Eurovision 2015: Grand final preview

The beauty of Eurovision is that no-one has all the answers. I analyse it to death, yet gut feeling is also part of the final call. That’s particularly the case this year, with five or so worthy contenders and a few dark horses. You’ll hear some differing opinions about who wins tonight. That’s because nobody is sure, and gut instinct is playing a part.

Analysis and gut instinct continues to make me think that Sweden is tonight’s likeliest winner. Let’s start with the analysis: a Melodifestivalen televote that topped Loreen’s; an utterly compelling visual and audio package, especially for the first-time viewer; the sense that this was the most obvious Europe-wide chart hit, confirmed by iTunes chart positions after the second semi-final; and now a voting order that whilst not definitive, is more encouraging for Sweden than for one of its biggest rivals (Russia).

My gut instinct also tells me I’d be more shocked to see Sweden score poorly in any country’s points total. I will more likely attribute it to a rogue jury-only score or indeed tactical jury voting – which happened on a small scale last year against some of the market leaders. I can’t say the same for any other contenders. I can envisage Russia, Belgium, Italy and Australia having their blips on the scoreboard. Put bluntly: if there’s a runaway winner, I’d be slightly surprised if it’s anyone but Sweden.

Having said which, I think Russia is scoring brilliantly well in the east, and getting points in the west. That’s why I have it as the runner-up despite finding the overall package vanilla (if effective). That was my thought before the voting order – which is worked out by an algorithm to ensure the process is exciting and thus tries to disguise the winner early on – suggested a strong start for Russia, a negative in the circumstances.

I’m open-minded about which country to predict as third. It feels like a game of eeny-meeny-miny-mo between Belgium, Australia and Italy. I wouldn’t put people off any of them. I’ve long had a soft spot for the Belgian and Australian entries, both of which are really well performed. In picking between them, I’ve decided to go with the more mainstream Australian entry.

Beyond these five, Estonia offers a really solid package that deserves a place higher than the lower echelons of the top ten, even with a very early draw. Norway and Latvia are the other odds-on chances for a top ten finish, and given their quality offerings, that feels deserving.

These days, finding some value in the top ten market is more difficult given the extra information available, such as iTunes chart positions. I’ve long had in mind an unglamorous but solid package that will pick up core diaspora support rather than make any impact on downloads. That’s Romania, now 11/4 to be in the top ten. For the last three contests, the country has finished 12th, 13th and 12th despite poor jury scores that should comfortably be surpassed by Voltaj. If, like me, you think that Serbia and Slovenia are overrated in the markets, you can also back Romania to be top Balkan at 6/1.

I usually throw something from a distance at the standing coconut that is the last place market. Heading the market are automatic qualifiers the UK, France and Germany. The weakest qualifiers in the final feel like Poland, Albania and Hungary. Diaspora support was enough to see Poland just climb above the UK at the bottom in 2008, and we may get a re-run of that this year, but there’s no recommended bet here.

Whatever your gut tells you tonight, I hope you have a fun and profitable evening. The best of luck to all of you, and let us know your final thoughts below. A reminder of my top three prediction tonight:

1. Sweden
2. Russia
3. Australia

62 comments to Eurovision 2015: Grand final preview

  • Tim B

    1. Sweden
    2. Russia
    3. Belgium

    Good luck everyone!

  • Fantastic coverage these last weeks – thanks v much.

    Should be a fascinating evening. Good luck everyone.

  • Also good luck to all betters and participants ;-). My prediction:

    01. SWEDEN (gold)
    02. BELGIUM (silver)
    03. RUSSIA (bronze)
    04. LATVIA (3rd runner-up)
    05. AUSTRALIA (4th runner-up)
    06. Estonia
    07. Georgia
    08. Norway
    09. Israel
    10. Italy
    11. Slovenia
    12. Azerbaijan
    13. Austria
    14. Romania

    I think Russia and Belgium will be quite close in points totals. But I think the 2nd half of the show on the whole lacks a certain “impact”, making a late running order, like 25th (Russia) having not such a strong impact as last year’s 24th running order (Netherlands).

    I also think a lot of younger kids (“rapapapapapppp”) will like Belgium a lot. Then again, I still think Sweden wins massively.

    Latvia will be the surprise TOP 5, although not entirely, as she simply has a pimp slot at 19th. And it’s creating goosebumps from whatever spot. I think Italy will surprise, in a slightly negative way, and will only barely enter the TOP 10.

  • chewy wesker

    1 Sweden

    Good luck to all Sofabet tipsters and punters

    Enjoy the final.

