Ocean Of Emotion

May 20, 2021 by

Ocean Of Emotion

Firstly, yesterday’s big news. Due to a band member’s positive Covid test Daði og Gagnamagnið were not able to perform in front of the juries last night. Nor will the band be able to perform live tonight, nor in Friday’s jury run, nor Saturday’s grand final. Iceland will have to rely on the recording of its second rehearsal.

It is slotted in seamlessly to the semi 2 running order, it’s well staged for what it is, and it feels like business as usual regarding Iceland’s prospects in this year’s Contest.

Duncan Laurence has also tested positive for Covid and so close to the grand final delegations will no doubt be getting increasingly twitchy about the health and protection of their artists.

While semi 2 offers up a lower qualification bar than semi 1, the qualifier picture has been no easier to try and solve throughout the rehearsal period. All of Georgia, Poland, Czech Rep and Latvia look up against it as much as Georgia deserves more respect than the current Betfair qualifier market is giving it.

Iceland, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Finland, Greece and Serbia look like 6 qualifying locks. There are slight doubts regarding San Marino qualifying but it will have impact as the semi opener, Flo Rida et al, and the televote should get it over the Q line. So the last 3 Q spots end up keenly contested between Denmark, Moldova, Portugal, Austria, Estonia and Albania.

Denmark has the pimp slot which should equate to even more televotes but it’s difficult not to see this lurking towards the bottom of the semi 2 jury rankings. It may generate heat on social media too and that now seems to be driving ‘live in-running’ Q prices, so there could be some room for price contraction and a back-to-lay opportunity to arise.

With plenty of televote competition floating around in semi 2, the verdict here is, NQ, but with no great confidence given how powerful the fan vote can be in ESC semi-finals.

Portugal is trading far too short at 1.22 to Q but in its favour is the later running order compared to Estonia and Austria, and the sense of authentic musicianship going on, in what is a cleverly staged effort in seeking maximum jury love. This is no Belgium but it probably does enough to grab a Q spot.

Austria remains more firmly in the mix to Q compared to Estonia, you sense, and will also have earned some jury respect last night. It does remain one-dimensional as a track, however, too heavily dependant on the uplifting ‘Amen’ chorus, and like Estonia it looks likely to get lost with televoters this evening.

Albania is trading too short to Q at 1.5 but Anxhela produced her best last night, and it has a handy point of difference in this semi as the well-sung, solo female native language ballad. The call here is Q but only just.

We have just seen very average pop efforts from Israel and Azerbaijan get through from semi 1, which brings us to the most tricky subject in semi 2: Moldova. Many were expecting ‘Dream Team’ bells and whistles for the staging of ‘Sugar’ but they have decided to play it straight, presumably to grab a few more jury votes, with the power note at song climax also suggestive of this approach.

Partly due to the Kirkorov factor, and his tried-and-tested ability to farm votes for his entries at ESC, Moldova is the call as surprise Q tonight in a tight photo finish between Vincent and Natalia.

Among the uptempo female-led entries in this semi, Serbia is arguably the most high impact of them all and is no forlorn hope to grab 3rd place, with Greece, Iceland and Finland also in the running.

The semi 2 win looks a close 2-horse race. Bulgaria has long looked the value to upset favourite Switzerland. While you sense jurors may have been more impressed with Gjon’s Tears last night mainly due to his falsetto, Bulgaria is likely to go better than Switzerland with televoters tonight.

Predicted qualifiers in order of certainty – Bulgaria, Switzerland, Greece, Iceland, Finland, Serbia, San Marino, Portugal, Albania, Moldova.

Matt’s semi 2 thoughts:

Tonight we see Switzerland and Bulgaria fighting it out for top dog. I have always felt Switzerland is a decent package and believe it won last night’s jury show. Bulgaria was also a powerful moment and should connect better with the public.

Either way these are the two to beat and head my list of ten qualifiers, in no particular order: Greece, Serbia, San Marino, Finland, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Portugal, Denmark, Albania and Iceland.

