Monthly Archives: May 2013

Armchair Guide to the Eurovision Final 2013

Here it is. The greatest article we write each year here at Betsfactor. A preview of all 26 songs of the Eurovision 2013 Grand Final. This guide is meant to be read before each song. If you are new to Eurovision, the  draw has been kind and the second half is absolutely rammed full of quality, but expect a one or two duff songs in the first half and a weak first three..

Have patience, dreadful songs come to those who wait.

Overall, bar Denmark, this is a very very difficult final to call – the producers have done well. I have a Top Two and then maybe 11 others that I could place anywhere from 3rd to 13th. I will try and give you an idea of my thinking as we go along.

 Things to enjoy in general:

– Our host’s rather affected attempt at the Queen’s English. It’s just a little on the plummy side.

– The Swedes expected us to watch the whole of the three shows, so outrageously we don’t open with Euphoria (last year’s winner). This was performed on Tuesday – you can enjoy a great version here. Watch the first six minutes, you DON’T need to install the player – so click “No Thanks”.

– The multicoloured tampons. For some reason this year they have decided to go for multicoloured giant tampons that are either hoisted up at the top of the stage, or lowered depending on the song. Look out for them each song.

– Remember Eurovision isn’t just entered from Western Europe, there are plenty of less liberal countries entering, that are in the Eurovision zone and enjoying the show tonight – quite what they will make of a lesbian kiss, remains to be seen.

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You’ll get an introduction then a selection of the following:

Look out for: Something amusing to spot in the next 3 minutes.
Straffrating: How decent a song it is, out of 10.
Straffvia: A Fascinating Fact about the performance
Betschat: For the flutterers, this is a discussion on the odds available. Remember, we’re often looking for value as well as likely outcomes. If you’re not familiar with decimal odds, a bet of 3.0 means for every £1 you put down, you get 3 back in total. 1.43 would mean you stake £1 to win £1.43. My Eurovision knowledge is patchy so take all this with a pinch of salt!

11:11pm: My prediction for the final result.
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France – We start with an lady who can be summed up in two words. Angry Ostrich. This is a strange, furious, bitter start to the final. I haven’t taken to this woman.

Look out for: Throw that mic stand down you rebel.
Straffrating: 4 – All too angry to start a happy popfest.
Straffvia: In the last eight years the winner has come from 17th, 19th, 22nd, 20th, 24th, 17th, 17th, 19th. This song is 1st. 18 of the last 21 songs to win have been sung at least partly in English. This song is in French.
11:11pm: Bottom 5.

Lithuania: Betsfactor’s tip to fail to qualify – so of course they did. Dreadful, and feel free to pop to the fridge, but if you’re staying, this is one of those badly translated songs…

“Because of my shoes I’m wearing today. One is called Love, the other is pain.”

Straffrating: 2 – It’s a no from me.
Straffvia: He was once in a band called “Hetro”
Betschat: 14.0 (Betfair) for top 10 is about right!
11:11pm: Maybe he’s too hot to be in the bottom 5 – but close to it!

Moldova: This is another of those dramatic ballads sung by a Disney princess with a VERY special dress. Betsfactor fans will be amused by Kye Fawkes Night half way through. Still… it qualified!

Look out for: What the hell is happening to her dress. Look at the dress! It seems impressive…. but right on the key change, in a clear breach of health and safety, the Moldavian electronics severely malfunction.

Straffrating: 5 – It’s not bad. But it’s not good.
Betschat: Top Ten finish? “No” at 1.5 (BWin) is about right.
11:11pm: In a position that’s very forgettable.

Finland – It’s time to start Eurovision proper. This is BRILLIANT! You will love this popfans. And guys, get ready for some hot adult

lesbian action at the end. This song has genuinely funny lyrics, and she is bang on point with all the camera angles. Is it going to win? No. But it’s great and deserves to be pumped out to 100m people.

