally tanked. Didn’t pick up on the Polish butter churners either who went top 5 in televote.

    • The tracker really is good at pointing to potential televote across the board. For instance, a Nordic song charting in Nordic countries means nothing, since it would pickup televotes from them anyway.
      As such, it can’t predict the Polish, Armenian or Lithuanian votes, since they are diaspora based votes – not because that song was popular outside of that bubble (Poland last year is a fine example). Also, you will notice that some countries don’t have anything in the charts for any country – I would presume either the tracker doesn’t have access to that countries charts, or its not used in that country

  • Sagand

    Of course there is a break right after Portugal.

  • johnkef

    and for the 1st time after all those months, Italy is not leading the market…Portugal 2.82, – Italy 2.96…

  • Hippo

    Just came to say the same thing. Once you start looding momentum like this, it’s rare there’s a way back, especially with not long to go. Might fall behind Bulgaria by tomorrow.

    • johnkef

      For the 1st time after all those months Italy has some value, especially if it’s still close after the jury votes. But momentum is gone just when they needed it

      • George

        Momentum doesn’t matter a jot really

        The average televoter doesn’t know, most of them will be hearing Italy for the first time on Saturday

        • johnkef

          Apart from last year, the winner of the contest is the leader of the market on Saturday morning. This is a very good indicationi think of where the thing is going.

          Everyone has his/her own signs and signals that is looking for in order to have a clear picture and this is one of mine

  • Rob4

    there’s always a first time in eurovision. Portugal has never placed higher than 6th. Bulgaria 5th but mostly don’t qualify – when they do qualify though they do well.

    no one seems to be speculating why Bulgaria was not given the sweet spot of 17-22?

    • johnkef

      My speculation is that Portugal is waiting for 48 years to win the whole thing and they finaly sent something special. Add Salvador’s story and we have a fairytale.

      Bulgaria is a new member and is building a momentum but EBU would like to avoid a second year in a raw in a country which is not ready to host the contest.

      I still don’t get why Italy didn’t get one of the 10-13 spots. In the televoting era the two times where a winner came from 1-9 spots were in 1998 with Dana from No8, though i believe she would win from any slot, and Sertab in 2003 from No4 in an average year. I really don’t know if there’s a background in that decision. It’s the first case in 5 years that someone can accuse the producer of punishing one of the favourites.

      • Chris Bellis

        Bulgaria has a thriving music scene and Sofia regularly hosts top events and has some great venues. Actually I would choose Bulgaria over Italy in terms of competence and capability to host Eurovision. If Italy wins, expect wildcat strikes and demarcation disputes to disrupt the event in 2018. However, in both countries the Mafia have quite a big say in how well things turn out. Both countries have their versions of “fakelaki”.

        • johnkef

          I am sure that things have changed since the last time i went there (Sofia-2003). Back then if you had a car with foreign plates, the best thing you could do is find one of the car parks that was owned by mafia and leave it there, just to be sure that you will find it when you go back.

          And i can remember all the police officers stoping you in the highway with false accuses of speeding in order to give them 5-10 euros and carry on your journey. This could happen 3-5 times in a 3 hours journey from the Greek borders.

          • Chris Bellis

            Yes John, that still happens. I usually feign ignorance, and say “angliski”, and they wave me on my way without the bribe. If you are Turkish, you’d be lucky not to end up in jail, whether you were speeding or not. Italy is not so different, especially in the south. The answer is to hire a BMW with darkened windows. Works in Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia etc. The police think you are a gangster and leave you alone. When I’m driving my friend’s old Lada in Bulgaria I get stopped all the time. Classic shakedown.

      • PurpleKylie

        Sofia hosted the Junior contest 18 months ago and did a really good job, I think the EBU would be happy to have Bulgaria host the big contest, I believe they are capable of pulling it off

        • Chris Bellis

          Yes Kylie. I’ve seen loads of top name bands in Sofia and the production standards are the equal of anything in the UK or Sweden or Austria. Possibly better, since they want to prove how good they are. The other country that is dissed but has a brilliant track record and can host an event is Hungary.

