All Roads Lead To Baku

Jan 30, 2012 by

Time for our first Eurovision post of the year, which for us feels like opening the first window on an advent calendar. The ESC is THE tv betting event of the year, eagerly anticipated, and from now until the final on May 26 it will be our main focus.
The allocation draw for the semi-finals took place last week in Baku. The next big date will come in mid-March when the draw for the semi-final running order takes place along with the 6 automatic qualifiers drawing their positions in the final.
Looking at the composition of these semi-finals, what pointers do we have already? Ireland will be a little disappointed to find themselves in semi-final 1 given the UK, one of its most reliable allies, votes in semi-final 2. This was the same situation last year though, and at least Ireland has the possibility of a late draw.
Last year in the semi-final Jedward performed last, an advantageous position in terms of the televote. This is borne out in last year’s voting figures. 78pts on the televote placed Ireland 6th overall on the televote, whereas it only finished 10th in the jury vote with 66pts, giving it an overall position of 8th, and comfortably qualifying for the final.
In the final Ireland was drawn 6th and Jedward’s televote was 101pts, placing it 10th in the televote. In the jury vote, Ireland finished 6th with 119pts, enabling Jedward to finish 8th overall. So in the semi, Ireland did better with televoters, in the final it was preferred by juries. These contradictory results reveal how significant position in the running order is. A later draw in the final would have likely boosted Ireland’s televote and seen Jedward finish even higher on the leaderboard.
In last year’s first semi-final the first 5 songs to perform – Poland, Norway, Albania, Armenia and Turkey – all failed to qualify for the final. This came as a huge shock, especially in the case of ESC big guns Turkey and Armenia. There were some discontented mutterings afterwards of technical failings with the televote. Regardless of this, running order is undoubtedly a key factor though an early draw is not insurmountable if the song is good enough, performed well, staged well, and the nation in question has a strong diaspora to call upon.
In last year’s 2nd semi-final, Bosnia and Austria were the first 2 nations to perform but both these nations qualified comfortably for the final in 5th and 7th respectively. Bosnia’s ‘Love In Rewind’ was a good song but its diaspora strength must have definitely helped it finish 2nd on the televote with 131pts. It dropped to a surprising 11th on the jury vote with 65pts. It was a complete reversal in the case of Austria, the Nadine Beiler-sung ‘The Secret Is Love’ being lapped up by juries to the tune of 95pts, and 4th place on the jury vote. Austria’s lack of allies together with the style of the song, a slow ballad, saw it finish a lowly 10th on the televote with 52pts.
These above examples tell us so much about the intricacies of Eurovision voting patterns.
So far we know 5 songs, 4 of which compete in the first semi-final, namely, Albania, Switzerland, Cyprus and Denmark. France’s song was released yesterday and will head straight to the final as an automatic qualifier.
For your delectation here are the 5 songs we know so far. It’s far too early days to form too strong an opinion with another 38 countries still to reveal their hand, and the early Betfair market lacking liquidity. What we will say is, we are quite encouraged by the standard of song so far and if this is maintained over the next 6 weeks or so it bodes well for a very good contest. Also below, you will find the allocation draw details.
Rob Furber

semi 1 (18 countries competing) – Italy, Azerbaijan, Spain (voting)

1st half


2nd half:

San Marino

semi 2 – (19 countries competing) – Germany, UK, France (voting)

1st half


2nd half


Related Posts



  1. The standard is high so far?

    *open mouthed with puzzled expression*

    You’re surely not suggesting that Suus passes as a song? I thought it was one of those whale tracks to help you sleep. Didn’t work, mind.

    • Rob

      Hi Gavster & welcome to 🙂
      I think the Albania song has some potential to do well. If they follow the pattern of recent years, it will be translated to English – which invariably helps – & it needs to be shortened to 3 minutes. I recall the top job they did transforming their ESC song in 2010. That was uptempo admittedly, but this year’s ballad carries a lot of emotion and Rona’s voice is exceptional. It doesn’t have to win outright to have ‘potential’ as the semi-finals can be the best money-spinner.

  2. zoomraker

    Bosnia looks impressive, could see this doing well with juries and voters.

    Do power ballads ever win?

    • Rob

      Hi zoom. Do you mean another nation other than Bosnia? Or maybe you have an exclusive on the Bosnia ESC song for 2012…?
      Serbia’s ‘Molitva’ was the last ballad to win the ESC back in 2007. All I know about Bosnia this year is that the lady singing their song, Maya Sar, was part of the group that sang with Dino Merlin last year on ‘Love In Rewind’ – this is her website:

  3. Andi

    Denmark and Cyprus should qualify finishing in the lower half of the final. France could get a decent result . Albania and Switzerland are not qualifying in a million years nor is Malta.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *