Put It All On Hold

May 14, 2022 by

Put It All On Hold

A crazy, crazy year for ESC traders and the Outright market remains a head-scratcher heading into tonight’s grand final.

Ukraine’s ever-shortening price has led to conspiracy theories to do with insider money, and we also enjoyed a supposedly hacked semi 1 screenshot earlier in the week.

The 12 slot for Ukraine suggests it might have won semi 1 but given Greece has a prime looking 2nd half slot in 17, that is by no means clear cut.

The widely-held belief among the layperson is, huge pro-Ukraine sentiment feeding into the televote, and while that is open to doubt, the bigger question is, how Ukraine is going to get on on the jury side.

It is no coincidence to me the EBU has a couple of strong, jury-friendly songs immediately preceding Ukraine in Italy (9) and Netherlands (11). Add in potential televote magnet Spain (10) and that could result in a highly effective softening up of Ukraine.

The 12 slot for Ukraine suggests it might have won semi 1 but given Greece has a prime looking 2nd half slot in 17, that is by no means clear cut

When you assess the 25 grand final songs this year, there’s plenty of jury bait floating around, and ‘Stefania’ has to be divisive among jurors. I find it hard to give Ukraine a jury position any higher than 8th, and that is including a degree of goodwill inflation.

We will learn quickly what is going to happen tonight because if Ukraine is landing 7s and 8s on the jury side it will start to look game over. If, however, it’s only being awarded mostly 3s and 4s it will be game on.

The complexity this year is the potential frailty in play with so many nations rated highly by the betting market. Not just Ukraine, but second favourite the UK too. You can make an argument for the UK doing well on the jury side but there could easily end up a substantial televote shortfall in play.

There is this surprising stretch of three solo males, all trying to highlight their vocal skills from 21-23. Where Sheldon Riley is over-wrought, Sam Ryder’s performance risks coming across as contrived.

For me, he is overdoing it with the vocal affectations, and the air guitar at the song’s climax takes some credibility away from ‘Space Man’. The illuminated cage, his outfit, the falsetto… there is impact but it all feels a bit gimmicky.

Being the last of the three could be advantage Ochman. There is a clear sense of artistry in his favour with ‘River’. The classical range he showcases is truly outstanding and he put in a bravura performance last night in front of the juries.

Add in the Polish diaspora which should, in theory, be motivated to support him tonight and Poland looks pretty strong on both sides of the voting equation.

Ukraine potentially grabbing a lot of televote points could partially damage other nations reliant on a big televote boost to help get them in the argument at the top of the leaderboard. Especially those who look likely to be dropping down with juries. You can include on that list the likes of Spain, Norway, Moldova and Serbia.

So I’d rather stick with nations who look likely to do well on the jury side, and which also have enough about them to secure respectable televote totals. Along with Poland, that would have to include Greece and Netherlands.

Greece gets a nice lead in following a tv break and feels like it can have big impact from the 17 slot. It is a highly original composition, the staging allows it to jump off the page, and Amanda is so stoical in her performance I think tv viewers will be rooting for her and voting for her this evening.

The quality of ‘De Diepte’ leaps out following Spain and before Ukraine. It also has an emotional pull when S10’s voice begins to crack towards the climax which will help it on the televote.

But the entry that ticks most boxes and looks the likeliest winner tonight has to be Sweden. The anthemic ‘Hold Me Closer’ is the stand-out song of the year, and Cornelia does everything required to strike a powerful connection with the tv viewer. She possesses star quality, and carries the entry with magnetism.

Encouraging for Sweden has been its post-semi 2 impact on iTunes, and having a look at ESC Tracker it’s charting across a good many countries in Europe. It looks long odds-on to be in the top 3 on the jury side and from the 20 slot it should be pulling in a high televote.

Cornelia does everything required to strike a powerful connection with the tv viewer. She possesses star quality, and carries the entry with magnetism

At last night’s jury run Mahmood and Blanco put in an improved display performing ‘Brividi’. This will likely see Italy top 5 among juries but from the 9 slot and with Spain following it, it’s hard to see it doing well enough on the televote side to compete for the win.

Despite being drawn in 3, I would still give Portugal a solid chance of achieving a top 10 finish, courtesy of a strong jury showing, but it’s the usual story of the lower reaches of the top 10 potentially going a few different ways.

