The Poles Are Coming!

Feb 23, 2016 by

The Poles Are Coming!

A month is a long time during Eurovision high season and much has changed since the first ESC 2016 round-up posted back on January 21.

In terms of the Outright, Russia holds firm at the head of the market as we await the premiere of Sergey Lazarev’s track expected to be on March 3.

The latest major plunge has been on Poland which now vies for favouritism and has even been matched as low as 6 on Betfair. The initial buzz around Poland took place after a concert video clip of Edyta Gorniak’s song in the national final, ‘Grateful’, emerged online.

Edyta was ESC runner-up in 1994 and the track sounded promising, only for Margaret to come along with her modern, Rihanna-sounding track ‘Cool Me Down’. How this will sound live is the big question and the Poland national final on March 5 has already become one of the most eagerly-awaited of the year.

Sweden is respected every year by the betting market and finds itself as the default third favourite at the moment as Melodifestivalen continues, closely followed by Germany which has its national final on Thursday night, and the new kid on the block, Australia, who little is known of at time of writing other than Delta Goodrem being mentioned in dispatches.

Armenia comes next in the betting with Iveta Mukuchyan’s song, ‘LoveWave’, expected to be revealed on March 2. So far we still only know 13 songs. It would be 15 but Malta looks likely to change ‘Chameleon’ while there are some question marks still over Francesca Michielin’s song for Italy.

Iceland appears to be conjuring the spirit of Loreen and Mans in the presentation of its representative this year, Greta Salome, with ‘Hear Them Calling’.

Ukraine has managed to put Russia’s nose out of joint with the selection of Jamala’s ‘1944’ while Cyprus was the latest to reveal Minus One’s song ‘Alter Ego’ last night:

The big news last week was, of course, the change in scoring system. It has been received well by the ESC community, and seems a fairer way of scoring compared to the 2013-2015 system. The minor quibbles are only hearing the jury 12pts announced by country spokespeople, and what happens in the event of a televote-only (like Montenegro and FYR Macedonia last year) or jury-only (San Marino) situation.

The shortfall on either side of the televote/jury equation will now be made up of: ‘a substitute result calculated by the result of a pre-selected group of countries… pre-approved by the EBU permanent services and the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest.’

Who exactly is among this pre-selected group of countries in each instance is the big question, as this confected and essentially mythical 50% of the vote could potentially have a say over who qualifies in 10th in the semi-finals and who misses out.

In-running betting could also be very lively during the jury scoring sequence, especially if we get a year like 2011 again, when Italy was a resounding winner of the jury vote but ended up finishing second behind Azerbaijan after a disappointing televote haul.

There have been doubts expressed regarding the value of the algorithm deployed in previous years to create a country announcement order and used to try and conceal the winner for as long as possible and make the scoring more exciting.

The ESC press office has confirmed it will be used again to decide the country running order which effectively means it will be business as usual as this should still provide clues regarding the likely jury winner on the Friday night which has gone on to win Eurovision in 5 of the last 6 years.

Looking ahead to Friday night, excitement of excitements, we have the first UK national final since 2010, live on BBC4 starting at 7.30pm, with the six songs revealed yesterday. While it is a potential improvement on the internal choice of Electro Velvet last year it is a somewhat anodyne selection.

If the running order remains the same, this worryingly points to Karl being favoured by the pimp slot with ‘Miracle’. It is a very generic track and far too insipid to stand out among 26 songs in Stockholm.

Bianca’s ‘Shine A Little Light’, co-written by Leona Lewis, is a pleasant enough ballad and Bianca’s pedigree suggests she should have the live vocal prowess to deliver this song well. Former Voice contestants Joe and Jake’s offering ‘You’re Not Alone’ is the definition of inoffensive, middle-of-the-road pop.

Dulcima’s track, ‘When You Go’, hints at Mumford & Sons promise only to somewhat fall apart in the last minute while Bad Boys Inc frontman Matthew James’s ‘A Better Man’ is possibly the weakest of the 6.

