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Ukraine 2016: Jamala – 1944

Jamala has just won Eurovision 2016 by 543 points, just 23 points ahead of Australia.

It’s looks like we’re heading to Kiev!

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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. Aussie Aussie Aussie

    So glad I did my best to ignore the market especially when Ukraine drifted to 12… Jamala had the best song – raw intensity and emotions! The most meaningful song I’ve heard in a long time, and very original and trend-breaking too…. So happy Europe picked Ukraine and Australia as their top two and that cheesy pop Hans imitation Russia didn’t win…

  2. Turning polnt for ESC. Good for Jamala. So glad that the awful “thunder and lightning” will soon be relegated to the dustbin of Eurovision history.

  3. Stephen Colville

    Bulgaria defied the odds and secured their best ever position. Could not be more thrilled for Poli.

  4. A big thanks to Gav for all his work in keeping this the place to be for ESC betting.
    A fantastic night and delighted Ukraine won.Jamala’s delivery was stunning.We must also thank the Russian state PR department for keeping the Russia price so low and others high.To see the price of Ukraine at 18s on Betfair yesterday was insane.
    I still think the jury voting is a problem,but thats for the future.Hope everyone has a great summer, before it all starts again…….

  5. Gavin, thank you for everything.

  6. Congrats to everyone that backed Ukraine and to Jamala for her victory. I will just mention some ironic tweets that Jamala’s song is droping is not because it is performing well on charts. Anyway, politics again interfered to the competition. It is a pity that Russia and especially Lazarev managed to unite people (he even got 12 points from the televote in Ukraine!) but Jamala managed to divide them. Again the juries gave the winner, so unfair for the public.

  7. Thanks to Gav and all posters on here. Haven’t contributed myself but enjoyed reading the views over the last few months – coverage is getting better each year.

    A worthy winner I thought – beautifully staged and sung. Hope everyone had a good (or at least not disastrous) night.

  8. Thanks to Gav, for all his work on the site, and to all the posters who make for lively discussion, debate and analysis.
    Ukraine felt like a worthy winner, full of artistic merit and integrity. Jamala was phenomenal. It’s definitely encouraging for the contest, that in a year littered with kamikaze visuals, and other gimmicks, that an entry all about the music won. I’m fascinated to see the ideals other countries will be taking into consideration for their entries next year.

  9. Excellent work as always, Gav!

    And warm congratulations to Ukraine for a well-deserved victory. Very important for the competition that something truly genuine and artistic took the trophy instead of the comparatively calculated entries in 2nd and 3rd place.

  10. Great work again by Gav this year. Gav you took a lot of grief over your France comments I bet it was worth it now. Juries did their job this year in marking down Russia. The one thing I would like is if the winner of the contest wins one of the voting categories or at least it’s semi-final. The voting presentation is here to stay I would think after last night. Wasn’t sure if I would be a fan at first but it made the contest for me this year. Minuscule profit this year and personal taste came to the rescue. I hope next year is a lot easier than this year.

  11. Thanks Gav for another great year! You’re insights were illuminating, as always. I hope you had fun in Stockholm and are you’re satisfied with your profits.
    As for me, this was easily the best year ever. I am beyond happy with my winnings, and extremely proud of some of them.
    I am also really happy Ukraine won, it’s a truly deserved win for a great artist and a masterpiece of a song.
    But the best thing this year was the “level headed talk” in the EscTips chatroom. You guys really helped me with placing my bets and made Eurovision even more fun. I will never forget the Malta bot, Russian wall climbing, Szpak’s awesomeness and the love for Jamala. HA!
    And of course, the man who didn’t win Eurovision, but won our hearts – Kirkorov.
    Looking forward to 2017.

  12. First of all i want to thank Gav for his excellent reports and thoughts. Without his help eurovision betting would be totally different. I were totally disagree with him about Austria q, Bulgaria top 10 and top balcan, France potencial and Sweeden no potencial. I also disagree that i tunes and spotify play so much role. But he was the first that referred Ukraine as default winner. He was only that said that Russia lacks of emotion.
    And if we are looking for a winner, we have to consider this. Every winner is totally different from the previous. 2014 was the Conchita, 2015 was Mans ‘ boy presentation, 2016 is crying Jamala, 2017 will be a different thing. Russia tried to focus on Mans staging. Esc wants NEW things.
    Gagster thank you again for everything!

