Saturday 13 May 2017

Ooops, I almost forgot

Erm, so the result? Lord knows. Something like this, maybe?

1. Bulgaria
2. Portugal
3. Italy
4. Armenia
5. Sweden
6. Romania
7. Belgium
8. United Kingdom
9. Moldova 
10. Netherlands
11. Israel
12. Croatia
13. Greece
14. Ukraine
15. Hungary
16. Cyprus
17. France 
18. Poland
19. Norway
20. Belarus
21. Denmark
22. Azerbaijan
23. Spain
24. Australia
25. Austria
26. Germany

Fishy Final Prediction

Iiiiiih, the day has come! My very own Christmas, May 17th, New Years Eve and MF combined, culminating in a three- four-hour show tonight. But let's not forget it's not all about tonight - have a look at Martin's very good description of the good life that is being a Eurovision fan, all year long.

So, what are we going to see tonight? Well, none of my biggest favourites, for one thing... :-( Albania, Estonia, Ireland and Georgia all failed to qualify from their semis, but we're still left with some proper goodies. And unlike what we've been thinking all season, it's suddenly actually looking quite exciting! I feel there's a handful of entries that are well ahead of the others, and hence should gather up a huge portion of the votes, similarly to 2015. Which could be good news for my predicting skills, as that's easily my best year in that regard! Then again, I didn't exactly excel at semi qualifiers this week, only getting 15 in total...

So, here we go!

1 Portugal | I promised myself I'd stick with my original and obvious Italy prediction and not get caught up in any last minute hype, but here we are... The performance is pure magic and gooseberrybumpy all through, and it really, really stands out. Contrary to most, I actually think it might do better in the televote than with the juries, as viewers don't tend to overthink things, they just feel. And really, that's all that's needed to fall in love with this.
2 Italy | Still keeps me entertained and interested all through. Pure joy, and a great song structure where one bit transitions perfectly into the next.
3 Bulgaria | This was absolutely flawless on Thursday. Lovely song, great singer, simple yet effective staging, and excellent camerawork.
4 United Kingdom | I suppose Belgium should've been here if we're going by the betting odds, so this is my attempt at something "risky" :-p Have loved the song (and her!) all season, and they've really made the absolute most of it. Hønepels all over the place for the big note and pyro!
5 Belgium | I've not really been buying into the 'she's bad, this isn't happening', as I think the song is way too strong to not have an impact either way. And even more so after seeing her nervy and "raw" performance on Tuesday - what looked like the entry's biggest weakness is suddenly one of its strengths.
6 Azerbaijan | I'm expecting a big gap in points between 5th and 6th, so why not a little horsie here? It's weird, but somehow in a good way, and she came across as likeable in the semi.
7 Armenia | Nobody's talking about this at all, which I find a bit odd - I've liked the song all along, and thought it looked and sounded ace in the semi. Nowhere near winning, of course, but should get a decent result, particularly since it's Armenia. And if most of the points are lumped together in the top 5, a good bunch of guaranteed televotes and some other random scores may well be enough for 7th.
8 Hungary | Thought this worked very well in the semi, and it feels sufficiently different in a good way to get decent support, even if it'll surely also fly well above many people's heads.
9 Romania | I assume it's getting about 🕸 from the juries, but enough from televoters to see it sneak into the top 10.
10 Netherlands | I assume it's getting about 🕸 from the televoters, but enough from juries to see it sneak into the top 10.
11 Greece | This isn't much of a song, but I was actually pleasantly surprised at the first chorus with the red background and flashing lights, thought it looked great. Then it all goes downhill when they try to be all swishy about it...
12 Sweden | Still dulldulldull.
13 Cyprus | Decent draw for this, and it looks good, so why not?
14 Norway | Am I overestimating good old Norge again? I really think it deserves to be at least this high, but still fear televoters will mostly forget about it.
15 Croatia | Glad it's there, oddly. Ost.
16 Moldova | I'm thinking this did very well in the semi televote without much competition in the cheap'n'cheerful department, but will get much more lost now with more competition and a very forgettable spot in the running order.
17 Ukraine | Not good enough to get a lot, but different enough to get something.
18 Poland | Based on its starting position I guess we can assume it didn't set the scoreboard on fire in the semi, and I doubt we'll see a repeat of their televote sprint from last year - unlike Michał, Kasia doesn't seem to have much appeal out of the core diaspora audience, despite having an accented S in her name.
19 Israel | Nice arms can only get you so far.
20 Denmark | I have one good thing to say about this: It makes Portugal sound even better coming right after it. Doubt televoters will care at all, but there's always some jury members that mistake screeching for good singing.
21 Belarus | I've thought this would have a shot at a top 10 result all season, but somehow it doesn't quite click on stage. Maybe they overdid the staging a bit, making them less human and more 'Belarus at Eurovision'...?
22 France | French and nice and all that, but I think it'll be largely forgotten.
23 Austria | Glad it qualified, but doubt it will have much impact when it's on as #4.
24 Australia | Still don't see how this qualified, with that lacklustre performance... 
25 Spain | Should fall flat on its arse, but it's somehow just that tiny bit different that might make 2 random juries vote for it. Albania or so...
26 Germany | Decent, competent and just a little bit too average. Televote 0?

