Eurovision 2018: Grand final running order

This year’s outright market has been more topsy-turvy than ever, and we now enter the home straight with the announcement of the draw for Saturday’s big finale. The producers had a real job negotiating a worthy first half with many ballads, and a noisy second half full of uptempo stuff.

Let us know how you think they got on below, and who you think has benefited or come off badly. I’ll be live-blogging the first dress rehearsal which starts at 1pm tomorrow, then tweeting thoughts of the crucial jury rehearsal in the evening.

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121 comments to Eurovision 2018: Grand final running order

  • Annnnnnd there goes Lithuania in the betting.

    • Cathal

      To be fair as much as I Love the Lithuanian song her odds were far too short tbh, was quite obvious to me that Bjorkman was going to kill off either Lithuania or Germany and looks like Lithuania drew the short end of the straw, think it’s now top 10 at best I think.

  • John

    I’ll lift this from the other section –

    Not crazy about the draw. Austria screwed again. Finish on gloomy, self-important Italy? Pft. Spain torpedoed.

    Seems to be Israel vs Cyprus, with Ireland and Sweden in the mix.

    First half seems to indicate Lithuania may have underperformed in the semi, and Rybak has the first banger slot, though that may just help him to top 10 if you ask me.

    Albania has a nice draw. UK and Serbia have much better slots than they deserve. Tough draw to pick I guess.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Was bewildered with what was happening in the course of a flash to the Lithuania odds, until I came here and followed the link.

    Have been caught out by the suddenness of this, as I didn’t realise the running order would be compiled and published in a jiffy.

    Absolutely no idea what the correct trading position to take is, now.

    Might just sit tight and follow the comments.

  • Showlad

    AMAZING draw for Germany in position 11 – same draw as Salvador and Conchita 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Chatterbox5200

    20 – 24 in the running order (Sweden, Hungary, Israel, The Netherlands, Ireland) definitely shows the variety of musical styles in the contest.

  • RD

    Readings on the running order:

    – Ukraine finished 3rd-5th in SF2.
    – Spain is hopeless.
    – Slovenia could be this year’s Golden Boy? Probably got a strong televote.
    – Lithuania did not make the top 3 in SF1 and now its odds are tanking.
    – Estonia is not a winner either.
    – Norway doesn’t seem like a winner, either. Maybe televote winner but definitely not a winner with juries.
    – UK, Germany and France all got a little help.
    – Czechia, Denmark and Australia did not make the top 5 in their SFs.
    – Bulgaria’s is my least favorite song in the F so this 18th slot is concerning for my own taste. Probably not a winner (definitely behind Cyprus in the SF) but with a chance to make the top 10.
    – Moldova and Sweden probably scored big (Moldova doesn’t look jury friendly, though – too many sexual references in the performance).
    – AWS and Netta back-to-back seems like a trick to cancel them out. Good televote, not winners.
    – Ireland did well OR Christer wants them to do well. Right after the insanity looks a good place (though still behind Cyprus).
    – Cyprus won SF1.
    – Italy doesn’t look like a real show closer at all – it probably just got thrown to the lions coming after Cyprus.

  • Liam

    I think this just indicates now that it is Cyprus’s for the taking. Christer is very friendly with the Cypriot delegation – and I would be shocked very much if they didn’t win the semi. Norway looks deliberately dead and buried. UK been given 9th might just save them from being last. Lithuania now tanking in the outright and looks to be an over reaction on the market. The only realistic contender I see stopping Cyprus is Sweden now, and that’s very unlikely.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Is this a running order whose design favours maximising the promotion of political or message songs?

    • If it is doesn’t that go in your favour? Many betters seem to place huge importance on messages.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Personally? Someone such as me?! Difficult to say. Germany is holding up wonderfully well, and I have an interest in France, but Lithuania has ripped a flipping sinkhole through all of my careful trades. May trade out of most positions.

        However, Eugent and non-message Albania have already guaranteed me a good ESC, and I have fancy odds on him for Top 15 and Top 10, which look more realistic than ever before.

        Mine was an observation rather than a compliant or a compliment.

        • I was talking Sofabetters generally who like a message or similar when choosing where to put the dosh.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Sorry JM, I guess I did have a bit of snap in my reply. I think I was still smarting at the potential bittersweet irony that my beloved Lithuania had maybe been buried so to keep it impeding the chances of Germany and France, both of which had been handed 1st half pimp slots.

  • RD

    – The show opener (since 2014) has been a song that did well in the SF, is not a ballad and not a winner.
    – Slot #2 is usually reserved to marginal qualifiers (or songs not expected to do well at all, like Spain).
    – The first uptempo song (after the opener) usually scored a big televote. Usually is **the only** good performer in the #3 to #8 order, which is pretty much forgettable.
    – Songs in slots #9 to #13 include strong performers (Conchita, Mans, Salvador) and filler. Germany and France are strong on the bets so Albania looks like a marginal qualifier, for example. Since it is filled with Big 5 countries, it seems likely that no SF winner is in the first half (or, in Norway case, seems more like a default winner).
    – Slots 14 to 16 are usually filled with Big 5 countries and no top 5 performers in the SFs.
    – The last 10 slots are hard to predict because is a mixture of strong performers and filler so you got to see which entries got a bigger reaction to detect the fillers. Also some entries are likely to cancel each other out so the running order is wild in this part of the draw. Based on not having songs cancelling it out, Cyprus looks like a winner.
    – Out of the last 10, the last one does not look like a winner.

