Eurovision 2013: Semi-Final 1 Preview

The first semi-final has perplexed me from the beginning as a difficult one for punters. This is due to a weak overall standard, the favourites being drawn back-to-back in the first half and an overload of female soloists.

There’s also an interesting set of three voting blocs: the Balkans, an eastern bloc and a western bloc. The latter is made up of the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and Belgium. Without many diaspora-rich nations, it’s a more favourable semi for western European countries than usual.

I’ve kept my stakes relatively small and I recommend you do too. My liabilities on the second semi-final and the top ten market for the final are far greater. Nonetheless, last night’s jury rehearsal did clarify some matters. Here’s how I saw it.

I think 6/4 favourite Denmark won the jury vote last night and is winning this semi. ‘Only Teardrops’ came together to match what we saw and heard at the national final. It was head and shoulders a better sell to viewers than the big guns that followed it. My guess is that Russia may be runner-up overall based on a very solid set of credentials.

We have an unusual situation whereby the top four in the betting for this heat fill consecutive first-half slots in the running order. The point I made in an earlier article about searching around for a big-priced outsider to sneak into third place still applies.

I’ve had a small amount each-way on Ireland – you can get 40/1 a fifth the odds with Sportingbet, 33/1 a quarter the odds with Ladbrokes or it’s 7/1 generally for a top 3 finish – because it has everything going for it in the context of this semi.

‘Only Love Survives’ is a contemporary, upbeat song that’s become well sold by a cute male at the right point in the running order.

Ryan was at his best last night: beyond Denmark and Netherlands, I don’t think too many beat it with the juries. Given the significant ‘western bloc’ I’ve mentioned, it could hardly be a friendlier semi for a nation that usually struggles in this respect. It’s a speculative punt, but with all the female soloists performing slower stuff, it stands out far more than I thought it would.

In terms of qualifiers, I have a list of seven I expect to see in the envelopes tonight: in appearance order they are Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Ireland and Moldova.

I think Serbia and Belarus will join them, but it’s worth bearing in mind that at half-decent prices not to qualify (11/2 and 9/4 respectively), these are packages that will not travel far beyond their allies (of which Serbia has more than Belarus). And whilst both acts performed relatively well yesterday evening, they remain visually cheap-looking, upbeat kitsch – the kind of thing juries can really punish.

Which leaves one more space for the full deck. It’s a hard one to call, but I’ve always thought the common sense list of non-qualifiers involved the first three to perform – Austria, Estonia and Slovenia – followed by Montenegro, Lithuania and Cyprus.

I’ve had cause to waver over the last week or so. Estonia and Cyprus were well performed last night, and Montenegro is a wholly leftfield option to consider, but I’m sticking to my guns. Which means I’m putting Belgium through – not with any confidence.

Let us know your thoughts below. I will tweet or comment if there are any significant changes in quality of performance during the third dress rehearsal this afternoon. Good luck and enjoy.

114 comments to Eurovision 2013: Semi-Final 1 Preview

  • Ryan

    Hi im looking to place my bets today what would your tip to win be and then your 2 bigger prices each way to place. At the moment i think Finland at 40 to 1 each way looks a good bet any views on that?

    • DashBerlin

      its been said by a few on here, which I agree, that Finland may well struggle to qualify. I cannot see it winning many points with the jury and its televoting power could only hope to put it middle of the pack at best

  • Those are my ten qualifiers as well! Belgium is my least certain, but because he nailed it in front of juries second time around and has the running order, I think it may just about qualify. Best of luck to everyone!

  • Mr Gould begins to shimmy off of the fence. See you later!

  • I have Belguim 11th, but with the second chance last night, it could give it a push – who knows. Betsfacteur’s top ten, written from the UK before the jury performances, are: Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Ulkraine, Netherlands, Montenegro, Belarus, Ireland, Moldova, Serbia – explanations at

    Good luck all – I’m looking forward to seeing the show back here in the UK.

    Loving the tweeting Daniel – pithy live instareaction is the way forward!

  • DashBerlin

    the fear for Belgium, is last year the young girl was well fancied to qualify and literally received no televotes (2 points). Whoever finishes bottom 2 in televotes seems sure not to qualify.
    I’ve backed Estonia for a small stake, but hevaily on Moldova to Q, mostly agree with Daniel about the above

  • Alen

    I agree with 9 out of the 10. I think Cyprus will qualify over Ireland as a surprise qualifier. I haven’t seen Ireland on TV but I think the performance could be over the top.

    Now who will be the last one to be called? It’s either Denmark or Netherlands.

