Israel and Netta Barzilai win Eurovision 2018

After a close-fought battle between the top two in the betting, Israel’s Netta beat Cyprus’s Eleni to take the Eurovision crown. Austria finished third after winning the jury vote. Please let us know your continued thoughts on the contest below. Here are the latest links to the semi-final and final scoreboards.

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150 comments to Israel and Netta Barzilai win Eurovision 2018

  • Ben Cook

    Wow, what a thriller! I was baffled to see Austria so high in the jury vote. Not surprised to Sweden do well, but then they did so badly on the televote, so I don’t know who wins that argument!

    Italy coming 3rd in the televote was an achievement.

    Norway I just read won the 2nd semi – so why so low in the final? Perhaps late draw was more important for televotes in the final this year because the second half was so full of bangers?

    • Anglia Chu

      Polyglot song paid off

    • Ande

      Norway was buried by the draw. Also at SF2 Rybak was billed as the hot favorite and people likes to root for winners. Going into the Final media was harsh on Rybak and many juries and commentators will have picked up on that. Israel and Cyprus was billed as the big favorites and that will have helped them. Even juries that aren’t deeply invested in the Eurovision usually consume media between the SF and Final.

      Austria’s increase in jury support can conversely probably be attributed to organic spotify and radio plays, it wasn’t helped by much of a buzz but gains on repeat listens.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Did anyone back Austria for a top 5 finish? Or even top 10?

  • Frank

    Imagine Austria having a better starting position….

    • Jessica Hamby

      I’m not sure it would have made any difference.

      It’s the same with X Factor. They can throw the contemporary acts at you as much as they like – people are still most excited by a nice, unthreatening bloke called Matt who wears a jumper or a suit jacket and whose usp is his falsetto.

      • Frank

        I still think it was unfair of Mr Björkman to allocate slot nr 5 to the best contestant of the stronger SF1 who had drawn first half of the finals….

        • Jessica Hamby

          Did he win the public vote for semi-final 1? I didn’t know that. Thing is, if he draws the first half of the main final, where else do you put him? I suppose he could have been swapped with Germany but none of the first half slots are particularly desireable.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Austria came fourth in the first semi-final.

          Israel won it, Cyprus came second and Czech Republic came third, so their position in the grand final was not as unfair as it might appear from the jury vote.

          https://eurovisionworld.com/eurovision/2018/semi-final-1

        • Ande

          Yes, it was Norway who got the bad end of the stick this year, although I do think it was weird that they grouped the stronger first half acts into starting positions 4, 5, 6 and 7.

      • Jessica Hamby

        It’s like the old rule “delight the demographic”. The thing is that what delights the juries and what delights the ESC audience are not the same thing.

    • Anglia Chu

      I don’t think running order is too strong here. I reckon that unlike XF, ESC’s votes come largely from dedicated fans (rather than floating ones).

  • Andy

    Just an observation.
    How many contestants traded below 10/1
    Cyprus
    Israel
    Austria
    Germany
    Czech Republic
    Lithuania
    France
    Bulgaria
    Norway
    Ireland
    Australia
    Belgium
    Estonia
    Sweden
    Russia
    Finland I think.
    Anyone else ?
    Laying would have been seriously profitable this year.

  • Ben

    Backed Austria soon as I heard it as I thought they’d do well with the juries.
    A decent, original popsong in a night of typical Eurovision zaniness and Timberlake/Sheeran wannabes.

  • Alpie

    @johnkef. congratulations for your insight. I haven’t touched Cyprus upon your comments about Eleni Conchita was also right about his prediction.

    • johnkef

      Thank you ver y much Alpie! Great Eurovision for me personally! Israel my biggest bet, great profit with Germany Top4-5-10, amazing returns with Austria top5, Top10 and Top15, Moldova Top10 plus a few smaller. Best year ever. What about you?

  • Romania lost out in the SF by 4 points! With the reported no televote in Italy, probably cost them the spot in the final. If you backed them like me, you can feel unlucky

  • Baggio

    Got a win finally, a Moldova top 5 wud of made it so much sweeter, but wow that was so exciting

  • M. - @EurovisionValue

    Well done Daniel 🙂

    It turned out both Israel and Cyprus weren’t that great for juries, but Israel slightly better apparently, but all our red flags were true in my opinion 😉 Still a great ROI here thanks to mainly Germany, Cyprus and Moldova

    Eventually the one that was talked about most won again – ‘the singing chicken’

    Thanks for your coverage!

  • Chatterbox5200

    It most definitely the case, as if we needed the results to confirm it that Semi Final 1 was considerably stronger than Semi Final 2.

    Semi Final 1 provided the Top 3 in the Final (5 of the Top 8), with the best that Semi Final 2 could offer was 7th place.

    The Big 5 provided 4th, 5th, 13th, 23rd and 24th, with the Hosts bringing up the rear in 26th place.

    The biggest negative variance from Semi Final to Final seems to be Norway, who won their Semi Final but only managed 15th overall, and Australia (4th in the Semi Final, 20th in the Final)

    The biggest positive variance from Semi Final to Final was Denmark, who came 5th in their Semi Final, but did better in the Final (9th) than the countries that finished 1st, 3rd and 4th.

    • Chatterbox5200

      There were also some considerable discrepancies between the Jury and Public votes, most notably:

      Austria – Jury = 1st / Public = 13th
      Sweden – Jury = 2nd / Public = 23rd
      Australia – Jury 12th / Public = 26th

      Italy – Public = 3rd / Jury = 17th
      Czech – Public = 4th / Jury = 15th
      Denmark – Public = 5th / Jury = 20th
      Ukraine – Public = 7th / Jury = 26th

  • John

    “and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”

    In other words – Israel wins.

    That voting was so NUTS I couldnt keep up. Shame they just did the 12 points, they clearly overran. It was all a bit wonky in places but green room girl was funny and the voting was its usual demented wtf-athon. Well done Austria! Table dive queen Jessica! Leapfrog king Melovin! I guess the Thrones hiatus helped Denmark!

    A tidy profit. Nothing earth shattering. Hope folks did alright out of the madness 🙂

    Also, poor Surie. Sheesh. Events did nothing for her.

  • Donald

    The juries finally got made a lesser threat to a gamble,and the actuaries, along with our best fiends the bookie will will be scratching their lovely heads. Say a prayer, we are to the Jerusalem. Now there is a proper gamble. PS. Daniel, “Seven years down the road, “class” x

  • HL

    After so much excitement and stress I think I ended up close to zero. One major blunder compensated by dozens of small wins on pretty much every market. I accidentally laid Cyprus (heavily) when it was getting shorter, when trying to do the opposite. It never went up again and I could not bare the risk of losing that much if Cyprus happened to win. So after that my goal was to get a close-to-zero result on the winner market with no risks, and to win something on other markets. Happily I managed to do that, but never again! Congratulations to Netta and all of you who did a bit better.

    • Chris Bellis

      FWIW me too. If only I hadn’t bet against Israel, and waited for the running order before I backed Spain. Loads of little bets did work however and I am up £26 overall. Not a disaster but if you count the amount of time wasted, not so good. Commiserations to those who lost and congratulations to those who stuck with Israel. The weirdest year ever. BTW I am putting a curse on the boss who put Spain on second, and the boss who took them away from their pianos.

      • Burlington Bertie

        CB – I feel similarly. Having fannied about for weeks on Oddschecker, blogs, rehearsal clips etc. I made a pathetic £15 which is to date my lowest ever profit, although better than a loss of course – I’ve had those too. I would’ve been wiser to spend the time I spent analysing online down at the local waterhole pulling a few pints on minimum wage. That said, it was bloody good fun and I look forward to more of the same next year. And yes to the curse – that lovely duo were wasted in the graveyard slot. Better luck next year.

  • Hippo

    I’m sure I’ll find more to say later or tomorrow, but I’m really not sure how much we can take from this year, everything seems full of anomalies and extremes. We all knew Austria and Sweden were jury songs but the former’s triumph a little extreme as was the latters collapse with the televote. The running order was likewise all over the place with Norway and the Czech Republic’s draw misleading and harsh. Israel winning not the best for me, still a good year in the outright, but given my positions a few days ago could have been so much better. In the end, getting hold of and letting go of Norway and Cyprus at the right prices contributed to the vast majority of any outright profits this year. Trading Sweden in play was a nice bonus too.
    The semi top 3 outcomes are good news too as is Moldova just scraping the top 10. Didn’t do all that well in the qualification markets and it is a real kick to see how close Romania were.

    As for the UK, the stage invasion saved them from last and the decision not to perform again baffling (from a try to score as many points as possible perspective). If she didn’t feel up to it then fair enough,but there was maybe a chance out of the bottom 5.
    Again, I’m cautious how much can be read into the year as a whole. The variance has been so high you could stage the whole thing again and likely get a completely different set of results.