  13. Thanks for the kind words guys. Eurovision was a rollercoaster this year. The effect of diaspora and the new scoring system really caught us by surprise on the betting table. Having Russia that close in the end was heart in the mouth stuff. The EBU will have to address the diaspora effect for next year, as a country like Poland could literally defecate on stage and finish top-10.

    I’ll be back in a few days or so to shed some light on some very shady voting shenanigans.

    • “The EBU will have to address the diaspora effect for next year, as a country like Poland could literally defecate on stage and finish top-10.”

      Best comment ever. I was laughing at this for entire one minute. I appreciate your sense of humor, Gav. Keep it up!

    • If I haven’t said it before, thanks Gav for your excellent coverage.

      You called the Russian jury lag totally correctly. They were too far behind – just. I also had them 5th or 6th going into the televote, and so it turned out. You also highlighted the fact, that with the price of Russia artificially low, there was great value in the chasing pack – I couldn’t believe the double digit odds on offer for some of the obvious main contenders.

      I noticed that Spain’s odds crashed during the in-play (again probably down to a certain Mr Norton’s comments). I expect you took advantage of that one.

      You are also right to flag up the impact of the new voting system. As Ewan Spence has said on another site, voting is now a game of two halves and (to mix metaphors) the elastic that joins both parts of the vote and restrains the effect of each has been snapped. I can’t imagine that Poland would have got anywhere near the top ten under the old voting system. (Surely a song as bad and as dated as that only got diaspora votes!)

      Finally, there were also some strange jury results. They went for quite ‘poppy’ numbers like Bulgaria, Belgium and Lithuania and France. (I expect these will be a template for a number of next years’ entries), all songs that I had down more as televote songs. At the same time I am at a loss to explain the failure of Latvia and Serbia with juries.

      I am now going into Eurovision Detox before the wife divorces me!

    • “The EBU will have to address the diaspora effect for next year, as a country like Poland could literally defecate on stage and finish top-10”

      I don’t know where this diaspora was hiding until now. I mean we had this example on 2011, the all mighty Magdalena Tul from Poland who finished last on SEMI-FINAL.

  14. Ukraine didn’t even win their semi .. outstanding stuff

  15. I found this spreadsheet chart online which gives the voting results for the final as if the voting system was the same as last year. Australia would have won followed by Ukraine and then Russia. http://imgur.com/dZvHOl2

    • Cheers. I was checking over those at 2am this morning. I never sleep after the final. I think the EBU has got a problem here, as the winner neither won the semi-final or grand final televote and jury vote. That will affect the credibility of the contest in the longterm. I suspect there will be changes to the scoring for Kiev.

      • I don’t know if you read the Eurovoix website but there is an article about the Denmark jury incorrectly awarding the 12 points to Ukraine when in fact they shouldn’t have given Ukraine anything but Australia should have got the 12 points instead.

        Apparently one of the jurors incorrectly got the ranking of countries back to front so what they had 26, 25, 24 etc. should have been 1, 2, 3 etc. and with the new correct results with Australia getting 12 and Ukraine 0, the difference of 23 points between Ukraine and Australia would be reduced to 9 points. Sweden now gets awarded 7 points from Denmark instead of 4. Link to article here: http://eurovoix.com/2016/05/15/denmark-incorrect-12-points-to-ukraine/

    • Why would a consensus winner (2nd in both with both juries and tele) be less credible than a winner having been flat-out rejected by either juries or televoters?

      If they want to keep the juries, I don’t see how there’s any way around this happening sometimes. I remember that everyone was worried about the first time we’d get a winner that didn’t win the televote, but when it happened, nobody seemed to find it controversial at all. This time, the only complaints I see are coming from the Russian delegation (big surprise).

  16. I would argue there would of been a huge stink if someone who came 4th in the televote ended up winning because of juries like Australia.There is however a problem with the jury set up at the minute,that is certain and most arent up to the job.We did mostly all price in on here the fact Russia would score around 5th at best with the juries to take them on and we were right.Reading the Russian comments is comedy gold when they stated politics had trumped art,
    Im more bothered that juries thought Australia a worthy run away jury winner.It was pretty average as well and it starts to smell like the EBU trying to pick winners,or stop winners.