My winner is Sweden.

Runner-up – Poland

3rd – Greece

4th – Ukraine

5th – Netherlands

6th – Italy

7th – Spain

8th – UK

9th – Portugal

10th – Serbia

Last place is always an interesting market and while Germany is favourite for the wooden spoon, I would be surprised if Malik Harris doesn’t earn some jury points.

More in danger of disappearing into obscurity look to be France, Belgium and, as much as it pains me to say it, Iceland.

Matt’s thoughts:

The way I see it, there are as many as five countries who can still win Eurovision 2022.

These are:

The hot favourite Ukraine – trading at 1.4.
TikTok’s Sam Ryder UK – 10.5
Perennial heavyweight Sweden – 12
Underachievers Spain – 24
And home champions Italy – 25

All five have a path to victory and while Ukraine’s is the most achievable, there is nothing to stop one of the other four from overachieving on one of the constituencies and recording a famous victory.

Analysing the draw makes this year an even trickier puzzle to solve. Italy looks to have got the worst of it, running 9th and immediately overshadowed by Spain.

Spain went huge in the arena last night and looks to be gathering momentum at the right time. It wasn’t Chanel’s best performance, but as a package, this is the best example of the genre we have seen. If Maneskin elevated rock at Eurovision, Chanel has just done the same for Latino-pop and at the current price, this is the clear value of the current contenders.

Next up is Ukraine which looks to have a great draw, but look a little closer and it is surrounded by the televote heavy hitters. Has the EBU seeked to dilute Ukraine’s televote power?

Analysing the draw makes this year an even trickier puzzle to solve. Italy looks to have got the worst of it, running 9th and immediately overshadowed by Spain

Sweden has a nice running order position in 20 and Cornelia is a great performer that Rob might have tipped above. I am not against that scenario, but the televote may be the issue here, with Sweden not scoring 200 with that constituency since its last win in 2016.

Talking of poor televotes and here comes the UK, which hasn’t scored more than 36 in the last decade. Unlike Sweden, it hasn’t really sent anything that deserved better, so expect Sam to disprove the ‘nobody likes us’ narrative that has taken hold. Whether the UK can get to the 150 it will need, assuming it won the jury as I think it did, is another matter.

OK, enough with the analysis. I could tip Ukraine and I do fear it will win. The problem is, there are four main contenders chasing it down and these in turn all dilute their own chances. However, you don’t come here looking for 1.4 shots, so I am more than happy to tip Spain to win Eurovision 2022. Chanel updates the genre and delivers something much stronger than Fuego for me.

As such, my top 5 is:

1. Spain
2. Ukraine
3. UK
4. Sweden
5. Italy

The market at this point is pretty switched on so no real surprises for the top 10. I round mine out with:

6 – Serbia
7 – Netherlands
8 – Poland
9 – Greece
10 – Norway

Just missing out are Moldova, Estonia and Finland. That’s the left half of the scoreboard covered. What about last place?

Let’s swing for the fences and take the big prices on France to finish last

I have long felt Germany wasn’t as bad as the market suggests and while the draw is horrible, I am happy to take it on. Switzerland is second favourite for the wooden spoon, but I think gets the jury points it needs, so that leaves Romania, Belgium and, at 33/1, France for consideration.

Any of these can come bottom, but let’s swing for the fences and take the big prices on France to finish last. This is also an angle for bottom Big 5 if you are so minded.

Thanks for your kind messages all season. Thanks to Rob for giving me the space to write my thoughts and let’s hope we get the results we all need tonight.

Good luck to everyone this evening from Matt and I both, and please do share your grand final thoughts below.

17 Comments

  1. Montell

    1. Sweden
    2. United Kingdom
    3. Ukraine
    4. Italy
    5. Poland
    6. Greece
    7. Netherlands
    8. Spain
    9. Norway
    10. Moldova

  2. Kylie @ ESC Pulse

    Funnily enough me and Rob have the same top 2, I think it’s a toss up between Sweden and Poland

  3. markdowd

    1 Ukraine
    2 UK
    3 Sweden
    4 Italy
    5 Poland
    6 Spain
    7 Serbia
    8 Greece
    9 Netherlands
    10 Moldova

  4. Tricky stuff this! GL and thank you Rob and Matt for the coverage.

    While I’ve put Ukraine I’m still hopeful and think Sweden has a real chance here.