    • Hippo

      It’s not a bad position obviously but they do tend to give the penultimate position to dross (Uk 2016, Alb 2015, Sm 2014). I think the later the better for Bulgaria as it doesn’t have the strongest hook and they’re keeping it well ahead of Australia in case that could take some votes. It’s more surprising they’ve clumped the second half’s 3 favourites all together. I don’t know who out the three that is supposed to help or if it’s designed to help Portugal or Italy (or Uk).

  • markovs

    Lucie will blow everyone away and it’s back to Brighton next year

    • johnkef

      and then the Labor party will win the elections, will cancel the Brexit and next year in the opening ceremony, Jeremy Corbin will read a manifesto that declares UK’s decision to rebuild EU and go all the way to the full unification of the continent….

    • Chris Bellis

      As I’ve said earlier, the first time I’ve not backed the UK for last five, but had a small stake on for top ten. Despite the fears, they’ve staged it well and she is a classy performer. BTW I think the Brexit argument is overdone. Half of the population of the EU are dissatisfied with it, and eurovision voters aren’t all in the EU anyway. I doubt whether Jean Claude Juncker is a Eurovision fan, and even if he were, by that time of the evening he’d be too drunk to vote.

  • Chris Bellis

    Just a comment about France’s staging, which in my view is diabolical, and makes my top ten bet problematic. You have a pretty girl with a nice smile, but you present here as a little dot on a swirling vomit inducing backdrop. Quite the worse staging I’ve seen since Scooch.

    • Hippo

      Thank you. I’ve been meaning to mention this too but France have really worked themselves out of any position worth mentioning on a betting forum. It is the worst staging this year in my opinion though there are a lot guilty of a lazy backdrop and empty stage.

  • Hippo

    There are people petty and silly enough who will think “I like the song but brexit” but I’d put that number very low and won’t make much difference.
    Articles like these are laughable:
    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/may/12/eurovision-2017-uk-lucie-jones-eu

    I don’t think there is a particularly bad or ideal winner from an Ebu perspective:
    Out of the top 6, Portugal has the narrative and makes for good headlines, Italy and Belgium have hit potential, Sweden and UK safe hosts, Bulgaria seem popular in the Ebu and could start a decent career for Kristian and would be cheap for delegations too.

    It’s not like last year where they were desperate for Australia to win instead of Russia or Ukraine.

  • Keanu

    Kevin Hatchard of Betfair and their expert on Eurovision is pro Bulgaria advising them as winners. Laying Belguim in top 5
    Backing Armenia top 5
    Australia top 10 and A maybe for UK top 10.

    He called Poland and Croatia to qualify in semis and with the way Bulgaria are performing I may be siding with this guy on a Bulgarian win.
    After having coverage on Italian​ and Portugal it has to come from these 3 to win it.

    Similarly be interesting on the top 5 and top 10 placing . I not sure in UK I don’t see it any better than Denmark who could similar place or Australia who have a great record in Eurovision.

    Anyway will see and have enjoyed reading all peoples theories and suggestions on winners and places on this site thanks

  • Johannes

    Ranking
    1. Italy -> long time “obviosly” winner. Then I saw staging 6/10, so messy. If at least little improvement staging and success vocally, naked gorilla torilla=win.
    2. Portugal -> atmosphere 9/10. Thrilling and vulnerable, but also maybe little bit boring… Maybe east not good points at televote?
    3. Bulgaria -> staging, voice 9/10. But song maybe has to be one level better, if winning. Last minute intensity gone at the staging, not good.
    4-6. Sweden, UK, Belgium. Keep an eye on it Sweden and UK. Especially UK, Staging WoW efect, anyone else the same this year?
    Blackhorse maybe Hungary, but at least 6-8.

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