Semi Final Two: Winner/Top 3
Updated: May 8, 2021
When we turn to Semi Final 2 we have a clear market leader in Gjon's Tears and Switzerland (2.2 with CoolBet to win, last traded 1.3 for top 3). It is the general fan poll favourite, but that is based purely on a music video that has as its most memorable moment drone footage of sliding down a Swiss mountain, not of Gjon himself.
His performance on Spanish television showed the issue with this song. It is very introspective, very dull and very screamy. Sure the stage show will be different than what we saw in that piano solo version, but the concern is that Gjon comes across as pretentious and his wild hair means I keep going back to the same hype that Sognu had in 2011. That this has traded under Evens to win the semi final is premature.
Part of the reasoning for that is the problem that this semi final is weak, especially at the top end. Bulgaria is a comfortable second favourite in the market (best price 4s with CoolBet, last matched 1.75 top 3) and Growing Up Is Getting Old is struggling to pick up the type of support in fan polls, streams and Euro Jury to make me think it is in contention, at least for the first Eurovision win. I feel I should be the catchment for this type of song but I use that same word again, pretentious, and the crescendo of the final minute is too far away to excuse the pedestrian first minute.
I suspect the price here being as low as this (and it has traded as low as 3s) is that there's love for Victoria in the betting community, which did have her top of the odds last year. Yes, staging potential exists, but the theme of the song means that any staging might also have that aloof musical theatre vibe rather than get the masses out there voting.
So, if not them, who? Those of you who heard our most recent podcast will know that we are positive on Iceland, and managed to get 9.8 on the Exchange as our tip this week, with the price crashing after. I note how Euro Jury is strong, especially for getting points across all of Europe, and how there are so many layers to Daði's PR game for the media to latch onto. Furthermore Daði scored almost a clean sweep across the Eurovision replacement shows broadcasters held in May 2020.
A final win may be a stretch but the running order is very favourable for the semi (trust me, the neutrals will be so comfortable with this after whatever Moldova does), and I am sure there's a couple more tricks planned/lots of watching of that damn Netflix film just before the semi. Yeah, I have the same concerns about the song itself, but it's doing well enough compared to the others in this semi for me to think it has the legs here. Iceland is still 8s (Bwin) and I recommend, and they also last matched for top 3 at 3.5 on the Betfair Exchange which is stunning value.
Next up is the entry from Finland, Dark Side, and on this one I have to admit I have no idea. I could see it winning and I could see it way lower. If pushed I will be non-committal and say it will be mid-table in the final. I note it won the jury in UMK, and televote landslide was more than anyone suspected, but that was in a very dull, if worthy, Finnish selection show. Other than that my only basis is that rock as a genre struggles to get mainstream support from juries and televoters who are generally ill-equipped to deal with it.
The outside punts worth mentioning here include San Marino, who with Flo Rida could also get a PR kick. I'm nervous though. Senhit has splashed the cash in promo performances that are high production without suggesting they are vote grabbing. I would love it to do well but am expecting juries to rule it out of the top places likewise with Serbia and Moldova.
Greece is worth keeping an eye on for a top 3 placing here. It most recently matched under 3s though which is too short considering we haven't seen it live, nor her live. Yes there could be something special in the works but it still needs a faller from the list above to get there. The final wildcard I call is Portugal (50s to win, 10.5 top 3) purely because there's some alternative universe where juries go "yes, voice, real music!" and it's a landslide by the half way point.