Eurovision in Concert 2018

The Eurovision market on Betfair has the jitters. It feels like there’s a swift reaction to every bit of news or concert footage. Market leader Israel traded as short as 2.6 as Netta took to the stage in Tel Aviv. After an understandably nervous and excitable first live performance of ‘Toy’, the price drifted to over 3.0, and it’s currently 3.5. Belgium’s Sennek became friendless on Betfair the same night, after straining badly in the chorus.

Yet in their polar opposite ways, these songs will be completely different in Lisbon: Netta will have three female backing dancers and various camera angles that will presumably get us closer to a sense of the official video; Sennek will be able to create intimacy on stage that’s impossible at a fan concert. And vocal issues have plenty of time to be worked on – both were already more secure on Saturday, although Sennek could do with dialling back further on the crucial “before it all” line.

I won’t go through every Amsterdam performance – I’d seen plenty of the acts in London and learned nothing new about them in the Netherlands. You can check them all out for yourselves at the wiwibloggs or esckaz YouTube channels.

Austria’s Caesar Sampson took the trophy for standout vocals in London, and while he was utterly secure again, last Saturday’s best was Albania’s Eugent Bushpepa – he knocked ‘Mall’ out of the park. The song lacks focus, and has to overcome a #3 slot in the fiendishly difficult first semi-final to qualify. But based on this performance, if anyone can make it happen, it’s Eugent.

Netta was the most anticipated act of the night, and duly informed us that her outfit – involving a stiletto headpiece – was just a teaser for what she has lined up in Lisbon. (I can’t wait for the press centre reaction.) Playing to the crowd, as she loved doing here, invariably makes ‘Toy’ feel a little less focused; the Israeli delegation have the job of making it come together in Lisbon. She was great on the big notes, and the audience was utterly appreciative.

Waylon was another not to disappoint an expectant crowd. The Netherlands’ representative is a consummate live performer, here with another WGWG sidekick. Afterwards, he promised something “sexy, cool, daring and different” for Lisbon, although the market has rather cooled on his chances.

Moldova were ideal show openers: they’re perfectly relatable foils for the joyful nonsense of ‘My Lucky Day’ (or ‘The Thrupple Song’ as I like to call it). Doredos were looking more in sync as a trio than Serbia’s Sanja Ilic & Balkanika. An issue here – as in the national final – is a sense they’re working separately. That can be rectified in Lisbon.

On the other hand, Laura Rizzotto was a positive surprise for me, having not really rated what I’d seen at the national final. Latvia’s main televote allies are in the other heat, but juries might well help her through to Saturday. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but Hungary’s AWS were similarly on the money, and I’m also expecting them to go through from the same semi.

Among my many problems with Ukraine’s entry is it’s really hard to make out what Melovin’s singing. While I understand and sympathise that English is not his mother tongue, I can’t help but compare his progress unfavourably with Belarus’s Alekseev. The latter has made great strides under the tutelage of vocal coach Alex Panayi (who worked similar wonders with Azerbaijan’s Farid in 2013). And in being so careful with his enunciation, a great meme has been spawned.

Like Sennek, FYROM’s Eye Cue came here after appearing to struggle in Tel Aviv, and showed some improvement. It’s still vocally more comfortable in some parts than others, and when you have a song that changes its tune as much as this one, that adds to the general sense of confusion. For all that, it’s a cracking chorus when it does turn up.

Also in the second half of the first semi-final, Armenia’s Sevak was vocally impressive. He just needs to work on being less introverted as a performer. Malta’s Christabelle and Slovenia’s Lea Sirk are lucky to be in the easier second semi-final where they still have an uphill struggle. There was nothing wrong with either performance here, they’re just fronting not particularly voteable entries.

That was it for the acts that I hadn’t seen in London, though if have any questions about the other performances last Saturday, feel free to ask below. Rehearsals start on Sunday April 29, when you’ll get the usual Sofabet coverage from the press centre.

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178 comments to Eurovision in Concert 2018

  • Tim B

    One of the best things about Hungary in Amsterdam was the sheer contrast that it brought to absolutely everything else on stage that night. Plenty will be in for a shock when it appears on screen, but you can’t deny the impact and authenticity that it brings. Hopefully that will be enough to help it escape from the relatively weak second half of semi-final 2.

  • Catriona Colville

    What do you make of France’s chances? The more I see it, the more I think it will take the trophy this year.

  • Shai

    Hungary is not really my cup of tea but what I did noticed is that he comes across as very aggressive performer. Which suits the type of song he sings.

    Here is the thing- it seems that as a man he is allowed an is expected to be aggressive and no one will suggest that he might allianated the audience.
    On the other hand when talking about Netta’s performance, there is an undertone that she comes across as aggressive performer, which can cause the audience to turn against her.

    Is it double standard? probably.
    I do wonder if this will hammer Hungary’s chances of qualifying

    • Hi Shai. It most definitely is double standards but, at the same time, unfortunately highly applicable to real life.

    • Milton

      Henry VIII made a comment in the previous thread about Netta not being fierce at all. If you watch the video back as he suggests she’s a bundle of joy, there’s nothing aggressive or intimidating about her. The song message is in your face and I think people are wrongly confusing that with Netta herself.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        “The song message is in your face and I think people are wrongly confusing that with Netta herself.”

        That’s an important distinction.

        The Hungarian singer’s performance garners less attention and thus less critique on a betting site because Hungary is trading (currently) at @530 while Israel is trading aa the @3.35 favourite.

        The only other country trading (currently) in the bf win market in the 500 to 600 to 1 odds range is Georgia @590. I don’t recall Georgia receiving much comment on these message boards either.

        I am one of only a few commentators on this site to have negatively criticised Mikolas Josef, whose country, The Czech Republic, is trading @8.

        I’ve mused if he comes across as “a prick” and have doubted and derided his dancing. I’ve also speculated that a number of key styling choices as regards Mikolas are all driven by a need to “disguise.”

        By disguise, I mean that as the lad (currently) has a limited repertoire of dance moves and yet is performing as though he is the old new JT, he has been styled as a braces-sporting, glasses-wearing, backpacker nerd-geek to cover his lack of dance ability.

        And by disguise I mean this is meant to distract away from the misogynistic and perhaps revolting lyrics, in a song written by its selfsame performer, Mikolas Josef.

        This is a lad whose previous songs feature his aping Eminem’s voice and delivery. Some of that influence, or should that be admiration, has carried over into the rap-lite of Lie To Me and the lyrical content of Lie To Me. By the way, some of Eminem’s output I love; some I really don’t.

        Mikolas’s hand movements at the beginning of the Lie To Me music video are kind of creepy and sleazy, too, in respect of what he is about to sing / state / ask.

        But as his song is fast-paced, super-catchy and as he is very good looking and charismatic, he gets away with it to the degree that the vast majority of viewers won’t even notice, won’t hear what’s he’s actually saying.

        In that sense Lie To Me is itself a sort of lie.

        • I find that sing-rapping has more hints of Ed Sheeran than Eminem. A lot of this sort of music in the charts right now, and the sax hook is very catchy. Don’t rule it out.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            You’re right.

            I’ve previously watched a couple of his other music videos, where he was obviously trying to mimic Eminem’s singing style.

            Those videos are “Free” and “Believe (Hey Hey).”

          • Guildo Horn Forever

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Lyrics of Lie To Me:

      https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Mikolas-Josef/Lie-to-Me

      In summary,

      Song: Lie To Me.
      Performance: Lie To You.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        If this year is an ESC year with a #MeToo zeitgeist and that breeze, many have speculated, may help give a further push to the sails of Toy, then can the singer-songwriter of Lie To Me really win the ESC this year? That lyrical content should be struggling to swim against the tide, this year.

        Or is Lie To Me so craftily disguised, employing many successful misdirections, that its lyrics will never become an issue? It’s late in the day, late in the season, already, and it remains a non-topic, a non-story; and it took me happening to seek and read the lyrics for me to actually notice.

        Perception is everything?

        As ever?

        • John

          It depends I guess. Bjorkman has put the Czech entry before Israel and the romantic Lithuanian number in the semi. Similar proximity in the final might not help it once Netta’s lyrics start to catch on.

          I remember saying weeks ago that if there’s an opposite to Netta this year it wasnt Waylons Red State rock but Mikolas’ sexist lyrics. But they’ve been wise enough to bury the offensive lyrics in the production. Saying that I cant help wonder if female jurors will be out off. This year in particular.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Oh! I genuinely didn’t read your post pointing out Mikolas’s sexist lyrics. Or it didn’t register. Or I have been subconsciously influenced!!

            I noticed their Neanderthal content the other day. I was seeing if I could remember some of the Czech lyrics. A fragment about Marilyn Monroe came to mind.

            Then I tried to remember the lickety spit pre-chorus lyrics, and figured that they were using fun flim-flammy words along the lines of how That’s How You Write A Song employs in spots.

            I was kinda shocked when I got to reading the lyrics!

            Hmmm. I think I agree. Female jurors will feel it deserves being punished. Mikolas will become less charming and more creepy as the awareness rises. If the lyrical meaning goes airborne, becomes a wider-known “thing,” then the Czech Republic will not win. It would not be allowed to win.

            And what will Mikolas’s counter-argument be, exactly?

            After all, he wrote the bloody thing. Haha!

            I think, as well, I may have seen a producer credit for him for Lie To Me.

            I’d guess some horseshit about his being young, impressionable, Eminem made him do it!! He listened to Lose Yourself backwards? Or maybe a whole batch of Eminem’s back catalogue played regular forwards…

            By the way, digging around for info, I spotted why Mikolas’s English diction is superb. His parents are English teachers, plus he attended Prague’s prestigious English College.

            A point of further fascination, then, is that he confidently penned the lyrics for Lie To Me, knowing that his English language diction is impeccable.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            I realise your point, now, about the running order placement of the Czech number in its Semi, and beyond. Yep, that sure is an interesting one to ponder.

            Upon searching for more Lie To Me background, or foreground, I found this exchange between an interviewer and Netta.