    • DashBerlin

      If its Denmark, it would be a huge anti climax, there is pretty much no way that doesn’t qualify

      • hansenus

        I guess denmark should be the last to be called anyhow because they are the neighbors like last year happened with Azerbaijan and Norway. Maybe it is an interesting lay at 1.01 and try to back it at 1.08-1.1 as the envelops are passing… I think it is an interesting speculative bet. Not that i think that Denmark can be eliminated tonight by any means 😉

  • eurovicious

    Hi Daniel, thanks, this is a superb and helpful summary, thank you.

    Apropos comments about fence-sitting coming from certain quarters, I think in a semi as uncertain as this one it’s wise to be cautious – more cautious than usual. Daniel may not be one to cry “back!”, “lay!” for every song but it can be read between the lines and this actually gives the site more value – because it provides people with the tools to use their own minds and come to their own decisions rather than simply telling them what to bet on. Ultimately we all have to make our own minds up – it’s our money. Moreover, you’d be cautious too if you were betting the sums that Daniel is. This in turn I think gives his advice more weight than that of other sites that risk far less money and give out tips willy-nilly.

    • Daniel

      Hi EV, I should say it’s harmless joshing – the three of us who run sites like this one have sat together this last week and have reached a point where we are comfortable enough to mock each other for our own different styles. They all have their place.

      You’ve summed up well the reasons behind my general caution. Given my situation, I constantly think about worst case scenarios. Hence my “chronic pessimism”, which I’m proud of! 🙂

  • trollgirl

    I am very surprised that everyone seems so sure Belarus will qualify. I find it quite cheap overall- song, presentation, performance. For some time I felt it will do an Armenia 2011, it reminds of Boom Boom chaka chaka…

    • Daniel

      Hi trollgirl, I have some sympathy with your view. As I mention in the article, I’m not sure on Belarus at all, and the staging does have echoes of ‘Boom Boom’ (it’s the same team who have worked on both). If ‘Solayoh’ were in the second semi, it wouldn’t be in my list of qualifiers.

  • tpfkar

    I’ve sadly had very little time to follow things or to put money down in the last couple of weeks, but I’ve firmly got Belarus in the NQ list at the mo.

  • john kef

    I believe that there are 8 certain qualifiers
    Denmark, Ukraine, Russia, Croatia, Moldova, Netherlands, Serbia, Ireland

    and 4 countries that will battle for the 2 remaining places Montenegro, Estonia, Belarus and maybe Lithuania.
    I believe Montenegro and Estonia will qualify cause Montenegro has the ex-Yugoslavian block backing it and i’m very optimistic about getting small points from the western block 2-3s that might do the job for them.
    Estonia has the allies and i believe it’s going to do well with the juries.
    Belarus is not going to qualify for 2 reasons.
    a. Never gets any points from the western block and with the new system doesn’t stand a chance with the juries
    b. With Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, Moldova present at the semi it’s not gonna get high scores from the eastern block

  • Cally

    Daniel, great write-ups as ever. Is there a press centre poll this year? I always find that interesting to note. AKOE used to record it, but sadly they appear to be no more.

  • Cally

    Thanks Boki. A scruffy effort from the press centre this year compared to last!

  • Daniel, thanks for your write-up. I am leaning more towards the NQ side for Belarus because to me it represents the cheapness of Boom-Boom in terms of song and presentation and the ethno stylings and vocal prowess of I Love Belarus (at best). All it has going for it is its hook. Boom Boom had a hook too, Solayoh’s is slightly more memorable, but I just don’t think the live vocals is doing the studio version justice. We’ll have to see.

    That said, sticking my neck out, my qualifiers tonight are: Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Montenegro, Cyprus, Moldova, Ireland and Serbia.

    Good luck everyone. 🙂

  • hansenus

    My ten are:
    The 10th is a hard call… Maybe i will say hmmm…. Austria or Montenegro. More kind for Austria.

    GL everyone.
    As you can see i am going for two upsets: Croatia and Belarus

  • Thanks for sharing this, Daniel. I have the very same ten qualifiers, although I don’t quite share your optimism about Ireland or the opinion that it’s contemporary (on the other hand, I haven’t seem the rehearsals – it sounds like it’s very well sold by Ryan & co). My feeling is that it’s slightly dated both in sound and presentation. Perhaps that is out-weighed by the fact that it’s one of the few up-tempo songs in the semi, though.

    I also like the fact that you recommend a low exposure for this semi. I myself have almost felt a bit lost, as I simply haven’t been able to find good bets (whereas semi 2 has offered a lot more). At first I considered this bad from a risk strategy, but when thinking about it some more I reached the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter much if most bets are on entries performing together – the added correlation for bets from being in the same semi should be low anyway, meaning that for risk exposure, it’s a lot more important to balance between individual bets, than between the two semis.