My surprise qualifier here is Denmark. While this seems unlikely, getting 3s on the pimp-slotted Scandis feels too good to miss. Austria, as such, just misses out, along with Moldova.


Good luck to everyone invested in the semi 2 markets and please do feel free to add your 10 Q lists and trading ideas in the Comments section below.


  1. Montell

    My 10 qualifiers are San Marino, Czech Republic, Greece, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Portugal, Bulgaria, Finland, Switzerland.

    San Marino
    A song like this is why I love Eurovision. This is a banger. Senhit may not be the best vocalist but overall the whole package delivers more than enough to qualify. After all, this is the best song San Marino has ever sent. If they qualified with Serhat they will qualify with this easily.

    Czech Republic
    Underrated. No way this song is 4/1 to qualify. It’s 2/1 for me. The song is original and Benny is a very charismatic guy. This song has repeat value. I would be happy to listen to this on the radio. I’m still rooting for Czeck Republic. I think Benny will manage to sell this song, but I agree it will be hard to qualify because the competition is strong.

    A tiny little outdated song for my taste, but the best song Greece have sent since Alcohol Is Free.

    As almost everyone else I was a big fan of their song in 2020. This year’s song is obviously less catchy, but it’s still one of the better songs this year. This year Iceland is more about the band than the song, I think. They are very charming and their performance is eye candy.

    This is another song for which I watch Eurovision. A banger!

    Typical song from Albania. Strong voice and staging is impactful. I’m not a fan of the song, but Albania qualified with worse songs in the past so this is in.

    Well, usually people struggle to vote for these types of songs, but I heard Portugal’s staging is very nice so I’m confused. This song reminds me of Austria 2015 which finished last in the final. Deep in my heart, I want Portugal to qualify because they never do. The odds suggest this is a certain qualifier so I’ll trust that and say this is qualifying.

    This song is not my cup of tea, but obviously it’s qualifying. I’m yet to see if I will be touched by this song.

    Finland couldn’t get a better position in the running order. This will qualify on televotes alone. Possible top 3 result.

    One of the best songs this year. Still haven’t decided if staging is good or bad. I need to see it in full.


    One of the weakest songs in this semi. Everything about this song is quite bad. Weak voice. The chorus is very indistinctive from the rest of the song. The song is very forgettable. I feel nothing listening to it.

    This is a jury song. Nothing really special. Average ballad, but my first impression about the song was that it won’t qualify. I’m sticking to that opinion. I think the song is too repetitive.

    If there’s any song that could finish below Estonia it’s Poland. Nothing good to say about this. Qualification is impossible.

    This is a lazy written song. Where’s the chorus? Instrumental hook is too weak and doesn’t impress me. I lose my attention to this song quite quickly. Once people see Serbia they will forget to vote for Moldova.

    The song itself is quite beautiful, but it’s just not for Eurovision.

    Personally I enjoy this song. Pa-ra-ra-pa pa-rade part is super catchy. The song is powerful but I guess juries will hate this. This song is not for everyone. I don’t see the wide appeal for this song.

    I think if Estonia failed to qualify in 2017 with a much better song then Denmark is even more heading to non-qualification this year. There’s an audience for this type of music, but it has to be something like top 5 with the televoters to compensate for the bottom 3 jury score. I think there’s enough televote magnets in this semi already and Denmark will fail to qualify. It looks like a huge drop in quality after Switzerland. It’s never good to perform right after the favorite.

  2. Tim B

    San Marino

    Best of luck!

  3. I’ll go (in order):

    Q: Switzerland, Bulgaria, Iceland, Portugal, Serbia, Greece, Finland, San Marino, Austria, Denmark
    NQ: Albania, Estonia, Moldova, Latvia, Czech Rep, Georgia, Poland

  4. Mark Dowd

    I’m surprised that you think Bulgaria is “likely to go better with the televoters.”
    This song has always seemed to me to be a more pro-jury effort….and has consistently left a lot of people rather cold. Maybe the staging will break down walls and hearts, but after a close contest for the jury win, I expect Switzerland to beat Bulgaria with the punters. We’ll see!!

