Eurovision 2018: May 6 rehearsals

There wasn’t much we learned from today’s second rehearsals of the automatic qualifiers. In each case there was no substantive change in staging, just a few different outfits and camera angle tweaks.

We did learn which half of the draw each of the Big 5 would perform in. SuRie drew first half for the UK, which may be a perfect storm on the final scoreboard. Germany and Spain will also be in the earlier part of the show, with Italy the only automatic qualifier to perform in the second half.

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66 comments to Eurovision 2018: May 6 rehearsals

  • markovs

    Well that’s the UK finishing last then. Whats the betting they get given 2nd place?.What about France, first or 2nd half???

  • markovs

    Just seen France is 1st half too. Scuppers any chance of a win for me. If Rybak gets 2nd half and Netta 1st then I think we may have our winner

    • Chris Bellis

      Catches me every year. Running order is so important but you don’t know till the last minute.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Yep, same here, the running order position can be vital, with all the research, analysis, and insightful discussion in the world potentially undone by the toss of a coin.

      • Burlington Bertie

        CB – I’m forever banging on about the importance of the running order and there are quite a few people that think it doesn’t make a difference. As if! It couldn’t be more crucial. This is why we will be tied to our screens on Thursday night/Friday morning to see what the final running order is before placing those all important last few bets.

        • Chris Bellis

          BB – dead right. Running order makes all the difference. We’re all experienced betters here and we’ve seen what the evil genius (Simon Cowell) has done over the years. It would be really naive to think that TPTB at Eurovision don’t follow the same rules.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      A win bet on France – that gets 1st half.

      A win bet on Italy to finish last – that gets 2nd half.

      Dash and darn!

  • Mark

    Feel shameful to have bet against my own country and UK to come last but I’d say it’s looking a decent 4-1 bet at this stage.. But others we’re saying Germany. Really? After latest rehearsals?? ?

    • eurovicious

      Germany has a very bad recent track record and its neighbours tend not to vote for it, whereas the UK normally picks up a few points from Malta, Ireland and Cyprus. That said, Germany’s song tells a story and the singer has a personal connection to it, whereas Surie is just singing generic substandard content. Neither is especially vocally driven. It’s a close call but the UK is perhap more likely to do worse just because of the forgettability factor.

      • EV, you don’t rate Germany good? I see it on the left side of the scoreboard and even in the Top 10. It’s one of the best if not the best ballad this year. I think juries will love it. Disagreements?

        • John

          Germany is being overlooked. I think Brits are over this kind of Ed Sheeran type X Factor ballad, but elsewhere in less cynical/savvy parts they will just see emotion and great singing. The blurb is the staging is good too.

          Lithuania is being similarly lauded. If we must set aside our own preferences, then we should say Cyprus (formerly too trashy), Lithuania and Germany (too sentimental/focus groupy) have top 10 value. None are winners if you ask me, but Germany will not be bottom 5 this year.

          I think!

          • Totally agree. I think Germany could easily be left side.

          • Guildo Horn Forever


            Thought provoking points.

            I agree that I can’t possibly see Germany finishing last. It’s available @6 for that on bf, currently, which makes no sense to me, either. Could well finish nearer the top than the bottom.

            He doesn’t strike me as a great singer but what’s he singing about and why he’s singing about it means people will be primed to be listening for emotion in his voice rather than technical prowess.

          • John

            He’s in his wheelhouse. The Spanish and entries are underwhelming compared to it. It nails its own usp by comparison.

            Ive my eye on a few semi 2 songs over the Big 6 for last.

          • eurovicious

            I do agree with you all on Germany. Looking past my personal aversion to it, it’s one of the few entries this year that means something personal to the singer and tells a story about their life (clearly communicated by the vocals and visuals). I can see left-hand side and even low top 10. Part of my issue with it is it’s a blatant Ed Sheeran copy, coming from a country that has a history of sending copy songs (Cascada’s Euphoria knockoff, Lena’s Kate Nash copy act, last year’s Titanium knockoff), but the similarity to Ed Sheeran could be a positive for a lot of people.

            I think Spain is being underrated too though. It’s improved a ton since the NF, they have great chemistry and it’s a good composition. It was verging on insipid back in January but it’s charming and touching now, there’s something incredibly sincere and likeable about it and them.

          • To be fair EV, Cascada knock off everyone.

            Good to see you last night.

          • Guildo Horn Forever


            Like ev, I have a personal aversion to the German entry.

            As I then saw them, it just so happens I discussed both the cons and the pros of both Germany and Lithuania, back here:


            …and then (a bit further down from that), here:


            To pick up on my OG3NE comparison, I suppose it is odd and inconsistent for me to have glossed over the Netherland’s sisters’ tribute to their mum being a blatant rip off of Wilson Phillips, but this year I have no time for a dude singing a tribute to his dad, which is a blatant rip off of Ed Sheeran.