            William Lee Adams: “Have you listened to Czech song? Many people feel it carries an opposite message to what you want to convey. We’re curious what you think.”

            Netta: “Mikolas Josef is hot! Maybe he could lie to me next time we meet.”

            If Netta hadn’t really listened to the lyrics of Lie To Me, that’s a witty answer.

            If she had, then that’s a disappointing answer from her.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Am up scribbling anyway, but do seem to keep on jumping back onto the saddle of my new favourite hobby horse.

            What on earth is meant by his lyric: “Set my camel in the mood…”

            Is this Mikolas’s admission that he is the owner of a very hairy, gigantic, deformed penis?

            If so, since in the music video he is seen joyously riding a camel that is acting as the manifestation of this just mentioned part of his anatomy, should this interaction be read as and viewed as Mikolas publicly riding his own willy?

            Or is he boasting that he is hung like a camel?

            Or that he is a cock jockey?

            😀

          • beckettfitz

            I’ve mentioned this before but people have compared this song to Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty To Me”.

            If Jason sang this song most wouldn’t bat an eyelid and think its ” par for the course”. Hell this song would seem tame being sung by him!

            Is it simply being painted aggressive because its Mikolas and from Czech Republic?

            Now that I think about it I wonder how Jason Derulo would fare in a Eurovision type contest?

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Just spotted the following tweet:

        ++++++++++

        ESCtips.com @ESCtips_Gavster 6 hours ago

        Why are folk so obsessed about Mikolas’ lyrics? It’s only the snowflake prudes in the UK moaning. Mainland Europe and Scandinavia aren’t as sexually repressed as Brits.

        Sexual staging = bad
        Sexual lyrics = who cares?

        ++++++++++

        Gosh! By that measure, I guess I must be a sexually repressed snowflake prude.

        To think that I never knew!

        • Ande

          Indeed you are. I do believe it will affect the jury score in a negative way but I don’t believe it will be one of the most important of factors.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          There’s the confirmation then from Ande, who knows a few things about these matters. That must be that, then 🙂

          I do hope the sentiments of Gavin’s tweet come to the attention of jury members. I’m sure they will immediately be swayed into scoring the Czech Republic entry more highly, lest they be seen as SRSPs. That way they can signal that they enjoy rampant uninhibited sex lives, like all the lusty modern Vikings and randy Swedish au pairs…

          • James

            Lie To Me is no more sexual than half the stuff in the top 40 these days. I really don’t see where all the outrage is coming from.

        • eurovicious

          I think Gavin is right in this instance insofar as people really don’t pay much attention to lyrics. Again, it’s a really Anglocentric/fan bubble way of looking at things. I’ve heard the Czech song 2-3 times and I can’t even tell you what any of the lyrics are (apart from “lie to me, oh baby, come a little closer” in the chorus), let alone the supposedly problematic ones, so to think that the average viewer in Europe with intermediate English at best, watching the show at home with family/friends while chatting and possibly drinking alcohol, is going to be decoding some clumsily written innuendo and be offended by it is ridiculous.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            “…so to think that the average viewer in Europe with intermediate English at best, watching the show at home with family/friends while chatting and possibly drinking alcohol, is going to be decoding some clumsily written innuendo and be offended by it is ridiculous.”

            That would be an unlikely event.

            Just as well no-one on this site has predicted that is going to be happening.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Calling all experienced bf exchange users!

    Advice please!

    I had 3 small bets on the Jury Vote Winner market.

    I have Australia @9.2, Bulgaria @7.4 and most interestingly, Albania @310.

    All of the above are currently trading at substantially lower odds, but despite this market being indicated as having a Cash Out facility (Cash Out Available On This Market) there is no offer being made, at least not in the usual place, nor can I access such an offer.

    Does an individual bet, or bets on one specific selection, have to be individually selected (or: as a set), or isolated (or: as a set), before an individual Cash Out offer can be teased?

    What process or steps reveal the Cash Out offer or offers?

    On the Houston golf tournament I had 2 bets, at different odds, on the same selection, yet Cash Out offers were consistently offered to me throughout.

    • Boki

      I’m not really using cash out often but in this case I guess there is not enough liquidity in the market so it’s not offered.
      As you can see the right lay side hardly has any offers…

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Thanks for replying, Boki. I think I see what you mean.

        There is an unticked “Consolidate” box towards the bottom right hand corner of the page but I think I’ll leave that well alone until I’ve properly researched that option.

        • Boki

          Consolidate only affects how your matched bets are displayed (sorts them), I keep it on average.
          If you click on Settings and Cash Out you’ll see if cash out is turned on or not.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Ah! I see what you mean about Consolidate.

            Checked settings and:

            Cash Out (on Market View)
            Show Cash Out confirmation

            …are both tick-boxed.

            I think the lack of a Cash Out facility might have something to do with their being multiple selections, as well as the liquidity issue you’ve identified and highlighted.

            For example, if I just wanted to cash out solely on Albania, how could I do so, unless I was able to isolate that bet? (Which I am unable, so far, to do.)

          • Boki

            https://en-betfair.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/25/~/exchange%3A-what-is-cash-out-and-how-does-it-work%3F

            Cash out tries to match all your bets on that market. If you want Albania only you need to lay it manually.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Thanks again Boki, I’m also watching some YouTube videos as well, as even though I’m keeping to low affordable stakes I still definitely need to educate myself about the Exchange.

    • Milton

      Guildo, forget the cash out facility, just put up a lay bet offer at a price that you are happy with. If it doesn’t get matched after a day or two increase the offer until someone accepts it. Looking at Albania there is no-one wanting to back them at the moment so there is no way of knowing how your 310 compares with the current market price.

    • Tim B

      If you’re trading the Jury Vote Winner market then you’re going to need Czech Republic, Sweden, Australia and Israel green. Forget the rest.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Thanks for the advice, Tim, though I would be concerned about how vocally secure Sweden’s Benjamin will be.

        • Tim B

          It’s Sweden, so you know they will get it right. Remember he will likely have five hidden backing singers doing most of the work.

          • Seattlesque

            The tricky thing with the backing singers doing most of the work, though, is that that becomes apparent to viewers and they are less impressed/likely to vote. (Compare Estonia’s Tanya in 2014.) Watching Benjamin’s on-screen performance at Mello, with all the (impressive) lights flashing in the background, I wasn’t clear whether he was singing AT ALL. While I’m sure he’ll still do pretty well, given the radio-friendliness of the song, I do wonder whether the live performance is going to underwhelm or confuse viewers and lose votes that way. Maybe just outside the top 10? (I’d be happier with that result…)

        • Ben Cook

          Benjamin has perfect pitch. I’ve been very impressed with his vocals. I know he has a lot of backing, but in the bits he’s singing by himself he sounds great too.

      • Ande

        You are discounting Estonia. On what grounds?

        • Tim B

          It’s not modern, opera is not everyone’s cup of tea – very easy for a juror to rank in 21st, it’s not a strong composition, it’s done very badly in some of these pre-juries. Basically it’s too divisive and not agreeable enough – the opposite of say, Australia. The dress gimmick is also a bit unoriginal.

      • Milton

        Not getting a bit worried about Eurojury Tim? Last nine juries have given Australia just 10 points in total, including six ducks.

        • Tim B

          No, it’s in the Top 4 which is good and higher than Portugal (and Bulgaria) was last year and higher than Jamala (but not Dami) the year before. It’s a potential jury winner, both of the semi and the final.

          • Milton

            Fair point, but Jamala and Salvador took it to another level on the Eurovision Stage, there was a depth and a quality that didn’t come across on the video. Its hard to imagine Jessica elevating things in Lisbon in that way. In fact judging by the live concerts she will do well to match the vocals on the video let alone exceed them.

          • Tim B

            Absolutely, but I’m sure Jessica can do the same when her backing singers are helping her out and she’s not running across a big stage. They also might have some great modern/expensive staging, which would elevate her jury scores.

          • John

            I agree about Australia. Jessica is bringing the charm offensive and seems very relatable in a Lena Mandrut kind of way. She’s down to Earth and bouncy and beyond her the song is catchy and develops well across 3 minutes.

            Personally I think its likely to near miss against Israel’s more relevant, jury friendly and memorable antics. But its seems a three horser between those two and Rybak for me at the moment.

            Bulgaria, Sweden and Czech Republic are all way too divisive.

          • Milton

            Do the same as Portugal and Ukraine? I think that’s where we disagree Tim. Most years someone tends to massively up their game and surprise us, Portugal and Ukraine being cases in point. I completely get the appeal of Australia, but surely its a ‘what it says on the tin’ kind of song – uplifting, anthemic, enjoyable? Absolutely. Sophisticated, subtle, hidden depths, a vocal masterclass? No. If you were looking for a song that the jurors in three weeks were gonna say, ‘wow didn’t see that coming’ I doubt that Australia would be at the top of your list. Yes the backing singers will help her out and in all likelihood get her to the level of the video, but surely that will be the extent of their ambitions? If she’s not winning over enough Eurojury voters now to challenge for the win, I find it hard to see why you’re singling her out as someone who is particularly likely to change their minds in Lisbon.

          • Showlad

            I am in total agreeance with you Milton on Oz. This year’s red herring in the betting. A very nice girl but vocally suspect when it matters and the cracks started to show in Amsterdam. Crucially she doesn’t have that star quality of say a Dami, Conchita, Loreen or Jamala and the song is poppy and good but very derivative of the genre. Also for some misguided sections of the public voting block she doesn’t fit their ‘European winner’ profile and for me this at best will place 5th to 10th.
            Jessica is lovely and the song is sweet, uplifting and well constructed but it won’t be winning any semi or grand final.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Re Benjamin and Sweden’s jury score, I think it’s an instance of whether you are seeing it as having more in common with the (Swedish) year of Måns or of Frans.

            Perhaps Alex Rybak rather than Benjamin has more in common with the Måns show? Although: does the audience participation fun factor and interaction with the squiggled graphics in The Norwegian show correlate better with another predecessor (beyond the scope of my fairly recent ESC knowledge)?

