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Eurovision 2019: Semi Final 1 Preview

The Betfair market has already found it’s 10 odds-on qualifiers, yet if that were always true there wouldn’t be any shocks.

On paper, semi-final 1 is rather weak and it’s these sorts of events that are more difficult to call. I’m struggling to find two songs I like, let alone 10 qualifiers!

The top-2 or 3 nations in this semi either have unconventional songs or are not deemed strong enough going into the final against the subsequent qualifiers from semi 2. Greece has its confusing stage show, and with Katerine’s heavy eye makeup, it lessens the connection with the TV audience. Australia bring a popera song, albeit with an excellent staging USP and narrative; however, the form for these songs is poor with Estonia 2018 and Sweden 2009 setting past markers. Estonia 2018 provided something for the juries yet finished 5th below Cesar Sampson in semi-1 along with the likes of Netta, Eleni and Mikolas. Semi-1 was stronger last year, but it shows the juries have form rating modern pop songs ahead of kitschy gimmicks.

The conventional modern songs in this semi would be: Belgium, Czech Republic and Greece. Then we have the traditional ballads from Serbia and Hungary to factor in; the former is very well support in this semi, as well as on the televote in Australia. We also have to factor in Iceland, which is divisive yet is artistically and musically relevant. Where does Australia rank among these in what is a fairly eastern-leaning semi? That Estonian song from last year, La Forza, only ranked 7th with the juries, so again where does Australia finish? As mentioned above, semi-1 is short on quality this year, so Australia could do better with the juries and earn a place on the podium. At this point I would have both Greece and Serbia ahead on the combined result.

Anyway, the first eight qualifiers in my book so far are:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Serbia

This means we have two qualification slots remaining with Montenegro, Finland, Poland, Slovenia, Belarus, Georgia, Estonia, Portugal and San Marino fighting over the last envelopes. Finland and Montenegro are the obvious non-qualifiers here on quality and both are vying for last place. Georgia remain out of my 10 because even though I commend the vocal delivery, I find the performance too dark and crucially vote-demotivating. I continue to believe that Portugal is too weird to muster a high enough televote regardless of any limited jury love. And despite being the happy pill at the end of the show, I can’t imagine San Marino’s visual package being anywhere near strong enough to overcome Serhat’s vocal frailties.

We now have Slovenia, Belarus, Poland and Estonia remaining and it really is difficult when it comes to the lower end…

Slovenia’s Zala & Gašper are a tricky one to call. Sebi has a contemporary production that juries may support, but can they rank it high enough to counteract what is expected to be a much lower televote given the understated nature of the song and the less than ideal positioning in the running order?

Belarus has come a long way since the start of last week, though Like It isn’t the sort of song jurors typically support. Even so, Belarus does sit in that 9th-12th range which definitely puts them in contention. As are Poland despite their lack of natural voting allies. Last year Gromee & Lukas were just 30-points from qualification in the then weaker semi-final. It was arguably the juries that prevented them sneaking through. Will the juries prefer the ethnic vibes of Tulia and rank them high enough to qualify? I not sure they will which is why Poland are off my list even though I enjoyed the improved performance.

Last on the list is the mini-Måns from Estonia who is wedged between two of this year’s most alternative songs. Is he the island of sanity or the insignificant bland filling in a weird sandwich? Last night’s jury performance was messy but it wasn’t his worst to date. When compared to others in this semi-final, Storm is at least contemporary and radio friendly, and in this weaker semi-final, it could and should be enough to get him over the line. We are talking margins here, and when it comes to these countries, my book is green both sides.

So my final 10 are:

  • Australia
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Serbia

Just a note on Cyprus:

Tamta was a little ropey during last night’s jury rehearsal so could drift in-play tonight should the same vocal issues persist. They were only minor but it can be something that causes the to market overreact.

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.

42 comments

  1. I have 9 of those 10 Gav, but just edge towards Slovenia over Belarus, though with little certainty. It’s delicately poised between arty/moody and soporific. I’ll know within a minute of seeing it.
    For the record, I still don’t see the ESC winner in SF 1. And the Cyprus vocals should be worrying anyone who had them for Top 10.

  2. i see again in your summary that you have closed your mind to the idea that Australia will be relevant in the overall picture.

    prediction that is 100% sure to materialise tonight…..twitter goes into hyper reaction after the aussie performance, and it is the performance more than the song….the same as Lordi…..this will be the memorable moment of Eurovision 2019. Mr Sand is on pulse with twitter and he knows what sells this contest, irrespective of whether aussie locates in the first or second half of the final, it is going to get a pimp slot, because it is a box office performance.

    for all first time up viewers of the contest, Australia will be the magnet for memory and in a year without a superstar song, a stellar performance can trump average songs.

