Armchair Guide to Eurovision 2012

As a one off, Betsfactor special, here’s a guide to tonight’s Eurovision

This is intended to be read whilst the show goes out, like having me there previewing each song. For betfans, we’ve a little word on the market and we’ll end with a couple of tips. Before we begin….

So first, I need you to promise

“I WILL STICK WITH IT.”

The first seven songs are dire and my comments are fairly flat as well. The show, and my comments, pick up from about song eight.

I PROMISE TO STICK WITH IT.

– The winner of the contest gets to host the show next year… One or two countries don’t want to win! A lot of the cost is footed by the host broadcaster. The Spanish broadcaster involved is worried they’d go bankrupt if Spain won it! They argue this isn’t true, since they got a wildcard and picked position 19 in the running order.

– The UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain pump far more money into this nonsense, than the rest of them, so we get automatic qualification, for our dirty cash bungs, to the final. The semis were on Tuesday and Thursday. Subsequently you need to take my comments on these countries and Azerbaijan the hosts, with a pinch of salt, as Ive only seen grainy you tube footage rather than TV angles of their rehearsals.

– I’d always recommend watching the semi finals on iPlayer. The dire songs are the funniest and get eliminated before the big Saturday final. Lativa, Austria, Montenegro, San Marino and Georgia would be the ones to watch if you’ve got 20 minutes.

– Remember 50% of the votes are already cast by the national juries. They watched a dress rehearsal yesterday which I occasionally reference, despite not having seen it!

After my comments you’ll get this…
Look out for: One thing to be watching for during the song.

Straff Song Rating: As a fan of tacky pop music for many years, my rating out of 10 for how good a tune it is, and how much you will likely like the song.

Betchat: Odds, tips, things that will be swept under the carpet come 11pm. Using Betfair. For people who don’t understand decimal odds. 2.8 means, I give you a pound, I get back, in total £2.80 if it wins. If it’s 40 – I give you £1, I get back, in total £40.

11:11pm: Where the song will be at the end of the show. I’m not really an expert on political voting and so on, so take this with a pinch of salt.

Disclaimer: Whilst I love Eurovision, I’m often not right. My four most recent public tips have been Little Mix to win the X Factor, the dog to win BGT, Manchester City to win the Premiership (last Aug), and Malta to qualify on Thursday. So things are pretty good at the moment!

Let’s roll baby… Read from here at 8pm!

Now, don’t get dishearted. The first SEVEN songs are a bit of a disappointment, but to maintain your interest, you have us on first, a Strictly winner fourth and then the Russian Grannies sixth. It gets much much better from song eight.
1. UNITED KINGDOM

Terrible draw for the UK. I can see what they tried to do here (It’s got a tiny hint of Eastern influences) and a singer known around Europe (apparently), but at the start of seven slow songs in a row, it will be forgotten. There’s a nod to Strictly Come Dancing here as well. Acceptable song, but apparently in rehearsals he’s not really delivered.

Look out for: The on screen smoke, which lingers unpleasantly.

Straff Song Rating: 4

Betchat: The market has this one right – Top Ten Finish 5.0!

11:11pm: Middle of the right hand side of the scoreboard

2. HUNGARY

Depeshe Mode means Savage Garden. This is actually a decent enough song, but will be forgotten. One for your dad.
Look out for: A keyboard player who just looks like he works at Maplin.

Straff Song Rating: 8

Betchat: Favourite to finish last (4.1). Quite possible

11:11pm: Bottom Five.

3. ALBANIA

A hair snake, some notes so loud and so odd you’ll laugh and a song you just can’t understand, apart from her obvious pain (and ours), Eurovision’s ability to make you furrow your eyebrows has begun. Here’s a song to make you lose the will to live. This really is the song to flick over to ITV, or have a wee. Plenty of Red and Black for Betsfactor fans. You wonder when her hair was last washed.

Look out for: The inside of her mouth.