            A side effect of the impact of the German staging, the blatant spelling out in every conceivable way, is that the French staging’s deficiencies are being shown up.

            I can’t seem to track down extended footage of Madame and Monsieur rehearsals, and there are a mix bag of reviews for it (including some positive to very positive ones on highly respected betting sites), but I’m very disappointed that the French delegation decided to discard any lessons they could have learnt from the excellent music video for Mercy.

            I had been hoping to see as a basis the French NF staging, but with elements (figures) from the video woven into the scene or scenes.

            Instead, from what I have read and listened to, a new (slight) emphasis of the scene is Madame spending more time singing to Monsieur. That is of no aid to the storytelling and perhaps even confusing. The Spanish duo should be pointed at each other; that’s not important for the telling of the French story.

            Back to Germany: I personally can’t get my head around the dual prongs of sincere tribute to dead father and full-on Ed Sheeran tribute act … but perhaps these in-your-face elements share the common origin of paying tribute to Michael’s main inspirations in life? And an advantage for Michael and Germany (over OG3NE and The Netherlands) is that he and his song look contemporary, not dated.

            I think Cyprus might still be perceived as too sexually charged and just as when I realised France was far too low in the odds, I have the same feeling about Cyprus now (currently trading @9.8).

            Germany and / or Lithuania could be too high in the odds and, who knows, perhaps a surprise appearance in the Top 3 / 4 / 5 is within reach?

    • Chris Bellis

      Don’t feel ashamed Mark. I used to worry a bit but then I thought, it’s free money! Ditto England in the World Cup. The year they drew against Algeria, whose team were all part time and their day jobs were goat-herds and the like, I piled in on that big time. Wayne Rooney said people like me were traitors, but he’s on a fortune and bangs prostitutes old enough to be his grandmother. Why should I feel guilty? The people supporting this crap while drawing a mega amount of money are the ones who should feel guilty.

      • Thanks for that reassurance! That 0-0 draw was one of the worst things I have ever encountered..the Electro Velvet of the World Cup. I may yet be scuppered if a freak song sneaks into the final from SF2 and gets nul points (Serbia?), but I can’t see beyond UK at the moment, especially after the first half draw.

        • markovs

          I think the Iceland game at the last Euros beats the Algeria game as the worst. I have never seen a more dire performance against a ‘weaker’ team. It was dismal ( and I had a bet on Iceland to win as could see it coming)

          • Chris Bellis

            markovs- there’s a long list, but Iceland must be in the top 3! As a rule, I always lay England, and I enjoy it when their overpaid tosspots have a go at people like me for being “traitors”. They’re the traitors for being paid so much and performing so badly.

  • John

    I would caution people away from UK Last Place because of the Surie effect. If not for the televote potential but the jury potential. She is a engaging person and a class act and I can see a little jury love and maybe a little for our few voting buddies. Add on the dross that will emerge from semi final two and UK last place doesnt seem like value at all.

  • Phil

    Do we think the UK will ever get it together? What are we missing? In my opinion, we’re lacking balls. We need Scherzinger up there representing us. (joke)

    • Chris Bellis

      Phil Look on the bright side. This is a betting site and a guaranteed last five is free money. Lucie ruined that last year, but if you look at how well she performed, it still didn’t score as well as it should have done.

      • We have the building blocks and I think now Freeman has gone we will see big leaps forward with Helen in charge. Axing Mel (plays for laughs, but was great in Brighton thanks to Edward’s script) for Rylan (will still be on-brand and fabulously gay but crucially will take it seriously) is a sign of that.

        It’s not the singers we need on board. We need to get good writers and producers involved. Much less face to lose whilst still able to make hits. Indeed, we got a decent 15th last year and 10th on juries thanks to a song written by a former winner!

  • What do you think the UK has got wrong? Storm is no worse a song than We Got Love.

    Mans and Conchita both won from first half, the latter at extremely long odds.

    • RD

      I think the issue with the UK is how unengaging the whole package seems – even with a strong performer like SuRie.

      If We Got Love were UK’s song, I’d probably think the same about it though it has the power ballad qualities of many Eurovision favorites. But in the end it’s the Australian song and after Isaiah’s results with the juries (despite the many claims that he sounded pretty rough in the dress rehearsals) I think they can overperform with it though, much like with Isaiah, I don’t see it as an audience favorite.

  • RD

    The Portuguese staging doesn’t look bad but I’m not sure it can seem as intimate to the people at home since they don’t engage much with the camera.