  3. I don’t really disagree with the market here. Gun to my head, it’s Australia, Greece, Serbia in the top 3 with a chance for Cyprus and Iceland with Czech Rep and Slovenia looking the strongest after those.
    For Australia the “nothing holding me down” part is the weakest part of the song and if the staging is loosing it’s spectacle by that point that’s an issue. Not here so much but in the final.
    Australia have performed below expectation in the televote every year and that could continue but Kate is likeable and telegenic here where the other market favourites (Greece, Cyprus, and yeah Iceland) are maybe not. On the jury side its a mixed bag. The song or genre is not their type but the performance impressive. Australia are liked by juries but this isn’t the friendliest semi. In contention for the semi win but that means little for the final, where in terms of pure chance, 10-1 is too low.
    Greece has always had a doubtfull televote appeal for me and I don’t think the presentation of it helps. It’s come together but I fear it’s too arty and feminine and pushes this further into niche appeal. Juries don’t have much they would naturally gravitate to here so it’s a likely jury winner and potential semi winner overall. In the final this will struggle much more, as the odds suggest.
    Cyprus is quite visually striking and makes for a good show opener. Sacha Jean Baptiste has done much better work here than with Switzerland for me and this can probably pick up the most traction after the semi. It’s a really friendly semi but for it to win would require a large televote haul here which looks difficult from 1st regardless.
    After these, Serbia looks to have the best shout to break in. It’s a friendly semi yet this may not be marked the highest in neutral or non diaspora countries.

    It’s possible for any of the other songs here to miss out and after these 4 I don’t think anyone is 100% safe. Belgium is quite insipid and with no voting power, relying purely on the juries to save a performance and song that are incohesive. Hungary is middle of the road yet ethnic, has an early draw and might be hard to be enough people’s favourite. I’m not opposing but it should be more like 1.5. Iceland looks to be punished by the juries whilst its not the televote hit I thought it could be. It will do well with the public but not ‘win the televote’ well. The Czech Rep should be safe by juries who appreciate the live band aspects of it and memorable staging but I wouldn’t call it a certainty. Estonia is a safe song and uninspired which is cool to hate on but a safe song might be just what this semi needs. This could go either way no doubt but it’s typical bubble thinking to rate Georgia’s chances above this for example.
    Slovenia is hight or miss, but has enough of a niche despite the early draw. They should be OK here if juries show it the respect they should.

    All these countries are lucky to be in this semi perhaps as the most likely qualifiers (for me) in their place outside the bookies top 10 – Belarus and Poland–both have issues too. Mainly, both have a really poor semi and Poland in particular have picked a bad year to enter diaspora bait.

    My main interest in this semi is a Georgia nq (overhyped staging–there’s still the problem of “who votes for this?) and Serbia to make it whilst I have a very large free run on a Portugal nq. I’m not too involved in the top 3 or winner market given this is a tough semi to call and I in general prefer not to have funds tied up in these markets unless there’s some great odds.

    My prediction for the night-

    1. Australia (Jury 2, TV 1)
    2. Greece (Jury 1, TV 4)
    3. Serbia (Jury 4, TV 3)
    4. Cyprus (Jury 5, TV 2)
    5. Czech Rep. (Jury 3, TV 7)
    6. Slovenia. (Jury 6, TV, 6)
    7. Iceland. (Jury 11 TV 5)
    8. Hungary. (Jury 8, TV 9)
    9. Estonia. (Jury 9, TV 8)
    10. Belgium. (Jury 7, TV 13)
    11. Belarus. (Jury 10, TV 10)
    12. Poland. (Jury 12, TV 12)
    13. San Marino ( Jury 14, TV 11)
    14. Finland. (Jury 13, TV 13)
    15. Georgia. (Jury 16, TV 15)
    16. Montenegro(Jury 15, TV 16)
    17. Portugal. (Jury 17, TV 17)

    I’ve gone for the shock last place to Portugal and an unlucky voting quirk for Belarus.
    Australia doing better with the public and Greece with juries will make for a change but is highly likely here.
    In the final, Australia can get to 5th or 6th perhaps but is no winner, any other country here is fighting for a low top 10.