  • Seeing this r.o. and r.o. of the last two years I came up with a rule 🙂 If you performed last in the semi final but you didn’t win it then you will open the grand final given that you drew the first half.

    Happened with Belgium 2016, happened with Israel 2017 and happened with Ukraine 2018.

    I see that I’m not the only one who noticed that. Good points, RD.

  • johnkef

    25 is a little bit too late for a winner. No winner from that slot yet

    2013- Geo 15th
    2014- S.Marino 24th
    2015- Russia 2nd (27 countries), Albania 17th as penultimate
    2016- UK 24th
    2017- Bulgaria 2nd

    22 mediocre as well

    2013- Ukraine 3rd
    2014- Malta 23rd
    2015- Hungary 20th
    2016- Malta 12th
    2017- Ukraine 24th

    2 wins in total

  • Hippo

    It’s not even over yet but 2011 and 2014 can be wiped from history as the go to example of volatility.
    Unless there’s some huge jury discrepancy, Cyprus has this.

    Norway’s running order is actually decent, it’s the first uptempo after the opener which didn’t hurt Polly Genova or Sunstroke none. What it does not say however is semi winner, but then nor does anything say semi 2 winner- Australia wouldn’t be so early, Ukraine wouldn’t open. Sweden probably won by default, there’s an argument for 8-9 countries to have won the televote there but Sweden probably romped the jury and did well if not spectacularly with the public.

    Neither the Czech Republic or Lithuania have a great draw so you have to wonder who was third in that semi? Ireland and Albania have suspiciously good draws but it’s hard to discern if Albania in particular did well or is filler to boost the two big five favourites in the first half. Ireland has already over exceeded my expectations ten-fold so its not beyond the realms of possibility this did really well.

    My view on Israel coming before Cyprus is that it’s inconclusive but most likely is a further indicator of Cyprus winning semi 1.
    Cyprus have the spot Bulgaria had last year and they romped the semi yet 2013 is the last example of Bjorkman having the chance to put a semi winner and runner up together in the same half and he had the 2nd placed (Greece) follow the 1st (Azerbaijan). To my eyes, they’ve moved away from this method of trying to even up the final and it’s more later=better in general.

    Then we have the big 5. Spain getting the coffin slot is kind of funny but on the whole irrelevant. So is the UK’s draw, whether intended as filler or not, I don’t think it hugely affects the UK’s chances. Germany and France given the best shake possible and attempts have clearly been made to sacrifice some other songs for their benefits. Both still feel like they’re bobbing around the lower top 10. Italy is a strange closer, but it looks like an unwritten rule since 2014 that a big 5 must be last or second last. Will help them somewhat but they’re not winning.

    Simply stunning year in terms of odds movements.

    • johnkef

      I would give it an extra day before calling the winner. Cyprus is ahead but i think that it will be decided by a very small margin. Israel lost the momentum but never actually collapsed like Italy last year or Armenia 2014

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Slots 21, 22 and 23 in the running order will make for a bewildering slice of life. Hungary, followed by Israel, then by The Netherlands. The manic trilogy. With Israel in the midst of the maelstrom.

    • Alpie

      who’s going to shine there?

      • johnkef

        The ‘Golden Toy’…

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        I’d say no-one.

        At the moment that the Leopard Print Cowboy has his supposed band members reveal themselves as the Country Krumpers I think many viewers will be shaking their heads in amused, compound bewilderment at it all. The overload factor.

        That section is of no benefit to any of them. If anyone, Ireland following on from that will be a beneficiary.

        And that pleasant interlude allows viewers to recentre and be blown away by Cyprus.

        Viewers at home can then complete their scorecards, as they turn the volume down on those two Italian blokes shouting at them from the TV screen.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          @johnkef

          Could be.

          There is the counter that Netta, in the middle of this running order maelstrom, in the middle of this Eurovision’s Testosterone sandwich; she and her #metoo message will be thus highlighted.

          I’d say it mostly favours Cyprus, though, whatever way you look at it.

          If I were Netta I would much prefer to follow Waylon rather than precede him. Waylon’s entry is perhaps more startling than even Netta’s. And it could feel his show is having the last word, in a sense – not that his song or show is in any way a response to any aspect of hers.

          • johnkef

            Cyprus is ahead of everyone and i am not affraid to admitt that. I don’t think it’s over though. This is my estimation.

          • What makes you think Cyprus is ahead John? I mean I’m not suggesting they’re weak at all, quite the contrary.

          • johnkef

            They have the momentum but it’s too short for me to bet on them

          • eurovicious

            I’ve come around more to the idea of Cyprus as a default winner – it’s a slick Swedish-style package, there’s female solidarity, she produces fire/controls smoke, and it’s a bit Dua Lipa-ey, musically and visually a lot more current than the 2000s ethno-bangers we’ve been comparing it to. It could be a contemporary radio hit. And I’d rather it won than Israel or Germany or Sweden or Ireland.

