It must be rehearsals time in Kiev. People are getting to hear and see what various performers are actually like as opposed to how they've been presented in the videos we've been given.
Now, some people, in my opinion, seem to be better just being themselves. The Italian entry, for instance, in a recording of the selection event, was brilliant. The official video was still good but lacked a little of the live excitement. I still think he's going to win anyway!
As for the others, there have been some significant movements in the betting this week which I can only assume is due to some exceptionally poor or, maybe in a couple of cases, much better than expected live performances in rehearsals.
The young lad from Bulgaria must have done well as he has created a clear gap in 2nd place between himself and the Swedish entry. The Swede has sort of stayed where he has been nearly all the time, mostly because Sweden are just expected to do well. It is, though, nothing really exceptional this year.
The girl with the low voice from Belgium has been one of the biggest disappointments. At one point she was a serious contender in 2nd place and the official track we've heard is an excellent, modern pop sound that ought to do very well. However, it may be that there is a lot of extra technology helping her out on the track that she can't bring to the stage.
Similarly the interestingly weird Portuguese lad was up there challenging Italy at one point. In his live selection show he was very cool and I thought he'd be doing better now as someone who can just get up on the stage and sing. His odds have drifted but not that much. I had just expected him to have closed the gap a bit.
The Australian lad is also suffering from poor response at the moment and he will have to work very hard now to bring the far away nation back into the Top 5. There were great hopes for Australia at the outset but when the artist and track were announced and released the odds began to tumble and have done so steadily ever since.
Armenia are one of the few to benefit so far. France, Denmark and Greece are also holding their positions with confident, well-experienced acts working for them. None are expected to win, though or even make the Top 5. Great singers but poor songs this year. Netherlands too, are in that category. Really great hopes had been expressed for the girl group but the song is useless for this competition.
I had expected better news for United Kingdom at this stage. Lucie Jones is a very good singer and should have all the experience and professionalism she needs for us to do well this year. We won't win but there were hopes of a Top 10 which would mean a lot to us. She's been stuck at about 14th all the time, though, and not benefitted when others have flopped. I still hold out some hope that we'll make that Top 10.
Macedonia issued a dreadful video that no-one really wants to watch but the actual song is good and the singer very competent. They have done much better since rehearsals started and are now on par with UK. Not Top 10 yet but they're making an effort in that direction.
Russia is the one nation that is going to be really hard to predict this year. Assuming they do actually take part, that is! I am guessing that they have not been able to rehearse with Yulia so the odds are very much guesswork based on what people believe will be the case. I am surprised that they are so high. Over 40-1 makes a small bet very tempting. The song really isn't at all bad and the singer is attractive. She will appeal across the board. Add the disability thing and some people will be more likely to vote for her if they were wondering which of two or three to choose. Provided they take part and Yulia is present I predict that Russia will be knocking on our friend Francesco's door, demanding to take that prize and invite us all to Moscow or, better still, Rostov-on-Don next year.
With a bit of luck and an amazingly good performance of a great track, Francesco will give the Russians two fingers but I expect it to be a close call.