  4. I have 9 of those 10 Gav. Only difference is I have Portugal qualifying instead of Belarus.

    As for the Semi winner I think Australia but this isn’t a contender to win the ESC. It’s a Top 10, Maybe a Top 5 at best.

    Reason why I think Australia will win the Semi-Final is because of how weak the field is. Only competition is the following three.

    Greece is a jury song but I cant see the Public throwing votes at them. Staging is all over the place imo.
    Cyprus is lucky they have been drawn in SF1 because TAMTA’s vocals have been poor since Day 1.
    Iceland too provocative and divisive to win the SF.

  5. Thanks for the preview Gav, always appreciated. As you say, a very weak semi and I think that’s something we can all agree on.

    With regards to Australia, I do see it winning the semi. I understand the comparisons to Sweden 2009 and Estonia 2018 that people have made but I also think that’s a bit off the mark. Australia is quite a bit further towards the pop scale than opera scale compared to those two and it’s also a lot more of a conventional song. I do take on board the worries over it seeming quite static as you’ve mentioned before and also the lack of any televoting allies. In the context of what is a remarkably weak semi, I see it as a winner. However, even as someone who has been a believer in its appeal since the 3 figure prices (shameless aftertiming but I’ve mentioned it previously in comments and the chatroom), I don’t see it winning on Saturday and I’m not sure I’d have it in my top 3 at this point. A lot of my green on it has been sold off at current prices.

    I have seen it mentioned that the performance has no wide shots, can you confirm whether there are any audience shots at all Gav? My first thoughts when viewing the rehearsal clip was that it all seemed quite detached from the arena and that could lessen its televoting appeal a la Benjamin Ingrosso last year.

    Back to this semi and I also have the same 10 qualifiers. I would maybe take Hungary away from the certain section and I’m a bit cooler on its chances than the market is but it’s still in my top 10. It’s a cheap lay at the minute. Same with Belgium, it’s pleasant but I don’t see it as too vote-motivating. Again though, weak semi.

    I’ve actually written off the same acts as you too and agree that the last couple of places are a fight between Belarus, Estonia, Poland and Slovenia. This is a very jury song-heavy semi for me and I’m not sure Slovenia can garner enough votes from them to make up for what I’m assuming is a very poor televote. It’s too short at current prices. Belarus is very Hvala Ne for me and has a bit of a niche of upbeat female pop in this semi. There’s Cyprus too of course but there’s that early draw, those vocals and it’s all a bit mutton dressed as lamb. Estonia is probably 10th for me but who doesn’t love a white guy with guitar?

    1. Australia 2. Greece 3. Cyprus

    • Thanks Alex, I probably should have clarified that I meant whether Australia had any wide shots in its act where you can see the audience in the arena. I’ve had a look at the minute clip of the TV broadcast on the RTVE website and it’s very music videoish, almost as if she wasn’t performing in the arena. A lot of us feel that was a big reason why Sweden struggled on the televote last year, it was as Benjamin couldn’t make it to Lisbon and they just played his music video in his place, lessening any connection he had with viewers at home.

  6. It’s absurd to compare Zero Gravity with La Forza. Zero Gravity is not ”exactly” a popopera song, only vocals are opera. We can call this %30 popopera. This is mostly a pop song.

    Let me tell you where Australia finish Semi-Final, 1st!

    Australia to win the whole thing was 30/1 sunday. Now 1/9!

    Guys, Australia will pass Sweden soon and they will become 2nd favourite!!

    It’s between NL and AUS!

    • Odds mean nothing. It’s just what people are betting on. Australia is not winning or even coming close to winning the ESC. It will probably win SF1 due to it being a very weak Semi. For example Russia can easily become favourite if the Russian delegation piled money on Sergey which would make his price shorten. Markets as well as YouTube views can be manipulated.

      Negatives for Australia
      *Jury’s have previous regarding pop opera or opera songs.
      *Australia has no bloc voting in it’s favour
      *Other favourites in the betting have big support guaranteed on the televote.

      Breakdown of the Televote
      *Eastern Europe will vote in numbers for Sergey and Chingiz
      *LGBTQ Community will vote in numbers for Bilal and Hatari
      *Duncan will get good support on the televote even though the staging is nothing to shout about

      So that’s 4 other Country’s high up in the betting odds who will get strong support on the televote. Australia another hype train.

      • we need to slay the idea that the LGBTQ community has any power as a voting bloc. in EV voting terms LGBTQ probably represents about 5% of the vote at best. that’s why anything designated fanwank needs crossover support to have any chance.