  • Ben Cook

    My prediction

    1 Sweden
    2 Italy
    3 Australia
    4 Russia
    5 Belgium
    6 Norway
    7 Estonia
    8 Slovenia
    9 Romania
    10 Latvia
    11 Georgia
    12 Cyprus
    13 Azerbaijan
    14 Israel
    15 Spain
    16 Greece
    17 Lithuania
    18 Serbia
    19 Germany
    20 Austria
    21 France
    22 Armenia
    23 Montenegro
    24 United Kingdom
    25 Albania
    26 Poland
    27 Hungary

  • Martin F.

    Here’s my take on proceedings, including the obligatory five bets “to consider” (take that as you wish) 🙂

    Thanks as always for your excellent writing, Daniel – hope you have the customary profitable night!

  • 1.Sweden – 2nd Biggest Green.. works out I’m on at 1.71
    2.Russia – Biggest Green… effectively on at 3.25
    3.Italy – No way I can back popera, not in English at sub 7.00

    Don’t think Australia make Top 10, actually think they may finish below Isreal

    Azerbajian and Albania to surprise maybe?? (not win… T5?? T10??)

    Been a decent enough year, but that was only because of Finland NQ… would have been the poorhouse if that got through

    Good luck all

  • Ben Cook

    Anyone know if there any other mini-breaks other than the one before Sweden and the ad break after Austria?

    • I listened to the audio feed of the jury performance last night, and those are the only two breaks.

    • During the jury show, a few times the presenter stepped on the mini stage in the crowd, but it never cut to her. I at first thought there might be a break in the actual final, but considering how long it lasted last night, there is no time to fit anything extra in

  • stoney

    Best result. Australia win. 2nd best sweden win. 3rd best belguim win. Anything else = next weeks trip to greece cancelled

  • Montell

    1. Russia
    2. Sweden
    3. Estonia

    4. Australia
    5. Latvia
    6. Belgium
    7. Italy
    8. Georgia
    9. Romania
    10. Israel

    • Boki

      Why did you change your mind, you were always in the Swe camp?

      Anyway I hate these predictions when I’m not so sure, only thing I am pretty sure is
      1. Sweden
      and for the others just a lucky guess
      2. Italy
      3. Russia

      • Montell

        I chose Russia here just for fun. Most of my money is still on Sweden. I’ll make huge profit if Mans win. Other countries that would still make profit for me (although 5 times smaller) are Russia and Australia.

    • Montell

      8 out of top 10 correct. What a night!

  • Simon 'Le chat'


    1. Estonia
    2. Sweden
    3. Italy

    Wonderful, innovative staging, truly fab and a good lively song as well. I can see why this is so popular and why it is favourite. But at 5/4 in a field of 27? Are you having a laugh? Yes, it may win but at that price red line through.

    Second favourite. Excellent song sung by incredibly beautiful, talented Polina Gagarina. Thing is the lyrics about a million voices bidding for peace stick in the craw against a background of Russia’s foreign policy in Ukraine. In a competition dominated by political alliances and partisan voters I don’t see this number getting sufficient neutral votes to limp over the finish. Red line through.

    Il Volo third favourites at 9/2 is a good Italian opera type song belted out in the native tongue by typically good looking Italian lads holding their hearts as long as their notes. Okay, we’ve seen this kind of stuff before with Il Divo, The Priests and goodness knows who else. Also the song is not in English and it is a long time since anything not in English won. A worthy frontrunner but not original enough in spite of going last in the pimp slot Red line through.

    Generally available at 7/1 it makes a change for the Belgians to be among the front runners but this number ‘”Rhythm Inside’ by Loic Nottet is not without a chance. It’s certainly original with great staging and the kid can sing. But, and it’s a big but, it takes too long to get going, and when it does, it’s not memorable enough. In fact I’ve just listened to it again and its pretty awful actually. Red line through.

    Bloomin’ Aussies get everywhere. Not content to finish off what’s left of the ~English Cricket Team after the Kiwis have minced us, here they are gate-crashing Eurovision. And the annoying thing is this is by far and away the best song in the competition. And Guy Sebastian is one of the best singers. Thing is, if they win it can you see all Europe going down under next year? No, I can’t either. So to make sure its been buried in the running order at number 13. Red line through.

    We’re now getting into the outsiders and Estonia at 25/1 is certainly that. Its also on fairly early and up against some countries with a far more illustrious pedigree. However it has a very good foot tapping 4:4 beat and Elkina Born & Stig Rasta are certainly cool customers. And its in English. If they perform well this evening, this song is going to take all the beating and I’m not looking further with my £5 each way.