          • BT

            I’m struggling to find it but I remember seeing an interview with Bjorkman between the Cypriot song being chosen and the reveal where he talked of it as being one of the two favourites along with another country that I can’t remember. I remember being a little underwhelmed with the reveal but the man clearly knows his stuff, even before the staging was apparent! I always had Sweden pegged as the default winner but Cyprus makes a lot more sense. What I’m most looking forward to is seeing the jury/televoting splits in the final, I’m not convinced the eventual winner will top both.

  • johnkef

    Sweden is like cockroaches. Even after a nuclear disaster they will be finishng in the Top5!

    • Every time they finish in the top 5 – they deserved it. Sweden is simply very good at Eurovision and music in general. Nothing wrong with that. I love Sweden for that. They always show how it’s supposed to be done.

      • johnkef

        I am not implying the opposite. They are professionals and they know how to stage a song and sell a product. It’s amazing though even in a year like that they will make it

    • We can be sure next year Sweden will be among the favorites even before Melodifestivalen has started.

  • johnkef

    Reminder for Eurovision Posts 2019:

    Polish diaspora is an urban legend…

    • eurovicious

      They only turn out when the act is popular and known. Donatan-Cleo and Michal Szpak were both big in Poland; Monika Kuszynska, Kasia Mos and this lot weren’t. What hurt it most though were the terrible vocals. It seemed a lot better in the jury show than last night’s mess.

  • Avitas

    Do we actually know that Bjorkman & Co know the semi results when deciding the running order for the final? I could swear that I’ve read somewhere that they don’t (only a handfull people do) but I cannot find where I saw that. Or we just don’t believe that they don’t know..?

  • RD

    What are the odds of Moldova having scored big in the televote but not so much with the juries? Putting them between Bulgaria and Sweden would maybe destroy their chances with the juries and probably damage their Northern televotes. The thing is someone needs to take those ex-URSS votes and I don’t think Ukraine and Norway can take many of them.

    It’s really hard to guess which entry won SF2 – I think the votes were all over the place because none of them seems to have got a nice slot. Cases could be made for Norway, Moldova and Sweden but overall none of them seems to be in a strong place (plus the ones that could benefit from the Eastern fall are the ones that are dropping like flies in the bets).

  • Okay, if it’s a ballad, then I think Germany or Ireland could walk away with the trophy (Lithuania, Spain are too early in the running order, on Estonia there will be too many voting discrepancies between televoters and juries, and Portugal doesn’t do it for me).

    If it’s going to be an up-tempo winner, then Cyprus, Sweden and Czech Republic are my biggest contenders. With an outside chance for Moldova and Israel. Norway? I’m just not sure. The song…..

    I tried to visualize my prediction concept a bit. Here it is (and probably I will be completely wrong hehe):
    https://i.imgur.com/6eeD2lS.jpg

    • John

      My feeling is you have Germany and Ireland a little too high and Israel a little too low. But I could be wrong.

    • johnkef

      You underestimate the balkan voting blocs. Serbia cannot finish last in the juries and Slovenia penultimate. They will get some love. Ireland 1st? Don’t think so

  • John

    Having listened to the contenders again, I have to be unhelpful and say – not a clue.

    Cyprus has thin verses and a lot of hair tossing. Its like an imitation of a winner from the early 00s. Personally I’d find it a didappointing winner and hope the juries are ready not to mark it up due to Favourite Syndrome.

    Israel is a busy, goofy 3 minutes. But it stands out and is fun. I just wish there was a little more Netta and less crowd and stadium shots. I think they detract. After the Hungarian assault isnt ideal.

    Lithuania looked compelling but has a bum draw. Germany is a bit of an introverted piece in a gloomy first half and the visual maelstrom is distracting, as is Michael’s flipping haircut and vocals.

    Bulgaria, Netherlands, France, Czechs, Moldova will all be in the mix to varying degrees. I still dont get why the Moldovan staging has Smiley Moldovan throwing a fit as if the sound has cut. It makes no sense to their show.

    Australia are brave sending Jessica alone. A few backing singers and dancers and she’d be in contention.

    Norway have an alright draw, though it would be the earliest winner for years. Alex was off tonight and Im not sure why. The staging lacked the oomph and tightness from the NF. Maybe its more of a NF song. My book is gutted.

    Ireland is easily the most fascinating for me. I suspect it was on Cyprus heels in that semi and created a real moment, turning a gloomy song into something bittersweet and magical. Its weird to talk about Ireland this way, but they will be right in the mix.

    Cant call a winner but Cyprus, Israel, Ireland are my top 3. Wow!

    • RD

      I totally agree on your views about Ireland. After the SF I thought about it as one of the top 5 performers that could get a shot at top 10 in the final because the staging really made it work (the lighting and camera work, most of all). Now I look at its position in the draw and it looks like it possibly made the podium and has a shot at backing it up in the final.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I wonder if the China ban will give Ireland some publicity and make it stick in the minds of voters. People who hear about the ban may become predisposed to like it before they hear or see the performance. It’ll be interesting to see if/how the papers and websites cover it and if the story becomes more widely known.