Watch out for: The guys in the purple suits…(!)
Straffrating: 10 – Although a point should be knocked off for that utterly pointless kiss.
Straffvia: She has been doing so much publicity recently, and to get attention when she’s not meant to be getting publicity, she shouts “Ding Dong” at anyone she can.
Betschat: 3.25 for Top Ten looks a tiny bit short, I’d say 3.75-4.
11:11pm: In the Betsfactor Megamatrix I’ve marked this down for the kiss and the Megamatrix places this, sadly, lower mid table. I’d love to be wrong.

Spain – If you’ve got an average Eurovision song, stick some Celtic undertones in. Bagpipes work well. This is Jenny Powell singing a pleasant song that would be on third in an Irish pub gig.  It’s forgettable. It’s predicted to be last. Lots of mystical dry ice and dark blues.
Look out for: The lovely hairstyle Mr Guitar has and some token explosions.
Straffrating: 4 – It’s nice enough
Betschat: Red hot favourite to be last at 2.7 (Betfair) seems very short.
11:11pm: I’m not convinced this will be last, but then I haven’t seen the TV version yet.

Belguim: Here’s a guy styled like a 15 year old interviewing for his first work experience placement at AXA Insurance.
Look out for: You are going to love the dancing. Appropriately, it’s all a bit GCSE.
Straffvia: He won the voice in Belgium.
Betschat: Netherlands to beat Belguim at 1.22 (Unibet) looks good.
11:11pm: Bottom third

Estonia – Eurovision effects on the cheap. A wind machine gets wheeled in – but just for a bit, some director thinks “Black and White would be artistic” – but just for a bit, and far too much dry ice, but just for a bit.
Look out for: Yobby fans waving flags ruining her classy ballad.
Straffrating: 5 – It’s bland
Straffvia: She’s pregnant.
Betschat: 14.5 for Top 5 is throwing money down the toilet.
11:11pm: Irrelevant

Belarus: Classic Eastern European Eurovision. One of the problems for delegations is trying to work out how to get dance in the show, without screwing up their vocals. Answer – Get her to dance with her arms and the men will do the rest…

Look out for: A serious ankle injury. Would you want to prance around in those heels?
Straffrating: 4 – Cheese and a 20 second drum cameo.
Straffvia: Alyona’s pet rabbit was named by her fans.
11:11pm: Tumbling.

Malta: If you’ve never understood what an irritating smile looks like – have a look at this guy. He’s got a face so smiley that your grandma could know he’s a convicted serial killer but would still declare that he “looks a nice man”. A powerpoint presentation of the lyrics are on the wall behind him, so sing along; then join us for a big grinning jamming session on the park bench at the end, with a bottle of White Lightning. He also tries to get the crowd to join in. They won’t.
Look out for: If you’re such a nice guy why are you knocking his hat off? Plus. This is the first song I’ve heard in Eurovision with a line about risk assessments.
Straffrating: 6 – Too pleasant.
Straffvia: He’s a GP.

Betschat: 4.1 for Top 10 is spot on. This isn’t going anywhere.
11:11pm: Rather like Jeremy the guy from IT they are singing about, it won’t get what it wants.

Russia – You know that friend in her mid 30’s you have who is still single; you are convinced if she only dressed a bit better and did something with her hair, she’d have guys flocking after her…? Well here she is singing a Coca-cola ad ballad next to some lovely lights she got from IKEA. Kate Winslet released a song one Christmas called “What If”, and this “What If” is pretty similar.

Straffrating: 7. Song’s a 7, Vocal’s a 7. It’s all very 7.
Look out for: The men’s balls being dropped. Earlier in the week she literally cupped them as well, although this has been changed…!
Betschat: This is the song I am most interested in in the betting. I think this is being overvalued far too much by the market. Bad draw, next to Cascada, vocals weren’t good enough in the semi. Unibet’s 3.75 “Will they hit Top 10” – NO. Seems very very generous. I will be laying this song Top 5.
11:11pm: (Just) outside the Top 10.