    The field
    Something may come out of the clouds and trump the lot but the bookies down rate anything else so neither shall I. I’m getting a few tinnies out and some chocolates and out my feet up. Good luck everyone!

  • annie

    My combination of prediction/wishful thinking:

    3. maybe Sweden

    Before the voting order reveal I would have thought Polina had everything going on for a win, but now I believe she didn’t do quite that well with the juries. But she should still do rather well, after all Sanaa managed 3rd last year and Polina is slightly better than that: better song, look, overall package etc,

    Watching most songs first time at the semis I just get bored of Sweden very soon even though I think the lightshow is a good idea and the song starts of good but somehow it looses me midway through.

    I was on the phone when belgium came on during the semi and it still captured and held my attention. Same for my completely casual viewer friend who had some corect perceptions in previous years (when I was deep into sofabet analysis, she usually gave me 1-2 comments that ended up reflecting the results ie. lithuania 2013 Q ). I find Rhythm inside a catchier Feed You My Love, and being a fresh faced boy sure helps too.

  • Alen

    I think it will be

    1) Sweden
    2) Russia
    3) Belgium

    Belgium would be the best “solution” though. The Sweden haters would be pleased and we’d not have political problems with Russia.

    In the end may the best one win!

  • I’ve been high on Russia for months, having huge prices in a lot of the markets, I’ve been hopeful of a win, but i now believe there is no stopping the Mandrioid
    1. Sweden
    2. Russia
    3. Italy

    Italy and Australia are still slightly unknown, as we have incomplete data on them

    • john kef

      Same with you Dash!!! Russia would get me great profit but i ‘ve also backed Sweden for the past few months. The ideal combination for my ”pocket” would be Russia winner, Belgium Top6, Israel-Latvia Top10, Romania top Balkan and Poland last hehe

  • stoney

    I would love your top 3 daniel. Would be a lovely bank balance booster for me

  • annie

    ..oh and let’s not kid ourselves.
    UK is a definite contender for last place. Those neons ‘helped’ even Kati Wolf to the backside of the scoreboard even though it was I think a touch less silly and akward in her performance.

    • stoney

      Of course we are. That’s not a surprise. But i feel Australia and Ireland will give us enough points to pull away from the wooden spoon

  • There’s only thing I can conclude from the voting order. And it’s based on the exact scoregrid of the 100% jury-only results last yea. Please read:

    The EBU divides the voting in roughly three parts. With 100% juries last year the scores would have looked like this:
    –> Part 1 (first 12 juries):
    57 points: ARMENIA
    52 points: AUSTRIA
    49 points: HUNGARY
    48 points: SWEDEN
    46 points: THE NETHERLANDS
    44 points: MALTA
    –> Part 2 (after 24 juries):
    133 points: THE NETHERLANDS (sudden huge rise in points)
    113 points: SWEDEN (also moved up to 2nd)
    110 points: AUSTRIA
    107 points: HUNGARY
    091 points: ARMENIA
    090 points: MALTA
    –> Part 3 (after 36 juries, Georgia jury eliminated):
    214 points: AUSTRIA (now Austria started to surge)
    200 points: THE NETHERLANDS
    199 points: SWEDEN
    138 points: HUNGARY
    119 points: MALTA
    114 points: FINLAND (sudden increase in the 3rd half)

    What can we conclude on this? That we really need to see that running order in the light of pure 100% jury results. BUTTT once the televoting is included, the overall “effect” of making the voting tense and exciting is already gone.

    Because last year, in the mixed (50% televoting, 50% jury) official result, Netherlands could not overtake Austria at all during the 2nd of 3 parts of the voting.

    On top of that, thanks to the 50% televoting, the surge for the eventual winner Austria kicked in way sooner. Also, other small surges, like the one from Finland at the end, and a very good start for Armenia, were erased by the televotes. So on average this appointed voting order is complete nonsense. You simply can’t “read” from it which countries will do well and which ones not.

    So take the voting order with a grain of salt. Most likely, the eventual winner will surge already quite early, thanks to the televotes, making the impact of this appointed running order draw rather pointless.

    Leaves me with another remark: The current voting procedure really needs to be changed, to retain some of the tense fun and excitement. Tonight I expect a rather dull voting. And IF for whatever reason the voting really is tense? THEN that is pure statistical luck.

