Friday, May 09, 2014

What a difference a day makes in Eurovision

A chart showing how the current main contenders chances have been regarded over the past few days. The two marked SF are the two Semi Finals. I will update the figures as the day goes to show the most up-to-date odds so bookmark this post for future reference.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Ireland and Israel fall at the first hurdle. Somehow Poland and Belarus get more votes and make the final.

With the second Semi Final done and dusted things ought to settle down and we can get a better view of who is likely to get those key votes on Saturday.

There have been some big changes. The Netherlands have continued to see their odds drop and are now level with the once out-on-its-own-favourite Armenia. Austria have pushed past several to join a leading foursome with Sweden making up that square.

Next there is a quite a morass of nations: Ukraine, UK, Hungary, Denmark with Greece coming back to join them having been well out of the running before.

Norway is very much on its own occupying that marginal area on the edge of the Top 10.

After that there are Azerbaijan, Spain and Romania with decent songs and artists and they are either going to leap up into the Top 5 or be forgotten: no half-way houses for them like Norway.

On the right hand side of the scoreboard at the moment are definite losers: Belarus, Iceland, France, Poland, Italy and Russia will be battling to avoid nul points. To these add San Marino, Germany and Switzerland who'll get a few votes but will still lose.

Lastly we're left with the four interesting entries that you can never quite be sure of. Like The Netherlands and Austria prior to the public getting to see or hear them, they're not predicted to come anywhere noticeable but one bit of magic publicity or performance could change that. These are Malta, with a fine, resounding sort of Mumford number; Finland with a jolly boy band with nothing to lose and the chance of a mini 1D career to go for; Montenegro, one of the few genuinely serious singers who has a good song, sung naturally in his own language which sounds so much better than the broken English and odd phrases of so many others and Slovenia who have a catchy little number and a flute that might appeal to more than their current betting odds indicate.

Failing to get through the 2nd Semi Final were Israel, Ireland, both a little surprising although they were not performing well and three which, quite frankly, had dreadful songs and deserved to go: Lithuania, Macedonia and Georgia. Poland and Belarus should have joined them.

There will be more changes at the top as the six automatic qualifiers have not had the exposure of the Semi Finals and mere glimpses of their tracks played to fill space from time to time. I believe UK, Denmark and Spain will benefit considerably once people start to see and hear them and they will impact strongly on the Top 10 positions. Germany and Italy are right hand side of the scoreboard certainties and France may join the battle for bottom.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

So, just who will win Eurovision?

I took Betfair's offer of a £50 profit. That was due to The Netherlands odds dropping like a stone after last night's Semi Final and the news dawning on punters that the track was doing extremely well in some European charts already. I had a range of bets that would have given me £500 or so with a win for The Netherlands but for the other Top 10 likely entries I would just get a few pounds in most cases.

Now quite how the maths works I am really not sure but I am now guaranteed £4 profit or so whoever wins and the other £46 I have reinvested in a few nations. If they win, great. If not, no loss.

I have looked again at a few and, whilst Armenia and Sweden are still out in front I am beginning to think that it will be someone else who wins. They'll do well for sure but these are my possible winners (and what I win on top of the £4 whoever wins) :

United Kingdom £72.50
The Netherlands £176
Hungary £75
Denmark £125
Azerbaijan £150
Spain £240
Romania £380
Slovenia £2000

In reverse order, my justification for these choices:

Slovenia was just irresistible at those odds! They may not even make it through the second Semi Final but it's a pretty song and a nice flute always goes down well. If they do get through then watch those odds plummet. maybe not as far as The Netherlands but they will fall.

Romania are little fancied but their two experienced singers are well used to Eurovision and they have a good song that I am sure will get some good consistent votes across the board. On a night when there is no clear 12 pointer I feel they could do better than their lowly odds predict.

Spain have the excellent Ruth Lorenzo and, despite their odds going out over the last week, I still think she has a chance if she can pull off a really impressive performance on the night of what is definitely a good song.