  • Nick D.

    Quick Q… I’m not seeing a podium contender in the last three of the running order. Can we confidently say that that principle’s finding an exception this time round?

  • eurovicious

    My preshow tips are
    – lay Austria (1.4), Montenegro (1.5) and Belarus (2.5-3.25).
    – back Belgium cautiously with a smaller amount, as value
    – look at top 3 value like Netherlands, Moldova and Croatia
    – back Estonia cautiously

    Having watched the third rehearsal in the arena, basically, Anouk kills the whole thing. It’s the standout moment of the show, much in the same way as Magdi Ruzsa tore the semifinal a new one in 2007 and consequently came 2nd out of 28 despite Hungary’s only middling voting power. Croatia also stands out and Klapa s Mora are vocally extremely strong.

    Good luck folks.

    • Boki

      I hope you are right, have slight worries about Croats, hopefully it translates to screen as much as in the arena. GL

      • Yeah, I’m also getting slightly worried that non-balkan viewers may overlook them completely. That could spell disaster.

        • Boki

          Never liked those very late drifts…anyway they represent quality in this semi and should qualify.

        • Boki

          So our fear came through…I guess Croats lacked power on TV, took a ‘nice’ loss there.

          Great spot Daniel about Serbia, I had them as NQ when the song came out but was really pissed when they got the pimp slot and thought they couldn’t miss out from that position. Luckily didn’t back them at the end.

          • Yeah, that was a lesson learned. No more televote-unfriendly entries from early pos.

            Agree regarding Serbia – actually had a speculative lay out @1.10 and it nearly got matched, but not quite… if it had, this would have been a quite decent result today instead of a break-even one 🙂

  • chewy wesker

    Hi guys, semi-final 1. I think it will go the way of the betfair market, I think it’s spot on. I think Estonia is sailing into the final there maybe weaker songs shorter priced than it, but I think it’s miles in front of Austria and Montenegro. I’d like to see Lithuania get a place but I doubt it. Estonia is my tip to make the final Evs available at corals.

  • Hello,
    Have a £50 free bet to play with and am torn between placing it on Azer EW for the final; and a win bet for Semi 2.
    Can’t make up my mind.
    Any thoughts and/or suggestions are welcome 🙂

  • eurovicious


    Serbia (these 8 being the core 8 that everyone seems to agree on)

    OK, so that’s not much of a prediction… the other two? I don’t know. Not Austria. Not Montenegro (close to bottom). Probably not Cyprus.

    My heart says Lithuania and Estonia. But I shouldn’t always listen to my heart. The pragmatist in me makes me want to lean towards Belarus and Belgium just because everyone else is. But I can’t make myself do it. Maybe a compromise.

    Estonia kills Belarus.
    Love Kills Lithuania. But only because of the draw.

    Estonia and Belgium.

  • tpfkar

    I’d go EW for the final. Georgia or Greece could win the semi but Azer should be there or thereabouts on Saturday.

  • trollgirl

    Was it just me or Anouk felt so much superior to the rest, including Emmelie de Favorite?

  • tpfkar

    trollgirl – yes I’d agree Anouk is best in show so far but not sure that means Netherlands will win the semi, not as accessible as Denmark (perhaps as a result of superiority?)

  • trollgirl

    And Lithuania wasnt as bad as I remembered. I am sitting with some almost 30 female friends, non-connoseurs and they also thought Lithuania was good. And the guy was cute…

    • eurovicious

      This, exactly. I’ve never understood the dislike for Lithuania in the fan bubble, I still don’t. It baffles and irritates me. He’s a bit kooky but it’s good kooky, and the song is strong. Although I originally preferred the top hat version, I’m glad they didn’t do that in the end. I never had a real problem with his presentation. I think he was too “man” for a lot of the fans, plus it (charmingly) lacks the polish and superficial sheen (all too often hiding a lack of content) that most of the fan bubble is drawn to.

  • trollgirl

    Will there be a stream for the press conference now?

  • WTF happened to the Balkans, did their televotes not work?

  • yqt1001

    I’m guessing that the ex-Soviet televoters and juries gave all songs pretty decent ratings. I don’t know if it’s happened before, but all ex-Soviet entries have made it. 6-10 entries came from the USSR, and no Balkan ones made it through.