  • That standing coconut of last place. I just looked again at Slovenia’s situation – 1st on, not *quite* strong enough, no reliable friends, and an enormous memory hole for it to fall into. It has a faint whiff of accidental last about it, and at 40/1 it may be worth a small nibble.

    • Chris Bellis

      Slovenia – last?! Bad staging and poor running position has ruined its chances I agree, but for it to come last when there’s the total crap of the UK entry – don’t think so.

      • Nick D.

        The classic trap is to assume that the most obviously bad song will be the one that comes last – it often isn’t. Engelbert found a way of beating Tooji, ESDM found a way of beating Ryan Dolan.

        It’s well worth noting that the last three years, Slovenia have finished 2nd last in the semi, last in the semi, 2nd last in the final – and never with dreadfully bad songs. Not saying that Maraaya will definitely (or even probably) come last, only that 40/1 is far too long odds against it.

        • Chris Bellis

          That is true, but the Slovenia song is pretty good, and the performers are credible. The UK entry is not the worst we’ve submitted, but that’s out of a very bad bunch. Plus all the polls give it in the first half of the board at least.

        • john kef

          Slovenia last year didn’t have any of its allies because of the absence of the Balkan countries. This year Serbia is back. They have some 15-20 guaranteed points from Serbia-Montenegro-Macedonia. I believe someone will have much more less…

      • Nick D.

        That’s a reasonably solid signal that I’m calling it wrong. I’ll be quite happy if I’m very wrong to be honest, it definitely deserves a decent placing. I just worry! 🙂

  • hufus

    Australia won’t be giving the UK anything significant, sorry. Our diaspora votes are heading straight to Greece, which is an annoyance. Expect Serbia, Cyprus, and Italy to also get Australian votes, deservingly so or not.

    I would also expect that Belgium, Sweden, and Israel will feature on our scorecard, although given the early hour (the show starts at 5am on the east coast) the latter songs should also get a boost, and I’d add Latvia, Georgia, Russia, and maybe Spain to the list before I’d give much thought to the UK getting Australian votes.

    While not relevant to the UK, SBS ran live polls during the delayed telecast (if that makes sense) and the songs that did particularly well (getting a 60%+ favourable rating in a thumbs up-thumbs down poll) were Sweden on 75%, Latvia on 69%, Norway 68%, Switzerland 65%, and Israel 63%.I don’t have the figures for the first semi, but Belgium and Georgia topped the polling, both in the high 60s.

  • stoney

    Have shifted my book to make sweden my best result tonight. That’s me done. Good luck to all

  • Thanks again for another season of excellent coverage. Next stop X Factor!

  • Donald

    Good luck to all, having backed Polina ew at great odds, holding station, I went on a mission to get the money on.

    Sweden most likely winner it seems, but for some reason I am not totally convinced. It all adds up to Red Hot favourite but is it. Cyprus and Latvia could do better than expected, Are Noway voting last to give the 12 to Sweden to win>

    I like Polina, great artist , great song sticking with her.for the win, Sweden in second. Latvia 3rd or Belgium.

    PS. Belated Happy 5th Birthday to SOFABET

  • Chris Bellis

    Just felt like posting this – just re-watched the BBC3 semi-finals. The commentary is dire, particularly from Mel Gedroic. I’ve not forgotten she was the one who pushed Scooch all those years ago. Now she’s supporting Electro Velvet. Kiss of Death.

  • Mr Wolf

    My prediction for tonight:
    1. Italy
    2. Sweden (still most probable winner tho)
    3. Russia
    4. Belgium
    5. Australia
    6. Estonia

    And after that it’s more competitive..Latvia, Slovenia, Israel, Serbia, Georgia…Romania, Norway, Spain, Aze (and maybe even UK).

    Guys, don’t forget how accurate has press centre voting been last couple of years.
    2014: 1. Austria, 2. Sweden, 3. Greece, 4. Netherlands, 5. Hungary, 6. UK, 7. Armenia, 8. Spain, 09. Ukraine, 10. Denmark
    2013: 1. Georgia, 2. Denmark, 3. Aze, 4. Norway, 5. Ukraine, 6. Netherlands, 7. Italy, 8. Germany, 9. Malta, 10. Sweden
    2012: 1. Sweden, 2. Serbia, …

    Few foreseeable flops like Greece, UK and Georgia, but still uncannily good indicator.

