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Eurovision 2018: Would You Like Fries With That?

We are just over one week away from the first day of Eurovision 2018 rehearsals so it’s time to run through the list of contenders before next Sunday.

Going back to last year’s final and Salvador’s winner’s speech; his first act wasn’t to thank people for voting or praising the hosts, but to deliver a self-righteous monologue about a world of fast-food music that lacks content. I’m sure it sounded great when he practiced it in the mirror, but such lofty statements have a way of coming back to bite you on the arse.

Schadenfreude is wonderful thing, and looking at this year’s market leaders, most could be considered bad for your musical health if Dr Sobral had his way. Let’s peruse the menu:

Israel have entered the musical equivalent of a KFC Bucket Meal: endless amounts of finger lickin’ good chicken, but it has a few unhealthy ingredients and is best enjoyed in moderation.

If you are backing Israel at their current circa 2/1 price, you have to be very sure that the delegation is capable of staging Toy to make it accessible enough to the widest possible voting demographic. Israel is traditionally good at this, but then they’ve never had to deal with anyone quite like Netta. Based on a dance tutorial video, it appears Netta will retain her dancers from the official video which could make the presentation of Toy appear too frenetic, or at worst, aggressive. The song hits you like a tonne of bricks anyway, and if the choreography comes across as too in-your-face, it will prove difficult for Netta to win over viewers. This is where Israel has to convince gamblers; any whiff of weakness and their favourite status will fade in the blink of an eye.

In the review I said that the looper was Netta’s trump card, but at the Israel Calling pre-concert it became a confusing distraction. The looper isn’t that integral to the song, so that opening could cost Israel votes before the main thrust of the song starts. Netta would be better off without it, but then her USP and raison d’être is removed and Toy reverts to being just another song in the lineup.

Over in Amsterdam, Netta said: “we’ve made some surprises for you…for Lisbon. Right now it’s just a teaser.” Netta said this while sporting a flamboyant lolita goth dress and a stilettoed headband. If this is ‘just a teaser’, I shudder to think what Netta will be treating viewers to during the live semi-final next month.

Another potential negative that is both controversial and wasn’t something I wanted to bring up is the potential anti-Israel sentiment. For some awful and irrational reason, hostility to Israel is on the rise in Europe, especially in the UK. Unfortunately, there is a chance this could influence both sides of the vote. Fingers crossed it doesn’t.

On the plus side, however, Netta is faultless live, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who completed basic research. Toy is an incredibly strong and original song and should either bring Israel their first top-5 since 2005, or potentially their fourth victory. But they are beatable: the non-Eurovision people I have shown Israel’s video to all failed to get it straight away and have instead preferred the simpler songs in the lineup.

Mikolas Joseph’s Lie To Me is a 3-minute Happy Meal; great for the youth – not sure about the oldies.

The Czech Republic’s best result to date is Gabriela Gunčíková’s 25th-place in 2016. The market thinks that 22-year old Mikolas Joseph has an opportunity to not only beat that result but to potentially fight for the win. Lie To Me was released early in the selection season, so my initial reaction was based on something better coming along. Other songs have emerged but all have negative aspects to their performance or composition.

Mikolas’ strength is his charisma and confidence, which is on the right side of likeable, rather than cocky. The nerdy clothing ensemble further adds to his ability to connect with TV viewers which somewhat overcomes any worries about the rapping – it’s all neatly packaged into a likeable and credible concept.

Mikolas will be joined by professional dancing brothers, Kristián and Marek Mensa, who specialise in hip-hop and break dance. This is where the Czech Republic needs to act with care, given anything too dark or hardcore could negatively affect the jury score and televote. They should also ensure that any choreography supports Mikolas, rather than overpowering the core aim, which is to present a fun, bouncy song.

In an open year, being able to appeal to both east and west is crucial and the Eurojury poll shows Mikolas is capable of just that. Provided Mikolas is able to deliver Lie to Me live on the Eurovision stage, he should be in the mix for the top honours.

Estonia might think it’s classy, but Elina’s La Forza is like walking past Burger King and paying four-times the price in Byron Burger for virtually the same meal.

There is a fairly vocal minority within the fan and betting community who reckon La Forza is this year’s winning song based on Elina’s vocal ability and a recycled staging prop [see AZ-2012 & MD-2013]. If vocal ability was the main deciding factor for Eurovision winners then surely Rona Nishliu would have won in 2012? Perhaps Zlata Ognevich can pinch the 2013 trophy back from Emmelie de Forest? And if we are indeed expected to submit to La Forza being the first popera Eurovision winner, how is it better than Il Volo’s Grande Amore from 2016, which finished 6th with the juries and only topped the televote because of the virtuoso performance by three relatable, telegenic guys singing a hugely uplifting classic Italian popera song?

Elina won Eesti Laul in a weak year, so her margin of victory rather exaggerates the strength of La Forza in the Eurovision context, which when compared to the likes of Grande Amore, lacks the melody and emotional trigger to appeal to a wide enough demographic. If you were not an opera fan in 2015, there’s a chance Il Volo would have won you over, whereas Elina’s more clinical performance leaves you cold. And despite romping the Eesti Laul jury and televote, Elina hasn’t been shown any such favour in the OGAE and Eurojury polls. The Eurojury poll is remarkably good at gauging likely Eurovision jury support and it is telling Estonia has struggled on this metric.

Ever imagined dipping your McDonalds chicken nugget into every single one of their flavoured sauces rather than just one. No, me neither, but Bulgaria thought it would be great to bring together five diverse singers, none of whom had ever performed together, with two hailing from that nation renowned for Eurovision: the good ol’ USofA.

The Bulgarian PR machine has been relentless since December, teasing almost every minutiae of their selection process before March’s song and artist reveal. The constant PR push drove down Bulgaria’s market price to around 7/1. As soon as the song was released that price drifted to over 30/1. The price has since been driven down with every new flood of PR, whether that be Equinox’s London Eurovision Party performance or the unveiling of Sacha Jean-Baptiste as their staging director. There has been speculation that Bulgaria might be manipulating their own price, as there was a noticeable crash around 30-minutes prior to their performance in London. There are other examples such as the continual push to falsely hold the price at 6/1 on Betfair as it tries to edge out to 9/1+. This is nothing new for Eurovision delegations, but it’s not as clear cut as Russia 2016. Given we’ve yet to have a 100% live performance, it’s a mystery why Bones is still rated so highly.

