Home / News / Eurovision 2019: Pre-Rehearsal Discussion Thread

Eurovision 2019: Pre-Rehearsal Discussion Thread

Now that this year’s lineup is complete, join the discussion on this year’s market favourites and potential dark horses as we progress through the fan-concerts towards rehearsals in May.

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. Purely in the interests of getting this discussion under way here is a slightly amended version of what I posted earlier on another thread.

    I would say only the following have a good to fair chance of making top 10 or better. I have divided these into four categories. Entries in brackets are additions to my original list.

    High scores in both jury and televote:

    The Netherlands

    High jury score, lower televote:


    Lower jury score, high televote:


    Songs that could either fly or flop:


    Of course, we need to keep reminding ourselves, something else will turn up at first rehearsal with amazing staging and totally transform its chances or will come out of nowhere on the big night. If you look at 2018, arguably Cyprus, Austria, Italy and Denmark had songs that were no better than 3.0 to 3.5 stars out of 5 (in Denmark’s case lower!) yet all did much better than most of us were predicting before the contest.

    As to the potential winner, as things stand it’s The Netherlands’ to lose. (As Alexander Rybak might say, ‘that’s how you write a song’.)

    • Really enjoyed your post EuroJock thanks.
      I see much merit and agreement contained therein👍😎
      Main diversion from my thinking (which is what this site (thanks Gav) and this thread is all for I imagine – is for healthy debate and open minds to find the winner) is that I see Italy lower Top 10 public at best coupled with a good jury score). Some great Italian entries inc Nina Zilli and Francesco Gabanni (who I feel are much stronger than Mahmood) and they just don’t seem to fly with the public vote and Mahmood won’t either in my mind.

    • I again think that a low jury score for Malta is very questionable looking at the last years in Eurovision results.

    • I just bet hard on Portugal.

      The best ratio of comments / views in the official video,

      Polarizing (who likes will not hesitate to vote and there are no negative votes that could harm) ,

      It got 95% of 12 points among 21 members of the jury in Portugal (usually very conservative)… The best by far in the televote

      Finally, from a discrete ranking, but second to the popular betting, it has everything to capture the Momentum (such as Conchita and Salvador) for the hypnotism of music-charisma-staging.

      It is the ‘never seen’: authenticity and universality (Portuguese fado vibes, oriental exotic sounds and tribal rhythms), tradition, mysticism and avant garde.

  2. Firstly thanks to Gav for providing a new type of thread – a great ‘one stop shop’ where we can post one-off views on this year’s songs and post updates and new opinions as well as being able to lose ourselves in fabulous rolling summaries of each team members’ takes on this year’s field. Hopefully we can learn a lot.

    OK on with the debate Team…😎👍

  3. Let’s start with the greatest piece of advice and skill you can learn in Eurovision betting and it was mastered by the great Daniel Gould (we miss you Daniel) and that is to disentangle yourself from your own musical tastes, personal song favs and also which song you currently stand to win a windfall on and try to adopt as much of a neutral and open mind with the songs as possible.

    In replying to Gert’s last post: this is what I mean above with Duncan. Praising what is there but not sticking our head in the sand/excusing with what appears not to be. Great singer, great song, touching sincere performance but – also a vital – in the Voice or the tv show gig he is not connecting with the audience at home in a convincing manner. This is more of a natural talent and is my main concern/drawback with the NL entry.

    Russia: I never thought they would win the juries Gert. We’re talking about them probably doing better this time round with the juries and if the staging is an epic dark fairytale to a grand scale then possibly winning the televote again.

    My overview of the field summary to be posted here in due course. But in regards to favourite status NL has it all except with the actual performance Q marks and Russia seems totally geared for the stage show which may be enough to overcome the rousing yet rather run of the mill song. At the moment I’m more confident of an amazing Russian staging than Duncan selling his song well. Then NL have undoubtedly the much better song. So how this will actually pan out is really intriguing 🙂

  4. This summary on Entertainment Odds is well worth a look


  5. Alright, I’ll give a brief ranking, subject to all the usual ifs, buts and maybes at this stage.

    1. Netherlands- Not sticking my neck out too far with this one, it is clear that in studio form this is the far superior song to any other in the field, and probably has enough in the tank to win both the jury and public vote. The only question mark is on the staging, and to a lesser extent the other usual stuff like running order and other countries superior voting power. I think its a worthy favourite but it doesn’t attract at current prices. I have a nice green at bigger odds and see not much reason to add to it yet. For some reason with this, I either think it will win or come out the top 4. Song quality alone will lift it to about 6th or so in the worst case scenario that all the staging niggles- mainly camera interaction aren’t sorted but if this is staged anywhere near good enough it should win both the jury and televote, something I can’t see any other song doing.

    2. Iceland- There’s a good chance of a big public vote for this. Like it or not, they are going to hog all the attention in the run up and to say they stand out is an understatement, whilst behind the growling and gimmicks there’s a typical Eurovision song. With the novelty and politics, I don’t discount a huge televote score for this. Juries could and should be less keen, but there will be those who respect this and “get it” and won’t kill it. They may prevent a win, but a top 5 is likely in my opinion.

    3. Cyprus- Not an easy call but one made partly because we have a distinct lack of ladies in the running, so I’ll give an edge to Tamta above the rest of the chasing pack. Also, Cyprus benefit hugely from being in that first semi final where there’s not a lot of competition for the win and this could gather momentum more easily. This looks a fairly safe semi winner for me, but might swap with Iceland in the final.
    I also think it’s a safer bet than Switzerland given staging is a bit unknown for them.

    4. Azerbaijan- Alright, longshot time. I think this has been overlooked quite a bit and is at least double, maybe triple, the price of what it should be, particularly when Norway are sitting below 40. It’s a catchy song, modern, and also feels more ‘serious’ than those of Cyprus and Switzerland due to the instrumentation used.
    As gert says under the review for it, this guy is a natural and even though this isn’t his genre, he looks the part for it.
    If they bring a strong staging concept, this could really fly and pick up solid points all over.

    5. Sweden–Jury top 3, televote 6-10 my guess. I don’t want to spend too long on this because I’ve said it before but I don’t see this as a winner. The song is just average and whilst John and the staging lift it, this is not a performance that is going to fly across Europe.

    6. Russia– This is probably the lowest they can go given Russia and Sergey’s voting power and I’m cautious in putting them here. The song has no relevance to anything in modern music yet again and exists purely to win Eurovision. Juries will see through it and just like 2016, it will not matter how well he will sing it or how well it will be staged, they just aren’t buying this. The televote will be strong but I don’t think Sergey will pick up half as many neutrals as his previous effort. This is just “one of the ballads” for everyone who doesn’t know or care for him and will be fighting for votes accordingly. A threat to the top 4, but the win looks beyond it for now.

    7. Slovenia– Is that something different that could either be forgotten or loved. Could benefit from a- once again- uncompetitive Balkan region, although Slovenia is usually a bit ignored. Juries should give this a strong base, it’s just a question of if the wider public will go for it.

    8. Italy– I don’t believe Mahmoods poor San remo televote scores mean he will do as bad as there. San Remo is a different environment and he’s up against established crowd favourites but it is surely a sign this can not come top 5 in the public vote. “Soldi” might be too much of a grower. I think this will do reasonably well but it’s not a winner.

    9. Switzerland– This reminds me of last year’s Czech entry. Similar type of performer with a catchy if slightly lightweight song from a country with a terrible track record. I’m not sure about this one, and like I said before, it’s less certain how this will end up looking and is in the trickier semi final. I have this covered at bigger odds but I’m yet to be convinced this can go all the way to the top, rather than just a top 10.

    10- Greece I’ve ran out of songs I have a strong good feeling about and this could easily be any of the next few instead. If pushed I’d say Greece as it will likely do the best with the jurors and helps the male/female split more. I have real doubts about how voteable this will be and despite a great bridge, this song is a bit lacking. I know quite a few see this as a dark horse but a low top 10 is the absolute limit of my hopes for Greece this year.

    11- Estonia
    12- Armenia
    13- Portugal
    14- Serbia
    15- Malta
    16- Hungary
    17- Norway
    18- Lithuania
    19- Spain
    20- Croatia
    21- Finland
    22- Germany
    23- Israel
    24- Belarus
    25- UK
    26- France

  6. Iv kept my book really tight,so all can be adjusted as needed.Iv several big lays running pricing well now that will be closed out mostly.
    However iv also created big greens on entries i feel are going under the radar,but might come to life at ESC.
    The first is Armenia.
    This has lots of red flags and it will likely fail,but it does have potential to be a classy entry if she can deliver live.She has the talent,the question is does she have the experience?
    Great artist,very nice song.It might fail to improve with staging,but if they can get things right it could do well.
    Ok massive jury worries here,but she is the most talented artist this year.The staging will need to be perfect,but if it is she might be able to stand out.I dont think people understand just how talented this artist is.
    North Macedonia
    Ok im an old purist,but the structure of this song is superb.Take away the vocals and the instrumental is wonderful.Add in a stunning vocalist and you have real power.Ok the message is gut wrenching in lots of ways its so in your face,but if thats put to one side this delivers.The composition as it drops from the first chorus into the cello bridge is superb and the switch into melancholy then out into a power driven climax could create really strong emotions.They have ruined the staging almost every year,but if they can get it right this is a challenger for me for the top places,and maybe a high priced top Balkan winner.

    Its all about price for me at the moment.I would have no concerns in cashing out my book,or even closing down positions and going for a small win year or even a small loss one.We say it every year,but rehearsals really are critical because you could go from also ran to winner its that open.

    • Hi Durhamborn 🙂 Really enjoy your posts on here.
      Couldn’t agree more re price is the focus. Me too happy with my book 🙂 A year that allows a healthy overview on your options without panicking methinks. Yes HUGE changes when especially the Tel Aviv rehearsals begin but it’s a really good year and although NL are a deserved leader just now, I think anything lower than 3/1 just isn’t value on what we know at this stage.