    • I coudn’t agree more. There were so many unwritten rules broken this year. For example how can a semi final winner (Norway) finish 15th in the final? I agree that we shouldn’t look at this year’s results next year and treat it like anomaly. Most unpredictable Eurovision ever. Denmark Top 10. I’m shocked.

    • Ande

      SuRie’s decision to not perform again was mind baffling to me.

  • A heavy loss this year with only my UK Last Place lay for comfort..

    A thriller though. The juries really did spread the 12s about between 4 or 5 songs so it remained a close call right to the end.

    I won’t be going to Israel next year, that’s if they can even host it. Their 1979 and 1999 venue is tiny from what I remember.

  • Nonetheless, congratulations Daniel for amazing coverage and a pleasure to actually meet you this season too.

    Have a wonderful Summer all. See you for X Factor.

  • Scott

    My takeaways from an unsuccessful year, albeit one with small liabilities:
    – Sometimes you can overthink these things
    – Try to step out of the bubble: most of the audience didn’t witness Israel rising and falling in the betting, it turned up on Saturday night and that’s the one that stuck in their head.
    – Making sure you’re the one that sticks in people’s heads is probably the best advice I can give the UK delegation in the future.

    • I think the UK will be remembered Scott, sadly. Definitely ruined the night for me. With no information in the stadium I spent songs 10-15 on my phone trying to work out what the hell happened!

      • Scott

        I wonder how much the stage invasion would register beyond the UK public. In retrospect it may have been a handy reminder if SuRie had performed again at the end. Possible some viewers would have been distracted for the next few songs though, I certainly was, which can’t have helped their chances.

  • RD

    The whole results were weird. Netta winning the televote in the final coming from 4th in the SF (behind the Czech Republic and Estonia!), Rybak winning SF2 by default (3rd with televoters, 2nd!!! with juries) and then flopping in the final, the Swedish televoting drop-off, Italy being 3rd with televoters out of the blue (just 4 points behind Eleni), Austria winning with the juries despite being clearly behind Netta in the SF, Australia keeping their jury-darling spot (3rd in SF!!!), fishy points for Azerbaijan despite getting out in SFs, Rasmussen being the clear favorite of the televote in SF2, the Romanians claiming they got ousted due to to issues in the Italian televote despite getting their 12 points, me proving that Malta made the top 5 with the juries in SF2 and that was more likeable than Breathlessly (8 pts is quite an improvement from 0), Ukraine and Portugal hitting the bottom 2 with the juries, Ieva being a marginal qualifier, San Marino not being last (though, once I managed to see it on TV, I knew Georgia was aiming for last place with juries – not jury friendly at all), Lea Sirk being more favored by juries than televoters, France being a jury-friendly entry, the whole running order based on their positions. Even after it was finished it just kept surprising people.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Netta winning the televote in the final coming from 4th in the SF (behind the Czech Republic and Estonia!)

      Netta won her semi-final.

      • Anglia Chu

        maybe 4th in the televote is what RD means, data for which is still being populated in Wikipedia

      • RD

        And still came 4th with the televoters in the SF. I’m saying that it’s weird how she fell a bit with the juries and won a lot with the audiences from SF to F: it’s unprecedented.

        Eleni, OTOH, fell a bit with the televote and gain a lot with the juries. I’m guessing some juries look who the top bets are and vote according to that.

  • Hippo

    Agree with RD above, a lot of things pointed towards those semi final results, something massive just changed between the semi finals and the final.
    So much just turned on its head in such an unprecedented manner. Having slightly different outcomes is to be expected but the correlation between both jury and televote results between the shows must be the lowest ever.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Made some well timed trades, thought I had the hang of this malarkey, getting away from France and Norway at the right times – but then Lithuania tanking at the running order reveal taught me a lesson. Left some money on Ireland, even when the odds felt way too low. Single figure odds were just wrong. Another mistake. Considered switching onto decent looking Israel odds. Backable zeitgeist odds. But didn’t.

    Best singer in the competition, Eugent, did me proud, as I was all over his qualifying, and his coming Top 15, and he came within one place of landing me odds of right up to @90 for the Top 10. But as my next biggest Top 10 bets were Moldova, that’s alright.

    Am shocked and embarrassed that my only last place bet, Italy, finished 5th!

    Italy and Germany finishing 3rd and 6th on the televote dispiritingly demonstrate that sometimes it’s most effective to wield a bloody big hammer to get your message impressed on the viewers. As long as you’re not Saara Aalto wielding it.

    Why bother with grace or artistry or mood or quiet understatedness, such as featured by Lithuania, Ireland, France and Portugal – when you finish televote 10th, 16th, 17th and joint 24th, respectively. Mind you, France and Portugal invited their results on themselves. Lithuania and Ireland deserved much better.

    I note that France finished relatedly high, 8th, with the juries (yet 17th on the televote); whereas Czech Republic finished relatedly low, 15th, with the juries (4th on the televote). The juries were better informed of the translations, I think.

    • Burlington Bertie

      Not that it’s any comfort Guildo, but I put a few quid on Italy @ 100/1 for last place, thinking that it might suffer from being last in the running order and following Cyprus which was so heavily anticipated. Like you, I was gobsmacked by its 3rd place with the televoters. It made for a few laughs with my friends in the arena though, another of whom had done the same.

    • HL

      Lithuania and Ireland did not deserve much better, I would say. Ieva’s voice was quite bad in the final performance, weak and broken, sometimes harsh. Ireland’s song was totally unmemorable to begin with. After hearing the melody at least ten times, I still could not reproduce it, no idea how it went. Just remember the dancers, the bench, the lamp post, some snow and a sympathetic bloke with guitar. But not the song at all.

      Anyway, I did actively lay these but then panicked when everybody else seemed to like them so much and backed a bit to reduce the risk. So many small mistakes.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        @HL

        There was a scratchier tone to Ieva’s voice than usual. Her speaking-singing tone has always suffered from the weakness and brittleness you’ve identified (I agree that this was more pronounced than usual.) My thinking was that if Lena could win in 2010, then Ieva could be a contender this year. I found Lithuania’s package overall to contain a heart-warming touch of magic. Gorgeous, gorgeous lyrics, heart-melting singer, dreamy staging, beautiful climax.

        Ireland’s staging was beautifully done. A kind of perfect. I still find the Calm After The Storm song a bit boring. For me, Together was a pretty enough song. But your feelings must have been right all along: the song just didn’t cut it.

        Someone here remarked a while ago that the Portuguese song writer’s ego was going to be the ruination of Portugal’s prospects. Also, I worried that Portugal sending an entry that was reminiscent of last year would be unhelpful. Shameful decision by Portuguese production not to have banished the co-writer from the stage yonks ago. My God, Cláudia Pascoal gave an incredible performance and O Jardim is an absolute charm of a song.

        On finally seeing Mercy I was astonished at the poorness of the camerawork choices and choreography. The only choice I liked was the introduction of a low sea of blue smoke, with a white smoke island (evocative, beautiful and symbolic). A section of 40 seconds of that French show focused on Madame’s meaningless striding around in a big half circle to meet up again with Monsieur. That’s nearly a quarter of your allotted stage time. What was the point? She was already standing next to him! It told you nothing. A big story-telling series of mis-steps, for no discernable purpose. Her walk was no perilous journey. It also served to lose scene-intensity (compare and contrast the effect of her relative stillness during the French NF). The French NF final show was vastly superior, and yet underdeveloped. The ideas in the Mercy music video showed the path forward as to the story-telling elements that could be helpfully introduced. The widespread lack of trust in the sofabet commentariat for the French delegation is obviously well-founded.

        • Chris Bellis

          GHF
          Only just got chance to read your post properly. Very insightful. I think most of us agreed about France and Portugal staging choices. We were proved right. However Sweden got their come-uppance this year too, for being too clever, so it’s not all bad. Keep cheerful!

        • Jessica Hamby

          That version of O Jardim is perfect GHF. The only charitable explanation I can imagine for the songwriter’s presence on stage is that someone somewhere was somehow persuaded that her sung harmonies improved the song. That person was wrong.

  • This was my “alternative prediction” I made shortly after the running order was announced:
    https://i.imgur.com/lOzQVOb.jpg

    And then I finished my “final pre-show prediction” a few hours before the grand final:
    https://i.imgur.com/iQWcwkt.jpg

    Obviously, Ireland and Italy were my biggest mistakes. But otherwise I was more or less ‘accurate’ enough with my predictions :-).

    I never really understood why people didn’t like Austria. The guy has charisma by the millions, and the song was very good (Bulgaria should have been jealous this year).

    During the course of 5 months, I must say that every bit of positive criticism we had is reflected in the final vote. For instance, I always thought Sweden’s Benjamin got a bit lost in the videoclip-esque staging.

    France never really “got” me as much as some of the other ballads this year.

  • Poet

    This has been the most exciting Eurovision by far. MY mouth was semi-wide or fully open most of the time.