    2015 (last information I have): 1. Italy 143, 2. Sweden 132, 3. Belgium 64, 4. Australia, 5. France, 6. Israel, 7. Serbia, 8. Russia, 9. Georgia, 10. Spain

  • Just to add to my earlier post (was heading out) – if a Top 3 of Sweden, Russia and Australia comes in I will be in pretty decent profit. Whether that’s the order I’m unsure but I think it’s safe to say they will have the podium finishes. Fingers and toes crossed. Good luck to all, may tonight be a profitable one.

  • john kef

    ”john kef
    March 23, 2015 at 8:06 am · Reply
    Eurovision 2015 countdown has officially started! After hearing and watching all the songs my first thoughts are that Sweden will battle for the win with Russia, Australia and maybe Italy.

    This is a very strong year for the contest, with many quality songs, but also with so many ballads. That’s why i think Sweden will win the contest.

    My early Top-10:

    1. Sweden
    2-5 Russia, Australia, Estonia, Italy
    6-10 Belgium, Norway, Azerbaijan, Latvia, Albania

    many things are going to change but the first impression does count .”

    Exactly 2 months ago that was my first impression of the songs. Two months later and many things have changed but we’ re almost at the same spot.

    It was a very interesting year for Eurovision and till today we can’t say for sure who’s the winner.

    My estimation for the Final is:

    1. Sweden
    2. Russia
    3. Italy
    4. Australia
    5. Belgium
    6. Latvia
    7. Estonia
    8. Norway
    9. Israel
    10. Romania
    11. Georgia
    12. Azerbaijan
    13. Serbia
    14. Austria
    15. Slovenia
    16. Spain
    17. Cyprus
    18. Armenia
    19. Montenegro
    20. Greece
    21. Albania
    22. Lithuania
    23. Germany
    24. Hungary
    25. France
    26. Poland
    27. UK

    I believe that it’s gonna be a tight race between Sweden and Russia and i also believe that after the Top 7-8 countries there’s gonna be a huge point gap.

    I wish everybody good luck with your bets and thanks for the nice company and the interesting articles and opinions i’ve read here!!!

    Have fan everybody!!!

  • Ben Gray

    I’ve come to terms with the strong possibility of Sweden winning, which involved a lot of cursing under my breath while trying to get to sleep last night. I’m watching at home tonight with my Mum and will see what she says, (she still thinks Australia will win having watched their dress rehearsal,) what my Twitter full of non-ESC fans say, and what the market says and change my positions accordingly in running, which may involve a cash out if necessary.

    Until then, Hope Never Dies. (Tim, your awful puns are annoyingly infectious.)

    1: Australia
    2: Sweden
    3: Russia
    4: Belgium
    5: Italy

    Good luck to all, thanks to Daniel and Eurovicious for great coverage and to everyone on this wonderful site for the spirited discussions.

  • Here are my thoughts friends…

    I think it’s a Sweden / Russia 1-2. But I know nothing!

    Really enjoyed the coverage once again Daniel – especially the tweets from the jury performances.

  • Justin

    Thanks for the excellent coverage again Daniel. For what it’s worth my top 3 is:

    1. Sweden
    2. Russia
    3. Belgium

    Best of luck to all!

  • sweden

    good luck all

  • annie

    oh dear …I really don’t see anyone voting for this. (UK)

  • Chatterbox5200

    Too 3.
    1. Sweden
    2. Russia
    3. Italy

  • Molly


    But have a spot for azer in top 5

  • Boki

    With Mans winning (sorry haters), Belgium top4 and Latvia top10 and top Baltic I couldn’t dream of a better result.
    Montenegro top Balkan and top10 was very close.

    • Donald

      Hi Boki, congrats, I just couldn’t go throwing money off my best ew bet ever back out at the odds Sweden were just to say I backed the winner.! Latvia mighty result also. As was said at X -mas we are all better together… that’s for sure !

  • stoney

    Never in doubt lol. Full credit to the scores order for giving sweden backers a scare tonight. Happy days in the end

  • chewy wesker

    Fantastic result Mans you are my Hero ££££££££££££

  • Chatterbox5200

    Excellent result for me. Called the Top 7 in the correct order.

    Thank you Daniel and all the well informed commenters on this awesome site. I had a very profitable evening, primarily down to your great insights.

    Looking forward to Sweden 2016 (and X Factor).

  • Montell

    Tonight I officially became a millionaire. Thank you Sweden!!!

  • 400% return for me in the end. Thank you to Daniel, Eurovicous and everyone else for superb analysis and insight. Have a fantastic summer and I’ll see you in the Autumn for X Factor.

  • thanks daniel and commenters.

    cu here again for XF

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