Germany – The Beatles, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Cascada, have all consistently produced quality music, but Cascada probably stands out head and shoulders above the rest. This is a great pumping dance tune that grows on you and stands out in Eurovision.
Straffrating: 9 – I initially felt this had no chance, then I loved it, now I hate how they’ve hacked the verses to get it down to 3 mins. Won’t impress juries, but it’s a great song.
Straffvia – The day after this won, the equivalent of the Sun in Deutschland (De Bild) went big on how this was a massive copy of last year’s winner. The song then had to be cleared of plagurism by producers in a big ding dong…
Betschat: 40 to be the winner without Denmark seems great value. BUY.
11:11pm: Like it’s chart position in various, random, EU countries will be on Monday – Top 10.

Armenia – This song is very “50 year old divorced man”. The guy who still wears double demin, he’s very bitter about the break up with his ex wife and is writing songs like this with faux meaningful lyrics, that sound insightful and a bit cryptic, but are actually drivel. He likes Alison Moyet and Absolute Radio, and pointless guitar solos and music isn’t like it used to be. 50 year old divorced man likes this song.

Look out for: Eyebrows. A large guy playing the keyboard in a Stockport County scarf. Dodgy backing singers.
Straffrating: 6 – It’s not bad.
Straffvia: Some guy from Black Sabbath is involved writing this song.
Betschat: 65-1 for top 5 is about right!
11:11pm: Not convinced this will be last, but in the bottom half somewhere.

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The BBC pad out here
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Netherlands: This woman’s a star in Holland, they always do really badly, but this song is an oasis of sense and calm in a crazy contest. I think this will do very well, although the draw and being on after the ad break doesn’t help. I don’t like how much she closes her eyes – probably because the wind machine is on a 4 setting.

Straffrating: 8
Betschat: I have no idea here and won’t touch it. I wouldn’t be surprised if this does very well though.
Straffvia: The Dutch are so bad at this, they haven’t been in the final since 2004
11:11pm: Not sure. Wouldn’t rule out Top 10.

Romania: One of the problems with only watching the final is you miss out on all the dross. The really funny dross appears in the semis. I am delighted that this is through, so you can get an idea of what you missed this week. This really needs no commentary. You will LOVE this…
Straffrating: 1
Straffvia: I read somewhere (not sure it’s it’s true) that this is what happens when you run a national competition for a song and a national competition for a singer. He won the singing bit… But the song chosen quite fit his talents!
Betschat: The qualification has made punters very wary. I like 1.36 to beat Belgium. (Bet365), 4.3 suggests the market thinks there is a 23% chance of this being Top 10. I’d say that was about right.
11:11pm: The UK viewers will vote for this! Not disgraced.

United Kingdom: I don’t pay my license fee to have fatcat BBC execs screwing up decisions like this. Country and Western at Eurovision, another painfully bland ballad.  I worry about Bonnie’s low notes and if she’s had some work done? She is a name across Europe and there is some recognition for this song plus I’ve not seen the TV version of this song so I reserve the right to declare the BBC geniuses at 11:11pm.
Straffrating – 4. It’s bland and it won’t win. Again.
Betschat: There is often value to be had laying the UK, since casual punters back the UK blindly (a bit like England in the World Cup).  5.5 for Top 10 is about right.

Sweden – This is excellent, but one of those “grower” songs. Despite his Jedward hair, I’d give this 12 pts. Betsfactor fans will be horrified that he’s red and blacked on the high note, which is one of several clear indications that SVT don’t want to shell out to host for the contest next year.

Straffvia – In the national contest, this only won, after surviving several “wildcard” situations, so the Swedes didn’t take to it for a while, but now love it.

Straffrating: 10. Great song.
Betschat: I think there is value here to sneak into the Top 10 – I expect a reasonable jury score. 3.6 Top 10 looks generous.
11:11pm: The Betsfactor Megamatrix consistently places this in the Top 10. I would say 8th-12th is about right.

Hungary: Surprised a lot of people (me included) by qualifying. Now people are wondering if the calm in an other wise chaotic second half, might just stand out. He’s cute, nonchalant and wears a beanie hat and those fashionable glasses that graphic designers wear. I was really surprised at how the crowd got behind this song in the semis. It’s another song that just meanders around like a confused OAP.