    This was the first time when I did betting and got $500 out of it, which is CRAZY. I realise that there are different sources and many of Eurovision media, including the big ones, are delivering their individual opinion which I disagree quite often.

    Lesson for the next time: be cautious, know the rules and see the weakest links in bettings (esp in Top 4 I noticed this year).

  • markovs

    Well, utter craziness but ended up where we started with a chicken song winning and ECS being the joke in the UK for more years to come.

    Personally, not my greatest but the pre final slide on Israel helped a lot as I covered my early lay. Lots if small bets came in but I had one massive stroke of luck…….

    Thank you to the twat who grabbed Suries microphone. I had a patriotic bet in the 900s on Surie, as I always do, and immediately after that incident she went as low as 30s and settled in 50s. I cashed out the lot as obviously it had zero chance of winning and that alone gave a nice profit. It was my big saver and made it a worthwhile year, along with Germany top 4 and Moldova top 10.

    Didn’t see Austria or Italy coming!!

    Been great on here everyone and really enjoyed it all . And especially well done to our resident genius Cliff,Hilda, self proclaimed expert of everything. Spot on again!!

  • Jessica Hamby

    It doesn’t make sense to disregard this year as an anomaly. If the data doesn’t fit your assumptions, it means your assumptions are wrong.

    It makes more sense to note the difference between the tele votes and the jury votes and pick your bets accordingly.

    It’s hard to explain that difference in a couple of sentences but I’ll try anyway.

    The juries like contemporary songs and a certain kind of “authenticity” (I use inverted commas on purpose). The tele voters like divas, emotion, tradition and fun.

    Sometimes those things cross over, sometimes they don’t. It’s probably easier for me to get a gut feeling about what songs will please which demographic than to explain why but I’m sure one of you will be able to put it better.

    I would have thought that if you can get to grips with this then betting opportunities increase.

  • Anglia Chu

    Lesson: outrage-inducing events don’t necessarily translate to better placings. See: UK, Ireland.

  • James

    So many confusing aspects of this years results I don’t even know where to start. Highlights have to include Cyprus landsliding the semi televote with Israel only 4th only for that to be reversed bigtime in the final, Denmark, Italy and Germany all getting fantastic results after being tipped at various points by people on here for last place, Sweden getting what they bloody well deserved on the televote (surely the jury favouritism of them needs to be looked into at this point as this happens every single year to some degree) and the UK somehow not finishing last. Ukraine last with juries and Australia last with televoters both feel incredibly unfair to me and I’m not sure what happened in either case.

    Overall this really lived up to its billing as the most unpredictable and exciting contest in ages and I fucking loved every minute of it. I can’t remember the last time my personal number 1 took home the trophy so I’m thrilled Netta managed to overcome everything that’s been thrown at her and she’s a brilliant winner for the contest imo. I didn’t place any bets this year for financial reasons, but I’ve loved following the coverage on here so thanks Daniel and everyone in the comments for making this Eurovision season for me.

    • Jessica Hamby

      A lot more people watch the Grand Final than watch the semi-finals, and a lot of the semi-final watchers are Eurovision fans who will be familiar with the songs already and inside the Eurovision bubble.

      Is that enough to explain the change in the televote from Tuesday to Saturday? If you’ve been following the competition for weeks or even months then Netta has got a bit tired by the semi-finals and it makes sense for Eleni to seem to come out of nowhere. If you’re coming to the songs for the first time then Netta’s is the fresh sound and Eleni is like a rerun of all the Europop dance tunes that have been around for 15 years.

      • This. Nobody seemed to be bothering with the semis, but last night my social media was FULL of Eurovision. I don’t think there were many, if any, people on my feed not watching the show.

        • HL

          This, and then voting in semifinals is more strategic. People who care try to figure out how to vote so that the song number 1/2/3 would qualify and the song number 4/5/6 would not. It’s sometimes more about which songs/singers/countries deserve to be in the final than which song should win the final. Nobody was worried that Israel might not qualify.

  • Augustas

    Told you guys Denmark is finishing high. Trust the public, they love acts like that. Too shame Lithuania placing outside top 10 took my money.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Good call. Denmark won the tele vote on their semifinal, and Moldova were second.

      • HL

        I have to admit I really liked those lowest of the low male voices and the marching sounds and the testosterone filled GoT/viking atmosphere and gave the song 4/5 stars. Just did not think there were so many of us. The same with Ukraine. That sexy vampire king playing the piano, ooh. And they should have shown us more of Benjamin. Mikolas (in semi 1) should have tried something less boyish, backbags are not sexy at all.

        I liked Moldova, too, and thought it would win the semifinal, but it did not have anything to do with sex appeal. I was not sure however, so only backed Sweden, Ukraine and Moldova to qualify, nothing else regarding semifinal 2. (If only I had been as cautious on the winner market.)

  • James

    Has anyone pointed out yet that Italy did better last night than when they were runaway favourites last year? Oh Eurovision, never change.

  • Phil

    I nearly posted yesterday predicting that what was the early favourite would eventually go on to win, but then I had flashbacks to Italy last year and thought better of it. Have to admit, Israel winning was a big surprise – the staging was messy, the song wasn’t as good live, and I thought there were more deserving/obvious winners. Add to that the Israel goings-on in the real world and I thought they’d struggle. But here we are!

    Australia coming last in the televote was a huge shock I thought – she put on a great performance although, admittedly, a little messy. It’s the song I have in my head this morning though.

    Germany have shown the UK that a decent result is possible – if anybody has less natural allies than the UK, it’s arguably Germany.

    Overall though – a great show and the results section continues to be nail-biting but fantastic television. What struck me was just how many of the top 5 didn’t get any jury votes from some countries. There seemed like very few countries that gave points to all of the top 5.

  • Mait

    Australia now came last place in televote two years in a row.

  • markovs

    As an aside from the betting angle, I was gutted Portugal came last. An absolutely beautiful song that deserved better. I realise it’s not a competitive song in a field of 26 but I feel really sorry for the girls.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Who do you think should have come last? Serbia? Finland? UK?

      • Ande

        Finland was saved by the draw, Surie by the protester. Finland would’ve probably been last given equal draws as Saara was on the brink of elimination in the SF.

        • HL

          I actually believe Finland could have been higher up, if Saara had been giving her best, but her vocals were not perfect on Saturday and she seemed very nervous (the same goes with Lithuania’s Ieva). Remember that Finland qualified from the bloodbath semifinal, not the other one, and without much help from natural allies.

          I am not actually sure if Finland even has any natural allies, but if we do, they also qualified this year which weakened the vote potential in the final a lot.

          Anyway, the basic problem with Finland was the terrible bubblegum pink meets military staging, so top 15 would have been the limit without major changes. I heard only afterwards that the wheel Saara was attached to in the beginning, was a broken mirror (self image), and the diamond/sun on the other side was the end result when self deprecating thoughts and other demons had been chased away. Then she was not scared anymore and jumped, and her androgynous ‘army’ was there to catch her and support her. So it was a journey from the dark side of the mind to light and happiness and self acceptance. Did not quite get it. Probably nobody did.

          • Chris Bellis

            Dead right. Ridiculously over-staged. She was off key once or twice but should still have done better. Complicated highly active staging will always affect a singer’s pitch.
            BTW I don’t think people dislike Finland. Personally I like it a lot. Not many places where you can drive between a corridor of trees, occasionally seeing water, for hundreds of miles, and seeing another car only rarely. Also the people, although shy, are very helpful, and nearly all speak English. Plus prices aren’t totally insane as in Norway. It doesn’t have natural allies in the sense of Cyprus and Greece, but I think there are some countries who are generally sympathetic. But if this year has shown us anything, you can’t rely on traditional voting patterns if the performance isn’t good enough. That’s a change from the past.

    • Chris Bellis

      markovs
      Agree about Portugal, but we all said the staging would finish it off. It’s probably the only song I’ll keep from this year. Much like Marco Mengoni from 2013. It’s on my permanent playlist. I don’t care that it didn’t meet the eurovision voting standards.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’ve still got the playlist of all the songs including losing semifinalists running on loop in my house.

    I can’t get over what high quality it was this year. Amazing. The lyrics are wonderful too.

    When I read the lyrics of the Georgia song they almost had me in tears and they’re not the only ones (I know – I’m a drip – but when I think about the terrible state the world is getting itself into at the moment this year’s competition has reminded me that our governments might be shitty be there are millions of us who want something better).

    Georgia lyrics are here.

    https://eurovisionworld.com/eurovision/2018/georgia

    And a playlist of all the songs from this year is here.

    • zelenovi

      Those lyrics are beautiful, Jessica, thanks for sharing. In general, I thought Georgia this year was a gift. I wanted to believe it would defy expectations, but oh well. I really hope the Georgians aren’t put off from sending other ethnic, polyphonic entries in the future. But then again, that country takes individuality at the contest to a new level, so I am not that worried either. It was great to have Iriao on, and hopefully they will be happy with the new fans that will have discovered their music across the continent.