    • niko

      About the Moldovan staging: Isn’t the idea that they’re saying to the audience “be quiet” because the two men don’t want each other to know that they are there competing for the same girl? That’s how I read it.

  • Mark

    I think we’ll be hearing more and more about Germany in the next 36 hours.

  • RonH

    I tend to conclude that Netherlands, despite all critisims to its act, did much much better than expected by punters. Waylon got the latest possible draw in the semi and again is rewarded the very last position of all second semi finalist in the final. He must have ended before Hungary and in the top of semi 2. TLC were given 24th position in the final, he gets 23rd possition (and both came out of the last envelope). If this allocation is not based on a very high score, it would be suspicious. Is Outlaw in Em this years song with the Lordi effect and could juries and voters be drawn in instead of pulled off by the krumping?

    • Beginning to think the same thing. It felt very hit or miss, as in it would either do well and get near the top or fail to qualify. As the qualifiers were announced it looked like the former, but I was very pleased when they were announced last.
      I was initially put off by the dancers, but I think I’m starting to ‘get’ it. The whole package is a lot more salient and memorable as a result of them, which has to count for something when it comes time to vote.

      The other act that I think is slipping under the radar is Ireland. I have a feeling that Ireland didn’t sneak into the final at all(it seemed that way initially due to them being the last announced and being 4/1 to qualify). I’m starting to think they created a Calm after the storm moment and romped home behind cyprus. The draw supports this, and if it benefited from contrast with cyprus in semi 1 it will get the exact same effect. I think the betting market is beginning to awaken to Ireland’s potential. (in the course of writing this post Ireland has gone from 9-7th) The china censoring is a godsend. They now have narrative behind them. I can’t see it winning the televote against cyprus, but they may well score better with juries. Maybe a compromise winner like in 2016.

  • Augustas

    In a year like this, when we have both SFs with 6 countries going through from the first half, when we have countries with 100% qualification record going home, when everything is unclear in the market, would it be a huge surprise for Lithuania from early slot taking the trophy?

  • Stoney

    Hopefully Norway can pinch a top 4 spot, aside from that ive had to take some of the 33s on Ireland.

    • Jessica Hamby

      *waves at Stoney*

      • Stoney

        You on board with that mate?

        • Stoney

          I did wave back by the way. Just forgot to type it 🙂

          • Jessica Hamby

            Just saw this. I’ve not gone in on the ESC at all. I’m going to make some personal predictions and see how I do. If I do well I might go in next year.

            I think at 33s Ireland is a great shout for a place. If outrage is manufactured from the China ban it might get some extra momentum as well. I like Norway but there are a lot of strong songs and what I like is not always what the public likes – even more so with a European audience. I’m with the majority as far as winners go. I still think Cyprus or Israel are most likely, especially with the running order.

            I’d rather bet on qualification from a semi final than try and pick a winner or even a top 4 in the final. There’s a lot of competition.

            Besides, I like the long odds and the outsiders and I’ve really not followed enough of the competition to look out for that.

            Good luck with it.

  • Baggio

    Ireland could do well, just cant see it being a winner, but its a weird year so who knows?

    I am feeling that Israel still has legs and in with a shot

  • Running order (RO) suggests Israel won SF1 with Cyprus second. Israel was given 22, in the sweet zone. Cyprus penultimate slot, just outside the sweet zone.

    Also the quiet and confusion from Israel’s beginning, which I think is an absolutely fantastic lead up to the tune (but all other posters dislike), is a great reset moment following Hungary.

    Ultimate, or penultimate slot, is not the pimping slot it is in the much smaller XF field. They’re good, just not as good as a few slots before close, if you analyse ESC history (very long competition, relief from down-regulating the sympathetic nervous system by making decision “I’ll vote for that”).

    In recent history Lena won from 22, 2010. Jamala won from 21, 2016.

    However Il Volo 2015 got the most public votes from ultimate slot so there is a case for a real rousing power number at the end to reset everything. Cyprus could possibly do that at a stretch but they weren’t given it. It went to another power number (a Big 5), but with much less chance.

    Less importantly RO suggests Czech beat Lithuania in SF1, ie 3rd place and 4th place, but the lower you go down the winner table the less correlation in RO. Germany and Lithuania both use family images so had to have wide separation. It’s Germany chosen for the better slot and Lithuania buried.

    France in 13 is EBU’s teacher’s pet – Big 5 pay for their existence.

    • Sagand

      What won the second semi in your opinion? The market was leaning toward Sweden. Would they have put both semi winners so close together?

      Or did they put one of the semi winners in your ‘sweet spot’ at 20 and the other in the penultimate spot they have been shown to like as well with Israel at 22 to keep energy up and the others buffers between them all.

  • Milton

    If anything that running order suggests that Cyprus won. Last year Bulgaria smashed their semi and were given the penultimate slot in the final, the same as Fuego.

    • 13 finals since 2005 and 9 winners have come from the 17 to 22 sweet spot. This is not a coincidence and is probably more likely to be mainly a reverse correlation whereby the ESC, for whatever reasons, thinks these are the best slots and puts the likely winners there. So that’s 9 out of 13 and to enforce this further 3 of the remaining winners in this period were placed in slot 10 or 11 which suggests the ESC thinks these are good slots for those unlucky enough to have drawn first half. (You can’t go back too far with this because the runners get less, that changes everything, and moreso they didn’t used to plan ro).

