UK To Do OK?

May 13, 2016 by

UK To Do OK?

Belgium is the perfect opener for the grand final, just as it was the perfect song to close the semi. Laura doesn’t sound as good vocally as she did last night. Fleur East and Mark Ronson will be demanding royalties if this makes the Top 10, which I think it will.

Poor Czech Republic have been lumbered with the worst slot possible after qualifying for the final for the first time ever. This was not much of a televoter-friendly performance to begin with, and Gabriella will struggle to be remembered when the voting opens. You would hope that the juries will save this from Last Place.

The Netherlands’ Douwe Bob and his band bring plenty of charm. This was as before and the silent part obviously doesn’t work in an empty arena. My instinct tells me that this could be on the edge of the Top 10 either way tomorrow night.

Samra is sounding the worst I’ve heard her yet for Azerbaijan. Owwwww, my ears!!!! The press centre laughs out loud at how bad she is. I still think this one is camp-tastic and pretty fun to watch, but it’s going nowhere.

Also up against it is Hungary’s Freddie. I suspect this only got through in 9th or 10th in the semi, and so this could be a contender for Last Place. It just plods along and has very little impact from the number 5 slot.

Italy’s Francesca is first on out of the Big 5, which surely doesn’t do much for her chances of being the winner of that group. As pleasant as it all is, she could be struggling from being on so early. I’ve finally decided to oppose this for Top 10, after considering it for a while. There was a technical problem at the start of this rehearsal and so they had to start again.

Israel following Italy reflects very well on Hovi Star. In fact, there really is no comparison between the two. This was presented and performed as superbly as it was last night. This is by far the strongest male ballad in the final, and as a result could be challenging for Top 10. It reminds me of how well Norway’s ‘Silent Storm’ did a couple of years ago from a similarly early slot.

‘If Love Was A Crime’ for Bulgaria is a bit of a wake up call after three slow songs. There is still as much wrong with its presentation as there was before, but it could be doing ok in the televote tomorrow.

At the time of writing, Sweden’s ‘If I Were Sorry’ is the third Eurovision song to be downloaded in the UK following Joe and Jake and Dami Im. It perhaps lacks the required impact necessary from the number 9 slot, and will be relying on its pre-Contest exposure in order to win, which I think is unlikely. It’s been reported that Graham Norton will request UK viewers raise a glass to the late Sir Terry Wogan before this one, which will boost its UK televote.

Germany is just there, and sandwiched between two of the favourites will do nothing for it. Solid contender for Last Place. If you want to time a toilet break for the final, ‘Ghost’ is probably it.

Amir’s vocals have been all over the place throughout the season, and this run through is not his best for France. This is one which particularly lacks impact without a live audience. The final note has been lowered so that he doesn’t risk screwing it up and leaving a poor impression.

Poland is still a huge guilty pleasure for me, but I don’t think many others are pleased that this dated dirge made the final. He’s still wearing his Cheryl Cole/Tweedy/Fernandez-Versini jacket in this run through, which is a shame as he looked great in a more modern jacket on the fashion show segment which introduces the contestants. Michal is as vocally impressive as ever.

Following Poland seems like a very favourable slot for Australia’s Dami Im. She is doing big business on iTunes now that TV viewers have seen the performance, as predicted on here by me.

This is the first song in the final running order which feels like it could win. If you haven’t noticed, SVT/EBU seem almost desperate for Australia to do just that this year. They couldn’t have received more mentions in the broadcast last night and Petra even took time to inform viewers of Dami’s backstory.

I will need to watch the final a couple more times, but ‘Sound of Silence’ is currently my predicted winner. It’s certainly got a great deal of buzz here in Stockholm, and it’s currently riding high at number 3 on Swedish iTunes.

The vocals for Cyprus are sounding noticeably rough this afternoon, but the visuals still look striking. It suffers coming after Australia, and being dumped in the first slot of the second half suggests that perhaps it missed the Top 3 in its semi. Greek diaspora will no doubt be supporting this on the televote though, with Greece obviously failing to make the final for the first time.

Serbia’s dark visuals are still as unpleasant to look at as ever. Sanja will be relying on a strong diaspora and Balkan regional vote and a solid vocal in front of the juries tonight in order to make the Top 10. But to me it doesn’t feel like ‘Goodbye/(Shelter)’ deserves to be that high at all.

Lithuania’s Donny is trying out wearing a vest for the final minute, and showing off his impressive physique could perhaps increase his televote a little if this were to remain.