            Also, I’d add that I’d hesitate to call Alex Rybak a wonderful, as good as anyone else, singer.

            Or is that missing the point and simply irrelevant when it comes to Norway and Alex.

            Also are more allowances made when a singer is incorporating a lot of movement into their performance?

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            @ Showlad

            “Also for some misguided sections of the public voting block she doesn’t fit their ‘European winner’”

            Embarrassingly, I remember once making that point about Dami Im!

            But I see your point: Isaiah Firebrace’s father is from the Yorta Yorta Indigenous people; Jessica Hilda (!) Mauboy’s mother is from the Kuku Yalanji Indigenous people.

            As easily recalled, Isaiah received 2 points from the televote in the Final.

            Though maybe that was more down to a downbeat song, his downbeat demeanour and him looking too young for the song theme.

            Quiz question: No peeking now! but which country was it that gave Oz those 2 points?

        • Ande

          @Guildo and Sweden
          Sweden 2018 definitely has more in common with 2015 than 2016.

          2016 was an odd year for Sweden in that they had perhaps the strongest song but akin to Belgium 2017 was let down by a surprisingly weak production and performer. Frans was outvoiced by Dami, Michał and Jamala, outshined by Poli, Iveta and Amir and outproduced by Russia and Ukraine. What saved Sweden from a total failure with juries was the contemporary and in an eurovision context innovative staging unique sound.

          The Sweden of 2015 was a more typical year for Sweden. Italy probably had the stronger song while both Polina and Il Volo outsung Mans. Sweden instead won on currentness and production values. Comparatively the Italian production/choreo was lazy while Russia’s production if almost as slick was derivative and much less modern than ‘Heroes’. These are qualities that televoters doesn’t necessarily care about if the more important fundamentals are present. Juries by nature look for ‘objective’ excuses to like an entrant resulting in more of a checkboxing approach.

          Comparing 2018 to 2015 Benjamin is not quite on par with Mans but still close when it comes to on stage presence, dancing and singing ability. The production is even more tight and slick than 2015 (juries like slick!) but unfortunately the staging lacks a bit of presence and emotional connection. The song itself is quite modern but also lacks some of the punch that ‘Heroes’ carried.

          In conclusion I believe matching Sweden at 10+ for a jury win is a well calculated risk when competitors have yet to show a coherent package. Bettors are seriously underestimating how strong Sweden are with juries relative to televoters this year and being a ‘Heroes’ light is enough to carry the jury vote in an off year. Benjamin is just a Netta-debacle away from doing so.

      • John

        I’d be wary of leaving out France for Jury Winner. But you can definitely forget Estonia.

  • Ben Cook

    This could be bollocks, but someone reckons Macedonia are spending some money on staging. I live in hope.

    https://twitter.com/swedishfanboyy/status/986500008261255169

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Yep, that makes sense. The music video features a series of beautifully and innovatively designed sueges, entrances, exits and re-entrances, which mirror and dramatise the distinct segments that comprise the composition.

      The obvious and obviously expensive stage recreation would require an enormous turntable, or carousel, if you like, with distinct segmented scenes that Marija can move through.

      That would require an enormous budget, and a high eye cue both logistically and for visual flair.

      I would say that that should be staging gimmick complexity to end all stage gimmick complexity: yet it wouldn’t be a gimmick, would it? It is artistically integral and valid to this innovative product.

    • Tim B

      One could say FYR Macedonia are throwing the kitchen sink at it this year…..

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    New music video for The Netherlands has dropped.

    To me, it looks like the 1st release for an artist who has just won the latest season of US version of The Voice, having been mentored by Blake Shelton.

    An extract from this would make for an hilarious Postcard!

    • Songfestivalwerk

      I’m not a big fan of the videoclip either. Then again, Eurovision and videoclips never have been a real good match. Videoclips are nice pastime fodder though. Would be absurd to use them as indicators for betting (although sometimes it gives away some hints for possible staging ideas).

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        They take an age to release a music video (to follow up that ok performance video) and just release this lazy effort. It’s a standard of music video I would watch on a screen at the gym, typically featuring actors pottering around an indistinct landscape. As you say: irrelevant to anything, really. But still a disappointing accompaniment, for a song I enjoy.

  • Showlad

    @Guildo: Indeed Isaiah’s dreadful public vote had a lot more to do with ‘other’ factors for some very sad people and nothing to do with his performance or the song. It’s so sad that still in 2018 these ‘considerations’ unfortunately still have to be factored in when placing a Eurovision bet. I so wish they didn’t.
    Dunno who gave Oz their 2 public vote points? UK?

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      I’ve heard Eurovision described as “The Gay Olympics.”

      I’ve written on another thread about how perceived non-mainstream gender and sexuality “outsiders” are often brought in from the cold and given a celebratory group hug by ESC voters, but ethnic outsiders: that seems to be a different story?

      If Dami was “exotic” and benefitted from the global popularity and success of K-Pop (and still positively-biased-for-Oz Juries); then what can Jessica look to, or rely on?

      Austria’s Cesár Sampson has it easier than Jessica.

      Oh! It was Denmark who gave Isaiah those 2 points. I’ll be watching to see if they top mark Jessica th syear.

      • eurovicious

        Dami Im did well because of the song, performance, staging, vocal and connection, not because of exoticism or “the success of K-pop”. Ask 100 people on the street in Harrogate, Hódmezővásárhely, Hardangerfjord and Hrodna what K-pop is and you’ll be met with a lot of blank looks – added to which, to most Europeans she would simply have looked “Chinese” or “oriental” in a broader sense rather than them being able to look at her and tell her exact nationality. It did well because it was one of the best on the night.

      • Ande

        Yes, I do believe there’s still some discrimination based on ethnicity however that should have much less of an impact nowadays. In Jessica’s case she conforms very much with the western beauty standard so I don’t feel she will face much discrimination in that department. Contrast with ethnic songs when an ethnic look can make an act seem more earnest.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Ah! I wasn’t diminishing Dami’s achievements, by the way 😀

        Just looking for possible distinctions between Isaiah, Dami, Jessica, Cesár and so on, as is evident.

        If 100 teenagers had been asked on a street in Harrorgate in 2016 if they had heard of K-Pop, I venture most would have. 4th Power / 4th Impact would still be fresh in the memory at that time. Just a minor aspect.

        Despite Isaiah’s many, many performance and staging issues, which we must have all have covered between us on this thread, I do think a total of 2 televotes was a bit low. As jonkef says, the big mystery (and maybe the more interesting one) was how he received 171 jury votes!

        I’d personally still though maintain that 2 televotes is a wee bit low of a return. I’m saying that having just rewatched his Grand Final performance. It’s not half as bad as I remembered. Still a poor man’s Sound of Silence, mind.

        @Ande.

        Yeah, you’re right, Jessica is gorgeous, conforms as you state, and has the most beautiful skin. Great observation about a perception of ethnic earnestness. Feel as though next time I watch Armenia’s Sevak I’ll see in a different light.

        That Isaiah performance:

        • eurovicious

          I agree that I was shocked at just how low Australia’s televote was, but I was similarly shocked by how badly Nathan Trent did, especially when his song was colorful and lightweight in an audience-friendly way and he added a lot of fun and charisma to it.

          “If 100 teenagers had been asked on a street in Harrorgate in 2016 if they had heard of K-Pop, I venture most would have. 4th Power / 4th Impact would still be fresh in the memory at that time. Just a minor aspect.”

          1) Teenagers don’t watch X Factor
          2) They’re Filipino
          3) I still disagree, even just with the reduced sample group of teenagers

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            I imagined it would be beyond the scope of many polling organisations to have checked the opinions of 100 people on the street in Harrogate, Hódmezővásárhely, Hardangerfjord and Hrodna, which was partly why I reduced and localised your survey idea.

            4th Impact are Filipino. Uh huh.

            Data that would be checkable, though, would be that which could support your stated contention that “Teenagers don’t watch the X Factor.”

            But: I know some who do. Plus, I think you could verify for yourself that teenagers do actually watch the X Factor – if you checked the audience demographic data. The numbers could run into 2 or even 3 figures. Maybe more!

            Just a minor aspect.

            On another of your related response posts, further below on this thread, to one of my comments, you twice drop in the description “lazy”.

          • eurovicious

            When I say “Teenagers don’t watch X Factor”, what I mean is: fewer people watch X Factor than ever, fewer teenagers watch X Factor than ever, and it’s simply less relevant (both to teens and general audiences) than it’s ever been. It hasn’t been a cultural phenomenon since at least 2012. Young people watch less television than ever. I obviously don’t mean “There are zero teenagers who watch X Factor”.

            My bottom line is that it’s not analytically useful to explain Dami Im’s good televote result via “the success of K-pop” and explain Isaiah’s failure via continental racism when both are already easily explained by staging, performance, vocals, song, connection etc.. To arrive at a framework where non-white performers succeed or fail at Eurovision based *entirely* on responses to their race – a view according to which Dami did well because she was “exotic” and because of K-pop, and Isaiah did badly because he looked aboriginal – you have to actively ignore all the other relevant factors concerning the song and performance, which shouldn’t be overlooked for any entry.

            This is a silly argument and I don’t think it’s worth falling out over…. Letz b frendz?

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Hi ev,

            Yes, I did understand what you were getting at.

            I was highlighting that if one poster, in a series of reply posts, seems to be referring to another’s thoughts and words as “lazy” “absurd” (and “ridiculous”) etc, then that’s the tone of the conversation set and that’s how the conversation will then follow, especially if the obvious weaknesses are not just confined to a single commentator’s output.

            Also, overstating someone’s position is another way for a series of misrepresentations to ensue. Well (which is a word I’m not using here as an intensifier, and don’t use as such, primarily I suppose because I’m not a teenager), it doesn’t, entirely, help, anyway.

            In general, I imagine that race and ethnicity perceptions and biases are not divorced from the minds of those involved in the ESC nor from the viewing public at home.

