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Podcast: Eurovision 2017 Part 1

It’s that time of year again: we’re back the first of three Eurovision 2017 preview podcasts!

We’re joined by Ewan Spence from @ESCinsight and Roy Delaney of @ESCApocalypse to discuss the finer details of semi-final 1.

Make sure you follow the ESCtips FaceBook & Twitter accounts!

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. Songfestivalwerk!

    Great stuff this podcast Gavin :-). PS: Don’t be too shy to charm a nice guy there eh ;-)!

  2. Agree on mostly anything, except for Finland. I just don’t see much in it to be honest. They’re not like Portugal, no real charisma, not much hapening, the piano-guy is just ‘there’, she doesn’t pull you in or gives you goosebumps. Might get just enough jury points for the final, but that’s it imo.

    Portugal could be a goosebumps-magnet if they get the staging gorgeous. For me it’s between Portugal and Italy at this moment (with Italy not being that big of a favourite), because there is a ‘ok’ chance the jury will put Italy on something like 5th or so, I do see it happening. Also Bulgaria has a shot with the Russia-votes if they (hard song to make it come across live tho), or something special has to happen at the rehearsels (which likely will), but for me those 2 are in front now.

    My only 2 bets for this year atm are Portugal and Italy (portugal @20, italy @28 early). For me there’s no real other value and it’s just waiting till the rehearsels, apart from laying Italy on these odds maybe.

  3. Thanks lads enjoyed that very informative.

  4. Top rate chat. I especially enjoyed Roy’s dissection of the Portuguese appeal which I thought was spot on and your comment, Gav, about tics etc. Salvador exudes a vulnerability, which, combined with that sweet and 100% on the nail voice, is very alluring. But that said, it is very “marmite” (love it or hate it)….and polarising…

    And, with the jury/televote business, a mirror opposite of Italy which may offer some weakness in jury love but which I am sure will possibly even outdo “Il Volo” on the televote. The reformed system of separating the two elements very much works in its favour.

    Looking forward to podcast TWO and how you guys assess Bulgaria, especially.

    • EurovisionBettor

      “The reformed system of separating the two elements very much works in its favour.”

      The system in itself never changed, only the presentation did. EBU was critisized for it’s lack of openness when it came to the voting -statistics, and this was their response. They “masked” it as a new and more exciting way of counting the votes (which it certainly became), but the original televote vs jury -balance still remains.

      • I think Mark meant that one side of the vote can no longer cancel out the other.

        • EurovisionBettor

          Hmm.. I’m not sure if I follow. Can you give me an example of how it could have happened before, and how is it different today?

          • Well in 2014 and 2015, each song was ranked by the juries and televoters. The result of this was, if a song was ranked 1st with juries, but last with the televote, that song would score no points.

            In 2016, the EBU legislated to separate the televote and jury scores to prevent situations where rogue juries could rank a song last, thus cancelling out all televote points. It also means more ‘alternative’ or regional songs will score better than in 2014-2015, as we witnessed with Poland.

  5. Great podcast,really good to have Ewan and Roy who have a fantastic knowledge of ESC,but more outside the betting side.Saying that they probably have better books than most punters this year.
    Im with them on Belgium as iv always thought she couldnt sell the song.She might be saved by staging,but there is a big risk she fails.Im going to wait to buy back a bit of the huge red i have until after the semi in case she doesnt make it (whoops of joy if she didnt here).Agree also on Australia.For me its a load of rubbish.Not sure il play it yet,but its at risk for me.
    I really like Latvia.I think the final needs it and the producers will do everything to get it through.
    Portugal.Purists dream.I really hope it can get top 5 in the final.
    Really interesting to hear the thoughts about being at the Sanremo press song reveal.People need to really listen to that bit who say he didnt win by far enough.1 pt would of been a fantastic result considering who he was on the podium with and the difference in SR and ESC.I fully agree with that.I do still think there are two or three who can get close though if they get a good draw in the final and nail the staging.

  6. I don’t know if Ewan will ever see this but if that Scandi rule regarding running order is true than why the hell are Lithuania third from last in semi 2? Either Christer has gone bonkers or Lithuania have something good up there sleeve (They said after they won there selection that the staying would be completely different in Kyiv).

  7. I’m amazed by my country’s song (Portugal). Even if we don’t qualify (and it’s certainly possible we won’t qualify) I’m so proud of Luísa Sobral for creating this song and Salvador for interpreting it so wonderfully.

    Although there are a lot of people loving it, I think the majority don’t like it and I understand why. It’s not built up, which is how the songs nowadays are produced, it’s slow paced and it forces the listener to calm down and listen to the melody. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea and I don’t know what will happen in the semi final.

    Sweeden, Belgium and Azerbaijan for me are sure qualifiers, although I don’t like Belgium’s song. Sweeden has a stage presence to envy and Azerbaijan has a incredible song. Let’s see.
    I hope Finland qualifies, the music is so amazing.

  8. Patrick Mulligan

    Is this the first pre-Eurovision show of the season? Anyway, this is how the Icelandic panel has reacted to the first half of the first semi final.

    Portugal is triumphant in the first round.


  9. Guys. Does anyone know of any Uk betting sites that allow multiple accumulators for semi final qualifiers? Haven’t managed to find one. Or an overseas one of not?

    • Yes there are sometimes opportunities but it tends to be by error rather than design. SportingBet and Betfred have been known to allow them in the past.

  10. Gav and Ewan should take up writing fanfic with the sheer amount of “having made up one’s mind” before even rehearsals have started attitude that they’re demonstrating here.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Kylie. The podcasts are always pre-rehearsal views, but if you’re referring to Belgium in particular, then I think we’re justified in raising our concerns. Those concerns have been echoed by other commenters and websites. If you’ve seen another side to Belgium then please share your views, rather than resorting to personal attacks.

    • Wouldn’t fan fiction relate more to constant, farcical, senseless pro-Belgium and anti-Italy propaganda than it does to sensible views based on evidence seen so far? I agree that rehearsals and pre-concerts are completely different things, and that challengers can come from nowhere after rehearsals, but in the meantime it makes absolute sense to take pre-concerts into account. Belgium has a very good song, but nothing we’ve seen from Blanche’s performances so far have indicated that she can carry it to the trophy. Sometimes it’s better to step back and evaluate things rationally without letting personal opinions get in the way, rather than coming up with excuse after excuse for each bad performance just because of a personal liking for the entry.

      • Excuse me, my opinion is as valid as anyone, and just because I’m more willing to give someone a chance doesn’t mean I’m deluded. I’m not an idiot, I actually do base a lot of my ideas on logic, yes I get carried away sometimes but it doesn’t mean that I’m a “farce” as you call it.

        If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, especially if you’re going to try and pick fights with me for expressing my opinion.

  11. Your opinion is respected Kylie, but you need to stop taking criticism of songs you like as personal digs and responding with ad hominem attacks.

    We raised valid points in the podcast which mirrored comments made over the last few weeks. Your response was to suggest Ewan and I take up writing fan-fiction all because we supposedly made our minds up prior to rehearsals.

    As you can see, you instigated the very behaviour you’ve accused others of directing at you. Let’s draw a line under this and move on. As I’ve already said, don’t take criticism of songs as a personal attack. Alternatively, I would suggest the more honest conversation on betting sites may not be for you.

  12. EurovisionBettor

    I think you’re ranking Italy too high in your personal favourites to win the Grand Final. Italy’s hype is more local than global, according to Google trends. Of all the searches, not even 1% is outside of Italy and albeit the song being catchy, show being entertaining, and Gabbani having the necessary charisma, the song initially strikes people as some gooky and obscure half-time entertainment, despite being thoughtful in it’s lyrics. It’s the classic “front-runners karma” known from several singing competitions like Idols, Voice and X-factor in the making, and eurovision’s “early adopters” as well as bookies are getting suckered aboard the fail-boat.