      • My book was going great until i had to sell out of Ukraine just before they pulled out.That knocked out the profits id made backing them and laying France hard.Luckily i pretty much took on all backers of Sweden down to 5.9s and selling some back has provided funds to spray on the ones above.I think the top 3 in the betting are poor,though they might top 3 in the final i dont think any of them would of won any past ESC before we see staging.
        Being unable to get an angle on the field means im price driven at this stage.If none of the big prices iv taken shorten id be able to get my book in line if a couple stand out,but likely in a much lower profit range than usual.Interesting year to see how things develop.

        • Luckily for me I thought that bloody awful jazz comedy skit was going to win. When I saw Maruv’s improved stage show (and slightly better vocal lol) I wanted to jump on. I was out that night and I like to keep betting in line by not being at the point where I’ll ignore company and sit placing bets etc. When I did get home lol I adjudged the price too low, quickly followed by the cancellation threat to her entry.
          Dodged that bullet!

  7. Sergey on Scream Stage Show ‘You will see the performance will be more epic than movies’. As I thought.

    He also responds to criticism of the song.

    This first exclusive interview on Russian site (you will need to use Google translate).


    • Rehearsals started today and Sergey’s backing team are from Sweden: Adam Svensson, Jennie Jahns, Erik Segerstedt and Simon Lingmerth all working in Moscow with stage director Fokas Evagelinos.

      • Rehearsals start now with all 41 nations. Sergei shouldn’t respond to the criticism of the song. I really hope he just does his thing, and puts the ‘winning vibe’ a bit to the background. Because then it’ll eventually come to him. The criticism of the song……..well, sometimes a song is perceived great, sometimes it’s perceived good.

        • Evening Gert 😉 The criticism in the main was because it wasn’t a flowing romantic ballad with a traditional format of songwriting. As he says this different unformatted song is deliberately like a movie soundtrack – but at first to fans it received a backlash as they were expecting something else.
          The song is OK in the main with some epic builds and I love the middle 8 breakdown but obviously it has been entirely written for the stage and we won’t see in any way the complete package until that 1st rehearsal in Tel Aviv.

  8. Guys when are we getting the running order for the semis? Beginning of April maybe?

    I can see two very possible closers in semi 1 ( Greece and Iceland ) while for semi 2 Russia, Netherlands and Malta sound all like Bjorkman-closers ( Russia maybe not that much? )
    Fortunately Cyprus and Sweden got 1st halfs and he doesnt have many countries to favor

  9. A first ‘prediction’ from my side with all the info we have a.t.m.:
    01. GREECE: Staging very much an unknown. But looking at Katerine’s three ‘live’ mini-concerts, she has something unique over her. A bit the male equivalent of Duncan Laurence. The level of artistic creativity used in the videoclip could be ‘translated’ on stage. This has the potential to do well with both televote and juries.
    02. SWITZERLAND: Not a winning song for me, as I think winning songs in the end are truly unique in the field. Yet Sacha Jean Baptiste will elevate this, and Luca is such a charismatic performer. Does very well in the televote, but could struggle eventually in the jury vote. Also, how to make this ‘different’ from Cyprus?
    03. THE NETHERLANDS: Like the Greek singer, Duncan Laurence is a unique performer. It’s an artist people will ‘observe the emotions’ rather than ‘connect through eye contact’. Yet for now, as I am a Dutchman myself, I prefer to be careful. From AVROTROS I know there’s more of a ‘winning vibe’ going on. Ilse?
    04. ICELAND: Let’s face it. It’s a great song! Packed in an act that could create a ‘WTF’-moment, but not as repulsive as, let’s say, Portugal. People will ‘understand’ this. If it’s being staged like in the NF, I could see this become a serious threat in the televote for GR, CH and NL. However, the juries will rank this down, so 4th?
    05. SWEDEN: While love is a losing game, for the Swedes a narrow TOP 5 position might feel as a losing game as well. Within the field of Melodifestivalen it stood out. John is utterly charismatic on stage. Yet, again, the Swedes don’t come with a more unique, artistically relevant song. High with juries, not so with televote.
    06. RUSSIA: There’s only a maximum of ‘impressive’ staging you can use, before it will loose its emotional purity. Although I prefer the Russian entry this year more than 2016, it lacks the quality and authenticity ‘Arcade’ has. Also, how will European juries react to anti-Russian sentiment? High with televote though.
    07. CZECH REPUBLIC: Underestimated gem of a song for me. The singer from Lake Malawi apparently will just dance and prance around without too much choreographical content, but wasn’t that something Lena (2010) did as well? Melodically it is catchy, but not monotonous. Could do OK with both televoters and juries.
    08. CYPRUS: Staged by Sacha Jean Baptiste. I do think juries will compare this negatively with last year’s ‘Fuego’. Obviously this will look nice on stage, but Switzerland has less of a ‘Fuego 2.0’ vibe to it. Could do TOP 10, but this year the competition of poppy up-tempo songs like these is bigger. Thanks Cyprus 2018.
    09. BELGIUM: Underestimated song if you ask me. I think there’s stiff competition in this genre, but Eliot has charisma, sounds self-assured, and Jean-Jacques Marotte will do the staging. I also like the melancholical vibe of the song. Probably this will be kept simple, but the song itself could put this in just in the TOP 10.
    10. SPAIN: Song-wise this isn’t that interesting to me personally. And I even prefer the old version over the new studio version. But Miki owns the stage, oozes charisma and will surely make a huge party in Tel Aviv. Fokas Evangelinos does the staging for this entry too, but perhaps for less pennies. High enough televote.
    In contention for left-hand side of the scoreboard:
    11. ITALY: It sounds a bit weird for such a quality entry, but I do think it’s a bit of a ‘fan-wank’, just like ‘Mercy’ last year. Mahmood could be perceived as an angry protester on stage. Pretty good for juries.
    12. MALTA: I will be watching this one carefully. It went much faster to 1 million YouTube views than Switzerland. But I have to agree with Gavin here. Can she cope with a choreography driven entry?
    13. NORWAY: This is not a fan-wank to me, it’s more of a Denmark 2018-ish entry. I think televoters would love this. However, it’s pretty much dated to my ears if I were a juror. Don’t rule it out yet.
    14. HUNGARY: I had this higher on my list before, but this isn’t as good as the 2017 entry, which had some more Chemistry on stage thanks to a dancer. However, Joci is loved in the Balkan. Televoter magnet?
    15. AZERBAIJAN: ‘Fuego’ meets ‘Nobody But You’ (Austria 2018). One of the best Azeri entries in years. And look closely to Chingiz on YouTube: very gifted stage performer, especially with guitar. Could do well.

    • I agree that Switzerland and Cyprus are kind of fishing in the same pond. YouTube seems to indicate Luca is a smooth live performer too. The swiss will need to come up with a good staging though, for a change. Often their entries are good on paper only, but it would be nice to be surprised by them.

      Cyprus seems to lack the lift of last year’s entry. Less flourishes, character, false choruses. It’s a photocopy (or a negative).

      I would say Estonia and Oz seem obvious for left side love too. Oz has an identity, a potential gimmick, and a happy Disneyfied finish to it. The singer also seems lovely. They just need to wrap it into a package, without losing the wtf factor.

      Estonia is one of the many, like Belgium, that are catchy but could land with a dull thud. I never found City Lights that interesting either though and I actually like their song this year.

      Really hope Spain copy a Koza Mostra or Sunstroke Project raucous fun vibe this year. They could nail their staging for once.

    • Im with you on Greece Gert.I rate Katerine as probably the 2nd most talented artist this year.(i rate Kate Miller the most talented and Tamara in the mix due to vocals).
      Id really like to see how she is going to deliver it live though.She can be very left field in her live performances and they are mostly in small intimate venues.I think she has the range though to power it in a stadium.
      The staging is going to be very tricky if they go too avant garde,and another worry is the song doesnt really leave much room for any moments.The song also needs backing singers during the refrain its likely they will need dancers to do it if they are to put on a show.A potential winner for me though if everything goes right,or a flop if it doesnt.

      • I should add Gert i agree on Switzerland as well.Luca is probably the most talented male artist for me this year and i expect he will go past Sweden in the odds at some point.

  10. Thank you, Euoiio, for starting the seminfinals running order thread. I have even made my Melfest style stickies table to play with the running order ideas (I know, I have too much spare time on my hands).

    For the semifinal 2, a likely winner of the closing slot could be Norway. It has both, a female (F) and males (M), it’s a bop and it has some ethnic elements (*). From there, I rotated bops and ballads as well as F and M. Mind you, the second part of the 2nd semi has 4 screaming ballads to accommodate. And the 1st half has 7 females to line up. I will comment on my ideas of the potential impact of this in comments below.

    18 Norway (bop) M/F *
    17 Netherlands (ballad) M
    16 Malta (bop) F
    15 Russia (screaming ballad) M
    14 Azerbaijan (bop) M
    13 Macedonia or Albania (screaming ballad) F *

    12 Croatia (screaming ballad) M *
    11 Lithuania M
    10 Macedonia or Albania (screaming ballad) F *
    9 Sweden (gospel) M
    8 Armenia F
    7 Romania (ballad) F

    6 Denmark (feel good) F
    5 Austria (melancholic) F
    4 Ireland (mid tempo) F
    3 Moldova (screaming ballad) F
    2 Latvia (melancholic) M/F
    1 Switzerland (bop) M

    • My thoughts on the (possible) implications of the running order of the 2nd semi:

      1) 1st half has 7 female artists and 2 male. If either Switzerland or Sweden opens the semi, there will be a significant uninterrupted flow of females with, lets face it, so-so songs to perform (maybe Armenia aside)
      2) 2nd half has five ballads of which four are ‘screaming’ kind of ballads. Whoever gets slots 17, 15 and 13 is likely to win the ballads war. Slot 13 could be a dark horse
      3) All slot-holders between 13 to 18 might qualify being decent quality and diversity
      4) If slots 13-18 qualify, as well as Sweden and Switzerland, this will leave two time-slots available only
      5) The decisive factor could be either a significant jury appeal or a diaspora pull. Could be Romania, Armenia or Lithuania?

    • Oh they should really hire you to do the running order. Thats a good one
      Who you think could close semi 1 tho?

