It’s safe to say that this has been the most unpredictable Eurovision of recent years, and once again, our market leader started rehearsals at huge odds. The market leader hasn’t won since Måns Zelmerlöw clocked up Sweden’s sixth win in 2015. Even writing this preview now, I couldn’t tell you who wins, so it’s best to have green positions on anyone who you consider a potential jury or televote winner.
So starting the country-by-country rundown:
Mélovin may have done extremely well from the semi-2 pimp slot. His metrics are well clear of his closest challenger, Alexander Rybak. Having said that, the 21-year old has an army of fans, so the YouTube views and likes shouldn’t be taken at face value. Given the ex-USSR wipeout in the first semi-final, as well as a Russian exit, there are only three places for eastern votes to go: Ukraine, Norway (Rybak was born in Belarus) and Moldova (Russian star Kirkorov is behind the song an production and DoReDos are from the Russia-leaning Transnistria region of Moldova).
Top-10 could be within reach, but the view here is 9th-13th, but the odds of 4.33 from Ladbrokes could be traded out of Betfair given there’s an early run of eastern juries awarding points.
There was national outrage in Spain when they learned that Swedish producer, Christer Björkman, had allocated them slot 2 in the final. Wars have broken out for less! Amaia & Alfred’s Tu canción is perfectly pleasant, but Alfred’s wooden performance along with the plastic-y Richard Clayderman arrangement, I don’t think the juries or the televote will improve Spain’s recent run of dismal Eurovision results. Since 2013 they’ve finished: 25th, 10th, 21st, 22nd and 26th. I would have Spain in your ‘last place’ portfolio. Circa 10.0-13.0 is available.
Lea’s backing track malfunction continues into the final, so this gimmick will likely fall flat. There will be some regional support for them, but taking their most recent final performances, they could be another last place contender. Hvala, ne! feels more like a Round & Round [25th in 2014] than a Here For You [14th in 2015]. Ladbrokes are offering 5/1 for last place.
04. Lithuania, 05. Austria & 06. Estonia
Ieva was rumoured to have done extremely well with the juries in semi-1. Likewise, Austria’s Cesár Sampson’s Nobody But You was similarly ‘jury friendly’. Both songs sort of cancel each other out from this point in the running order, though it is still expected that Lithuania could nab ‘top-Baltic’ from what was a poor favourite, Estonia. Those odds were as high as 7.0 during rehearsals, but are now down to 1.50. Lithuania for top-10 could land at 1.8 – I have a range of 5th-11th at the moment. When We’re Old isn’t charting particularly well, but we know the Lithuanian diaspora does turn out for their better entries. Donny Montell landed an unexpected 9th place in 2016.
There was something of an overreaction to Rybak on the markets during Thurday’s second semi-final, most of it from British viewers and gamblers. What were people expecting given his national final performance had been available to view since March? The eastern vote has to go somewhere and Rybak could score very well from both the juries and the televote. Top-10 seems the most likely, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him much higher given the unpredictability this year. Ladbrokes are offering 1.7 for top-10.
Interestingly, the first three countries to award points are Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Belarus. I’d expect Rybak to score well in those regions, which may see a rapid price fluctuation on Betfair. The same may also apply to Lithuania.
Despite the wonderful etherial sound to O Jardim, the host nation will probably default to their traditional vote share. In 2015 when Austria were host nation, they finished last. Likewise, Ukraine only finished 24th. It’s expected that Portugal will struggle to escape the bottom 5, so they should be another consideration for last place, currently 10.0 at Ladbrokes.
09. United Kingdom
SuRie tries her very best with Storm, but the song lacks so much energy. The writing has been on the wall for a long time, and despite the slightly later than expected running order slot, bottom 5 looks nailed on.
The diaspora helped Serbia escape the semi-final. Going into the final, I expect Albania to take most of the Balkan votes.
Another one of the dark horses of the last few days. Michael Schulte delivered an emotional rendition to the juries at last night’s jury final, but to do well, I feel Germany needed a second half slot given there are several songs pushing emotional buttons without reaching the heights of previous winners of the genre, Jamala and Salvador. Top big-5 has been the play for me and is currently 2.88, down from 7.5.
Juries like to reward exceptional vocals and I expect Eugent performed strongly on that side of the vote on Tuesday. Going into the final, he is well placed to land top-Balkan, provided Bulgaria isn’t as fancied as the odds suggest. Albania are 8.0, down from the 40s available earlier this week.
I’ve never been a fan of France’s song. I felt it lacked an emotional trigger like Germany, plus it doesn’t really deliver with the same intensity as Jamala or Salvador. As alluded to above, the top Big-5 market now looks quite competitive between France, Germany and Italy. I would favour France and Germany to perform stronger on the televote.
14. Czech Republic
The Czech song has really run out of momentum going into the semi-finals and grand final. Download stats have disappointed, which suggests Lie To Me is more of a jury song. Even so it’s difficult to see Mikolas landing a better result than top-10, which is presently circa 1.7.
The Vikings may have escaped semi-final 2 thanks to the televote, but I reckon the lack of jury support might hold them back in the final. Traditionally, only two Scandi nations make the top-10, which this year points to Norway and Sweden. And one also has to recognise the cancelling effect of Finland too.