    A bit deeper analysis:

    The first thing you have to do when analyzing the contestants is to recognize whether it’s going to be the year of Agenda (Lordi, Conchita, Jamala), Song (Loreen, Måns) or Performance (Dima, Rybak). When it comes to the televote, Agenda > Song > Performance, and for the Jury it’s Song >= Agenda > Performance.
    Now, year 2017 definitely isn’t the year of Song, and Italy’s entry wouldn’t win such either, as it’s not international enough to reach wide-spread radio reach, but how about the year of Agenda?
    There’s two kind of years like this: “We want to see more of this in the upcoming years”, OR “We want to virtue signal for a good cause”. The only thing Italy’s entry has to offer on the year of Agenda is the former kind of agenda, and for this particular piece it boils down to two aspects, eccentric stage performance (Eurovision always has these so there’s no need to vote for it to get more of it) and native language (it’s not highly preferred thing for majority of Eurovision voters). Unfortunately his lyrics won’t resonate enough politically to tap into the latter kind of “year of Agenda”, as being critical of superficiality isn’t the most burning agenda of our time.

    The only way for Italy to win this year is if it’s the year of Performance. Italy’s entry ticks all the boxes on that category, but now the question is if there’s any other entries able to turn it into a year of Agenda, and by my analysis there’s couple. If only the message in ’em gets picked up by mainstream media, Gabbani is done. Jamala won last year because it fulfilled both parts of an year of Agenda. Now people want more of what they got last year, and as there’s no entry/performer good enough to make it a year about a Song, even an semi-good Agenda-entry will topple Italy.

    • You make some good points and I like the way you’ve categorised the winners. However, I think each year is relative; as is the narrative going into each Contest. And sometimes it’s just about the combined package and strength of a particular song. Often these tags and complex analysis clouds what is a simple but very strong visual package. This year, Gabbani’s gorilla is the most complete package such is the lack of competition else where. That could change at rehearsals.

      Once you listen to all of the podcasts, you’ll find other potential winners have been flagged up. Portugal is one such alternative winner mentioned in this podcast.

      Who are your alternative winners?

      • It’s also worth noting that similar songs to the previous year’s winner don’t tend to win and repeat themselves; each year the winner doesn’t have a lot of similarities with the previous winner. For example, Lordi’s “agenda” song was immediately followed by Serbia’s Molitva, which I would categorise as a strong Song winner, and Conchita was followed by Heroes, an upbeat Song/Performance (I’d argue performance more so) entry. A very serious politics-heavy song like Jamala’s would be unlikely to be repeated straightaway, and a fun, happy entry like Italy’s would continue the trend of consecutive winners being quite different to each other.

        Apart from Georgia, no real “agenda” songs come to mind this year though, yet you said you see a couple. Who are you referring to?

      • A question to you Gav. You mention that potential challengers to Gabbani will be flagged up and/or could emerge at rehearsals. From semi1 it’s Portugal, from semi2 will obviously be Bulgaria. While a clever staging is expected from Kristian, do you think that Salvador can offer something new or your flag is raised based on his national final show (which I believe will stay more/less the same)?

        • Exactly that, Boki. Even though Gabbani relies somewhat on his gorilla, both he and Salvador benefit from good old fashioned charisma. They own the stage, whereas every other act needs staging to elevate their song.

      • EurovisionBettor

        Gavster: Yes, my root is that every year is relative to it’s entry-composition, and being the combined/complete package, is a pre-requisite to be considered a serious contender in any of the “year” categories.

        What comes to the alternative winners, in a Song>Agenda>Performance weighting (I want to give Song a bit more leeway here, because the Agenda’s agenda still hasn’t been picked up by mainstream media very much) I cut Belgium and FYR Macedonia from their category, albeit being the 2/3 of those that had the required potential to define this year as a Song. Belgium’s live is too nervous, exactly as was stated in the podcast, and FYR Macedonia can likely only save itself by bringing some amazing VR/AR related -technology into their performance. Sweden is still in that category, but ever so slightly, that I’m willing to neglect the possibility that it’s able to win the only Agenda candidate, if Agenda’s message doesn’t end up going under the radar the whole mile because of bad media team or something else unfortunate.

        Lia: You’re 100% right there, but I’d argue it only happens when it comes to the STYLE of the song. I’m mostly analyzing political demographies during my days, and political awakening, in any scale or context, just seems to stick in people. It’s the real “once you pop, you can’t stop”, and the demography that’s the majority of Eurovision voters (Judges a bit different but not much), has been steadily getting more and more political during the past couple of years.

    • Your (EurovisionBettor) points are also highly subjective. What was the best song last year? Did Dami won jury vote because of the song or was it her performance? Sergei won the televote surely based on his performance despite performance being least preferred in the televote according to you etc.
      It’s eternal discussion, like would Conchita win just because of the beard or was there also something in the song/pefromance? Would Jamala win without stunning visuals and captivating performance?
      It’s a mix of everything so those categorizations are easy to do in hindsight. Many people thought that Finnish disabled punk rockers will be the talking point and were matched to single figures… I don’t see any (semi)strong agenda’s this year and if e.g. Portugal wins it will be because of his performance/personality (although there was a try of making an agenda with fake news about him waiting for a heart transplant).

      • EurovisionBettor

        “What was the best song last year?”

        -There weren’t in my books. I only got Agenda>Performance.

        “Did Dami won jury vote because of the song or was it her performance? ”

        -I think you are mixing my categories into actual words. I only mean them as a common nominator for the way an entry can win. They’re all pre-defined as complete packages, but ofc we could argue inside of them (vocal strength, stage presence, you name it) aswell. I just think they’re irrelevant to the end product at that level, and it’s about categories, not anymore so much about those incremental parts. But yeah, she got put into Performance category, which meant for me, that she can’t win an Agenda entry. Which she didn’t, despite maybe some additional back-patting from judges’ that I was scared of.

        “Sergei won the televote surely based on his performance despite performance being least preferred in the televote according to you etc.”

        -There’s still the mix-up with the word performance, but yeah, he was really popular despite the song being a bit too cheesy to be an absolute hit like Euphoria, and that’s because he could sing, he’s handsome, the staging was innovative, Russia tends to get some sympathies from certain countries, so on and so on.

        “It’s eternal discussion, like would Conchita win just because of the beard or was there also something in the song/pefromance? Would Jamala win without stunning visuals and captivating performance?
        It’s a mix of everything so those categorizations are easy to do in hindsight. Many people thought that Finnish disabled punk rockers will be the talking point and were matched to single figures…”

        -You can always debate everything, but no Conchita wouldn’t have won if she/he didn’t have the edge of having a beard and being a transgender. That song wasn’t good enough to win with a normal diva. That’s the major defining factor, and if everything else is atleast above average, like in all of my pre-requisities, it’s the most likely decider. Same thought pattern for Jamala and any other potential winner.

        “Many people thought that Finnish disabled punk rockers will be the talking point and were matched to single figures…”

        -It wasn’t a complete package. A pale Agenda can’t win. Same with Russia this year. It wouldn’t have happened, even though I personally think she’s sweet and deserves better.

        ” I don’t see any (semi)strong agenda’s this year and if e.g. Portugal wins it will be because of his performance/personality (although there was a try of making an agenda with fake news about him waiting for a heart transplant).”