        Fanwank in SF1 includes Cyprus, Australia, and Iceland. We can discount Cyprus because of the running order, sleazy costume and lousy vocals. Australia only really has a chance if everyone voting for Serbia and Greece decides to make them their 2nd place and all the other non-S&G voters make it 1st place. Iceland, I dunno, harder to judge, but likely to be stymied by a mid-table jury score.

        France is also designated fanwank. it will need the regular EV voters to get behind it like they did for Conchita. as ever, the song is what’s killing it the most.

  7. I think this is a tricky semifinal, and although it might seem safe to predict the qualifiers based on songs/performances, I expect a couple of upsets. The main reason is the running order that creates a significantly skewed aggregation of memorable songs and performances in the second half of a rather weak semi.

    For that reason, I feel safe to predict the qualifiers only from the second half, which should be Australia, Iceland, Greece, Belgium and Portugal, with a chance the last being knocked out by Georgia. Estonia and San Marino are both hopeless in my book right now.

    That leaves room for 5 qualifiers from the first half and this is where things get really tricky, because only Montenegro appears having no chance at all. From the rest I give advantage to Serbia (jury top 5 and friendly televoting), Czech Republic (jury top 5), and probably Cyprus, although I have some instictive concerns for the latter. Then it should be either Slovenia or Hungary, because I can’t see all 3 ‘slower’ songs (along with Serbia) advancing. My logic says Hungary, but my gut says Slovenia – we’ll find out tonight. Then for the last spot I think Poland is distinctive enough to be remembered from the public and juries should reward the vocals as well. Finland and Belarus have rather underwhelming songs, but with a decent staging and performance – they could sneak in the televoting top 10 but I expect juries to disagree.

    There’s also a more extreme scenario with just 4 qualifiers from the first half and both Portugal and Georgia in – in that case even Cyprus is in danger…

    My top 3 is Australia, Greece and Iceland. I’m still not convinced that Greece will do well enough with the televoting to win the semi, so I think Australia has it. Serbia can challenge for a Top 3 spot if Greece underperforms significantly with the televoting. Jury members will rather be divided on Iceland, so it might cost them a couple of places as well.

    Anyway, enjoy semifinal 1 tonight everybody and I hope we’ll do well with our predictions and bets!

  8. I have to chime in here and shoot down the madness of France and Australia as serious contenders. The fundamental thing missing from these two are the song. Staging can only elevate these songs and take them so far. While I absolutely commend both countries on their staging I don’t think it is anywhere near enough to take the crown, even in a year like this. Quality will always prevail.

  9. Cyprus
    Poland
    Czech Republic
    Hungary
    Serbia
    Belgium
    Australia
    Iceland
    Greece
    San Marino

  10. For Australia to win you need all of this happen (It’s not going to happen)

    No.1 – Jury’s to all of a sudden change their mind on pop opera music and complete go against the euro jury ranking
    No.2 – Australia to win the televote going against the recent poor form on the televote with no neighbouring countries or bloc voting in it’s favour.
    No.3 – Duncan & Lundvik to completely flop in the televote. Not even a podium in televote.

    Best Australia can do with the Jury’s is 3rd place. Even that’s unlikely imo

    They’re going for Netherlands & Sweden. Jury’s have form with Gospel music plus they all gave 12 to Lundvik in the national final. The form and trend is in Sweden’s favour with the jury.

    Duncan’s Arcade has jury favourite written all over it. Only one that can beat this in the jury is Sweden. Nothing else.

    Therefore if Sweden or Netherlands get a podium in the televote (At least one of them will) then Australia backers are done for.

    It’s still Sweden v Netherlands.

  11. I agree with the market with one exception, that being Poland to qualify instead of Estonia. I’m also tipping Australia to win this semi, though taking a free run at that (backed after the first rehearsal) since I’m not at all sure how it will play out. Greece is far the better song in my view.

    There has been very little domestic promotion of Australia’s entry relative to past years. Jessica, Isaiah etc were on buses and billboards. No Kate that I’ve seen. It would be ironic if SBS managed to land a winner in the year they weren’t really pushing too hard for it. Australia also has a general election on May 18, though who knows if that will affect the live voting numbers for Eurovision at 5am on the 19th.

    Might as well also note some scepticism on France. I think we’ve seen this movie before. I was in the standing crowd for the 2015 shows and the biggest fan reaction all week was for Bojana in the third minute of her song. Didn’t make it a contender.