            Many years ago, I remember sitting off and listening in on a late-night conversation, at a party, which centred on whether Halle Berry would have been allowed to have been as successful as she had (and has) been if she was darker-skinned than she is. Apparently (I haven’t fact-checked this), Halle’s mum is white and her dad is black.

            There’s currently all kind of discussion pieces about Meghan Markle’s ethnicity or racial identity or biracial identity. From scanning the Daily Mail output, it seems it wants to remind the world on a daily basis that Megan’s mum is black, as though this will somehow disqualify her from joining The Firm.

            When I first saw Isaiah I myself assumed there was perhaps a southern European influence, given that he looked to me v much like a young Rafa.

            It did fleetingly cross my mind that Isaiah Firebrace may be of Aboriginal descent but I didn’t think anything further of it.

            Last year, pre-contest, I remember Rob posting an Ent Odds article which included the line, Isaiah the Messiah (or something very much like that). I fleetingly thought of a Black Jesus sketch on Family Guy. I then did some reading on Isaiah and wondered if Isaiah’s heritage might be a slight negative on the televote.

            The only two other famous Aboriginal people I can think of are: Cathy Freeman and Evonne Goolagong.

            Among a number of thoughts, I briefly thought of Isaiah when I watched this clip last week:

        • Jermaine

          Does no one remember the terrible bum note that Isaiah delivered when he was attempting to freestyle during his performance at the grand final? That sort of thing is absolute poison to televoters – Manel suffered the same fate.

          Importantly, Isaiah’s jury final performance was vocally stronger, which partly explains his higher score from the jury.

    • eurovicious

      I seriously don’t think the vast majority of the viewing public were aware that Isaiah is of Aboriginal descent. It’s not something on most people’s mental radar, and he passes as white – maybe less so in an Australian context but certainly in a European context. He did badly because the staging was bad, the song was respectable but forgettable, he biffed a note, and other acts robbed him of his “cute boy” USP. I think Australia is always going to struggle in the televote to a certain extent by virtue of being on the other side of the planet and being a country that a lot of Europeans don’t know a lot about and don’t have connections with. But Dami Im was much more visibly non-European and she got a much higher televote. Isaiah’s song and performance just weren’t dynamic, emotional or memorable enough.

  • Showlad

    Think Isaiah clearly ‘non-European’ to those sad and fairly sizeable few EV and not passing as ‘white’ to their eyes and it absolutely affected his public vote as did the dull song + dull delivery obviously.
    Dami had a magic that transcended this to a degree but I still think sadly it impacted with that thick minority in her public votes whereas to the sane majority her ethnicity simply added to her charm and magic. I say politely that I think you’re being blinkered if you don’t see that this affected Isaiah’s vote somewhat EV.

    • johnkef

      The problem with Isaiah was not his color but his performance and song. He was off key almost for the entire song. The mystery was not that he only received 2 televoting points but how on earth he received 171 jury votes.

      People were crucifying Blanche and Dami about their voices and he managed to get away with it.

      • The Nefeilibata

        Looking back I find it both hilarious and anger-inducing that certain people gave Blanche so much stick for the sheer audacity of having stage fright, but unlike him she at least stayed on key

      • Ande

        The difference lies in Belgium and Blanche having the potential to win with a good performance. ‘City Lights’ has been the best preforming song post contest.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    @ev

    Oh! I think a sizeable proportion of the viewers actually were aware he is of Aboriginal descent.

    Here’s a once and still popular male Aussie singer (with that famous guitar) that many people, I should venture, would even today picture as a guy who represents a “typical” looking Aussie guy:

    • eurovicious

      Donovan has northern European looks, but Firebrace would pass for southern European. I had no idea he was aboriginal until someone said. (And it’s likely he has some degree of white ancestry anyway – Australian aboriginals are generally much darker-skinned.) I can’t overemphasise that a lot of ordinary people in Europe don’t know what Australian aboriginals are or what they look like.

      This is a pointless discussion anyway because it’s what johnkef said, and what I said. There are more than enough blatant reasons as to why Isaiah did badly in the televote, and plenty of examples of non-white contestants doing well in the ESC televote, not least *both of Australia’s previous contestants* who were much more visibly non-white than Isaiah was and who came 6th and 4th in the televote respectively. I’m all for a discussion of European attitudes to non-white contestants but it needs some proper grounding, not just wheeling out a lazy “Isaiah did badly because those continentals are well racist” line that flies in the face of available evidence and that’s really Anglocentric and unincisive. I’d call it analytically lazy if it didn’t require such absurd mental gymnastics of leaping around everything else that was wrong with the entry – the staging, the performance, the off-key singing, the flat affect/lack of charisma, the unmemorability, the lack of a hook or transition etc. The song is respectable Sam Smith-type fare, which juries recognised, but as staged, it was crap.

      • Phil

        Agree on all of this. It’s like blaming Jemini’s score on Iraq.

      • The Nefeilibata

        I can’t agree more, I remember when Ukraine in 2012 crashed and burned despite expectations, people automatically pulled out the “because she isn’t white” card. Not to dismiss the possibility that racism may have played a tiny part in their televote tanking, but that excuse completely crumples like wet cardboard when you consider a clearly North African lady won the televote that year.

        To me it seemed like a convenient excuse for people who didn’t want to acknowledge that Ukraine’s staging that year was uncharacteristically poor and the woman sounded like a human car horn.

    • Ande

      I was unaware of his Aboriginal descent until now and I don’t think even those who did know cared. He simply looks Spanish at first glance.

      Australia did horribly in televoting because they excell at any single USP. While juries might reward overall competence with a decent ranking few viewers will lift their phones for all round mediocrity

  • makaj

    Hi all, recently found this gem of a site.
    Can someone explain why Swiss is treated as a no hoper in the odds?
    Yes, they don’t qualify often but:
    – song is credible and handsomly supported by Eurojury
    – have the best running order spot for televote boost
    – only rock(ish) song in the semi
    – they are good lookin’
    All ingredients for qualification yet odds above 2/1 ?

    • Ande

      It’s definitely not a no hoper but it’s an uphill task.

      Switzerland:
      – lacks obvious USP.
      – isn’t the formulaic jury bait,
      – is one of the weakest countries in staging.
      – is one of the weakest countries when it comes to voting allies.
      – is a little bit too cool for school (would benefit from better emotional connection).

      • makaj

        I think the USP is their distinctive looks/song to the rest of the semi. They certainly need jury support but if you believe in Eurojury scores they are getting almost the same as Bulgaria/Australia/Austria. First two are considered to be jury bait. Austria is low priced for qualification, also is friendless as Swiss and has worse running order so I still don’t get the Swiss price and I backed it on Betfair.

      • Chris Bellis

        My partner, who got all the winners and losers last year, rates this one highly. However, as you say, Switzerland has a bad record even with moderately good performances.

  • Dan

    Norway’s Eurovision preview show

    Heat 1 : https://s31.postimg.cc/nqdij0lob/deef.png
    Heat 2 : https://s9.postimg.cc/t837atgq7/Sans_titre_1.png

    1. Austria – 86
    Total jury: 44
    Total public: 42 (10, 12, 12, 8)

    2. France – 74
    Total jury: 39
    Total public: 35 (3, 10, 10, 12)

    3. Czech Republic – 73
    Total jury: 35
    Total public: 38 (5, 8, 10, 12)

    4. Ireland – 59
    Total jury: 23
    Total public: 27 (3, 5, 7, 12)

    5. Lithuania – 54
    Total jury: 34
    Total public: 20 (3, 4, 6, 7)

    6. Romania – 52
    Total jury: 36
    Total public: 16 (1, 3, 4, 8)

    7. Georgia – 43
    Total jury: 24
    Total public: 19 (1, 1, 5, 12)

    8. Slovenia – 35
    Total jury: 11
    Total public: 24 (2, 2, 8, 12)

    9. Latvia – 33
    Total jury: 20
    Total public: 13 (1, 3, 4, 5)

    10. San Marino – 27
    Total jury: 7
    Total public: 20 (1, 4, 5, 10)

    Note : Austria really strong with both the jury and the public.

    • Ande

      Interesting. Austria’s ‘Nobody But You’ is not bad at all. Maybe we have been mistaken in thinking that César will be too MOR to make an impact?

  • Showlad

    Re Isaiah: put simply and in context – Do we feel that sadly for a minority of the voting public that racism plays a part in their voting selections and for my view (and I know many others) very sadly this is true. If some of us think that’s not the case then that’s lovely and I so wish that were true and hope that they are right.

    • johnkef

      I do believe that there might be a small percentage of voters that are racist but i don’t know how they can impact the voting since there isn’t negative voting.

      Let’s try to keep our minds open and not fell in the trap of trying to find arguments that suit our perspective.

      Last year we had a Roma from Hungary finshing 2nd in his semi and 8th in the final.

      In 2016 there was no way a dark song with the refrain sung in Tatar would win the contest and there was no way a Korean girl singing for Australia would be able to appeal to the televoters.

      In 2014 there was no way Conchita would win it because Eastern Europe wouldn’t vote her. The same wear Aminata represented an Eastern European country and achieved an amazing result.

      Not to mention Gaitana representing Ukraine, a country with strong right wing beliefs. Or Hungary 2014 that finished 5th sending a black singer singing about child abuse.

  • John

    So ESC Bubble are doing their Public Reviews videos (that is, average non-Eurovision people from around Europe giving brief opinions on this year’s entries from their sofas).

    Many of the reactions are as you’d expect. They like Australia, find Jessica likable. Norway is ‘so cheesey’ but they all bop a little to it (one girl freaks out cos its Rybak).
    Surie and the UK song also go down very well.

    Two of the more interesting reactions were Israel which they start incredulous with but all love by the end. And Netherlands which most of them really dig.

    Not many comments on youtube, most countries get none, or one or two. Except for Bulgaria, which gets 26! Our armchair enthusiasts dont like Bulgaria and a flipping army of odd looking accounts turn up to call them haters, artless morons and accuse shenanigans. XD

    Bulgaria, you crazy cats. Lay off the campaigning. Your song will do as well as it deserves. Whatever that may be.