        -I stiill think Hungary can take it. They have a huge Romani diaspora, some “virtual signaler lures” in the lyrics, original song by the artist itself, there’s nothing similar in the whole competition, Joci Papai will appeal to women, seems to be very good in interviews despite needing a translator, has the most genuine contact and feel to the lyrics this year (Portugal is actually too niché to be realistic, though sweet), knows how to sing and perform accordingly, the song sticks to your mind, you can clap and sing along without knowing a word in hungarian… there’s alot of going on in there. Oh, and one more, though I’m repeating here: watch the winning performances from the past years and observe the artist. They feel genuine no matter how they’re twitching or performing on the stage. You buy their performance. That’s the definition of an successful artist and it has been present in every winner year after year after year in Eurovision. I didn’t like the song at first, but when I saw Joci’s national live, I get (and still do feel) the same “winner’s genuinity” in that. It’s not present in any of the other serious contenders, except mildly in Francesco Gabbani.

        • “But yeah, she got put into Performance category, which meant for me, that she can’t win an Agenda entry.”

          But on the jury vote (agenda>performance) she did win the agenda entry by quite a margin.

          “Conchita wouldn’t have won if she/he didn’t have the edge of having a beard and being a transgender. That song wasn’t good enough to win with a normal diva.”

          I was asking the opposite: would Conchita (as it was) won with a lesser song or lesser performance, so just because of beard?
          I guess not as it wouldn’t be a complete package just like you say for the Finns.

          At the end it all comes to a personal preference, you feel Hungary has a complete package and I don’t intend to fight it so good luck 🙂

          • EurovisionBettor

            “But on the jury vote (agenda>performance) she did win the agenda entry by quite a margin.”

            That’s true.

            “I was asking the opposite: would Conchita (as it was) won with a lesser song or lesser performance, so just because of beard?”

            Yes I think so.

            “At the end it all comes to a personal preference, you feel Hungary has a complete package and I don’t intend to fight it so good luck ”

            Aha, that’s arts 😛 And yeah, everyone can’t like everything, it just doesn’t happen. I myself feel like there’s enough people who would intuitively see Hungary’s entry as something that grabs you with emotion and awakens the need to understand his story between all of the entertainment pieces and beautiful light-shows. I think the audience eventually picks it up and that the demographic consistency leans towards immediate people who cherish diversity. I can always be wrong though, and they just see the weird looking pizza-music-guy doing an awkward rap in some pirate-outfit, who the duck knows these days really. I’ve got beaten in this game before. Got Poland’s televote “surprise” right last year and forgot that the song’s lyrics are cringy as hell to the juries. Good luck to you too man.

      • EurovisionBettor

        “It’s a mix of everything so those categorizations are easy to do in hindsight. ”

        The thing is that I do this in advance, not in hindsight (except for pattern recognition). The sole point of this categorization (as it’s really a core ability for this kind of stuff) is to draw wider pictures out of small mixtures, so you can simplify the decision while widening or narrowing it’s chances by every new incremental aspect.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          I too am fascinated by your categorisations, EurovisionBettor. I can tell you are deep with familiarity with your terminology, which at times you seem to use in a shorthand style. I admit that I’m finding it difficult to follow the density of your thoughts and expression, though I’m finding it v worthwhile to be rereading your ideas and paragraphs.

          Re the disabled Finnish disabled punk rockers (of 2015), and this year’s Russian entry (whatever happens or doesn’t happen there) I take your explanation re the use of the term, or qualifier, “pale Agenda”. It feels kind of telling that I also can’t seem to recall the Finnish group name. At first sight I thought “pale Agenda” was a bit vague and dismissive as a term but on second thoughts I really like it!

          Rewatch-listened to the Hungarian entry, and while I think you may be right to believe it to be under-rated, I don’t see it as a contender and I don’t really agree with much in your argument for it, to be honest. I think you’re riding the wrong horse. I predict you’ll find that the principles upon which you’ve justified your selection are indeed sound but that at root origin it’s really the fact that it’s the Hungarian entry that captures and stirs you that has lured supportive principles of yours to it.

          This of course could just be my way of saying that the Hungarian entry doesn’t move or stir me. (It does a bit but not much).

          • I just feel Hungary is too niche to win. Looking at past Agenda-style winners, they weren’t in your face, overbearing or depressing even if they were pushing something that was serious, and it was very easy to identify with them. Everyone could feel spurred on by Conchita’s performance, or saddened by Jamala’s, but Hungary this year is much more niche and Marmite. I’m personally unable to connect with it, and I think a lot of voters will be too.

          • EurovisionBettor

            Sorry for being shorthanded. It’s not easy to deconstruct the mental process into words, and if I started to go even more into every detail behind a term (which I would actually like to), instead of trying to draw the more concrete picture, I think it would become too incoherent and long to read.

            About the “pale Agenda”, it’s the most picturing term I could come up with that kind of performances. Those who don’t have the “complete package”, but are still hyped because of their agenda. People who fall into these are those, who don’t understand the power of an agenda in a performance competition. They appreciate it too high, forgetting that also the agenda needs to get sold to people and it’s not going to happen, if it’s not subtle enough.

            “..it’s really the fact that it’s the Hungarian entry that captures and stirs you that has lured supportive principles of yours to it.”

            This is the general human bias that prevents most of our kind from being exceptionally good at estimating things and therefore making money from betting/investing. I’m not trying to change your mind, as I respect the variety of views so highly as an essential variety in data, for anyone to be able to estimate anything from it, but maybe I can give you some reasons why I think pointing out Hungary as a potential winner isn’t based on my personal bias: I didn’t like the song at first even though I was searching for a political dark horse among the entries (Georgia is SO not doing it right btw..). I saw the Official video, didn’t understand what he was singing about, and ended up thinking he just looks too tacky. I also never, I mean NEVER, listen to such kind of music, so it just didn’t capture me at all. Now what happened, was seeing his live, and noticing that he has the same Eurovision -winner quality about him that I’ve seen in every past 16 winners I did my analysis on. Can we agree that he strikes being genuine on the stage? I believe majority of voters, both in jury and the public, are going to perceive it the same way.

            Outside of not moving or sitting you personally, is there some objective pluses or minuses you would assign to the entry?

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Perhaps I flatter myself, here, when I suggest that conversing with you feels as though it may be akin to having a dialogue with myself!

            I think your belief that you can see in Joci the same quality you’ve seen in every past 16 ESC winners is a belief that is an overstretch. Joci shares a commonality with Mans, with Nikki, with Lena, with Alexander?

            I read your belief in the winning potential of Joci as your stating that you respond at a deep level to his authenticity. He’s a performer who is being true to himself. I’d suggest you’re getting something akin to a Rag’n’Bone Man vibe from Joci. I do sense and acknowledge that quality myself.

            That element could then be augmented by trying to place in a “fake news” global media context etc.

            Question 1: Is Joci feeling something? Yes, definitely.

            Question 2: Do I know what Joci is feeling? No, but I can say he seems troubled and mournful, before passionately and somewhat angrily rapping, before switching back to a tuneful, rhythmic lament.

            Question 3: Is Joci saying something important? Yes, definitely.

            Question 4: Do I have any idea what he’s talking about. No.

            One conclusion would be that this state of affairs is my fault, and my loss, for not being able to speak Hungarian.

            Other conclusions are valid.

          • EurovisionBettor

            Well we are discussing on the same platform after all, so it’s not that far fetched that we share some personal qualities that have led us here, therefore feeling a bit like talking to ourselves.

            Yes I think I can see the same artist’s genuinity in him that I can see in the former winners. Other than that, of course they are all very different kind of acts. That genuinity is one of my pre-requisites for a potential winner and I just can’t find it in other entrants this year. It’s also something that if missing, will derail ANY entry, as the audience just doesn’t “buy” it. I think you know this kind of quality in an artist. The best of them aren’t faking it and if they are, they’re doing it really, really, really well.

            Rag’n’Bone man does have this quality, so you’re right there, though he didn’t came to mind when assessing Joci’s performance. They’re so different in their respective genres.