  • Giannis

    The link to the press conference.
    (dont be confused with the title)

  • Montell

    I’m a little bit surprised by the results of the semi 1. Anyway, just wanted to remind that the rule “at least four of the last six to perform qualifies” was not broken 😀

  • eurovicious

    Never mind the Balkans! Bloody hell. 😀

    I won. Satisfactory result. Trip paid for. Well, I say that, but I’m obviously putting it back into SF2 and the final, so it’s all still “in flux”.

    I went big on laying Austria and Montenegro which is where the overwhelming majority of my winnings came from, plus a largish bet on Lithuania to qualify which literally everyone disagreed with me on (It was the midriff wot won it) and a smaller one on Belgium. This was counterbalanced by having bet against Belarus and Estonia.

    Analysis: 4 of 6 NQs were in foreign but only 2 of 10 qualifiers – both of which were highly competent, perfectly sung contemporary female ballads from ex-USSR countries.

    A complete Yugosphere wipeout (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Austria) is a surprise result. The language combined with the new system undoubtedly has something to do with it, but I think it’s more to do with the songs. Most people had Austria, Slovenia and Montenegro down as NQs anyway, Croatia had an early draw wasn’t contemporary despite vocal prowess, and Serbia was naff and baffling – it looked like Barbie abducted by lesbians. Nevena does the best bimbo face. Serbia had the pimp slot and high voting power. It wasn’t enough. I hadn’t bet on Serbia, Croatia or Slovenia (no value) so wasn’t affected by the Croatia/Serbia NQ.

    I love that after Alyona has exited her giant disco ball, the dancers turn the light off and close the door again. The energy conservation message has obviously reached Belarus! Roll on Thursday.

    General advice: bet on fewer countries but ones you’re confident on. Don’t back large numbers of entries as either Q or NQ especially when there’s little value in doing so. We’re on slightly uncertain ground; I strongly feel Serbia would have qualified on televote under the old system; juries evidently saw it as a baffling screeching match.

    • chewy wesker

      ev I think your right, just select a few bets in these semis, that way you can focus in on value. Backing odds on can pay off but Serbia and Croatia showed tonight that you can lose big. From original list of my qualifers Serbia was the only one I got wrong. Lithuania always had enough hook in the melody to get it to the final, and Belgium had really improved but I still had his bad vocal in my head so didn’t see that one coming. Have a feeling maybe the juries and televote kinda felt there was a few more boys needed for the final, as for Croatia from may original list this one was never included, it’s a puzzle why so many saw this as strong song? But so glad Birgit made it.

  • john kef

    Lots of second half slots remain open. Pure luck or do they have them reserved for the big5?

    • Daniel

      Hi John, they’ve already decided to split the Big 6 fairly so that 3 get a first half draw and 3 get a second half draw (with Sweden already filling one of these second half places).

      Therefore 7 qualifiers from the second semi will be in the second half. Only 3 will be in the first half. Should be interesting with the likes of Azerbaijan, Norway and Georgia having a 70% chance of a second half draw if they qualify.

      • john kef

        Sorry for wasting your time Daniel. You ‘ve mentioned that before but i’ve forgotten it.

      • chewy wesker

        Denmark certainly did well getting a second half draw, If Azerbaijan Norway or Georgia fall into the 30% and with only two places in the second half draw for the big 5 if Germany Italy avoid those two spots, I think we can safely say Denmark for the win. very impressed with “only teardrops”
        Odds on now a shorter favourite than last years Loreen.

  • john kef

    After what we have seen what do you think about semi 2? Do you guys think we gonna see a major upset?

    • eurovicious

      Croatia and Serbia failed for the opposite reasons: Serbia was probably televote top 10 but disliked by juries, Croatia jury top 10 but overlooked by televoters. Both were in their own ways kitsch. The lesson is: under the new system, disparity is dangerous. I’m reluctant to draw any more trends out of it than this. Seen from a slight distance, it wasn’t a *major* upset. Croatia generally struggles to qualify; many had assumed that jury would pull it through this year, but it doesn’t work like that anymore. Similarly poor jury killed Serbia’s chances, but they’ve come 10th and 8th in the semi with offbeat upbeat songs before. Be more cautious, yes, but let’s not turn our SF2 thoughts on their head. 6 of the 8 core predicted qualifiers still qualified tonight plus all four of the borderliners (in my book).

      I do think tonight’s result makes Romanian and Finnish qualification less likely and Maltese and Icelandic qualification more likely.

  • Looking forward to the analysis Daniel!

    What a dog’s dinner that was. My overriding feeling after that is “If it sticks out, it’s out”. So, from my top ten for Thursday I am downgrading (not discounting just downgrading) Greece, Finland, Albania and Bulgaria. I’m upgrading things like Iceland and even maybe horror shows like Hungary and Switzerland.