  17. I’ll join in the thanks to Gav for the great and diligent work as with every year. This one didn’t end happily for me but since it’s come to light that Australia would have won under last year’s 50/50 ranking system, I don’t regret my logic.

    It’s ironic really, after what I learned last year, I came into this year looking for joyous uplifting anthems and then this is what we get as the winner. Eurovision really is an elusive bastard.

    One thing I will be taking into next year is an expansion (and renaming) of my Everest Test towards more general highs of emotion and not exclusively inspirational and happy, even though that’s the norm. That expansion will help me pick up on the 1944s and Suus’s to come in the future. 1944 did pass the Everest Test but with grief rather than joy, and now I know that this can work too, but happier songs should naturally take first preference. I shouldn’t have written it off just for being sad, that was prejudiced of me.

    Next year I’m going to methodically set out my criteria and slot in the countries that meet it rather than just make loose observations. Also going to factor in potential media interest.

    I do feel like I’m getting very close with my methodology of finding a winner, it’s just that I keep ignoring the one that actually wins because of some weird trait the package has, like Conchita’s appearance or 1944’s style, or something in the story not making sense from a conservative point of view, like Sweden going for the win again so soon. That’s something I hope we can work together to overcome. God knows it’ll still be Sweden, Russia and Australia that are the main contenders next year.

    Have to say I’m surprised Serbia did so badly though. Staging must’ve been a big turn-off.

    The voting presentation was certainly tense, but I kinda wished it was just the juries. Not because Australia would have won that way, but that first round of voting felt so refreshing, like they were actually giving points to the songs they liked and so many juries didn’t vote the way their televoters normally do. I know there was a couple of dodgy “ignores” and the ol’ Montenegro to Malta but it still was such a delight to watch….

    And then the televoting added on at the end just made it all turn so incredibly ugly. It was a transparent and embarrassing display of the dark Noughties scoreboards rearing their ugly heads again and making the result look so unprogressive. Especially Poland. That was an absolutely gob-smacking televote for him. They never voted quite that aggressively for Monika or Donatan & Cleo (the latter being very televote friendly regardless)… Makes me wonder, after his surprise NF victory.. is there something in Michal’s song or performance we missed that just really touches Polish people? I can’t imagine why that did so, so well with the public, even if it was just the diaspora. Why was it suddenly so much stronger for this song?

    They need to do something to rein in the televote again. If they can’t find a fair way to combine it with the juries, then they need to find another way to limit the insane cultural/neighbour voting. One vote for each country per phone perhaps? Doesn’t make much financial sense but they need to do something about this. A central big panel of European and some international jurors all in one room in the host city would be a very positive move too, so the procedure is more formal and properly supervised and this minimises the chance of bias and corruption.

    Anyway, hope everyone has a nice summer with your winnings! I was considering coming to Eurovision next year in some shape or form but I dunno if I fancy Kiev after everything that’s happened.

  18. On the topic of whether or not a 4th place televote should win, I don’t think so. As a format, eurovision has to be a public vote- at least partly, otherwise it looses all relevance. A third place tv winner isn’t great but two years in a row is unsustainable. Look back to 2011 and how close Italy came to the win with that song. The televote 100% days weren’t great, but at least it was a democratic ‘political’ process. The problem is that juries are just as political. Whether it’s pushing for an ebu approved winner (Italy 2011, Australia this year) pursuing their own agenda (Lithuania, Ukraine – Russia Azerbaijan -Armenia), supporting domestically wrote songs (Greece, Cyprus giving Kontopoulos a 12 this year, Sweden – Azerbaijan, Malta, Lithuania, this year etc.) or just good old fashioned back handers.

    I look at the combined scoreboard and what would have been with last year’s system and- my finances and personal favourites aside- I’d take this result all day long. The whole point is balance.
    The 2000’s had far too much public power, 2013,14,15 far too much juror (and producer) power.
    2009-12 was probably the best the contest has been in terms of fairness and slowly I think we’re getting back to that.

    A central Ebu appointed panel would be disastrous. I don’t trust national broadcasters to put together a neutral and serious panel but certainly don’t trust a bunch of record label and industry executives choosing where they want to go next year or what makes good “tv magic”. I exaggerate of course, but that would be open to just as much if not more manipulation.