I’ve nothing against the song per se; I was on the jury that helped select Bones, but that was without knowledge of who would be performing it. The demo I heard sounded very much like Loreen (since denied), who was approached to join the ‘common framework’. However, the inclusion of two American ringers who don’t really tick the voteable box for eastern Europe has set alarm bells ringing in terms of Bulgaria’s ability to score well. Add to that Zhana’s futuristic hair and the distinct lack of a telegenic or relatable lead singer and it’s possible to see through what is an overly hyped song that may even struggle to qualify. Sorry folks, but there isn’t love beyond the Bones.

If you prefer an all-you-can-eat buffet, maybe Australia is your thing: it’s the song that could seemingly offer something for everyone in a Contest where all of the likely contenders have drawbacks.

Just returning to when the song was first released, it was the first time an Australian song caused the market price to contract – in previous years it drifted to 20+. That price has continued to shorten following Jessica’s impressive performances at the various pre-concerts and some high scores in the Eurojury poll. Admittedly, her Israel Calling performance wasn’t helped by a dodgy vocal mix. Nevertheless, the market has finally acknowledged the song’s ability to improve when performed live, just like Sound of Silence in 2016.

There is an anti-Australia sentiment built into some of the OGAE scores coming through, which suggests Jessica might struggle to score in the east and Balkans. This is where Dami Im lost out in 2016, yet she still topped the jury vote and only finished 23-points adrift of Jamala. This year there is a lack of diaspora-heavy nations in contention when compared to 2016; there’s no Russia, Ukraine or Poland, so either market leader Israel romps to victory, or we get a compromise winner. As mentioned above, Australia has the ingredients to come alive on stage owing to Jessica’s star quality and relatable girl next door image.

The one negative is stage designer Sacha Jean-Baptiste, who has a propensity to favour dark, avant-garde concepts. Australia needs to appear uplifting and feel-good, channeling the mood of Emmelie de Forest’s Rainmaker. Based on her Eurovision In Concert performance, Jessica appears more than capable of delivering this mood.

But what about Sweden? Well Dance You Off is safe and unambitious, but it ticks the box when nothing else appeals. It’s the “go on, I’ll make do with the Margherita pizza” moment on this Eurovision fast food menu.

Just like Estonia’s Eesti Laul, this year’s Melodifestivalen was weaker than normal, so a song that was initially dismissed as just a top-4 in the final ended up winning. Despite Dance You Off charting well in Sweden, I feel Ingrosso will struggle to appeal to the televote in much the same way as Bengtsson did in Kyiv. What Ingrosso boasts in vocal and dance skill, he loses in his ability to connect with viewers on an emotional level. The performance is dominated by the neon-effect staging which fails to deliver an emotional trigger point. Moreover, the whole wearing the biker jacket half way down his back combined with the Bengtsson nods to camera all appear a bit douchey. The juries will commend it, but I fear for the televote.

Back in the 1990s, Wimpy was a popular fast-food chain in the UK, which is roughly when Alexander Rybak’s song was last in fashion.

Levity aside, one shouldn’t be put off by the dated nature of That’s How You Write A Song, as it’s a simple, entertaining entry that perfectly suits the Saturday night audience while playing to Rybak’s ability to woo audiences with his boundless charisma. Rybak’s cheerful ‘camping-it-up’ performance is the perfect antidote to Ingrosso’s over-produced 3-minutes. Furthermore, Norway will attract most of the PR in semi-final 2 which should propel them above Sweden in the reckoning, and thus into a decent producer-decided running order slot in the final. Björkman may opt to close the show with Norway if Rybak draws a second-half slot, which would see their price contract further along with talk of a dark horse winner intensifying.

Even so, Rybak has to remain a dark horse for now, as it’s inconceivable juries would support him above all of the nations listed above. The only way I can see Rybak challenge the top spot is if the other contenders try to be too clever with their staging and lose out to Rybak’s simple charm. Even so, Norway should be a great trading opportunity once British punters get involved in the final, which is when Graham Norton could tip Rybak to win.

So if Salvador is to swerve an embarrassing fast-food music victory on home soil, where might that cordon-bleu musical concoction hail from?

France tends to be the first nation on most people’s list of ‘real music’ contenders. The problem Madame Monsieur have is selling their message to non-French speakers, given LED screens were banned by RTP after consultation with Salvador. On the other hand, the musicality, rhythm and mood of the song sets it apart from most of this year’s field, it’s just unfortunate the song’s message – its USP – is lost in the language.

It’s also worth noting that Madame Monsieur only finished third with the Destination Eurovision juries and are presently treading water in the lower echelons of the Eurojury poll. Mercy should be a jury song, yet for some reason it is struggling to attract wider support. Nevertheless, Top-10 should be within reach given the standard of songs competing this year.

Outside of France it’s hard to see many other ‘real music’ contenders for the win at this stage. Germany, Greece and maybe even Belarus and Lithuania are capable of surprising given there has to be at least one ballad near the top, but most of these songs require major improvements. This highlights the lack of depth in this year’s field: there are plenty of pleasant, middle-of-the-road songs that tick the 7th-13th box, yet those same songs are the sort of entries talked about after the final as the surprise non-qualifier or undeserving last place. It’s time to face the music folks, this year’s winner looks set to get slapped with a health warning…

So then Salvador, would you like fries with your Eurovision 2018 winner?

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. Catriona Colville

    Wow, you really have a stick up your arse about Salvador’s speech, don’t you? The irony is that I think he would be pretty satisfied to hand over the trophy to Netta. Despite my dislike of the song, it’s a unique, off-kilter song with a message. Netta doing things her way. Australia would probably piss him off though.

    As for the rest, I agree with many of your points, although in the “real music” section, I think you are underestimating France. I think you overstate the importance of the message. A lot of people who love it didn’t even know what it was about on first listen. I know I didn’t. The song alone I believe is strong enough to win. They do have to get the staging right though, so until we have the first rehearsal (4th of May I think), I’ll be holding off calling this the winner.

    I would also add Belgium to the list. Her vocals have improved a lot already. This isn’t a Blanche situation. Her issue is the televote, but I think Belgium can get top 3 with the juries on the Saturday night. I would also think about Netherlands too. I’m actually surprised you didn’t mention it. What do you think rules it out from victory? Because I’m struggling to find a weakness there.

    Pre-rehearsal, my top 5 fighting for victory currently are :


    My dark horse is Denmark. I know all here will disagree, but my gut is telling me this will explode with the general public. Especially if Norway fails to.

  2. Really incisive analysis, Gav, and there’s not much to disagree with. At this stage I have narrowed the field down to 9 possible winners – some of them a lot more possible than others!