      All this strongly suggests Netta won SF1. But nothing’s certain and it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Scroll down this page and look at the poll on the right of the page. 86,000+ votes so far and 20% of them think Israel will win. Also it’s a poll based on IP addresses, not cookies, so multiple voting is difficult.

        Cyprus is second on 11%. Germany and Ireland are on 1% each.

        https://eurovisionworld.com/esc/eurovision-2018-running-order-in-grand-final-decided

        • Yeah, we’re on course for a mega victory here.

        • Chris Bellis

          Yes, Jessica I was interested in those results when you posted the website before. However it is possible to spoof IP addresses and write a batch script to repeatedly vote. Hackers do it all the time. Using a VPN you don’t even need to be in the correct country. In fact, given that Russia is known for its hacking skills, I would have expected Russia to qualify. Maybe it fitted their current anti-Western bias to have the song not qualify. We know that Putin watches Eurovision….

      • johnkef

        Henry this is exactly the reason why i think Israel is not over yet. Happy to see that other people pay attention to the stats!!! Victory shall be ours!!!

        • Alpie

          johnkef, you are from greece. why wouldn’t you like a Cyprus victory. I understand that you heavily are on Israel betwise but all the greeks support Eleni I assume.

          • johnkef

            I think i have said that before. I am not a fan of greek pop music and especially of the greek star system. We are a small market and the companies produce plastic low quality music to sell spending the minimum amount of money.

            If you see a typical videoclip or the attitude that these so called pop stars have you would laugh. We also have this place that we call Bouzoukia, night clubs where artists sing two or three times per week and they get paid loads of money. Foureira is one of these artists. Even there most of the times she sings playback….

            Foureira is one of the big names there, but…she is actually Albanian that did not have the courage to admitt it till maybe this year, because she thought she wouldn’t become a pop star reveiling her true identity. That makes her fake to my eyes. This year that she actually needs the help from her country did not have any hesitation to reveil her origins.

            I like the song but it’s cheap for my personal taste. I will be happy if Cyprus wins or has a great result but thats it

      • Milton

        The running order has been only decided by the producers since 2013. In that time 6 acts won their semis and pulled out 2nd half draws. These are the slots they were given:

        2013 Emmilie de Forest – Denmark 18/26
        2013 Farid Mammadov – Azerbaijan 20/26
        2014 Common Linnets – Netherlands 24/26
        2015 Polina Gagarina – Russia 25/27
        2016 Sergey Lazarev – Russia 18/26
        2017 Kristian Kostov – Bulgaria 25/26

        3/6 were put in the 18-22 sweet spot. 3/6 were in the same slot as Cyprus or one slot earlier. Based on this evidence alone Netta and Elini are equally likely to have won the semi.

        • It’s not as simple as that. You’ve got to ask were they the favourites or was the fav in the other half? Who got the most points? Who did they want to win? And take everything into account. Therefore it’s more accurate to look at final winners. Anyway both Israel and Cyprus have great slots.

          • Milton

            Its not as simple as that, but it is as simple as saying ‘Israel have been given the 22nd slot, Cyprus the 25th slot, so that means that israel probably beat them in the semi?’ I just can’t accept that on any level. If my arguments haven’t persuaded you fair enough – you can’t win them all. Need to press on with other stuff now, good luck in the final 🙂

    • And Milton your point about Bulgaria – why weren’t they given a historically more succesful slot seeing as Portugal was in the first half? Talking about recent history here ie since the mega finals, penultimate slot has a better record the more you go back in time and the number of runners reduced.

      • Milton

        The whole premise of trying to give semi winners the most successful historical position is flawed Henry. If someone is good enough to win the semi why would the organisers go out of their way to effectively handicap the opposition and give the semi winners an extra leg up in the final? If anything they would want to level the field and have an exciting scoring sequence with an uncertain outcome. With your theory all they are doing is helping to create a runaway winner, why would they do that? They put together the running order for televisual reasons, to create the most entertaining show possible, nothing else.

        • They have no interest in leveling the field as you say. They are TV producers and TV producers want to keep people watching all the way to the end and come back the next year. They also want the best act (in their view, aided by popularity) to win, for the sake of the show. And they have discovered in a very long show this is most likely to come from a bit before the very last slots. It is a show that wants to maximize viewers way before it is a competition.

          And yes I agree that, with all the above in mind, it has to be entertaining. That’s why they decide ro – makes the competition much less fair but makes the show much better.

  • BT

    I think the effect of the China decision on Ireland’s chances are a bit overstated, the exact same thing didn’t do much to help Finland in 2013.

    It obviously can’t be ruled out in a year like this but that probably applies to half the field at this point in time. I think Ireland are a too short and for all we know, it’s equally likely they could have been placed in 24th to provide a slow filler song between Cyprus and Israel as it is that they did well in the semi.

