It’s Eurovision week! Eurovision week is definitely one of my favourite weeks of the year – it’s so weird and wonderful. As an Australian, apparently we’re so invested in Eurovision that we even participate now despite not being in Europe. With the final coming up this Saturday, I thought I would share my thoughts on who will do well, who won’t and if the running order is important. After all, who doesn’t love a Eurovision analysis.
Running Order Matters
The running order has just been released (view it here) and it’s definitely helped me predict who I think may win. It’s without a doubt that I think the running order does matter. I’ve looked at past Eurovision song contests and statistical data to back this up. Not convinced? Watch this video.
Historically, you’re more likely to win if you’re performing in the second half of the contest. The same video also says that the second-half winning impact is greater on televoting (the public) than the jury. I guess the second-half performances become more memorable to us because they are more recent. This psychological effect is known as the recency effect.
Don’t believe me? In Semi-final 1, Ukraine and Malta closed the show. Both are incredibly great songs and both are in my running to win and have higher bookmaker odds. Switzerland performed second last in Semi-Final 2. The winner of the 2016 and 2018 contest performed 21st and 22nd respectively.
There have also been winners who performed in the first half. Netherlands won in 2019 performing 12th. Portgual won in 2017 performing 11th. Conchita Wurst from Austria in 2014 performed 11th. However, these are all the latter half of the first half.
So whilst running order does matter, the performance matters the most. Performing early may seem like a disadvantage but if that song is amazing and captivating, the running order won’t matter as much. Of course, there have also been songs that performed near the end that are terrible.
So what does that mean?
Italy is the favourite to win and it is placed 24/26. This is a really favourable position and they are following the Netherlands (the host). They are also performing before Sweden who I think has a really mediocre entry. This is followed by San Marino who is closing the show. Italy can really shin and are performing near the end making Italy really memorable. This could be the winner of Eurovision 2021 and is a solid Top 5 entry.
France and Ukraine are also placed in the second half which is favourable. Unfortunately, they are performing next to each other. They are both wonderful songs which are so lyrically different and have such contrasting performances. My prediction is their votes are going to be cannibalised but both will be in the top 10 easily. We will see if France performing after Ukraine will hurt them as Ukraine has such a crazy high energy performance. France is also being followed by Azerbaijan which is also high energy.
Other bookmaker favourites are Switzerland and Malta who have drawn the short end of the stick and are performing in the cursed first half of the show. I think Malta will place around the 6-10th place. I think performing so early in the running order will hurt them. It’s also a female empowerment song just like Russia who is performing before them. Switzerland is in a more favourable position and I can see it in the Top 5. It’s a beautiful and captivating performance.
Cyprus has the unfortunate feat of performing first. Their song was alright but nothing special or memorable. With 26 songs being performed, this one is just going to be lost and forgettable. The same goes for Albania who will be performing second.
Being first also means you’re benchmarked. Eventually you will compare it to a song later in the contest that is better.
Russia and Finland are my dark horses. Finland is in a favourable position following Germany (who I think has one of the worst entries this year – sorry) and is also in the second half. I really enjoyed their pop-punk song – it’s a little bit of spice and variety into Eurovision. Russia is always a good sport at Eurovision usually ranking quite high and I don’t expect anything less this year. Russia’s entry this year is really fun, energetic and empowering.
Iceland will come around 10th. We all thought Iceland would have won Eurovision 2020. Going after Switzerland is a tough ask but this is such a contrasting song so I think it will play to Iceland’s favour. It’s fun, quirky and I love the disco flair and outfits.
Unfortunately, one of their members contracted covid earlier in the week which means they will not be performing live or be in the green room. This is absolutely gutting. I loved Iceland’s entry and I think not performing live in the final will prove costly.
Bulgaria will do amazing with the jury but won’t be a fan favourite with the public.
Lithuania is sandwiched between Bulgaria and Ukraine which is really rough. I also don’t think it will be a favourite among the public or jury but I love the vibes of this song.
San Marino is closing purely because Flo Rida which makes sense although I’m not sure how and why Flo Rida is even in Eurovision. Flo Rida just looks confused yet happy. Bless. I think this will easily make the Top 15 and it’s a great finish to the contest and hopefully one of San Marino’s best ever results.
Sweden is in a very favourable spot performing 25/26. However, I think their entry is quite generic and bland and being sandwiched between Italy and San Marino will cost them. I will not be shocked if Sweden places out of the Top 10 which is pretty much unheard of.
Norway is also in a favourable position and is performing after Azerbaijan and before the Netherlands. I don’t know if Tix’s story will come across to the public. The stage name Tix is derived from his experience with Tourette’s syndrome and he takes off his sunglasses during his performance. It is powerful and vulnerable. It is a solid and captivating Top 10 performance.
Controversial but I do really like Azerbaijan‘s performance this year. I don’t think they’ll be in the Top 10 but I find their song very catchy.
The UK, Germany and Spain will perform poorly. I actually like the UK’s entry this year so this prediction is purely based on historical data. Also how big is that moon from Spain! That hand costume in Germany’s performance is easily the weirdest and stupidest thing this Eurovision. When I first saw it I thought it was a penis lol.
Greece, Israel and Moldova will also place poorly.
The Netherlands will flop. This is not an insult to the performer but more so that the host’s entry tends to perform quite poorly.
My Top 10
Update: 23/05/21 After Eurovision
Eurovision 2021 was so good and Italy absolutely deserved their win tonight! As someone who enjoys rock, it was so good to see a rock song win Eurovision! I’ve been listening to Måneskin – Zitti E Buoni on repeat! Also the entire band is stunning. I enjoyed most the entries this year and it was a really competitive contest.
I predicted 8 of the top 10 and am so happy France and Switzerland performed so well! I was shocked at how much higher Iceland and Finland placed than I thought thanks to a good jury and tele vote. I was surprised that Lithuania made the Top 10. I absolutely loved their song but didn’t think they would get so much public votes.
Shocked that San Marino and Norway performed so poorly. Unfortunately, Flo Rida, as a San Marino citizen, couldn’t bring in the votes.
The biggest surprise of the night was the United Kingdom getting no jury votes. I may be wrong mathematically but you have 380 chances to score on the board as 38 countries (not including your own) will nominate 10 countries to give their votes to.
It got worse because the United Kingdom also ended up getting no public votes. To score zero points in this newer system is so statistically difficult and almost impossible but they managed to do that. Such a shame to James Newman but he was such a good sport and probably too drunk to care.
Then it got worse when subsequently Germany, Spain and The Netherlands got no public votes. Whilst it was funny at first, it began to be harder to watch. This new format of the voting puts the spotlight on bad scores. At least, I predicted all 4 of these countries would do poorly.
See you again in 2022!