The hope is, with the competition being tucked away on BBC4, the UK’s hardcore ESC fans may hold more sway on the televote-only result, and looking at current polls, Darline leads the way with their harmonious country pop ditty ‘Until Tomorrow’.

This would certainly be the choice here because with some clever staging this female duet could, just could, find a little niche for themselves in this year’s competition and be well received. Despite their youthful inexperience they appear to be an accomplished enough live act having supported The Shires.

They were available at 5-1 at bet365 yesterday which looked decent value and they have now been cut to 7-4. Any investments in this final should be kept to a minimum though because much is likely to hinge on Friday night’s live performances and who the ‘expert’ panel decide to fanfare.

We have another hugely busy and informative weekend upcoming with 5 national finals on Saturday night – Moldova, Hungary, Finland, Slovenia and Norway – and Latvia’s final on Sunday night.

Regarding this year’s ESC 2016 subscription offer, in the first instance subscribers will receive an exclusive ante-post analysis of the Outright market and where the value lies.

We should know all songs by March 14 this year, so subscribers can expect this email to land in their in-box a few days after that.

Subscribers will also enjoy:

– a pre-rehearsals betting analysis of the 2 semi-finals once the precise running order is confirmed and the high street/online firms widely price up the 2 semi-finals.

– a daily betting update during the 2-week rehearsal period in Stockholm, live from the press centre reporting directly from rehearsals, with betting recommendations flagged up exclusively to subscribers throughout.

Spaces are still available but will be limited and are going fast. Grab a piece of the action for £60 and enjoy the ESC 2016 betting recommendations of a trading professional, who achieved a +90pt profit figure for subscribers at ESC 2015, with those all-important selections arriving hot off the press during the live rehearsals in Stockholm.

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9 Comments

  1. Rob

    So it’s Jamie-Lee for Germany: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGep0qfqED0

    Looks a wise enough selection but JLK’s live vocal needs to improve as does the stage presentation.

    The manga outfit gives her a certain USP at least.

  2. Rob

    Margaret’s 1st live-ish apearance with ‘Cool Me Down’:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5rbUvxUusw

  3. Rob

    A busy night, 5 more finalists known, & as usual triggering thoughts of other songs:

    Lidia Isac for Moldova with ‘Falling Stars’, channelling Aerosmith’s ‘Crazy’ and the Czech’s ‘Hope Never Dies’ from last year in part here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j0fWFVuKMY

    Sandhja for Finland with ‘Sing It Away’ & maybe the vaguest hint of Moloko’s Sing It Back & something else I can’t quite put my finger on at the moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFTJfSPcQXk

    Freddie with ‘Pioneer’ for Hungary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpIg3bJ__GE

    Agnete with ‘Icebreaker’ for Norway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vqk_-P_s4ow

    ManuElla for Slovenia with ‘Blue and Red’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHPgmh1vbpA

  4. Rob

    Iveta Mukuchyan for Armenia with LoveWave. Vocal reminiscent of Anastasia, some nice ethno strings: https://youtu.be/l7m3wOGhEvE

    Israel: https://vk.com/video-17978924_456239027

    The Netherlands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKyOzDVjp9U

    Montenegro spiriting Depeche Mode: https://youtu.be/SNTPaTnoTuY

    Russia: https://vk.com/rus_eurovision?z=video121251705_456239017%2Fbae93ca400bcaeaea5%2Fpl_post_-15997957_246351

  5. Rob

    Running order in Poland tonight:

    1 Taraka – In the Rain
    2 Napoli – My Universe
    3 Natalia Szroeder – Lustra
    4 Dorota Osińska – Universal
    5 Kasia Moś – Addiction
    6 Aleksandra Gintrowska – Missing
    7 Michał Szpak – Color of Your Life
    8 Margaret – Cool Me Down
    9 Edyta Górniak – Grateful

  6. Rob

    A guilty pleasure this year, Serhat for San Marino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waIJ1VuzjyA

    FYR Macedonia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd8WHhNWp4c

    Estonia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q-2UL9QrP8

    Romania: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpfCufKRrcA

    Poland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj95aWw1T0E

    Croatia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGQlYSC9NGk

    Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mpt54kjWRpI&feature=youtu.be