Look out for: Those crazy pictures behind him.
Straffrating: It’s just OK isn’t it. So it’s just a painful 5.
Straffiva: This guy writes for a Tattoo magazine and didn’t want to be styled “too cutely”. Ooops.
Betschat: Not convinced by 5.6 for Top 10 – Too short.
11:11pm: Bottom third.

Denmark = WINNER = Here’s comes the likely winner. It has the late 90s celtic pipes, drummers, the needy looking woman in a simple dress, glitter, catchy hook, gold, a fire curtain, and crucially a decent song.

Look out for: Everything that says “winner” before she’s won.
Straffrating: 9
Straffiva: This is one of the hottest favourites to win in Eurovision history.
Betschat: Do not touch this with a barge pole for value. It is far far far too short at 1.75 (Betfair).
11:11pm: More Gold Glitter as the credits roll.

Iceland – This is one of my tips to outperform expectations. This is just a nice ballad in Icelandic sung by a man with long hair. That’s it really.
Look out for: Betsfactor fans can relive the Marcus Jesus pose.
Straffrating: 8 – Not bad.
Straffiva: They don’t normally go for an Icelandic entry – but it’s worked this time.
Betschat: The Megamatrix places this 10th; at 4.1 for Top 10, it’s worth a nibble. At 14.5 Top 5- why not!?
11:11pm: In the top half.

Azerbaijan – This guy gets VERY nervous, easy to understand why – the President will probably be “very displeased” if they don’t get a Top 5. These guys throw the kitchen sink every year at the contest and always do well. Average song, Excellent staging. There’s a man. In a box. Upside down. “Will you start the fans please”.
Watch out for: The combo of fake smiles for the camera, mixed with utter intense concentration written across his paniced face.

Straffrating: 4 (7 for the staging).
Straffiva: Conspiracy theories suggest that the EBU REALLY doesn’t want the contest back in Baku, with human rights issues and so on.
Betschat: Not convinced by 1.97 for top 4.
11:11pm: Very respectable.

Greece – Normally do very well. Here’s a song that apparently is a metaphoric, almost satirical insight into the economic problems in Greece. You will just see it for a silly 3 minutes with men dancing in kilts.
Look out for: The man from the Domino adverts.
Straffrating: 5. You’ll like it though.
Straffiva: The last time Cyprus failed to award Greece 12 points was 1996.
Betschat: Worried that the juries will knock this down a bit, so not touching.
11:11pm: Top half?

Ulkraine: This is a pretty special start, a giant putting her on a plinth for no good reason other than to get gimmick points for having a huge guy on the stage. The song is a bit like listening to a comedian’s long story and laughing a bit every now and again, but expecting the killer punchline to come… It’s always building up to explode, but it never does….

Straffrating: 7 – It’s original and she can sing.
Betschat: There’s something in this song. 1.78 Top 5 is interesting. And I would be looking to support Ulkraine in match bets, esp Unibet at 1.55 vs Russia.
Straffvia: The Viking is the tallest man in the US. But you can’t really tell because of all the smoke.
11:11pm: Champions League positions.

Italy: This is another simply staged ballad that works well. There have been concerns that this guy could be a bit under the weather this week.
I haven’t seen too much of this song, but it’s a good melody and the guy can sing.
Straffvia: Won the X Factor in Italy in 2009
Betschat: This does very well on the Megamatrix. I’ve not seen the TV version, but 1.69 for Top 10 seems about right.
11:11pm: A very respectable, sturdy position.

Norway – Almost there – This is another BIG song. And 2nd favourite to win. She looks great, the song is great… but just one point to note… Shall I tell you this…? Should I put this in your mind? This seems to me a VERY sexual song. Filthy smut on a family TV show.
Look out for: This is actually fairly gimmick free! She’s hot though!
Straffrating: 9 – Big song.
Straffiva: Radio fans, she’s a Head of Music at a Norwegian station.
Betschat: I am not convinced by this song’s second placing in the favourites table. I think this could surprise by missing out of the Top 3. Bets like 2.0 to lay it Top 3 are interesting.
11:11pm: Top 10, but not much better.