    • Rob

      Victoria creates a moment performing it and it is more authentic and performed with greater conviction and believability than Gjon’s Tears who flaps around like an am dram student.

      Not only that but Bulgaria has greater voting power in sf2 and as an English language ballad it has the chance to resonate much more widely than Switzerland’s French language ballad.

      It’s also a question of odds & if you’re talking Even money vs a 3-1 shot (SkyBet current odds) then I’d be taking the 3-1, covering stakes on the Even money.

  5. Showlad

    Hi Team EO 🙂 Would have had a perfect hand for Semi 1 except I got carried away on Ana’s vocals getting a bug jury score and Eden suffering the political backlash.

    OK for winning the Semi, I think ICELAND will win this comfortably. They’ll be right up there with the Juries and will EASILY outscore Switzerland and Belgium by quite some way with Joe Public, so I think they are winning Semi 1. The exchange had them as favs to do just that before the sorry covid mess, but if anything, I think this is going to get them extra sympathy votes from both jury and public. Ignore the nonsense ‘hard sell’ of fans carrying this song. Quite the opposite is true: he fan saturated Eurojury public vote had them way down; they’re way down in fan ‘polls’ and way down in OGAE. It’s the REAL public who will eat this up in its now revealed brilliant R’Dam stage version and juries will see this on the right side of great song, singer and songwriter and adorable fun as opposed to gimmicks.

    Now, my Ten qualifiers:
    San Marino
    There’s enough presence of central Europe tonight for Albania to miss out 😉

    • Showlad

      With you on this Tim B (hope you good) and thanks for the handy cut and paste that presented itself 🙂

  6. Guildo Horn Forever

    This Semi confuses me, so I’m intrigued to see how some conundrums play out this evening.

    Switzerland – is the staging and choreography really that bad?
    Bulgaria – is the staging really that good?
    Iceland – a conundrum. It’s the sort of the song that people who aren’t confident singers might select to perform at a karaoke bar, in that at many points it’s nearer talking than singing sustained notes (plus, there’s the bonus of basic yet iconic dance moves to perform with it). How that component and level of technical difficulty affects jury voting is tricky to predict, especially because Daði Freyr performs with such incredible charm, playfulness, charisma, and a wonderful, understated kind of British, comic sensibility, and such a lovely vocal tone, that it’ll be probably be appreciated how very easy he’s making something look that actually isn’t. The attention to small details in that performance, its staging, choreography, etc, is marvellous.
    San Marino – I still can’t remember how the song goes apart from knowing that it puts me in mind of Fuego! Trying to quantify the Flo Rida Factor is bewildering. I’ll speculate that the juries might feel under pressure to mark up the entrant, as I’m sure the EBU must be delighted at the global publicity that’s come with a cameo from an American rap superstar and wouldn’t mind more of the same in future.

    Overall, I’m just fascinated to finally get to see Bulgaria in full.

  7. Guildo Horn Forever

    Halfway thoughts:

    San Marino – Entertaining, starts off as a hot OTT colour and costume mess but picks up when Flo Rida appears. Decent chemistry between Flo and the lead singer.

    Estonia – handsome but v boring. What’s with all the pre-recorded backing vocals? (He’s backing himself.) Difficult to hear what he was saying in his lower register.

    Czech Republic – very vocally shaky (and a bit out of breath) for first minute. I thought he was v nervous and that affected his voice and performance. So much for the much vaunted charm – I found him a bit leery and as though he was on something. Carried the vibe of someone who would approach you in a nightclub to sell you something.

    Greece – Hated the green screen nonsense, dancers cut in half doesn’t do anything for me. The green screen unnecessarily side-lined the audience, as I thought it would. Very disappointing.

    Austria – right across both Semis the lead singer starts off in a very shaky lower register. They only find their voice when they need to belt. The over-forced emoting at the end actually made me snigger.

    Poland – the song was nothing, the dancers weren’t even in synch with each other, the pyro looked half-assed and cheap, and then it went further downhill when the led singer took off his shades to reveal the face of a man with whom you’d be likely to talk about prime cuts at the meat counter of the supermarket. Retro nothingness.

