Hurricane Force

May 13, 2021 by

Hurricane Force

The Big 5 enter the building today and in terms of this year’s winner’s market most eyes will be on Italy and France.

Destiny kicks things off with her 2nd rehearsal and they’ve ditched the pink dress and replaced it, wisely, with a sparkly silver one. The pink boots remain a little incongruous.

Malta returns to Outright fav on the back of this improved run through. We will continue to see these peaks and troughs in the Malta vs France battle for favouritism over the choppy course of the next 10 days.

San Marino is cute with its PR, a ‘Flo Rida?’ message appearing on Senhit’s peculiar, melted down boxing belt head-dress at song start. This was described in F1 terms at 1st rehearsal and Senhit comes perilously close to flashing her headlights during this.

’twas Baku 2012 when Sensei Gould, aka, Daniel from sofabet, put into writing a certain expression which truly caught on, in describing Cyprus. Daniel is greatly missed by his ESC trading comrades. He would no doubt be nodding sagely if proffering the notion to him: San Marino 2021 = Cyprus 2012?

Uku looking and sounding on point. The market does like to treat slot 2 as the death knell for semi-final entries but in truth nine out of 20 entries drawn in slot 2 in the semi-finals have qualified in the last 10 Contests which isn’t a bad strike rate. Estonia edges out to 2.72.

Benny for Czech Rep looks and feels more chanceless, though some are nibbling at Q odds of 3.8.

The camera continues to love Stefania and the visuals and camera shots tighten up. The perennial Cyp vs Gre h2h is another intriguing battle this year. Such a shame so few online bookmakers are willing to price up the side markets. Ist half/2nd half draw outcomes and follow up r.o. positions could end up a key differentiator.

Austria remains of Q interest, matched at 2.4. The Estonia, Austria, Portugal, dare I add Georgia battleground in key swing states could prove decisive.

Poland is the sort of entry that just makes you laugh in a, ‘what on earth am I doing here, I must be completely insane trading this event for a living’ way. The 80s produced some great tunes but this is less China Crisis, more man going through a mid-life crisis. ESC cabin fever starting to creep in here on day 6 and Polish Q backers are on the retreat, matched at 6.4.

Moldova is surprisingly basic given this is a Dream Team production. Looks like they threw their main resource behind Greece this year. Moldova understandably drifting to 1.68 to Q given the uninspiring look of this. The big end note maybe tells us they are seeking some jury respect. This would surely be trading bigger to Q without the Kirkorov factor.

What a remarkable price trajectory for Iceland. Fans were piling in backing it as low as 7 pre-song reveal, the botched song release underwhelmed, Iceland drifts to 20+ only for fans to suddenly revert to their original position of loving the band, and backing it down at 1st rehearsal.

The fan factor is a crucial element in trying to decipher the ‘real world’ appeal of this year’s Iceland entry. Today it stalls at 9.4 on the Outright. A fascinating element will be seeing how UK gamblers react to seeing it a week today.

Now we’re cooking. Turn it up. Serbia’s Hurricane sweep in and stir us all from our mid-afternoon slumber. Or maybe just me. They are having enormous fun up there, and bring huge energy to the stage. Good use of the catwalk going out to greet the audience.

Despite ‘Loco Loco’ leaving you want to join in with a, ‘Hey, macarena!’ given the uncanny similarities, this could go big in the hall. ‘Great hustle, ladies’ as they might say in US sporting circles. Serbia plunges to 500 in the Outright following a back-to-lay merchant’s optimistic tenner. 470 matched. It’s a buying frenzy. Where’s that Top Balkan market?

Here come the Big 5 + the hosts. Italy has proved surprisingly popular at the head of the market, generally residing as 4th fav. It’s already drifting despite Maneskin not appearing on stage yet. The scout on outfit watch has apparently made an early sighting and via tic-tac relayed to the bookies to start pushing the price out.

Like Finland, this is professionally presented rock but of a different hue. Bare-chested lead singer, good interplay with rock chick on guitar. Guitar solo crying out to turn into ‘Seven Nation Army’. Pyros at climax and excellent visuals throughout. No matter the sophistication, not sure post-pandemic Europe will warm widely enough to this on first listen. Italy moves back in, down to 5.5. Some panic buying here.