            Whatever the media decides to do with their narratives, I hope they’ll just repeat what Joci himself says in the interviews, that his “Roma people don’t have their own country, so they’re basigally the minority of immigrants in every country they live in, yet there’s still hope for us to be recognized”. That’s gonna awaken the mainstream media who likes this kind of stuff in today’s political atmosphere.

            And yes I’m confident that the public will feel the same about his performance as you do, and I also believe it’s going to be enough for them to find out what he’s singing about, as there’s couple other good entries that sing in their native language as well this year.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            I do appreciate this Hungarian entry more after reading your reasoned thoughts but if I had to peg a finishing position for it I ‘d still only go as high as 10th, in the Grand Final.

            Last year, over on another betting site, it was me who endlessly obsessed over Jamala and 1944.

            But I just can’t get overwhelmingly engaged by Joci or by his song. Despite his radiating heartfelt authenticity.

            You’re right that there is the potential for the mainstream media to pick up and run with this.

            I could be wrong but I just don’t see it.

            The political storm and fall-out that will continue to hog the headlines will be the the Russia-Ukraine fued.

            You have lost me with your notion that you have seen a genuinity in all of the last 16 acts to win the ESC. That quality is yet sufficiently defined for me to be able to understand what you mean, there.

            Further, I don’t follow why this year you can only spot this “winner’s genuinity” quality in Joci and to a mild degree, among the “serious contenders”, in Francesco.

            To put that second point another way, who among the serious contenders definitely doesn’t have it?

          • EurovisionBettor

            I think Robin Bengtsson is not faking it good enough (it’s really really close though, so who knows, maybe women buy it), and Portugal’s not believeable as a genuine character because it’s just a bit too niché. Gabbani can sell the “gooky italian guy”, but it might be too weird for your average voter. All of the aforementioned are basically trying to take a character, but not being skilled enough doing it, or believeable enough as characters to feel genuine. Kristian Kostov doesn’t yet appear as an interesting character as himself, because of his age. Only Joci Papai is genuinely just himself on the stage, and he’s not afraid to open himself to people as is, so I think it will show, and that the audience will intuitively feel the same “winner’s quality” there that they have felt in past years.

            From the past winners, not everyone sold it. That’s why I actually got Dima Bilan’s win wrong in 2008. I thought he didn’t hit the bar, but eventually the women’s vote ducked me over.

          • EurovisionBettor

            “The political storm and fall-out that will continue to hog the headlines will be the the Russia-Ukraine fued.”

            And this might actually be really bad thing for Hungary. Thank you for pointing it out. Have to hope people get bored of it, OR that it makes people want to virtue signal with Hungary even more than before. The virtue signalers are funny in that way, that they tend to think all the different diversity etc. -issues can be put under the same umbrella. Ideology, yey.

          • EurovisionBettor

            I can already see it lol: “Joci Papai’s message defies borders: Hungarian romani sings about boundaries between cultures and countries.” *$$$JACKPOT$$$*

          • Let’s save this debate until rehearsals now, as I don’t think anyone will agree a position. If Hungary is your pick, EB, fine. Do most of us agree, no. But we’ve exhausted the debate. Move on.

          • EurovisionBettor

            Gavster: hey, it’s not a debate and no one has to agree on my position or vice versa. I really enjoy the conversation and feel like we can all get alot from talking to each-other and as you can see, we haven’t hit the wall yet. Guildo just happened to bring out a really important point about the Ukraine/Russia -relations hogging media space for long time.

            Ofc, maybe the comment section isn’t the best place for such conversation as it gets a bit messy. Have you considered putting up a forum for your site for more deeper talk and analysis btw? This site / community could become better and more profitable for everyone if people get to change ideas openly without harboring unnecessary personal feelings towards a position. Would’t u agree? If you don’t thank you for the platform though. I will move to some other place, though I will keep on listening to your podcast. I think it’s awesome you’re doing it as there’s no much similar kinda stuff around.

          • Thanks for the kind words and my comment wasn’t intended to shut you down, but to shift the conversation to the 42 other songs in the Contest. Hungary has sort of been exhausted.

            We tried a forum when the site first opened, but it wasn’t very productive. And in fairness that’s what the individual song review threads are for.

            You’re more than welcome to post here. Different opinions do help the debate, but at some point the conversation has to move on.

          • EurovisionBettor

            Yes I also agree everything about that certain entry has been said for now.

            Do I dare to ask the amount of your daily individual page views? If the community is growing, the forum could work in the future better than it has. Individual reviews are pretty good “sticky threads” as is though, so I think you have the right idea there.

            I’d actually like to ask people what they think about Armenia’s Artsvik’s chances of getting the jury vote, but the comment section is already getting so filled with different topics and I’m not sure if the conversation at the individual review will catch all the opinions (and fire up something related about other entries) there could be about it.

            Anyhow. Eagerly waiting for the part 2 of the podcast and the conversation spurring from it.

        • My answer EB is that i think Armenia might be the main challenger to Italy if everything works out with the staging,if a lot of Russian diaspora goes to Armenia and if people get the song on first run through.Its an outstanding entry and Artsvik is a real top drawer singer.The jury vote is difficult.If i was scoring id score it above Italy,but the last few years the juries have seemed to go for pretty average radio songs that are well performed instead of things like Fly with Me.It might get the eastern jury vote though and maybe a decent western one.
          Again though at prices of 46s+ it was an easy choice for me to back heavily and stick back into the book at much lower odds now and in running.Another that could flop,or fly,but the artist,delegation and team know what they are doing.

          • EurovisionBettor

            Thank you for your thoughts. They line up with mine. What I would add, is that I have a feeling Artsvik’s entry can be perceived a bit too much like “the copy of last year’s winner”, and they never seem to win. I don’t think it’s going to affect the jury’s vote that much, but public’s, maybe. The song also elevates too late as many have pointed out, though I really don’t know if it would have the same essence without it. Hard to estimate the top3 quality, but likely scores well into 10.

      • RTP confirmed yesterday Salvador’s heart problems that were never denied but Salvador refuses to comment because he does not want it to be a subject, instead of music.

        Salvador Sobral will miss the two first Eurovision rehearsals owing to health issues and will be replaced by his sister.

  13. Question to Gav and every one. If we suppose that Italy wins the televote, what place in jury vote drives into victory? If it is 3rd in jury is still possible a win?And if yes, what about 4th or 5th? Last year sergey finished 5th (i think) in jury. All i want to say is that If there is 1-3 song that will end higher in jury vote, then the Italy’ s victory is not safe at all. Remember Jamala. Finished 2nd both votes but she did win. And i think there is at least 2 songs will be higher than Italy with jury(Bulgaria, Portugal) ,even also +3 songs(Sweden, Australia, Belgium)..

    • The idea that Belgium in its current state will outdo Francesco in the jury vote is not a serious proposition for me…..neither Is Australia as, apart from the vocal talent, the jury have to assess the quality of the song and there is a general consensus that “Don’t Come Easy” is the weakest Oz entry since they joined……and Sweden….? I’d have a fairly decent bet that Italy will end above Robin in the jury vote…..Bulgaria and Portugal are threats, but he can come 3rd /4th and still win……so will another song emerge from nowhere??….that’s the pressing question…

      • Belgium will definitely be better when it needs. Otherwise qualification is questionable. Sweeden and Australia will be voted because of the country and not because of the song. Furthermore it is likely that Australia will have a decent professional standing. And any other country will surprise and end better Italy depends on staging(Greece, Serbia, Azer, Armenia, France).
        I think it is very possible that Italy will finish above 3rd place in jury vote and victory will depend from the good/bad televote result will have the jury winner county. If Bulgaria end 1st on jury and 2nd in televote, it is enough for Bulgaria to win the hole thing

      • I also think that if Italy finished 4th or worst , then the victory is gone. But i would want Gav to tell us about this situation

        • I have touched on this in podcast 3, but to answer your question, I’m working on the basis that Italy is top-3 with the juries. Any lower would make it difficult, but at this point I think he’s capable of doing a Rybak on the televote.