  12. Lower quality semis are always trickier to predict as its a question of which deficiency is least problematic – my ten to qualify are:

    Australia
    Belgium
    Cyprus
    Czech Republic
    Estonia
    Greece
    Hungary
    Iceland
    Portugal
    Serbia

    The Belgian presentation has very few redeeming features but I think the song carries it through, just. Portugal I find a thoroughly unpleasant 3 minutes, but a late draw and it being memorable if nothing else has it just making it for me. Slovenia is one of my favourite songs of the semi, but I think it gets rather lost in the lineup and wont win many new fans on the night.

    I see limitations in both Australia and Greece, Cyprus looks like a busted flush and I dont see Iceland gathering enough jury votes to make it a confident top 3 shout. Serbia and Hungary are both really well presented with a clear appeal to the more traditional demographics, so I think one or both can take a podium spot.

    Good luck all!

  13. Some thoughts…

    For me Sweden it’s not in the game to win it. I am convinced that is difficult to reach top6 in televote with so many strong western countries like France, the Netherlands, Australia, Iceland. Even Norway will cut votes from Sweden.

    I think that Azerbaijan will have the voting power of Ukraine this year. Turks and ex-soviet will go crazy for borned in Moscow Chingiz. Azerbaijan top 5 is locked for me.

    Malta is the dark horse of the year. Michela is very lovely, there are not many females as favorites and could score high in both juries and tele. Malta could be like Bulgaria 2016 or Moldova 2017. Top 5 is likely.

    As a winner I think the Nethrlands will take it in the end…

  14. Sweden cannot win guys cmon it’s uninspired generic gospel pop. Televoters wont go for it and it fails to create the moment. Kate and Duncan do. If Dami In can be 4th in televoting with a generic pop song, Kate can do as well. Kate will be 2nd fav this saturday, mark my words.

  15. Same as you Gav, except swap out Belgium with Georgia.

    Jury song heavy semi, which does not benefit Slovenia and Portugal at all. By the time Kate and Hatari come round viewers will look at Conan and think theyve already seen it all.

    Georgia has a drama and an ethnic authenticity which could make the marginal difference.

  16. My prediction (same as Gav except Slovenia instead of Belarus):

    Australia
    Belgium
    Cyprus
    Czech Republic
    Estonia
    Greece
    Hungary
    Iceland
    Serbia
    Slovenia

    1. Greece 2. Serbia 3. Iceland

    (a note on Iceland: It seems to be getting a lot of press coverage including a mention on the BBC website. i’m expecting that Rylan and the gang will continue the hype on the broadcast tonight)

  17. My prediction of the 10 qualifiers for tonight’s first semi-final of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest, in complete TOP 10 ranking order:

    01.🇬🇷 GREECE
    02.🇦🇺 AUSTRALIA
    03.🇨🇾 CYPRUS
    04.🇮🇸 ICELAND
    05.🇭🇺 HUNGARY
    06.🇨🇿 CZECH REPUBLIC
    07.🇧🇪 BELGIUM
    08.🇧🇾 BELARUS
    09.🇷🇸 SERBIA
    10.🇸🇲 SAN MARINO

    What do you think?

    • Always interested to hear other people’s reasoning Gert, so a couple of questions:

      1. how do you get Cyprus so high when it seems hampered by the running order and vocal limitations?

      2. how do you make Serbia so low when it appears to be jurywank in an SF with a lot of voting allies?

      nice flags btw 🙂

  18. Catriona Colville

    OK, so my top 10 qualifiers are :

    Cyprus
    Czech Republic
    Hungary
    Serbia
    Belarus
    Belgium
    Australia
    Iceland
    Estonia
    Greece

    Top 3 in order :

    1. Australia
    2. Greece
    3. Serbia

  19. Surprisingly my pre-rehearsals SF1 qualifiers hasn’t changed and are the same as the market predicts. Bolded countries are in top 3. If had to choose shock NQ that would be Iceland.

    Australia
    Greece
    Hungary
    Cyprus
    Iceland
    Czech Republic
    Serbia
    Slovenia
    Belgium
    Estonia

  20. Best NQ longshot for me is the most forgettable act in this semi with nanananana chorus in the recap. No, it’s not San Marino but Hungary.