      • Maybe Estonia? You know, a kind of ‘feel-good’, happy-clappy song with a Swedish singer? Would it make sense?
        I think San Marino (another uptempo) might be reserved for antidoting after Hatari, whatever is Hatari’s running order.
        ESC Insight seemed to have suggested that Australia could be a good closer. But there are only two females in the 2nd half of the 1st semi (Greece and Australia), so not sure what producers decide here. Predicting the running order of the 1st semi is extremely tricky 🙂

  11. Some preliminary thoughts on the semis below:

    Semi Final One

    Likely to Qualify (in no particular order):

    Might Qualify:
    Czech Republic

    Currently, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Serbia look the strongest out of the ‘possibles’.

    Unlikely to Qualify:
    San Marino

    Semi Final Two:

    Likely to Qualify (in no particular order):
    The Netherlands

    Might Qualify:
    North Macedonia

    Unlikely to Qualify:

    I reckon in Semi Two, there might be 8 countries effectively fighting for one remaining qualifying place. There may be value in opposing some of these countries to qualify. To me, the qualification odds on Romania, North Macedonia, Albania and Denmark look potentially too short.

    Based on song quality Croatia should be firmly in the ‘Unlikely to Qualify’ category, but, given Jacques Houdek’s involvement, it wouldn’t surprise me if they have another ‘My Friend’ staging surprise up their sleeve which could see their qualification odds shorten at rehearsals.

    • I’m struggling to see much value in the qualification odds yet but it’s really early, my only real opinion atm is that Belgium look too short, it’s a really underwhelming song that just falls apart at the chorus and Eliot does not particularly convince. Norway is another I may oppose given the mess of the nf and fanwanky nature of it. As performed at Mgp it was jury anathema, it is fortunate however to have Sweden and Denmark in this semi, and a second half draw.
      So far I have:
      Semi 1:
      Certain- Cyprus, Iceland
      Likely- Greece, Portugal, Hungary, Estonia,
      Borderline- Australia, Finland, Serbia, Belarus, Belgium
      Unlikely- San Marino, Czech Rep, Poland
      Hopeless- Georgia, Montenegro

      Semi 2:
      Certain- Sweden, Russia, Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Switzerland
      Likely- Armenia, Lithuania, Malta
      Borderline- Norway, Croatia, Denmark
      Unlikely- Romania, Ireland, Albania, Austria, North Macedonia
      Hopeless- Moldova, Latvia

  12. Staging update Malta: good news it would appear SJB is not choreographing. With SJB choreo on Cyp & Swi this would not have been good for Malta.
    Be careful to not get caught in the ‘Fuego’ trap with Michela – she’s a brilliant singer and I’m looking for her to stand and deliver a great vocal and let the dancers do the work. Unlike Eleni etc she doesn’t need to rely on her dancing. Strong vocals = much more jury points.
    She’s the only very young fresh talent this year and she could do very well.

    On a Swi side SJB could work very well for Luca – he won the Dance Dance Dance tv show in Germany I think in 2017 and I think SJB can deliver brilliance from him. Swi soon 3rd fav deservedly so. I think the lame duck here may be the somewhat wooden Tamta for Cyp.

    • update: I loved some of the choreo in the official Maltese vid and I was hoping they would carry some of that onto the stage and it appears the same choreographer will choreograph in Tel Aviv.
      Wise, shrewd move I feel by the Malta team.

  13. My Pre-rehearsals Qualifiers for Semis

    Semi 1

    Q: Cyprua, Hungary, Slovenia, Belgium, Greece, Iceland, Portugal

    Likely Qualifiers: Estonia, Poland, Australia

    Likely Non Qualifiers: Czech Rep, Finland, Serbia

    Don’t stand a chance: Belarus, Finlad, Montenegro, Georgia, San Marino

    Semi 2

    Q: Sweden, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, Netherlands, Russia

    Likely Qualifiers: Armenia, Denmark, Albania, Malta, North Macedonia

    Likely Non Qualifiers: Norway, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Austria

    Don’t Stand a Chance: Ireland, Moldova, Croatia

    Top-10 Prediction

    1. Netherlands. The song to beat. Netherlands is all in. They are after a win since 2013 and i think the time has come. They have to commit suicide with the staging to lose that one and don’t think they will.

    2-5 Switzerland, Russia, Greece, Slovenia

    Don’t think that they can seriously threaten Netherlands but will be in Top-5

    6-10 Sweden, Cyprus, Belgium, Portugal, Italy

    The only two songs that have a winner feeling imo are Netherlands and Greece. Russia has the voting power and will definitely score better with the juries but cannot see it scoring very high with the televoting like in 2016. Switzerland will be the uptempo song that will do better and Slovenia is my pick for the surprise song that will finish in Top-5.

  14. Why exactly is Sasha jean Baptiste highly rated?

    I know she did wonders for Cyprus18… but people are forgetting she also was responsible for Australia18 too!

    • You cant make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

      • To be fair there was TONS more she could have done with Aust 18. Dreadful choreo with Jess lugging all the weight of the stageshow and those awkward moves she was trying to combine with the vocal.

        She should have had 4 hot male dancers/back vox. Fireworks at end as she ends up on podium ala Diana Ross chain reaction. Methinks JSB can only deliver brilliance one entry at at time and I think Malta made a wise move not jumping on board with her.

  15. Believe in

    Don’t believe in
    Italy, Portugal

    Iceland can both work great or completely fail, I think.

  16. Hi all. Song update – fuller clip of Russian vocal rehearsal http://esckaz.com/2019/rus.htm scroll down to latest news. Sounding very on point and the best part of the song – the ‘drop out’ middle 8 – is going to be incredible live. Sergey’s always been a decent singer but even I was surprised here at his power and conviction in the vocal. ESC 2019 is going to be very interesting 😉

    • Vocal rehearsals. Wonderful. But vocals are only a part of the total package. To me…..it all looks a bit…..forced. However, if they would perform it close harmony on stage, it would do much more to. However, that ain’t gonna happen.

      Eurovision in Concert gives us more info. However, everything comes down to the actual rehearsals in Tel Aviv.

      In short: great little vocal rehearsal from Russia. But the song stays rather insepid. So climatic vocals and visuals all need to do the trick. We’ll see.

      • Hi Gert. Why not take my post sometimes at face value without ‘reading’ more into them or drawing conclusions that I’m not trying to make.
        This was simply a post showing very impressive a cappella (in the main) vocals. Sergey’s vocal even better than I anticipated and backing vox are great. Shows a very strong vocal heading to Tel Aviv – much stronger than You’re The Only One demonstrated or was allowed to demonstrate with the simple song structure.
        I’m not saying this equates to any more of the package than they do and agree with your point👍😎

  17. My thoughts:

    Semi 1
    Belarus: NQ (sounds dated and juries won’t reward this)
    Cyprus: Q (catchy song, radio friendly)
    Czech Republic: Possible Q (sounds a bit cheesy but is catchy with good looking singer)
    Finland: Possible Q (competent entry but nothing special)
    Hungary: Q (traditional song, wel sung, Hungary always seem to find a way to the final)
    Montenegro: NQ (no way this ever is qualifying)
    Poland: NQ (diaspora won’t save this, not catchy like 2018 entry and don’t think juries will reward this)
    Serbia: Q (when they miss out they probably will be 11th)
    Slovenia: Possible Q (sounds nice, middle of the road, no real USP)

    Australia: Possible Q (juries probably will reward Australia again but this song is not very accessible)
    Belgium: Q (radio friendly and competent song with both jury and televote love)
    Estonia: Possible Q (mix of two music styles, weird woman appearing and disappearing on stage, won’t get much jury love)
    Georgia: NQ (just awful)
    Greece: Q (unique voice, decent entry with both jury and televote love)
    Iceland: Q (polarizing entry but very memorable. will get enough televote love to go through like Hungary 2018)
    Portugal: NQ (I donno if this is fanwank or just stupidity but I really don’t see why people think this will do well)
    San Marino: NQ (catchy disco number that will be hated by juries but probably will receive some (Turkish) love in televote

    My seven non-qualifiers before rehearsals are: San Marino, Portugal, Georgia, Belarus, Poland, Estonia and Czech Republic.

  18. I decided to wait until all songs were released before taking stock of them together. Overall, few countries look as though they want to go all out to win, and out of those few, I think only the Netherlands and Greece look to have the ingredients to do it.

    Arcade stands out as a strong contemporary ballad with shades of Beautiful Mess about it. The piano/falsetto hook is among the most memorable in the competition. Juries will eat this up for breakfast. My concern is that it could come across as too gloomy for audiences on the night.

    Better Love has the only chorus in the pack that I could remember after my first run through. It takes off like a rocket ship! Katerine’s voice is outstanding and the music video indicates that the Greek delegation are thinking ambitiously about the visual concept for this. I think there’s real potential for some vocal free-styling a la Dami Im from the bridge onward, which could push the song over the line to win.

    I can see Sweden, Russia, Cyprus and Switzerland going top 5, but I can’t see any of them winning.

    • We understand each other. Another person seriously thinking Greece can win.

      The only restrictions I feel is about both singers: Duncan and Katherine. They both emotionally indulge themselves in their own performances. Both Duncan and Katherine are….not the kind of singers who put out a smile on camera in a very telegenic way.

      The Dutch ‘Sam Smith/Coldplay’ and the Greek ‘Annie Lennox/Amy Winehouse’ could be vying for the trophy.

      These entries simply have a bit more negatives in their potential stage total package:
      – Switzerland: song (lacks artistic originality)
      – Russia: song (too bland)
      – Italy: charisma/staging (too bland)
      – Iceland: staging/vocals (too extreme)
      – Cyprus: song (lacks artistic originality)
      – Sweden: song (song is not very ‘2019’)
      – Malta: staging/choreography (can singer perform this?)

      • Sorry Gert, but if Russia is bland then Greece is blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnd.

        • Damis song was too tho. And Austria last year. I have my doubts too about the greek televote but can you deny Gav that its pure jury bait? Could do better than Russia in the jury vote. A live clip was released some hours ago:

        • Come on Gav. I am Dutch, and I clearly see our own entry’s weaknesses (although I still think TOP 3 is possible). But Greece even more dull than Russia???