    Moldova – dancers are tight, the lead singer’s obviously a great dancer too, fantastic sustained end note. The trouble with that performance was that there were far, far too many dance breaks in the song. Structurally flawed. But props to the singer. She did so well.

    Iceland – They make me smile. They’re so inventive.

    Serbia – high energy, great singers, nice movers, fantastic harmonies (at one point reminded me of OG3NE), and I better appreciated the plethora of different rhythms in that song. Fantastic. Outdid the hype. By far the best so far.

  8. Guildo Horn Forever

    Second half thoughts.

    Georgia – schizophrenic performance: first half he looks to be hooked on tranquilizers before then starting to let out his undetected rage. Weird.

    Albania – well anything would be better than Georgia. This was alright. I appreciated the lead singer’s passion. Fairly good.

    Portugal – Black and white really helps this, makes it stand out. It’s been on the tip of my tongue for a week which song this is ripping off. Still don’t like him and hate his voice but I have to admit that did sort of work as a presentation.

    Bulgaria – Beautiful staging, another shaky vocal (with no opportunities to belt herself out of trouble), but boring non-entity song. Weak. Didn’t feel any of the emotion and didn’t get it at all. Possible NQ?

    Finland – Much needed blast of energy from Finland. Dramatic. Entertaining.

    Latvia – Song seems to take an awful lot of breathers. Bonkers vibe. Where does the chorus disappear? Odd.

    Switzerland – The arbitrary camera cuts, close ups and his jerking his body about made me laugh at points, but his singing is stellar and I enjoyed the song. Unnecessarily hyper, like everyone’s had too much candy and coffee, but excellent despite all that.

    Denmark – Hahaha! That has to be a piss take, right! Quite liked the song and was entertained. Fab string vested gut overhang. Upbeat and bouncy. Great show ender.

    • Stu

      On Portugal – not identical, but ‘Time is on my side’, Rolling Stones has quite a fair resonance with their song IMO.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Just had a listen and I see what you mean!

        Bizarrely (it might just be me here!), I’ve realised I was thinking of a slowed-down version of Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful. It hits me when the Portuguese singer says: “Maybe not tonight.”

  9. Guildo Horn Forever

    I’d say the Top 3, in no particular order, were Iceland, Switzerland, and Serbia.

  10. Guildo Horn Forever

    Doesn’t feel like I watched the ESC winner in that Semi.

  11. You called it Rob – well done on the full house! 10/10

  12. Guildo Horn Forever

    Quick impressions on the Grand Final running order:

    For whatever reason Malta appears to have been buried: a) drawn 6, b) isn’t even the first get-the-party-started banger (it’s 3rd for that) c) will be the sixth female singer on the trot, d) has Destiny following on from the other super-charismatic female, who also champions a similar empowerment theme, and e) is followed by the instantly visually striking and memorable (like it or not) Portuguese entry (which though not to my taste does seem pretty popular).

    Is is reasonable to conclude that it didn’t win its Semi? Or is this some kind of blowback for the Maltese delegation dubiously insisting on having a second go at its jury rehearsal? Justice needing to be seen to be done…etc?

    As Iceland has been placed 12th to the Swiss 11th, does that mean Iceland pipped Switzerland to the win for yesterday evening’s Semi?

    Italy has an absolute stonker of a draw in 24. Especially, as it has the usual Swedish brand plastic following it.

    Ukraine look a little hard done by in 19, in-between a quirky Lithuania and the competition favourite / 2nd favourite in France, which in its own unique way is as striking as Ukraine. That’s a confusing placement for Ukraine, because if it won it’s Semi then surely it would have been given a bit kinder draw than that? Still, Ukraine isn’t to be underestimated for the Grand Final win, I feel.

    Just checked on Wiki for previous Semi winners running order placement (for when they drew first half). I was surprised to see that Norway (Rybak) in 2018 was placed in 7, that back in 2012 Russia (the Babushki) were given draw 6, that in 2011 Sweden (Saade) was placed in 7, and that in 2010 Belgium (Dice) was given 7.