    The job was done well this year and I think a very good balance has been found.
    The televoters stopped the Ebu/svt coronation of Australia, the jury stopped the public letting Russia’s dated cheese-fest, Sakis tribute taking gold. The televoters stopped Malta buying their way to fourth, the jury stopped diaspora and bad taste sending Poland 3rd. The juries prevented what would have been a completely undeserved Czech nul points, the public salvaged an incomprehensible Serbian result. I’ve come to terms with the fact we’re never going to get a perfect system. There are huge flaws with both public and jury voting that will never be resolved, at least now those flaws are cancelling themselves out.

    • I agree with all that Hippo.The EBU/SVT pushing Australia is a worry though.Was it to stop Russia in case Ukraine didnt,?.Or was it so they can add more countries down the line,like China,the US? by saying what a success etc.In a way as gamblers we like the manipulation of course and spot it better than anyone.Russia forcing its own price down gave us huge ROI elsewhere and EBU/SVT pushing Australia gave us a comfort pillow cover if Ukraine (or Sweden ) didnt turn Russia over.
      My answer for the juries would be to maybe have them voting in seperate places from each other,never meeting the other jury members,and not knowing who they are.

  19. Aussie Aussie Aussie

    People forget that it’s not who YOU thought would win, it’s what the majority of voting countries and their juries think, and how it’ll play out. There’s the key difference. The event is so objective. What person A thinks was awesome, probably won’t appeal to person B. There’s no point wondering why Poland rated so highly in televote. It just did. Obviously some people liked the song enough to vote. Get over it. We all know the rules of the game. If you don’t like, don’t watch / play…

    That’s why Eurovision is such a valued betting event! Imagine all the people that drove the price of Russia down to $1.60, because that was what they thought should win because they liked the song. If you take a step back, try and look at it objectively, it is clear Ukraine had every chance as Gav rightly pointed out.

    A) The staging was simple but very effective especially that powerful image of the tree of hope…

    B) The song had people talking. When my wife watched UKR she said it was boring. At first I thought “oh Ive backed the wrong song”, but then I realised the point was that good or bad, she felt strongly enough and gave a reaction.

    C) It was the only song that brought out the emotion in alot of people. Much much more strongly than Australia or Russia.

    The ingredients were all there. And the saying goes “don’t hate the player, hate the game”. There is and will never be a perfect voting system. Its impossible because Europe and human beings are complicated creatures easily influenced by their own individual experiences.

    But Im happy the general population don’t think that way. Because that’s how we profit from them in betting 😉

    We’ll look back a few years from now and probably think there was never a greater time to profit especially when the price of the favourite was $1.60 LOL Gold mine!

    • Aussie Aussie Aussie

      And I forgot to obviously mention that because the false fave was $1.60, the other contenders drifted an extra $3+… Who could’ve imagined Ukraine drifting out to $9… Even $16+ on grand final evening…. If you can sort out the BS from reality, you’re in the money!!

  20. Here’s some thoughts and reflections of mine.

    I agree with Hippo & Durham on the Jury love for Australia. It was like watching a mother trying to spoon feed her baby some purée, knowing that the kid was never going to swallow it anyway. From my perspective, the juries, in the case of Ukraine’s televote not quite materialising, were trying to extinguish the possibility of Sochi 2017. With a chart-worthy, uplifting song, performed by big voiced diva, Australia in retrospect, had to be the first port of call. It was perfect jury fodder, and Europe snuffing it out ought to have been expected with the return of an unleashed diaspora vote.

    For next year, I’m hoping to take a more strategic approach to sorting out the contenders from the duds. I made a nice profit this year but, I can’t help thinking I could have made some great calls had I only listened to my initial instinct to some of this year’s entries. For example, Jamala, Laura Tesoro, Donny Montell, Poli Genova, and even Zoe were all artists who made a positive first impression on me, some more than others, but rather than going with my gut and backing them at high odds, I sort of staggered, listened to what fans, punters, and the odds-makers were saying around the web, and then sort of lost hope in any of them obtaining high placings. It was only deep into the build up season, and in a few cases as late as rehearsals, that I rediscovered the value in these entries, that had impressed me months earlier. All of them finished on the left hand side, and I recovered reasonably well, since Russia did a great job of preserving value for the rest of the field. The note-to-self for the 2017 contest, is to avoid the ‘Group-think-mentality’. Listen to the song before I’ve seen the odds, and before I know what everyone else has to say about it. In doing so, I should be able to avoid falling foul of the “It’s too dark/twee/dated/won’t appeal to the east/west arguments” that permeate the build up season, and cloud over our judgement far too easily.

