Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to today’s blog - our fortnightly look at the chances the bookies give to each of this year’s songs of qualifying. A lot has changed in the few weeks since our last look - and as most of this year’s acts have performed across Europe, some have left an unforgettable impression, whilst others left one they would rather forget!
Since then, the trio of songs with better than a four in five chance of qualifying - Sweden, Armenia and Bulgaria - has expanded to include two more. Portugal’s odds of qualifying rose by over 10% and Greece’s by 8%. Curiously, neither of these risers have been on the pre-party circuit, though Salvador has impressed on various occasions across Spain and Portugal.
There were 10 songs in the “probably through” category of songs with a ¾ or better chance of qualifying last time - their numbers are now down to 6, with the aforementioned Greece and Portugal having improved their odds, and three other countries having seen their odds worsen enough to drop out of this category. The six songs are in this category are five from before - Australia and Azerbaijan, whose odds have improved but not enough to make the leap up, and Israel, Denmark and Romania, whose qualification odds have worsened - joined by one newcomer, Hungary,
The following category, “still fancied to qualify” (but not so vociferously) are countries that have around a two thirds chance or better of qualifying. Curiously, none of the countries in this category were there last fortnight. Belgium and Estonia, who had been at the head of category 2, fell to this category after drops of 10-15% in their odds of winning, whilst Moldova, Switzerland and Norway all improved. The most drastic improvement of the three was for the Helvetians - Timebelle had little better than 50-50 chances of qualifying last forntnight, and now they have 65.8% chances.
We then see a marginal group, who despite having between 55% and 65% qualification odds, only the top few members thereof are seen to qualify. Of the seven countries in this category, four have not moved - Cyprus, Macedonia, Ireland and Finland - whilst one rose (Netherlands, from 53.5% to 61.3%) and two fell: Latvia from 69 to 61 chances, and most notably, Serbia, who with 84% odds of winning was at the doorstep of those thought almost certain to qualify, but now has a mere 64.9% chance.
Three countries - a resurgent Austria and a sinking Poland and Belarus - have more than 50% odds of winning but are deemed unlikely to qualify, and below them are an unlucky 10 with less than 50-50 chance of qualifying. This group ranges from almost 40% qualification chances for Croatia to little better than 1 in 10 chance for San Marino and Lithuania!
So, how does this change the qualifiers as currently predicted by the bookmakers?
There are a grand total of 6 countries whose predicted qualification status has changed in just this fortnight. Two weeks ago, all the continental Nordics were predicted to qualify, but Finland has joined Iceland as a predicted DNQ. Despite well-received preparty performances, Belarus has slipped out of the predicted qualifiers - Macedonia’s fall, given the apparently playback performances in London, is slightly less mysterious. Taking their places as marginal qualifiers are the Netherlands, Switzerland and Cyprus. These are, all three, “old” Eurovision countries, the pre-1993 ESC lands often considered “West” (despite their geographic location). I wonder whether the withdrawal of Russia and of potential big points from it to fellow post-’93 countries had an impact on these odds!
Tomorrow, we’ll have a look at the biggest winners and losers percentage-wise - there are some surprising names in both lists! - and that will be our last odds check until the fateful beginning of preparations in Kiev!