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Semi Final One - Winner/Top 3

Updated: May 8, 2021

We will be writing articles on each of the semi finals, with one on the win and top 3 markets, and one on the qualify markets.

Looking at the win market in Semi Final 1, Malta started off as favourite and has continued to shorten, it was tipped in the podcast at 2.7 and is now 1.8 best price (Betstars)

I'd currently say that Evens seems a fair price, having been drawn last and with a crescendo of energy, albeit quirky energy, coming before it. Malta is given a kick and there’s little doubt that Destiny’s image, style and vocal is exactly what the juries are there to reward. There are concerns about the low televote scores that Malta has had in recent years, but Malta twice this century has finished 2nd and has won Junior Eurovision twice as well - notable because of the usual Eastern European domination of that competition. One of these was Destiny herself, winning Junior Eurovision in 2015,and for those worried about Destiny’s half Nigerian background in the East we note the 12 points she got from Serbia, Albania and Bulgaria on the way to that title.

To temper that, the only countries in Junior Eurovision 2015 to have Destiny outside the top 2 were Russia, Ukraine and Macedonia. All three of these, unlike the above examples, are drawn in this same Semi Final. I’m happy enough overall that her background will not be a barrier in the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, but the draw could have been kinder to Malta for the semi. If I see this live and she has the sass and charisma to sell some of the cheeky lines in this, alongside a vocal that outperforms the somewhat restrained studio version for radio, then shortening beyond 1.8 could easily happen.

If that doesn't happen on the first rehearsal, all hell will break loose in this market.

I only seriously outline two others who could compete. Lithuania has been somewhat dismissed for its quirkiness and how the package comes across quite messy. I want to agree, but I note that this song is big across Eurovision fans of a certain age demographic, which so happens to be the same age demographic as many Eurovision jurors.

Lithuania isn't scoring well with the EuroJury so far, which scuppers that theory a tad, but I'm not ruling that that it clicks more than others expect. Further to that, if Lithuania’s strong televote from diaspora is dialled up to 11 this year we could have a package that I is likely to do well, but I don’t expect to win the Saturday night. Betstars at 1os is good, especially if we are looking for cover in case Malta falls short.

The third one I’d outline is Sweden. Sweden’s semi final record is ludicrously good, hitting the top 3 in every year since 2010. Voices isn’t a fan favourite Eurovision song but is the style I believe the masses outside our traditional fan base expect Eurovision to sound like, and this does the pop ballad genre very well. The draw of 4th isn’t stellar, but I suspect this should be top 3 once more for the Scandinavian nation. 5.5 to win (Bwin) isn’t good enough considering Malta’s strength, but it has bounced out to 2.28 on the Exchange top 3 market which is something worth recommending.

I have those three streets clear of the rest at this point, which rules out Cyprus from a high position. I’ve seen nothing to endear me to Elena and I’m expecting the performance of El Diablo to be more Replay than Fuego. Yes, she sang the acoustic version at Concert in the Dark well, but adding in dance moves and a potential charisma black hole sees this only in the middle of the qualifiers for me.

Should anything pick up some momentum to get a top 3 place here I'd be looking at Romania. Amnesia is a style that is very current, perhaps overly teen angst for older voters, but I suspect it will have a loyal band of voters tuning in. 15s to win the semi (Bwin) isn't ludicrous considering the Exchange considers Romania just over 3s to be in the top 3.

If there was to be an absolute wildcard to come close in the semi I'd look towards Ukraine or Russia. Shum is mental and off-kilter, but I remember that LoveWave and Hey Mamma got 2nd place in their semi finals with performances that feel similarly underestimated in the run up. We know Ukraine will have something bonkers up their sleeve which may make this accessible enough. It's a high risk entry that I think qualifies, but I can easily imagine anywhere from 2nd to 12th. Top 3 traded at 5.7 on the Exchange. Too short, but one to watch if there is a faller during rehearsals. Russia hasn't matched at all and currently sits at 5.2/8 here. I do love the Russian song but I would need evidence that this is winning the media narrative, as well as a brilliantly charismatic rehearsal to be diving in.

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