          What are the juries actually marking: song composition/originality, stage presentation, vocals and hit potential. Now Gabbani doesn’t give us any big diva notes; he doesn’t need to. Nor does he look prone to vocal slips that would make the juries deliberately mark him down.

          As for challengers on the jury vote… I would argue Portugal has a good chance. Greece needs a cracking stage show, but given the dated Kontopoulos writing, I suspect Sergey’s 5th is the best they can hope for.

          Bulgaria has the chance to do a Ukraine, but I tend to think Italy will be ahead on both counts.

          And as for Belgium, big improvements needed.

          • The juries aren’t voting on “hit potential”, this is fake news. Although it may be something they are subconsciously looking for, it isn’t part of the official jury criteria.

          • Correction. I was going off an old screenshot.

            Criteria as follows:

            Vocal capacity.
            The performance on stage.
            The composition and originality of the song.
            The overall impression by the act.

          • EurovisionBettor

            “Bulgaria has the chance to do a Ukraine, but I tend to think Italy will be ahead on both counts.”

            I think Bulgaria is only riding the internet’s “youth vote” right now, and I don’t see it as a serious contender despite Kristian Kostov maybe getting some Russia -sympathies. Can’t say for sure if it’s any different for Eurovision as there’s really no precedent in having 17 old teenage-magnet on the roster, but I have seen it not being enough (with similar hype) in other singing and talent competitions despite them being completely decided by the public. They usually end second or third after the “true artist”, so I have to assume without jury’s support (the teenage-magnet aspect matters even less there), that it can’t win some of the more original pieces, but will just line up with dozen of the other well produced ballads.

      • Or me Mark,Belgium is a disaster waiting to happen.They have a song at a low pitch that is the hardest for any singer to stay on key with,who only a few iv ever seen able to do that.What do they do?.Pick a young scared girl with hardly any experience.The song is very strong,so they can save things with a massive staging effort and somehow covering the vocals.The song does give room for full backing support.The delegation should just hire Tanita Tikaram to sing the thing as a backing singer.Also on Australia i think the song is terrible.They will polish it of course,but i see little chance of a high enough jury score.Bulgaria is tricky.It will be somewhere high on both sides,two 2s wouldnt shock me,nor would two 4s.
        For the jury pre-rehearsal i have Italy,Armenia,Hungary,Bulgaria,Portugal at this stage,in no order.Televote roughly the same.I backed Hungary ew when the prices were first published and on the outright at big prices.I just thought the guy was hugely talented and might shorten a lot as a trade,but since then i think he might actually challenge the top places with a fair wind so havent sold any.

        • Hungary is definitely a dark horse and a certain qualifier (though after getting my fingers and wallet burnt on Andras Kally-Saunders’ “Running” in 2014, I am having painful flashbacks writing this!) It stands out, has mystical appeal and he can sing

          Belgium……as for the song itself saving Blanche, well I am not sure…..there are several numbers this year, UK included, that peak at 2 mins 10 secs and stay on the plateau, do not develop. For all of City Lights’ appeal and promise, even as a song it does not quite deliver that thump, gear change moment that makes the goose bumps turn from covert to overt. I hope for her own sake she can get over the nerves……can’t she get some advice from Sandra Kim for God’s sake…!!!??

          • Dark horse for what, though? It’s a great song, but what’s there for non-Roma/Hungarian folk?

            It could Kedvesem, but I’m not seeing that, or it could do a Voltaj and finish 15th.

            Incidentally, De la capat was an ‘agenda song’, but because no one knew what was going on, they didn’t vote for it. I suspect the message of Origo will be similarly lost.

          • EurovisionBettor

            There’s the issue of mass immigration. We have huge movements supporting it in the name of diversity and Eurovision is one of the biggest yearly stages and media-events celebrating Europe’s (atleast perceived) unity. It’s gonna consist more of immigration supporters than opposers, and evidently people are politically aware, as Jamala’s win once again confirmed.

            Hungary will end up being a dud if the message gets lost, obviously, but by the same admission we could say any other foreign language entry would suffer the same fate, yet I think the native language has been such a talking point lately (also fairly many interesting contestants with that same “problem”), that it’s going to be enough for people to go and figure out what these songs are actually about. I think the stage is better set for Joci Papai’s message better than any year before. Same for Gabbani’s, but his message is really vain compared to a topic of immigration and not having a country.

          • EurovisionBettor

            “Incidentally, De la capat was an ‘agenda song’, but because no one knew what was going on, they didn’t vote for it.”

            Btw there was everything wrong with this entry. Just dreadful. I think the audience didn’t even get interested into hearing their message.

          • But what makes you think non-Roma/Hungarians will get the message Joci is trying to convey? There’s nothing in the choreography talking about immigration. Whereas Gabbani at least has key phrases in other languages and an uplifting melody.

            I think you even mention in one of your posts that you didn’t like Origo at first. In that case, why do you think Eurovision viewers will get it to such a degree that Hungary wins, which is what you’re suggesting?

            Jamala lyrics were:

            When strangers are coming
            They come to your house
            They kill you all
            And say
            We’re not guilty
            Not guilty

            And this was straight after the incursion in to Crimea. I don’t see Eurovision reacting quite so resoundingly to a guy rapping in Hungarian.

          • I backed Hungary simply because i liked the EW price when the markets opened and because it had good potential to shorten during rehearsals due to raw talent and a lack of competition for that kind of vote.I dont look at 180/1 shots early as can they beat Italy/the favourite etc,only is there value in that this might shorten.The two with most potential to shorten for me were Armenia and Hungary.The two most likely to drift Belgium and Macedonia.I would of missed Bulgaria,but got it at decent prices due to others advice.Geoff and Gav mostly.I expect Italy to win at this stage,but would be very pleased if it didnt from a book point because my green isnt anything to be excited about now,where others are.

          • EurovisionBettor

            There’s a genuine pain in his performance and the staging oozes ethnicity. I might be putting this bluntly, but I believe even his appearance is going to just instantly make people assume he’s an ethnic immigrant himself. Even the music video has somewhat rugged child with a teddy-bear and a guitar in it. It sounds like it comes from the east, which it basically does with the “turkish beat”. Just not from far-east.

            I didn’t like Origo at first because I initially saw it as a candidate for Song or Performance category of mine, thinking it can’t compete in those because people won’t listen to it at clubs and Hungary doesn’t have any stage tricks that could justify it as a possible Performance winner. Jamala also got ignored for long time outside of the die-hard fan-base (odds came down to 8 at betfair exchange only after the final staging they had with the tree and blue dress), and the entry only started to grew on people later in the stages.

            Jamala’s message right after the incursion in to Crimea obviously has the stronger initial punch than what Hungary this year would have. I just think the stage has been set SO much better for Hungary’s entry than it was for Jamala:
            I think your average Eurovision televoter is around 30 – 50, a woman, in today’s world very politically aware, as they seem to be everywhere all the way from massive women’s marches against inhumane presidential candidates and tens of thousands of people at public venues protesting against different governments’ attempts to curb immigration and send people back to war-torn countries. So we know the same people are the ones who vote at Eurovision, and if they weren’t, they’re missing the biggest opportunity of the year to virtue signal something to european people. We have to admit that as men, straight or not (only around 10% of human population is gay for example), we are going to be in the minority here, and supporting diversity and immigration is mostly women’s niché. I think they’ll gonna use their platform, as they have before. I have seen the political atmosphere around immigration only getting more tense, and virtue signaling in whatever the context is just something liberal (atleast the today’s kind of liberals) people go at, all, the, time, and I just keep on cashing on them.