  21. Quite sure of these seven:

    Cyprus
    Czech Republic
    Hungary
    Australia
    Iceland
    Estonia
    Greece

    Some of the other contenders for a Q:

    Poland – I had this to Q pre-rehearsal, but it might be a bit too static on stage and too early in the running order to make the necessary impact?
    Slovenia – I would personally be happy to see this go through, but I am very surprised that the odds are so low. It does not feel neither jury or televote friendly.
    Belarus – I can see this qualify, especially if she steals some votes from Tamta by virtue of her shaky vocals.
    Serbia – On song alone, this should not qualify. But is it really possible that none of the Balkan countries reach the top 10?
    Belgium – Once again, the Belgians have a great song and a terrible performance. I don’t think it qualifies now.
    Portugal – Sure NQ for me. Way too avant-garde and weird and not in a funny way.
    San Marino – If they could create a party on stage, this might have had a chance, but it does not look that way…

    I’m gonna go with Poland, Belarus and Serbia for the last three qualifiers.

  22. Australia
    Greece
    Hungary
    Cyprus
    Iceland
    Czech Republic
    Serbia
    Slovenia
    Portugal
    Estonia

  23. Gav, I have 9 the same as you. I have Slovenia in for Belarus, but it could quite easily go the other way. Belgium also looks vulnerable although in a semi weak on strong jury songs, (unlike others I don’t see this semi as jury heavy at all) I expect the juries might save it.

    I strongly favour Greece to win the semi. I think it might be so far ahead with juries that Australia will struggle to catch it.

    My other near certainty is an Estonian qualification. I’ve never understood all the hate for/doubts about this. It’s a reasonably modern pop song with Eurovisiony staging that I expect casual voters will pick up the phone for. That should be enough in a weak semi where there is a distinct lack of quality in the first half.

  24. Australia (Winner of Semi-Final 1)
    Serbia (Amazing vocals)
    Iceland (Shock value and WTF factor. Europe will like it)
    Greece (I don’t like this at all but should qualify)
    Czech (Fun song, Televoters will like it)
    Hungary (Ethnic tunes)
    Cyprus (It shouldn’t qualify actually, vocals not good)
    Estonia (Too generic if you ask me, not confident about this one..but can qualify)
    Portugal (Weird but should be in final!)
    San Marino (Surprise!)

  25. 1 Australia 2 Iceland 3 Greece

    Enjoy All 😎😎😎😎

  26. Thoughts on tonight. I have no idea who is going to win the semi Greece will probably finish top 3. Have the Czech Republic backed E/W since before rehearsals not that confident on it landing going on TV clip. My 10 Qualifiers.
    Cyprus
    Czech Republic
    Australia
    Greece
    Serbia
    Iceland
    Slovenia
    Hungary
    Belarus
    Belgium

  27. My prediction is that Estonia wont qualify, because he will come last with juries (weak vocals, worse staging). Also Australia will win the semi, and the only country which could stop this is Greece, thanks to juries, since no other song in the semi is jury friendly. Also Cyprus will do poorly because the song doesnt fit to Tamta, i believe she will be bottom 5 in final.

    My prediction just for fun.

    1) Australia
    2)Greece
    3)Hungary
    4)Serbia
    5)Iceland
    6)Chech republic
    7)Belgium
    8)Belarus
    9)Cyprus
    10)Georgia (high jury score)

  28. I think these will qualify:
    Cyprus
    Slovenia
    Hungary
    Serbia
    Georgia
    Australia
    Iceland
    Estonia
    Greece
    Czech Republic (I really wanted to say Portugal here, but they are too exotic to be safe)

  29. LIVE. I’m backing Portugal and laying Iceland 🙂

    • Not much changed for me live but Belgium looked better than I expected (market definitely didn’t think so!) and Estonia did too.

  30. after watching the SF, Australia came across a lot stronger than Gav’s analysis, particularly the final minute. Might have missed out on the top spot here due to the voting power of the other countries but certainly a contender in the final when all the western nations get to vote.

    Felt Serbia blew it. Their staging was spectacular but they screwed it up with too many long shots. Greece also was slightly disappointing despite the excellent vocals – will still probably win the SF.

    Iceland was excellent. If someone rings you up, halfway through the song, to tell you they can’t believe what they are seeing, it’s definitely having an impact.

    • Hi Rob, I always stated that the final minute was the strongest part of the package. It’s when the beat kicks it that it feels like something greater and more impactful should happen – the energy dies a bit.

      • Hi Gav, sure, but in terms of the overall package the analysis was quite dismissive. its not a criticism, everyone will see it their own way. i don’t even like the song myself, and often i find it hard to get past my confirmation bias in the betting world – i suspect everyone is the same.

        given the effectiveness of the staging i suspect bloc voting is the only thing that could stop Oz, something that i’m not sure even exists in EV anymore and certainly something that NL doesn’t benefit from?

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