    I also think Italy are much too short, I’m not convinced the subtitles do enough to communicate the message clearly and effectively and, even as someone who understands Italian, the rapidfire delivery of the lyrics are a bit overwhelming. The vocals are nothing special and I struggle to see what the betting appeal of the song is aside from it being a ‘message’ song. I have similar reservations about the message in the French song that I’ve commented on previously, it plods along until the flashlight moment and, assuming no explanation from the commentator, is your average Saturday night viewer really going to understand the meaning of the gesture?

    For those reasons, I see Germany as being the value in the Top Big 5 market on current prices (3.35) and I’d probably have it as the favourite. It seems to have enough space either side of it in the draw to stand out and the simple wording and pictures behind Michael tell the story of the song far better than Italy and France do. I’m ruling out any slim chance Spain had on account of its number 2 slot and I don’t feel the need to say anything about the UK.

    As far as the outright goes, I’ll say it’s between Cyprus, Israel and Sweden for me but I really have no idea, just like the market.

  • caluca

    I have enjoyed this video. Nothing new we don’t know, still..

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

    Spot the “Fire Hot”

    • Chris Bellis

      Thanks for that caluca. It confirms to me that he put Spain into the second slot because of a bad paella. Or it might have been the two pianos pissed him off.

    • BT

      Very interesting video and I’m not sure how much we can read into it but I took some notes on what we can learn from it so people can feel free to analyse it.

      – Lithuania was shown being moved from 11th (Germany’s current spot) to 4th
      – Norway was originally in 12th (Albania) before being moved to 7th
      – Sweden was in 23rd (Netherlands) at one point as was Denmark
      – Both Bulgaria and Ireland were considered for 20th (Sweden), Bulgaria being moved quite late on into deliberations
      – Moldova was in 16th (Australia) at one point
      – The 14th(Czechia), 15th (Denmark) and 16th spots were deliberated over quite a lot with Finland being in 14th at one point and Netherlands also there before being moved in what looks like the final couple of decisions. Australia were in 15th and Czechia in 16th before being moved right at the end.
      – Denmark was in 18th at one point and then moved to 23rd before being switched with Netherlands in what looked like the final decisions in sorting out the 14-16th slots.
      – Italy was considered for 24th at one point

      As I say, it’s hard to read into things and it tells us a lot about what we already know with Germany/Lithuania being viewed as similar songs for example. The indecision over Czechia, Denmark, Netherlands, Moldova and Finland would seem to me that they aren’t contenders but the market already tells us that.

      Are we to assume that Sweden is not a contender too after occupying the 23rd spot at one point? Both 23rd and 24th saw more than one country being considered whereas Cyprus and Israel seemed to be set in stone. Does this tell us that those are the 2 main contenders?

      One thing that would be helpful is if we have any lip reading experts around to tell us what Jon Ola Sand said when Cyprus was placed in 25th

  • Dan

    Wasn’t “Toy” supposed to be a massive hit in Europe after the first SF ?

    • Ande

      Toy is a flop with viewers.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Which viewers?

        It clearly didn’t do badly on Tuesday.

        It’s divisive. I’ll grant you that. Some people are going to hate it, whether because of lyrics or sentiment or performance or style or whatever, but a hell of a lot of people are going to love it. And after an hour or two of Eurovision it’ll be a tonic for both the ears and the eyes. It’s going to be in the mix at the end of the night.

        Or is this one of those “try and put people off to shift the odds” posts? In which case please carry on.

        • Israel might not have done that well on the televote. I’m really shocked at how low the downloads are on ESC Tracker.

          http://www.esctracker.com

          • Dan

            The fact the it didn’t even chart anywhere before the rehearsals spoke volumes.

          • johnkef

            what about apple and spotify? how relevant are all these charts? What does 34 in Armenia mean? Is it a representative sample of the eurovision voters?

          • Melisandre

            Even in somewhere like Finland it only takes about 8 copies to go to number 1 on itunes. Israel is doing very well on Apple music, Spotify and Youtube though so it is a bit odd.

  • markovs

    I thought Toy was distinctly average on Tuesday and only the hype is keeping it up there. Awful first 30 secs, poor staging / visuals, and She was below par vocally as well. Rushed and breathy. Would be a poor winner imo. Cyprus has the momentum but rewatching the semi, her vocals were all over the shop. Juries could punish that big time. Ireland or maybe Germany look the possible compromise winners who nail it on the night? Lithuania dead after the running order and Norway somehow friendless after a typical performance from Rybak. Still don’t get why it’s dropped quite so much but don’t think it can win now.

    • Jessica Hamby

      What do you think of Finland? Can Saara Aalto pull off a surprise? She doesn’t give sub par vocals and she’s a great performer.

    • Hippo

      Couldn’t see anything particularly bad with Rybak either but bailed once it was at 12-15 seeing what’s happened to the other contenders. Getting on and off at the right time has been more important than ever. Doesn’t look to be the winner with such a negative response but can still be 5th or so.

  • RonH

    I start to believe only a percipient can forcast the outcome this year. I’m not so II will stay away from any prediction of the top five or ten in the final for the first time in years.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Is going into the final as a huge favourite a good or a bad thing? It didn’t do Loreen any harm but aren’t there also strong favourites who’ve been soundly beaten?