  • I’m getting more interested in just how much the UK is being written off by both fans and punters, far more infact than Josh or EV were, or even Joe and Jake with a fairly decent song let down by terrible staging.

    In other news Ola Melzig’s blog confirms Sweden’s staging will, once again, be a carbon copy of Melfest. Turns out the LED floor was built into the prop.

    https://www.m-m-pr.com/index.php/eurovision-diary-2018

  • 97RE Australia, all four of their entries have been non-white, which I find interesting. Isaiah tanked in the televote because he was pretty out of tune in large parts of the song, which wasn’t a great song compared to their previous two absolute smashes. I’m still not convinced We Got Love is going to match expectations. As I keep saying, if it was the UK’s song nobody would be giving it a prayer. But then again as my Dad said of SuRie when I rang him in Euston waiting for a connection home from EYD, “it’s quite a good song isn’t it? If Sweden sent that I reckon it would win.” And that’s coming from someone who loved the Stones, Alex Harvey and Supertramp in the 70s and loves Coldplay and Adele now.

    • For me Australia is the kind of song that falls in similar genres of Azerbaijan 2013, Russia 2013, Sweden 2014, Russia 2015 Australia 2016. It’s the kind of Eurovision ballad with modern updates (Sia-esque) that still does well. Not just well, but has every chance to win.

      • Sound of Silence this is not.

        So why the hate for Storm, which for me slots into the same box as We Got Love? Is it really as simple as “It’s the UK?”

        • Imo, each genre, even the cheaper and trashier ones, have their objectively good songs and their objectively not so good songs. Some people are good at telling them apart. Some are not. Some people can separate judgement from personal taste. Some cannot. Hence, disagreements arise even on songs of similar genre.

        • Ande

          Why ‘Storm’ is ‘hated’:
          – Too repetitive (no effective bridge).
          – Storm doesn’t have a televote USP.
          – SuRie’s voice isn’t the best match for the song.
          – Storm as a song isn’t refined enough to attract juries.

          In order for it to attract juries ‘Storm’ would’ve needed some kind of jury bait (killer note, slick staging, inventiveness).

          I don’t think juries will be particularly impressed by ‘We Got Love’ either but it does have a certain smooth building property about it. Combine that with Australia’s usual tack for staging and that the crescendo gives Jessica opportunities to score additional vocal points and they’re in a much better spot than the UK.

          There are some mitigating factors:
          – SuRie has great presence.
          – ‘Storm’ has a hook.

          As such I believe the UK will fail in winning a wooden spoon this year although a bottom 5 placement should still be entirely within reach.

  • Okay, I slightly changed my prediction a bit (Frankly, I think everyone should constantly update their prediction, and not stick with what people perceive as certain given facts).

    I understand why FRANCE could do very well this year, and could even be a dark horse for the victory. It’s understated, emotionally sincere and could therefore do well with both televoters and juries. It could do a “Common Linnets”….

    FRANCE is a dangerous one to predict. I could see that win too. This guy is sooo affectionate on stage. And while Netta can come across as a bit gimmick-y, Mikolas does not. He basically is ‘Alexander Rybak 2.0’.

    Still think ISRAEL can win. But I am slightly in doubt with the jury-vote. Yes, I know it’s doing well with the EuroJury, but those votes are based on a YouTube-playlist without live performances; all of them are studio performances. And during EiC I at times had a slight Verka Serducka feel. But stil, if we want a happy winner, Israel could be it.

    Lastly AUSTRALIA. I think Jessica Mauboy is an even better performer than Dami Im. She’s freewheeling a bit less, vocally she’s magnificent. and obviously this will look magnificent on stage. I think it could win, but we have to see if European televoters are going to swallow this more massively than Dami Im.

    I had to put NORWAY, THE NETHERLANDS and SWEDEN out of my Grand Final TOP 4 prediction. Yes, Alexander Rybak is magnificent. But in its genre I still think Israel and Czech Republic are better.

    Waylon has sunk massively on Oddschecker, 15th now, which to me doesn’t make sense (Really? Finland, Austria, Italy, Greece better?). I think it’s still this ‘fear-of-rock’taking the better of pundits atm. Still, I have to agree that it feel out of my TOP 5. Yes, it could be a dark horse like Norway, but this is one for the rehearsals.

    Lastly SWEDEN. Although I personally love it, I think Benjamin gets lots in the staging. People need to be emoted. And therefore they need to see the faces of the performers. This could be a serious issue with Sweden, so I have them now as 7th, which still is a really good placing if it comes true.

    BELARUS could really be in the mix to become the best of Eastern-Europe, ESTONIA to me still is remarkable as a vocal and visual performance (especially camera-wise), and although I detest SPAIN and truly loathe from even one episode of “Glee”, I still think the Chemistry could bring it into the TOP 10.

    So here you have my updates:

    PREDICTION SEMI-FINAL #1:
    https://i.imgur.com/yMMALuH.jpg

    PREDICTION SEMI-FINAL #2:
    https://i.imgur.com/qglyrGX.jpg

    PREDICTION GRAND FINAL:
    https://i.imgur.com/BvuzLoE.jpg

    PS: Please let’s not forget that the rehearsals can really change things once again. For instance, we don’t know how the full staging package of Australia, Israel (please wearsomething from the videoclip Netta!), Netherlands and France will look like. So saying that the above WILL HAPPEN, is FACT is ridiculous off course :-). Always be aware for dark (or even green) horses, try to get some further knowledge from management of those participants whom you don’t know much about yet, and take your advantage with that in the odds.

  • I’m not offended by Czech’s lyrics but by the cheapness and lack of talent (and SFW his bag and glasses are gimmicky).

    • Songfestivalwerk

      But it’s nowhere as bad as looking like a fat Easter Egg with a Statue of Liberty crown. I mean, I really like Israel. But they could have gone for the more friendly looks from the videoclip.

      I now think it will be a fight between Czech Republic and Australia. With France, Norway and Netherlands as dark horses.

      • Shai

        And who says this is what she is going to wear in Lisbon?
        Promotion performance is one thing, the contest is something else and I do hope that the Israeli delegation will manage to edit her,because if they don’t, everyone will be talking about what she wear and not about the song.
        If this happens (dress issue), Israel can blame themselves for any failure they may endure.

        I remember reading that the staging will be inspired by the video clip. It suggests a knowledge that what worked in the video, should be transferred to the stage, where possible.

        Until proven wrong, Israel is still a contender

      • In that fight I would want Czech to win, dispute my jokey dig, it’s like Israel in that it’s original and not made by committee. Good for ESC, unlike Aus and Sweden.

        Israel would probably walk it if she wore dripping skin from freshly slaughtered wildebeest.

  • By the way, I had no idea Benjamin was the son of Pernilla Walghren of Picadilly Circus fame (Melfest 1985)

  • Interesting that SuRie got pretty much the biggest cheer of the night in Madrid. I doubt there were that many Brits there – most expats are on the Costas generally aren’t they?

  • Dan

    Did we watch the same show ? France and Portugal clearly got the biggest cheer.
    I don’t think we should read to much into it anyway.

    • Yes it doesn’t mean much. SuRie great gall, shame about the song, probably a lot of Portuguese in Madrid, anyway they’re close, and Émilie sang a lot of Mercy in Spanish. Very clever that girl.

  • Showlad

    Estonia have their dress! BIG player whether some see it on here or not. Dress outside of esc bubble will be huge with viewers at home as will those huge top notes. Estonia back in the game

  • Tim B

    Hungary technical staging video has leaked on social media. I love it!!! Very Rammstein.

    • Ande

      I’m having a hard time deciding if viewers will like it or get epileptic seizures from it. I’m leaning towards both.

    • I love it. Veiwers will hate it. May get some points from the UK for madness value.

      • Chris Bellis

        Henry Agreed. Plus it won’t get support from tv producers. I well remember watching the live event from Buckingham Palace. Metallica did four songs. After the first the BBC producers switched to a recording of Crowded House. So that’s what the average tv producer thinks of the greatest metal band in the world, playing live – they think the audience will prefer a recording of Crowded House. I would love Hungary to win though. I’m just hoping it qualifies.

      • I love it too. This year Hungary is that country wich I back blindly. Just because I love that song so much. I hope metal lovers watch Eurovision because I don’t think average pop music lovers will vote for it. I hope I’m wrong. Also I have no idea how juries will treat it. It shouldn’t be too low on their table. Afterall this a weaker semi and Hungary is not worse than the rest even if you don’t like metal. We’ll see.

    • Dan

      Very good indeed. Could sneak into the top 10.

  • Sometimes I really don’t understand what is going on Betfair. Look at the Belarus prices in the Top 5 market.
    Back @6.20 | Lay @9.00 | Last price matched @6.40!!!

    These prices are ridiculous considering the prices in other markets.
    To qualify @2.38
    Top 15 @2.88
    Top 10 @4.90

    I mean Belarus should be more than happy if they qualify. And who on earth wants to back Belarus Top 5 at such a small prices? I find it really strange.

    • Chris Bellis

      Just an idea – Betfair sets its prices on trades. A small number of abnormal trades can affect prices disproportionately. Compare horse racing odds. Some dodgy deals at a small course like Southwell can affect the odds you get in your local branch of a national betting firm. We all know it goes on, so perhaps there are people around using a similar algorithm with Eurovision. We’ve seen Azerbaijan, Russia and Bulgaria get up to these sorts of tricks. In fact you can go right back to Franco era Spain, La la la la. Anybody wiser than I able to cast light on Montell’s observation?

  • johnkef

    Here we go! Did something happen and Israel is currently @2.54? This morning was @2.78

  • I would like to add something with regard to the Eurovoix.com Eurojury. For me it’s a very helpful tool in predicting what will happen with the real-event Jury Score. It gives you a good clue about the (mostly studio) versions of each and every entry. As Anthony Granger/Eurovoix confirmed:
    https://i.imgur.com/MqgTBtg.jpg

    Also, Eurojury is quite accurate. I give you that. At least for about 65% or slightly more. But it’s not 100% accurate. And it can’t be 100% accurate, since Eurovision in its score is still a ‘jury sports’, even when you include televoters.