    Ukraine
    Sweden
    Spain
    UK
    Poland
    Italy
    Netherlands
    Moldova
    Serbia
    Portugal
    ————-
    Greece
    Norway
    Australia
    France
    Estonia
    Switzerland
    Romania
    Czech Rep
    Finland
    Lithuania
    Azerbaijan
    Belgium
    Iceland
    Armenia
    Germany

    Backed Iceland and Armenia last place (plus followed in on France cos why not).

  5. Guildo Horn Forever

    My bets this year have been:

    CR, and Estonia for Top 10 – which are probably both going to miss, but I feel Estonia will come close.
    Sweden EW at 10s on the outright – which to some degree will probably hit.
    Poland, and Oz for the Jury Vote – I think both have prospects to have won. Oz was available at some wild, wild odds.

    After reading the above article, I’ve had to add Poland EW at 66s on the outright. And I’ve also, then, had a (micro) bet on Poland to top the televote at @100. Feel like I should have a nibble at Moldova in the same market?

    I think the following article extract is potentially a great point:

    “Ukraine potentially grabbing a lot of televote points could partially damage other nations reliant on a big televote boost to help get them in the argument at the top of the leaderboard. Especially those who look likely to be dropping down with juries. You can include on that list the likes of Spain, Norway, Moldova and Serbia.”

    Nevertheless, there’s still room for Moldova and Spain etc lovers to boost their faves? And the joyous Moldova could benefit from the songs its following in the running order? Ukraine is the great, unprecedented unknown.

    From the 17 slot onwards (with the exception of watching-the-grass-grow-while-wallpapering Iceland in 18, which looks absolutely buried between Greece and Moldova) this must be one of the strongest, longest stretch of ESC songs ever. Either in terms of televote, jury-vote, or both, (or even just sheer memorability and impact), it’s blooming stacked down there.

    I might add Belgium for last place finish. Jeremie, in order to avoid any more Do It For Your Lover type moments seems to have resorted to mumbling and changing the key when encountering any parts of the song he can’t reach / sing. His strategy is probably a sound one, and to a degree works, but it must come with a cost and if he gets overconfident at the wrong moment… He does have a 2nd half draw, isn’t buried in that draw, though, and I haven’t bitten yet as I (perhaps greedily) want bigger odds than have been available so far.

  6. Showlad

    Hey Rob and Matt and all the Gang! Happy Eurovision Day

    Many thanks for the site and posts this year.

    OK…let’s get down to business. I was first to lay down my sword on here for a UK win and with Poland being the only real threat and…nothing has changed since April 1st.

    Sam is the best performer, best singer, has the best song and for a TV show – the best staging. Period. He is TV gold and will rake in the public vote having just won the jury vote tonight. Women will love him, the young TikTok demographic will love him and the bloke vote (esp with that epic guitar solo) will get right behind him. His voice and USP of that amazing look are Eurovision TV Gold.
    All the nonsense talk of the UK struggling to get a public vote will be swept away in even bigger fashion than Lena swept away the same concerns with the ‘no-one will vote for Germany’ on her triumph.

    Poland could genuinely be a fly in the ointment but for Krystian’s lack of stage presence. He is finding the camera more now and it’s less cringe. The dementor dancers lol will play well with the televote and the voice will score high with juries, where I see him sitting anywhere between 3rd to 6th after the jury vote.

    Sweden is jury gold but the song has very limited appeal to the male vote and to quite an extent the young vote and will play mainly to a female/gay fan vote. It will fall away at the televote tonight.

    Italy will do well with juries and pretty well with the public vote too.

    Spain is a superb package, will do well with juries but an at times weak vocal and reliance on the backing vocals will mark her down enough to take her out of contention.

    Ukraine….well no-one really knows do they? Joe Public is convinced they will win – but how many will wait for around 2.5 hours and then PAY to vote for them is the big question. The song has lots of no-no’s: rap; tattooed creepy hippy vibe; disjointed song that drags on at end. Alina Pash would have been a done deal but this is no Alina Pash. Tonight is all about a song that does well with the jury and stays close enough to Ukraine to win and I believe that performer is Sam.