Jessica was again disappointing in last night’s jury rehearsal, so she may have lost a few marks on that metric. Encouragingly, though, We Got Love has been popular on the downloads. There is also a sense that the public enjoy her ‘try hard’ approach and seem to be ‘willing her on’ in the same way they supported Blanche last year. Top-10 is well within reach at odds against given Jessica’s performance now feels bigger and more epic.
Saara will get points from the UK, as well as from the Scandi bloc. I’m not sure where else her support comes from. I reckon a finish similar to Kati Wolf’s 22nd and Cascada’s 21st.
The Betfair bot has finally run out of money and Bulgaria have drifted out to a sensible price in all markets. The chance of them just nicking a top-10 place remains, so I have closed out my position. However, a more realistic finishing position would be around 12th-16th given the televote is expected to be low.
If there was potential for a televote dark horse, this is it. Back in 2012, Russia’s grannies finished 11th with the juries and 2nd overall, thanks to storming the televote. Moldova’s comedy routine isn’t quite as loveable as Russia’s grannies, but it’s the sort of song that could garner a lot of televote support. Add in the Kirkorov and dream-team links and you have Russian, Bulgarian, Greek, Cypriot and maybe even Ukrainian links. The first three nations to reveal jury points tonight are ex-USSR, so might Moldova be in for an early crash? My head says top-10 is the absolute cap, but there’s just this nagging optimism that they are capable of nicking a place.
Odds against for top-10 is a great bet. 100/1 on the outright may also be decent along with 4/1 for a top-5 finish available at UNIBET.
There’s a chance Benjamin Ingrosso could do very well with the juries tonight, only to fall back on the televote. Having said that, Dance You Off has been climbing the downloads chart, so if we are looking for a compromise winner, Sweden might be it. 20/1 each way at Ladbrokes is value, but 30/1 on Betfair for trading in-play looks the best option. I detest the song, but recognise it’s ability to do well with the juries.
AWS have a great USP and standout at this point in the final. Their sound might be a tad too niche for the average televoter, but the juries should recognise its composition and performance quality. Top-10 could be within reach, but my range is more along the lines of 10th-15th.
Netta was the market leader since Toy’s release back in March. There has always been a sense that it was a poor favourite and perhaps too confusing and frenetic for the televote and juries. Nevertheless, Israel has been rooted near the top of the market and doesn’t show any sign of losing strength. Netta delivered her best performance to date during last night’s jury rehearsal, so I expect her to be in the top-5 whatever happens tonight.
There has been a lot of buzz about Google Trends, where the term ‘Eurovision Israel’ has been well ahead of ‘Eurovision Norway’ and even ‘Eurovision Cyprus’. However, if you swap the terms to ‘Netta’, ‘Rybak’, ‘Foureira’ and ‘Fuego’ and also search YouTube requests, the stats shift in favour of Cyprus. It’s safe to suggest that it is close near the top. The stats also fail to recognise that Cyprus has been well ahead in music downloads, which has always been a fairly reliable barometer.
23. The Netherlands & 24. Ireland
Sweary backing dancers and a sweary Waylon make Netherlands a must see act. They are being used as a ‘cool down’ buffer after Netta, before Ireland drops the tempo even further. Remember, these songs are merely separating the two market leaders and are there to provide contrast. Ireland probably did well with the juries in semi-1, but downloads have been disappointing and news stories are mostly UK-centric, which tallies up with the betting market feeding frenzy. Nevertheless, 6th-11th should be achievable for what is an impressive and memorable stage concept.
Cyprus were over 100/1 before last Tuesday’s rehearsals and were still as high as 50/1 for the semi-final win before flying out to Lisbon. Fuego is this year’s most accomplished song and staging package. It’s as good as you’d get from the Pussycat Dolls or Beyonce. The dance routine, hair flicks and drops on the off-beat are exhilarating to watch, and like Sweden, Cyprus has music-video appeal.
Will the juries go for it? The visual impression is unsurpassed. The term generic has been latched on to, yet it’s more musically relevant than Sergey’s You Are The Only One. Vocally superior too. I really can’t see Cyprus outside of the jury top-5 and it should be top-2 with the televote, so Eurovision could be heading to sunny Limassol next year.
You can get 33/1 for Cyprus to win Eurovision by clicking here.
Last up we have this year’s most confusing package where one has to be a polyglot to understand the meaning. This is last year’s Requiem, not seen as a contender, but goes after one of the perceived favourites. I suspect an Emma Marrone-type result might be on the cards.
So that’s it; nearly six-month’s work building up to tonight and I actually can’t call the result with any confidence. We could potentially see several jury vote leaders tonight with the televote picking from five potential winners. Bloc voting could be crucial.
My three potential winners are: Cyprus and Israel with Sweden a compromise winner. I have Moldova and Norway as songs capable of storming the top-5 and even upsetting the top-3. One of either Germany, Lithuania or Ireland could replace one of the upbeat entries. At this point, my winner is Cyprus, though.
Good luck and share your thoughts below.