Straff Song Rating: 0

Betchat: 8.8 for the Top 10. I think juries might actually help this song, so that’s probably reasonable value!

11:11pm: Back to your secure unit.

4. LITHUANIA

More Strictly Come Dancing stuff coming up. This guy actually won the Lithuanian version of Strictly, and they throw in a few moves. Now, the song is called Love is Blind… So what would be the best thing to do to represent that?

This isn’t really a song, it’s more to showcase his dancing.
Look out for: The tacky way he plays a fake guitar.
Straff Song Rating: 3. (7 for the dancing.)

Betchat: 400 to win. And rightly so.
11:11pm: Bottom Five

5. BOSNIA

I’m sorry that your introduction to Eurovision has to involve all of this. Another dreary ballad. The grannies are next and the contest properly kicks off in a couple of songs.
Look out for: Shoulder pads and a distinct lack of gimmick.
Straff Song Rating: 2

Betchat: Top 10 a whopping 16.0. Yawn.
11:11pm: Bloc voting will keep this off the bottom.

6. RUSSIA

Well. Well well well. 20 million views on You Tube and huge publicity means these hotties have to be feared. Second favourites, but a very very poor draw means they could easily get forgotten in the excellent second half. They have their own oven where they are baking fans a range of tasty snacks and I suspect their sex appeal will play a major part in their success.
Look out for: Just like with boybands, a huge number of gratuitous shot of the small cute one.

Straff Song Rating: 2

Betchat: Must be feared, will pick up points from all over the place. 8.2 to win, is maybe a tad generous.

11:11pm: Top 5

7. ICELAND

We all know a person in a relationship you’d describe as “very intense”. These two epitomise that and the song…. It’s all very very intense. It’s like Eurovision’s equivalent of a Sky Sports trailer for the final of the Johnstone Paint trophy. Lots of hype, lots of bluster, but ultimately not delivering much.
Look out for: Conrad from Footballers Wives and Melinda Messenger.

Straff Song Rating: 3

Betchat: 4.1 for a Top 10. Don’t touch.
11:11pm: Relegation Zone

===== GAME ON =====

8. CYPRUS

Finally Eurovision kicks off with a mammoth dance tune. This is where the competition properly begins. Nice to see a prop taken straight from that lovely walk I did in the Lake District. Great dancing, the outfits are in that colour every new build 2 bed apartment in the south is painted in, so they rather blend in with the background. If this was in a starting position starting with a ‘2’, I’d say this was a big danger, but the draw rather means it’ll fade away.
Look out for: A hidden sixth singer….
Straff Song Rating: 9 – Finally, let’s start this party.

Betchat: 2.86 for the Top 10. After such awful stuff, it might do well, just the draw worries me.
11:11pm: Upper Mid table.

==== NUL POINTS ====

FRANCE

France decided to bring a bit of Britain’s Got Talent variety to the contest to distract from their average song. She’s the “world’s most played French language singer”. The French will normally insist on singing in French, and once again, they go with a split language song! Bits of French, bits of English. This is terrible, the staging all over the place and according to Daniel at Sofabet was appalling in dress rehearsal

Look out for: Rapunzel
Straff Song Rating: 6

Betchat: Just don’t touch it. 330/1 to win, 11 for a top 10 finish. And rightly so.
11:11pm: Embarrassed.

==== THE DARK HORSE ====

10. ITALY

Last year they returned to the world’s most inspiring cultural event and came second. Their strategy seems to be “find something credible that is loved around the world”. Where as most countries are about 10 years behind the curve (or 20 if you remember this), Italy’s deliver modern sounding stuff again. This time we’re ripping off a sort of Amy Winehousey 50’s vibe and it works very very well.
Look out for: The Black and White Theme which works well…
Straff Song Rating: 8

Betchat: Dangerous. Very dangerous. Fourth favourite at 14.