    As for the host country, it’ll be wonderful to have the positive energy of Eurovision come to a country like Ukraine, that’s been in a state of trauma for quite some time now. It’s something to lift the spirits of the nation. Another plus is the way, culturally we’re in for a different sort of contest. It won’t have anywhere near the production values of Stockholm, but I think it’s time for Eurovision to break the mould of the overly polished, and somewhat predictable nature of the Scandinavian template show. As for hosting duties, I’d love to see Zlata Ognevich take up the job. She’s up there with Petra in my book.

    • Group think. I make this mistake every year at some extent. Next year I will do my best not to look at the odds until I hear all songs, rank them and set my own odds. It will not be easy though. It’s hard to avoid information on the Internet 😀

  21. Thanks Gav for all the fantastic coverage

  22. Many thanks, Gav, for your valuable input both on the site and on Twitter. What I liked most and what I think is the most important thing is that both you and many punters on the site are level-headed. Many would have held their stance after saying that Ukraine has no chance. However, the sheer ability to see value for what it is and change an opinion is the cornerstone of making a profit in this type of event. Even if others have continued to back Russia and France, even if the value was long gone.

    Hope the season was great for you, I really look forward to 2017. 🙂

  23. I think the biggest problem of the results is the fact that the EBU doesn’t prepare a huge disclaimer for all delegations and for all other people. The EBU sometimes forgets the implications of certain changes. The EBU is not ‘just’ responsible anymore for a big TV show. As far as Russians concerned it’s a damn serious Olympic-sized affair for them. People need to be warned that with this new system huge discrepancies can take place.

    In the case of Israel and Poland that was very clear. Israel was a clear jury favourite, but faltered completely in the televote. With Poland it was the other way around. Furthermore, with the new system apparently runner-ups with both juries and televoters can eventually become the winner.

    Lastly, certain predictions were already bubbling to the surface. Netherlands more or less was prepared for a voting lag with televoters. We saw it coming. But similarly Russia could have seen that their entry would not be a jury lover. Which was the opposite case last year with Polina. People, delegations, need to come to their senses, be realistic and pragmatic….and swallow certain results better. And the EBU can and should facilitate that much much better.

    The flag incident already shows that the EBU still hasn’t an idea how pivotal diplomacy and good communication are in an Olympic sized contest.

  24. Regarding the jury system, I would propose this:

    –> Expand the juries with 7 more persons. Obviously, they need to be music professionals or need to have ties with the music industry. In the end you then have 12 jury members.
    –> Make sure that 6 judges are in the age range of 18 to 40, and 6 other judges in the age range of 41 and older.
    –> Appoint for every jury a non-European notary that has been appointed and employed by the EBU. This notary functions as the official chairman of the jury.
    –> This non-European chairman then sends the jury results to the EBU and approves or disapproves the national jury result.
    –> If approved, the EBU-chairman gives the result to the spokesperson and she/he reads the results during the voting sequence.

    I think this is the best system, because if in this scenario suddenly 12 judges from Azerbaijan are placing Russia on 1st position, the EBU can decide to not approve the jury result and send back the jury results. They then have one 2nd and final chance to correct the jury results. If not, then the EBU can nullify the entire jury result.

    This system should also scare off potential fraud beforehand. And if accompanied by a disclaimer and instructions during the first HoD-meeting early February, this could work.

  25. I hope I don’t get a lot of abuse or start a mini war for saying this but Ireland should really have entered a song titled “1916” this year after this result…

  26. I’m looking forward to the shady shenanigans article 🙂

    • me too Tim,im sure Gav will show how corrupt the juries really are.This year it was just too obvious.Cyprus and Sweden would be a good place to start and i look forward to his thoughts on those two.Sweden,the most bent of the lot,the jury vote should not of been accepted.

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