    That’s not to say I will rejig my qualifiers list (will publish Thurs morning), but it’s a thing to consider.

    “If it sticks out – it’s out.” R. Betsfactor 15th May 2013.


  • I think I’m gonna place a bet on Hungary now. After today’s list of qualifiers, we can see the influence of juries. And most importantly, that there is a trend towards simple staged entries. Lovely :-)!

  • Nick D.

    Is it too soon to start speculating running order decisions for the final? I think Belarus looks nailed on to open the show now with most of the first half filled, and suspect that Ireland’s getting the pimp slot – much as they’d love to give it to Denmark, it might look too blatant. Germany, Greece and Finland look like the only other serious candidates for the marquee positions to me, with Belgium, Bulgaria and Albania as unlikely possibles. Thoughts?

  • Daniel

    Hi Nick, already thought that Belarus would be the ideal opener. And I like your thinking on Ireland in the pimp slot, though as you say, there are more possibilities from semi 2 here as well.

  • Something that hasn’t been mentioned yet: Birgit’s pregnancy boosted Estonia’s televote. On BBC3 Scott Mills (and commentators everywhere, no doubt) mentioned that she was pregnant and there was a joke about her being “a double act seeing as she is up the duff”. That along with a decent jury score and some televoting friends was enough to see it through.

    • chewy wesker

      Yes I think Birgit being pregnant helped her qualify, her song is pretty straight forward and simple. I can see a possible top ten for her. And being pregnant all helps to get the phones ringing in support.

      • DashBerlin

        Estonia (probably) qualified because it was one of the best sung songs, vocally and stood out early on around some ordinary stuff. Jurys would have given it high marks and it had enough televoting friends to help their. I had it down as Q, one of only 2 bets in SF1.
        I seriously doubt many British people picked up their phone to vote because she was pregnant

        I watched the SFs with a few female friends, who know zero about betting and they had estonia in their top 5s

  • Alexander S.

    Eurovicious, if last night’s results didn’t convince you that semifinals have only fans voting in them, I don’t know what can. It was probably the most fan-driven outcome since the semifinal system started. People will now come up with various and elaborate far-fetched excuses for the ex-Yugo’s demise, but there is NO WAY non-fans wouldn’t vote for them, especially for Montenegro (typical straight male teen vote-grabber), Serbia (three sexy girls with a musical-type of story on stage) and Croatia (typical non-fan older audience vote-grabber). I’m sorry, but EBU is really losing it completely, Europe massively doesn’t care anymore.

    • Henry VIII

      I’d put fans at less than 1% of the electorate.

    • eurovicious

      What Henry said. The whole of ex-Yugoslavia watches and votes in the semis which are broadcast on the respective countries’ main channels, while diaspora Yugos (ie. the hundreds of thousands in Austria) watch and vote at home or in their local Serbian/Croatian bar. It’s a big event down there. Last night’s results are in no way indicative of a fan vote, insofar as two entries that have been highly unpopular with the fan community since being chosen in December – Lithuania and Belgium – qualified, while entries more popular with the fan community such as Austria and Serbia failed to. It was “only fans” voting for Lithuania, was it? LT has come at or near the bottom of every single fan poll. As I’ve elaborated, the results are less of a surprise than it first appears – Croatia struggles to qualify at the best of times and presumably failed due to jury/televote disparity; Cipela only scraped 10th and Ljubav je svuda (or as some are calling it, Lube Up Your Scooter) is the weakest Serbian entry in a while and juries evidently perceived it as “kitsch upbeat” rather than “credible upbeat” (Ireland).

      • Boki

        While giving lectures about ex-YU fail, you didn’t elaborate why did you see Croatia as potential top3 in the semi beforehand – it should have been a surprise to you since you rated it so high.

        • eurovicious

          I said it was value; I wasn’t the only one saying that either. They were the only male act in the first half, very different to everything else, and vocally standout. I honestly would have expected to see it high up in the jury vote. Questa Notte came 5th in a 28-song semi, admittedly from the pimp slot, but Mizerja was vocally much stronger and in a language spoken by more participating countries. I think it must have just been too boring/old-fashioned for televoters.

          I’m sorry if you feel I’m “giving lectures”. I’m just trying to analyse/interpret yesterday’s results.