    I expect Poland and their diaspora vote to propel Ochman to the medal table.

    1 United Kingdom
    2 Ukraine
    3 Poland
    4 Spain
    5 Italy
    6 Sweden

    Last place for me – I am with Rob – is Iceland.

  7. PeterNL

    As always, good luck to everyone! After thinking and more thinking, this is my ranking:

    1. Ukraine
    2. Sweden
    3. UK
    4. Italy
    5. Spain
    6. Poland
    7. Moldova
    8. Serbia
    9. Netherlands
    10. Greece

    11. Norway
    12. Estonia
    13. Portugal
    14. Australia
    15. Armenia
    16. Switzerland
    17. Azerbaijan
    18. Lithuania
    19. Finland
    20. Czechia

    21. Romania
    22. Belgium
    23. France
    24. Iceland
    25. Germany

    I still have the hope for Ukraine not to win it. But I think it will go wrong on the jury side, with jury members either be eager to make a statement by giving Ukraine a high score, or fear being criticised for being one of the few cold-hearted experts not giving any points to them. And as soon as Ukraine starts to pick up random 12s across Europe it will be quickly decided.

    I’m also worried there’s not an alternative that really stands out so much that it can make it a head-to-head fight for the trophy. I think Sweden has the best song to have a good total for jury and PV, although it might mainly attract an older audience. I would be very happy for UK to win, but the song itself doesn’t seem to do too much. It’s really a vote for Sam. Italy is followed by all favourites in the running order, and I think the song is also a little too boring to attract enough votes. And also for Spain I think the song itself is not enough to make it.

    Other than that I believe Moldova is underrated here. They have a great starting position and, fwiw, this has landed very well with casual viewers around me. I can imagine this getting over 200 points from televoting tonight.

    Last place: I think Germany can only be saved by jurors with nostalgic feelings for Eminem’s best years.

  8. John

    Long time lurker here, thanks as ever to Rob and Matt for this great resource, and a nice escape from all the breathless fan opinions on Reddit and Twitter (and the blogs). Fading them out to place bets isn’t easy.

    I agree watching Ukraine for jury points of 3/4 versus 7/8 will be a greater indicator of what to expect tonight, and I also suspect like everyone else, that the televote of the casual viewer probably will even out in their favour and be too great to overcome. Jurors are also people, and I can see juries wary of shutting out Ukraine. As somewhat contemporary ethno-pop with an authentic flavour it isn’t exactly jury aversive either.

    Saying that, if people do get into the spirit of things and decide to vote for their favourites, or the juries are even a little bit pragmatic, things could get very interesting, and there’s plenty of value.

    Sweden seems strongest for tele and jury vote, being such an accomplished package. There’s also plenty of crucial face-time with the singer. The song is not the typical upbeat/triumpant winner type, and is definitely Melfest conveyor-belt stuff, but it’s definitely one I wouldn’t be in the red on.

    Poland seems a difficult shout for winner. Diaspora yes, but it’s such a gloomy number after the joy of the UK entry. Ochman has great vocals but comes off more introverted and self-absorbed than Sam Ryder. How will people react to someone pondering the ennui of the River after we’ve just been to ‘Space, man’ with the most jolly viking in the universe? It’s tough to make a shout for a song like River once we’re into the 20s in the running order and the Saturday night crowd are boozed up and starting to flag. Sam is so incredibly engaging, and the guitar solo – it just works.

    Speaking of the Saturday-night-only crowd, Moldova has a frankly beautiful draw. There’s no top 10 value left, but there is definitely top 5 value. Even if the juries sink them, fare like Michal Szpak wasn’t THAT far off top 5 (at least, I don’t see Moldova being as ignored as Szpak was by the juries. There will be some automatic regional points for them, even before their running order slot of ‘FUN after the lull’ has helped them). Worth a look. I might be biased after Keino nuked the televote from orbit recently out of nowhere, but the prominent banger slot in the Final is prime real-estate. Moldova has it, and has placed with it before.

    Norway look a bit shut-out by comparison. With France and Spain stealing their thunder. Spain is good, but the song doesn’t quite feel good enough, as polished as it all is, and it lacks Fuego’s false-chorus teasing, and the more-more-more refrain doesn’t quite bang like ‘ayeh-ayeh-ayeh – fuego!’ for me. This is a funny year, though. I don’t know what to do with Spain.