  • Okay, this is my very daring prediction of tomorrow’s grand final of the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest. Most likely I have a lot of mistakes hehe:

    TOP 10:
    https://i.imgur.com/kO081rK.jpg
    01. CYPRUS
    02. IRELAND
    03. SWEDEN
    04. GERMANY
    05. MOLDOVA
    ————————–
    06. CZECH REPUBLIC
    07. ISRAEL
    08. AUSTRIA
    09. NORWAY
    10. ESTONIA

    TOP 17 (the rest):
    https://i.imgur.com/lsCBxmS.jpg
    11. France
    12. Hungary
    13. Ukraine
    14. Lithuania
    15. Australia
    16. The Netherlands
    17. Albania
    18. Portugal
    19. Slovenia

    BOTTOM 7:
    20. United Kingdom
    21. Bulgaria
    22. Serbia
    23. Spain
    24. Denmark
    25. Finland
    26. Italy

  • JimKro

    Although quite new to analysing ESC, I would like to offer some of my thoughts on the current situation. Maybe I am completely off (please bear with me ), but right now I would rank the contenders as follows:

    Favourite:

    1. Cyprus
    Seems the most likely SF1 winner and televote winner for the Grand Final, based on social media and I-tunes stats. Should do well with juries as well, based on show and performance and Eurojury score. But could be slightly at risk in this area.

    Main challengers:

    2. Israel (still seems a contender, I guess it ended 2nd in the semi and does well with the public stats)
    3. Sweden (seems a possible jury winner and could challenge the first two. Should have won semi 2)

    Outsiders:

    4. Ireland (draw indicates a top 3 in semi 1, could create a Common Linnets moment and should do well on both sides)
    5. Germany (strong jury and televote potential, best draw of first half ballads)
    6. Australia (perhaps a little left-field? I thought her performance was way better than the raised expectations, she can improve more and has done well on I-tunes. Not much reason to not have her on the same heights as before rehearsals. Should do well with juries too. Draw suggest a possible top 3 place in the semi, she is right before the second break with a bit of distance to the big favourites later on the running order. She could do surprisingly well!).

    Should do well, but unlikely winners (although it gets really fuzzy from 4th onwards):

    7. France (has a really nice draw and a classy as well as catchy song. Eurojuries score worries me though and I think the staging is not enough to win the whole thing).
    8. Lithuania (hard one to call. Has a huge USP and potential to attract a lot of eastern votes. I-tunes stats are not great though and I don’t think it’s much of a jury song. Draw is very bad as well, indicating that it maybe did not perform that well in the semi)
    9. Czech Republic (feels a bit weird that it drifted that much. Still seems to have the complete package of jury and televote potential. I-tunes stats are decent as well. Draw as first 2nd halve act right after France is a bit worrying though and might indicate that it did not land top 3 in the semi).
    10. Moldova (will not win, but should attract huge televotes from the east with such few candidates left. I do not understand the drift at all. Top 10 seems very likely to me).
    11. Norway (very uncertain about this, but I have Norway to miss out on top 10 right now. Second and third place in the semi is up for grasps between Norway, Moldova and Australia I think. Draw does not suggest a bad score, as their were only a few possible places for the 4 up-tempo songs in the first half. I think theirs is about the best one possible. I do not believe in a great jury score though and stats do not suggest huge televote appeal. Could depend on amount of eastern votes it attracts).

    Probably miss out on top 10, although not entirely ruled out:

    12. Ukraine (the eastern votes should land somewhere)
    13. Hungary (possible strong televote in semi, strong USP)
    14. Bulgaria (voting strength and decent jury potential)
    15. Albania
    16. Austria (both will struggle for votes, but very good performers and will appeal to juries).

    Has some merits to avoid last place, but not much else:
    17. Finland (very strong performance in semi, should attract some Anglo-Saxon votes)
    18. Estonia (for me the obvious high-ranked act to underperform. Stats are very unimpressive and should not attract jury votes. Horrible draw).
    19. Serbia
    20. Slovenia (Balkan strength should avoid last place for both countries)
    21. Denmark (surprising high reactions after semi performance, although Nordic votes could be split)
    22. The Netherlands (great song, but I really do not like the performance)

    Contenders for last place:

    23. Italy (really do not understand its high placing, attention will be gone after Cyprus. Two aggressive unvoteable man shouting at us, horrible song).
    24. Portugal (I love the song and performance, but will be very hard to make an impact from the draw).
    25. Spain (second draw says enough)
    26. UK (my favourite for last place, absolute filler material for the space right after the first toiler break when people are still getting new beers etc.)

    Betting wise I believe Sweden and Czech Republic are a bit too big, France maybe a bit too short. Estonia and Italy way too short IMO.

  • Stoney

    Here comes the Ireland price crash

  • Chris Bellis

    China’s actions are all over all the mainstream media. Just listening to Radio 4 which has been featuring Eurovision stories for a while now. Definite plus for Ireland. Look what happened with Conchita, the last time the serious media took an interest in Eurovision. At least Paddy O’Connell, the Radio 4 journalist, knows something about Eurovision.

