BGT 2018: The Final

We get the feeling it’s been a mixed week for TPTB: things seemed largely to go to plan on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, but Tuesday’s show baffled in-running punters and Simon’s claim to be “thrilled” at Friday’s result didn’t convince the Sofabet comments section. One big-picture piece of evidence that this week’s live shows have not unfolded entirely as producers will have mapped out a week ago is that they surely wouldn’t have planned 90% of the qualifying acts to be male.

Only once in 11 series has the final been won by an act who didn’t top the vote in their semi (when Diversity bested SuBo in series 3), so it seems reasonable that the market expects the winner to come from the four semi winners who aren’t Donchez. Three are comedians, and no comedian has yet won the show – surely something they’ll want to make happen sooner or later. The two key questions for punters look like: which of the three will producers get most firmly behind? And will a three-way split in the comedy vote allow the junior version of Diversity to come up on the rails and claim the crown?

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Anyone for tennis? Summer 2018 sports discussion thread

We’re happy to host discussion on any betting-related events for which our commenters have an appetite. Here’s a thread for your tips, thoughts and chat about the remainder of the French Open, the World Cup, Wimbledon and any other sporting event that takes your fancy.

BGT 2018 Live Shows Discussion Thread

It’s BGT time again – let’s hope producers’ intentions end up being as easy-to-read and efficiently executed as they were last year. The live semi-finals start on Monday, and the line-up for the first one has been announced.

It’s a brave punter who gets involved before seeing the running order, for reasons explored in the preview last year (and passim). We haven’t updated the graphs from last year’s preview as they reverted to eight-act rather than the nine-act semis of the previous five years, but suffice to note that the winners came from slots 6-4-8-6-4, the runners-up from 4-5-4-8-5, and the third places from 8-7-6-4-7. Plus ca change.

For the second year in a row, last year’s winner came from the third semi-final and the runner-up from the second semi-final.

Going into the live shows, father-and-son guitarists Jack and Tim vie for favouritism with magician Marc Spelmann at 5/1. Do share your thoughts and theories in the comments below as the live shows unfold.

Eurovision 2018: The post-mortem

The chicken wasn’t the gorilla after all. Like Francesco Gabbani, Netta Barzilai lost her status as red-hot, ante-post favourite; but unlike him, she still won. Beyond the animal references, ‘Toy’ and ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ were two different beasts.

The best single lesson of a madcap Eurovision season? Don’t apply the previous year’s lessons too literally. Nonetheless, in a year when the betting market got drunk on every piece of hype, let’s put forward a few thoughts.

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Israel and Netta Barzilai win Eurovision 2018

After a close-fought battle between the top two in the betting, Israel’s Netta beat Cyprus’s Eleni to take the Eurovision crown. Austria finished third after winning the jury vote. Please let us know your continued thoughts on the contest below. Here are the latest links to the semi-final and final scoreboards.

Eurovision 2018: The Grand Final

The Eurovision betting market has been deranged this year. Had someone told me just a few weeks ago that Cyprus would be hot favourites with Ireland firmly in third, I’d have laughed. Yet here we are.

The potential weaknesses of the early favourites came home to roost: Israel’s Netta wasn’t allowed her looper, instead playing up the chicken noises behind what looks like a Fisher Price kids’ toy; Mikolas Josef put his back out and the Czech staging lacked dynamism; Australia’s Jessica Mauboy performed like she was singing Sea of Flags in the 2014 interval; France didn’t bring the message with their staging; while Scandinavian giants Sweden and Norway brought exactly what we expected, only for it to be met with a shrug of the shoulders.

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Eurovision 2018: Live blog grand final, first dress rehearsal

The final has long been a marathon: not only more songs, but more stuff in between too. The first dress rehearsal can can be a slightly ragged affair, working on a completely new running order that was only decided late last night, rather than weeks in advance with the semi-finals.

The show was supposed to start at 1pm, but this first practice run is only starting up at 1.20pm. A longer introduction means it will be a while before we see Melovin bring the final to life, rising up from his piano coffin.

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Eurovision 2018: Grand final running order

This year’s outright market has been more topsy-turvy than ever, and we now enter the home straight with the announcement of the draw for Saturday’s big finale. The producers had a real job negotiating a worthy first half with many ballads, and a noisy second half full of uptempo stuff.

Let us know how you think they got on below, and who you think has benefited or come off badly. I’ll be live-blogging the first dress rehearsal which starts at 1pm tomorrow, then tweeting thoughts of the crucial jury rehearsal in the evening.