    For Israel, everything hangs on first rehearsal. If they nail it it may be game over, but I kind of suspect that all your fears about the aggression, looper etc may be proved correct and the betting market will change dramatically. If so, which entries will pick up the pieces:

    My money is on Australia. If ever a song was written for modern Eurovision, this is it. Like you, I think this will come alive on stage. I can see this topping the jury vote. Whether it can come higher than 5th or 4th with the televote I don’t know.

    Like Catriona, I have a sneaking fancy for The Netherlands as a dark horse. It has been under the radar in recent weeks. But it is a classy song delivered by a strong charismatic performer. The release video gave clues as to how this will be staged – flashing lights and fast cut away camera angles which will give it tremendous energy. It could by vying with Australia to win the jury vote. My concern is the televote. It needs to find some momentum to get in the top 5 there.

    Norway – I can see as a possible winner by default – if stronger contenders fall by the wayside. The problem with That’s How You Write a Song is the song. To borrow your metaphor, it also reminded me of Wimpy – but in the 1970s. It could have some ground to make up after the jury votes have been counted. For me, the most likely parallel is Moldova 2017 – also not a great song, but brilliantly staged which came about 8th with juries and 3rd overall.

    Czech Republic – I just about give this a chance of winning. I think it will do well with juries and the televote but the musical style and Mikolas’s ‘cocky’ persona, may alienate too many for it to carry off the big prize.

    France – You made a good point about it only being third with juries in the French national qualifiers. However, by dint of its message it is a song that has potential to gain momentum through the competition. But, they have to get that message over in a clear but not too ham-fisted way, and this may be beyond France.

    Estonia – Another one that I can’t rule out completely for the win – given that Elina’s live vocal is so superb that it is undoubtedly going to attract votes on the night. But will it do any better than Ill Volo – I doubt it.

    Of the other countries you mentioned Sweden and Bulgaria may finish top 10 or top 5 even but just don’t have winner vibes about them in any circumstances. And that goes for the rest of the field with the small exception of Spain and the even smaller exception of (don’t shoot me down in flames for this) Finland! Saara has got a modern Eurovision friendly song that could attract jury and televote support if the staging comes together. I concede that is highly unlikely – but the indications are that Finland are going for it. The most likely result will be an early flight home, but until I see the likely car crash at first rehearsals I can’t rule them out entirely for the victory.

    • I will shoot you down for mentioning Finland, true it has qualities but being modern is definitely not one of them. You can completely rule them out for victory right now victory will be qualification.

  3. I must have missed something, but I just can’t get your concerns over Netta’s performance. You fear of that but without even getting HER. She is an ‘all over your face’ person, and she will definitely bring that to Lisbon. This IS what stands behind ‘toy’, makes it so special, and hopefully they will not try to minimize it. The winner at Eurovision is decided by the amount of voters for the song and not against it. There are far more people loving and supporting this song than any other song, and that’s what matters.

    In addition, one should not forget that as much as real fans are voting, they will be many people who will vote for their neighbors, as always. Do you really think that Sweden will get no points from its Scandinavian neighbors? Russia won’t get top marks from ex-USSR countries, and Moldova will get less than 12 points from Romania?

    So, my main point is that if Israel will not finish first, it’s just because the voting usual trends, and not because the aggressiveness or ‘in your face’ performance.

    Good luck to everybody!

    • Welcome to the show, Mike.

      One can’t escape how popular Netta is in the fan community, but the points I’ve raised are relevant to the wider viewership, who for the most part, only hear the songs once or twice depending if they’ve watched the semi-final.

      I’m a fan of Netta. I was watching her during the Israeli selection show and saw the potential of her loop-machine gimmick, but in my opinion that visual hook is more of a confusing distraction during Toy. And it’s only my experience of betting on ESC since 2007 that makes me nervous about Netta’s performance. If she can channel the fun of Verka, then great. Otherwise, one of the simpler and easier to hum along to songs might pull ahead. We’ll know more next Sunday.

      In the Israeli ‘Next Star’ show, she stood out due to her geeky look and the looper being more integral. At ESC she will be using the looper for the intro and will likely be wearing an outrageous dress and hat ensemble. That may dampen what was a ‘Susan Boyle effect’ performance and instead appear slightly novelty. That’s not me saying it will happen, it’s just flagging up what I sense might their creative direction.

  4. For me its a clear fight between Israel and France for victory possibly Australia also, I think that Czech Republic & Sweden are potential outsiders. I think Norway need very good staging and everything to go their way to be in contention for a top 5 imo, right now they look a certain top 10 but can’t see much more than that. Estonia potentially top 10 but can’t see much more than that (having said that, during the family test it was the one song both my parents loved)

    How on earth does Belarus come into this equation? I agree on Lithuania but their big challenge is getting through the semi, do that and anything is possible. I think realistically if a ballad does finish high it will be Germany or Greece (possibly Austria too). I just think Lithuania doesn’t have enough in it to challenge at the top but who knows could sneak a top 10 if they get everything right.

  5. This is an open year and really hard to call. There are two countries that are guaranteed a good result but I feel will fall short are Sweden and Australia. I want to make clear first that there’s a difference between fast food music and music that doesn’t make you feel anything. Songs can be generic, lyrically banal, rip offs, or just nonsense and still have feelings. Plastic pop can make you feel something too, clinicality can work. It’s not being “fast food” that is the problem with Australia and Sweden it’s the lack of any real reason to vote. Benjamin has his fancy lightshow. So what? The song and performer that go with it are no Heroes or Mans. Australia ticks all the boxes but is it really anthemic or impactfull or uplifting? I doubt it, it’s more Glorious than Euphoria. There’s no solid evidence I can give as to why feel these songs won’t connect well, it’s just how I see it. Australia have scored around 70% of their total points gathered in their three entries from the juries even excluding last year, that figures at 63%. Whether that is because of brand Australia, or them sending non-European looking performers or their songs being emotionally empty is hard to say, but all three still apply. Australia will score well with the jury and worse with the public, as will Sweden and its my view they will both score significantly worse so as to rule them out of winning. Both have a shot at a top four, but I don’t see them winning.

    As for the other fast food music, Norway and Czech Republic do create that feeling of fun. Rybak has more charisma than the rest of the field put together and Mikolas’ performance in all preview events, jury’s, fan polls etc has really exceeded expectations. I’ve been constantly re-assessing his chances higher and higher. It takes points from everywhere, but maybe he is the jack of all trades and master at none? I don’t know where his douze points are coming from as much as with other contenders, I see a tonne of 6s and 7s and I see it high with both the jury and the public, but for me it again doesn’t win either side. Maybe he can do a Jamala and sneak past anyway? I’m unconvinced this is a winner, it’s a fifth place or so ready to sneak through if others dissapoint or are held back on one side.
    Going back to Rybak, it’s musically poor nonsense really but you can’t help but be won over. Incredibly catchy and fun, Rybak’s name recognition and ability to hit all regions makes this a very likely televote winner. Potentially by a long shot, this is what people thought Italy was last year. Juries will respect this and the name although he won’t be their winner. I honestly believe though that if he can stay within 100-130 points of the jury winner he has a chance and that is quite achievable.

