Eurovision Betting Analysis: Can Lukas Yiorkas win Eurovision 2011 for Greece?

It’s turning out to be an open year, as evidenced by the volatility in the win market. Early favourites Germany and Norway have drifted significantly, to a point at which Greece briefly became the new favourite to win Eurovision 2011 even before its national final, which took place tonight.

Punters weren’t completely shooting in the dark as the songs competing to be the Greek entry had been released. However, backing a country into a single-figure price was still some risk to take when the result of the national final was by no means a foregone conclusion.

How should those who backed Greece down to favouritism now be feeling after the selection of Lukas Yiorkas ft Stereo Mike with ‘Watch My Dance’?

It’s a dark, powerful number that was ably performed if terribly staged in the national final. It is also very Greek, which helped it to win against a rather more Scandinavian-sounding main rival.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this. ’Watch My Dance’ will be popular among Greece’s friends and diaspora around Europe. It may also fare better with the juries than either of Greece’s last two efforts.

In 2010, Greece scored 152 points with the televote, and 110 with the jury for an eighth place finish. In 2009, Greece scored 151 points with the televote and 93 with the jury for an overall seventh place.

Both were upbeat songs with gimmicky presentations – not what the juries have tended to favour based on the evidence so far. ‘Watch My Dance’ is more reminiscent of Israel’s entry last year, by Harel Skaat – an equally serious and worthy effort, which juries viewed favourably.

The last two years fit into a broader trend of Greece’s finishing positions since its 2005 victory – 9th, 7th, 3rd, 7th, 8th. That third place came with Kalomira’s ethnopop tune ‘Secret Combination’, which, though light on substance, was catchy and sexily performed. Its girly, frothy nature had pan-European appeal.

‘Watch My Dance’ is its polar opposite: masculine and brooding. I can’t see it having the same kind of broad appeal to the casual, neutral viewer.

There’s another concern. I mentioned in my article analysing Estonia’s 2011 entry that changing tempo too many times was potentially problematic for televoters. ‘Watch My Dance’ compounds this issue by shifting between genres.

What is more, one of those genres is arguably the least successful in Eurovision history: rap.

The first notable attempt of rap on the Eurovision stage was Love City Groove, which failed miserably for the UK in 1995. Every time since, and admittedly it’s not a list with many good examples of the genre, rap has been a failure, last place for Finland in the 2009 final being a recent reminder.

Which leaves us with Loukas himself singing the refrain again, and again. Stirring ethno-emoting it may be to those with links to the area, to other televoters it’s going to come across as joyless and repetitive.

So I think it’s a case of swings and roundabouts. Compared to the last two Greek efforts, it may gain with the juries if the Harel Skaat comparison can be trusted, but struggle with the floating televoters.

Skaat was third favourite going into last year’s rehearsals, which seemed optimistic to me at the time and so it proved to be. The same sinking feeling may soon start to dawn on those who were backing Greece at around 7-1 on Betfair before ‘Watch My Dance’ was selected tonight. What do you think?

Watch Lukas Yiorkas in the Greek National Final.

12 comments to Eurovision Betting Analysis: Can Lukas Yiorkas win Eurovision 2011 for Greece?

  • Rob

    Hi Daniel,
    Great analysis, as always. Clearly punters were presuming Nikki Ponte would win through in Greece with ‘I Don’t Want To Dance’ so they’ve got their fingers burnt. Her live vocal let her down. It was a shame as there is a lack of a decent ‘house’ tune this year and her song would certainly have stood out. It appears to have been a recurring pattern in a lot of NFs that songs to lose out would have stood a far greater chance at the ESC – I think Latvia, Moldova and Ukraine all fall into this category. I agree it is shaping up to be a very open year and think the market leaders all look extremely vulnerable.

  • Daniel

    Thanks for the reply Rob. Punters backing Greece may have been wishing for another result, but they only have themselves to blame. It was signposted on certain messageboards that Nikki Ponte struggles vocally on her upbeat numbers. To take a chance beforehand at such a low price beggars belief.

    Presumably they were thinking that Greece has achieved three great results with its female soloists singing upbeat europop numbers in the last decade: third with ‘Die For You’ in 2001, the winner ‘My Number One’ in 2005, and third again with ‘Secret Combination’ in 2008. All three songs are superior to ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance Alone’, however, which I find hopelessly generic.