          • EurovisionBettor

            Durhamborn: Yeah whether you bet on the possibility of a Hungarian upset, your early bets surely will make you money as they shorten. That actually already happened to Hungary at Betfair, but I’m sure the odds will go even lower, so we’ll have something whether the political upset REALLY happens in the end or not.

          • Not much more I can say really, you seem very sure. I reckon you’re overthinking it though.

        • EurovisionBettor

          Gavster: It might be. That’s the way I approach my betting and investing. Trying to find the most profitable dark horses. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but the profits are so high, that I can be wrong around five times in six and still be fine.

          My “portfolio” from Eurovision consists of getting the finnish entry right ever since lordi (except this year cause I put my money in with 3h of “study” into the topic due to other more urgent things), predicting Grand Final winners Lordi (agenda 1), Molitva (agenda 2), Alexander Rybak (performance), Lena (Song, yes it’s that quirky), Loreen (Song), Emmelie de Forest (Song), Conchita (agenda 2), Måns (Song) and Jamala (agenda 2). On top of that being into political demographies have allowed me to predict this year’s Oscar winner Moonlight, Brexit and Trump. I also like other singing contests so I took a bet on the recent Voice UK with the winner Mo Adeniran and X-factor’s Matt Terry. Obviously I’m not perfect, but these things seem to be really easily predictable if you have the understanding / “empathetic capability” to see through certain demographies’ eyes. If it makes me overthink at times, and it can be this exact time as well as any other, it’s still my preferred method. We’ll see how it plays out.

          • Like your points. For me value is everything the market/bookie doesnt know or doesn’t include in their analysis, and this is defenitly a huge part of it.

            I usually bet on (football) goalscorers throughout the year. Most people bet based on stats, but quite often a left-back (shit stats) plays left-forward, and then these stats are not reliable at all, and usually the odd for him to score is waaaaay too high. It’s as easy as that, and you can apply these basics to other markets..

            That’s how I usually try to found value in Eurovision as well (next to just comparing many bookies odds to the market, and see if there’s any mistake/market value at the bookies). In Eurovision-odds at this moment people base their thoughts too much on just listening to the song, without thinking of staging, live-versions (blanche 😉 ), the fact the jury has 50% of the points, or your points (agenda, politics etc.). Only have to keep an eye on the total package as well

          • Let’s say you can turn silver into gold or platinum with all these external circumstances, but you can’t make gold out of shit.

            Ukraine’s song last year was silver and was turned into a winner because of staging, emotion and the political situation. Hungary’s song this year is nickel at max

          • EurovisionBettor

            Yes you’re describing the core idea of betting / investing. The value is whatever the large majority doesn’t know, but you do.

            Can you deconstruct what makes Hungary’s entry a nickel for you this year? Do you think there were better options in their national finals? Do you feel like their 2016 -entry was better? Appreciate your comments. I feel like we can all benefit from hearing different kinds of views in here.

    • EurovisionBettor

      Personally I think jury will favor Italy more than public. I’d assume jury vote will also be more scattered this year, because there’s so many average songs, yet these are still capable of taking individual juries’ votes. You should be basing your analysis on whether Italy is going to win the televote or not. Also if you think they will, could you elaborate why?

      Ps. What do you think of “Francesco Gabbani” and “Occidentali’s karma” being searched more than 99% of the time from Italy itself, according to Google trends?

      • I would be wary of becoming too constrained by the categorisation of songs and analysing Google trends. Sometimes you just need to sit back and appreciate the strengths or weaknesses of each song. And Google trends telling you exactly what’s happening… Occidentali’s karma is a huge hit in Italy and that barely anyone outside of the fan bubble is aware of this year’s songs. So you just have to go by first impressions and working out what the televote and juries will rank top-5.

        • EurovisionBettor

          Maybe, if you have an exceptional intuition and enough trust into it, you’re just fine only going by that. For me the categorization is actually just my natural intuitive thought process deconstructed onto paper. It ables me to get through some of my own possible biases and can also reveal or assure something I couldn’t construct in my “guts”.

          About the Google trends and Occidentali’s Karma, yeah, that’s sort of my point. Some people have been already labeling the song as an instant hit around the world (Even the bookers, but that’s ofc because they have to do their job only by the current or past data), but we really don’t know the ACTUAL public’s reaction to it, and alot of people might be putting too much weight on jurie’s “it’s the classic Eurovision song, so therefore” -appreciation. I wouldn’t advice anyone putting money on Italy at the current odds. Great for anyone who picked them at 20/1 etc. though. At that stage I would have put some balancing bets on them aswell.

  14. I do think Belgium can qualify on virtue of song alone. May not be a top 3 contender from what we can assume about her performance in Kyiv, but the song should (strong air quotes around should) qualify. (For reference, see Croatia 2016, Albania 2015, Slovenia 2015, etc.)
    I wouldn’t necessarily call Portugal a safe qualifier; at least until rehearsals. It is Portugal, after all, but I do think qualification is in reach. Top 5 may be a stretch, considering they’ve struggled to get top 10 with some pretty good songs.
    Otherwise I agree. I would like to pose a question to you all, out of Finland, Azerbaijan, Moldova & Cyprus, who are the most sure qualifiers?
    Good job on the podcast, by the way, very interesting and informative.

    • Azerbaijan will qualify for sure I think and Moldova too, theres always space in the final for fun entries like that.
      Cyprus will be a borderline non qualifier in my opinion. Its ok, but there are stronger entries and it will just miss out.
      Finland will most likely qualify.

  15. Australia is a solid contender to win the jury vote in the final imo. The jury-winning songs tend not to be artistic masterpieces. They are contemporary, well-performed with excellent/impressive staging and are *agreeable*. That’s the key factor with the juries, and why Dami Im pulled such an impressive lead over Jamala last year. It may not have been everyone’s favourite, but it was by far the most agreeable. Jamala was amazing, of course, but it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea to say the least. As long as Australia are piling the cash into the staging, and Isaiah brings the emotional connection for the cameras, I think he should be well up there.

  16. Australia LPM 40
    Bulgaria LPM 8.8

    Seems much too large a difference.

    • So? Australia was trading in the 20s this time last year, and Ukraine in the high 30s.

      • So you’re agreeing with me.

        • So Australia can win the jury vote this year, or come second. It doesn’t matter what price they are now.

          • I’ve felt that Australia has been underated too, the problem I now have though is that they have been dumped in the worst slot possible in the semi, suggesting no great staging and preventing any momentum from building.
            In the semi alone atm I can realistically see it being behind Sweden, Azerbaijan, Portugal, Armenia, Greece, Belgium and potentially Latvia too. I think its superior to Bulgaria, but not many others do and things have fallen much kinder for Kristian. No one seems to like it particularly, for comparison Dami finished 3rd in Ogae and did have fan love before the contest. I know they’re never a great guide but its concerning nonetheless. I feel a jury win has gone at this point and most likely top 5 too. There’s enough other commercial songs that will be well performed for this to get particularly high.

          • …or it’s a package so strong that it can qualify comfortably from anywhere in the semi running order? Like Sweden, I don’t think it will need much of a televote to qualify.