    France is a good song but I still fear it will be forgotten. The idea they need to get the message across assumes people are more likely to feel something or vote for it if they do which may not be the case. I like it but I don’t see it as a contender.

    Bulgaria and Estonia would take great displeasure at being labelled fast food music. Both think they’re artier than they are and both are shorter priced than they should be. Bulgaria is an unknown still. How will it look on stage? How dark will it be? etc. They can do ok with both the jury and the public but again, it’s clearly more of a jury number. I have them as a low top ten, but a run for the title is not beyond them. The bubble seems to have burst a little on Estonia. I’ve always had them as a 5-6th with the potential to win. The jury vote has always been a doubt but the hammering its taking in the jury shows is worse than I thought. Like Australia, it’s going for that uplifting vibe but falls somewhat flat. Any chance of the win seems to have gone honestly and out of all the favourites this could significantly underperform.

    On that topic, Israel is hard for me. My initial reaction was negative, it sounded more like an nq and I preferred Russia, so I’m no fan of it’s chances. In the last two years I’ve argued against Frans and Francesco Gabbani from an odds perspective accepting they can win but are one of the contenders rather than the one to beat. That has been much my approach with Israel so far too but in all honesty I don’t even see them as a contender much anymore. It just seems like complete fanwank and goes against any precedent as to what does well, stradling a weird boundary between novelty and commercial relevance. I see this out of the top 5 much sooner than I see it winning at this stage.

    So who can overperform?
    I think the Netherlands has a lot more going for it than its odds would suggest. It’s cool, it has its niche and can do well with both the jury and the public. The win is a long shot really, but the top 10 prices are the best value going and there’s a case for a top 5 potentially.
    Greece is one I keep talking about. It’s the throwback to the days of diaspora influence and a balkan ballad being in the running, whilst ticking the authentic boxes. It stands out in the field and there’s potential.
    The absence of the former soviets from any mention is also at odds with everything. Ukraine, Armenia, Moldova and Russia are all stronger than they’ve received credit for. None are winners but one or two will be in or around the top ten.

    Pre rehearsal 1-10:
    1. Norway
    2. Greece
    3. Australia
    4. Czech Republic
    5. Sweden
    6. Netherlands
    7. Bulgaria
    8. Israel
    9. Ukraine
    10. Moldova

  6. Great analysis there Gavin and I agree with most of your points.

    For me the biggest question right now is whether Israel will be able to live up to the expectations that current odds and various rankings suggest, and for me it doesn’t feel like a runaway winner yet. Obviously it will come down to the staging to decide that. I’m sure that they’ll find a way to incorporate the looper more efficiently in the televised performance, but I’m still afraid that the staging might be too distracting to allow Netta’s personality to shine on stage.

    If Israel fails to do that, then the contest is wide open and a compromise winner is the most possible scenario, something like Azerbaijan 2011. Australia probably has the lead in that case, having a song that can easily appeal to both jury and public. Jessica Mauboy has proved with her performances that she brings life to a rather average, yet well produced pop song and Australia is capable of getting all the right boxes ticked in terms of staging and TV direction.

    Bulgaria would be my third choice for the victory. I agree that the whole project is heavily hyped by the Bulgarian team, but they have the potential to stage an impressive performance that will overcome the lack of emotional depth the song suffers from. Russia 2016 is a perfect example of being able to win the public vote and coming close to the trophy with a formalistic and overcalculated performance of a completely emotionless song. I can’t see why Bulgaria can’t do that with a more interesting imo song.

    If we’re looking for a dark horse, then I’d say France has still a shot on victory, but despite being a personal favorite, it feels a little too niche to me to appeal to broad audiences. They might be able to do it if they manage to convey the song’s message and connect with people without being too didactic. Emilie also is an excellent performer but I feel that she somewhat lacks the emotional connection to the lyrics she’s singing.

    Further down there are many songs that can get into top-10 or even top-5, but I can’t see them as real contenders for the victory.
    Estonia’s Elina has the potential to amaze the public with her vocals and a get top 5 there, but she will probably marked down by the juries.
    Norway is another case that falls in the same category: audience will love Alexander’s quirkiness while juries will not appreciate so much his comeback with an old fashioned song with childish lyrics.
    Czech Republic hasn’t convinced me yet and I feel that the song appeals only to specific demographic groups, while I don’t know how some of the juries will react to the lyrics.

    On the other hand Belgium and Austria seem like the perfect jury pleasers, although I’m still concerned about Sennek’s ability to sing comfortably the high notes. I believe that at least one of those 2 will be carried in the top 10 by the jury vote.
    Italy also should be also praised by the juries for having probably the best lyrics in the contest, but they have to be careful not to become too political.

    Finally, my pick for the ballad of the year is Lithuania. Ieva is instantly adorable and engages with the song with a lot of charm and emotion, while her voice enhances the whole performance. If they manage to escape the first semi they have a great shot at top-10.
    I would also like to give a honorable mention to Portugal, with the hope that Isaura doesn’t distract too much from lovely Claudia.

    With the rehearsals starting in one week’s time I do expect some interesting shakeups in the field and I’m still looking for potential surprise NQs, especially in the first semi. Any thoughts about that Gav?

    • I think you’ve covered the potential outcomes well, the main point being that every potential winners has negatives to overcome.

      As for surprise NQs, I think that first half of semi 1 has three in Azer, Belgium and Bulgaria. Interestingly, FYRoM are going for broke with their staging which could create an interesting contrast to Bulgaria. Possibly the light vs dark theme Bulgaria weren’t banking on. The surprise Q in semi 1 would be Albania given his vocal and ability to emote on camera. The juries surely have to reward that voice! Belarus also heaps pressure on Azer Belgium and Bulgaria with Alekseev’s ability to score with Russian/Eastern diaspora. Azer and Armenia won’t score anything from each other, whereas Belarus will pick up points from both.

      Another point would be Azer touring various countries before rehearsals (in Bulgaria this week), so the brown envelopes might have been traded already.

      I’m not as interested in semi-2 right now as the front runners are clear.

      • I completely agree on Belgium possible NQ, especially if Sennek doesn’t deliver vocally. It’s a song that can easily be forgotten by the public given its early running order and I’m afraid that Sennek doesn’t channel any real charisma or emotion to make everything more memorable.