    It seems the draw allocator could be acting in the style of a horse-racing handicapper as much as anything else?

    Maybe Malta did win its Semi after all 🙁

    • meridian_child

      Correct me if I am wrong, but 2013 was the first time the producers did the running order themselves.
      While Rybak did win the semi overall, he neither won the televote nor the juries. One theory I have: Semi 2 in 2018 was way weaker than semi 1. The EBU probably got the exact televoting numbers and figured out that Rybak was only third with televoters in this crap semi, so they gave the better slots to France and Germany which were among the faves at this point.

      Slot 6 for Malta looks really bad to me. Very weird they put this directly after Russia. Could be that Malta didnt come anywhere near winning the televote despite having the pimp slot in the semi.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        You obviously know more than me about the considerations behind the composition of the running order – so I certainly won’t be correcting you!

        I got a bit carried away searching too far back on ESC results.

        Yes, I should also take your cue and point, by perceiving the Semis as two parts of a whole consideration. I researched further into it and take your points about jury and televoting strength and the expected strength versus the received televoting strength in consideration of a Semi-finalist’s draw favourability / unfavourability. Eurovision’s version of xG / expected goals?

        I remain unimpressed with the Maltese staging. It’s of no help to Destiny and I sense that was the reason behind her, at times, shaky vocals on the night. I think she’s overtrying.

        Looking at the latest ESC Tracker, with to my amazement (and horror!) Portugal’s Black Mamba at the top, Malta does have a mountain to climb from its draw.


        Watched the Swiss package again to fully appreciate the insanity of the choices that have gone into it. Gjon’s clearly not a natural mover, plus he has a demanding vocal to deliver – so why on earth choreograph him a host of manic movements?! He looks like he’s having an episode! There’s one point where his arms are flailing from his sides in wild waving motions and I truly to worry that the mic is going to release from his grip to fly and soar through the air like the camera shots in his music video!

        The two plus points amid all the madness and crazy camera cuts etc going on are that: a) there’s plenty of close-ups of Gjon (with a thankful absence of endless sweeping arena shots – a personal bugbear of mine), and b) because he’s having to cope with belting out his song while performing an aerobic workout warm-up it’s making him very facially expressive, which is a potentially useful result in an emotional song. All told, I suppose I find it a compelling though amusing watch, and props to Gjon for coping so brilliantly with what’s he’s been tasked with doing. His vocal is stellar.

        Of the main contenders that had to go through a Semi, I thought Ukraine’s staging was perfection, and Iceland’s was excellent and inventive.

        Bulgaria turned out to be the Emperor’s New Clothes of this year’s ESC. The majority of press centre reports and feedback about the staging for it absolutely raved about it. I was genuinely excited to finally fully see it. It turned out to be a beautiful nothing. Worse, I didn’t feel a word Victoria was saying and found my mind wandering. I was never into the song in the first place so perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised or disappointed. I knew the Greek staging concept was very probably flawed as soon as I saw a rehearsal snatch of it, but the snatches of Bulgaria did look beautiful.

        It’s an odd ESC, I think, to see the two clear betting market leaders are ones we haven’t actually seen compete in either Semi-final. Both entries did have to win a competition to get to Eurovision so they’re ‘road-tested’ in that respect…but still. Even the EBU don’t have any data as to their true strength, do they?

        I’ve noticed that, of the first 10 in the outright betting, the entrant with the highest draw and who competed in a Semi: is Ukraine. I’m also very curious about what to read into Switzerland’s and Iceland’s draws as they’re been winners drawn from round about those slots.

  13. neomichael

    Wow great Job Rob, 10/10!
    I wasn’t convinced by Moldova rehearsals so far but in the live I have to admit that she performed really well. Austria’s entry came out too repetitive indeed and a bit flat.
    So all in all, no major surprises in the Semi Finals:
    Israel instead of Croatia for SF1 and Moldova instead of Austria in SF2
    Is it only me or odds in the recent years are getting increasingly closer to the actual probability of the outcome..?