          • Boki

            No problem, my feeling was just that you too easily give interpretation why it didn’t qualify which was contradicting the previous confidence that it will qualify (if someone is a top3 value that would mean it’s a certain qualifier). Too much confidence bothers me 🙂

          • Chris Bellis

            For what it’s worth, Eurovision, and speaking as someone who backed it, I based my bet on Croatia on the impeccable tuning and good singing of a decent song. I think it was better without the treacly synth sound they added at a later date. It made it it sound like hotel lobby music or the karaoke mini-disc backing tracks cabaret singers use. OK for a hotel bar artiste, not so good for Eurovision They must like that sound in Croatia, as every hotel bar I’ve ever visited in Croatia seems to have that sound playing everywhere you go.

  • Marina

    I fail to see why people find the Danish entry so brilliant. It sounds very typical, cheesy and unoriginal to me. I also don’t find the concept of the act interesting. Just take a nice looking girl, put her in a long dress, make her look all natural and innocent and then let her sing a typical ‘jolly’ song ….and we’ll win Eurovision. I find that a very cheap way of scoring. The staging as well -barefoot, long dress, messy hair, on the floor- seems very much like last years act.
    The refrain of the song in particular is very bland and cheesy. It’s the kind of song that would have finished 5th in 2005.

    I really, really fail to see what makes people like this typical eurovision song so much.

    • DashBerlin

      Its that ticker tape crescendo near the end, that signals “we have won already” that I dislike the most

      • eurovicious

        Marina, DashBerlin, I hate it for all of those reasons and more. Musically I actually really like the verse – it’s superb – but then the chorus comes in and kills it all. It’s a song that tries to hammer you over the head – relentless repetition of underwhelming chorus, flute, big old drums, glitter rain and a pyro curtain. A cynical simulacrun of a “winning” song.

        • hansenus

          What annoys me the most is not the confetti even but the audience screaming like crazy like this is so awesome and so cool….
          This thing really makes the difference. I am sure this kind of audience screaming stuff in “silent” periods of the song really pushes forward the chances of a performance.

          I believe this strongly helped Lena for a sailing victory and i also remember it happened when The Netherlands narrowly won eurovision junior few years ago.

          It is all indeed bought up. I am sure they have given tickets to some people to elaborate this effect consciously. So i expect more of this to come in the final, it is sad all this manipulation thing…

    • I like it but think Norway knocks Denmark’s entry’s socks off, in every respect: more exciting song, more charismatic, likeable and sexier lead singer, a more dramatic visual scene.
      Glorious may sound a bit like Euphoria but I think the natural (and original) successor to last year’s dark, dangerous and exciting winner is Feed You My Love.

  • Alen

    What a balkan massacre! haha. Oh well. I think this teaches us to listen to our instinct and first reaction. First reacton to Serbia was: Meh, quite childish, not a very good song. Then you get used to it, they get pimp slot and you think no chance this won’t qualify but even that didn’t work out. So in the end first reaction was probably the truest.

    I def. think some songs didn’t qualify because of the new system, like Croatia (probably lots jury, not enough tele) and Serbia (some nice tele, but not much jury) while some middle-songs like Estonia and Belgium did qualify cause they were somewhere in the middle.

    With Macedonia probably struggeling to qualify tomorrow too I wonder two things:

    a) How much of a dropp will the viewing figures be in ex-Yu? I know some people who have already said they won’t watch it. And if there is no Balkan country who are they going to root for? Which leads me to…

    b) Who will they vote for? Ex-Yu usually sends popular acts or niche songs that do well there so they award each other with 12s, 10s, etc. so now? This is good news for example for Denmark*. If some Ex-Yu countries would have qualified Denmark would have got only 7 points from some of them. Now they might get the 12s. Thats a 5 points difference. If we count this 5 times (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro) this will give Denmark 25 more points which might push them to the winning line.

    *I just used Denmark as an example. Insert the country that does very well that night.

  • hansenus

    Hi guys, interesting show yesterday.
    2 upsets finally: Croatia and Serbia but quite logical indeed.

    I dont still understand all the bloggers support for such a boring song like Croatia. It has absolutely zero voting power and juries will not rank it ever in the top half either.
    This was a good lay for me and proved me that my lay to Israel for semi 2 is a good one. Fully same story here.

    Anyhow i think Daniel was quite right with his predictions, particularly with Denmark victory.

    The song that impressed me more was Moldova. I backed it live at almost 5 for top 3. I am convinced it got it in the juries. At least second behind Denmark. And possibly it could save the top 3 overall unless it was passed by the voting power of russia and ukraine. All in all it seems like a good bet. Lets wait until saturday night.

    I am now hoping for a very poor draw for Moldova and Italy to back them at decent high odds for top 10 and top 4 respectively.