    Greece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mPt7-xl-sY

    And the revamped Spain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2XXIJXO5L0

    So we now know 35 of the 43 songs but more revamps to come from some no doubt. Still to reveal/likely song change:

    Malta
    Italy
    Sweden – MF final on Saturday
    Serbia – song revealed on Saturday
    Bulgaria
    Azerbaijan – scheduled for March 14 (Monday)
    Lithuania – NF on Saturday
    Czech Republic

  7. From what I’ve seen so far, I only find these entries potential winners:

    –> FRANCE (Charmer and more than capable vocalist, the ‘Mans’ of 2016. Underestimated):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uz0iDlEMXM

    –> SWEDEN (Another charmer, SVT is damn smart with this entry. ‘Satellite’ meets ‘CATS’)

    –> RUSSIA (And another charmer, though I think the song isn’t as ‘new’ as for instance ‘Heroes’)

    –> AUSTRALIA (Exquisit live performer, and in this year’s field pretty outstanding):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr5U-nd1fVI

    One note about Amir of France: I think he’s been unfairly judged based on his ‘live’ performances. From what I have seen he’s a more than capable vocalist, who simply sings a very difficult song. The best vocalists of the contest almost never win. It’s all about the total package in the end, and then a few vocal hicups are never that damaging.

    Sergey, Dami Im, Frans…..and Amir are among the most charming artists in the competition this year. It’s always very pleasant to see these four artists performing, regardless of some vocal or camera-specific irregularities. The hard-to-define ‘X Factor’ applies on them.

    Rounding up the remainder of the countries who have a shot at a good TOP 10 result (not real contenders for the victory though):

    –> LATVIA (Is my 5th favourite to actually win it. But the song is perhaps too ‘dark’)

    –> UKRAINE (Every year there are a few countries that are no-hopers for victory, but shoe-in’s for TOP 10’s)

    –> ESTONIA (Completely ‘relevant’ song, the ‘dark’ staging is completely helpful IMO)

    –> AZERBAIJAN (If it wasn’t for her ‘live’ vocals perhaps contender for gold. But eh, Azerbaijan 2011?)

    –> AUSTRIA (Severely underestimated. Catchy song, but exquisit live performer)

    –> ARMENIA (Another entry that is underestimated. I reckon the intro gives away a huge stage act)

    –> SERBIA (Nina Zilli meets Amy…so only logical that she can do an 8th, 9th or 10th place no?)

    –> CROATIA (Charming song, no winner. I’m not captivated by her looks. She misses some ‘X-Factor’)

    –> GERMANY (Great vocalist, with quite an original, low-key pop-entry, slightly underestimated)

    –> CZECH REPUBLIC (Easily the best Czech entry ever, most sincere ballad IMO)

    Some people argue that ‘dark’ or too dramatic/emotional staging can be off-putting. Yes, for a really high TOP 3 score yes, but France 2009, Albania 2012, Norway 2015 have proven that for them there’s a spot reserved for the (lower placings inside a) TOP 10. They are the songs I bet on for the TOP 10 market. Guaranteed profits :-).

    Songs that don’t do it for me….at least at this stage:

    –> CYPRUS (It’s actually quite ‘fresh’ amidst the field, though song misses some pure rock vibe..too ‘Swedish’)

    –> ICELAND (Although I have respect for her works, I think she again wrote a too complicated entry that doesn’t ‘stick’)

    –> HUNGARY (Pretty much overestimated in every aspect. Unoriginal stage act, no ‘hooks’)

    –> POLAND (It isn’t a ‘Kuula’. Will qualify, but song is too dated. Greece 2015, Iceland 2013)

    –> MALTA (Severely overpriced I think. It’s a complete ‘non-hummer’ for me. Just do the test…whistle it!)

    Cheers to you Rob ;-),
    Gert

    • Rob

      Interesting reading as always Gert. Thank you for sharing your views. Look out for a post later this week analyzing this year’s field, once we have heard all 43 songs 🙂

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