          Your criticism was mainly about the studio production. But clearly as a song its easier to remind, to hum, than Russia. It’s also way more current and modern than Russia’s bloated attempt.

          Actually, I am scared to death that Greece will grab the victory right under our arrogant Dutch noses.

          • My main issue is that the song is so underdeveloped. And Greece is one of my favourite songs of the year, but I say that as something to play in the car rather than as a Contest song.

            I don’t see Greece as a winner at all. Maybe dipping its toes in the top-10. They could do something fabulous with the staging to help it go a little higher, but the song is too Spotify and sort of lacks the memorability to perform strongly at the sharp end of the scoreboard.

            Back to Russia: it is at least distinctive and has impact and drama built into the arrangement. Scream is designed for a Contest, not Spotify.

          • Clip of Sergey performing live in Germany:

            I think this is as flat as it gets tbh. And I dont know, theres something… jury unfriendly about the way he sings. Maybe his pronunciation? Sounds a bit… cheap
            Plus they completely sucked his sex appeal out with this disney track. I will be really dissapointed in Eurovision if this wins

      • ‘Sam Smith/Coldplay’ and the Greek ‘Annie Lennox/Amy Winehouse’ spot on Gert – (though I’d throw in Jess Glynne and Florence in there for Katrine too and even a bit of Macy Gray 😉

    • The live clip just confirms what an incredible talent this young woman is Black n Blue doesnt it.Real quality singer.The team behind the song know what they are doing as well and its pretty obvious now they have structured the song to show her off in the arena.Katerine is going to go far.I had her the 2nd most talented artist this year after Kate Miller,but i think she might move into first place if she can hold her nerve once at ESC.Greece are challengers for me,if they want to be that is.Switzerland the other that should go well and good to see them go past Sweden as expected in the odds.Netherlands lacks something for me,but im worried if it took the jury it might win so its in a holding pattern.Russia is 100% naff,but they will probably spend as much on the staging as a Hollywood movie so will outperform.A few others scattered about with potential,but lots of red flags.

      • But how do you see Russia 2019 in the split vote? I can see it could do a TOP 4 in the televote, but really winning it like in 2016? Then there are the juries. Song-wise it will suffer here, not to mention some anti-Russian sentiment.

        Yes, staging-wise it will be a slam dunk victory. But a Eurovision winner to me also needs to convey heartfelt emotions, a sincerity and purity that Netta, Jamala and Salvador had in millions. But I don’t……have it with Sergei. Too calculated, too polished.

        Hell, I think Russia 2015 did a far better job in that field. It had a song, with climax, to die for.

  19. A first extensive interview by Israeli broadcaster KAN with Duncan Laurence plus some rehearsal footage (filmed in The Netherlands) :

    • Rehearsal footage Gert? Wasn’t that a clip from the tv show?

      • There are some clips in it from rehearsals. Then again, you can post rehearsal clips until you weigh an ounce, but they don’t tell me much. Obviously there will be great vocalists, but it’s only one small aspect of the total package. As a matter of fact, yesterday I did analize all previous 10 winners and their total packages; what they had on offer on stage. This is what I came up with.

        Take it with a big grain of salt, but it shows that not all Eurovision winners are exactly the same. Sometimes the song is the mere standout (I actually think songs are Always the decisive factor, and all of these winners should perhaps higher than 33% on this aspect), but at times elements like charisma and/or vocals put a previously favourite over the finishing line:


        Hope you like it Showlad :-D.

        • Thanks Gert that was a fascinating read 🙂

          • I did that to understand for myself that not every winner in the last 10 years have been the same. And I’m not just talking about the song. I am also talking about other aspects. Sometimes charisma (and a certain meme, like with Salvador) is the decisive factor, sometimes -indeed- the staging (LED Visuals, camera’s). But in the end in order to win you still need to have an oustanding melody/song in a field of 37 to 43 entries. Even the rather lacklustre song from Azerbaijan 2011 was helped by the fact that it wasn’t a slamdunk bookies favourite, but was still hoovering around 8th place in the odds.

          • I don’t count Az in my summations. Many feel it was fixed that year and for me the jury is truly out on that ‘win’.

            For me had all the trappings of 2nd to 4th but not a winner.

        • No, those rehearsal clips are from the rehearsal for the postcard. And those were filmed in Israel.

          • The Azerbaijan win of 2011 will be forever a, (minor) mystery to me. Even when songs that are 8th to 10th or more in the betting at this stage in proceedings (Austria 2014, Ukraine 2016) and come “off the pace” after rehearsals and a good semi showing, the bookies have normally, by then trimmed the odds right down. It is relatively rare to get a winner from outside the top three in the betting rankings as the final approaches. Was 2011 the classic “default” winner in an average field with no outstanding candidate? Or do others share the view that it was “fixed”? I have no evidence, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if it was.

  20. Russian log sings –

    • Where is this from Shlanderous – rehearsals? Sounds great though I don’t think he’s hearing the backing music well initially as out of key at start. Very strong in rest.

    • It’s quite funny actually. As song begins it’s obvious Sergey and backing vocalist can’t hear backing track to get a handle on the key lol 🙂 Bit like an excerpt from It’ll Be Alright On The Night tv programme lol. Very strong though when it does get going and he looks really pumped up for it 😉

  21. A great bet for now is to bet against iceland to qualify to the final, finish top 10 and win. If you remember the jury voting on the icelandish final, hatari got many top marks because it was the only song with any Eurovision chances. On the same time the song was last for 2 juries in a really terrible final. That means that in Eurovision many juries might love the song but other juries like eleni fureyra etc will rank it last for sure. And guess what i am pretty sure at least 2 juries from each country will rank it last, and even if the other juries would rank it first iceland would still get 0 points on the end. Therefore for the reason stated above i believe hatari will be 26th in the jury voting in the final, so top 10 for Iceland doesnt look easy to me.

    • I don’t think you’re quite grasping how the jury vote works.

      Also jury numbers were not confirmed in the link to the actual jurors at Icelandic Final and I don’t think Eleni would be one of the 2 bottom rankers.

      Fridrik was a very strong ballad in that final and I think 7 top marks from the 10 jurors was still a strong showing nonetheless. I think it is highly unlikely also in a final of 26 songs that 2 jurors from each country will rank Iceland last (possibly more chance they love it and rank it first…).

      • I meant 2 Juries from EACH country will rank it last. The problem is that it is a love it or hate it entry, and even if juries have to set personal opinion aside, most of the times they just vote for the songs that they like.

        • Hi Zaubererer.
          The new jury voting system is ‘weighted’ to favour the Top 10 from each individual country’s jurors giving more clout from their number 1 favourite down to their 10th fav and less emphasis as their ranking goes from number 11 down to number 26.

          This helps Hatari in that individual jurors who love their song will have more impact and individual jurors who rank them last will have less impact. All explained here:

          As for an entire country’s jury ranking them last, I think this is highly unlikely – the song is great, stage show amazing and even those who find it distasteful among music biz pros I think will be in the minority and as outlined an individual juror placing them last will now have less clout with that country’s overall jury vote than they did previously.

        • Its honestly astounding that Hatari are ranked in the top 10 betting odds…

          Iceland better than France, Denmark, Australia…. even North Macedonia??

          I dont think so…

  22. Or is that the fan filming vid singing along lol.

  23. The second live performance from Sergey courtesy ESC Extra and in better sound quality. It sounds… pretty amazing actually (were there some prerecorded vocals?)

    • He’s still off key at points in the lower key opening lines. Why have the dudes on guitar playing to the backing track? Rest of vocal v v strong.

      • Musicians are there because it’s a concert, not a Eurovision event.

        • Agreed. These are concerts. It’s about having ‘contact’ with the audience. And how they ‘own’ the stage with their charisma. And only that; that tells you a tiny bit about what to expect in Tel Aviv. Also it gives us perhaps information about how the artists sound vocally on a concert stage.

          We all know however that Eurovision is about so much more than that. Feeling asured on stage and sounding impressive vocally are only a few aspects of a (winning) total package.

          Some entries really come alive when watching them on a TV screen, whereas in a small concert hall it might look rather….unimpressive. Same with certain genres of music. They are simply not made for the concert stage. Think about small ballads compared with lots of party from entries like those from Switzerland.

          So perhaps we shouldn’t read too much in such…..’caught in the action’ rehearsals and concert performances. To a lesser extend that also goes for appearances on Eurovision in Concert and London Calling.

    • Thats boring af. Fokas Evaggelinos’d better work his magic better than ever before coz this is not winning material.

  24. Hello guys & gals. Normally I would not post a video like this, as I prefer to talk about the chances of countries. However, this reaction video struck me as very sincere and made my skin crawl. No, I’m not talking about a song, I’m talking about an experience from a YouTube vlogger that left me with contempt on how certain Eurovision nations are treating their participation. Here is the video: https://youtu.be/6BnTu7f7l4g

    Look, I’m not naive. Bribery has been part of every society since capitalism and banks were introduced like some thousands of years ago. However, I felt adament to post about this, as I do know that Gavster himself has always been a vocal supporter of calling out such criminals. If it concerns bots that are paid by certain countries to keep their position in the odds artificially high, or if it concerns massive ads buying by trolls/criminals so that suddenly the view figure of a Eurovision entry rises within an hour from 700,000 to an insane 3,000,000. Not to mention the fact that bribing juries is still very much a problem.

    On many issues I am usually not on Gavster’s side (eyewink), but on this one I firmly am. I honestly believe, as an enlightened person, that these rotten things need to be mentioned. I am not a professional journalist, however I do think that proper research journalism could do the trick and could let honesty, transparency, dignity and other enlightened principles of democracies still ‘win’ from crimes like these.

    Again, I am wary of many reaction videos. Some of them are just plain fake, emotion wise. However this vlogger strikes me as being honest, perhaps even a bit naive. But I don’t care. He seems good nonetheless. I am curious what you think of it Gav. And if it’s an idea that he mentions this to the EBU (despite all the flaws of the FIFA of Eurovision).

    Thanks everyone. Sorry if there are some mistakes in this long post, as I’m typing this on my mobile phone hehe. Hugs Gert. Now back to predicting and betting!!