        I’m very divided on Azerbaijan’s chances. The song is not bad on its own but I feel that is the wrong song for Aisel. Still it’s Azerbaijan so it can’t be disregarded, but it feels like a marginal Q at best. If they do make it though, it will probably be at Belgium’s expense.

        I’m pretty confident that Bulgaria will be able to deliver good enough to qualify easily. Even if they don’t get the staging perfect, they have managed to create enough publicity around the song to have at least all the friendly countries ranking it quite highly.

        Belarus and FYROM have many weaknesses to overcome and I don’t think that have enough friends in the semi to give them real Q chances as well.

        The second half of the semi is probably weaker and far more puzzling for me. I can’t see room for both Finland and Cyprus to qualify, but I don’t know which is the weakest link yet. Eleni is not the best vocalist, but Cyprus has the Swedish team working for them, so probably have an advantage there. At the same time I do expect Saara to improve a lot compared to NF performance and if she’s able to do that she might get enough jury support to barely scrape in. But then probably Austria has to stay out, which will be a huge surprise for me, because I see them as jury top-3 in the semi.

        I don’t personally like Greece and Armenia and I have huge concerns about staging of both songs, but I admit that friendly voting will be probably enough for them. On the other hand I do enjoy Croatia, Switzerland and Ireland, but probably Q is long shot for all of them.

        Anyway this would be my current list of Q in descending order:
        -Czech Republic

        Azerbaijan and Finland are still in with a chance, while the rest for me are currently out of contention.

        P.S. I know that having 6/10 Q from first half is quite risky, but I think it’s plausible given the way the songs are divided in this semi

        • Yesterday I was watching one female blogger from Germany. She has a modest following (1000 views) but came across as an interesting one (semi goth, metal fan, etc.) and I was interested in her perspective to understand this part of market better. So of course her number one is Hungary, but her second number one (in her own words) was Belarus. Then she went into a rant about her being obsessed with Alekseev. And she represents the country that is not even from Belarus’ traditional list of allies. So Belarus could be a suprising Q indeed.

          Personally I am hopeful for Albania’s Q but keeping money on both.

  7. I don’t get why the term compromise winner is always mentioned for 2011. Wasn’t it proven that Azer was buying votes big time?

  8. First result for a twitter search for ALEKSEEV….People… is

  9. I think Australia and Norway will do worse than people expect. Were they in semi 1, I’d have both down as possible shock NQ. Not really sure why Australia is considered a possible winner while Azerbaijan is a borderline qualifier.. to me, both are cut from the exact same cloth. Bland, repetitive, by-the-numbers pop songs with no edge whatsoever. Modern and well produced perhaps, but lacking any sort of spark. I expect juries to like Australia (as always), and their televote won’t be as bad as last year, but I’d say lower top 10 at best.

    As for Noway, charm can only get you so far. Everyone predicts them to do well but very few actually seem to like the song, fans downright hate it. Really can’t see this repetitive funk number having some pan-European mass appeal, nor will juries go for it en masse. If I recall, the wiwibloggs guy from the UK jury mentioned Norway being last in their rankings. I’d say same as Australia, lower top 10 at best.

    Israel needs to get the staging down right to do well. Decent clothes are a must.. those pre-party outfits made her look like a giant unappealing haystack. Something a little more classy, lest the whole package come off as a big joke. If they get it right, this can walk it, if not, it’ll bomb. First day of rehearsals will be very interesting. 🙂

    Never actually made any bets myself, but predicting is fun. If I end up being right about Australia and Norway, I will consider doing some actual betting next year. If Australia wins and Norway is second, I’ll be better off saving my money, hehe.

  10. Thanks to all for very comprehensive reviews. I eventually decided to write why I think Israel might fail to qualify or, if it manages to do so, why it is not a winner in my humble opinion. I also support this with opinions from other bloggers.

    I was initially a supporter but pre-parties gave me (and others) a sense of awakening. ESC Marissa is a popular Dutch female blogger with a substantial following (estimated in tens of thousands). She is quite talented and inventive in how she shares her content. In her review, she described Netta as an overhyped Italy 2017. A young female viewer has spoken…

    As a middle-aged female viewer, I have the following two reservations:

    1) Dress style is horrendous. Alesia Michelle, an American female blogger, strongly discouraged Netta from wearing any Harajuku-inspired garments. From my end, I noticed that Netta seemed to be in a fierce competition with Ms Eleni from Cyprus for as less fabric-coverage per an inch of body as possible. Granted she has more fabric on her, but she has more inches too. Now please tell me which female audience is going to vote for double ZZ size of boobs exploding on the screen. Ok, I am exaggerating a little bit but try to listen to any female bloggers here.

    2) Cruelty of people’s subconsious judgment. Are there any more here who might have taken genetics as an extra course in uni? Prader-Willi syndrome as a possibility ? Netta stated she was born this way, does she know of anything certain? I wanted to state upfront that this is not a precursor for success even if this is the case (unproven unless genetically tested), but the audience would not know / understand potential genetics modulations in place. Netta will be based on her dress size unfortunately without people understanding that it might not be her fault. Coupled with number one, it is a potential no-goer.

    As a summary, on a human level I wish Netta all the best. But I can’t see the majority of female audience voting here with current trends in place. Objectively she is a weaker proposition than Francesco last year.

  11. I thought Italy had it in the bag last year… Especially after watching the pre-parties! Only after seeing it live did it appear the wheels were coming off…

    Maybe the same thing will happen to Israel…

  12. Italy lost it last year with the cut to 3 minutes. It took all the structure and momentum out of the song. The longer version is still awesome but the 3.min doesn’t feel right. Didn’t look a winner from rehearsals onwards where Bulgaria looked the clear choice.(Salvador then stole the limelight once he appeared but Bulgaria looked the obvious winner until then)

    I still see Israel as this years ‘Emperors New clothes’ as no one else seems to see how poor the song is. It’s a Jessie J album track with chicken noises. I just don’t get it. Bulgaria is another, loads of hype but where’s the song?? There’s big money to be made this year if you can spot the winner pre rehearsals as I think is going to be juicy odds like Conchita was. The top of the betting looks so weak to me. Netherlands top 5 at 8-1 looks a bargain!

  13. I would like to add something with regard to the Eurovoix.com Eurojury. For me it’s a very helpful tool in predicting what will happen with the real-event Jury Score. It gives you a good clue about the (mostly studio) versions of each and every entry. As Anthony Granger/Eurovoix confirmed:

    Also, Eurojury is quite accurate. I give you that. At least for about 65% or slightly more. But it’s not 100% accurate. And it can’t be 100% accurate, since Eurovision in its score is still a ‘jury sports’, even when you include televoters.

