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Eurovision 2018: Semi-Final 1 Podcast

We discuss the first semi-final of Eurovision 2018 with writer and broadcaster, Roy Delaney, and Entertainment Odds owner, Rob Furber.

And here’s a few of those pre-selection videos we mentioned…

Poster credit: Tellystats.

About Gavster

Owner & Chief Editor   I’m a qualified designer and the official geek in the crew, dedicating most of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

5 comments

  1. Have to agree with Rob on Lithuania.Iv actually had Ieva on my radar for a few years now.It is a very decent piano led ballad on its own,but she lifts it way above that.Her voice and smile are infectious.These sorts of ballads are actually very difficult to sell because you need a genuine delivery with the right vocal control.The emotion has to come through while staying in tune,and few can manage that.Its a brutal semi,but she is as good as any of them,and from a quality/talent side id love to see her in the final and then fight for top Baltic.That would be exquisite,slaying the Estonian cardboard cutout along the way.

    • If history has proven anything in the past years, than such ultra-slow, ultra-genuine songs actually are not that difficult to sell. There is still this “angst” that such songs can not do well (remnants from the 100% televoting era? 1998-2008?). But history has proven that such entries are much easier to stage, thus they can connect/emote easier with audiences than we think.

      Just a few examples:
      –> NETHERLANDS 2014: Yes, a big staging triumph, but that doesn’t do the sincere quality of the song any justice. Actually, it was a smashing song!
      –> NORWAY 2014: Perhaps not as good as Netherlands that year, but it even stood out from a pretty dire running order grid. Simply because it was so genuine and slow.
      –> NORWAY 2015: Same story again. By this year the “Common Linnets” effect was on full display. Another smashing entry within the ‘ultra-slow genre’.
      –> SWEDEN 2016: Another little, gentle pop song that eventually managed to stand out thanks to great staging.
      –> BELGIUM 2017: Perhaps not the best example, but the song itself was, apart from being great, also a rather ‘small’, quiet entry. That was staged decent but certainly not fantastic. Yet people connected with this entry emotionally.

      Now this year we have IRELAND and LITHUANIA. And for both entries there’s something to say for qualification.

      Lithuania is very nicely staged, with the singer at first sitting on the floor and being captured with plentiful close-ups. Moreover, I think Lithuania will stand out between Czech Republic and Israel, as much as Israel and Czech Republic will stand out due to a ‘silent’ entry from Lithuania.

      On the other hand, Ryan from Ireland is a great singer too. And, like Lithuania, he is smashed in between two busy, ‘louder’ acts. Also, it starts at grid #18, which could give it a slight advantage.

      So I can understand why Gavster has put both Lithuania and Ireland on amber, with a dash of green. But at this stage, I just can’t choose between Ireland and Lithuania. Perhaps Lithuania has a bit more of a striking stage concept?

  2. I have a question for Gavster, and I am very curious how professional betters like him and Rob, Tim, Daniel look at this: How are you predicting the televote properly at this stage? And which countries do you think will be the heavy televote hitters and at the same time the big jury failures?

    To answer that question a bit more easily, I have actually made a list of such recent entries:

    –> POLAND 2014:
    TELEVOTING 05th & JURY 23rd (running order #09)

    –> SWITZERLAND 2014:
    TELEVOTING 07th & JURY 22nd (running order #20)

    –> ROMANIA 2014:
    TELEVOTING 09th & JURY 17th (running order #06)

    –> ESTONIA 2015:
    TELEVOTING 05th & JURY 11th (running order #04)

    –> ALBANIA 2015:
    TELEVOTING 09th & JURY 26th (running order #25)

    –> SERBIA 2015:
    TELEVOTING 10th & JURY 24th (running order #08)

    –> POLAND 2016:
    TELEVOTING 03rd & JURY 25th (running order #12)

    –> AUSTRIA 2016:
    TELEVOTING 08th & JURY 24th (running order #24)

    –> SERBIA 2016:
    TELEVOTING 11th & JURY 23rd (running order #15)

    –> ROMANIA 2017:
    TELEVOTING 05th & JURY 15th (running order #20)

    –> HUNGARY 2017:
    TELEVOTING 07th & JURY 17th (running order #08)

    –> CROATIA 2017:
    TELEVOTING 09th & JURY 22nd (running order #08)
    Those are the entries that were tremendously helped by televoting audiences, but suffered with the juries (usually outside TOP 10 with juries).