Azerbaijan have seen their odds drift right out from being Top 5 to outside the Top 10 now. They have always done well, though, ad this year will be no exception in my view. I can only imagine there has been some rehearsal problems that we've not see that have caused the drift as the song itself seems good ad the singer good too. It may, I suppose, be a political thing as I believe Azerbaijan are seen as close to Russia. I don't know whether Armenia are too but I am guessing not or their odds would have suffered more by now. You do have to feel sorry for the Russian twins, now regarded as having no chance at all. I never did think the song was any good but they've lost votes of countries that might have helped them before.

Denmark do have one of the most commercial numbers and I am sure they will get lots of support and people voting for them too. Their odds have remained pretty static since the books opened really. It would be unusual for them to win twice but it has happened before and watch the odds shorten once people start to hear more of their song.

Hungary are the one country I could say I am expecting to win out of all of them. Without the desperate, scary and slightly worrying video to distract us the song itself is strong and memorable. Hungary haven't, I don't think, won and haven't offended anyone recently. They are quit a good half-way house between East and West Europe, even close to the Balkans so have quite a few political things going for them too.

The Netherlands do have a superb track. Is it what is likely to win Eurovision? I would have said not but it is one of those that sneak up in the voting when everyone gives it good points. If there are Alison Krauss fans in the various panels then it may even pick up some douze points. If I had been more certain of it winning I would have left the bets as they were as I stood to win over £500 but I am not. I'll still get a good return though!

And then there's my own country, United Kingdom. Molly really is an unknown but it is a popular track from what I can make out from various commentators across European blogs and stations. It is too clich├ęd though, for my liking, and that is why I suspect that it will not quit make it. Obviously, a small wager was necessary, though, as I would have kicked myself had it actually managed to win after all!

The two favourites remain Armenia and Sweden. Armenia's is a good song but the drama of the video performance hasn't been reproduced yet by the chap with silly name (MP3). He could still pull it off by a particularly good performance on the night but his odds are drifting out and I see him falling at the end. Sweden has a lovely and talented singer but there is just a touch of blandness there. Lots of panel members will vote for it but they'll find something else for the big points. This is a dead cert for second place in my view, not first.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Eurovision Semi Final 1: The Netherlands join the Top 10 and Sweden become favourites

I got 9 of the 10 qualifiers in the first Semi Final. To be honest, it wasn't that difficult. My single error was to think that the big opera guy from Belgium, singing about mother, would make it and I was quite surprised that he didn't but Iceland, with a dreadful politically correct requirement that we respect differences or something, did.

Nice to see San Marino making their first final. A pleasant enough song, Maybe, but not one to watch out for.

The two favourites are Armenia and Sweden and Sweden have now overtaken Armenia to take the lead after a quite impressive performance. Armenia did well too, though, and are still very much out there.

Next come Ukraine and UK with Hungary just behind. I am surprised that Ukraine are still as hot after a pretty poor and tuneless performance. Hungary was good but not quite as professionally delivered as in the video. We are spared the scary illustrations of the lyrics, though, thank goodness and Hungary are in with a chance.

Azerbaijan put on a good show but stay out at over 40-1. Russia are in but the twins were not very impressive with some strange and pointless hair thing on a seesaw. The audience were not happy when Russia's qualification was announced - a clear sign of disapproval amongst this group of people of actions on the edges of Europe. The song is poor this year so I would say they're lucky to be qualifying, although they were still better than those that didn't!

The nice and warm moment was to see all the compliments doled out to The Netherlands and their excellent entry. Once over 600-1, they are now 7th favourite, tying with the home country, Denmark who, in my view, could have the most commercial track of all and who, with a good performance could steal this and keep the competition there. It would be a dream to see The Netherlands win. I'd also make about £600!

So here's the list of qualifiers so far:

Armenia | Azerbaijan | Hungary | Iceland | Montenegro | Netherlands | Russia | San Marino | Sweden | Ukraine

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