    • Walrus

      but that’s UK, not the whole of Europe. I reckon Romania, Hungary or other countries in the Eastern bloc do not give a damn about it. And that’s another problem: let’s take Romania for example who is bracing for a €50m referendum over changing the Constitution to practically ban the same sex marriage. Yeah, there are a lot of liberals watching Eurovision, but that dance is likely not to be perceived as good in the East. And you also need a little bit of that votes.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Conchita and Dana International won and neither of them were mainstream or representative of traditional gender roles. It could give people in Romania who oppose the constitutional changes the strength to be more vocal about it. It could give homophobes a reason to think again. You never know – Simona Halep might even come out.

        Okay – all that’s a bit unlikely. But the rules are different for performers and the rules are different at parties. Eurovision has both. Gay is OK at Eurovision, even for homophobes.

        • Walrus

          It is, but Conchita was the drag queen with a beard, whilst the “gayness” is there on show, there is no suggestion, just everything is in your face. As a Romanian, I can’t see your argument being supported by our mentality.

          • Jessica Hamby

            You may not know it, but I can guarantee you there are a lot of gay people in Romania, they will be watching, they will be voting.

            Will Ireland get 12 points? Almost certainly not, but they may well get some points. Your jury is also a factor. Will they be influenced by the dance part of the performance or will they vote just on the song? If they are influenced by the dance, will that influence make them like the song more or less? Some of them might be gay. They may have gay friends or family members.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            @Wlalrus

            Is the gayness there on show, with everything in your face?

            It’s two clean-cut, wholesome looking young guys with a playing age of early twenties dancing opposite each other in a very stylised, performing arts, stage school type of way. It’s presented and performed Glee style. Gleeful gay.

            They hold hands at times. It’s sweetly done. Two cute buttons on the same snuggly duffle coat.

            I remember when a TV series’s first gay kiss encounter was hyped up and endlessly discussed in the media.

            The shock factor / faux shock factor / PR event of that is long past. That’s nothing now. Mundane.

            The two lads in the Together stage show don’t even kiss.

          • Walrus

            Guildo, if you knew something about Romania or Eastern Europe, two guys holding hands in a park on a bench would be stigmatised :).

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            True. I admit I know little about Romania or Eastern Europe.

            My point (and memories) about media “storms” re a TV series’s “landmark” first gay kiss scene between characters, of course, was with main reference to UK TV series.

            What representation of gay males is there in popular Romanian and Eastern European TV shows? Do those characters kiss and snog each other?

            There’s also many, many places in the UK where two guys holding hands in a park on a bench would be stigmatised.

          • Walrus

            There is no such thing as gay kisses in Romanian mainstream media. I think it would not come as accepted or liked. That’s what I am talking about: while liberal, the Eastern audience will not be reduced to tears as the Western one. These type of emotions are differently perceived here.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            I’m guessing that in Romania, a man wearing a full length sequinned dress and sporting a beard in a park on a bench would also be stigmatised?

            Yet, I’ve just scanned down the wiki page on the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, to see that in Semi Final 2, Romania gave a combined jury & televote maximum 12 points…to Austria.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurovision_Song_Contest_2014

            In Romania, what makes a bearded man in full make-up and a dress attractive but two guys holding hands unattractive?

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          “You never know – Simona Halep might even come out.”

          Haha!

          Don’t suggest that – have a heart!

          As it would probably traumatise a lot of Romanian guys – who still haven’t yet fully recovered and adapted to her look nowadays, post that dramatic breast reduction surgery of hers…

    • Walrus

      Are you Romanian? 🙂 Please don’t judge what you are not feeling on a daily basis. And, yes, I can be certain that Ireland won’t get 12 pts from Romania. Probably it will go to Moldova.

      • Jessica Hamby

        If Elton John can tour in Russia then Ireland can get a few votes from Eastern Europe.

      • Chris Bellis

        @Walrus I’m not Romanian but I visit from time to time. I think a country that can send It’s my life to Eurovision is maybe not so straight as you think. Ditto all the East European countries including Russia. We’ve had this debate endless times on here. Just because the Patriarch/Archbishop/Pope doesn’t like it, doesn’t mean the televoter and juries won’t. I’ve been in gay friendly bars in many big cities of former communist countries, including Bucharest. Conservative attitudes are always suspended for artists and musicians anyway. Even in a macho country like Mexico, their most treasured singer was gay, and openly so. When I lived in Spain I used to drink in a bar frequented by top flamenco singers. It was well known that most of them were gay, yet ordinary Sevillanos didn’t care.

        • Walrus

          Chris, all due respect, visiting from time to time and going to gay friendly bars does not mean that you can really feel the status quo. There have been 3 million persons who signed a petition to change the text Constitution regarding the marriage status – as in the marriage can only be consumed between a man and a woman. It’s not about the Pope or Patriarch here, nor about Spain. Conchita got 8p from Romania, 5p from Russia, nil points from Armenia, nil points from Belarus, one point from Azerbaijan and so on. It was a better song and, imo, more accessible because, I repeat myself, it was not that “in your face”. Can Ireland get back these points from the Western countries? Probably. But will it be enough? With a Greek-heavy hitter and Israel also shaping up to be good in the televote, I do not think it is enough.

  • Alpie

    Is there a chance that someone is manupilating the itunes charts listed at esctracker.com? Although apple and spotify lists make sense, israel is far behing in itunes chart.

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