  14. Rob

    Looking for opinions on the Bulgaria betting? The market has gone incredibly cold in regard to their chances (available at time of writing @71). Is this because there was negative feedback in regard to its reception or down to the running order in the final suggesting it did poorly in the semi-final?

    I’m not sure going 17th is indicative of a poor performance. France and Italy being the market leaders had to be accommodated hence 20th and 24th respectively, and to help them have a greater impact, it looks like they have been followed by no-hopers AZE (21st) and SWE (25th). Italy is doubly aided by having NED at 22 (the devil in me thinks this is to avoid the host nation getting an embarrassing nul-points).

    The show has to end with a banger so that explains San Marino going 26th and not likely thought to be a threat to the favourites.

    All this to me indicates that 17th is not too bad a position to go from and indicates at least a 4th position in the SF if not a top 3, although none of this explains LIT 18, UKR 19 and NOR 22?

    Thoughts anyone?

    • Stuart

      Bulgaria didn’t make much impact watching it on TV or sound that brilliant. Maybe lower top 10 is their best hopes now. Is it really Italy’s to lose now?

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Hi Rob, I’ve reacted elsewhere on this site to Bulgaria’s performance last night, including my immediate (v negative) reaction to watching it.

        Have just re-watched it to realise Victoria’s singing was even worse than I thought. Pro singers will often tell you that though an audience tends to be super impressed when a singer belts it out, sometimes there’s more vocal skill and control required in singing quietly (or singing just past what would be classed as talking – (but not crooning).)

        For a perfect example of all of that, listen to the first minute and a quarter of Vincent Bueno of Austria:



        It’s also worth bearing in mind that when a singer is singing quietly and just past talking, the accompanying instrumentation (if indeed there is any) will be set at a very low volume – meaning that any stalls or breath control stumbles will be unmissable, even more so because the singer will most often be standing stock still, focusing attention even more so on the vocal.

        Victoria was clearly very nervous (both her singing and facial expressions made that evident) and for about the first two minutes of her song there is no hiding place for her. I actually couldn’t hear what she was saying – the poor singing was impacting the diction. I had no idea what story she was trying to tell (and I’ve heard the song before!). She ended up in an unfortunate vicious circle: she could hear her singing was off, which is why she immediately stopped looking at the camera and closed her eyes – as she was a) a bit embarrassed, and b) she was trying to focus on finding her voice. The combination of ropey singing and not connecting to the camera in a quiet, supposedly emotional song is a deathly combination. Unfortunately, the only words I could hear her clearly and repeatedly articulate were “…growing old.”

        I suppose hope for Victoria and Bulgaria could be found in Blanche and City Lights progression in 2017. Blanche looked a bit frozen by nerves initially but grew into the Contest, with Belgium finishing a worthy 4th.

        Maybe Bulgaria can somewhat live up to the hype in the Final. Perhaps Victoria can be forgiven one bad performance and her class will tell on Saturday evening. All of the hype surely can’t be completely misplaced, can it? I didn’t dig the song in the first place so I’m not a believer. For those who love the song, belief will be different. I carry the scar tissue of having plunged on the magnificence Norma John’s Blackbird in 2017 – which was a NQ. So, that does colour my opinions regards mournful sounding songs set in beautiful visuals.

        • Rob

          Many thanks for your insights, Guildo. I think you have probably hit the nail on the head as to why Victoria didn’t connect as hoped.
          Sadly for backers, it was less of an ocean of emotion, more tears for souvenirs watching Bulgaria drift in all markets.
          Hoping she performs better tonight in front of the jurors.

    • Showlad

      Hi Rob. I was agahast last night at Victoria’s performance unfortunately. The camera shots looked too far back and needed to zoom in to make that intimate, emotional secne they were trying to set out, draw you and take you into its world.

      The worst part was Victoria’s vocal – dry and sore throatish. She totally lacked confidence and belief and looked to be really struggling. I can’t help but feel this year among traders there was almost a consensus to worship this song and I never saw it that way – at best a default Az type winner. I always saw Victoria’s limitations too as a performer.

