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Podcast: Eurovision 2016 Part 4

ESCtips’ Gavster, Aftonbladet’s Tobbe Ek and fellow Eurovision gambler, Daniel Gould share their expert opinions on this year’s automatic qualifiers.


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About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.


  1. I’m going to do something a little different to you three and name 3 dark horse winner candidates, simply because I don’t think any of France/Sweden/Australia/Russia will win (in fact I think only Russia will be top 5)…

    My 3: Latvia, Bulgaria and The Netherlands.

  2. Great bet, the top big 5, saw the massive value at Paddy as well, but can’t play there 🙁 8/1 is still fine for me…

    My 3: Latvia (modern + quality), Italy (magical), Sweden (simple, likeable, loved by the not-typical esc-fans).

  3. Latvia, Australia and France (IF they can make it work on stage)

    • And if France goes tits up on stage for whatever reason, then my next pick would be Ukraine.

    • Tim, you’ve got interesting picks excluding russia, including ukraine. I am sure you must have listened the most of them live on stage. Could you give some reasons on your picks?

  4. Sweden, Italy, Russia, Latvia, Australia top 5 – subject to staging

  5. Always enjoy listening to these podcasts,however very unfortunate that this one has thrown together 3 people with almost identical points of view.It would have been far more interesting and informative to listen to diverse views surrounding Sweden,France,Italy and Spain.

    I did find the notion that Amir for France will be penalised for vocal problems,yet Frans for Sweden will be fine, truly baffling.Whilst Amir hasn’t been note perfect in the live preview shows I’d expect any gremlins to be ironed out through the use of backing singers if need be,whereas Frans’ spoken word delivery looks much more likely to be frowned upon by jurors.

    Also the viewpoint that Spain will be in the bottom 3 or 4 seems very wide of the mark to me.Its an uplifting fun track,very much this year’s Golden Boy IMO and to suggest the shuffling dance is a negative defies any logic,it’s actually an USP which will stick in televoter’s memory come voting time.

    The OR fancies were remarkably similar given there was a field of 42 to chose from

    Tobbe – Russia,Australia,Sweden (Italy)
    Daniel – Russia,Australia,Sweden
    Gav – Russia,Sweden,Latvia

    I wonder what the mathematical probability is that 3 random people can have virtually identical picks from 42 choices ?

    Australia is by far the worst choice.A tepid repetitive number sang by an emotionless singer who may experience a negative televote in certain European countries owing to her ethnicity.I’ve opposed it in all markets and have enjoyed the market drift over the last week or so.

    Russia has to be respected owing to voting bloc and diaspora,but it will be a sad day for the ESC if this cheese fest triumphs.Hopefully jurors will mark it harshly given its incredibly dated feel.

    My own personal 3 fancies in no particular order would be France,Bulgaria and as a lively outsider Iceland.

    Many thanks again for the podcast and I hope you have an enjoyable and profitable time in Stockholm.

    • Hi Ann, glad you enjoyed the show.

      Two of us are gamblers and our senses are tuned for win potential. The way we look at the contest is vastly different to the average fan and more based on history and stats from previous editions. We know what jurors vote for, plus we tend to understand what televoters get excited about.

      As for Spain, it’s worth checking out Malta’s USP (same foot shuffle) from 2012, which finished 21st.


      • Good grief that Maltese song is terrible.I don’t really see the relevance in comparing it to Spain this year tbh.It’s a little like saying Latvia can’t win this year because a previous year’s act bombed who also wore a leather jacket.

        It may actually come as a surprise to you,but similar to a certain journalist from the Telegraph I also have been gambling for a number of years quite successfully.I’m sure your reply wasn’t intended to be as patronising as it possibly appeared.

        It’s the wonderful thing about gambling.We all have different views and provided we make a long term profit that’s all that matters.

        Have fun,but I do fear for your bank balance X

    • Hi Ann, I’m not a fan of Sweden, but I think I can address your question as to why Amir may be penalised for his vocals while Frans won’t. It’s because Frans can deliver the vocal up to the standard of his studio recording, whereas there is a lot of evidence from the promotional phase of this year that Amir won’t. A well performed low key song should be rewarded more than a bigger song badly sung, regardless of pre-existing levels of talent. Stirs up the imagination of what would happen if Amir and Frans swapped songs.

      Frans probably will be penalised by any juror that doesn’t get it, and I think there’ll be more than a few of those. I disagree with Gav that it’s an easy jury top 3, I reckon closer to 6th given that eastern European countries outnumber western ones, which wasn’t the case in Melfest. As for televoting, I also have to respectfully disagree with Daniel that slot 9 doesn’t hinder it much. Yes, it’s a distinctive entry, but so was Sweden last year (visually anyway,) and that only managed to come 3rd in the televote from slot 10.