    There are plentiful examples of countries who did do very well in the Eurojury, but who failed miserably in the eventual Eurovision Jury-vote. Some examples:

    01st Eurojury 2014 16th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ITALY:
    10th Eurojury 2014 21st 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> BELGIUM:
    16th Eurojury 2014 NQ at Eurovision

    –> ALBANIA:
    05th Eurojury 2015 26th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ICELAND:
    06th Eurojury 2015 NQ at Eurovision
    07th Eurojury 2015 23rd 100% Eurovision Jury
    09th Eurojury 2015 NQ at Eurovision

    –> SWEDEN:
    02nd Eurojury 2016 09th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> SPAIN:
    06th Eurojury 2016 16th 100% Eurovision Jury
    10th Eurojury 2016 17th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> CYPRUS:
    13th Eurojury 2016 20th 100% Eurovision Jury

    –> ITALY:
    03rd Eurojury 2017 07th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> AUSTRIA:
    06th Eurojury 2017 11th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> FRANCE:
    08th Eurojury 2017 19th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> FINLAND:
    12th Eurojury 2017 NQ at Eurovision

    And off course, there’s also the other way around. There are plentiful instances where you can see that Eurojury greatly underestimated a certain song, because the actual Eurovision Jury (100%) rated it much higher. Some of those examples:

    –> AUSTRIA:
    09th Eurojury 2014 01st 100% Eurovision Jury
    12th Eurojury 2014 03rd 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ICELAND:
    23rd Eurojury 2014 15th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> RUSSIA:
    26th Eurojury 2014 13th 100% Eurovision Jury

    –> LATVIA:
    08th Eurojury 2015 02nd 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> BELGIUM:
    14th Eurojury 2015 05th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ISRAEL:
    17th Eurojury 2015 08th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> CYPRUS:
    25th Eurojury 2015 09th 100% Eurovision Jury

    –> UKRAINE:
    07th Eurojury 2016 02nd 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ISRAEL:
    14th Eurojury 2016 08th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> BULGARIA:
    16th Eurojury 2016 07th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> ARMENIA:
    20th Eurojury 2016 10th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> GEORGIA:
    26th Eurojury 2016 14th 100% Eurovision Jury

    –> PORTUGAL:
    07th Eurojury 2017 01st 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> BULGARIA:
    10th Eurojury 2017 02nd 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> MOLDOVA:
    15th Eurojury 2017 08th 100% Eurovision Jury
    –> NORWAY:
    16th Eurojury 2017 06th 100% Eurovision Jury
    25th Eurojury 2017 10th 100% Eurovision Jury

    So I think it becomes clear that although Eurojury provides you with some valuable betting information, its results shouldn’t be black-and-white copy-pasted into reviews on how good/bad it will/could do at Eurovision. Even at this stage in the contest -mid April- there are simply too many variables too find that last bit of value in the odds. Best is to wait for the rehearsals. Unless some pundits know the exact staging plans from several country delegations / managements from the performers. That could prove valuable for those countries who we don’t know the finalized product from just yet.

    So yes, Eurojury is fairly accurate. And at least more accurate than most fan polls. But it isn’t heaven either. And having read this article only enhances my careful out-of-the-box thinking (and envisioning/imaging-how-it-will-look-like) style: https://www.escxtra.com/2017/03/16/analysing-ten-years-eurovision-odds-good-imperfect-indicator/

    • The polls and betting markets rarely get things right before rehearsals. In 2014, 2016, 2017, the winner ranged between 40/1 and 100/1 before rehearsals. But on the Eurojury, their results have tallied quite closely to the actual juries in recent years, however, it’s never an exact science.

      The best strategy is to identify quality songs from the slew of middle-of-the-road drivel. The problem is, many folk concoct wild conspiracy theories or focus on totally the wrong countries when the most obvious songs are staring them in the face. There are only ever 4-5 competitive songs, with maybe one or two outsiders capable of causing an upset.

      • Hence I said about Eurojury: At least for about 65% or slightly more [Eurojury] accurate. But it’s not 100% accurate. And it can’t be 100% accurate, since Eurovision in its score is still a ‘jury sports’, even when you include televoters.

        Hence we completely agree :-). Still, it can’t hurt to point out the differences and don’t go ‘banko’ on Eurojury blindly.

      • It’s very interesting to see how bad some of this year’s fan favorites fare with the professionals in the Eurojury.
        Of course it will not be 100% accurate, but is discouraging for France to lie outside the top 10 and Greece outside the top 20 and actually in a NQ position.
        Estonia is not a surprise for me and I expect a similar result in the actual contest tbh.

  14. What do you see as the 4/5 songs and 2 outsiders this year Gavster?? Personally I see the only realistic potential winners as

    Czech Rep

    and dark horse outsiders


    Surely Bulgaria is all hype and no song, Estonia is too painful to listen to for a top finish, Sweden a bit too bland as a song and a bit smug, Belgium not sung well enough, Greece takes too long to get Going and a bit too niche, and nothing else comes close.

    What do you think?

    • I agree with your list, minus Netherlands for now. I think it could be staged very well, but I don’t feel any emotional connection to it. One could say the same for Norway or Czech, but they at least have fun on their side.

      • NL really needs to shout ‘rock’n’roll/sex/starquality/passion’ like Portugal shouted ‘art/true music’ last year.

        Hard, but don’t think it’s impossible in this field… The 19-odd earlier might’ve been a bit too low, but the 100+ odds are surely too high imo. Let’s see what Hans will come up with

    • What is “emotional connection” anyway. Emotion can be conveying:
      – goosebumps
      – happiness
      – likeability
      – drama
      – melancholy
      – joy
      – cuteness
      – love
      – sex
      – sadness (tears)
      – craziness
      – love
      – seduction
      – emotion on the whole

      So having the ability to ’emote’ means it has to do something like above, in such a way that you will vote for it.

      Portugal 2017 had this melancholic romantic feeling all over it. People got warm feelings from that, in a way that was slightly similar to Italy 2011.

      Ukraine 2017 was more about sadness, drama and the goosebumps it gave the people. From that, and the emotional backstory. That worked. Hence it won.

      Moldova 2017 did so very well because people jumped up from their seats, became instantly happy from that tune, even started to laugh because of it. It excelled at that emotion. Hence it came 3rd.

      Turkey 2010 came 2nd because people simply heard a damn good song, no strings attached. It was….good, extatic, it made the eyes of all Europeans big. Didn’t necessarily smile from it, but they do were stunned by it.

      So every song needs to emote. But all of them do it differently by appealing to different emotions with televoters and juror alike.