      By contrast Iceland oozed great song, brilliant tight staging and Dadi flowed with eye contact, wit and warmth.

      Well done on your 10. Can’t believe Austria never made it but hey ho.

      • Rob

        No consensus whatsoever re. Bulgaria. I’ll always stick to my own pov on songs/performances which is why I went out on a limb opposing Malta and Switzerlad when they were at the top of the market.

        Bulgaria is a class track & an on song Victoria sells it very well. It’s a shame she wasn’t struck down by Covid tbh as the 2nd rehearsal was fantastic – much better camerawork than you saw last night & a much stronger performance by her finding the camera.

        Not sure what the Bulgarian delegation is playing at with the changes we saw last night tbh. Hoping to see improvement tonight. It’s still in the argument for jury top 5/6 if she delivers it the way she is capable.

        Iceland being struck down has helped it in a way as its 2nd rehearsal was perfectly on point. They can sit back in their hotel room and relax. Job done while other artists are left to sweat over their jury rehearsal & tomorrow night’s tv show.

        Ultimately, ESC trading is about assessing prices & on the Back side you are looking for entries the market might be under-rating. Bulgaria fitted that mould because of the staging potential & that came true, to an extent, as it was backed down to single figs at one point.

        • Showlad

          Hey Rob. I know you go with your gut and not follow the crowd, I was referring to a general vibe among some traders that praised the (really) good things about Bulgaria but didn’t focus too much on the shortcomings (which you have laid out in previous posts).
          I think Iceland is the dark horse in this really exciting year and still well within a shout and France could well take it over both jury and public. Italy the big mystery. Enjoy Eurovision 2021 Rob.

  15. Guildo Horn Forever

    Oh my days! This is sublime. I did suspect she has a desert-dry sense of humour. She and Daði Freyr have much in common. Priceless…


  16. Guildo Horn Forever

    I’m sensing the content of this article and accompanying YouTube video are to be taken with an extreme pinch of salt?


    I’m wondering if this is really about people pre-empting the reaction from the Maltese delegation when it’s revealed their entry did indeed win its Semi yet nevertheless was allotted draw 6 in the Grand Final.

  17. John

    Hello EO crew! Enjoyable reading the comments here. Good to have somewhere that savvy bettors gather (they try on Reddit, but those ‘yoots’ are rather emotionally driven logic-wise). Or I’m getting on a bit.

    Much value has been drained from the market now that the rehearsals and semi-finals and indeed the running order are all said and done, but there’s potential here and there.

    The first thing I always look for in the r.o is the First Banger Slot (up-tempo, party number), where the mix of early in the running, booze starting to affect viewers, and the primacy effect, boost a televote. If you can’t be drawn towards the end – go early, but not too early! This opportunity seemed confirmed in recent years by If Love Was a Crime and Hey Mama surprising everyone, but failed to help That’s How You Write a Song.

    Seeing Spirit in the Sky absolutely MONSTER the televote two years ago made me update this notion. The Banger Slot can arrive anywhere after a sufficient lull. It can’t happen too often, but waits for its moment. KEIINO enjoyed about 20 minutes between the last decent uptempo number and themselves. The pumping wall of sound and big chorus (and happy super-likeable performers w/ great visuals) all really launched this one.

    This year? MALTA could occupy this slot. Israel and Cyprus are too early. If Malta really isn’t connecting, Serbia are too soon after, but none other than ICELAND could benefit off the back of a ballad and the UK and Greece’s bouncy but really rather repetitive entries. After that early stretch though the sawtooth sticks a banger in every few songs and I don’t see an obvious beneficiary. There’s a certain alchemy you can feel when you’re watching where something hits viewers on that visceral, serotonin level. My suspicion is that UKRAINE might be the one if it is about what gets the pulse racing at an opportune moment.

    It’s hard to tell this year, which isn’t useful (sorry). But what might be more useful is the flip-side. Who slows things down?