    • Sort of agree when it was another country, but I just don’t see Australia ever getting in the absolute top of the televote. Got the idea a lot of viewers will still not be used to Australia in the contest and believe they shouldnt compete… (2015 4th juries, 6th televote, 2016 massive first place jury, 4th televote (almost thesame ammount as Bulgaria for example, behind Poland)…

      • But might be a good odd the lay after the jury points then 😉 It’s a bit of thesame as last years song, good song to show vocal strength which they seem to like

  17. So you think that Gabbani will be top 3 jury at least. I m not so sure about that. All previous years top 3 jury songs were a little bit different. And the gorilla appearance is something that it will make the song seems “cheaper” in juries eyes. It is just my opinion

  18. Portugal must be the most overrated entry in eurovision history. I dont doubt that it will get support from the juries but is there anyone who really expects eurovision casual viewers to stand behind Salvador so he can gather a strong televote as well?
    The song is a grower, not instant, I think many people will find it weird and boring when they will hear it in May for the first time. I think it can end up 5-12 in the final but create a magical eurovision moment and challenge for the win? I just cant see it.

    • Thesame could be said about Ukraine last year, in a even more extreme way. It’s more about the experience watching/listening to it, and I believe it can tick many boxes for people (and the jury) – both musicaly and just watching the guy, if staging/camerawork is done well. If it’s enough for people to pick up the phone, might be (won’t know till at least the rehearsels), but imo it should be around 10s in the market.

      • I agree. We know exactly what we’re getting from Salvador. Obviously, if he turned up with Sergey’s projection obstacle course, then that’s another matter. He won’t, though.

  19. After studying the teachings of the EurovisionBettor ™ I have come to the conclusion that this year is a year of agenda.
    I can back this up with evidence because the Oscars Best Film also went to a film of agenda, which confirms that we are in a year of agenda. Moonlight is about the struggles of a homosexual African American.
    Now you only have to look which ESC entries fit that category to understand San Marino’s Jimmie Wilson will be the winner of Eurovision. You people might not like the song, but you have to be objective and look at the facts and not be biased by your own personal taste!!1!!11
    Jimmie Wilson might very well be homosexual, so there’s that. In the second step of your analysis you have to ask yourself if he is African American too? In my opinion: Yes. And Valentina Monetta represents the struggles he has to overcome.
    But it is also important to have statistical evidence to support this claim. Austria won in a year of agenda 2014 after not qualifying for two years in a row, San Marino has not qualified for two years in a row also and we are now in a year of agenda as I explained earlier.

    So while last year was all about Russia vs Ukraine narrative, this year is all about San Marino vs. Italy. Do not make the mistake of getting suckered aboard the Italian fail-boat. Back San Marino instead.

    • Not sure there is much overlap between the constituencies of Academy Award voters in the USA and a Europe-wide televote audience….I don’t see San Marino as “Moonlight” I am afraid, although I am prepared to contemplate the enclaved microstate as a much misunderstood minority……

      It doesn’t feel like an agenda year to me, more of a pendulum swing, post-Jamala, to some witty upbeat, toe-tapping fun…..yes, you got it….

      Bulgaria has it in the bag.

    • EurovisionBettor

      Hehe, I appreciate your mockery. The comment was actually genuinely funny. 😀

      Anyhow, it’s ok if you feel like a song like San Marino’s could win like Jamala for example, if only Jimmie Wilson was a homosexual pope (well ok, maybe the pope part would even do it lol). Agenda can’t win if the song isn’t good, if the vocals aren’t good, if the performance or lyrics are cringey etc.. there’s many factors that just instantly cut the chances from an Agenda. Watch Georgia this year for example. She tries too hard and that’s why she’s in the bottom. I’m only trying to make you understand the possibility for an Agenda to propel a good contestant to an easy win, as it has happened so many times before, and I just think people still haven’t picked on this year’s message. Not a big factor, but hey, even the 2017 slogan is “Celebrate diversity”. They could have picked ANYTHING else, but this is what they chose. It’s going to be the theme of the whole venue.

      Ps. I won quite a bit money from that Moonlight Oscar win by just assuming Hollywood is filled with virtual signalers, as we all know from their speeches and public presentations. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to aknowledge that political agenda is a powerful player in Eurovision aswell.

    • Funny enough Shell i might be the only person outside of Siegel who has San Marino green.I had a tip off that they had approached Arisa from Italy to represent them and she was thinking seriously about it so had a sneaky fiver on at 400s.That fiver would of been better spent on a kebab,but reading your thoughts it could turn out the best fiver i ever spent thankyou.

  20. Out of topic. Russia is out of the competition. Channel one will not broadcast… I have already comunicate with betfair and they told me that every bet will be void

  21. Think Sportsbook will void but bets will stand on the exchange would have liked it otherwise but not to be.

  22. Hungary has a long aggressive rap section in a rough repulsive foreign language sung by an ugly 36 year old dude.

    • The girl is hot though.

      I wonder if they’re authentic gypsies.

    • Wow say what you really think!

      I think he’s quite handsome, and sings rather passionately. The whole package is kinda sexy, for me anyway. I think it’s a bit of an oddity though. Niche. Qualification is the ceiling for it.

  23. I kind of disagree with a statement that Finland is not current enough. I believe it is! Why? Take a closer look at the arrangement which is basically a minimalistic electro (except piano solo). And it blends nicely into this nordic noir atmosphere.

  24. Sweden a potential casualty? Is this personal opinion getting mixed in with prediction? I don’t like Italy this year but I get the appeal and is a very likely winner. That aside, a very interesting listen and do agree with a lot of what’s said here.

  25. Some very interesting points in this podcast and it’s aftermath. I’ll add my thoughts on just a couple of them:

    Where will Italy come in the jury vote? It might not be a matter of where it comes but how many points behind it is at that stage. The problem Russia had last year was that it was several hundred points behind Australia and Ukraine. This year Italy may be 4th -6th with the juries at worst, but I don’t see anyone running away with the jury vote so there won’t as much ground to make up. By contrast I can see Italy winning the televote by a large points margin.

    Who will win the jury vote? There’s a lot of support on here for a strong showing for the likes of Portugal. I’m not sure it will be near the top of the jury vote because the style of song is too divisive. Some jurors will love this and score it very high, but out of panels of 5? jurors I can imagine at least one or two will mark it low (too old fashioned, too quirky) pulling the general jury score for the voting country down. Never overestimate the tastes of Eurovision juries! I’m with Tim B on the sort of song that will score consistently with jurors – and here we’re often looking at safer, but more contemporary, numbers like Bulgaria, Sweden and Australia. Granted some ‘risky’ songs can buck the trend like Jamala, Loic and Aminata but in each instance they were helped enormously by absolutely first rate staging and in Jamala’s case by politics and – dare I use this term – ‘agenda’.

  26. Hungary will not be in the top 5 with juries or televoters. The pointless rap virtually ensures that. Top 10 the best it can hope for. (And I personally really like it)

    • When I mentioned Hungary’s” dark horse ” potential I should have made it clearer…not a remote chance of top three. But a comfy qualifier in weak semi two and capable of nudging top ten….

    • Who u rate above Hungary in the top 10? Imo Hungary has better chance than the odds assume.

  27. What are the thoughts on Austria?

    It’s been very much under the radar and see no one mentioning it… For me, it might be a bit like Belgium in this stage of last year, everybody just moves it aside like it has no chance. Just like Belgium, it’s a bit bland, but the song is ceeeeertainly not worse as many others above him in the market.

    The guy has charisma, is quite ‘voteable’ imo, over-doing it a bit at the pre-concerts, but overall good preformances. If they are able to mix this with good staging, and they are able to get out of the semi at a horrible position and get a decent draw for the final (could be a breath of fresh air between all the others – heavy – songs/ballads), why couldn’t they push for a top 10. Backed a bit at 11.5 earlier, seems too high for me

    • I thought it could possibly challenge for qualification, but that running order has all but obliterated their chances. It’s exactly the kind of song that will be easily forgotten from that slot.