      • Jessica Hamby

        So many of the songs have fascinating lyrics. Portugal’s is a mourning song, Spain sings about feeling like dancing for the very first time. They are beautiful. I have never felt so engaged with the song contest and with what it means as I have this year. I have fallen in love with Europe and am determined to explore as much as I can.

        Two countries have particularly fascinated me – Georgia and Slovenia. I’ve been reading about them, culture and history and so forth, and I hope to visit both before too long. I have already located a Teach Yourself Slovene book & CD and a Slovenian cookbook at a local library. I hope I can do the same with Georgia.

        A song from Georgia called Chakrulo is one of the 23 pieces of music on the golden records that were put on board the Voyager spacecraft. It will be 10,000 years before one of them passes another star (hopefully with planets). The odds of them coming into contact with a species sophisticated enough to play them are tiny. They may end up, in millions of years time, going into other galaxies. I hope one day some being somewhere will listen to a Georgian drinking song and wonder who we are.

      • Jessica Hamby

        And from the comments I’ve read, a lot of people really liked Iriao and will be looking for more music from them.

        • Chris Bellis

          Unfortunately Jessica, I’ve learned that my taste in Eastern European ethnic music doesn’t translate to success in Eurovision. Hopefully, the failure of slick Swedish pop this year might encourage diversity next year. Even though I lost money on Sweden for the first time in donkey’s years. I hated the song so much that I couldn’t bring myself to put too much on it. You are right though, Eurovision can send you on a search for better things, You got hints of proper female Balkan singing with the Serbian entry. Haunting stuff when you hear it at some village party in Serbia or Bulgaria. That’s how they really sing – powerful.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Hi Chris. When I saw the views on Iriao’s you tube channel (in the low hundreds) I realised I overestimated their appeal. I love that song though – I’ve listened to it several times a day since the competition. I agree about the power of Eastern European music but my ears are tuned to western sounds, harmonies and progressions so it can seem very intense and overwhelming after a while. The thing I love about this particular song is that it’s both powerful and easy to listen to.

            Completely off topic (well not completely – it’s still about music) I was looking through youtube the other day and I came across this “recomposition” of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I think it’s brilliant. I don’t know if you like classical music or if you’re familiar with Four Seasons. Regardless I hope you give it a try.

          • Jessica Hamby

            This is a much cleaner recording of the Vivaldi recomposition. The other one has a lot of rumble and other background noise.

  • Ande

    This was a very middling year with no duds. The worst acts in the final was quite good while the best was only really good but not outstanding.

    Acts (especially the weaker ones) were generally good at playing up their strength with stagings and productions. That evened the playing field and made other factors such as media buzz and draw much more important.

    I don’t believe Israel would’ve won without launching Netta’s way into favoritism with an amazing music video two months ago. The Israeli team also worked very hard to gradually improve the production of a messy performance during each rerun. They played the game well and got rewarded for it.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t want to get all defensive about it – I’m not that invested in it anyway – but I really disagree. I thought that there were a lot of songs that I would be happy to have paid for and a lot of acts I would be happy to pay to see. I’m discovered a lot of quality new artists that I’m looking forward to finding more music from. That’s not mediocre. That’s quality.

      As for Israel, I thought it would win the first time I heard it and that was only during the last week. I haven’t followed the build over the last weeks and months. It’s a hit song anywhere and everywhere if it isn’t associated with the Eurovision brand, which is a bit tainted these days.

      Maybe you’ve become affected by the way a lot of people look down on Eurovision and you’ve become a bit cynical. Give the songs a second listen before you write them all off.

      • Ande

        Yes I’m a bit cynical but I don’t think for a moment that look down on ESC for it 🙂

        I think the production and overall standard of competition has been raised quite a lot in recent years (which by the way explains why the UK still hoovers just above last place despite having markedly improved).

        I thought most of the songs were quite good. I just really miss the standouts this year, there was no Euphoria, no Salvador, no Grande Amore, no stick figure and no Conchita moment.

        This year we’ve had the weakest winner since 2011 and a SF winner that managed no higher than 15th, passed by no less than 3 acts from his own SF! No act was great all around as all had their own weaknesses. I’m really happy as it made things much more interesting from a betting perspective. Me sounding grumpy is just me being me and analyzing things in detail.

        Some of own personal calls were not that great this year but being early in catching trends and knowing which acts will be overvalued by the casual punter and how to hedge in time is always panning out.

        • HL

          I would say that the best song won and it is good enough compared to other winners. Israel had messy colour-vomit staging and no looper, but people did not let that bother them and voted for the song anyway. That’s good. Cyprus had a more mediocre song sold well with sexy dancing and fire. It did not win. That’s good.

          Besides Israel, I liked quite a few other songs, too. Finland, Ukraine, Sweden (though not Benjamin’s whiny voice) and so on. And lots of other countries had nice staging although maybe not the best songs, such as Moldova and Ireland.

          I have to say that not all songs were introduced equally well. I am nowadays living in Finland again, and our tv host properly introduced only Israel and France as so called message songs. The other songs were not given any kind of background story. In Finland we can see the translations on screen, which of course helps, but how could France, Albania or Georgia win if most people do not understand a word of what these people are singing about. It should be hell of a tune.

          I still would like to add that it would be interesting to know how many sensible people are actually able to vote. At least in Finland most people have some kind of restrictions in their subscription. The most common one makes it impossible to call or text to 0700 numbers. We had a Eurovision party last night and tried to vote, but none of us were able to.

  • Mr Wolf

    Bad calls this year:
    Pre-Semis call Estonia, Norway and Spain doing well
    Good calls:
    Italy being 3rd or 4th in televote in Final
    Denmark TOP10
    Israel winning despite the Cyprus hype
    Germany top positions
    France failing (it had literally nothing from beginning)

    Had also bets on Czech TOP5 (altho didn’t have too much faith on Czech pre-rehearsals, but it clearly showed the tele strenght this week, but didn’t think it will fail juries that badly) and Albania TOP10 which I lost.

    Austria 3rd place was the biggest shocker yesterday for me. It wasn’t prolly that unexpected considering its really high jury potential, but really didn’t have time to think this through this really busy week and dismissed it totally.

    Overall successful year, especially considering the weirdness and higher unpredictability this year.

    Hope everyone did well and best luck!

  • Ande

    .
    Bad calls:
    – Israel in danger to fall out of top 5.
    – Lithuania top 5.
    – Netherlands, Bulgaria NQ.
    – Belarus Q.
    – Moldova NQ pre rehearsals.
    – Germany/Italy not top 15.
    – Azerbaijan Q.
    – Hungary Top 15 post rehearsals.
    – Spain Top 15 pre semi.

    Wrong calls:
    – Sweden/Estonia Top 5.
    – Norway not winning SF.
    – Sweden winning SF.
    – Estonia win post first rehearsal.
    – Albania/Lithuania Top 10.
    – Israel not winning.
    – Sweden jury winner.
    – Cyprus public winner.

    Good calls:
    – Sweden, Estonia safe Top 10s.
    – France not Top 5.
    – Norway not in Top 5/10.
    – Albania Q.
    – Ireland Q post rehearsals.
    – Moldova Top 10, not Top 5 post rehearsals.
    – Cyprus Top 10/Top 5 post rehearsals.
    – Austria top 10 post escjury and post semi.
    – UK/Finland/Portugal/Slovenia bottom 5.
    – Ireland not Top 5.
    – In play judgement.

    Lucky calls:
    – Czech not Top 5.
    – Denmark Top 10 post semi.
    – Cyprus not winning.
    – Bulgaria not Top 10 pre-rehearsals.
    – Lithuania Q.
    – France not Top 10.

  • Stephen Muckle

    One difference between Televoting this year and last was that the countries at the bottom got more points than their counterparts last year. Surie finished in the same televote position as Lucie Jones but with twice as many points

  • Anglia Chu

    Seven of the top 9 in SF1 were at most 3 places lower in the final vs their semis (the other two were Ireland and Bulgaria). Probably one of the most lopsided semi draws ever.

    The songs, as a pool, are actually very good overall. Not a fan of Israel’s performance (Neeta overdid her performance when her song was in-your-face enough) but the song and artistic direction being received well is good and a step forward for Eurovision. You also have other acts like Cyprus, Austria, Czech Republic (once you ignore the Google Translate-sounding lyrics) who have songs that both embody the spirit of ESC and blend in the real world. There is still no Euphoria (Loreen, 2012), but it’s passable.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It’s funny how people’s tastes differ. I recognise that Euphoria is brilliantly produced and performed but I don’t like it very much.