    I like PORTUGAL. I think this classy jazz-bar stylings, unique voice, beautiful staging etc are jury catnip, and this arrives in a reasonably early slot (which does also somewhat help songs stand out sometimes – that is, an early song that makes a viewer feel something). Switzerland stands out, is obscure, mysterious, cold, aloof – BUT Portugal is a warm cocoa on a winter night. Something to hold.

    Portugal still have decent value. Not for top 10 alas, but as a Back to Lay. The juries will give it a bit of a Cesar Sampson / Tamara I think. It will have competition from France, but if it’s in the mix for a jury podium, watch the odds come in tight.

    The Netherlands may also get some jury love. I think televote potential there is limited, but it could reach top 10 if thoughtful jurors like its uniqueness. Other randoms include:

    Serbia – Top Balkan – 5/1 (if Bulgaria does flop). Greece is repetitive. Serbia nails its USP.
    Iceland – Televote winner – 12/1 – their only path to victory, probably, so a safer bet than the Outright
    Iceland – 12 points from UK – 4/1 – probably Lithuania, but if not, surely the Dadi Freyr kids?
    Finland and Cyprus – Laying top 10/15 – strong candidates for the jury-drop after the semis. Other songs here completely steal their thunder.

    Anyhow, for a prediction, I think we’re looking at Italy, France, Ukraine, Iceland for our top 4.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Wow, what an absolutely fantastic analysis, John! I enjoyed that. Many courses of food for thought.

      I saw KEINO’s Grand Final performance for the first time the other day. I must have watched it half a dozen times since! I believe they deserved to have won both the televote and the jury vote.

      Looking at the 2019 Final results I noticed Russia finished 3rd from a draw of 5. While having a little look into a running order effect the other day, I noticed that the Russian grannies finished 2nd from a draw of 6, and that Eric Saade finished 3rd from a draw of 7.

      Although I find the staging for Malta sub-optimal and a bit of a missed opportunity in a number of respects, I’m beginning to think it could finish in the first 4.

      I also say that because of the running order’s strange clustering of contenders. It’s odd to see that the 5th and 6th (Switzerland and Iceland) in the outright are running order neighbours and more startling again that the 2nd and the 4th (France and Ukraine) are also slotted together (furthermore, Lithuania (10th in the betting) immediately precedes them both). Simon Cowell and X-Factor style decision-making come to mind.

      I do think the presence of 4 female-led up-tempo bangers (and that’s not even including the out-there Russian entry) in the first 8 in the running order can only be to Malta’s disadvantage. And drawn 8, Serbia are very, very impressive.

      The Italian delegation must be seeing their dream running order come to reality. A feel-good non-contender song preceding them, then Italy blow the roof off, then an over-produced production line Sweden to follow, and with Italy’s 5 main betting market rivals, France, Malta, Ukraine, Switzerland, and Iceland all having been disadvantaged in some way by producer placements. Certainly, if Italy don’t win they can have no complaints.

      For Top 4, I’ll predict Italy, France, Ukraine, Malta.

      I’m aware I’m very biased towards Ukraine, but on Eurovision Tracker I notice it’s top ranked on Spotify and is 3rd top on iTunes. Plus, I’d say it’s this years best-staged / presented song, or certainly up there with the likes of France, Portugal, and Bulgaria etc.

      For 5th, and it really pains me to say it, I’ll predict Portugal, distinct and memorable in a number of ways, and the only act with a male singer in the first 8 of the running order, and which follows back-to-back female empowerment songs.

      For 6th, I’ll say Iceland. I think Daði Freyr is such a genius in how he makes everything look so simple. I do worry that that approach and style has its weaknesses as well as strengths.

      As much as I have a ton of respect for Switzerland’s Gjon (I enjoy his song and think his vocal performance is magnificent) there’s just too many ill-fitting and jarring choices been made about the staging (what is that installation he’s standing on meant to be / symbolise), the choreography, and camera cuts. Staging by committee? The nerdy, jerky dance spot makes me laugh every time.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Actually I’ll tweak that Top 6 finishing order prediction to:

        1st Italy, 2nd Ukraine, 3rd France, 4th Malta, 5th Portugal, 6th Iceland.

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