    Spain looks like they will pull another Barei or Edurne. It’s massive fanwank in its own country but it looks completely clumsy on stage (like a Operación Triunfo performance of A Monster Like Me, indeed, complete with the lack of experience on working with the camera) and I doubt it can be appreciated outside the Iberian peninsula. Plus Alfred always seems quite angry when performing – even on the music video.

    UK will need to exploit SuRie’s charisma if they want to avoid last place. I can see some qualifiers finishing last since a few don’t seem like they will be keepers but slot #2 is looming for the UK – at least from this lot.

    Germany should at least perform like Lucie last year. It’s a clever staging that gets the most out of the song. I’m not sure about its televoting prospects because Germany struggles to get votes from any country but juries will probably buy it.

    France is really aiming for the televoting with a simple staging. I’m not sure why it has dropped so much in the odds ever since last Wednesday: if people don’t trust they can convince the juries, then they should have never bet on it on first place since it didn’t score very well with the international juries back in Destination Eurovision and it hasn’t lost its televoting appeal IMO (if people don’t vote for it, then they wouldn’t have voted for it with any other staging). I mean, dropping behind the Czech Republic? Really? A first half draw is not ideal for them but three out of the last four winners made it in the first half so not all hope is lost (plus I think they are more likely to get a good draw than Germany).

    The lyrics on Italy’s staging look distracting and Moro’s vocals do sound very rough. In the end this is the kind of song that shows the difficulties in adapting a Sanremo package for Eurovision. I can see it being used as filler in the 2nd half.

    • Chewy Wesker

      Spain’s Barei did go to 5.0 in-running so there may be hope for Spain backers.

    • Chris Bellis

      RD Great comment.
      Alfred does look angry, as you say. He’s probably thinking that he’d rather be singing in Catalan. In fact I wish he would. I’m not at all fluent in Catalan so I wouldn’t have to endure the sickly rubbish of this song’s lyrics. I’d pick up the gist, which is all anybody needs. However, I don’t agree with the betting odds, as there is a market for this sort of sentimental dross. It looks as though the UK is competing with Spain for last place. No way – we’ve got that one in the bag.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Am confused as to why Norway is available @8 on bf?

    I was expecting it to be in the @4 to @5 range.

  • Andy

    Dont worry it will be 5 after thursday:)

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      At the rate of knots Cyprus’s price is plummeting, Norway will soon be down to 4th in the betting.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Cyprus still plummeting in the odds, homing in on favouritism. Bit gutted in a way as ages ago my lady picked Fuego out as her clear, absolute favourite. Back when it was trading in the @400 to @450 odds range.

        Just played her a rehearsal clip of The Netherlands. She found it funny, and (predictably!) enjoyed the krumping crew.

        Pleased that I took what I had left on Israel and moved it onto Norway. Norway is currently @7.6 on bf and still looks like there’s plenty of room for it to contract further.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Wow! Cyprus is favourite @3.95

          Am wondering if there will be potential vote splitting between Fuego and Toy? Are they different demonstrations of female empowerment?

          Edit: Now @3.55

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            A summary of the current best available outright win odds for the market leaders on betfair:

            @3.7 – Cyprus
            @5.1 – Israel
            @7.6 – Norway
            @9.6 – Estonia
            @15 -France
            @18.5 – Bulgaria
            @19.5 – Czech Republic
            @ 29 – Sweden

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Israel obviously still in the thick of it, but of the top three in the betting it looks to be the one being squeezed by the other two contenders.

            Israel and Cyprus both emphasising different kinds of female empowerment.

            Israel and Norway both delivering the fun and funny factor.

            (Alternatively, Israel covers both bases.)

            Of the three it’s Norway that brings the whole family fun factor.

            Am hoping and expecting those Norwegian odds to continue contracting.

  • dicksbits

    Germany is the great unknown I think. Which ever way you look at it, it’s hard to get a grip on how it’ll be received by juries and televoters in large numbers.

  • Chris Bellis

    Spain has always buggered up the staging, so that’s a given. However the price for top ten isn’t bad, It’s a nice song and it has its Frozen type admirers. It’s the only song this year that has awakened me on first hearing, even though I have had to seek therapy afterwards for losing the plot.

  • Hello to everyone and have a nice Eurovision week! Just before dress rehearsal start, here is my personal opinion. It is quite a weak year, which will get weaker because of a strong sf1 and a terrible sf2.


    Certain Qualifiers: Israel, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, Austria, Greece

    Borderline: Azerbaijan, Albania, Czechia, Finland, Ireland

    I will go with Azerbaijan, Czechia and Ireland


    Certain Qualifiers: Norway, Sweden, Hungary, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine, Netherlands

    Borderline: Poland, Australia, Serbia, Romania, Latvia, Slovenia, Malta

    I will go with Romania, Australia and Poland.