11:11pm: Top quarter

==== THE AVERAGE ZONE ==== Next five tunes all very average

11. ESTONIA – It’s toilet break time. One of Journey South sings a bland ballad that will do nothing, go no where and pick up a few points here and there. If you’re still in the room, play a game – “How long will the note last” on each of his long notes…. just a little bit too long…

Look out for: The fridge on your way back from the toilet.
Straff Song Rating: 6

Betchat: Who cares
11:11pm: Who cares

12. NORWAY

It’s all very aggressive. With hints of Benni Benassi… Can you spot the sixth singer again (fab fun game).

Look out for: The false ending. When you think you’ve had enough, it comes back for an encore.
Straff Song Rating: 4

Betchat: Top 10 is 3.3 – Far too short. Oppose.
11:11pm: Mediocre – Sort of 16th ish.

13. AZERBAIJAN

Not as strong as previous years. Women watching will want her fabulous value dress. At the flick of a switch it can look fantastic at a wide range of different events.
Look out for: Some guy sitting and wailing, for some reason not being removed by security.
Straff Song Rating: 4 – Bye bye now.

Betchat: Not going to win – 80.
11:11pm: Lower Mid table.

14. ROMANIA

Another of these pleasent bouncy pop songs, loads of guys in white suits not playing any of the instruments they’re prancing around with.
Look out for: A moonwalking bagpiper.
Straff Song Rating:6

Betchat: 1.71 for the Top 10 seems about right
11:11pm: Flirting with the Top 10.

15. DENMARK

Doesn’t really go anywhere, It’s a sort of Shania Twain Taylor Swift song but with a hint of xylophone. A nice break from all the dance you’re about to hear.
Look out for: A guy let out on day release to play a double bass.
Straff Song Rating: 5

Betchat: 2.12 is way way too short for Top 10.
11:11pm: This will get swallowed up and will be so painfully mid table it hurts. The Scandiblock will keep it respectable.

16. GREECE

12 points from Cyprus in the bag again… This is a typical Greece entry. Sexy woman, thumping dance song. Remember this one. She’s basically Kalomoira but with smaller breasts. The giant shell. It’s an Aphrodite shell. See what they did there…. This is a great example of the six person rule. You’re only allowed six people on the stage, can you spot the sixth? She’s there to do vocals, but probably not camera friendly enough…!

Look out for: Occasional flashes of knicker to keep the dads interest.
Straff Song Rating: 6

Betchat: Decent Draw 1.75 for a Top 10 looks like a good bet.
11:11pm: Will do pretty well, a sort of 4-8th.

====== THE SONG THAT WILL WIN IT ======

17. SWEDEN

This is a superb superb song. The staging is totally different to everyone else, she looks great, the chorus is instantly catchy and it’s in that sort of off key that judges and TV voters love around the Eurotelezone.

Look out for: The snowflakes. One got stuck in her mouth during the jury dress rehearsal according to Sofabet.
Straff Song Rating: 10

Betchat: There just isn’t the value here. 2.28 to win!

11:11pm: On stage for a second time. “See you in Sweden in 2013”. >> WINNER <<

18. TURKEY

Off the back of Sweden isn’t a great draw for this song, which just looks silly. Men dressed as bats.

This is a ship song.
Look out for: It’s a boat! It’s a boat!!
Straff Song Rating: 2

Betchat: 8.2 for the Top 5 is too short
11:11pm: Not disgraced.

19. SPAIN

Great voice, but the sort of tune that was big in the days of Celine Dion and Lady in Red. Did well in rehearsals apparently. She’s got a superb voice – just not a superb song.
Look out for: Backing singers suddenly appearing for about 40 seconds!
Straff Song Rating: 5 – 1986 power ballad over again.
Betchat: 4.3 to hit the Top 5 – nonsense. Oppose.
11:11pm: Mid table.

20. GERMANY
Cute guy, decent song, simple staging that was written by Jamie Cullum amongst others. This is the sort of song that the winner of Pop Idol in 2005 would be given to sing at the final.