      Having said that I think France doesn’t do it for me -just yet-. It also helps to look at the faces of audiences. That’s a clear sign of emoting properly. Waylon performed his song “Outlaw In ‘Em” for an audience (in the talkshow “De Wereld Draait Door”) that basically dislike Eurovision. Now just look at the faces of the women in that audience.

      So clearly Netherlands does not evoke dramatic Jamala-like goosebumps. But it sure does appeal to very different emotions. In my opinion more than France.

    • Netherlands for me is a perfect example of a good song sung by a well known artist that will not appreciated at the same degree in all corners of Europe.
      I can’t see a country rock song with strong American vibe scoring well in Eastern and Southern parts of Europe, no matter how well is staged and performed, simply enough because it’s far away from the common music taste in these countries.
      We shouldn’t forget that Netherlands 2014 lost out the battle for the victory by getting some sets of ‘nil’ points and low scores from the most East/Southeast countries.
      I still have Netherlands as possible top 10 finish, even top 5 at best, but I can’t see a way to the trophy for them.

      • I’m not sure if televoters really perceive the Dutch entry as too American or too Country-es que. I think most people will see and hear one of the best pure rock songs ever in the contest. The 30+ voters will probably be reminded of Steven Tyler or Keith Urban. I think the pundits and ESCbubble people will perceive this as too American. But so was Netherlands 2014, albeit from a very different music genre not being rock at all.

        Speaking of the ESCbubble public reviews…..its interesting to see how Russians and Hungarians respond to it. Also, if you know a bit about the vastness of Russia’s countryside, then you ought to know how popular rock actually is there in Russia and the remainder of Eastern Europe. Just watch a few of those infamous Russian traffic accident videos. It’s mostly rock you hear.

        So in my personal opinion I actually think Netherlands will do much better with the televote. Think a bit like Moldova last year. Although that song is from a completely different genre, it also featured a nice amount of mindless WTF-fun.

        • But how many Steven Tyler fans follow the contest anyway?

          Being a rock music fan myself and within the 30+ age range I do find the Dutch song too American country rock for my taste (I’m a Greek residing in the UK btw).
          I also believe that the staging approach and Waylon’s styling will also follow the same route, that didn’t help in 2014 as well.

          Tbh I believe that it’s the Hungarian song that will be received as pure rock and go down much better than the Dutch song with the uncoventional ESC public, especially to the East of Europe. For me Hungary is a strong dark horse for the Top 10 actually, if they don’t get destroyed by the juries.

          • None? Listen, I am not particularly a rock-fan to be honest. But if you compare Netherlands with Hungary, then I think Netherlands has more chance of gaining votes outside the ‘rock bubble’. Simply because the Dutch entry is more soft-rock and still contains a proper song and a proper melody that’s not overshadowed by way too intense music (read: too much fast-paced rock guitars) and over-intense vocals (vocals that could be perceived as screaming for those who don’t like rock).

            On top of that, rock bands usually struggle. Simply because too much is happening on stage. Unless there’s a dressed up woman with a chainsaw (Turkey 2010) or a bunch of band members that are dressed like Klingons with skin rash (Finland 2006).

            The USP of Netherlands in this example is a charismatic soloist performing an easy-to-remember melody supported by rock music, albeit not too loud rock music. Whereas with Hungary the charisma will mostly go unnoticed thanks too epilepsy-inducing stroboscope lights and too fast-paced camerawork.

            So I have too disagree with you on this one :-). But countries will qualify if you ask me. But at this stage I reckon Netherlands has a better chance of ending on the left hand side of the scoreboard than Hungary. Too much pure rock is by default too niche, whereas Netherlands has a good song that touches aspects of rock.

          • @Gert
            Let’s agree that we disagree then! 🙂

            Though not completely to be accurate. I agree that Netherlands has a much better chance to enter the top 10 compared to Hungary, because it’s much more jury and ‘general’ audience friendly. I just don’t see it as a contender for the victory for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

            I’m not personally a big fan of the Hungarian song either, although I enjoy it more than the Dutch one tbh. Actually being loud is exactly imho the charisma of the song and it hasn’t prevented some other ‘loud’ songs to do fairly well in the contest, like Turkey 2008, Georgia 2011 and even Moldova 2011 to name a few. Or the likes of power metal Finland 2008 and alternative Georgia 2016 getting unexpected qualifications.

            What matters most for ‘unconventional’ songs to be appreciated in ESC is authenticity and both songs strike that note for me. Whether this will be enough for a top 10 place remains to be seen, with Netherlands having an obvious lead there among the two.

        • You know this popular YouTuber, Jakes face reacts? So he said that Waylon sounds more country-side Texan than him (and Jake is born and raised in Texas). This should not in theory fly especially high anywhere east of… Texas really. But we will see what happens in reality. In my humble opinion country music is not massively popular in the East.

          In the semi 2, East will be busy supporting Alexander Rybak, their own offspring plus Malta (that seems to be working hard in that direction and was the only non-regional act at the Moscow pre- party). I cannot see much room there left for any country singer

  15. We shouldn’t forget the real weaknesses of Norway. We all seem to be going from being negative and laughing about this song to buying a ticket for the hypetrain…

    I mean, come on, charisma only doesn’t get you the trophy, not even in a field without clear winners. I remember the first time I saw it, was so damn cringey and wasn’t the only one, you could even back him for 3+/1 to even win the national final..

    I’m still not at all on the hypetrain and don’t take them as a serious contender. How the hell can a song like this compete in the top of the juries, who tend to go for quality and modern productions? And I don’t even believe in the televote that much either, if we’re talking winning. I’d say around 10 is maybe possible, but this hypetrain on forums like this start to annoy me, I think we’re not thinking clearly… Think Sweden best nordic at 1.7 is decent value

    • I don’t think there is a hypetrain for Norway. People flagging it up do so reluctantly based on it being the best of a bad bunch of backups and only if the upbeat favourites fail to exploit their full potential.

  16. At the end of the day, he could sing the Mickey Mouse song and people would still vote for that charismatic, violin guy… Should I also mention past euro winner, 1500kth song etc etc

    Emotional reaction equals votes!

  17. I think I still think Netherlands could do a 2011 because of the relative weakness of the competition. Waylon is a great performer and the song is riproaring and memorable, if unemotional. I think a lot of people may see this as the ‘real music amongst a lot of pap. 2nd half and.placed about 17-20 and it could do an Olsen Bros and grab the moment if nothing else has.

    If either Netta or Micolas really get it right then one of them will win, but there are major doubts over both. Australia can be divisive and it’s not a ‘Heroes’ and is well beatable but very competitive.

