Rim Tim Tagi Win

May 11, 2024 by

Rim Tim Tagi Win

Just when you think you have the annual ESC puzzle cracked, an Israel semi-final televote leak comes along and market mayhem ensues.

‘If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing theirs… you’ll be a Man my son.’ is a famous Rudyard Kipling quote which should be ingrained in the DNA of any astute TV bettor, especially when it comes to Eurovision. Or more succinctly, in the immortal words of Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army, ‘Don’t panic!’.

It’s why TV betting can be infuriating and exhilarating, all at the same time. Positions built up meticulously over a five month period suddenly under threat of being entirely undermined due to unforeseen circumstances. An occupational hazard in the world of Specials betting and we’ve been here before.

The simple facts: the EBU has made its intentions very clear by placing Ukraine in the 2 slot and Israel in 6 (now becoming 5). It will not have politics hijack the Contest again, being its statement of intent here, following the fiasco of 2022.

Of course, it ends up in a difficult situation with these two nations. It allows staging of a Ukraine entry which has a backdrop, intentionally included by the Ukrainian powers that be, to look like missiles raining down, before Jerry and Alyona lie down on the stage floor at the song’s climax which looks like a pile of dead bodies.

‘If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing theirs… you’ll be a Man my son.’ is a famous Rudyard Kipling quote which should be ingrained in the DNA of any astute ESC bettor

Then you have Israel trying to get the song ‘October Rain’ green-lighted as its entry this year. These are nations unashamedly seeking to use Eurovision as a platform for political messages in a supposed apolitical music festival, as this year’s Contest has once again become mired in politics and controversy.

The EBU intent is further cemented by it placing Switzerland in 21 (now 20), Croatia in 23 (now 22) and France in 25 (now 24). This is where you traditionally need to look to find your ESC winner, when the perceived main contenders draw second half, or are granted second half via the cunning addition of the ‘producer’s choice’.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact Ukraine 2022 was a very different set of circumstances to this. The Russian invasion of Ukraine was front page news and a Europe-wide sympathy vote and jury boost was the inevitable consequence.

The EBU actually didn’t mind the feel-good narrative of a Ukraine win back then, with Kalush Orchestra placed in the 11 slot. On reflection, this was the EBU submitting to the inevitability of a Ukraine win having observed the televoting figures in the semi-final.

So is a Europe-wide sweep of the televote by Israel remotely feasible this year, and what precisely are we talking about? Mossad systematically hitting the televote across the other competing nations? Partisan pro-Israel fanatics, fuelled by the news flow, not to mention the boos of the live audience, voting for Israel in their droves? Both these factors combined?

Analysis of these sort of unknown elements isn’t a skillset traditionally being called upon in the armoury of the ESC trader. But what we appear to have heading into this evening is a pro-Israel faction, a pro-Ukraine faction and a pro, ‘we’d-like-to-vote-for-the-best-entry-in-a-music-competition-please’ faction, which could potentially coalesce more votes around Croatia.

This hoo-ha could have encouraged many jurors to vote Israel down last night. And Ukraine won’t be getting the generous treatment it enjoyed in 2022 either. As an adjunct to this, it could also have encouraged jurors to score Croatia up on as the perceived best option this year to ensure politics doesn’t win the day again. And Baby Lasagna really delivered last night with the live audience erupting.

Looking at the draw you have the perceived jury vote titans, Switzerland and France, now in 20 and 24. And who out of the two of them did better on last night’s jury vote looks close to a coin toss. Both Nemo and Slimane weren’t at their best but it probably wouldn’t have made much difference.

In terms of tonight’s televote this running order looks advantage France. While you can doff your cap to the way Nemo negotiates the genre assault course of ‘The Code’ it doesn’t scream out to the televoter in the way France potentially does.

This hoo-ha could have encouraged many jurors to vote Israel down last night. And Ukraine won’t be getting the generous treatment it enjoyed in 2022 either

Slimane’s easily accessible, classic French ballad looks and feels more palatable for the masses compared to the frenzied three minutes of ‘The Code’ as presented by Nemo. And when Slimane steps away from the mic stand to belt out the chorus a cappella it is a show-stopping moment.

Italy remains a strong entry, and still in the potential Top 5 mix from its running order in 14. It goes without saying the great unknown this year is exactly how things pan out with Israel and Ukraine on the televote but the call on top 6 finishing positions here is:

1st – Croatia
2nd – Israel
3rd – France
4th – Ukraine
5th – Switzerland
6th – Italy

Seventh to tenth has never been my strong point. You can make a case for plenty. Lithuania feels like an entry that should be doing more than enough on both sides of the voting equation to make the Top 10 despite its early draw, now running 6th.