    • Oh bless, it’s like someone just told him that Santa Clause isn’t real. OF COURSE countries buy favourable reaction videos from certain vloggers, just like they try to manipulate likes and views.

      I note that he mentions multiple videos/performances, so that does limit the number of nations.

      • Still, do these countries actually do marketing research?? The eventual outcome will most likely be marginally influenced by such actions. Isn’t it a clear examply of…throwing away money, because it doesn’t have any substantial effect?

        • They have barely any influence at all. People don’t need to watch some drag queen or two guys vlogging from London to form their own opinions.

          • Allegedly one thing that might influence viewers (at least to some degree) on the big Eurovision night is the commentary that, say, Graham Norton, decides to drop ahead of the performances. Things like… ‘and here comes one of the favorites’, or ‘don’t step out to take a cuppa yet’, ‘there’s some action coming’, bla-bla-bla.

            So a good question is: what influences Norton and other commentators? Odds? Viewings? Media coverage?

          • Norton tends to affect the betting markets, but I agree he would influence people when flaggging up a dark horse or market leader.

            A lot of this commentary is formed during rehearsals, so the current fan-media cycle is largely pointless.

    • How breathtakingly incompetent would a PR person have to be in that the only way they could get positive reactions to their client’s song is having to pay a bribe to a fan vlogger?

      Smart promo efforts go towards things that have reach outside the fan bubble, like Malta’s Youtube ads, guest appearances on local television shows, etc.

      I’m more inclined to believe that this vlogger himself was being trolled.

  25. I can’t really see anyone other than Russia winning. Sergey will have a lot going in his favour, the usual Russian bloc vote, fans of him looking for revenge for 2016, fans of Maruv who want to stick it to Ukraine, and gullible people who will vote purely on the staging. Not to mention there are a few guaranteed 12s from neighboring juries (particularly Azerbaijan and Belarus, where it is obvious that the juries in those countries are told what way to vote by their government) and also guaranteed high votes from Greece, Cyprus and Germany (where he is currently touring).

  26. Any particular reason why SUI odds quietly shortening towards top2 spot? Cyprus2018 effect or a valid competitor?

    • The view is that it’s the best of the upbeat packages and that Cyprus may struggle to match last year’s impact.

      • Much more than that Gav I feel, and I will outline more in my overview of the field posted soon.

        Luca is a decent singer; a stunning, hot, sexy guy and also a brilliant dancer (he has previously won both separate Song and Dance shows in Germany).

        Couple that with a song just made for the stage show and Fuego’s choreographer and understandably this is seen as the strongest mainstream up-tempo entry.

  27. Gav, every year with Sweden, do you think its an advantage or disadvantage that we’ve already seen the staging they’re pretty much performing at eurovision?

  28. So, after much consideration and back-&-forths, I decided to go to Tel Aviv to watch Eurovision live (semi 1 & 2 tickets are bought). I am still shaken by the video of rockets flying over Tel Aviv, but trying to be brave. So any relaxing and live-reassuring reading that kind ESC Tipsters can recommend (e.g. 100 facts about Patriot defence system) are appreciated in advance.

    I do not have a remote desire of turning this wonderful website into Trip Advisor, but I wanted to say that logistics makes me even more nervous than rockets. The show finishes after mid-night, how do people get safely back with limited public transport options?

    Anyhow, at the present I am so excited because:
    1) I will be fan-girling for Conan from Golden Circle
    2) I will be clapping to Soldi with other 7 thousand folks
    3) And I will see that dragon live…

    • Good on you. You’ll love it there.

      I toured Israel for two weeks a few years ago. Fascinating place and very safe, though I would advise giving Jerusalem a miss on Fridays.

      Rockets are a regular occurrence whenever Gaza’s regime is under pressure, and naturally, the retaliation invites more rocket fire. It’s not something I would worry about as the security forces will be on high alert during Eurovision.

  29. Iceland rising in the odds and I wonder, can anyone see Iceland in the juries top 15?
    Theres nothing for them to score, “vocals” arent strong, the song cant be a mainstream hit, its sexual and extreme. No sane juror will score this high.
    I personally love it but they will be lucky enough to finish in lower top 9, if televote is indeed very strong.

    • Vocals are fine, they’re just different from what is the identikit ESC format. Though the ‘growl’ points raised in the main review apply.

      What’s different to perhaps PKN or other tracks is that this has an element of art. Moreover, Hatari do what they do well, whereas other version of growl music has felt somewhat old hat or lacking a USP.

      Nevertheless, Eurovision winners tend to be able to unite audiences rather than divide. Iceland will divide.

      The shortening is probably based on a BBC article which has caught the attention of early Eurovision punters. The same happened with PKN who failed to qualify. Hatari aren’t PKN and will qualify.

      • They’ll qualify with knobs on. I suspect like Molodova 2017 and Italy 2018, they’ll fall into category of songs which leap up scoreboard with strong televote after moderate jury score.

    • I expect Iceland to be Top 10 minimum with juries.

      Song is a technotastic driver, stage show the biggest Wow! this year and they will have the biggest publicity by far. Add to that they are seen as a voice of dissent (in general not exactly anti-Israel more anti – oppression) and their shortening is understandable.

      They are finishing Top 5 in the Grand Final – the exact position will depend on how many jurors find them ‘cool’ and their top pick and how many (much fewer I think) are repulsed and n ark them down and just how big (because it will be BIG) their chunk of the public vote turns out to be.

  30. Agree Showlad on your assessment of Iceland. On matters Nordic, I have a gut feeling that Norway may be this year’s Denmark 2018….that surprise top ten finish, Viking Schlager that drew so much derision last year. Its slightly cheesy, retro-ness was exactly what appealed to the televoters last year. I could be wrong and Norway may be a mess on stage, but all those drummers they had at the Melodi Grand Prix final had added an “Only Teardops” element which was kind of reassuring. May be barking up wrong tree here, as it is not really a favourite of mine this year, but I would not be surprised if it ended up 8th to 10th……and annoyed a lot of folk!!!

    • Hi Mark. Norway could have been a much bigger televote threat if there had been presence with the 3 of them onstage instead of some ill figured out staging with all the charisma of 3 people singing karaoke (well). The drummers are a nice if unoriginal touch but cannot cover the gaping hole of the fact that ‘spirit in the sky’ conjured up so many fabulous staging themes and atmosphere possibilities which they failed to connect with. I think they will be very strong televote though and Top 10 looks likely.
      I can see 3 nordic nations in the Top 10 and stats like how many normally appear in the Top 10 are not in any way a binding trait of ESC for me.

  31. Over the last decade there has been only one year when 3 Nordic nations finished in the top 10.

    2018 – 2
    2017 – 2
    2016 – 1
    2015 – 2
    2014 – 3
    2013 – 2
    2012 – 1
    2011 – 2
    2010 – 1
    2009 – 1

    In two of the three years when a Nordic nation won, they were the only Nordic representative in the top 10.

    It’s a case of picking your jury favourites and Sweden is the most jury friendly from this year’s lineup, though probably too vanilla for the televote. Iceland is distinctive, but will polarise opinion – it’s still a top 10 contender though. Norway will be overshadowed by the other credible upbeat songs, though I expect it will do better on the televote.

  32. I’m fully with Showlad too on Iceland. I’m not expecting them to win the jury by any stretch and they’ll probably be 100 points behind Sweden but that’s a gap they could overturn. For me Iceland are one of the few entries –Netherlands and Russia being the others– that can reach 300+ with the public
    As for Norway, I don’t see any huge televote for them, but then again I didn’t see Rasmussen doing so well either.
    Maybe mid table with the public if they make the final but juries will kill it ten times harder than Iceland.

    • Im not sure Netherlands and Russia are the only two who can win the televote,we havent seen the staging yet of anyone and there are several much more radio friendly songs.The fact is all the entries have big red flags and thats why the market is starting to push songs to more realistic prices.Sweden has at last gone past where it should of been, minimum 12s/13s,but probably a 17s shot.They will get very little in the east.
      Its a very tricky year now and my no1 priority is to not let my book get away from me.At least the horrid French entry is halfway to where it should be now at 120s from 16s.Another classic early steamer put out of its misery.

      • I agree with you Durhamborn. But let’s face it. Ever since the televote and the jury-vote were completely separated, it’s way harder to predict the overall 100%jury/100%televote-ranking= final outcome.

        In the past years since 2016 I saw that around 4 to 6 countries who apparead in the TOP 12 of the televote did not appear in the jury TOP 12…….and vice versa.

        One thing that struck me though, is the fact that those entries that are doing very well in the televote have a certain ‘meme’ that works on the emotions of the televoting audience much more intense than it does with juries. Either it’s a Danish viking with beard (2018), a rather big Croatian singer (2017, 2015), a guy on a canon (Romania 2017) or two guys emoting heavily with their eyes closed, of which one is more of a rocker (Italy 2018)…….these memes did appeal to televoters, but juries were less impressed.

        Having said that, as a pure ‘100% televoting preeictor’,one has to think out of the box. I tried to do that a bit, and then I have to agree that also this year, like in 2018, 2016 and 2015, the chance is very big that the winner in the televote is not the winner in the jury vote and vice versa.

        I tried to…make this prediction then:

        A quick prediction what could happen:

        100% TELEVOTE:
        01. Switzerland
        02. Sweden
        03. Iceland
        04. The Netherlands
        05. Australia *
        06. Cyprus
        07. Spain *
        08. Russia
        09. Hungary *
        10. Norway *
        11. Greece
        12. Czech Republic *
        13. Italy

        100% JURY:
        01. The Netherlands
        02. Greece
        03. Switzerland
        04. Sweden
        05. Italy
        06. Belgium *
        07. Russia
        08. Lithuania *
        09. Austria *
        10. Cyprus
        11. Azerbaijan *
        12. Iceland
        13. Malta *

        My personal opinion about Russia? Let’s look back at the 2016 entry and this year’s Russian entry. 2016 is simply….better than 2018. Even if it will be magically staged, at this moment I think Russia will do well in the televote, but nowhere near as impressive as in 2016. In the jury vote Russia could slightly improve as compared to 2016. But as you can see…….I have it currently then around 6th to 8th place overall.