Georgia – Here’s another kitchen sink, sickly sweet, Disney ballad. I like it obviously. There are a few key issues, a lack of chemistry, the vocals not being strong enough, the key change appearing out of nowhere and then the kitchen sink of pyrotechnics. This doesn’t deserve to win, but it has all the ingredients and a fantastic draw.
Look out for: Can you spot when the wind machine is turned on? Georgia’s team realised they’d thrown everything at it apart from a wind machine. Winning songs have wind machines.

Straffrating: 7.
Betschat: I wouldn’t touch this country. The draw is too dangerous, and the vocals too changeable.
11:11pm: Top half.

Ireland: Reasonable way to close the show, after the last 10 superb songs. Post Jedward, we get a sort of Ken doll and more bloody drums, although these light up.
Look out for:
Straffrating: 7 – Nice way to end the show.
Betschat: Ireland (1.34) vs UK looks a good call!
11:11pm: Like his leather and teeth, it’s all just a little tacky. Midtable

Betsfactor Official Tips. 

Iceland Top 5 – Betfair (14.5) 1pt  Why not? It’s worth a cheeky punt.

Winner without Denmark – GERMANY (40) 1pt Betfair

Winner without Denmark – UKRAINE (7.5) 1pt BWin

Russia NOT to make the top 5. LAY with Betfair to get odds of 1.76 (Betfair) 2pts

Remember, I know very little and these are just for fun, since we have such a huge Betsfactor Bank at the moment! I should stress again that these are what I see as VALUE, rather than “Will definitely happen”.

My prediction is Denmark to win. Maybe Ukraine second. But it’s so tough to call this year!

You can follow my thoughts live on Twitter @straffon.

BetsfactEur – Semi Final Two

Well, after a shambolic start, slashing the Betsfactor Bank by 2pts, we’re back for semi final two. Firstly, apologies for the delay – it’s radio audience figures day, so things have been v.busy. I wrote on the Sofabet forums that maybe the new scoring system means “If it sticks out – it’s out”. Surprises like Croatia and Serbia not qualifying, in favour of very bland ballads made me decide to change my views on a few songs in this heat. However, unlike other TV betting blogs, this is being written in the UK, not having seen any camera angles and the like. If you want far more informed and serious discussion try Sofabet, Esctips and Entertainment Odds. As a result I am going to update this page AFTER ALL 17 SONGS tonight. So, I will probably be making a couple of bets during the show.

I am going to be very contraversal and suggest that “If it sticks out, it’s out” might therefore mean that Greece are at risk. Everyone seems to say this is a surefire qualifier, and we should listen to the wisdom of the crowd, but they also said that about Serbia. Anyway….

Latvia – RED – Terrible song, bad staging.
San Marino – RED – Fans seem convinced that this is a great song, but I struggle with the idea that two minutes of ballad followed by one minute of dance is a winning combination. Surely if it was, we would have seen this genre over the years..?! Unimpressed. Will go out on a limb and say RED.
Macedonia – RED – Worried that she’s a big star in some countries, but the juries will *surely* nuke this? And if they don’t, then they aren’t music experts. Bye Bye Now.
Azerbaijan – GREEN – The staging for this is artist and slick, the whole thing screams “Azerbaijan” from recent years! Slick and classy and through.
Finland – GREEN – I downgraded this from Tuesday, after initially wondering if a Final Top Ten place was possible. I just think the kiss will irritate a few jury members (when I watched it, it just felt so unnecessarily out of place). So I am now a tiny bit worried about this song – but I will say it qualifies.
Malta – GREEN This is bland, twee and nice – and reading the signals from Tuesday I therefore upgrade from amber and qualify it.
Bulgaria – AMBER – This was initially green, but I have downgraded after I watched the second rehearsal. Too much drumming, not enough singing and they need to get the drums to light up when bashed. It also looks a bit of a mess.
Iceland – AMBER – This is now on the green side of Amber, it’s very bland and the guy isn’t that TV friendly. But it’s authentic.
Greece – AMBER – Everyone is raving about how this song is through… I am not as convinced after Tuesday night. I fear juries negativity could knock it down. I do think it will qualify, but I think 1.05 is too short.
Israel – GREEN – She can sing, it’s a good ballad and the cleveage has gradually reduced.
Armenia – AMBER – Now we get interesting. This isn’t that bad a MOR song. Very Absolute Radio.
Hungary – RED – I am worried about my red now, after “bland wins” – but this maybe just goes one step too far.
Norway – GREEN – Can you tell I am rushing this – this is through, she’s superb.
Albania – AMBER Another difficult one for me, this is authentic and the sparks worked once before, I just worry about it “sticking out”.
Georgia – GREEN – Disney. Qualified.
Switzerland – RED I am worried about the televote appeal (ie this doing well) and also the “does it stick out” thing. But it’s terrible. The 93 year old adds nothing.
Romania – GREEN – Superb song, brilliantly staged and a wonderful fusion of opera and late 90’s dance music. I’m just messing – just checking you were awake. It’s so much a Red I’ve never seen anything redder. Bye Bye Now.