    In addition to all this i want to emphasize something:
    I am extremely annoyed and disappointed by eurovision as a whole and its organization. It is really pathetic how all is made for a Denmark victory: Certain sectors of the public shouting like crazy during the show, the confety near the end…

    I have worked hard during the last couple of months with my tradings in betfair. I got a full green book with quite decent big wins with some good countries like Ukraine and Russia. And all this effort for nothing. To see like a stupid, how everything is prepared for a Denmark win…. and that makes an incredible 4 euro win in my book… Really really upset about this. Ok if Denmark would win, but not like this, not like this shit of SVT favouring them beyond the limits…
    This confetti shit thing should be totally forbidden but not….
    They allow already winner denmark to use it, then they make the break in the production to clean it and to Ukraine, they dont allow them to use all their technological 3D efforts destroying their performance…. Outrageous!

    Now regarding some comments here about Denmark draw, it is obvious that it will be allocated just before the last commercial break. The other alternative is to play last but i dont think so I am unaware of how many breaks there will be? 2-3-4? I guess 3 and then Denmark will be located 19 or 20…

    Enjoy scandinavians. You got all this for you but i hope you will not win again in a good amount of years

    • DashBerlin

      There were still some bits of confetti floating about for Russia next up that the camera caught, sure to be bought up.
      If its any consolation, Denmark were 10/1 3rd favourite last year in the final and completely bombed

      • hansenus

        Hi, you have your point but…
        Scandinavian countries historically have sturggled a lot in those kind of odds being 2nd-4th favourites. I remember as an example also The Ark for Sweden and a rock group from Norway some years ago.
        However, they have always sailed into victory when being the very favourites.
        All of these countries have taken a victory 1 year recently, all minus Denmark…

        So all in all, what i expect and what history tells me:
        Denmark sailing to victory. Norway struggling a lot and being far from top places this year.

        I really hope that i am wrong and it is not that i want Norway to win but… Unfortunately i have a big conviction Denmark will take it easily. However i prefer to play other markets than to bet in this even odds to win the show for Denmark because it goes totally againts my principles in all terms.

        • hansenus

          By the way, i just saw now for the first time the press conference of semifinal 1 winners.
          No one has anything to say about the very nice static location of the ballots for the draw? And the fact that they made sure that Emmilie would be one of the first ones to pick up the draw number so that no one would mess the ballots beforehand?

          She takes her time to take the paper and talks with her guy. She knows for sure what ballot she had to take and that she would play in the second half…

          This is totally against fairness in the competition and should be punished really…

          It is totally pissing off

          • eurovicious

            Didn’t see it. Will watch later.

          • DashBerlin

            I watched the press conference and the drawing of lots, I think your being a bit paranoid there. It was a fair random draw, in front of all the media and other competing artists

      • Chris Bellis

        Yes, DashBerlin I lost money on Denmark last year. I certainly wouldn’t bet on them this year with this manipulative song. The screaming audience I think is because the venue is just over the bridge to Denmark, and loads of people from Malmo admire the Danes anyway for what they see as Denmark’s superior foreign policy. It’s like a home game for them.

    • eurovicious

      hansenus, I agree. Watching the rehearsal in the arena yesterday afternoon, I really got the same “fix” vibes I’ve had watching Syco-type shows on TV in the past. A pyro curtain – OK, fair enough, we’ve seen that before and other countries make use of it. But the two huge glitter cannons placed in the fan area seem like overkill. They go off and shoot a ton of glitter in the air, then the camera retracts through it, creating a “glitter rain” effect. They’re well in front of the stage, between the stage and the satellite stage, so the fans in the fan area will get covered in it. I saw nothing similar in Düsseldorf – the only glitter was saved for the winning performance and rained down throughout the arena when Ell and Nikki reprised their song at the end of the final. I can’t recall ever seeing a glitter shower for a competing Eurovision performance (can anyone correct me on this?), and I feel in Düsseldorf it would probably have been turned down as it would have been perceived as giving the entry in question an unfair advantage. I was amused and pleased that Dina got some of the leftover glitter.

      The break is so that 20-ish stage hands can run onto the stage, catwalk and satellite stage with leaf blowers, brushes and cloths, sweep the glitter off the stage, and wipe down the area where the spark curtain fell.

  • hansenus

    As from Andrew comment: i can understand big local audience in semifinal 1 and the craziness for Denmark. But this local presence will obviously not be the case for the final and still you can be convinced they will make sure to get the same euphoric effect.