      Maybe it’s just not my idea of what Euphoria sounds like.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Actually I might be starting to take some of that back. I just listened to it twice in a row (with Heroes inbetween) and I’m starting to get it a bit. 🙂

        I’m suspicious of a song that takes 6 years to get though.

  • niko

    No ifs and buts about it, this was not a good year for me. I’m especially not proud of predicting Ireland to win yesterday. Watching the show I could see that it was a bit of an overreaction, but still thought it would go top 5. Portugal getting last place thankfully saved me from too much damage

    On the other hand, I’m also still having a hard time seeing how Israel could appeal to enough to win the televote. Perhaps it’s my cultural background. I live in a country that gave Israel 0 televoting points (Denmark). That might be something to take into consideration next year, how do you get past your idea of what a Eurovision winner feels like in your own country.

    Some final stray observations:
    – Is “21 points goes to Sweden” perhaps the most shocking moment in Eurovision history? We couldn’t believe it at our party. And how ironic is it that the voting presentation the Swedes created now end up with them at the short end of the stick?
    – Austria got a great reception from the people who hadn’t heard the songs before, and they weren’t surprised at all to see them near the top. Sometimes the bubble might have problems seeing what will appeal to people on the night.
    – Italy should win within the next couple of years, right? The televoters almost always love them. Fully deserved 5th place if you ask me.
    – I have to say that Toy for me is the worst winner since Running Scared. I like that an up-tempo song can still win the contest, but I would have preferred something other than a semi-novelty entry. Oh well, that’s Eurovision for you.

    Thanks for this year, always fun to read all your posts.

  • When Sweden have underperformed before, SVT have done a major revamp of Melodifestivalen, although this year’s show was extremely weak.

    Be interesting to see what they do next year in Sweden.

    • Ande

      Yes it will, hopefully Melodifestivalen will be less jury centric next year.

    • Black n Blue

      A revamp could work, but perceptions must also change. In Melfest, only a small pool of acts compete realistically to go to Eurovision, whereas for others, its more about building up a brand in Sweden. Samir & Viktor made it explicit before the final that they didn’t want to go to the contest, which may have impacted on their eventual placing. Shuffla was a cracking song which, with a bit of English thrown in there, could have blown the roof off the arena last night.

  • SuRie was mad to throw her second chance away. Bonkers. If she wasn’t up to it they could have replayed the Jury Final taping. But not to have a second go massively cost the UK televotes.

    That said, with the benefit of hindsight it wouldn’t have done much as the juries had already poo pooed it.

    But a massive own goal for the UK to not perform again.

    • Chris Bellis

      @James Martin
      Yes, they should have played the tape.
      Didn’t she say on tv earlier on today that she’s suffered bruising where the tosspot grabbed the microphone and shoved her out of the way? She’d probably had enough of Eurovision by then. Great singer, poor choice of song. The security situation doesn’t bode well for next year in Israel, where security may be even more important. Although the Israelis will be used to security issues.

      • Jessica Hamby

        The song was strange. The verses and bridge seemed half as long as they should have been. It is less than 3 minutes long. It’s like a throwaway contractual obligation or something to play over the credits of a made-for-tv movie. I like the bridge and it has potential but it’s more like a first draft than a finished song. You’ll never win eurovision with something like that.

        She made a great job of it but she had very little to work with.

  • Scott

    I think everyone was spooked by Italy being runaway favourites last year, then nosediving. Many of us course corrected ourselves this year with Israel, except instead of taking into account the possibility of a repeat we went too far and assumed the same thing was happening again.

    There’s probably a word in psychology for when people do that which people brighter than me will know.

    • caluca

      I think you mean “Cognitive Bias”. Found an easy explanation searching:

      A cognitive bias is a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or other cognitive process, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information.

      For example, a confirmation bias is the tendency to seek only information that matches what one already believes.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Many comments here and elsewhere about the habitually unjustified top echelon jury scores particularly for Australia but also for Sweden.

    I assume the person or persons selecting the running-order positions are Swedish? And / Or that Melodifestivalen is a big, very expensive, very influential event? That Sweden carries a lot of clout?

    On Ent Odds, Rob has commented about the EBU’s “shameless plugging of Australia.”

    So, if you are a jury member, you are keenly aware of these facts, and respective delegations will further ensure their jury members are keenly aware of these facts?

    Am I joining the dots on, ahem, influencing factors that everyone knows but for a myriad of reasons people are reluctant to go further than imply?

    If this is the case, is the EBU a family – like FIFA?

    • Ande

      In Sweden’s case it doesn’t help that their national selection process favors jury bait and tries to get viewers on board to accept the preferred choice by international juries.

      I also think it’s pretty obvious that all Swedish and Australian entries in the last couple of years has been jury friendly. It’s not a secret that juries prefers slick, well produced modern music with inventive staging. You cannot get much more slick than “Dance you off” was this year.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      That’s a strong answer as to why Sweden performs so well with juries.

      But I don’t feel that your answer coincides with fully covering or fully explaining why Australia has scored as well with juries as it has, particularly with reference to its last two entries.

      Did Isaiah’s song, singing, stage presence and staging truly warrant a Grand Final jury score of 171 points (compared to a televote total of 2 points)?

      Did Jessica’s song, singing, stage presence, staging, styling and dancing truly warrant a Grand Final score of 90 points ( compared to a televote of 9 points)?

      If not, then what’s behind this pattern of unjustified jury overmarking of Australian entries?

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        I’ve found that just after last year’s ESC, wiwibloggs posed the following:

        “DISCUSS: Why did Australia do so much better with the jury than with televoters at Eurovision 2017?”

        http://wiwibloggs.com/2017/06/17/discuss-australia-much-better-jury-eurovision-2017/191958/

        A wealth of replies suggested a multitude of reasons:

        A Sony Music influence
        Australia is underrated by the televote
        Lack of Australian neighbours, of diaspora strength, and of being an outsider
        Growing televoter hostility to Australian entries
        Australia construct jury friendly songs
        EBU influence, motivated by money
        EBU influence, motivated by desire to grow the brand

        I also checked into Sweden’s scores for Australian entries.

        In 2015, Sweden awarded Oz a maximum 12 points. One of two countries to do so.
        In 2016, Sweden’s jury awarded Oz a maximum 12 points; as did the Swedish televote.
        In 2017, Sweden’s jury awarded Oz 10 points (the co-highest score Oz received); while the Swedish televote amounted to zero points received.
        In 2018, Sweden’s jury awarded Oz 8 points (the third highest jury score Oz received); while the Swedish televote again amounted to zero points for Oz.

        • Javi

          In both 2017 and 2018, the Australian acts gave a good performance in the jury final but messed up their vocals in the grand final. Isaiah hit that notorious bum note while attempting to freestyle, and Jessica got overexcited, lost control of her vocals and sounded too shouty.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          I thought Isaiah’s notorious bum note happened in his semi final performance?

          I haven’t read reports / reviews of Jessica’s jury performance, but I take your word for it.

          I think that it’s the Swedish jury that has given the most points to Australian entries.

  • gcd

    A very unusual year but I enjoyed it a lot – especially the voting sequence after last year’s Portugal landslide.

    Think the below are some of the interesting results, and definitely unexpected…

    1) Sweden 23rd with the public (and less than the UK!)
    2) Italy 2018 doing better than Italy 2017
    3) Norway winning a semi final then coming 15th
    4) The jury winner not even being in the top 10 of the pubic vote! I remember at the time thinking Dami Im’s 4th was a huge discrepancy…
    5) SF2 in particular was all over the place – the public’s top 5 ranked an average of 9th with the juries, whilst the jury’s top 5 ranked an average of 9th with the public!
    6) In particular Malta again getting top 5 with the juries and nothing from the televote is pretty ridiculous
    7) Netta moving from 4th out of 19 to 1st out of 26 with the public
    8) Russia not in the top 10 for either public or juries…

    A good year for me – had great odds on Cyprus top 5, top 10 ad to win @130 to one which I then sold at 5 just before SF1. Laying Lithuania top 5 & top 10 over the past few days helped as well, and taking Serbia to qualify @7.2 during the semi final…

    Worse mistakes for me were getting caught into Ireland’s hype, and laying Denmark top 10, top 15.

    Mostly stayed out of the outright market, though there were great opportunities with all the movements.

    • zat

      Trying to find an overall explanation I suggest that the public vote punished those acts which looked a bit like a video and didn’t create a moody live atmosphere:
      Sweden very obvious,
      Rybak playing with electronic paintings on screen instead of interacting with the audience.
      Netta didn’t recreate her artsy video on stage but tried to create real stage atmosphere (I prefer the video, but she managed to present herself as a person who likes to interact with the audience and the audience liked her for that – they saw her personality and ignored the chicken language).
      The jury winner, Austria’s Cesar, interacts with the audience for a short moment, but he’s looking always straight into the camera.
      On the other hand Italy and Germany both had electronic dubbing of the lyrics and weren’t punished but rewarded.

