The Italian Job

Apr 27, 2017 by

The Italian Job

After a somewhat neurotic period during which OGAE poll results, the eurojury poll, small glimpses of stand-in rehearsals, and morsels of staging info have been feverishly examined in a desperate last-minute attempt to unravel this year’s puzzle, it will be a relief to finally arrive in Kiev and start to see and hear entries as they will be experienced by televoters and jury members alike – namely, on a tv monitor. And ultimately that is all that matters.

In a change from the established order, the much-anticipated Eurovision 2017 rehearsals will get underway in Kiev on Sunday and the full schedule can be downloaded here. The first 4 days are expected to be hugely informative as we will see all 36 semi-finalists perform live for the first time.

Day 1 highlights will include a first sighting of the lesser-spotted Australian warbler, Isaiah Firebrace – tantalisingly rumoured to be stood atop an object he has never mounted before –  while Azerbaijan’s Dihaj will bring something ‘conceptual’ including, mysteriously, a box scrawled in graffiti full of her skeletons – including a 4-person dance troupe and a guy stood on a stepladder, in a set which could be Turner Prize worthy.

Day 1 highlights will include a first sighting of the lesser-spotted Australian warbler, Isaiah Firebrace

On the Friday of the first week, we will see the Big 5 perform for the first time. Questions to be answered include whether or not the BBC has finally sussed out the art of great staging for Lucie Jones; whether France’s Alma can bring a bit more sass to her performance of ‘Requiem’; and whether Francesco’s gorilla has made it through quarantine in time.

Rehearsals are scheduled to get underway at 10am Kiev time over the first 8 days, finishing at 5.10pm during the first 4 days, with finishes at 6.30pm, 7.40pm and 4.40pm on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday respectively. There can be delays and resultant later finishes but the aim will always be to get rehearsal reports published promptly at close of play each day, and don’t forget Kiev is 2 hours ahead of the UK.

The middle Sunday sees the traditional Red Carpet ceremony in the evening and an earlier finish at the press centre at 12.25pm. This is a significant day as it will see the 2nd rehearsal of the Big 5 and if following the pattern of previous years, they will each draw their lot for first half or second half running order positions in the grand final. Based on 2nd rehearsal running order, this will be in the order of: Italy, Spain, Germany, UK, France.

Questions to be answered include whether or not the BBC has finally sussed out the art of great staging for Lucie Jones

Last year these draws took place on the red carpet in the evening though previously they have been made during the press conferences that follow 2nd rehearsals. If Francesco pulls out a 2nd half draw, prepare for a further contraction in the Italian price.

The all-important 2nd week will see the traditional key jury performances for semi-final 1 on the Monday evening, semi-final 2 on the Wednesday evening, and for the grand final on the Friday evening.

And let’s not forget the fun of the semi-final qualifiers’ press conferences and drawing of first half/second half running order positions on the Tuesday and Thursday evenings, along with the traditional early morning vigil on Friday May 12 awaiting the grand final running order to drop.

The live tv semi-finals and grand final on the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday will commence at 10pm Kiev time. For UK viewers that will mean 8pm starts and tuning into BBC4 to watch the 2 semi-finals live and BBC1 for the big one – the grand final on Saturday May 13.

Tim Booth and I will be casting an eye over proceedings throughout the 2 weeks and giving you our informed opinion on how the countries are shaping up, and hopefully helping to guide you towards some shrewd investments.

The biggest question of all this year: are Italian backers set to get away from Ukraine having pulled off an enormous heist, or end up hanging precariously off the edge of a clifftop, about to see their potential winnings disappear into the ether? Only May 13 will reveal the answer.

Kiev, here we come.


  1. Shaun

    Great article and good luck in Kiev Rob. What percentage at the moment would you put Italy as the likely winner.

    • Rob

      Thanks Shaun. Good question. As things stand atm, I think it’s got a 1 in 2 chance, 50%, so an Evens shot?

      • Shaun

        Interesting. I was thinking about 70% but if they get a first half draw and something else shines it could get close.

        • Rob

          The current BF odds suggest a better than 50% chance with Italy traded at odds-on in the last 24hrs. I think a further drop in price is more likely if Italy pulls out a 2nd half draw. If it draw 1st half, there may be a slight drift.

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