Is The Jedward Gamble Heading For A Car Crash?

May 11, 2011 by

It was a night of big shocks in Dusseldorf with high profile entries from Turkey, Norway, Armenia and Albania sunk, and the lesser lights of Iceland, Switzerland and Lithuania all making it through to the final.
What did we learn? Possibly that this year’s juries are more discerning than ever and not impressed by cheap, gimmicky tunes, or maybe just that the sound system was out of kilter early on with the likes of Poland, Armenia and Norway sounding particularly ropey. Or maybe all the female vocalists simply cancelled each other out.
Amazingly, none of the first 5 songs qualified – we kept stressing Turkey was not a 1.1 shot and worth laying – while 5 of the last 6 to perform got through, possibly pointing again to the advantage of performing late, and still being in the minds of televoters when they go to vote.
What can we take from last night looking ahead to tomorrow’s second semi-final? It certainly creates trepidation – as fans and backers of Bosnia and Austria – wondering just how much of a negative being up early is, and also makes us question the merits of all those tunes that can be classified as cheap Eurovision pop at best; novelty at worst – namely, Moldova, Sweden, Israel and Ireland.
Outright quotes for Ireland appear far-fetched in the extreme – at time of writing Jedward are 7.4 clear second favourite to win on Betfair and dropping like a stone. It’s been a case of the luck of the Irish in being drawn last in the second semi but we would rather take Ireland on not to finish in the top 3 at anything up to 2.5 on Betfair. Jedward’s lack of vocal ability is subtly concealed by backing singers, and great staging adds a further layer of deceit, but we find it hard to see ‘Lipstick’ rating above the likes of Bosnia, Denmark, Estonia, Sweden, Slovenia and Austria overall.
We think the PR machine of Jedward has charmed the press in Dusseldorf and built up something of an unrealistic bubble surrounding their chances. We have no doubt the UK gamble on them has been fuelled by their management team, ensuring they get more column inches. We also think they have not only been over-bet on the Outright market but also to qualify, and 1.23 currently screams lay on Betfair.
We also wonder whether Getter Jaani and Eric Saade, to a degree Jedward’s main rivals for the teen televote, will be able to pull off tricky routines that require energetic performances while still carrying off a good vocal, especially Eric who was last seen struggling to get out of his box last weekend.
The qualification of Finland, Lithuania, Switzerland and Iceland perhaps offers a glimpse of how the ESC is becoming increasingly egalitarian – with diaspora holding far less sway than previous years, at least in the semi-finals. Last night’s results further indicate stripped down vocal talent is being rewarded over and above cheap, glossy pop tunes. Only the semi-final final jury results will reveal more.
With this in mind, we’re keen on the qualifying hopes of Cyprus at 11-4 with Victor Chandler. After Eric’s rendition of slick choreography and stage gimmicks, it will surely come as a refreshing change to more discerning televoters to listen to someone who can actually hold a note. It’s a similar situation to Switzerland following Russia in semi 1, giving Christos Mylordos’s excellent vocal the chance to really stand out.
We’ve seen ‘Boom Boom’ and ‘Haba Haba’ bite the dust and we think 2 songs of a similar ilk – ‘I Love Belarus’ and ‘Ding Dong’ – await a similar fate, with Israel remaining value at 4-7 not to qualify with Skybet. For those who snapped up the early big prices on Belarus to qualify there has been ample time to trade out for a nice profit.
We’re still not keen on the far too worthy, easy listening efforts of Romania and Latvia and reckon one, or even both, might not make the final. We prefer the qualifying chance of Bulgaria at a back price around 2.7 on Betfair. Poli Geneva, as previously stated, is a bona fide rock chick and as long as she doesn’t stray into Aurela Gace territory, and end up belting out her tune too exuberantly, she must have a great chance of making it through, following in the footsteps of Georgia’s Eldrine last night.
If Ukraine make it through it will be down to the sand artist, but we favour backing Moldova at a current back price of 1.75 on Betfair. Novelty tunes may look vulnerable now but the beauty of this one is its impact on viewers following 4 extremely dull tunes.
We remain of the view this semi will either be won by Bosnia or Denmark, Denmark‘s late draw possibly giving them a slight edge and they are a cast-iron e/w punt at 4-1 with Coral. And we still like the chances of one of Austria or Slovenia finding a place in the top 3 – Austria 4-1 to finish top 3 with Betfred, and Slovenia available to back on Betfair currently at 5.5 to be top 3, both offering value. We expect Nadine Beiler and Maja Keuc’s vocals to steal the show tomorrow night and remain reasonably confident both will qualify. What are your semi-final 2 views and best bets? Feel free to comment. Come one, come all, and good luck.
Rob Furber

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