I will make the Betsfactor Hot 10 during Half time, but at the moment I would say: Azerbaijan, Finland, Malta, Iceland, Greece, Israel, Norway, Georgia,

Amber Zone, in order of current thinking before I watch it – Armenia, Bulgaria, Albania,

Please be aware that my Eurovision knowledge is pretty slack, so don’t pay too much attention to this!

I will be back at half time with my revised views!7

=== HALF TIME ===

You could make a case for ALL of the maybes.

Latvia were very entertaining.
San Marino acceptable
Macedonia have support
Bulgaria was authentic and might play well outside of traditional Europe.
Israel competant
Armenia a bit different
Hungary seemed to keep the crowd happy
Switzerland had lots of gratuatious shots of the old man
Romania gets the “let’s have a laugh” vote and glitter bombs.

Betsfactor Hot Ten Predictions: Azerbaijan, Finland, Malta, Iceland, Greece, Norway, Switzerland, Georgia, Armenia, Israel

I really couldn’t call it though!

BetsfactEur – Semi Final One

The world wakes to fantastic news – Betsfactor is back for a Eurovision Week Special. The one article that the globe anticipates is the annual guide to the 26 songs, that’s back on Saturday so you can enjoy the contest with all the quirky things to look out for, plus superb analysis on how each song is likely to do in the voting.

Firstly, a disclaimer – I would say my knowledge of Eurovision is patchy, I couldn’t tell you exactly who votes for who, but I’ve tried to incorporate that information in the Betsfactor MegaMatrix, a computer compiled numerical opinion database, where I have scored elements such as staging, song, betting, likely judge reaction, odds and so on. That said, I did pretty well last year and correctly predicted the winner (wow!) – and in previous years I’ve not done too badly.

In this article I’ll give you my views on Tuesday’s first semi final. In my view there are eight clear qualifiers and then perm any two from four. I won’t sit on the fence – I will name the ten I think I will qualify!

This site likes to talk about value – for friends who don’t understand this, sometimes a bet is great value even though you think the chance of it happening is still relatively slim. Like buying a £2 T Shirt from Primark. Even if it only lasts for five weeks, it’s a good value  bet.  If a bet is 10.0 (so you make 10 times your initial stake), but I think there’s a 25% chance of it happening, that bet is still good value, since on average 1 in 4 times you’d make 10 times your money. Throughout the week I will highlight prices that I think are good value. Just because they are good value doesn’t mean I think they are likely to happen.

One of the things that Betsfactor is known for globally is our original, patented “Traffic lights” system. Delegations from EIGHT countries will erupt in joy this afternoon and sleep easy tonight as I have rated them GREEN and sailing through to the final. FOUR are AMBER – where I think it depends on the night how they do, and FOUR are RED – which means they might as well go home and plan for 2014.

A far more entertaining guide will be written for the final on Saturday – this guide is more for the punters amongst us, who are already familiar with the songs.