    There are plentiful examples of countries who did do very well in the Eurojury, but who failed miserably in the eventual Eurovision Jury-vote. Some examples:

    2014:
    –> UNITED KINGDOM:
    01st Eurojury 2014 <> 16th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ITALY:
    10th Eurojury 2014 <> 21st 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> BELGIUM:
    16th Eurojury 2014 <> NQ at Eurovision

    2015:
    –> ALBANIA:
    05th Eurojury 2015 <> 26th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ICELAND:
    06th Eurojury 2015 <> NQ at Eurovision
    –> UNITED KINGDOM:
    07th Eurojury 2015 <> 23rd 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> THE NETHERLANDS:
    09th Eurojury 2015 <> NQ at Eurovision

    2016:
    –> SWEDEN:
    02nd Eurojury 2016 <> 09th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> SPAIN:
    06th Eurojury 2016 <> 16th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> UNITED KINGDOM:
    10th Eurojury 2016 <> 17th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> CYPRUS:
    13th Eurojury 2016 <> 20th 100% Eurovision Jury

    2017:
    –> ITALY:
    03rd Eurojury 2017 <> 07th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> AUSTRIA:
    06th Eurojury 2017 <> 11th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> FRANCE:
    08th Eurojury 2017 <> 19th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> FINLAND:
    12th Eurojury 2017 <> NQ at Eurovision

    And off course, there’s also the other way around. There are plentiful instances where you can see that Eurojury greatly underestimated a certain song, because the actual Eurovision Jury (100%) rated it much higher. Some of those examples:

    2014:
    –> AUSTRIA:
    09th Eurojury 2014 <> 01st 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> THE NETHERLANDS:
    12th Eurojury 2014 <> 03rd 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ICELAND:
    23rd Eurojury 2014 <> 15th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> RUSSIA:
    26th Eurojury 2014 <> 13th 100% Eurovision Jury

    2015:
    –> LATVIA:
    08th Eurojury 2015 <> 02nd 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> BELGIUM:
    14th Eurojury 2015 <> 05th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ISRAEL:
    17th Eurojury 2015 <> 08th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> CYPRUS:
    25th Eurojury 2015 <> 09th 100% Eurovision Jury

    2016:
    –> UKRAINE:
    07th Eurojury 2016 <> 02nd 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ISRAEL:
    14th Eurojury 2016 <> 08th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> BULGARIA:
    16th Eurojury 2016 <> 07th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ARMENIA:
    20th Eurojury 2016 <> 10th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> GEORGIA:
    26th Eurojury 2016 <> 14th 100% Eurovision Jury

    2017:
    –> PORTUGAL:
    07th Eurojury 2017 <> 01st 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> BULGARIA:
    10th Eurojury 2017 <> 02nd 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> MOLDOVA:
    15th Eurojury 2017 <> 08th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> NORWAY:
    16th Eurojury 2017 <> 06th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> UNITED KINGDOM:
    25th Eurojury 2017 <> 10th 100% Eurovision Jury

    So I think it becomes clear that although Eurojury provides you with some valuable betting information, its results shouldn’t be black-and-white copy-pasted into reviews on how good/bad it will/could do at Eurovision. Even at this stage in the contest -mid April- there are simply too many variables too find that last bit of value in the odds. Best is to wait for the rehearsals. Unless some pundits know the exact staging plans from several country delegations / managements from the performers. That could prove valuable for those countries who we don’t know the finalized product from just yet.

    So yes, Eurojury is fairly accurate. And at least more accurate than most fan polls. But it isn’t heaven either. And having read this article only enhances my careful out-of-the-box thinking (and envisioning/imaging-how-it-will-look-like) style: https://www.escxtra.com/2017/03/16/analysing-ten-years-eurovision-odds-good-imperfect-indicator/

  • Okay, sorry for that long post about the wonderful Eurovoix.com Eurojury :-P. So now something fun! I have organized a true Eurovision Poule at my office floor. I have decided to organize this as part of the Social Events Committee. Hence we are (my rules) only allowed to predict thos countries represented on our work floor. That means only these 10 nationalities and its subsequent songs in the contest:
    –> Belgian
    –> Danish
    –> Dutch
    –> Finnish
    –> Irish
    –> Norwegian
    –> Romanian (a lot)
    –> Russian
    –> Spanish (a lot)
    –> Swedish,

    So I have asked all 42 emplyees to fill out the Poule-Form in which I have asked them to only rank these 10 countries from highest scoring (towards victory) in the contest until lowest scoring in the contest (a NQ in a semi-final). I accompanied the form with an email containing only the available “LIVE” performances in an embedded YouTube-link (No worries, I got permission 😉 ).

    As a “bonus” I have asked everyone to predict the exact placing of these 10 countries (1st to 26th in the grand final to NQ in the semi-final). And a further set of “bonus” points will be awarded to the person who predicts the winner correct (which doesn’t necessarily need to be the no#1 on the form). The bonus parts of the prediction poule are not obligatory.

    So these are so far the results. I have received 22 filled out predictions so far. And I have confirmation for a further 12 more forms. It’s quite interesting to see how my colleagues, who are -and you have to trust me on this- completely illiterate when it comes to Eurovision:
    https://i.imgur.com/fC4WLbU.jpg

    Obviously, the predictions of all other remaining 33 countries are not present. But this poule is also a bit of a team-building effort. And it’s easier for people who don’t give a damn about Eurovision in the slightest, to keep the Eurovision Poule simple: Predicting 10 countries is a bit easier than predicting all 43.

    So far, as you can see, Sweden, The Netherlands and Norway are fighting for topspot, and Russia and Romania are at the bottom of the pool.

  • That’s a great idea. But what am I missing? It seems that 11 of your 22 colleagues are predicting Israel to win, more than any other country, but simultaneously it’s not even one of the 10 songs in the competition.

    • Songfestivalwerk

      Hey Henry. It’s fairly easy to understand though. The aim of the Poule is to first predict only these 10 countries, which are all 10 represented on our work floor:
      Belgiun
      Denmark
      Finland
      Ireland
      Norway
      Romania
      Russia
      Spain (most colleagues)
      Sweden
      The Netherlands

      So I asked all of my colleagues (42 in total) to rank only these 10 countries in order of highest scoring probability to lowest scoring probability (NQ).

      This is the easiest way for all employees. I mean, it’s easier to rank only 10 countries from a fixed list of 10 nations as opposed to rank all 43. It also makes the Poule more interesting, because it always concerns a nation of your own nationality.

      On top of that employees can expand their knowledge, by predicting the exact placing of each of these 10 countries in the contest. This will result in *BONUS* points if you predict this correctly or if you are very close to predicting the correct placing.

      Then the last set of *BONUS* points can be won by correctly predicting the actual winner of Eurovision 2018. Mind you: Putting your own country represented on the work floor on rank #1 does NOT necessarily need to be the actual winner.

      I hope this makes things clearer .

  • Sometime in the next two weeks it’s likely to dawn upon you folks that France is going to win Eurovision

    • Ande

      I’m already convinced France has a potential winning song, I just have zero faith in the French production crew. Though it would’ve been greatly refreshing if one of the big 5 got it right for once!

      • Songfestivalwerk

        The problem I have with the French entry is not so much the song, but way more the staging and the actual chemistry of Madame Monsieur.

        If we look back to recent ‘understated’, gentle entries, then they really had something to go for. Whether it’s sincere chemistry, or having the ability to emote, to be telegenic, to grab the televoters and judges with your “X-Factor”.

        The Common Linnets had that in 2014. You actually believed the two were a real couple, emoting both the ups and downs of their relationships by intense close-ups and two artists who both were completely charismatic.

        Similarly understated entries like Estonia 2015 and Norway 2015 tried something similar. With less effect, but still with very good TOP 10 placings.

        Then there was Sweden 2016. Perhaps one of the most understated Swedish entries in years. Helped by an über-charismatic teenager named Frans, cute eyes that managed to ‘grab’ televoters and jurors. Result: 5th place. Perhaps I could mention Ukraine 2016 as well. Although not as understated as the ones I just mentioned. But still it was staged marvellously thanks to an incredible vocalist whose pain and emotions made people vote for it. Similar to Serbia 2007 to a certain extend. But during those 3 mins you…..felt the story. You were impressed, got goosebumps, and managed to vote for it.

        Last year we obviously had Salvador Sobral. Portugal 2017, like Serbia 2007, was one of those entries were lyrics didn’t matter at all. I still think the whole backstory of Salvador’s heart problems only contributed to its success in a very minor way. What worked was this utterly unique artist with unique voice, unique movements and intense camera-work that made Europeans’ jaws drop to the floor. The guy emoted and never let you go. You felt like you were experiencing a scene from the Italian movie “Call Me By Your Name”. In a way, Italy 2011 had that quality too.

        Yet with France this year……I don’t feel the goosebumps just yet. During the French national final it was staged in black where both artists were wearing moody black outfits. I just hope there is…..some chemistry between Madame and Monsieur. Some heartfelt close-ups from the singers in the camera where they begggg you to care for Mercy and those other thousands of immigrants. But, I don’t feel that yet. We know that wonderful, emotional backstory. But I think that backstory talk clouds our judgment sometimes, as I think backstories and emotions not necessarily go hand in hand.

        If Madame Monsieur fails to live up to such expectations, expectations I would like to have, then this is not going to win. It will do very nicely indeed. But in the charm department and emoting department I think Czech Republic, Australia, Israel, Norway and even Netherlands, Spain, Lithuania, Ireland and Estonia work much better. It’s an art to elevate an understated ‘small’ song to such high levels that it can become 3rd, 2nd or even 1st. And I don’t think France has mastered that form of art yet.

