Eurovision 2011 Draw: First Analysis

Today the organisers of Eurovision, the EBU, made the draw for the two semi-finals and to decide the berths in the final of the automatic qualifiers (the so-called Big 5). Here it is. Over the forthcoming weeks before the big event, I will be posting some in-depth thoughts on what I think is an important factor in a song’s chances.

But in the meantime, we’d like to ask for your opinions. Our 2011 Eurovision analysis has become a collaborative exercise over the last month. We always welcome your views and the debate they provoke. We’d love to have your help in picking out the potential ramifications.

Here are five quick, initial thoughts to get us started:

1. France’s draw of 11 saw it immediately drift out from favouritism on Betfair. I wrote in my original article on its chances that this was the kind of song that needed a late draw to shine, and Amaury Vassili must be disappointed not to be in the second half of the final, and to be on immediately before the jazzy Italian entry too. The win market will be wide open as a result.

2. The UK can’t complain with 14. It really does help to be drawn late, especially for the ballads or midtempo songs which might fade from memory more quickly, but Blue have a jury-friendly song and are in the second half of the show. A later draw would have helped even more.

3. The same with Germany. This is not a song I see scoring very highly with televoters anyway. After last year’s perfect draw (chosen by the German Head of Delegation when they were given the ‘wildcard’) with the catchy ‘Satellite’, it is going to be slightly more difficult for Lena from a decent but less spectacular draw of 16 with the not-so-immediate ‘Taken By A Stranger’.

4. The first semi-final is enormously skewed in the sense that almost all the big guns and favourites are on early: Norway (2nd to perform), Armenia (4), Turkey (5), Serbia (6) and Russia (7). The second half of the draw is very weak with the exception of Azerbaijan (18), and this boosts the chances for qualification of songs that may otherwise struggle such as Greece (19), the last to perform.

5. The second semi-final looks a bit more straightforward to me. Bosnia (1) should be in no danger, and is a good number to open the show. Sweden (8) should make it through easily too. Romania (14), Estonia (15), and Denmark (18) will be very happy with what they have got, as will Jedward for Ireland (19) who get the perfect draw at the end.

As I said, you can expect further analysis of the draw in the coming weeks, as well as further posts on the chances of individual countries. If you’d like to be notified as soon as we publish, please do sign up for notifications of new posts by one of the means at the top of this page (Twitter, email, RSS). In the meantime, please tell us – what do you think are the main implications of the draw?

11 comments to Eurovision 2011 Draw: First Analysis

  • annie

    If I remember correctly they said in the beginning that the Break in the Program will be after no 15, so I think that is again bad news for Germany, being on right after commercial break, isn’t it?

    • Daniel

      Hi Annie,
      In the semis, the commercial breaks are scheduled after the 5th and 14th song. In the final, the commercial break is scheduled to be after the 12th song (Italy). And yes, it is considered an advantage to perform just before the break (the performance remains in the memory for longer), but a disadvantage to perform just after the break (because people’s attention may have been diverted).

  • Martin F.

    I’m not sure Jedward’s draw helps them. It depends on how they perform it – if the first 30 seconds are car crash-tastic like in the Irish final, people will simply go off and make a cuppa before the reprise (viz. Toppers, France 05, Slovenia 03 et al). If they nail it, of course, it’s an absolute peach of a draw…

  • Rob

    My view Daniel on this year’s semi-finals is that semi-final 2 has more contenders for qualification than semi 1, but conversely, semi 1 has more entries that look like certain qualifiers. Do you think we will see one or two of the perceived big guns not make the 10 in semi 1? I think this is feasible but can’t work out quite how powerful their individual vote bases are.
    If we are talking purely song quality, then Hungary must surely sit alongside Azerbaijan in that last section of semi 1.
    As for the final, I think it’s a decent looking draw for Blue at this stage – who is drawn 13 and 15 will still have relevance – and I think France is pretty much scuppered by its 11 draw, more so being followed by the only song in the competition similar to it in Italy.

    • Daniel

      Hi guys,
      Martin, your response reminds me of my explanation to a friend as to why those countries with a wildcard often choose a position a couple of spots near the end rather than at the end itself. Presenter: “This is the last of all the songs!” Audience: “I’ve been dying for the loo / cup of tea, perhaps now’s my chance.” Though if Jedward are a car crash on stage the draw won’t make much difference anyway.

      Rob, my early interpretation of the semis is actually the other way round, that semi 1 has more contenders, and I can call more definite quailifiers in semi 2. The last few years, however, have taught us to assume nothing. Bookmakers’ fancies and fan favourites have failed. Those without enough friends and with the potential to be poorly performed live (even the likes of Norway, Hungary and Estonia) are not certain qualifiers.

      I find semi 1 hard to read. The big hitters worst hit by the draw in terms of friends and running order are Serbia (only 21/72 of its 2010 final points from those in this semi and an early draw) and Russia (only 20/90 of its 2010 final points from those in this semi and another early draw). It’s not great for Turkey either. I’m not saying that these will be the big hitters to miss out, but they will have to get through on their own merits more than is usually the case.

      • Rob

        Hi Daniel,
        That’s another very interesting analysis. Totally agree regarding Norway, Hungary and Estonia. I can only come up with 13 contenders (7 definites) in semi-final 1, but 16 contenders (only 5 definites) in semi-final 2!! Maybe the only conclusion to be reached from all this is that this year’s ESC is shaping up to be the most open in many a year, and as Peter points out, the vagaries of draw are likely to have an even bigger say than usual come the final.

  • Peter

    Hi Daniel,
    Really enjoying your analysis to date. I can’t recall a more open contest and think the draw this year will be much more important than in previous years. Might need to keep our powder dry until we know the qualifiers and where they are drawn. My gut tells me that betting blindly on anything drawn in the last 3 spots of the final is as good a betting strategy as any this year!
    Good luck,

    • Daniel

      Hi Peter and welcome to Sofabet. I pretty much agree with what you say. The weaker the entries, the more important friendly voting or draw becomes. Greece’s win in 2005 and Germany’s in 2010 are the best respective examples of this in the weakest years since 2002. In my view, 2011 is even weaker.

  • Peter

    Thanks Daniel,
    Agreed. Do you plan to publish your Euro bet recommendations? So far mine have been restricted to speculative betfair plays at fancy odds. More hope than science!

    • Daniel

      I do indeed, Peter. You can look through last year’s recommendations in the Eurovision section archive. The articles reveal what I am backing. Of course, I end up adding to those bets ‘in-running’ as the live show unfolds too.

  • Eloise

    There’s some fabulous analysis on the All Kinds of Everything site, looking at draw positions, previous results and percentages, check it out here

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