Austria – RED – Mediocre song, mediocre staging, mediocre vocal. A surprisingly muted way to kick off the show. Maybe the number of ballads means this has to start, so Slovenia can shake things up.
Estonia – RED – Don’t like the effects behind her. This is just an average ballad.
Slovenia – AMBER – I like this song and think it’ll look good on the recaps, they seem to have some allies votes. However vocally I’m not convinced, the dancers are rather like her vocals. 97% of the time spot on. 97% of the time. This should not be ruled out, but at the time of writing on the Betsfactor Megamatrix it’s ranked 12th, it certainly shouldn’t be ranked 17th by the market.

Croatia – GREEN – Sailing through and I would rank this as “outperform” expectations. Not looked at the final yet, but 6.4 for the Top Ten is interesting.

Denmark – GREEN – I think this is priced correctly for the final. Great staging, loads of great pyro and glitter that says “winner” before she’s won. Remind me to write an article one day on “The Supremes” and this song….

Russia – GREEN – Through – Eurovision by numbers.

Ulkraine – GREEN – It’s the dress that I think gets this one through. Rather than the song, which is weak.

Netherlands – GREEN – This is one that is up for some debate. Not a fan of her on stage, nor does this country have loads of allies (I think!), but the vocal and difference with the song will be good enough for the juries. The Betsfactor Megamatrix ranks this 8th, so tread carefully. In my view 1.2 is poor value and shouldn’t be touched. This should be circa 1.7/1.8.

Montenegro – AMBER – I am sticking my neck out and saying this will qualify, but this is in the AMBER zone. I have big reservations about the lighting for this song, but the spacesuits are great, her vocal is great and this song is distinctive enough to get some jury love. I put some cash down, then changed my mind after seeing the staging and would say 2.6 is marginally overpricing it. Marginally.

Lithuniana – RED – Bye bye now. There is little positive to say about this song. It’s not dire, but nothing sets it apart.

Belarus – GREEN – Another song where there are some fence sitters at present. I think this is through. The discoball gives memory for televoters. It reminds me of some Greece and Cyprus entries from the last few years – short dresses, energy that thing that Daniel at the superb Sofabet calls “Ethnopop”. These type of entries have scrapped into the final in the last few years and I think this will follow suit. 1.42 looks a tiny bit expensive.

Moldova – AMBER – There is a key Betsfactor reason why I have serious reservations about this performance. See if you can spot it! However, the Betsfactor Megamatrix places this 10th, so I have to yield to the spreadsheet. This is one country that I would handle with extreme caution. I think 1.22 is far too expensive and I wouldn’t touch this at anything less than evens (2.0). It’s in the Amber Zone and the Betsfactor Megamatrix places this 10th, by a whisker ahead of Belgium. So I’ll say this makes it, but if this doesn’t qualify I won’t be too shocked.

Ireland – GREEN – This is all pretty dire, but with everything about it “adequate”, plenty of friends voting in this semi and only a couple of red flags, it’s through.

Cyprus – RED – At least they are saving their money for their economy. It’s not just the staging, the song’s weak as well….

Belguim – AMBER – This is a decent song, but I have reservations about the guy’s charisma on stage. I’m not a fan of this trend this year for the words to be on the screen like some sort of confusing karaoke competition. I think the bland staging has just pushed this to the wrong side of the “qualifying” line. More gimmicks might have saved this. the Megamatrix says “11th”, so 2.94 looks nice value.

Serbia – GREEN – It’s just the new costumes isn’t it. They look a bit “adult” in a bad way. Vocals are fine, it’s a nice Eurovisiony way to end the show and a wealth of friends suggest that this is going through – but I suspect will burn out for the final.

Let’s have some fun with the Betsfactor Bank.  This is an official Betsfactor Tip:

Lithuania NOT to qualify – 1.57 (Sky Bet) +2 Points.

Eurovision Week

Fantastic News Betsfactor Fans – expect several articles this week on Eurovision.

The first, focusing on the first semi final, is LIVE tomorrow lunchtime.

Whilst we wait, here’s one of my favourites from the last few years….

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