    Some conclusions I made:

    A. 7 of these 12 entries had a running order in the 1st half of the show.

    B. 8 of these 12 entries were very feelgood (up-tempo, simple, easy, happy).

    C. 3 countries of this list were from the Balkan, other 7 were former Soviet nations (Hungary, Poland, Romania, Albania) or very central European nations.

    D. only 2 of these list were ‘classic’ Eurovision nations (Switzerland and Austria).

    E. Most of these ‘televoting’ entries had something quite….’remarkable’ about its staging or song….to say the least. The good old…gimmicks perhaps:
    –> Big titties for Poland 2014,
    –> Cute Rybak-esque violinplayer for Switzerland 2014,
    –> A toilet seat piano for Romania 2014 + some augmented reality,
    –> Sudden disappearance of the male singer for Estonia 2015,
    –> A fat woman dancing like a cow for Serbia 2015,
    –> Long-haired androgynous guy for Poland 2016,
    –> A French-language flower-y song for Austria 2016,
    –> Guy on a shooting canon for Romania 2017,
    –> Mating ritual for Hungary 2017,
    –> A fat guy with schizofrenic clothes for Croatia 2017.

    So coming back to my initial question, how are people within the betting market try to ‘find’ such entries? And which countries this year could be added to above list? Is your betting portfolio also adjusted to these kind of predictions (terrific with televoting, not so with juries)?

    If you ask me, I think these countries could do well with televoting, and suffer more with juries:
    –> BELARUS
    –> BULGARIA
    –> FINLAND
    –> SERBIA
    –> MOLDOVA
    –> THE NETHERLANDS
    –> SLOVENIA

    All other countries to me will do well enough with juries (or will score very low with both televoters and juries).

    • Myself I tend to look more on the jury side to find value.

      Last years the market really didn’t seem to understand that part and just thought about the televoting (the appeal and craziness of it). The best example was the Finish Down Syndrom band, even was number 1 favourite at one point(!!!!!) and of course didn’t make the final. Other simple examples are Russia 2016 (outdated) and Italy 2017 (no amazing vocals + monkey). And maybe Netta will be another great example.

      Modern and quality (radio) songs – in a genre that people underestimate for eurovision -, like JOWST last year, seem to be underrated on the market often.

  3. I’m coming around to Lithuania’s chances to qualify but it could still be forgotten very easily.
    Ireland still feels hopeless to me, I don’t care if he sings it well or about the late draw, the song is just too lightweight in this semi.

    Azerbaijan would be in more trouble for me but I expect the 20 points or so that the Greek and Cypriot juries will gift to their dream team guys could save them. They’re a coin flip here.

    Bulgaria and Estonia do seem to be underperforming in all the preview jury stuff. Estonia’s jury has always been capped but I wasn’t expecting it to be so overlooked. Bulgaria will perform the same East and West. How well that is depends on the staging. At current odds they’re a lay all day long. I backed at 18s or so after the release and there’s no way this should have shortened since then.

    My stance on Israel is the same as with the betting community favourites the last two years – Frans and Francesco Gabbani. Can win, not good value, alot of question marks, in the running rather than theirs to lose.

    Like Rob I was keen on Armenia too but the aggressive route is not the one they should be taking. Greece is the dark horse for me. It’s definitely diaspora friendly and could really pick up the Balkan votes given how weak that region is again.

    There’s not a great deal of value in this semi compared to the final or semi 2 and my only serious position for now is backing Greece in the various markets.

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