        Actually, I expect a lot of Mr Salsa from Switzerland. Lucca can dance as the best, and the choreography will reflect that. Currently I have Switzerland as a slamdunk televote-winner. With stiff competition from Sweden and Iceland.

        Netherlands then. Let me be clear. The Dutch delegation this year clearly wanted a song that will do much better in the televote than previous years. That’s gonna happen. The best televote result since 2014. And probably 3rd is in reach too.

        Watch out for Australia, Spain, Hungary and Norway too in the 100% televote.

        Then we go to the 100% juries. There I think Netherlands could do it: winning there. But only if the staging will be reflecting the emotions in the song/videoclip perfectly on stage. But I’m pretty sure Sweden and Switzerland will be knocking heavily on the TOP 5 door too.

        Having said all this, and taking into account how the points totals will work out……it’s even more difficult what to predict in the final outcome. It’s a slight fact though that points in the 100% jury vote are more spread out in the overall TOP 26, whereas with 100% televoting the majority of the points tend to focus more in the TOP as compared to juries.

        Next week Eurovision in Concert will start. I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from these performances. More emotional ballads usually are not as much as a crowdpleaser as, let’s say, a Cyprus 2019 or Switzerland 2019.

        It’ll be an exciting Eurovision final for sure.

        • I don’t think it’s really harder to predict with the split, it’s just not enough people are seriously working out the maths of it all or don’t do what you have there looking at both sides separately.

          Take Lithuania for example. We know the Irish televote will give them 10-12, and given what they’ve entered this year is probably the blandest, most forgettable entry I’m confident the jury will give them 0. Before that would have been harder to work out how it would place because it wouldn’t be a 26th out of 26 in the Irish jury, it’s too safe, inoffensive and average for that. They’d have it anywhere from 13th to 20th in their scores and then it’s anyone’s guess how that combines together.
          4 points? 7?10?
          Now it’s a simple 10/12 + 0.
          The same applies for televote friendly entries. The Baltic and Georgian juries will give Sergey 0-3 whilst the public will have him near the top. I’m more confident in predicting what Sergey will score out of 96 from those 4 countries than what he would out of the previous 48 points in the old system.

          For what it’s worth my current thinking is:

          1. Iceland
          2. Netherlands
          3. Russia
          4. Azerbaijan
          5. Cyprus
          6. Switzerland
          7. Slovenia
          8. Sweden
          9. Italy
          10. Estonia

          1. Netherlands
          2. Sweden
          3. Slovenia
          4. Cyprus
          5. Iceland
          6. Russia
          7. Malta
          8. Switzerland
          9. Greece
          10. Azerbaijan

          I understand your caution with the Netherlands, its a worthwhile favourite but still very much a “let’s see how it looks on stage”. It could easily fizzle out like ‘Silent Storm’. My prediction is for now on the assumption it won’t. If the Netherlands fails to translate to the live arena it will be a very open contest.

          • Hi Hippo.
            Nice estimations. We differ on: Cyprus too high on both. Swi way too low on both. Gre way too low on both.

        • Hi Gert. Enjoy your posts and thought our ‘thinking’ lines were quite closely aligned but some of your televote is way out of sync with me (which is good I suppose so that we see a broad church of representations on esctips).
          I could easily see Greece and Swe swap places in the Televote. Katerine is gonna wow the viewers with comparisons of Amy; Jess and the like. Don’t see Aust, Hun and Cyp nearly as high (Gre will do much much better than Cyp in both votes). Malta should be Top 10 easy in televote.

          In jury don;’t see Lit so high nor Malta nor Swi nearly as low.

      • Yeah there’s definitely other televote winners. I don’t discount the Swiss but for me it’s more of a 6-10 than 1-5 at the moment and at current odds would rather be backing Cyprus. But I don’t think either are getting 300+ with the televote, if they win the televote it would be because Ned/Ice/Rus fail in some way. 250 is the max I can see them getting, rather than the Salvador, Loreen, Russian Granny’s and Sergey 2016 kind of levels.

  33. Hey Hippo,
    Thanks for your insightful comment. I see your method of ‘predicting’ at this stage is very much connected to go into the details of the points. And your idea of diaspora (this country has already a certain amount of points because of those countries). Still, I do find it a bit dangerous to more or less calculate at this stage what individual juries and nation’s televote aggregates will be doing.

    To me, the very first starting point still is…….the song. And from there onwards I start assessing its chances.
    Lithuania and Russia:
    I can agree with you that Lithuania is indeed pretty bland. Actually, all Baltic entries are bland this year, Estonia included. But with regard to Russia one has to take the current responses to the song serious as well. Yes, the Russians will indeed have a staging triumph on their hands. But, is it really as ‘magical’ and ‘sincere/pure’ as, let’s say, Portugal 2017 and Netherlands 2014? People still say Netherlands 2014 is like 80% staging. I say: wrong. The song was unique, pure, magical even before the contest. If the staging wasn’t as good as it turned out to be, then perhaps they could have sunk to 5th place or so. But lower? I don’t think so.

    Now back to Russia 2019. Yes it will received fixed nr of points from its surrounding neighbors. But there’s Western Europe as well. I think that area won’t be so forthcoming with points as in 2016. Also, there’s a certain anti-Russian sentiment built-in in the jury vote these days. So Russia repeating more or less the 2016-result to me is questionable at best. I think a Russia 2014 result is more in the making if you ask me.
    The Netherlands:
    I think we shouldn’t expect big staging magic to be happening with Netherlands. Not just yet. It isn’t a duet, and most duets can create a bit of extra chemistry even without expensive visuals and excellent camera angles (Azerbaijan 2011, Netherlands 2014, Estonia 2015, Romania 2017, Italy 2018).

    I prefer to be the devil’s advocate and compare the song with as many comparable entries as possible (although I fully realize: new year, new lineup, new unforeseen variables):
    – SWEDEN 2012 (impressive arty choreography, impressive chart-worthy song with ditto vocals, but no clear visible face of the singer: 1st)
    – NETHERLANDS 2013 (impressive song, good but not great camera angles, an ‘observing’ style with camerawork, 9th)
    – NORWAY 2014 (very good song, unique, soft, gentle vocals, rather lackluster draw and way-too-classic staging, 8th)
    – BELGIUM 2015 (strong, arty song, perhaps too arty choreography, ‘angry’ looking singer, but great black-and-white visuals, 4th)
    – PORTUGAL 2017 (well, need I say more? To heel with impressive staging plans, what worked here was Salvador, his ticks, voice and a magical song, 1st)
    – BULGARIA 2017 (SJB did an incredible job, but really a staging triumph like Netherlands 2014? The song and the boy propelled this to 2nd place)
    – BELGIUM 2017 (A depressive witch-style singer, but perhaps that was its strength all the time, the song did it for me here, 4th place)
    – GERMANY 2018 (Very emotional song, visualized perfectly, a not-so-attractive ginger singer combined with emotive vocals, 4th place)

    Having mentioned these, everything can happen with the televote, but I seriously expect Iceland, Sweden anddd Switzerland to be the ones vying for 1st place in the 100% televote. Perhaps with a late ‘outbreak’ of Australia and/or Spain. The problem I have with Netherlands 2019 (Duncan Laurence with ‘Arcade’) is ‘meme’ and ‘story’.
    Memes & cheesiness:
    Most televoting-loved entries have this certain ‘meme’, a bit of cheese or ultra-recognizable aspect, that stays in the memories of televoters:
    – DENMARK 2018: The ginger bearded Viking, good draw
    – ITALY 2018: A duet, of which one is a rough rocker, good draw
    – ISRAEL 2018: The not-so-slim ‘chicken’, current song, good draw
    – POLAND 2016: Exquisite vocals from a man with gothic looks, good draw
    – MOLDOVA 2017: The sax guy and the fun choreo, good draw
    – PORTUGAL 2017: A sweet singer, with a ‘mental disability’ or ticks, good draw
    – HUNGARY 2017: A Roma gipsy guy with beard, good draw
    – SWITZERLAND 2019: Mr Salsa Lucca!
    – SWEDEN 2019: Afro-American with heavy-weight gospel singers
    – ICELAND 2019: Need I say more? A positive WTF-feeling, televoter will escape the leftist character of the act.
    – AUSTRALIA 2019 ?
    – POLAND 2019 ?
    – SPAIN 2019 ?
    – HUNGARY 2019 ?
    – NORWAY 2019 ?

    So far to me Netherlands is not in that list yet, ALTHOUGH a very good song, unique in the lineup, loved by fans, usually gets some televoting recognition as well. Perhaps unique vocals too. At this moment I think Netherlands will improve on the televote tremendously, but 1st or 2nd is, at this stage, a bit too much to ask from Duncan.
    These year’s fanwanks:
    Whatever ‘fanwank’ means, I consider a rather deflated love by fans for a certain entry that is not being reflected in the final result (even more so, the 100% televote), a worthy contender for that questionable title.

    To me, two rather ‘arty’ entries are vying for that title this year: PORTUGAL and ITALY. At this moment Italy could do well with the jury vote (please correct that Hippo hehe), but indeed a high televote is questionable to me at this stage. Perhaps a slight Blanche-effect, but at this moment I don’t see it. And Portugal? Creates a WTF-moment, but not in a positive way. At least Iceland has a good song, Portugal will be punished however. To a lesser extend, perhaps Slovenia and Norway are that too, but I think Norway could still do well in the televote.
    Kind regards, Gert

    • Agreed on Russia Gert. I think Sergey will struggle in the west on both counts, I said in some earlier post that I also can’t see him doing as well as 2016. Most of his points will come from those who know him and diaspora but that isn’t enough on its own.
      Italy is an interesting one for me and its hard to say where it will come. The only thing I feel is that it’s not a top 3, most likely not a top 5. I do worry about the immediacy of it all. The San Remo televote says as much. Then I don’t know what to make of the juries, I can see them having him anywhere from 5th to 15th.

  34. For me, the jury is locked like this:
    1. Netherlands
    2. Sweden
    3. Russia

    And I could never predict the audience. But it seems to me that Sweden will not have such a success with the televote, which everyone expects. And I agree with Hippo, only three countries for me can work great with the televote – the Netherlands, Russia, Iceland.