        • Sorry but I think you’re overthinking this ..MM are married, so they don’t lack chemistry ; in regards to their cool, chic black clothing , they are keeping it somber in relation to their song about a serious subject matter ; they are in fact tapping into the French existential vibe from the 1960s
          I have good political instincts and recognized this song as a potential winner the very first time I heard it ..it strikes a chord and chimes with the zeitgeist like no other !
          IMO ..The only song that can realistically beat it is Netta’s , but I see it as too divisive, zany and bizarre like one of those gimmicky comedic acts that Eurovision was infamous for back in the 1980s

          • Boki

            You sound like “Hungary to win” from last year.

          • Songfestivalwerk

            Funny that you say that. I didn’t even know thát; that this is a married couple! Perhaps a sign that France fails to emote me? Otherwise I would have guessed they were married. Ilse and Waylon are in real life not even close to getting married. Yet during those 3 mins in May 2014 I thought they were.

      • France doesn’t need epic staging to win ..they can sing well live as they have shown recently down in Madrid when they got the most applause of any act, Spain included …staging is not going to be crucial for France

        • Boki

          France is a fanwank dressed in black, hence “the dark horse”. It’s flat and will not get either of the tele/jury support to win.

          • when I first heard France at the weekend, I just thought “ususal dull french song with no hope”
            I’m quite surprised about the love it’s got on here and in the markets, surely a political stance isn’t enough to win?

            I’d hazard a guess that most of Europe won’t have a clue what they are singing about, so the staging needs to be very clear – to get that kind of vote

          • Tim B

            France is a Big 5, so that usually means you can take a few places off how the markets and fans think a song will do, in order to come up with its actual placing. The Big 5 are overrated every year for the top positions.

    • Exactly. Every day it is becoming clearer France is heading for the win. I am no fan of that tearjerky song, their manipulation regarding little Mercy and the refugee issue or her schoolmarmy ways. But they have created a “moment”, that much is clear from the crowd reaction they have been getting. And of course they don’t need to have “chemistry”, he doesn’t sing anyway, all they need to do is look hip, cool and french and they have managed that to perfection. Plus France really has the “soft power” moment in international affairs they can capitalise right now. They are cruising to victory, and I am saying that even though I wish it ain’t so.

      I can’t believe there are people here who think that Holland, a song that is not likely to see a single televoting point from anywhere apart the most western extremities of Europe, can win. Or Australia when the european public has made it crystal- clear they will never allow them to win, no matter how many Moana vibes Jessica tries to infuse in that masterpiece of utter blandness she is saddled with.

      • Right on Michos ! many folks are just tone deaf to the chime of politics and just don’t get it ! As a long time political bettor with good political instincts I needed but one time to hear that song to realize that it was the likely winner , in a somewhat similar way to Conchita Wurst, Jamala and Salvador !

        France has the most political song that captures the zeitgeist more than any other in living memory ..politics, like religion,has a subconscious influence on the human mind and many of the folks who will vote for this song do so without really understanding why they are doing so !

        Netta could still win, but like Italy last year I suspect she has ”peaked” too early ..she is carrying a weight of expectations and I suspect that folks are becoming tired of it ; her song is zany and bizarre and maybe too divisive for many voters, especially those traditional folks from the Balkans and E Europe

        France, like Portugal last year, is slowly building momentum and buzz as people are waking up to its seductive melody and message , and like Portugal I expect it to slowly creep up and become the favourite just before the final !

        • Do you think it can overcome no SF? Automatic qualifiers have that disadvantage to overcome. And a foreign language is another (however much it is adored by OGAE).

          They’ve done well to search Italian refugee camps for an angelic little kid who they can say was born on the boat, so there’s obv some serious interest behind this song doing well.

          • Being in the semis allows a song to build momentum and gain support , but France will be in the news due to its ”humanitarian message” ..it’s a song with an unusual story behind it that will be a news magnet IMO for Eurovision reporting

            Call me a cynic but it was obvious that they would ”find Baby Merci” a couple of weeks before the final

        • Just to say I think it’s a contender and in a world without Toy would have a chance. They just need to keep the staging simple. It will have OGAE hype, but there’s something this year that will get a lot more OGAE hype.

          France is one to watch.

          • I regards to E Europe and the Balkans who don’t have much sympathy for migrants and I’ve been cautious that they may kill the chance’s of France ; however , only a fraction of folks who watch ECS actually vote and the ones that do tend to be younger and more liberal than the country at large …If Conchita Wurst could win , then M/M surely can !

            Furthermore , young people in the East often ape the fashions and trends in the West …so they could go for a ”refugee song” !

          • Lol sorry Cliff I think you may be responding to my deleted post (too political, got cold feet). Yes, I agree, from what I see easterners haven’t been conditioned yet in the same way that the west has but their ESC audience is more liberal/internationalist/whatever anyway so the message is overall postive for this audience. And any negative vote is neutralised by being split among many.

  • Ande

    Re: Songfestivalwerk!
    Here’s the updated analyssi for the link you provided. https://www.escxtra.com/2018/03/25/eleven-years-eurovision-odds/

    Talking about last year I can make the case for any of the top 5 in betting on April 21st winning.

    Italy – Easily the most overhyped entry of 2017 was still in a good position before rehearsals. A less messy and tacky staging and something to make the foreign audience understand the underlying message would have worked wonders.

    Bulgaria – Nothing much to say here, bettors realized Kristian’s potential and Bulgaria was able to deliver on stage. Bulgaria just like Sweden was more polish than substance and as such had a lower ceiling than Italy, Belgium or Portugal.

    Sweden – Sweden a weak pre-rehearsal default winner before other credible entries had presented their stagings. It would’ve won if other contenders missed their mark. The lack of substance behind the gloss was made apparent when other acts got their shit together and Sweden were rightfully pushed down a few notches.

    Belgium – Had a great song but bettors were rightly nervous about the live performance of Blanche. This could’ve easily been staged and performed much better by a different team.

    Portugal – Portugal for once did almost everything right and was able to realize the potential of a beautiful song in a somewhat dated genre. The total focus of their main USP, the enchanting Salvador, was absolutely the right choice.

  • markovs

    In still feel Italy last year died with the cut to 3 minutes. I still love the longer version but the ESC cut lost all it’s build up and momentum and was just a bit messy. The camera work was then poor which aggravated the problem and it’s charm was lost. Salvador would have won anyway, but Italy would have been a worthy 2nd if cut and staged properly.

    With this year I just have to make a comment on Lithuania, which keeps rearing its ugly head. I completely don’t understand this one. She has a very annoying voice, poor diction and the song drones on without any change. I find it awful and much prefer Portugal, or even Ireland. I see it struggling to qualify a la Blackbird last year. People will get bored by it.

    • Italy last year is your classic Eurovision pre-hype nonsense. What Eurovision fans loved was the fun nature, witty lyrics and Francesco’s charm.

      In reality, the jurys thought it was tacky and didn’t really love it. Europe watched a video with a gorilla dancing, and an old italian bloke singing stuff they had no idea what he was singing about – and thus, did not pick up the phone for him.

      • markovs

        Well they did vote for him. He finished a pretty good 6th. Not the hoped for win but most countries (UK, Ireland, etc, etc) would be extremely happy with a 6th place. Hardly a disaster but disappointing compared to the pre contest ratings.

        • I seem to remember him trading at 1.6/1.7 in the week leading up to the final. So 6th would be a very disappointing result. A landslide victory was assumed by many on here, with only a few people actually opposing it

      • Chris Bellis

        “old italian bloke”. That makes me feel very old indeed. Francesco Gabbani was born 9th September 1982. Old compared with Blanche and KK but hardly “old” in the context of Eurovision, surely? What did for him was as everybody here has pointed out ad nauseam, was crap staging and camera work. All the enthusiasm of the original live version drained out of it. They did the same in 2013 with Marco Mengoni singing L’essenziale, one of my favourite Eurovision songs of all time (came 7th). They even did it with Il Volo, but the song and the singers overcame the lazy staging.

        • Lol a fair a point Chris, I am indeed older than him!!! Maybe he had a tough paper round…
          It’s more in comparison to a large % of performers who are and look a lot younger

      • Showlad

        100% spot on Jacobta 🙂 Incidentally, lol, are the same person who used the same icon but different namne in 2016?

  • Is Belarus not ridiculously large price to qualify from semi-final 1? I expect it to receive about 40 points from Armenia and Azerbaijan alone and then I would also expect it to score from;

    Bulgaria, Israel, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Finland, Lithuania, Cyprus, FYR Macedonia, Albania and Croatia.

    Sure, it’s not the best song ever, but at least it falls into the contemporary ballad category. If this were the Russian entry, it would be trading at 1.3 to qualify, not 2.4. They also seem to be trying very hard, the singer is quite famous (and people fancy him) and they have been known to trade a few briefcases in the past. For me it’s the best value ‘to qualify’ bet in either of the two semis.

    • Performing after the hot favorite is never a good sign. Just look at the previous contests. Countries that performed after 1st or 2nd place winners failed to qualify most of the time. When Belarus start to sing – people will still be discussing what just happened with Israel. I see no value backing Belarus.

      • Semi 1 2017, Greece performed after Portugal and qualified.
        Semi 2 2017, Lithuania performed after Bulgaria, but the song was so bad that it never had any chance of qualifying.

        Semi 1 2016, Czech Republic performed after Russia and qualified.
        Semi 2 2016, Norway performed after Ukraine and failed to qualify. Slovenia performed after Australia and failed to qualify. But both Norway and Slovenia were pretty poor songs which didn’t have much chance of qualifying.

        So it looks like it performing after the semi-final favourite/winner is by no means a kiss of death, and it depends entirely on the quality of the song and performance.

        • meridian_child

          Norway’s qualifying odds in 2016 on betfair were 1,65 right before rehearsals started and 1,95 on the day of semi 2.
          “didn’t have much chance of qualifying” – the market clearly disagreed back then 😉

      • Ande

        Indeed, performing after a favorite was more of an issue before Bjorkman decided the order of performances.

        2.4 to qualify for Belarus is value!