  28. Got to say I showed the song’s of semi final 1 in running order to my family last night (casual viewers) and I got some interesting views. My dad got Portugal in one listen and said it was Italy’s biggest challenger, they also got Belgium & Azerbaijan and while a little underwhelmed they also got Australia (high expectations the reasoning). But the one entry they all got on 1 listen and both loved which really shocked me was Czech Republic, I know it’s only one family but my parents would be similar to your average viewer so when you consider that and the CR’s late draw than they might be one to keep a small eye on in terms of qualification until rehearsal’s at least.

    • They liked Czech Republic? No wonder. It’s the same bland stuff they listen to from radio daily. It’s like the epitome of “old people’s hits” channel. It’s not gonna work in Eurovision, but if you like the 970/1 odds, go for it…

    • Interestingly enough, Cathal, I also personally like the Czech song. On this and other sites a number of of people have said the same but then have gone on to add they can’t see it getting out of the semi. Maybe we are overlooking the obvious, but given its almost total lack of voting ‘friends’ NQ for the Czech Republic remains my assessment.

    • Martina has a wonderfully textured jazz vocal, and sadly the worst thing you can do with this sort of style, is enter it into a pop-song contest. It’s one I personally like, but it won’t get the traction to qualify. Last year with a better song, a strong singer, a good performance, and placed in the weaker of the two semi’s, they only just made it. At those sort of odds (970/1 ftw) I might put a few quid down…but yeah the Czech’s are an almost certain NQ.

    • The are a red for me at the moment but I think they could be a dark horse for qualification, a little bit like Georgia last year granted that was actually a great song that ESC fan’s didn’t think would be able to be as good as it turned out to be on stage.

  29. I know I’ll be accused of losing my senses by seeming to cite OGAE votes as a launchpad for serious discussion, BUT, after nine lots of votes and more than 700 actual voters’ decisions taken into consideration, I am a trifle surprised at Bulgaria’s meagre ten pts. Kristian has registered with just three countries…3,3 and a 4. I know all the arguments : OGAE always goes for uptempo numbers, is fanwank central, gets it wrong (but also gets in right in an upbeat year…Italy?)……I just would have expected maybe 30, 40 votes at this stage…..

    Still think it’s top three material though…..

    • EurovisionBettor

      OGAE votes truly can’t be taken too seriously, since there’s so much disparity between different nationalities. The composition might change somewhat site by site, but there’s this one polling site that shows how many people voted from each country. Some of the countries are in under 50 users and others, like Germany for example, had hundreds of people voting. Since every nation’s vote is compressed to the scale of 1 to 12pts, there’s alot of room for errors.

      • I can’t imagine that in the actual contest Romania will have as many voters as Germany or as Russia would have had. Yes, from a statistical point, the OGAE votes could be irrelevant, but it’s the best simulation you can get close to the actual contest.

        • EurovisionBettor

          Unfortunately true. Dno if any site with big enough reach has the will to do accurate enough polling. We would love it ofc, but only for a while, as then the market wouldn’t be so prone to make mistakes. I personally love ESC as a target cause of the insanely high odds for dark horses. Maybe we would lose that if OGAE polling was more precise. Silver lining.

  30. Greece exclusive: Apparently some guy have watched a rehearsal and leaked the idea behind the staging.
    Demy is sitting in a swing in the center of the stage and around her a romance between 2 people is being unfolded ( they fall in love, dance, and then get apart from powerful wind coming from wind machines but they get together again in the end ). He says its incredibly moving and well-directed & executed.
    He adds that Fokas’s initial idea was different and included butterflies but it was rejected by Kiev due to technical difficulties.
    Nothing has been officially confirmed, but it sounds great to me

    • EurovisionBettor

      They’re definitely putting effort into it if that’s true. Sadly doesn’t strike as anything really original though.

    • I read it too, but i think it’s fake. Check the latest rehearsal videos, there are 3 back vocalists and 2 male dancers, it doesn’t add up.

      • But one of the males stands alone, while the other 3 are together. So he’s obviously going to interact somehow. What if they were still looking for the female dancer when they shoot the rehearsal video? The girls doing the backing vocals doesnt really look suitable anyway 😛

        • In the video there are 3 backing vocalists ( 1 guy and 2 girls ) and 1 guy standing close to them.
          The guy sitting is their dance director I think, he is not going to perform.

    • That’s great info if accurate, thanks. Was it reported, or leaked in a video?

      • Just a guy claiming he watched a rehearsal. He could have made up the whole thing but he sounds pretty accurate and persuasive. Plus Demy herself said in a interview that Fokas is preparing something really romantic and tender and knowing Foka’s work, it really sounds like something he would do.
        We will see in 2 weeks

  31. The last performance Blanche.


    Perhaps she returned to the game and will take first place.

    • EurovisionBettor

      They’re giving her a change now. It still needs to get a bit better to be contesting the first place, but I suppose it’s still possible.

  32. And 2 performances by Isaiah


    His voice is not the same as in the recording.

    • EurovisionBettor

      I think Bulgaria just lost it’s chance to win the contest. Isaiah is apparently more believable performer live than in the video. I’m sure this performance will steal a meaningful proportion of Kristian Kostov’s potential voters. The plot thickens and I love it. Thanks for sharing these Oxana.

    • EurovisionBettor

      The 2nd performance of Isaiah doesn’t work though. He really needs closeups and might therefore not appear as good as Bulgaria with jury’s vote. Isaiah won’t win it in staging as Bulgaria has promised the stage with something related to their music video, which has some cool choreography potential in it.

  33. I dont like the video of Bulgaria and it seems like I wont like the live performance either, the song is 100% a love song and they try to make it a song against terrorism because its current. Pretentious

  34. “I’ve got five qualifiers from the back end.. if I really push it.”

    I must be very tired to find that so funny.

  35. New performances by Demy


    It looks sweet to me

  36. What you’ve all been waiting for!!!

    Having finally done the analysis, my pre-rehearsal predictions for Semi1 are as follows:

    Green – Sweden, Australia, Latvia, Portugal, Armenia, Moldova, Greece

    Amber – Poland, Azerbaijan, Albania, Finland, Belgium, Cyprus

    Red – Czech Republic, Georgia, Iceland, Montenegro, Slovenia

    Having seen the clip from The Voice, Belgium, I am slightly more optimistic for Blanche. She has a lovely distinctive voice, but unfortunately zero stage presence to go with it. They are going to have to come up with some intimate staging to cover this and even if they are successful, I suspect the best they can hope for is a high jury vote. I don’t see the televote going for it.

    Poland – as Gav says, lack of diaspora puts this in real danger if juries shun it as I think they will do.

    Cyprus – Gav says this is one he skips when playing the songs back and (despite liking it on first listen) this sums up my current feelings about it. If it wasn’t second half I’d have it as red.

    Iceland – I have this red based on the national final performance. If she turns up wearing something sensible and we can actually see her on stage this might be amber. However, as good as the song is, I don’t see televoters going for it. It would have to get a lot of jury love to qualify.

    Azerbaijan – This is a good song, but even before I saw a video of Dihaj live I suspected it might lack televote appeal. It may well be relying on ‘friends’ to keep it afloat.

    Albania – My amber rating surprised even me. As Gav has pointed out, Albania has friends in this semi and if juries reward Lindita’s vocal (and as Black and Blue has said, the run of ballads in slots 2, 3 and 4 potentially plays into her hands) she might just somehow scrape through.

    Greece – The live performances look promising but I suspect Demy was miming in at least one of them. I have it as a reasonably safe qualifier – but if the staging lives up to expectations it could possibly be a top 10 in the final.

    Hopefully, which of the ambers make it and which won’t will become a lot clearer when we see rehearsals.

  37. Stage design for the performance of Belgium


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