    Norway is no way the hype train. I think we all recognise it’s a flawed song, but again, if the favourites fail, this song is the.most fun, he will perform the Arse off it and has his name to garner a few more votes. I would much prefer it to win then the racket of Estonia or the hype of Bulgaria.

    Personally, I hope the Czech Rep nail it, but rehearsals will hopefully clear things up a bit.

  18. I think people have underestimated the potential of Belarus. I could see it qualifying over the likes of Bulgaria.
    Alekseev has a massive fanbase – his small back catalogue of songs are played almost every hour across music tv in ex-Soviet states. And whilst his biggest fandom countries reside in semi 2, he has been promoted and playing live to every other Eastern country in semi 1 with Russian-speaking diaspora the past 2 months. He’s worked on his vocals, they have changed the song to suit him, and I would expect the team to have dropped the ridiculous light suit to focus on his biggest asset – the fact he is an attractive young man. He looks approachable and clean cut, and the song matches that, and I think it will cut through and appeal both the younger and older female audience.
    Given his status and name back in both Russia and Ukraine, I suspect that producers would prefer him to be in the final rather than not — name acts bring viewers and ratings. And if he is in that final, I believe his result will be better than most would expect.

    • But Belarus WILL qualify 😊. I personally think the singer is very likeable, I think the new version is a very good step towards the left hand side of the scoreboard, and staging-wise this will stand out as well. Fun, albeit slightly plastic fun. But I think Belarus might be seeing their best result since 2007.

    • After commenting about Netherlands not being so accessible to the Eastern side of Europe, I have to say that Belarus is for me exactly the opposite, being the type of emotional ballad sung by a cute boy that will be loved by Eastern European audiences, but will not fare well in the West.
      Additionally Alekseev has big problems with enunciation at the degree of being annoying and distracting, especially for the people in the West.
      Saying that, I see the lack of friendly voting countries in the semi as the biggest hurdle that Belarus has to overcome to qualify. Sure they will take some sets of high scores from Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as some points from the Russian/Ukrainian diaspora in Estonia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Israel and Bulgaria, but will this be enough?
      I highly doubt it…

  19. I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like people are majorly sleeping on Ukraine. I find the song an extremely entertaining, engaging and dynamic 3 minutes. It doesn’t feel like a long 3 minutes at all and actually leaves me wanting more. Add into that the fact the Melovin is a telegenic performer, a decent live vocalist and has great performance ability… I do struggle to understand why this is so low down in the odds. 4.9 for top 10 is great value to me.
    With the pimp slot, I think this has a great shot at top 3 in its semi which should earn him a favourable running order in the final. Ukraine are usually great at nailing their staging so I have no worries that that will let them down – I don’t think Ukraine are getting the credit they deserve this year.

  20. I think it’s because of the live vocals. Bad English and out of tune. Not one for me to gamble on.

  21. There is a small change in how jury vote is calculated:


    I think it makes juries vote slightly less predictable.

  22. “Voting in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will include a subtle but significant change. Rather than giving each rank given by a juror the same weight, the EBU will allocate predefined ‘score values’ to each ranking position, thereby increasing the value of the top-10 ranks, the top-3 in particular. These score values start with the value of 12 for the first rank and will decrease exponentially further down the ranking list. This is also called the ‘exponential weight model’. The sum of the scores for all 26 songs from the five jurors will create the national jury result where the resulting top 10 ranked countries will be awarded that jury’s 12, 10, 8 points and so on.”

    Gav what does this mean exactly? And is it a good or bad development?

    • There is an excellent article on ESCInsight (complemented with mathematical analysis and examples) if you would like to see details. In a nut-shell, with the new system Sergey Lazarev would have won Eurovision as individual jurors’ ‘hate’ votes would have been suppressed

      • Have you got a source for 2016 or ist it just your assumption?
        There was a point difference of 43 between Russia and Ukraine that year. I have browsed through the jury votings from 2016. It does seem like Russia could have received some points more with this system. But nowhere near those needed points.
        If you look about the jury votings for Ukraine, they probably would have also received more points with this system.
        I really cannot imagine how your assumption could be right. But feel free to share if someone has calculated it.

    • Someone did a very helpful recalculation of the 2017 result under the new system at Sofabet. Very little difference IMO. Those predicting a drastic change might be disappointed. A song still needs widespread support from both sides of the vote.


  23. Not much to add to the lists above pre-rehearsals, other than to say I really rate France’s chances over the next 2 weeks (and I didn’t think I’d say that about a French language song.) Emilie sells the song really well, it has a ‘timeless’ feel about it and it has as good a chance as any song of making an emotional connection with the viewers, particularly if the narrative picks up traction pre-final. Firmly in the mix with the other contenders for me.

    In the other markets, Ukraine look an incredibly generous price @ 4.5-5.0 to maintain their strong top 10 record. There’s every chance the semis will turn into a bit of an Eastern European bloodbath, while Ukraine’s plum draw in the weaker semi will help them avoid the same fate. The song is reasonable enough despite not necessarily going anywhere, but Melovin is an engaging performer and the stage show promises to be lively, so its a very watchable 3 minutes. Despite the diction issues, this year I think that will be good enough to see them onto the left hand side.

    • France is like Conchita Wurst and Jamala insomuch it has a major political advantage ..both of those two were longshots about a two weeks before the final and yet they won
      I suspect that France will win the Tele vote , but may struggle with the jury vote ; they will need at least a top 5 finish with the Jury on Friday night to have a good chance of winning on Saturday

      Netta is like a slowly deflating balloon leaving the field open for another to win

  24. Everything considered,iv now structured my book with a France win the biggest green.I think the other pop songs are all weak in places,or with Israel could go both ways.The stage looks like a one Lena would win on and i think they suit where the artist is key.I dont like the cardboard cutout on guitar,but they might work him ok.As right leaning i would never vote for such virtue signalling,but as a gambler iv come around to the potential.
    I think Belarus and Ukraine might do better than expected like beanie.Belarus will depend on great staging.
    Its been a very easy year to get a book in good condition,the easiest i can remember with most challengers giving good chances to get them onside.Look forward to rehearsals now to see if there are any springers.The top of the market looks pretty right to me,just some are in the wrong order.Iv also still got some reds il probably cover if they look decent on stage including Sweden that i hate with every sinew in me.Just praying we dont get a shock rag winner now, unless it was Italy or Lithuania.

    • I agree about France now that it’s becoming clear that Netta is like a shooting star that blazes across the heavens before burning out …her gimmicky video doesn’t translate into a good live performance !
      France has a huge advantage with its political/humanitarian message that’s sure to chime with the zeitgeist even though in reality it’s just pathological altruism and moral narcisism promoting open borders

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