      Of course there were many other factors, but I haven’t heard this one yet.

      • I agree. Sweden’s staging was very sterile and soulless. There was no sense that he was in an arena, there wasn’t even any shots of the audience.
        Norway’s was too reminiscent of ‘Heroes’ and I think that went against them.
        With Austria, the massive Cesar superimposed over the screen just looked weird and a bit intimidating.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I hadn’t thought of that until you posted it but looking back I think the live feel of the show was significant. The songs which didn’t make the most of it seemed less exciting than those that did.

        Usually the big LED screen makes everything seem very polished but slightly artificial – this was much more like a live show – and better for it.

        I’m still listening to Eurovision songs now. My neighbours must hate me. 🙂

  • Sawyer

    First days after Eurovision always feels weird. First, you feel relaxed. All the stress, adrenaline ended but then you start to feel strange. Is it ended? What I will do now? No more show? How it can be end?? A depression-like feeling kicks in. Yesterday I listenednto Eurovision songs in my car, my wife probably hates me,lol:)))

  • Sawyer

    My recipe for cure after Eurovision syndrome. Listen to previous years. For example, this friday I will watch 2008, next week 2009:) It feels good and lets you back to normal

    • markovs

      That sounds like a great idea. I always get the PED (post Eurovision depression) after the contest, especially if the result hasn’t gone my way (Not a fan of Toy at all) . I will go for 2003 to listen to / watch. Probably my favourite ESC ever. Real quality (Jemini apart, obviously)

  • In a topsy turvy ESC year, my turning point was as early as the third week of February…I’d heard Michael Schulte’s song and backed for an top 4 place before the national final. It was 40-1 and nervously awaited a whatsapp message from a friend in a cinema screening around 9pm, to confirm he had won. I then carried on backing him for a month before losing heart after the market turned cold on him.

    Other positives for me were Moldova and Denmark top ten (especially pleased for my “guilty pleasure” Viking Schlager number)…..my only regret was losing my UK last place bets of around £100 or so….a mere nine points and goodness knows how much of those were a last minute reaction to the nutty intruder. But, in the end, Surie didn’t deserve last for the way she handled it all, so I am happy for her. She was on the artists who emerged from ESC 2018 with a really enhanced reputation.

    Still trying to get to grips with the anomaly of Norway SF and Final results and voting patterns. Is it all really explained by the hugely different demographics between the voting base on the Thursday and Saturday? Why did his market price go into freefall so soon after the vote was announced at 10pm (and he had WON!) Still doesn’t add up!!

  • Tito

    Guys can i ask something? Did somebody tracked odds during live vote? How much was austria price do you remember? Did it reached low odds?

    • Dimitris

      Yes, when we saw 30 of 43 countries (jury voting) Austria was third favorite with odds 7,00-9,00. Israel was at 1,75-1,95 and Cyprus 2,00-2,20.

    • BT

      From memory, Austria hit a low of around the 4.5 mark once the jury votes were all counted, Sweden was also backed in to 5.5 at that time but very quickly drifted to double digits between the last jury result and the televoting.

  • markovs

    Did anyone else cash in on SuRie’s price drop after the ‘incident? I always have a small patriotic bet on the UK to win and it was 750+ at times this year.

    It was uncashoutable until the stage invader. It was unbelievable to watch on Betfair. It dropped from 550s to 40s in a couple of minutes. Obviously I cashed out everything and it was my best actual profit of the contest.

    Not sure why it crashed, Surie had zero chance of winning because even if she got a few more televotes for the sympathy angle (Probably saved us from last place) the jury final had been and gone and we obviously weren’t going to have too many points there. Not sure why people would waste their money, but thanks very much.

    Loved the final as a whole, so diverse and entertaining. Not the strongest actual songs but of a consistent standard. Look at the bottom few songs, they’re all pretty good. Never liked Toy (love Netta though) and thought Germany were the best in the night.

    Thanks to everyone on here. I love ESC, love a bet and the conversation on here is great. No animosity, very few idiots and excellent advice. So it’s over to Israel now!!

    • Jessica Hamby

      It was amazing wasn’t it. I can understand why the odds lengthened for last place but seeing the amount she shortened for the win was almost shocking.

    • Chris Bellis

      Me too Markovs. The German song had it for me. Next year I’m going to wait for the running orders on the final. You have quite a lot of notice on the semi-finals, but almost none on the final.
      So,Israel next year. Mind you, with the politics, who knows where in Israel they’ll choose to hold it. I hope there’s enough security.
      Just a tip well in advance for people. I have a friend who is against Israel’s actions in Gaza, and posts frequently on social media sites, and runs a campaign group. The last time she flew into Tel Aviv airport, immigration had checked her FB pages etc and wouldn’t let her into the country. Admittedly she was going to meet active political groups, but a bit daft posting your views and movements on facebook. I don’t think anybody here is quite that foolish, but worth bearing in mind that Israeli immigration officers are a bit paranoid. Only Russia is worse in my experience. So keep your support for Palestinian freedom fighters off your facebook pages.
      Farewell for a while. I’ll be very interested in the post-mortem analysis. Very decent bunch of people on this site who don’t seem to hold it against you when you get in wrong (laying Netta and Spain top ten in my case).

  • johnkef

    After waiting for a day to calm down from the most successful Eurovision i had in terms of profits here are my thoughts about this year.

    Pre-voting indeed we had a year that looked like 2011 with a perplexed market that was looking to find a song that would beat the favorite. I have counted approximately 15 countries that at some point were somewhere in the Top5 and still we got Austria and Italy finishing 3rd and 5th and they were not part of that group.

    It is a fact that the favorite in the leaderboard the day of the final , like in 2011, lost. The problem was that it was leading the board just for 5 days. The market never stopped looking for the song that would win even in the last hour, the last minute.

    Personally, i believe that we have witnessed the biggest Eurovision bubble of all times. It was a very weak year indeed without a song that had the perfect package. Israel deserved to be the favorite but investors-punters did not like its short price. The majority was looking for the new Salvador, Jamaala, Dami Im, Polina Gagarina when in fact we had a year that was more similar to 2013. A clear favorite in a mediocre year that in the end won. Denmark’s – Israel’s prices pre-contest were similar but when the rehearsals began the Bubble took over.

    In week 1 Israel was No1 and every single day we had a change in No2: Australia, Bulgaria, France, Norway, Estonia and in the end Cyprus. I remember after the first rehearsal of Cyprus that the majority in here had the impression that Cyprus would achieve a similar result like Israel 2017 or Belgium 2016. A top3 in the semi and then depending on the draw could get a decent finish in top10. And then suddenly all hell broke loose and Cyprus crushed in a matter of few hours. It was no longer a top10 song but the favorite that everyone was looking for.

    And then Semi1 happened and everybody was sure that Cyprus smashed it and Israel definitely lost and Lithuania was defintely in Top3 and the madness with Lithuania happened. On Wednesday Rybak was ready to start the march for his 2nd win and Israel was written off. And then we saw Rybak and realised how weak his song was and everyone remembered that Ireland had a decent song and all that publicity from the ban in China would do them a great favor. And everyday we were sinking deeper in the Bubble forgetting the most important thing.

    90-95% of the viewers of the final have no idea what is going on and are seeing and hearing the songs for the first time. They might have watched the semi that their country participated and that’s it. And in the night of the final it became obvious that the talk of the night would be Netta and her song but you can’t see the wood for the trees. From that moment on it was clear to me what would happen.

    Netta has beaten Cyprus 3/4 times in semi and final and lost only the televote on the friendliest semi that Cyprus could ask for. Everyone is asking how on earth Israel won the semi when finished 5th on televoting. Then what about Cyprus finishing 6th with the juries?

    In the final Israel was the country to take the neutral 12’s and 10’s while Cyprus had to settle with the 8’s and 7’s. The song with the message and the voice will always win the song with the show. Cyprus actually overachieved finishing 2nd and well done to them because they took advantage of every angle that their song could give them. But Eleni doesn’t have Netta’s personality and stardom.

    Regarding the youtube views where Eleni was clearly ahead. If you could see Greece’s views, that there were high as well, you could clearly see that the majority of Fuego’s views were coming from a single country: Greece. The like- dislike ratio was way better for Netta. As for the charts and especially itunes. Should we take them seriously as an indicator next year, when Netta was charting just in few countries and Eleni in more than 20? Currently Netta is No195 in Usa itunes charts…the only song charting there…

    • Ande

      I think Cyprus was a worthy favorite after the SF as it did smash the televote, it had 50% more votes than Israel. It’s more difficult to gauge jury scores and Israel was even behind Estonia and Czech in the televote. The second half draw sorted out the Czech/Estonia problem and the Israeli performance was much better on Saturday than Tuesday.

      • johnkef

        And Israel smashed the jury votes in Semi 1.