There you have it, my official prediction! Now I've deserved a bit of relaxing in the sun before starting on the Eurovision tapas cooking.

Good luck, and have a smashing evening! May the best song (Albania, that is) win, and may the voting be as exciting as last year!

My final prediction

I said in my last post that I can't see any entry other than the current three favourites making it to the top. And I'm sticking by that - I can't see anything else other than those three winning. But I can see them out of the Top 3 altogether, if it doesn't come together for them. In fact, in the case of Italy, in particular, there's a chance it really doesn't happen for them tonight, and Francesco ends up taking Amir's trajectory from last year.

I don't really think any of the three are failing completely - but I also don't think it's completely out of the question.

Anyway, enough waffling and avoiding starting predicting - let's get on with a ranking. But just to procrastinate even further, let's do it from bottom to top.

26. Spain
25. Germany
- I don't see any way this pair avoid the bottom 2.
24. Austria - too early and not enough friends to lift this out of the bottom 5.
23. Hungary
22. Ukraine

21. Poland - only escaping bottom 5 because of their diaspora.
20. Belarus - third in the running order is far too early for this.
19. Netherlands
18. France
- now it's on last, this is basically Molly's Children of the Universe.
17. Australia - maybe there's something I'm missing on this one, but it bores me terribly, and the live performance on Tuesday was poor, but it clearly has its fans, so that has to count for something.
16. Azerbaijan - I initally had this higher, but there's no way the producers would have placed it after Portugal if it did well on Tuesday.
15. Cyprus
14. Norway
13. United Kingdom
- the UK is always overrated by fans once it comes to rehearsals and the night itself. Lucie's doing better than the UK has for a long time, but I don't see a Top 10 here.
12. Croatia
11. Greece
- look out for a big jump up the order after the televoting.
10. Israel
9. Denmark
- will struggle not to get drowned by Italy and Portugal, but I actually think the song's genericness is a positive here.
8. Romania
7. Moldova
- hang on, how did this end up this high? I really don't see it in 7th, but then I also somehow see it doing better than the songs below it...
6. Armenia
5. Italy
4. Belgium
3. Sweden
- so yes, my prediction is that Italy just isn't going to catch on tonight, and that Belgium and Sweden will pop above them. And of the two, Sweden seems a more secure chance of getting plenty of votes from both televoters and juries. It's not my kind of thing at all (and not really the kind of music that fans listen to either), so I suspect it's doing better than we think.
2. Bulgaria
1. Portugal
- I'm just hoping against hope that my concerns about televoters' and juries' hesitations to vote for a non-English ballad are wrong and will be overcome by the excellence of the song and the performance.

Why third place could be enough to win

I hate predicting for the final. I am rubbish at it. While I can see in my mind which entries can qualify and which can't, I have a real blind spot about the final, particularly when it comes to the winner. I can construct in my mind a narrative for pretty much every entry as to why they won't win, and even why they just can't win. Which makes it rather difficult to construct a final scoreboard prediction.

In my mind, and in the minds of the betting public, there are three contenders. Even I can see that. And while I can find reasons for them all not to win, I really can't find reasons that any of the other 23 entries would end up on top of the scoreboard after tonight's voting. So let's take them one-by-one.

The favourite pretty much all season, and back to being the favourite as I write this, though only just. When it won Sanremo, I didn't see it winning Eurovision. I thought it was just too difficult to gain widespread support, both in terms of topic and being in Italian. But then, it did. Widespread support among Eurovision fans, true, but support on a level we haven't seen since Alexander Rybak, and possibly not even then.

But then I showed it to a fan-but-not-diehard-fan friend, who usually likes this side of Eurovision. She was underwhelmed. Is that going to be the reaction of much of the viewing public? After having seen the rehearsal clips, I worry that might be the case. The Sanremo performance was, for all its faults, genuinely fun, naively and innocently joyous, and that's missing from what we've seen on the Eurovision staging, as the backdrops try a bit too hard, the camerawork is too distant and Francesco is taking it one step too far into 'clever' and 'ironic'.

And there's always the eternal question that hangs over this entry like an anvil - will the juries just hate it?

Almost the opposite, here. The live performance of Amar pelos dois on Tuesday night was absolutely hypnotic, and it's unsurprising that its odds have shortened dramatically in the last four days. But do televoters really vote en masse for a ballad in Portuguese? That's what I can't fully get my head around. Similarly, it's always been assumed that juries will go for Portugal - but often in the past they've ignored the more difficult ballads and those not in English, instead voting for more 'obvious' songs in English like Australia.

A more obvious televote magnet and jury magnet, really. In a way, it's safer for both voting demographics, and unlike the previous two, there's nothing to turn televoters off or alienate jurors. So if it doesn't work for Italy or Portugal, for whatever reason, then Bulgaria is sitting pretty ready to mop up and take home the trophy.

In my mind, Bulgaria has a set amount of votes that it's definitely getting. Effectively, it's definitely coming third. The problem is, I don't know if Italy, Portugal or anyone else has the potential to go above them, or will that third place turn into the win?

Haiku #13

Calling the music
Together unite Europe
Love unlimited