Look out for: The long long note he sings halfway through. That’s the moment when Cowell gets on his feet and the other contestants come on stage in white outfits.

Straff Song Rating: 9 – Just such a waste in Eurovision.

Betchat: 40 to win. 2.8 for the top 10
11:11pm: Swallowed up, which is a real shame. Flirting with the Top 10.

21. MALTA

This is my top to “outperform” expectations… This really does have it all, the faux DJ who seems great mates with everyone, a euro dance bit, some guitary pop rock, a silly dance, pyrotechnics, a bit at the end where he shamelessly shows off his voice, strange hints of yellow all over the place (the glove, the trousers, the drumsticks), the DJ suddenly doing aerobatics.

The reason it might do well, is the memorable bit is basically McFly’s Shine a Light. Which was a massive hit.

Watch the feet everybody. Watch the feet….

Look out for: The backing singer, who probably slept with someone/had a massive strop to get her, totally unnecessary, two seconds of fame.
Straff Song Rating: 9

Betchat: Malta is 4.9 to finish Top 10 (maybe because of a lack of a voting bloc).
11:11pm: Just on the edge of the Top 10 – making 4.9 a great price. I also have a few quid at 110 to win (it won’t!), hoping this comes in during the show to hedge.

22. FYR MACEDONIA

A deranged Nancy Dell-Olio sings of her heartache for Sven. Then she gets angry.

Look out for: A fairly unnecessary scream.
Straff Song Rating: 2

Betchat: The markets aren’t impressed at all. 18.5 for a top 5. 220 for a win!
11:11pm: Bottom third.

23. IRELAND

Cash strapped local councils spend money on water features in a desperate bid to make their appalling provincial town look classy. In a similar way, when you have twins, dressed as silver Power rangers, carried by four embarrassed backing singers, a water feature is the only way to go.

The song is 1997 boyband. The draw is dangerous. But just like the town centre – it’s a mess, with a fountain.

Look out for: The uncomfortable feeling you’ll get when they do the heart with their hands and look into the camera…
Straff Song Rating: 2

Betchat: Win at 40, Top five 6.6 – 40 is too short. 6.6 is about right for the top 5.
11:11pm: Mid table obscurity and back again next year. A high score from the UK!

24. SERBIA

This guy has hosted Eurovision and come runner up. He’s a major favourite, can sing and has a great draw. Personally I don’t get it! A start that is straight out of a Visit Scotland Advert.
Look out for: One of the Proclaimers playing in the background.
Straff Song Rating: 3

Betchat: The markets are convinced this is a top 5 finisher (1.53). They shouldn’t be ignored.
11:11pm: Top 5 (Balkan voters club together)

25. UKRAINE

This lady is in the centre of a race storm back in the Ukraine – after a right wing party leader criticised her selection for, basically, not being white. This is a superb song and a tip of mine for the top 10.
Two problems – shaky vocals and it’s in a trumpet double bill.

This is that sort of mid 90’s Jean Michel Jarre’s World cup 98 theme meets M People sort of sound. The staging is great, the video screen make it look like she’s having a party. The trumpet players are unconvincing.
Look out for: her vocals – they don’t QUITE hit the magic….
Straff Song Rating: 9

Betchat: Top 10 at 1.97 is a decent bet.
11:11pm: Top 10 in an explosion of colour.

26. MOLDOVA –

It’s a trumpet double bill…
Get your subtitles on for this grand finale. It’s almost as if the draw gods wanted to give us a final reminder of what this contest is all about. Broken english, a song inviting a woman to have a look at his trumpet, strange dancing and a lovely yellow and brown outfit.
Look out for: The pink one who at the beginning looks like she wants more camera time than the others.
Straff Song Rating: 3

Betchat: 14 for a top 5 finish – I agree, despite the late draw.
11:11pm: Forgotten

I’ll add some tips to the end of this later…!

@straffon is the twitter account. Or post in the comments and say Hi…

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Posted on May 26, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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