But Top Baltic could be trappy this year. It’s the 6 slot vs the 8 slot vs the 10 slot. Estonia hits pretty well and could do better on the televote tonight than many think (especially following Netherlands withdrawal).

Latvia was a surprise qualifier from Thursday night’s semi two and it has what appears to be a beneficial r.o. with the acquired taste entries of Ireland and Greece placed on either side of it. It could and should have done well with juries last night.

That comment also applies to Serbia. While Croatia will clearly be a big hit among the Balkan nations, Serbia, in theory, has enough voting strength and a jury-pleasing entry in ‘Ramona’ to also squeeze into this year’s top 10.

Armenia and Greece have been two ticklish entries to try and work out. The diaspora could significantly get on board with either, or both. Greece probably has claims to have gone higher on the jury side, and the slightly stronger top 10 claim overall.

Georgia, as this year’s outstanding solo female banger, deserves to make the ten and doesn’t feel too inconvenienced despite being squeezed between big hitters Croatia and France.

The strong competition for top 10 makes Ireland look vulnerable to miss out, as money has continued to pour onto it to even go as high as Top 5.

Don’t you just love a big breaking ESC story just when you’re trying to write the grand final preview. Netherlands is out which looks good news for Croatia in terms of the televote. Was this something Joost had in mind all along in saying he would be doing something never seen before at Eurovision?

Georgia, as this year’s outstanding solo female banger, deserves to make the ten and doesn’t feel too inconvenienced despite being squeezed between big hitters Croatia and France

Netherlands layers are in clover here given the huge amounts placed on Netherlands this year across the Betfair Exchange markets. In terms of the Last Place market, this now becomes a 25-runner field. People backing Netherlands on the Exchange are throwing their money away. Market rules on the Eurovision markets state: ****ALL BETS STAND RUN OR NOT****

It will be interesting to see how the EBU handles the semi-final 2 result when publishing it tonight. The expectation here is, it will stand with Netherlands included.

Favourite Spain could earn enough televotes to avoid the ignominy of the wooden spoon. One that could go close here at a big price is Austria, despite the pimp slot. There is a precedent for this happening: Ryan Dolan for Ireland in 2013.

Time to spend the rest of the day trying to make the most of the hundreds of ESC markets out there. Best of luck with all your investments tonight and please do let us know your grand final thoughts below.

To clarify:

7th-10th, in no particular order – Georgia, Serbia, Latvia, Lithuania

Matt’s thoughts:

It never used to be like this, did it? One drama after another as five months of work is put to test by a series of bombshells – whether it’s the latest show of incompetence from RAI, or the offstage shenanigans from one of the contestants.

Regardless, the show must go on – and go on it does, with one of the best quality finals I can remember. Starting high and ending strong, it’s only a small section in the middle that sags.

I expect the jury show was won by Switzerland, which then subsequently won the audience exit poll. A move that saw Nemo challenging again for second favouritism. This has long been my expected result, only disturbed by the unpredictable scale of the Israel televote.

It never used to be like this, did it? One drama after another as five months of work is put to test by a series of bombshells

Hopefully most of you have these three green in your books. My prediction would be Croatia, Israel and Switzerland in that order. This is in line with the betting markets – as is often the case on the day of the grand final.

These three, with France and Ukraine, make for a pretty solid top five. The last five are trickier to call. Italy feels safe enough, with a decent jury and reasonable televote. So, that is six and leaves ten more under consideration for the last four spaces.

There’s Ireland, which is high impact; Georgia, a stellar performance that either gets lost or lifted in the beating heart of the show; the jury-fuelled MTV popsters of UK, Lithuania and Sweden; Greece or Armenia, who bring the ethno; and one of Latvia, Serbia or Portugal, offering this year’s ‘Bridges’ option.

With no further ado, let’s nail ten to the mast and with decreasing confidence. In winning order:

Croatia
Israel
Switzerland
Ukraine
France
Italy
Greece
Latvia
Lithuania
UK

Fingers crossed we all come out the other side tonight in front. Best of luck to everyone.

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8 Comments

  1. Montell

    Grand final TOP 15 prediction:
    01. Croatia
    02. Ukraine
    03. France
    04. Italy
    05. Switzerland
    06. Israel
    07. Greece
    08. Ireland
    09. Lithuania
    10. Sweden
    —————
    11. Finland
    12. United Kingdom
    13. Georgia
    14. Estonia
    15. Armenia

  2. Stuart

    Great analysis guys. I picked and betted on Croatia since before it won the national final as a great potential Eurovision winner so a tense but exciting last few hours and have got the other contenders covered just in case. Best of luck!