      In my experience of the contest, an entry that does extremely well in the televote from the first half has to be more than just distinctive, it has to be pretty much outrageously memorable, like the Babushki or Conchita, while of course also having a song that’s fancied to do well in the first place. Frans is no granny or bearded lady, and I doubt Lena’s Satellite would win if it was entered into this year’s contest. Sweden will do well but this year it has a ceiling of 3rd in my mind.

      • Thanks for the reply Ben.

        I disagree with your first paragraph,but concur completely with the following two.

        If judges are taking the criteria of vocal ability literally,then I fail to see how Frans can avoid being penalised.Of course we will have to wait and see how Amir fares when he performs.

        A running order of 9,especially for such a stripped back song with no stage gimmicks,has to be a negative for the televote.Like you I fail to see how this can even be questioned.

  6. Appreciate the time effort and professionalism you put into these podcasts Gav, thanks for another interesting listen. I do see Ann’s point, it might have been good to get a wider spread of opinions on the jury. Can I ask what history and facts from previous editions you are calling on to justify your enthusiasm for Sweden?

    • Milton, unfortunately I don’t have time to canvass a range of people’s opinions prior to booking them. I booked two people who are reliable and knowledgeable, one being a well known and successful gambler. Tobbe was ideal for the Swedish angle. Neither knew I would ask them for a top-3 prior to recording. Though the fact we all picked out three similar countries might count for nothing on May 14th, but it at least implies there might be something in what we say.

      My liking for Sweden is detailed in the official song review and pre-Amsterdam review, specifically likening the feel and presentation to that of Lena, while suggesting If I Were Sorry is comparable to Bieber and Ed Sheeran music. I haven’t said it’s a winner, but it is a contender. 20/1 is a result of 9th in the running order. Prior to that draw Sweden were favourites. In my opinion, the market has overreacted to a song that has already proved itself capable of winning a televote and achieving commercial success.

      • My concern with the Lena analogy is that by now she had gone viral. There were one or two hopeful signs with Frans that this might happen, but they pretty much came to nothing. There was an enormous buzz surrounding Lena, this won’t be the case with Frans now, unless something mad happens in the next two weeks.

        Not sure if being a Bieber/Sheeran lite is a good thing or not. That has to be a personal call. Where he does differ from those two artists is they can both sing very well something Frans doesn’t do, in this song at least.

        • In what way had Lena gone viral? I might very well be forgetting something (or missed it back then – I made heavy losses in laying her), but from what I can remember she had good iTunes positions in Germany/Switzerland/Austria but that was it.

          • I kind of agree here. Lena happened before iTunes went big or was considered instrumental in measuring potential success.

        • To be fair she was being played on UK radio a lot (and i would think across Europe).My son who was only 13 at the time asked me to back her to win ESC for him because “shes always on the radio”,at the time i think she was around 8s-12s about two weeks before ESC.Fully deserved to win ESC as well for me.Fantastic song and image.

  7. I’ll just give my thoughts on the automatics rather than predict a top three at this point.

    Uk- Bland and forgettable with no usp, amateurish performers one of whom hits some really bum notes at times, likely to be dumped by Bjorkman in second or between two strong ballads and not much bloc support: bottom five looks certain.

    Spain- I have no idea where the points are coming from. A few nordic countries could give it two’s and three’s, but I agree it’s a really cheap package. Could creep up to 15th or so but much more likely bottom five.

    Germany – good song spoilt by the smallest of things. I do think it’s highly draw dependant too. 10th – 15th with a late draw and toned down look. Bottom five with same staging.

    Italy – Jury top 5, televote bottom 10 potentially. If they had her behind the piano performing a stripped back version it could have won. I see this around 8th- 14th.

    France – These Ogae winners tend to do very well or bomb. If I had to say either way I’d say bomb. There’s enough there to do really well but as a total package I fear it won’t work on the night. 15th ish I might say.

    Sweden – There’s enough there to do okay on the juries but it’s not a jury winner or jury top 3 as I see it. It stands out at the end of a ten or so song Melfest round, not from 9th in a field of 26 across all of Europe. I don’t see it televote top 3 either, it is too forgettable from relatively early and appealing to quite a narrow market. Top ten is certain, top five isn’t. 4th-9th.

  8. My biggest four greens are in order Armenia,then Sweden,then Italy then Bulgaria.I have several other smaller greens/evens.
    At this stage my top 4 is ,the win between Armenia/Sweden,3rd Russia 4th Bulgaria.
    Armenia,the potential to go huge with the lighting and cameras and blow everyone away.A huge risk people dont get it (including juries) in the rapid fire of an ESC and diva hair flicking a constant worry,but for me its outstanding.Win or fail badly,at 30s+ easy to make it big without concern for the book if it flops.
    Sweden,its the best male teenage break up song iv ever heard.Frans sells it perfect.19s is crazy,should be 6s at best.
    Russia,its so dated it scary,its Russia though and could go through the middle, but i figure one or two will stop the win.
    Bulgaria.The block is there for the taking.Poli has the advantage if she stages well.Its a nothing song really but really strong hooks and a contemporary turbo folk song is dangerous if delivered right.
    Serbia has the potential for a stunning delivery and might stop Poli by getting the Balkan juries but,might be more a top 10 song.
    Iv kept room to move on the outright yet though.