    Well, i dont want to bring negativity to this blog and to myself so from now on i am not talking anymore about Denmark and i will be rather discussing and enjoying others 🙂

  • Jürgen the German

    Jürgen in the slaughterhouse! I must admit: I completely misjudged semifinal 1. Backed Serbia 1-2 months ago, before these dresses were out. Layed Lithuania and still don’t understand he got through (decent song, vocally ok, but amateurish performance and weird eye movements). Layed Estonia before knowing about the pregnancy and seeing the good rehearsals. Successful late bets on Ireland and Austria couldn’t make up for the losses. Lesson: I shouldn’t have backed Serbia at these short odds so early on in the game. But otherwise, I can’t see what I did wrong, except being a bit too aggressive in my betting strategy. Anyway, I hope that I have a bit more succes in semi 2 and the final.

    • eurovicious

      An “amateurish” performance isn’t a bad thing. It adds some much-needed reality in a hyperreal show full of calculated polish and sheen.

    • DashBerlin

      re: Estonia, vocally she was superb I think it has nothing to do with pregnancy. The 2 best vocally sung songs of the night (imo) were Moldova and Estonia, both went through.

  • Agreed Eurovicious. And it adds some charm to the performances as well. I wasn’t fully satisfied with the Dutch performance (Anouk was a tad bit nervous), but I have a feeling that purity is what got Netherlands to the final. Same goes to a lesser extend for Lithuania. Just a bloke, standing, singing, performing.

    It’s a bit of a new trend in Eurovision: simplicity. And I admire the SVT for strengthening the staging of these kind of intimate songs. By the way, the BEST staged contest in a decade as far as I am concerned.

  • Mark

    The SVT website has uploaded the results as such:

    Danmark: “Only Teardrops” – Emmelie de Forest
    Ukraina: “Gravity” – Zlata Ognevich
    Nederländerna: “Birds” – Anouk
    Litauen: “Something” – Andrius Pojavis
    Moldavien: “O mie” – Aliona Moon
    Irland: “Only Love Survives” – Ryan Dolan
    Estland: “Et uus saaks alguse” – Birgit Õigemeel
    Ryssland: “What If” – Dina Garipova
    Vitryssland: “Solayoh” – Alyona Lanskaya
    Belgien: “Love kills” – Roberto Bellarosa

    Montenegro: “Igranka – Who see
    Serbien: “Ljubav je svuda” – Moje 3
    Cypern: “An Me Thimáse” – Despina Olympiou
    Kroatien: “Mižerja” – Klapa s Mora
    Slovenien: “Straight Into Love” – Hannah
    Österrike: “Shine” – Natália Kelly

    Probably unlikely but is there any chance that this could be the way they actually finished? It just seems like a strange way to order the qualifiers.

    • DashBerlin

      That is odd, but I would be amazed if Lithuania finished 4th

      • eurovicious

        I wouldn’t.

        • Chris Bellis

          eurovicious – I agree. My little household poll of women very much liked him. He has improved though.

          • eurovicious

            And thus, as illustrated here and by trollgirl, we have the reason that Andrius has come at or near the bottom of every fan poll and did not feature in almost anyone’s prediction to qualify. The fandom is 90% gay men who like plastic music – Andrius’s song was too rock with no polish, chintz or flair, and he’s the type of scruffy, slightly weird guy that most gay men are not attracted to but disinterested in/threatened by. These same qualities are exactly those that appeal to a non-contest fan and particularly female viewer.

  • john kef

    If you switch Lithuania with Russia it would be a realistic scoreboard, but i believe we need to calm a little bit down. Every year between the two semis and before the final there’s always a tension and people are trying to find an info or anything that might give them a heads up.
    I can’t remember a single semifinal that all the favourites qualified or there wasn’t a big or small surprise.
    There are also times that we have a certain feeling about a song that doesn’t come true.Remember 2011 semi final 2 that almost everyone was sure that Jedward had won or they were at least in the Top3 and we had them as a second or third favourite to win the contest? After the results were revealed we’ve seen them 7th or 8th i think that totally explained the final’s result.
    Every year there’s a Tv station here in Greece, not the public one that broadcasts the event, that reveals the so called results of the semi finals before the final.They almost never had them right!
    We have 4 long days ahead of us

  • sandra nash

    When will we know who got the most points in euro semi 1.I put on but bookmaker still doesnt know

  • DashBerlin

    Denmark – odds on, 2nd half slot, forgone conclusion? would indicate it will win the Televotes

    If anyone has any good reason why it won’t win, I can’t think of one now.

  • DashBerlin

    Most of the charts Denmark has entered, are ones that took part in SF1, but I would still see it as a positive sign of televote support.
    It will be interesting to see what the charts look like on Saturday afternoon

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