‘I Don’t Feel Hate’ is reminiscent of an irritating tv advertising jingle you can’t get out of your head but which also leaves you actively refusing to shop for said product. Jendrik is like Timmy Mallett on acid performing this. This feels like this year’s anti-music entry following the oh-so-classy Italy rock tune, similar to Rybak’s ‘That’s How You Write A Song’. Chaotic staging.

‘Birth Of A New Age’ as a song and presentation comes across like the closing ceremony act at the Olympics or a major international football tournament. Highly competent in all departments, drawn 23 to boot. It might end up acting as a ‘Thank you and goodnight’ from The Netherlands as hosts, after 2 years of spiralling costs and Covid nightmares. A ceremonial passing of the baton.

Barbara Pravi has opted for the main stage, wisely, and has just served the entire field on her first outing. Great close-up camera work spiralling around her. Lighting on point. Spellbinding stuff and you sense she was only at about 70% there.

Two massive trumpets surround the UK’s James Newman on a podium. He has some backing vocalist cum dancers trying to help bring the number to life. After the quality of Barbara P this feels heavily exposed and the UK, sadly, needs to be prepared for another disappointing result.

Blas Canto ends today’s proceedings for Spain. He sings in starry darkness at song start. Visual of a solar eclipse. Nice close-up shots, reveal of a full moon. Comets falling, milky way backdrop… Universe theme actually done rather well.

Three different Outright favs in one day. It’s been rollercoaster stuff with a sense of calm restored at end of play. Back tomorrow for the remainder of semi 2’s 2nd rehearsals.


  1. eurovicious

    Ah, the unfalsifiable premise of Jendrik’s “I Don’t Feel Hate”… if you do hate it (and every single Eurovision song from “Waterloo” to “Wohin, kleines Pony?” has people who hate it, and they have every right to do so, because since when did we start policing other people’s taste in music?), you automatically become the target of the song and the subject of Jendrik’s little ukulele-accompanied lecture. It’s a kind of tinny attempt at emotional blackmail: if you like the song, fine, that’s acceptable. If you hate it, well, that makes you a hater – all criticism is hate, and because we’re all special, no-one should ever be exposed to any criticism or negative feedback about themselves. This is yet another example of the toxic positivity that Western culture increasingly sautés itself in. #BeKind, clap for the cause of the day, hold a three-minute silence for the death of dignity, affix a crudely drawn rainbow to your porch window or glans, and for God’s sake don’t ever think critically about anything, say anything bad about anything or anyone, or worst of all – gasp – actually respect someone enough to be honest with them.

    As annoying as I find his TikTok and stage persona, Jendrik is a professional musical theatre performer and obviously good at what he does. He wasn’t expecting to be selected and deserves the opportunity since Ben Dolic withdrew. And I’m sure that he’s received his share of below-the-belt comments on TikTok et al that served as the inspiration for the song. He’s also hardly the first German Eurovision performer to confuse ham-fisted quirkiness for having an actual personality – that was Lena’s entire deal. It occurs to me that the song is probably designed to be this annoying and polarising so that it then generates the titular hate (a trap I am currently falling into) so that this can then be used as further fuel in the song’s pre-contest promotional campaign to make Jendrik look like a noble victim and broaden popular support for the entry and its powerful, necessary message. Or maybe I’m just cynical like that.

    But I think the song and performance are twee, affectatious rubbish. If the German broadcaster expects people tuning into a Saturday night entertainment show under the present circumstances to have an appetite for three minutes of self-righteous moral grandstanding about social media beef, they’re even more out of touch than I thought. Sorry Jendrik. I don’t think I hate you as much as when I started typing this, but it’s still a nul points from me. I hope you don’t find the ukulele too difficult to remove.

  2. Well, indeed, @eurovicious. I had a feeling you’d be all over that particular topic. 😀

    Putting aside the fact that Germany have brought a knife to a TikTok gunfight against Iceland and Lithuania, I really don’t see where the viewer buy-in comes from for an entry that essentially says “I’m *so* not bothered I’m going to make my lack of botheredness your problem for the next three minutes.”

    A “La venda” jury/televote outcome at best, shirley?

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