    As for the final, I don’t think there will be a runaway winner, like last year.

    Top 5: Norway, Sweden, France, Estonia, Cyprus

    Top 6-10: Israel, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Hungary, Ukraine

    Cyprus could be 2017 Moldova and get into top 3 but that’s as far as it goes.
    The other four could all be winners.

    If I had to pick one for the win right now, that would be Norway. My personal favourite is France though.

    As for last place I will go with Spain.

    • Chris Bellis

      As I’ve said before, can’t see last place for Spain. The way they are doing it now it’s not that far away from boy girl duets that have done pretty well in the past. It’s a nice tune, the couple are reasonably competent, and the whole package, though a bit sickly, has a voter base. I remember watching the very macho blokes in the audience wiping a tear from the eye over this one. There’s a market for this song, admittedly in Southern Europe, but that’s enough to take it out of last place.
      Can’t see Greece as a certain qualifier BTW.

  • Alpie

    I assume the one of Germany & Austria may sneak into top 5. Just suspicious of weak televote for both. Do you have any view on those two countries?

    • Chris Bellis

      Alpie. Better bet at top ten. Both very similar songs which in a way cancel each other out. German Ed Sheeran or Austrian generic. Cesar backed Poli and KK the last two years, so has a hint of success about him, if it rubs off. On the other hand, SuRie backed Blanche so that’s my argument fucked before I’ve even started.

    • johnkef

      Austria along with Portugal are my two black horses. I have Austria at top-15 (2.25), Top-10 (4.20) and Top-5 (10.98). Germany has made a full circle and i believe they will be a Top10 track. In a shallow year like this one emotion makes up for an average song. I can see a Standing still result somewhere between 8-10.

  • BTW Sweden at 29?!

    (Has some of that…)

    • M.

      Had it at 30+ too, but it is somewhat dissapointing. Seeing the clip I really miss the glowly-effect on the lights (they can’t use thesame camera filter). This feels more like a prop, not as ‘magic’ anymore.

      Vocals not too bad, but missing something from Melfest as well.

      Still a contender for me, but not as sure about it

  • Ande

    It was a long time since I found it this difficult finding winner contenders and Top 5 contenders. I’ve finally settled on Lithuania as my dark horse after it’s been improving during rehearsals.

    It’s a tricky song as it could be way to low-key for eurovision. Nevertheless, considering the current prices I recommend having it green on everything from outright winner (prices at 120+) to top 5, 10 and Q. My reasoning is that the singer is also likeable which is very important for this type of song. The song is also qualitative enough to get jury support while unique enough to gather a decent public vote. That support should see it through the SF and it’s a grower that will do better come finals.

    Anyone having Lithuania red and wanna share their reasoning?

  • Chris Bellis

    I’ve put small money on Lithuania, but songs like this have let me down so many times in the past. I hope it does well, but I worry it won’t.

  • Black n Blue

    Ditto Chris. The contest is crying out for a sincere, intimately performed ballad. Might be Lithuania. It stands out a mile from everything else.

  • markovs

    Opposite for me. Squeaky voice and insipid song. Does absolutely nothing for me at all and have leaning on the NQ side in a tough semi.

    I also think the proposed Jury support is a red herring. I think everyone seems to put ‘Jury Support on virtually every song in this semi (not Iceland, obviously, it’s awful) they can’t all get jury love?

  • Stoney

    Cyprus new favourite. That’s some movement.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new favorite. It’s Cyprus. Fuego!!!

  • Stephen Muckle

    I still cant rule out a male winner this year. If so who?

  • Scott Reid

    If there’s a year when a big old stomper of a tune with no massive narrative or message can charge through the pack, then it’s this year. It’s been wide-open all the way through. Sometimes you just can’t tell until they get on stage, and it appears Cyprus is so much better live. That “yeah yeah fire” viral clip won’t be hurting them either.

    Holding out hope that Estonia can still deliver for me as I always stick to low odds, but I have a feeling the momentum is now elsewhere.

  • HL

    I just cannot understand the market. If I wanted to see fire on stage, I would go for Ukraine, available @210. Slutdrops are something I do not want to see anyway, but then again, I am a middle-aged lady from a Nordic country.

    P.S. Hello again. I have been reading your comments all the time, but probably have not said anything since 2016. So far I have thrown away / invested around €200 this year. If Cyprus would be the winner, then definitely not an investment.

    • Chris Bellis

      I don’t know which Nordic country you are from, but if it’s Norway, £200 is what it cost me for two pizzas some ice cream and a few lagers. No wonder everyone has two jobs there, because, contrary to one of the memes on the internet, salaries aren’t that much higher in Norway.
      I wish you good luck though, and keep posting.

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