        52 points ahead of the 2nd Austria that won the Jury vote in Final

        87% more points than Cyprus with Cyprus having all its allies apart from Malta in the semi.

        I reverse the question. What would happen in the semi if Israel was performing 19th and Cyprus 7th?

        • Ande

          I’m not arguing against you on the jury score. I’m saying that because the televote is easier to quantify, Cyprus was a worthy favorite.

          Talking about the juries they behaved quite weird this year. Having Israel double Cyprus jury score in the Semi Final(!) was equally improbable as Cyprus almost evening out the jury score going into the finals. Conventional wisdom has it the other way around, Cyprus was an act that should hold up reasonably well on the jury side in the semis and then drop down going into the finals. I would argue that a lot of the discrepancy can be attributed to buzz and that it helped the Israeli televote and Cypriot jury votes in particular.

          I also think the Israeli performance markedly improved between the semi and finals, but maybe I’m alone in this?

    • markovs

      I understand what you are saying, but in the end, Toy is a weak song as well. Netta won ESC this year, and Toy by default.

      I would play any money that it was not the ‘message’ of the song that shone through, more the zany fun aspect which stuck in people’s minds and looked good on the recap. I seriously think if Israel and Germany had swapped running order places, then Cyprus would probably have won and Germany finished 2nd or 3rd.

      It was a really exciting year with no stand out songs but lots of good ones. Netta’s personality and running order helped the win despite the song imo. Good luck to her, she’s brilliant, but Toy?? Not a good winner imo.

      • johnkef

        I am not saying that Israel had the perfect package, but it had the less fragile.

        It would be a default winner if no one had talked about it or expected it before the contest. Austria came the closest to become a default winner. Italy and Sweden have done really poor with juries and televote to stand an actual chance.

        I disagree that Cyprus would have won if swapped places with Germany. Check 2013 running order, produced as well by Bjorkman. There is a pattern very similar to this year. This is the reason why i commented that Cyprus was a little bit too late when the running order was revealed.

        Denmark was placed 18th and the main rival Azerbaijan placed 20th and in what i believe it was the best lineup so far in the contest having 6/7 songs that finished in the top7 coming one after the other. He tried to make it as exciting as possible giving Denmark a theoretical disadvantage. No11 was Germany, one of the precontest favorites that flopped in ‘Glorious’ way.

        Had Germany changed r.o. with Cyprus this year and Germany would finish 2nd and Cyprus 3rd. Had Israel swapped r.o with Germany would still win the contest standing out more between all these ballads and Cyprus would lose more points from Germany and its minimalistic and sentimental staging.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’ve been on this site for a few years but only with X Factor. I’ve not got involved with Eurovision before so it’s all learning for me.

    My main takeaway from this year is that juries favour songs that would go well in the current US pop charts while audiences at home like fun, tradition and emotion. If you can fit all that into one song then you’re golden.

  • Showlad

    Evening all 😉 Enjoyed reading your post mortems and Daniel thanks again for this year and all of your efforts.
    Showlad’s Eurovision 2018 take:
    So aptly put by John “and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” (TS Elliot if anyone wondered). How lovely. I agree with Jessica a super year of quality (at least 20 cracking songs) and Ande too at very few ‘amazing’ songs.
    OK my own story – I was on Israel at the 50s down to the 20s and more as it went down to just before single figures. Laid a good amount at the crazy lows to give me a secure book and then topped back up on when things ‘finally’ seemed to be coming together with Israel’s performance at the jury dress rehearsal.
    Once all songs were revealed I was the first to call an Israeli victory on here but was an unfaithful harlot and duly departed from that as the stagings veered way down the wrong road during rehearsals. Germany was my other big success story in the Top 4; Top 10 and Big 5 markets. A really good profit for me and am very humbly thankful and content and imo there’s no way anyone in their right mind could have stayed completely on a big long odds surplus on Israel this year without making your book secure by laying some of it. As said was happy to go back on again and top up and also to place a good deal on the German success story. I shortlisted my possible winner 4 as Isr, Cyp, Fra and Ger and called it for Germany. Ger’s draw was too early to impact on Isr and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway as the incredible Netta’s ‘on-song’ showing was unbeatable on Saturday – only the juries stood in her way. Ger public vote no doubt hampered by the SuRie drama (I only regained calm focus around song 15) but not to any degree that would have mattered (would probably have sneaked them in front of Austria though). Really glad to have stood strong in not seeing Cyp as the winner even though they were a shortlisted possible for me in my 4. ESC fan bubble definitely inflated Eleni’s chances on the ‘diva glitz angle’. On the night she was visibly nervous and that ‘average at best’ vocal was completely exposed at points. She’s a great dancer with an amazing stage presence but as a singer she would have been a very very poor ESC winner.
    France displayed their barking eccentricity by listening to absolutely no feker in the staging and even in their live semi interview gobsmackingly refused to outline the incredible Mercy storyline. Also Madam was the star and hubby needed to just keep house and play guitar and stay in the background instead of coming across like a stalker who wouldn’t leave her alone at the song’s key star and climactic moments.
    Any shocks for me? As usual ESC keeps you humble (if you listen and learn) and Italy were so completely sh*** imho that coming 3rd in the televote is absolutely and irrevocably beyond me. I expected a considerbale jury lead for Ger over Isr and Cyp that didn’t materialise and my safeguard bet in place in case Fra became the possible ‘Dami Im’ style recipient of the jury support really didn’t come even close to happening.
    I think the final/semi differences have been over exaggerated. There are zillions more watch on the GF that don’t watch the Semi’s and the Semi’s thus have a far higher ESC bubble/anorak quotent. Alexander: I think many commentators (like Graham Norton) would comment that his ‘masterclass’ really wasn’t that great at all and also the live staging lacked the electricity of Israel or the emotion of Germany.
    Happy to have come away this year by displaying an improved flexibility and dogged commitment and persistence this ESC with a rehearsals path right up to the GF that felt like drinking a vineyard and then trying to play crazy golf.
    Netta recovered like a pro from poor backing vocals re-creating the looper vocal repeats; a pointless consul that they put her behind and dancers obviously instructed to make Toy even more comedy and crazy than Italy last year.
    A bananas ESC that ended with the Girl with the big heart, big smile and big talent taking the crown.
    Thanks all – it’s been a blast 😉 🙂

    • Chris Bellis

      You had a lot more sense than I did Showlad. I finished just £26 up. Wrong on Spain, but right on France and right on the Q/NQ semifinals. Totally wrong on Israel. Every year I say I’m not going to get involved in personal favourites, but break my own rules every time. I do far better on X-Factor, where I only watch it because it’s on the main tv and I’m usually quite bored with it. Plus TPTB are easier to predict, and as niko said earlier, you’re judging acts in your own culture, rather than guessing what Azerbaijan will think of a gay song from Ireland.
      You summed up France perfectly, and several of us predicted that one. Ditto Portugal, although I never thought they would do so badly. Don’t they read this site? I’ll be interested when there’s a complete gathering together of all the thoughts. You realise that you’ve spent hours analysing something and then you’ve got to find a replacement.

      • Mark

        Chris. . The sway of being pulled towards songs you actually like as opposed to songs that will score well is an annual trap is it not? I got hooked on “A Monster Like Me” 2015 and only some late bets on it to end top ten at 5-6 saved me from some big losses. Taste is subjective of course, but never really understood your flirting with “Tu Canción ” I rather liked Bulgaria to be honest, and am delighted it won best composer award. But the Blake’s Seven staging was never a good fit.

        • Chris Bellis

          Mark… “A Monster Like Me” lost me some money too! “Tu Canción ” was because I like to keep up my Spanish and I got sucked into the story, although I always said it was too syrupy for Eurovision. I thought it had an audience and would do a top ten, until they were awarded the death slot in the final. Luckily I wasn’t heavily involved financially as I was never that confident in Spanish staging.

          • Showlad

            “A Monster Like Me” lost all of its power with the staging being the exact opposite to what it should have been. It screamed out to be staged all Adams family vibe and with the female singer walking on with a lit candleabra or something as she made her entrance and for the set to to be all dark and haunting adding to the ‘dark secret’ he was conveying. Without this we were left with the lovely brooding song alone and a complete dis-connect with the staging to the song. I LOVED it too 😉 Enjoyed both of your views and inputs this year Chris and Markovs thanks 😉
            X-Factor for me too emotionally manipulated to have a ‘secure’ bet.

          • Showlad: welcome to the lately emerging “Monster Like Me” fan club. I agree on the staging. I got so worried they would mess it up, I actually got hold of an email address for Morland in March 2015 and started warning him of the pitfalls of a boringly staged song. Result? A boringly staged song, with them dressed in white and no narrative to speak of on stage. Where was the “guilty secret”?? Another missed ESC opportunity”!!!