    Safe journey to Sweden guys and looking forward to the rehearsals.

  9. I have been losing huge sums of money year in year out. Hoping to turn it around this year.

  10. On this here thread, and up to this here time, I be agreeing with Ben and Hippo.

  11. Stephen Colville

    I did my first ever ESC bets last year and made a tidy profit, mainly of Austria coming last. This year, I’m stumped. But I know I won’t be betting on Sweden, France or Russia to win. I think the money is in the chasing pack. Mainly Bulgaria, Croatia and Czech Republic. Bulgaria is my pick due to it being liked from pretty much every corner. Regardless of music tastes, everyone seems to be enjoying it. It’s also modern enough to garner enough jury votes.

  12. Some wise words in the podcast guys and not much to quibble over.

    I think Sweden is excellent value in the market at double digit odds.

    While France is one of the few songs this year that has the potential characteristics of a winner, the words of warning re backing it are timely – for vocal and (potentially) presentational issues.

    Actually, I think the Spanish song is pretty good and being in English helps it. It is this year’s equivalent of the 2015 Israeli or Serbian songs and it will down well in the hall. Unfortunately the Say yay yay chorus makes it appear a worse song than it is and will scare away juries. While this might scrape into tenth slot, it could also bomb like many fancied Spanish entries before it. For this reason I am inclined to steer clear of backing it.

    I really don’t get the love of Italy. The song has merit, particularly the Nessun Grado chorus, but it takes a while to get going and sort of plods along in a non-Eurovision friendly way. And the pretty but unsmiling Francesca has all the charisma of a stone. On the basis that Europe has taken to Italian songs in recent years, I would say mid-table is possible but that might be stretching it.

    Re my top 3 for the contest – it’s a top 4 actually, as I believe there are only 4 songs that have the hallmarks of potential winners: Russia, Sweden, France and Malta. Of these, I think there is a big chance that France will mess up, and Malta depends on big staging and the vocal being sound on the night.

    I believe Latvia are very strong contenders for top 5 (but unlikely winners). I just hope that Justs comes with the looser more mobile performance he gave at the pre-parties. Ukraine and Serbia are also top 5 contenders. Both are jury songs and which makes the top 5 will depend on which one the juries go for most.

    Other fancied countries:

    Australia – hyped in its absence – 6th -10th but nothing more.
    Bulgaria- again 6th-10th. Is this really a better package than Malta which I would class as a similar type of song?
    Armenia – see comments on Bulgaria. The song may also be slightly let down by the ‘Love Wave’ chorus which may not be strong enough and could see the song suffering in the 15 second pre-voting recaps.
    Netherlands – this is no Common Linnets and even top 10 might be fanciful.

    Finally, a lot has been said about how this is a weak year. While that may be true in terms of contenders for the win, I think there is quite a lot of strength in depth. Depending on how the semi’s go, we could have a final with 20+ out of 26 songs that are half way decent.

    Looking forward to the reports from Stockholm, Gavster.

  13. Re: the chasing pack etc. Am currently very down on the “Triple Entente” of Russia/France/Sweden……

    my “chasing pack” would be Latvia/Bulgaria/Serbia……all still good value. But from hereonin, it’s all about vocal delivery and spectacle…..I don’t see Italy storming up on the tracks, and Australia just might, with a stunning vocal rendition of a 7/10 song.

  14. Well, I think Amir is going to do well and if the staging is good , he can win,
    Russia : average song for me but it’s Russia as Sweden and Australia (Voice doesn’t make it all.)

  15. France, Russia and Italy. After much thought, I’m inclined to think that one of these three will. win.

  16. At this stage my top 3 are Sweden, Russia and Bulgaria. I’m sure I’ll change my opinion after rehearsals and then change it again when I see all performances on TV. My Top 10 bet so far is Belgium @13.

  17. I can’t see a win outside of Sweden, Russia or Latvia. the only two i can possibly see spoiling that top 3 is Armenia and Australia (sorry France – you will finish 5-10). this is a pre-SFs view of course – there’s always someone unexpected coming into frame at that stage.

  18. Pre-rehearsals, my top three are Australia, Russia and Malta.

  19. We are guessing what the presentations are going to be like, so a prediction at this point is almost pointless, but just to join in my top 4 at this time are France Armenia Bulgaria Russia.

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