    In the eurodance-by-numbers category, Greece has been there recently with ‘This Is Our Night’ in 2009, and the juries were damning of that. The only reason to believe that Nikki could have done any better than Sakis’ seventh, is that 2011 is such an open year in comparison to the Rybak landslide, but that’s not a strong enough justification for taking a single-figure price.

    Still, Nikki’s song does have more pan-European appeal than ‘Watch My Dance’, I’ll give it that.

  • Vicky

    Hi, I would like to comment on your post.
    1. Your analysis is excellent and very thorough, I’ll be coming back to read more!
    2. Watch my dance lyrics describe the (bad) situation Greece is in at the time. According to Loukas and his team, the song is aiming at lifting the spirit of the people giving hope for the future.
    Nevertheless, how this is going to be understood and whether it will be supported by the eurofans and the jury is something that cannot be easily predicted…
    The song tune especially the zeibekiko part was of course very “easy” for the greek peoples ears but I think it was voted for its lyrics and because it was something … different.
    So “watch your bet” guys…

  • Eloise

    Can Lukas Yiorkas win Eurovision 2011 for Greece? No, not with this. Mind you, I thought Toto stood no chance for Italy in 1990, so what do I know?

  • John

    I think Lucas Greek song is from BAD to indifferent for most Europeans

    Especially the Rap part of the song is pretty bad i did not liked it at all !!

    If Greece had send Nikki Ponte well that would be another story. Greeks would had a huge chance to win this year

  • justin

    I find this song strangely addictive and as Daniel writes, haunting. Its a shame about the rapping but Lukas is a good looking guy and can sing this one reasonably well live from what Ive seen on utube. Its very powerful (once the rapper has finished his bit) and performed last in its semi will stick in minds of many neutrals. But looking at the draw, on my statistics Greece has the largest block vote in this semi anyway – which, even with very few neutral votes, should see it comfortably through to the final.

  • jiannis

    being greek the mix of zeibekiko with rap makes me ready to throw up….not in a million this one is definately not going to final only thing is will it goes lower than the legendary s agapo song that was 17 th if i remember correctly…

  • geoff

    daniel what do you make of greece to finish top 10? i think this song could be quite powerful and different to a lot of this years entrys if it does do as well as harrel skaat but with greeces friendly votes it could make a top 10 in my opinion im considering this and armenia for a nice big top 10 bet ?

  • Daniel

    Hi Geoff, I do still fear that Greece’s entry only appeals to its core market. That is probably enough for qualification and makes it a borderline Top 10 finisher. You can get a better price on Armenia achieving a Top 10 placing, and that has broader appeal. With both, you are of course hoping on a good draw in the final if and when they qualify.

  • justin

    Daniel, I am quite surprised how luke warm you are to Greece even qualifying for the final. To me they make a great bet at 1.29 on betfair. Greece have a massive friendly vote in their semi – on my stats for the last five years, the largest friendly vote (OK that includes San Marino which is stretching it a bit) . Together with the draw being very kind to them (yet again, in the semi) makes this a very highly likely qualifier.

    My research shows me that:

    1. Since the two semi system was introduced of those countries drawn last in the semi only the friendless Netherlands in 2009 have failed to finish in the top 3 in their semi. The form of those drawn last is 1,2,3,17, 3,1
    2. No big hitter (i.e one of those countries with mass block friendly votes) has failed to qualify from the two semi system if drawn within the last 7 songs.

    This makes Greece a pretty solid bet to qualify despite the song not being the strongest ever to some.

    Be interested if anyone has any different thoughts though as I’m new to this – perhaps I am relying on stats too much!!

  • Daniel

    Hi Justin, I can’t fault your stats, and the argument you build here. I’m not sure why I don’t want to get stuck into Greece more. After all, if I think it’s borderline Top 10 in the final, with this draw in the semi, that should guarantee qualification. I will bear your logic in mind when watching rehearsals, as any indication they have vastly improved upon the mess of a NF performance will be hugely encouraging.

  • geoff

    thanks for the reply Daniel
    so at this stage would you take armenia over greece for the top 10 market?
    i can see good sides to both
    one small worry i have with the armenia entry,
    is yes they have always finished top 10 but most if not all of there songs have been strong,and this years entry has its doubters
    will they still get good support?
    the song is insanely catchy but the lyrics in the chorus are a bit meaningless for some peoples tastes and might not go down with the jurys.

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