    I continue not to believe in Russia, although from the very beginning I was very positive about it. The song is disappointing and no staging can hide this fact. Many believe that the last time for Sergey did a lot of staging, but it seems to me that the last song was explosive and the staging only strengthened this effect. This year’s song is boring as hell, and even if they make a watchable production, it’s like Sweden 2018.

    In any case, all my money and personal sympathies are from the Netherlands.

    I expect Switzerland to do well with the jury and the televote.
    Overhyped Norway, Azerbaijan, Spain is don’t qualify or one of the last places in the final.

    • I am now waiting for Eurojury on April 20th to maybe have a glimpse of potential jury preferences. Last year Eurojury placed top three eventual jury scorers among their top four (they had Israel, Czechia, Austria and Sweden). Also last year the Eurojury placed Ukraine and, interestingly, Armenia nearly last. I thought it was a decent stab at predicting jury reaction.

      As for the televote: any predictions until the staging reveal is a waste of time in my opinion. We need to see all glitzy toys and rattlers first to even have an idea of what the audience might be swooning over this time around.

      • I really think that glitzy toys and rattlers are irrelevant if you don’t have at least a mid-level song. I think Netta would have won in any staging. The song is so distinguished by its explosive energy (it doesn’t even need a fire), it has some meaning and the meme “I’m not your toy you stupid boy” that is stuck. Moreover, it catches you right away. From the first audition, I hated this song 🙂 At the same time, the song Eleni, at the first listen, caused me “it is ok, with a successful staging it can work well.”

  35. Hi Shlanderous. Luckily everyone has different tastes, but I feel you’re doing Russia a great disservice in describing it as not even mid-level. To me it’s a great song and infinitely better than 2016. I’m in the UK and have only had positive reactions from everyone I have played it to.

    Vocally ‘YATOO’ gave the juries nothing to reward, unlike ‘Scream’ which is the perfect showcase for a vocal tour de force. The staging in 2016 was derivative of Heroes in places which was unlikely to impress the juries one year on. It was three minutes of foot stomping entertainment and clever special effects that the audience enjoyed, but it was about as subtle as a sledge hammer and the connection to the song was tenuous. The song was corny and old fashioned. It was easily digestible, but insubstantial, the very definition of fast food music. I’m surprised the juries ranked it as high as sixth.

    It won’t have escaped Russia’s notice that Sergey was pipped to the post by Jamala’s visual masterpiece. I’m sure Russia will be looking to top that, and unlike 2016 I expect it to be classy rather than crass. Obviously we need to see if the staging is as breathtaking as they seem to be suggesting, but if it is I think they can win both the jury and the televote.

    • >> doing Russia a great disservice in describing it as not even mid-level.

      But I did not do it. I really think the worst thing that can happen is the top 5. I see Russia as a rival to the Netherlands.

      But the song for me really does not go beyond “perhaps the staging can somehow help this?”. This is really not the reaction that you expect from a winner.

      • “I really think that glitzy toys and rattlers are irrelevant if you don’t have at least a mid-level song.”

        I’m referring to the song, not Russia’s finishing position.

        Every year a song comes out of nowhere due to great staging. We already know that Russia have huge ambitions in this regard, so unless they have got it badly wrong and have created false expectations, this year that country will be Russia. That combined with Sergey’s exceptional vocals, stage presence, charisma, not to mention his existing fanbase and the Russian disapora, and he will take some beating. I think the song is good enough to create the blank canvas for everything else to come together. It feels like the bubble was expecting something on the level of Life on Mars or Imagine, which was never going to happen.

        • The ‘bubble’? Look, I am by far not a Duncan-supporter, nor am I a Sergey-supporter. Hence I can’t see Netherlands winning this as easily as many say. Staging IS important and can make the difference between 4th place or winning. Russia is the other way around. Sergey has stage presence in the millions, but I think his song isn’t really going anywhere. It’s just a chorus that keeps on going.

          Saying that an entry is a ‘dirge’ however to me does sound a bit too harsh. To me, I respect all 41 entries in the contest. Some songs are very good, some songs are very bad, but let’s be respectful towards the artisticity of the singers and composers.

          For me it’s all about the result, if that comes together after two years of composing (which in The Netherlands really wasn’t the case. Duncan Laurence composed it at the Rock Academy when he still wasn’t supported by producers), or after a few months of ‘speedwriting’ for a commercial factory which Melodifestivalen is. I don’t care.

          Russia will do extremely well. Netherlands will do extremely well. My worries about both countries are simply….different. With Russia I actually feel thát is the hype. I mean, come on, if Russia can’t win in 2016, then why can it win slamdunk this year?

          Netherlands has a big problem too. Duncan’s vocals to me sound indeed a bit too fragile (although, did that hurt Blanche?). But most importantly, Duncan is inexperienced, he hasn’t got the natural charisma that Sergey has.

          But I love both Sergey and Duncan for the fact that they try to do very well in this year’s contest in very different ways :-).

          • “I mean, come on, if Russia can’t win in 2016, then why can it win slamdunk this year?”

            I’ve explained all the reasons why I think Scream is far better than YATOO, which to me was little more than a bit of fluff.

            If Scream comes together as we are being lead to believe it will I think it could be breathtaking. As Reader says, its a pointless argument until we see the whole package, we’ll find out soon enough. I’m just saying that anyone who definitively declares the song as sub standard is only speaking for themselves, there are others, myself included who disagree.

            I consider ‘Arcade’ to be a dirge but I think I made it clear it was my opinion only, and surely I’m entitled to express that. I don’t mean to cause offence 🙂

        • Hi Milton.Non ESC fan reaction to Russia 2019 at my end is the opposite – that it is very dull and goes nowhere.
          It certainly won’t be near to winning jury vote and the staging will have to be unbelievable on staging to get the public to vote more for it than NL, Gre, Swi and Ice.

    • >>The song was corny and old fashioned.

      Scream original and modern song of course. 😀

      • It felt to me like YATOO belonged in Eurovision 15 years ago. I don’t think you can say the same about ‘Scream’. As a theatrical genre its timeless. If there was a West End version of Game of Thrones launched tomorrow, I could certainly imagine Scream in it.

  36. Thinking about the jury, it bothers me that Duncan’s vocal is a bit shaky.

    John Ludwik’s vocal is nothing special. In addition, in modulation at the climax of the song, he lacks the top notes. He just goes down while the backing vocals do the work for him. So I don’t hope that Sweden will be on the 1st jury place. He is undoubtedly the worst vocalist than Cesár Sampson and has the worst song to the same.

    Sergey remains the best vocal of this competition. I would even be ready to believe in his first place with the jury, if not his song. The main problem is that it’s impossible to make a reference for a song. The song is literally about nothing (X My Heart). Looking through the clip you can try to give meaning to the song. Obviously, they should try to make a story on the stage to give meaning to this song, ideally they should play 2d animation from the clip. Simply put, it does not have a complete package. The song just fell out. Although I can assume that he can do better with the jury than Sweden.

    Duncan’s song is perfect. I don’t even think it needs staging. The song itself tells the story. And the song draws you down with its depth from the first words and just ends you in “Loving you is a losing game” and then does it again in the bridge. Can the jury not give it the first place?

    • I seem to be in the minority with the Netherlands, which to me is a whiney self-indulgent dirge. It took two years to write, which doesn’t surprise me, there is nothing spontaneous or fresh about it to my ears, it has been crafted to within an inch of its life. I appreciate that many others really like it and accept that the juries might reward its perceived quality, but I think it will do well to capture the attention of a Saturday night audience tuning in to be entertained.

    • Hi Shlanderous. Sergey’s vocal is strong and competent but Duncan’s is far superior in every way – except perhaps in one-dimensional power.

  37. Duncan’s best live performance yet – albeit in a tiny radio studio. Duncan has a bit of a cold – but nonetheless his vocal is SO assured, moving and brilliant.


    • My coming out on Duncan: I cry almost every time I hear his studio version. But every time I watch him live – I feel nothing. I even tried just listening to him instead, and then it worked better (though not as magic as in the studio version).

      So, it might be my very own individual issue with perception (though I heard about it from a few bloggers too), but I am not connecting to Duncan at all while watching him. He appears so fragile and almost exhausted already. And then when he closes his eyes (and he does this so often while singing), I feel like he is losing pulse altogether. Is he even alive? I feel no energy, not even sad energy. Like zero energy, white noise energy.. As if the whole ordeal finally took a final toll on him.

      But things might change and improve just enough when staging is in place in Tel Aviv. Duncan will be coached to look in the camera (at least ocasionally) and then some other artistic means (lighting, camera work) could be good concealers. So there is lots of hope for Duncan, but this is the case when an excellent song is still not sure-fire without viewers connection.

    • Hi Showlad. It feels to me that as soon as a male sings falsetto everyone’s jaw drops and he instantly gets put on a pedestal. To me falsetto is no more worthy than any other type of singing. To my ears this isn’t a particularly strong example of falsetto. The bit either side of one minute hurts my ears! It doesn’t matter what I think though, its about the voters. I only expressed my opinion about Arcade to show that not everyone hears thinks the same.

      Really brave for you to completely rule out Russia’s chances of winning the jury vote. Will be interested to see if that changes in rehearsals.

      • H Milton. Absolutely value your opinion 👍 that’s what makes esctips great as I said – the broad church of opinions.
        It’s not about Duncan’s falsetto it’s the emotion and truth – the story telling.
        Agree Gert, singing with headphones on in a radio studio is no link to the TA stage. They’ll need to stage it well, but the voice is totally there, the emotion, it just needs a viewer facing translation.
        Absolutely Russia will not win jury vote.. But that’s the great thing on here – we’re all smart, experienced cookies and our opinions cause each one to consider new options and ideas and hopefully together we’ll get there and find the winner 🙂

  38. Absolutely Milton ;-). Opinion is opinion.

  39. Ok, I have come across the same rumor about Russia’s staging several times now: the next rumor to entertain us is… it is shadows theatre. A friend of mine who speaks Russian has shared the link below. Shlanderous might kindly consider adding to this, but I got the summary as follows.