            Incidentally, Daniel and I did an ESC post-mortem yesterday…90 mins of comment and analysis on EUROBLISS! If you’re suffering post contest depression, it’s here:

            https://www.mixcloud.com/Eurobliss/eurobliss-autopsy-2018/

  • fused

    It was a very strange year for Eurovision. But this site still offered good analysis. I haven’t commented much this time, but I have been reading a lot.

    If anyone’s interested in my thoughts on this year’s Eurovision, I’ve done another blog post.

    https://headphonedaydreams.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/eurovision-2018/

  • Sawyer

    This year I didnt made much profit, was up only approximately 3k. I cant say it was great year because my risk was high, around 55k. It happened because I had to switch between my selections. First, I took position on Finland, then Spain. Odds drifted so bad. Then I bet Estonia, then Israel, then France, then layed Israel, then Cyprus, Finally backrd some Israel again and finished this crazy year with some profit. Next year I will bet less before reherseals. Better to start real action after you see the show. You saw how cyprus ireland dropped after semi. It was very crazy year with lots of ups and downs.

  • markovs

    It was such a mad year that even after rehearsals and the semi finals it was still so hard to call.

    I don’t think anyone was really impressed with Israel’s staging and it was no obvious winner after semi 1.

    Cyprus had the staging but not the song. As did Norway and Moldova. France, Germany, Lithuania, Portugal had the messages / emotions but not the running order (or staging with France or Portugal).

    Few were giving Austria or Italy much chance. Sweden’s staging was wrong for the contest and didn’t look a winner. I never really rated Ireland or Bulgaria as a contender.

    All in all, on the morning of the final it was so open. In the end, I backed Israel due to the running order and Nettas personality (had already made a bit after laying it when mid 2s and covering when drifted) but with no confidence.

    It was a crazy few weeks with massive opportunities for profit (most of which I missed) and it made for an amazingly entertaining final and scoring at the end. The UK drop from 500s to 50s was my best result, my early Netherlands bets the worst. Once I saw the staging it was money written off.

    What a year!!

  • Burlington Bertie

    I’ve just had a good read of this thread and enjoyed all the different insights and contributions regarding the final shake up. It wasn’t my best year for gambling by a long shot, but at least there was no overall loss and I can buy a couple of rounds down my local with my loose change profit.

    Thanks for all the banter – I didn’t contribute much but got a lot out of reading the comments over the weeks leading up to the contest. Even when I was in Lisbon I still loyally read the latest from all of you before breakfast each morning.

    I only bet on Eurovision so it’s goodbye from me for this year, but I’ll be back early doors for Eurovision 2019. Already looking forward to it!

    • Chris Bellis

      BB I enjoyed reading your comments. It seems as though we both put a lot of work in to end up just a few quid in profit! I hope someone (!) does a full post mortem of 2018 more than any year, because it has seemed so wild. I’d love to read a full analysis of why it was so different, what went wrong, what went right etc. It seems that many things we took for granted have changed this year. I suppose I have just got used to X-Factor, where the predictions have almost become an exact science. Eurovision is more complex and more unpredictable it seems.

      • Burlington Bertie

        Yeh – we sure as hell worked hard for our few quid. It reminds me of 2009 when I had a mix of qualifiers, top 10s, match bets etc. Egged on by successes in the semis I wound up with £300 on in total over the week, only to win back £325, that is, £25 profit. Quite laughable really after weeks of analysis and effort. Anyway, I’m supposed to be signing off. This site is as addictive as the gambling itself. Just as well it’s only once a year!

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Hi Chris,

        I think Daniel often delivers a post-mortem – traditionally on the Friday following the Grand Final, if I recall? Meaning there may be one posted tomorrow.

        I’d also like to read more reflections from Songfestivalwerk! and a sofabet thread always feels incomplete to me without an analysis by Eurovicious.

        I’m speculating that among the sofabet commentariat the largest bettors are the most infrequent message-borders. An inverse relationship that makes sense.

        I began a chat the other day, elsewhere, about writing in general, mentioning that betting forums are naturally the most unrewarding places to post your thoughts.

        If you write anything salient and insightfully predictive, that resonates with the ring of observational truth, then readers’ first inclination will be to check betfair! It would be counter-productive for a reader-bettor to publicly concur and / or publicly add and refine.

        If you add anything salient and insightfully predictive, then you have probably made public knowledge what select others already know. They could be annoyed at you for potentially having revealed a “good thing.”

        And that’s if and when you are getting thing right!

        People write either a) to be paid, b) to be read (confirmed by feedback) or c) to try to achieve both these outcomes.

        It can feel like a waste of time compiling and posting observations on a betting site. I’ve never fully got my head around what draws me back here, but I obviously maintain a deep attraction to this site.

        To me, this year ended up the battle of the superior ethno-bangers. Two super talented performers both with their respective dance crews. One outsider (from an outsider nation) versus an insider? The woman who may have got teased at school (and thereby developed talents and comedic skills) versus the woman who was Queen of the Year and the sexiest of the cheerleaders at school? One who let her dance crew become co-stars versus one who stood out to the virtual (styled) exclusion of her background crew?

        I noticed and commented how Israeli production had (to my mind) missed a trick in not optimising the message of Toy with their given stage show. In hindsight, I guess that may have been a calculated strategy. Aspects of the song were downplayed out of concern that the message and meaning would make the package divisive and thus not gain support across the genders?

        Perhaps the Israeli delegation had decided that the media pre-publicity had already effectively cemented Netta and Toy as the only go-to choice for people moved and motivated by the #metoo campaign. Those votes in the bank, Israeli production decided to maximise the crazy fun aspects of Toy and so vacuum up all the votes available to the show that really put on a great, fun show; a staging that showcased Netta and her dancers’ talent for getting the party started.

        Toy thus became a package that both women and men of all ages could vote for; whereas Fuego fell just, just shy of that universality, I suspect (for reasons I had speculated upon and detailed on another thread).

        I notice how Fuego went from being a generic @450 shot to a great @2.45 song. It was my lady’s favourite back when it was trading at its highest odds. She also really liked Monsters; she had that song a close second. Friends of mine also loved Fuego and similarly really liked Monsters, though they had no time for its singer, Saara Aalto. The problem with Saara Aalto is that you can see she is insatiably desperate to be top of the tree. Of course, the majority of performers are insatiably desperate to be the one, but Saara just cannot hide it. In a sense, she’s the most honest of performers. She’s one of the few where the (very necessary) behind-the-scenes pushiness is also the stage persona. There’s something potentially charming and disarming about that, of course, evidenced by the fact that previously she nearly won the X Factor.

        Fuego finished 2nd, while Monsters finished 2nd bottom. Personally, I agree that the quality of the songs is about equal. On that basis, it’s instructive to think through how they ended up with wildly different finishing positions.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          @BB

          An approximate calculation at the amount of time I spent listening to the songs, thinking about the songs, reading other’s comments, thinking about them, composing my comments etc would be 240 hours?

          An approximate calculation of my ESC profit is £80.

          So I was “working” for a rate of about 33 pence per hour!

          You gotta laugh, haven’t you?!

        • Chris Bellis

          GHF “I’ve never fully got my head around what draws me back here, but I obviously maintain a deep attraction to this site.” Me too. I think it’s because it’s a friendly site, and there’s a wealth of experience and education on show from the vast majority of posters here. In addition, there’s a lot of humour.
          By the way, I did an analysis of time spent and betting returns and I think I was on 10 pence an hour, so you were doing pretty well!

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        @Chris B

        Mention of the wildness (things being very different) of the market and events reminds me of another type of betting with which I am familiar.

        While not going into an analysis, I offer up the following quote as food for thought:

        “There’s never a new fashion but it’s old.”

  • Showlad

    Au Revoir, Wiedersehn, Goodbye Bertie until Jerusalem 2019 😉 🙂 😀

  • Sawyer

    Times after Eurovision feels hard. You used to all the adrenaline, stresS But when everything is over, you start to feel strange. So let’s choose our favourite Top 10!

    This Eurovision was (in terms of quality of songs) one of the best imo. Many great songs!

    Here’s my personal favourite TOP 10 song.

    1-MERCY/FRANCE
    2-HVALA,NE!/SLOVENIA
    3-VISZLAT NYAR/HUNGARY
    4-OUTLAW IN’EM/NETHERLANDS
    5-FUEGO/CYPRUS
    6-THAT’S HOW YOU WRITE A SONG/NORWAY
    7-MY LUCKY DAY/MOLDOVA
    8-HIGHER GROUND/DENMARK
    9-LIE TO ME/CZECH
    10-UNDER THE LADDER/UKRAINE

    Best Vocal Special Award: Eugent Bushpepa

    Yours?

  • Chris Bellis

    I recommend the Eurobliss show Mark posted a few posts above. Just listened to it and it helps overcome the post Eurovision blues. It’s very entertaining – thanks Daniel & Mark. Re-posting the link
    https://www.mixcloud.com/Eurobliss/eurobliss-autopsy-2018/

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