    I actually don’t fancy Portugal and Netherlands for the top 10. The may suffer a jury-drop in the final and I’m not crazy about their RO draws either. Especially Portugal. I think Portugal and France look like value for a small Last Place flutter, as the shorter odds seems crowded between Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. Iceland have a poor draw but may get some regional love. Same goes for Romania.

    FWIW:

    1. Ukraine
    2. UK
    3. Sweden
    4. Poland
    5. Moldova
    6. Spain
    7. Italy
    8. Serbia
    9. Greece
    10. Norway/Armenia/Estonia

    Best of luck everyone

  9. neomichael

    Has anybody checked the voting order and what to odds adjustment to expect during the live?

  10. Guildo Horn Forever

    My guess at the Top 10:

    1. Ukraine
    2. Sweden
    3. UK
    4. Moldova
    5. Italy
    6. Spain
    7. Poland
    8. Serbia
    9. Greece
    10. Netherlands

    1.As there is a plethora of strong contenders for the jury votes, it could be that the countries with the strongest jury appeal don’t get the advantage or ‘lead’ that they need before the televote points are revealed. If to anyone’s advantage, that’s probably to potential-televote-monster Ukraine’s advantage.

    2. Cornelia has that Milf look, or wise divorcee feel. Doesn’t strike me as the friendliest person. Catchy song, well staged, with a killer, intimate concert feel accentuated by Cornelia, the lighting and the camera angles. Good draw though perhaps not a great draw. Juries will probably overmark it with it being Sweden.

    3. Charismatic performer, great singer, decent song with catchy chorus, memorable staging, uplifting performer and song, excellent draw. The UK has lots going for it.

    4. Moldova, like Ukraine, could monster the televote. I can’t see the juries going for this. Strike a light, the juries couldn’t bring themselves to give Ukraine and Shum 100 points last year. Still, if the juries do give this some decent love, then Moldova could outrun its odds, its market ranking. It’s probably ridiculous to predict it’ll finish as high as 4th but I wanted to throw in a surprise. I don’t remember anyone predicting that the SunStroke Project (and Epic Sax Guy) would finish anywhere near 3rd in 2017, so I suppose it’s not impossible for Moldova to (again) pull off an unlikely result.

    5. Italy. Such a magical song. If Mahmood and Blanco can conjure their Sanremo chemistry and harmonising, then this has to do well.

    6. Spain. Sub-Fuego song but the performer is better. Slick.

    7. Poland. Will the much vaunted Polish diaspora be voting in force, bringing a repeat of a monster, Michal-Szpak-reminiscent vote, or will that referenced 2016 vote prove to be an anomaly? Probably easily the best 2-in-1 song ever at Eurovision but I still think a 2-in-1 disadvantages itself. The usual plus and minus with the singer that everyone knows.

    8. Iconic. Memorable. Unique. Megan Markle.

    9. Nearly amazing but not quite.

    10. Beautifully mournful. Song and singer both just lack something.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Just spotted I’m on the same page as John (a couple of posts above) re Moldova’s possible finishing position.

  11. neomichael

    I have a feeling that Italy and Greece having several allies at the beginning of the voting process may be at the top places in the first part of the voting. Serbia on the other hand seems to collect more points at the end but I wouldn’t expect that they will collect many points from the juries either way.

  12. Rob4

    Totally clueless this year.

    Went for UK w/o Ukraine

    Also had a sneaky few quid on Norway to beat Sweden. ha ha you never know…

  13. hedgehog

    Thank you very much for keeping this site running and for all your hard work through the years!

    I have backed Sweden for months and still believe to Cornelia’s chances. This brings back good memories from 2016 when same happened with Jamala and I agreed with Rob and disagreed with market.

    Good luck everyone!

  14. neomichael

    If only that Germany had received some more points to surpass France..
    France had indeed enormous value 50 for last place.

    • neomichael

      It was interesting to see the odd of Ukraine climbing to 2,75 during the first couple of votes before dropping back to lower than 1,3. It is often the case that EBU knowing the jury results upfront tries to make some more suspense with the use of specific voting order. I wish I was less optimistic about Ukraine not winning and backing them more.

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