  3. Top 15 Prediction

    Croatia
    Switzerland
    Israel
    Ukraine
    France
    Italy
    Ireland
    Norway
    Lithuania
    Portugal
    Armenia
    Greece
    Georgia
    Serbia
    Latvia

    Last Germany or Luxembourg

  4. Ian Follin

    Great stuff as per Rob. Having lost money on Austria qualifying, I’m more than happy to bet them to come bottom! I’m in a great position for the winner due to early bets on Croatia and Switzerland then adding Ukraine, France and lastly Israel all at decent odds. So quite relaxed heading in to the final.

  5. neomichael

    Let’s hope that yesterday night juries didn’t give the deserved points to Israel to counteract the large voting that is expected from the tele tonight. For me the current odd of Croatia doesn’t provide any value and I believe Switzerland it is undervalued. I understand the the staging may to be the best it could have been but again it fits all the boxes of contemporary message, great voice and it definitely stand out and capture audience.
    My predictions for tonight:
    1 Switzerland
    2 Israel
    3 Croatia
    4 Ukraine
    5 Italy
    6 Ireland
    7 France
    8 Greece
    9 Georgia
    10 Lithuania
    11 Sweden
    12 Armenia
    13 Spain
    14 Norway
    15 Austria

  6. Montell

    Here are my observations about this year’s Eurovision results.

    Switzerland’s jury score is record-breaking. On average, they received 10.1 points from every country’s jury. For comparison, the second and third highest jury scores per country were achieved by Sweden in 2023 (9.4 on average) and Portugal (9.3 on average). It’s surprising because I feel that both Sweden and Portugal were much more deserving jury winners than Switzerland this year.

    If it weren’t for Israel, Croatia’s televote score would have been much higher, possibly granting them a win. Due to political voting, Israel received 12 points from 15 countries, which meant Croatia automatically received lower points from those same countries. It’s a shame Israel was allowed to compete.

    For the first time in history, a country outside of the top 3 in the televote managed to win Eurovision. Switzerland was ranked 5th in the televote. We haven’t even seen a scenario in which a country placing 4th in the televote would win, let alone 5th. This again highlights how massive Switzerland’s jury score was.

    I think Armenia overperformed with the juries (9th) while Greece underperformed (14th). I find the Greece’s song more original and sophisticated. I predicted Greece to be Top 10 overall but the juries killed it and I cannot explain why.

    I always thought that Finland would achieve a similar result to Croatia last year (13th), but I guess most people didn’t find the joke that funny. I personally enjoyed it.

    For once, I completely agree with the semi-finals’ last places. Iceland and Malta truly had the worst songs this year.

    • Demi

      It was the first year I chose to ignore the odds and most importantly the Eurovision world poll which hasn’t missed a winner for the last 5 years at least.

      I was almost certain that Switzerland would be a runaway jury winner. Most people were saying it’s a Loreen-less year and it ended up being a more Loreen-full year than when Loreen was in it.

      I mentioned in another post here that I thought the presence of mainly previous Eurovision winners as guest acts in Semi 2 was subliminal messaging that the winner this year should come from Semi 2, not Semi 1 which was packed with runner-up guest acts. Maybe it was a coincidence or rabbit hole thinking, but it is a “cute” possibility.

      As soon as Switzerland drifted out, I went in heavily.

      In retrospect, NL disqualification may have benefited Switzerland. Had there been a fourth country with a 300+ PV, Switzerland or France could have been a casualty.

      A Swiss win, for a country that has historically been neutral in war, was possibly the best outcome for the contest in a year with all the toxicity and the inexcusable inclusion of Israel, if anything, for security reasons.

      I thought such an ending would be fitting, and it was. Hope you all had a good trading year too !

    • Rob

      I think it turned into the perfect storm for Switzerland but only something you can identify in hindsight. Whether Slimane’s under-par jury performance was a factor, or jurors coalescing around Switzerland due to the Israel threat.

      The two huge televotes for Ukr and Isr also damaged Croatia. Croatia did more or less what it needed to do on the jury side. 547pts – I think only Bulgaria 2017 has scored higher and not won, and that was a year in which the front two dominated.

      Personally speaking and trading-profit aside, I’d love to have seen Croatia win & the Contest in Zagreb next year as it could have been a bargaining chip to entice other Balkan nations back into the fold.

      Thanks for all posts, sounds like everyone had a good ESC, & well done Demi on your Swiss win. It was actually a vintage trading year and I am missing it already.

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