    Looks like Kirkorov is asked whether we should expect shadows theatre for Lazarev’s staging. He declines to comment directly but when pressured makes a kinda playful affirmative wink (though people might be reading too much into this). Shlanderous, have you come across anything like this on any Russian media channels?

    I have to say, I cannot imagine an epic shadows theatre. Could it be that the eventual staging is a little bit less epic than the market is pricing it for? I have a ‘sell’ panick attack.


    • That reminds me of Ukraine 2011, with the sand drawing. But in essence it could be like the technique Iceland used in 2016,but then more elaborate. Not sure if that’s a wise idea. We’ve all seen such projections before.

    • ‘Sell’ panic attack lol. You’re cracking me up Reader 🙂 Yes shadows theatre Kirkorov seems to give an affirmative wink. Could be very effective but not the ‘wow’ that could win this for Russia. We’ll see 😉

      • Had someone mentioned a sand artist before rehearsals in 2011 I’m certain a similar mocking tone would have been adopted. It’s wise to remain openminded to any song capable of causing such a stir, especially from Russia/Fokas.

  40. The Netherlands are a total sea of blue today and down to 2s or less on the exchanges. Surely not simply off the back of two weekend OGAE votes from Armenia and Albania? Or rumours of the “less than epic” Russian staging??

    • Wouldn’t be OGAE, otherwise it would pull back a little on the back of the scores from France [4th] today.

      • Doesn’t make any sense then. But I find these 2’s way way too low. It should be 3rd in the market or so. Anyway, I found this little vlog from one of the NPO Radio 2 presenters, Matijn Nijhuis (NPO is the umbrella organisation of AVROTROS and NOS). It seems that even théy want to train Duncan with as many camera angles as possible hehehe :-P. It’s kinda cute:


        • Hi Gert. Can’t speak dutch. What do they say – are they actively discussing with him his need to connect with the camera for his performance?

          • No they are not. It is a bit of chit-chat by someone who apparently returns to work after some absence. That vlog had nothing to with Duncan and connecting with the camera. Something he doesn’t have a problem with by the way, as you can see in the videos from The Voice of Holland.

  41. Returning performers have never done well in the history of eurovision for good reason.

    The graveyard list includes Ryback, Loreen, Lena etc…

    The odds are very much against Russia.

  42. Come on Gert let’s be fair…. those 4 successful performers versus how many that were unsuccessful?

    • Greetings MGM. Winning Eurovision is incredibly hard. When you return you are just another contender out of 42, with a huge mountain to climb. You can’t just expect them to turn up and win again. You can’t expect Rybak to rustle up another Fairytale, and even if he did everyone would say, ‘oh how predictable, another Fairytale.’ Surely it’s the inferiority of ‘That’s How You Write a Song’ that caused him to fall short last year, not him being a returning artist?

      You mention Lena as being in this graveyard, but her 10th place is one of the best results by a host country in the televoting age, and well above average for Germany. Harsh to consider that a failure imo.

      You didn’t mention Dana International, another winner who fell short on her return. But the appalling ‘Ding Dong’ got exactly what it deserved.

      You’ve overlooked a few artists who did better on their return, as Reader says, the key one being Russia’s only previous winner, Dina Bilan in 2006, who was a returning artist. He previously came third, exactly the same as Sergey. Donny Montell and Poli Genova also did miles better on their second appearance.

      You seem to be arguing that having previously appeared in Eurovision is a disadvantage. I think it’s an advantage. Donny Montell’s return is Lithuania’s 2nd best ever placing, Poli’s 4th place was Bulgaria’s best result until it was topped the following year.

      I can understand an element of ‘they’ve won before, so let’s give someone else a chance’ but that doesn’t apply to Sergey. If anything the fanbase and familiarity he built up in 2016 has to be a positive for his chances.

  43. Finally got Dutch staging info from a trustworthy source. They are going to beat Russia with their own weapon – replicating the video clip on the stage!
    I don’t know all the details but the staging with definitely include a water tank and Duncan’s body double who will be in it. There will be lot of underwater camera shots and yes he will be naked just like in the clip! That was something they needed to negotiate with the EBU but got away with it in the end since it’s artsy and nakedness shot only from behind. So body ‘underwater dancer’ double will be in the picture most of the time so Duncan can concentrate on the singing, it doesn’t matter much if he’s closing eyes and not interacting with the camera since he’s not gonna be visible, brilliant concept. Unconfirmed info is that they cast a eunuch actor for the role, that is quite convenient if true since it will prevent accidental visible dangling of his private parts.

  44. It’s 1:00 AM here. Luckily April Fool’s Dday is over :-P. My gosh, my Twitter timeline was exploding today with jokes, most of them so predictable hehe.

    Anyway, Eurovision in Concert is coming. And I expectttt Switzerland shortening quite a bit and severe drifting for The Netherlands. Luca Hänni’s ‘Making Of’ video of his videoclip impressed me. He’ll do a fantastic show in Amsterdam. Duncan Laurence to me isn’t concert-stuff, and much more staging-stuff.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the odds for The Netherlands and Switzerland will be competing for an overall 1st place in the odds.

    PS: I am getting pretty bored now from Duncan’s acoustic radio performances. I want to see him perform the studio version! Perhaps the delegation is doing that deliberately.

  45. Running order has been published. 😑 Can this 2nd semi-final not be a bittt more competitive for The Netherlands dear Mr Björkman? Same for Greece in semi 2?

  46. Greece got a great spot. I can see Katerine winning semi 1 now. Doubt Cyprus can win the semi from Spot 1 and I am not seeing any other potential winner in that semi.

  47. A few thoughts from the running order–

    Cyprus got great spots last year so can’t really complain but that has hurt them and a glance towards semi 2 gives a more worrying view of Switzerland. 1st at least has some status, 4th is quite an anonymous position for the second/third favourites. Switzerland sacrificed to break up some of the guff in that half.

    From first half favourites at least Sweden did well, surprising absolutely nobody.

    Semi 1 is more interesting now, a ballad gets the penultimate slot, it’s just how it goes every year so I’m not overly excited for Greece still although this helps the televote. Being followed by the lightweight yet fun Serhat could go both ways however…

    I’m also glad to see Belgium be thrown under the bus a bit, way too short to qualify.

    Georgia, Iceland, Australia is quite the run of random and sandwiching Hatari in the Middle of another non English rocker and novelty opera is interesting. Add also Portugal coming later. In fact, it’s probably the worst draw Iceland could get and dilutes the novelty somewhat. First signs of some bus throwing from Israel and an Ebu preferring a bigger host country?

    North Macedonia getting a decent draw is no surprise, the Ebu seem desperate for this to qualify, they’ve been retweeting stuff from them daily for starts and clearly want this to qualify. It also helps the ballad in penultimate rule in the semis. Could sneak through if juries get the message, televote still a doubt.

    Azerbaijan makes a good and typical closer, and I had that in the pimp slot too. I hope they do have a good staging for this as it’s also a little tradition for these uptempo closers to then open the final if drawn first half.

    Malta also have a poor draw and despite what I said about Azerbaijan and a likely need to keep the two Milanov songs seperate, it’s notable this was not pushed more. Actually, that makes all three of the Fuego songs (CYP, SWI, MAL) getting poor draws.

    I’ll have a full look again later and see if my thoughts on qualifying, top 3 and semi winner have changed much.

    • Switzerland a poor draw? Switzerland is surrounded by blandness and dulness. Switzerland has one of the best draws it could get in that first half.
      And North Macedonia has a qualifying record as bad as the Netherlands, with the difference that for NM the best years are a thing from the past. Of course EBU wants them to qualify.

    • Id say Belgium has a very good draw,its hugely contemporary surrounded by dated songs.If its staged well they cant complain about the draw.
      Greece obvious a great slot.Even before the draw i thought Greece is the likely semi winner,though that depends on staging of course,they really need to deliver that or it could fail.Its one of those complete package needed entries.Magic or oh dear.
      I expect Cyprus and Armenia have good staging concepts hence them both opening.The Swiss is obvious they are there to send Ireland and Moldova out and should be strong enough from anywhere.
      San Marino is an obvious message from the producers.They want more fun songs back at ESC and they want to send that message by getting them into the final if they can.That and ending with a smile.Looks like the producers have done a good job on this and seems fair enough throughout.

  48. Got to admit that Sergey gives great camera. Caught this earlier today on Instagram and it’s amazing how much the song is lifted with some form of drama going on. Obviously it’ll be very different in Tel Aviv.

    • You can watch it here with better quality (check at 6:32 of the video)

    • Hi Gav. No ‘free’ pro dancers on stage tho Gav – just 5 backing vox. I think Russia may struggle for the win perhaps, no matter how *hard Sergey tries.

      • Hi Showlad. I’m well aware of the 6-person rule having been doing this since 2006. What I was remarking on was the performance appeal. So far we’ve only seen Sergey stand and perform rather than engage the cameras/audience. The difference is impressive to my eyes.

        • But, isn’t that something we can already anticipate from Sergey? Apart from what I think of the song, Sergey is really the strongest part of the Russian entry. He oozes charisma, has always been very telegenic and is vocally stunning. He was that in 2016 in Stockholm, he still is that now.

          I heard there are some rumors the staging actually will be pretty refined and ‘pure’; visuals and perhaps lighting creating a play of shadows on the background. A mixture of the sand drawing from Ukraine 2011 and a way more refined, voteable version of the technique used by Iceland in 2016. I actually hope that’ll be the case Gavin.

          The only issue I have with Sergey is this: there are other uttermost charismatic stage performers this year. One of which is Lucca from Switzerland. That guy is like the latino/salsa version of Alexander Rybak, with even more sex appeal.

          I am not sure who will be the eventual winner of semi final 2. Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland are in it I think. And I think the point totals for these four will look pretty similar. But at thissss stage, looking at the ‘making of’ video from the Swiss video clip, I think Switzerland could really win it.

        • Hi Gav. I’m not implying lol you don’t know the 6 on stage rule lol.
          What I am pointing put is being surrounded by great dancers will not be replicated by 5 backing vocalists and in the same way I don’t think Sergey will engage as charismatically and engagingly as he is doing surrounded by the dancers as he is more likley to be in isolation perhaps. Just a thought 👍😎

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