  • markovs

    If Belarus were in semi 2 then I fully agree but semi 1is a car-crash and some cracking songs are going to miss out. I have it 8-12 so odds are pretty good. Lay Lithuania, Finland and Belgium?

    Also, Cyprus are 1.3 not to qualify?? I know it has the pimp slot but it’s soooooo bland!!

  • Andy

    France? Whats going on? Odds dropping

  • Showlad

    FRANCE is NOT winning Eurovision unless there’s some incredible staging and even then the song will struggle hugely with the public vote.
    God Bless Mercy and hear lovely Mama but unless the rescue scene is somehow re-enacted or they are appearing on the Lisbon stage to make a huge talking point (which is higly unlikely – ‘lil Mercy too young and perhaps her Mama wouldn’t be sadly allowed out of the immigration camp) then the song simply isn’t good enough.
    Older ESC bubble fans I think love it big time as it hearkens to the understated retro French cool tunes of the 60s and 70s and it also has an electro 80s feel (if it were a soft drink perhaps a tad like Soft Cell lite). The same bubble is also loving Albania – go figure – great voice crap song imho.
    I’m respectfully surprised at Daniel (love reading your blogs Daniel) championing this and Oz. Oz has nor the song nor the singer to seriously trouble the ESC 2018 judge.
    3 dark horses betting wise (1 quite dark currently, 1 mid dark and 1 very dark lol) are on the horizon for me and I will make this case fully ahead of rehearsals beginning.
    @Dash hey hope you well 😉 I remember us flying the Dami flag on here in 2016 swimming against a strong tide – who of course would have won had the previous voting system been used. We never lost faith if I remember correctly even pre live show when I think she sat @ 20s 😉

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      “Older ESC bubble fans I think love it big time as it hearkens to the understated retro French cool tunes of the 60s and 70s and it also has an electro 80s feel (if it were a soft drink perhaps a tad like Soft Cell lite). The same bubble is also loving Albania – go figure – great voice crap song imho.”

      I’m voluntarily admitting this through slightly clenched teeth!: but although I’m not an ESC bubble fan, I probably am representative of those who are nostalgically loving both the French and Albanian songs.

      There is a definite datedness to the Albanian song. It evokes memories of the vibe and great times from certain scenes in the late 90s and early to mid noughties, for me. That inescapable appeal for me will probably also be a non-existent one for many, many others.

      Maybe you’re right to spot and define a connection between those who love both the French and Albanian songs.

      Good (and witty) Soft Cell comparison, too, as Marc Almond had a clear musical obsession with classic French music.

      (Am currently on YouTube and am relistening to his version of Jacky! Hahaha! You’re more right than I realise!)

      I did think Madame Monsieur’s Mercy was representative of a more modern electro pop sound: La Roux songs from 5 to 10 years ago often associatively come to my mind.

      I still think that Mercy is one of the hardest songs in the contest to rule out for the win.

      I think back to how retrospectively it is seen that the blatant and palpable political passion of Jamala’s magnificent 1944 lent it a power and advantage that other songs in the contest couldn’t match.

      It could be that the palpable political passion and outsider and underdog status of the song subject and themes coincide with real world events to make Mercy a coming force in this contest.

      It did cross my mind that SuRie’s warm, heartfelt and inclusive stand-in performance on the Amsterdam stage may have been a turning point moment (or key clue or indicator) in the potential development of Mercy’s presentation and indeed in this year’s ESC result.

      Anyway, I’ll quit chatting, to nip back onto YouTube to listen to more of Marc Almond’s French song homages! Followed by some Kings of Leon, Kaiser Chiefs, and The Killers!

  • Phil

    France aren’t going to win. It may do well with some juries (not all) but it’s a ploddy song giving a passionate message without much passion. I honestly think Storm will pull in more televotes.

    • Songfestivalwerk

      I wouldn’t be surprised Phil. Do you think my reasoning (a few posts up) about France makes sense?

      Regarding SuRie. Most pundits are British, hence they can’t think clear when it comes to their own nation. I personally like the British entry a lot. SuRie is a warm, charismatic performer. Which suits the anthemic style of the song.

      The only problem though: Israel, Czech Republic, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Netherlands, Belarus, Spain, Austria……The competition is fierce.

      • Phil

        I do agree with your earlier post, yes. I personally think Mercy is a really good song, but it’s not a vote magnet I don’t think.

        Also agree re SuRie. Wary of over optimism regarding my own country but I genuinely think it’s leagues ahead of our recent entries. I just keep thinking back to how it won almost against all odds on our national final – nobody was really talking about it until she performed it. It came alive. I think people have forgotten this. Note I’m not saying it’s anywhere near likely to win, but I think it may overcome our frequent issue of our song getting lost amongst everything else on the night.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      @Phil

      If I was forced to pick one nation towards the top echelon of the betting that I thought had the least chance of winning I would nominate Estonia. I have no recall whatsoever of how that Estonian song goes. I don’t even know what it’s called. Or her name.

      As much as I get hooked on listening to Mercy, I do agree it is a bit plodding. In that respect I’d put the French song in the same camp as Bones, When We’re Old, and to an extent For You.

      I’m looking forward to comparing and contrasting Bulgaria’s approach to staging to Georgia’s. Chalk and cheese; Bitcoin and bartering!

      On Bulgaria and the chatter about their ESC jury score, erm, ethos, I did have to chuckle at the latest Eurojury score reveal. It’s Bulgaria’s turn: with Israel scoring nowt from them (or from Joanna Dragneva). Is this a foreshadow of Bulgaria’s jury score for Netta?

  • I’m no fan of the French song so I cannot be accused of allowing my emotions to cloud and impair my judgment
    It’s clear to me that it’s ”open borders” propaganda, although I seriously doubt that M/M are politically sophisticated enough to be aware of it ..they are manipulating and seducing people’s emotions with this song , while engaging in moral narcissism and pathological altruism , but it’s so much part of the current zeitgeist in the West …and that’s why I suspect it will win !

    It is part of a historical trend of the decline of the West and has the tide of history flowing with it ! IMO

    • 1 Get them to accept their decline.
      2 Get them to celebrate it. Just like ancient Rome.

      Showlad below is right, it’s not a winning song. Unless
      1. Israel messes up (Extremely unlikely imo, they’re serious about things when they want to be). And
      2. No 1. coincides with a massive press campaign for little Mercy. Let’s see if 2 develops (with or without 1.).

    • Boki

      Lol, it seems zeitgeist is your favorite term since you need to repeat it in every post. I’m just missing that seducing part of this song…

  • Showlad

    @Cliff re France. With all dure respect when comparing Mercy to Conchita, Jamala and Salvador you are missing 1 vital piece of info: Mercy is a sweet, plodding piece of chilled out pop. All 3 songs you compare it too were AMAZING. This is what France is missing – a winning song.

  • ”AMAZING” is just your opinion about those songs ; try searching through the comments on youtube and you’ll find similar comments about France
    I compared France to Conchita , Jamala and Salvador because they all had a political message of sorts , just as France clearly has ; Netta has a good song with a feminist message that could very well win !

    • markovs

      I don’t think France ‘clearly has’ a message. I had heard it multiple times before reading about it’s message on these sort it boards. Totally passed me by, even though I did appreciate the song. Unless it’s in your face, as it was with Conchita and Jamala, I’m not sure it will connect message wise with a Saturday night audience if which 90%+ will never have heard it before or have any idea if any message. The song is great but us a grower, not an instant grab. It has no real peak. I see lots of middling points and a decent finish but unless the staging is unbelievable I don’t see a top 4 for this.

      • The message is the obvious thing for all national presenters to say when introducing the song, so all will know of it. Many viewers may then lose interest because no understandable lyrics.

  • Showlad

    Estonia: the life and times of their entry this year. First off it was picked somewhat early. Then it was fav. Then the other selections came in and it drifted out. Then back in again to 2nd fav. Then party season and no Elina was there – it drifts out a bit. Then the prospect of no dress! Drifts further. Now the dress is saved.
    The song is being highly underestimated just now imho by a general betting community group dismissal.
    People cite the ‘coldness’ of the song and artist but Elina plays in my mind almost a modern virtual reality pretty (and sexy) opera diva. The backing track too is modern with a touch of electronica and superb production and gathers pace up and drops it again and sounds somewhat like battle scene music in Game Of Thrones. The big money notes are mindblowing.
    The dress may have been ‘done’ before but not to this striking degree in flow to the chorus and lights out back to the verses. In an LCDless Lisbon this is going to play huge with those at home ‘I liked that opera lady with the big dress’ and stick out like a sore thumb. Memorable. Memorable.
    With non ESC friends of mine it is continually up in the Top 3 or 4 fav picks, sometimes their fav. Dimiss this comfortably (in the atmosphere being put around the betting communities) at your peril.
    Estonia is a huge player and now all the selection dust has settled and parties have been done (and dress saved lol) I think it is nailed on Top 5. Will hoover up public and jury votes in the East and will be deemed as quality stuff (and wow that dress and voice!) in the West.
    Estonia is way bigger player than France or Australia.
    If Israel drops the ball and juries screw Norway this could gather enough votes across the baord to do very very well indeed.
    Another detraction mention is Estonia’s poor Eurojury position. Didn’t Bulagria come 15th or something last year with the Eurjoury?
    I expect after Sunday her price will crash again. Unlike many of the stagings and live vocals that we await to see – Elina will simply deliver, deliver and deliver again.

    • Bulgaria had a Sasha B.C. staging that wasn’t known at the time of Eurojury, and worked fantastically. (Not all do.) With Estonia we, and Eurojury, already know what it will look like. (Pretty impressive all the same.)

      And what makes you think it will hoover up public and jury votes in the east?

  • markovs

    Elina can sing but the song is totally unmemorable. For me it is unlistenable and one of the few this year that I skip, but I do think it will get consistent points and a top 10 finish because of the reasons you state. But this would be an awful winner.

  • Showlad

    Meanhwile in LCDless Lisbon..Estonia reveals its amazing new dress – http://esctoday.com/163789/estonia-etv-reveals-model-of-elina-nechayevas-dress/

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