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Blog: The TikTok Countdown

Here we are at the end of the Eurovision silly season with all the pre contest polls, proxies and everything concluded. The winners of the 'Big 4' of these as of today is as follows:

Eurovision Scoreboard: Spain/Sweden interchangably day by day

EuroJury (jury section): United Kingdom

OGAE: Sweden

Daily Spotify streams: Italy

This covers 4 of the top 5 in the betting market. But that’s missing the just touching odds on leader. Ukraine. Ukraine has been backed in to a price that stands out as crazy short - the highest placing Ukraine has in any of the above is 4th with EuroJury. That probably is the one that is most shocking with many in the community surprised that Ukraine’s hip hop flavoured number gets love from a jury demographic that may be reciprocated on May 14th. There is something to be said for those who are watched voting vote in a different way to those who don't get seen - and many jurors would want to be seen voting for Ukraine at the moment.

Roughly if EuroJury scores followed through to the Grand Final you would be looking at more or less a 100 point gap between the leaders and Ukraine. The market finds a Ukraine televote score hard to predict. A twitter poll from our friends at ESC Betting showed nearly 20% of respondents thought Ukraine would score +350, but over half commented that the number would be less than 300.

All that said, Ukraine breaking the 400 point barrier (that is over 10 points per country) is a scenario the doomsayers see happening easily given the climate politically. We all know the reasons why and if the media make it a Ukraine vs the rest showdown then Ukraine could get second place in each country’s televote by securing 20%-25% of the votes in each nation comfortably.

If pushed as of now I will expect a happy medium between both of these at around 350 (9 points/nation). The equivalent poll from ESC Betting for the jury score suggested a range between 100 and 139 was most likely at around 51 %. Based on EuroJury and some of the reasons jurors and juries would want to give Ukraine high points I will up this to something like 150. The problem for Ukraine in this scenario is that those at the top of the jury tree also are those at the top of the televote appeal list.

I’m starting off with Spain here. Consistent scoring with EuroJury’s suggests that Chanel has the styling spot on and we are expecting this song to be a huge moment of the night and as a producer I would give this the 'best' running order slot I can. We can and have compared to many of the other uptempo female entries of the past decade but the difference here is the introduction to Eurovision of award-winning choreographer Kyle Hanagami that polishes the pants off this.

Yes it is a long shot to say Spain is going to get a huge, ESC winning, televote, but as many have recognised there is little else like 'SloMo' this year and what there is doesn’t match this for style or substance. I was top 10 at the start of the season but I now think both jury and televote may get this into the top 5.

The one of these favourites I’m less hopeful for is Sweden. Song is a masterclass but it very much is a song that I’ve always thought needed momentum and momentum I don’t see. A loyal OGAE winner by a whisker thin margin doesn't do enough for that - being a fan favourite is becoming an increasingly less useful metric as voting demographics increasingly diversify, and that does hurt to say. Still two weeks to go and I see the right things with performances at preview parties and international TV just getting a little undercurrent…but not necessarily enough noise to cut through the last two weeks.

And it’s not enough because the act threatening to overtake Cornelia in the outright win market is from the United Kingdom. In March I had Sweden higher than the UK in my book and as of today I have reversed that position.

A EuroJury success is one reason - Sam oversings the song in the way juries will adore and it oozes just the right levels of Britishness to translate internationally. However the huge unknown is the televote. Or, more accurately, the power of TikTok. Now the official entertainment partner of Eurovision this could be a huge deal over the next two weeks in motivating a new generation of Eurovision fans to vote. By a factor of 10 the most followed act on TikTok of the 40 this year is Sam Ryder. While I do question ‘Space Man’ from a TikTok perspective (the song structure is more 1990’s rather than 2020’s) I can not question the artist and if anybody was to get out beyond the usual bubble of media noise and do well with groups that are not on the radar it is set up to be him. More thoughts on TikTok and its impact on Eurovision's competitive elements can be found on my ESC Insight article.

There’s a scenario in my head where a 280-odd or so jury score is then matched by a 220 point televote that comes seemingly out of nowhere. This is the nowhere and I think the market needs to be keeping a very very close eye on what happens on the new social media behemoth that launched Duncan Lawrence and Måneskin to success.

This leaves Italy. 2nd in OGAE voting. 2nd on EuroJury. 3rd on Eurovision Scoreboard. Add to that a whopping megahit that almost has as many streams as all the other songs combined and this is the song that clearly should be favourite to win if there was any justice. ‘Brividi’ is classy for both sides of the leaderboard, something some high scoring Italian entries have struggled with, and with this song huge amongst Italians abroad as well (who will be watching more this year one assumes) this is one where I think anything less than 250 points on either side of the leaderboard would be a shock.

The market drift on this as Ukraine has shortened (from just over 4s to now over 6s) is extreme - one can’t underestimate Italy matching Ukraine in televoting with the year’s big hit. What should be said though is that with Blanco performing a concert a night before rehearsal…don’t read too much into how this looks on first run through. This is an emotional connection after all and all the rehearsal time in the world won’t help with that, just ask Salvador Sobral.

The market has a clear top 5 as it stands, Poland follows up but this is increasingly looking like 4th place at best. It will take a stunning rehearsal to move anybody else into contention. As said previously, this is a Song Contest that is more top heavy than normal years.

And as you can see here from the numbers above, I can argue for Italy, UK and Ukraine to all stumble into the 500 point barrier. The UK scenario is most hyperbolic of those three, but it is the one worth being most cautious on. In most years 550 will secure you victory. Will it be a jury landslide for the UK that tips it over the edge? Or a televote landslide for Ukraine into record figures? Or will Italy finish just behind the both of them in either constituency and take the crown.

That’s what we are about to find out. Here at Bet Eurovision we will have a couple of pieces here and there in the build up but perhaps not as much as last year. I myself will have my head down working at ESC Insight as accredited press as my main focus for the next two weeks, yet I have promised six episodes of the podcast giving my views on rehearsals as I hear them - starting Tuesday May 3rd.

Thanks for all the support and good luck gambling.

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