Lights On To The New Season
We are the Bet Eurovision team are waking up from our six month hibernation to once again look at another Eurovision season. We will have the website for our long form articles once more, as myself and Jenko are looking forward to running our podcast each week (we just returned from a festive season in-person catch up where we recorded our 2022 episode zero) and we have some ideas for our social media platforms as well. There are currently Twitter and Facebook accounts so far, the former of which was our most active last year.
There’s been some Eurovision songs announced already to mention. Bulgaria were first…and will at some point this season be 1000-1. Chanceless. Albania should avoid joining them I think. I expect 'Sekret' to get good fan attention and regional/diaspora votes but not sure if there is much more than that. Comparing to Hurricane from Serbia last year, which was so well performed but was ultimately mid-table, that might be the ceiling for Albania as well.
Let's pause for a moment on the Czech Republic though, where ‘Lights Off’ was to some a surprise winner of the Czech NF. That’s ignoring that the voting system there was 50 % jury and that this being exactly what the Eurovision fans who aren’t screaming on Twitter adore. The noisy fan favourite here, Jezinky with her witch inspired acapella chant, was far too strange for a traditional Eurovision jury, and I was very unsurprised to see Victor Crone as the first juror quite predictably placing this divisive entry last.
‘Lights Off’ was by far the stand out choice. There is simple but effective staging potential here and a band with a unique visual identity that I can see Eurovision jurors also adoring (especially playing the guitar with a bow) just like in the Czech NF. The consensus here is that they have a very good qualifying chance and there’s an outside chance of a top 10 placing there. I’m slightly more optimistic than that, I think the build of this is fantastic and there’s enough pump in the mix that it should stand out in a Grand Final setting. Currently trading around 60s/70s to win Eurovision, which is likely a bar too high, but I may be tempted if it hits three figures as I suspect this quietly overperforming in sections such as the OGAE vote in April. The oh-too-used phrase dark horse is apt here.
One huge plus of the 2022 Eurovision season is the move for many countries to reintroduce National Finals, which should mean more betting and trading opportunities. There’s some buzz about Spain’s return to Benidorm Fest, and it’s a quality diverse lineup for a return to the competition, but sadly not much that’s looking to be in contention for more than a mid-table placing in Eurovision. The buzz about Galician act Tanxugueiras feels similar to that of Jezinky and will need something else to make it the representative, although it appears there is more of a buzz in Spain than there was in the Czech Republic. Remember modern Eurovision fans rightly love their native languages and sounds but that rarely translates to the general population in any nation, never mind internationally.
Eesti Laul has also held some so-called quarter finals before Christmas, meaning all of their songs are out. Personally I’m most excited by the formulaic but well done number Anna Sahlene has brought to the show, 20 years on from ‘Runaway’, which isn’t an indication of a strong lineup. Estonia has traded around 40s - I’m struggling to see any song in the mix rationally making them more likely than the Czechs and I can anticipate that this could be the year they end up sending something very Estonian. Similar comments can be made for selections in Latvia and Romania - we can argue some songs could with a fair wind get a top 10 position but winning is surely out of reach.
There are some interesting internal selections from those broadcasters with them, namely Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece and Georgia - which on paper are all bringing artists who are here to show their stuff but not necessarily being in-it-to-win-it and none have notably excited the early betting markets. Indeed with a long look at the betting market so far it’s hard to find an obvious winner. The market agrees, and for a while in 2021 the Betfair exchange had a Book Percentage under 100%, meaning one could guarantee (tiny) profit by staking different (small) amounts on the different selections. There’s a current consensus at the moment that there’s more reasons why every country won’t win, rather than being a contender for victory.
Which means we have a default early season betting favourite. Sweden. Post-Christer Björkman Sweden is far from being my tip. There’s little buzz or expectation about this year’s songs and the list of artists in Melfest is arguably more generic than ever, which is notable considering the change in personnel and no obvious change from the status quo. That Sweden with such a bland Melfest is the early favourite shows all of our biases in action. Serious question to anybody? Who possibly in the Melfest list of 28 artists could have a package that would excite the market enough so Sweden would shorten from their current price of 14s?
For early market interest I’d look at Italy (19s), with huge names in Sanremo and a host country that based on the quality of bids to host may be up for the double and Poland, their price was up in the 80s and 90s but that has been a bit volatile in recent days (article on that coming soon). Poland just finished 2nd in Junior Eurovision and most definitely is a country with huge scoreboard potential if they eventually just pick something palatable with juries.
But we’ll need something more than palatable to win the Song Contest. Nothing has combined the sweet with the sour so far to make something that tastes so moreish to the audience. Our mission is to find that stunning taste sensation before anybody else.