In the context of this final, Croatia stands out as one which didn’t really deserve to make it through. A few on our table groan when seeing *that* dress again and hearing Nina’s poor vocal. This was apparently akin to what people heard in the rehearsals leading up to semi-final 1.

Sergey is going through the motions vocally for Russia’s ‘You Are The Only One’. It’s a nice contrast to Croatia. He’s so cute to look at, bless him, but the Russian delegation are wasting this by showing far too many long shots and not enough close ups. This song most definitely will have won the first semi-final and slot number 18 is the earliest that SVT could have got away with placing them in the second half.

Spain is another uptempo song which doesn’t offer enough contrast to Russia. Perhaps the idea here is to detract away from Sergey. Barei and her backing singers are sounding a little better than I’ve heard previously, but otherwise this is the same.

Justs was also very much as before for Latvia. There’s nothing new to see here. Having changed my mind on this entry a couple of times, I find it difficult to predict how well ‘Heartbeat’ could do. It could well suffer slightly preceding Ukraine.

Jamala is very wisely saving her voice for the juries tonight and has her hair up for this rehearsal. The 21 slot is great for Ukraine and for this type of song in order to give it the required amount of impact. By placing ‘1944’ three songs later than Russia, the producers will be hoping that Ukraine will be stealing some ex-USSR bloc votes away from them.

Anything would have suffered following Ukraine’s powerful display, and Malta’s Ira Losco has pulled the short straw here. ‘Walk On Water’ now has some new water and sparkly visual effects, but is otherwise as hopeless as ever.

Georgia’s ‘Midnight Gold’ has a nice late slot in the running order and is distanced nicely away from Cyprus. This was a very strong and smooth run through. In the battle of the two “rock” songs competing in this final, I suspect Greek diaspora and a song slightly easier on the ears could give Cyprus the edge.

Zoe from Austria was a surprise qualifier this week. Feedback from this entry is very much that people are voting for the performer rather than the song. However, the song has done surprisingly well this week on iTunes given how dated and musically irrelevant it is.

This running order slot, three songs from the end, has recently been given to songs that came 3rd, 1st and 1st in their respective semi-finals. So Zoe either placed quite highly the other night, or the Swedish producers are taking a slightly different approach for this song which carves its own niche in the context of this final.

The UK’s Joe and Jake were fortunate enough to be given the penultimate slot, which came as no surprise after Christer Bjorkman’s damning comments towards ‘You’re Not Alone’ in the press a few weeks ago. I’m pleased to say that the pyros are back for this run through, which are very effective. This is perhaps the only contemporary and mainstream song between slots 21-26 that televoters at home will enjoy, so for that reason I think it could do pretty well.

‘Lovewave’ provides a very striking and effective closer to the final, which contrasts well enough with the UK. Songs on last in the final tend to receive a decent televote, such as Ireland in 2013 with ‘Only Love Survives’ which was a pretty average entry yet made it to 14th with that constituency.

I still think it’s too niche and unusual to attract much support outside of its usual allies though, and I don’t believe it’s a contender for victory. It also hasn’t really been downloaded on iTunes at all, which is a red flag to me.

We got to see the new voting system being rehearsed for the first time. It’s all very Melodifestivalen, and the section towards the end of the televoting is sure to be terribly nerve wracking. There’s a split screen shot where you see the Top 4 in the televoting sat in the green room on screen at the same time, and then the Top 2.

This is my last Eurovision article of the year for the site, so thanks to all readers, thanks to Rob for offering me the platform to express my opinions on Eurovision this year, and I wish you all the best of luck for your bets tomorrow.

5 Comments

  1. James

    Germany to finish in last place. Currently 15/2 with Paddy Power

  2. steve

    Thanks Tim you have done a great job Rob will be pleased with you no doubt.

  3. Here is my TOP 13 prediction. So all the left hand side of the scoreboard:

    https://songfestivalwerk.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/voorspelling-top-13.jpg

    01. AUSTRALIA
    02. SWEDEN
    03. UKRAINE
    04. RUSSIA
    05. FRANCE
    06. BELGIUM
    07. SERBIA
    08. ARMENIA
    09. LATVIA
    10. THE NETHERLANDS
    11. UNITED KINGDOM
    12. ISRAEL
    13. ITALY

  4. James

    Hi Rob. I see Boylesports have a 1st Ukraine, 2nd Australia forecast priced at 40/1. Given that there is a fair chance that both countries will finish in the top three, this looks good value.

    • Rob

      Spotted that too James. Thanks for flagging up. That looks great value. The Oz Ukr 1st/2nd 12-1 also. Worth covering on.

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