Pop, rock, country, electronic and more brown envelopes flying about than an explosion at a Royal Mail sorting depot. The second semi final came and went with what we'd describe as mostly-expected results.
The quality of our stats matched those of the previous semi, of the 10 qualifiers across the 4 platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram), the stats correctly had 32/40 qualifiers in the Top 10 for both semis. Not a bad result but there was one big downer for us last night, compared to the first semi. Although we have no control over the numbers on social media, we want to be seen as a place people can go for quality info and to make money rather than lose it - so we'll explain why we were unsatisfied below. First, let's take a quick look at our results:
How Did We Do?
On the face of it, pretty good, 6 contestants qualified across all platforms with another 2 contestants qualifying on 3 out of 4. Right now, Twitter is leading in terms of accuracy having correctly predicted 9/10 qualifiers in both semis now. This is followed by Facebook which correctly predicted 9/10 in the first semi and 8/10 in the second.
What We Got Right and Wrong
Considering this is a semi-final with a bunch of ex-Soviet countries it's probably an achievement we managed to predict so many correctly, though to be fair, Georgia, Russia and Romania were so terrible that no amount of bribery could get them over the line this year. A big deal was made about Russia's qualification record but we weren't concerned, the stats had Julia way down the bottom, the only exception was YouTube which - as we mentioned in a previous article - we suspect was more 'car crash' viewers than people watching for pleasure.
Many Eurovision pundits were also dismissive of Australia's chances, while Jessica's vocals weren't fantastic, she had a strong showing across the stats and was our biggest winner. For reasons outside of the performance, there was always a decent chance Australia would make it to the final. Norway, despite giving an solid performance and also progressing, was still a disappointment for it's backers according to the stats, nowhere near the top of any of the tables - and certainly not justifying it's then-second favourite position in the market. Norway went from 7.4 to a high of 32.
We'd written on another forum that we suspected Slovenia's technical 'fail' might fool enough people into giving them a sympathy vote - coupled with an excellent running order slot they just about managed it. The big mystery for us was Serbia's qualification, maybe our ignorant Western ears don't hear what the Balkanites hear as for us it was as dreadful as ever. Indeed we have to eat our words when in our review of the song we said that "if this song was the only performance at Eurovision the judges would sooner toss the trophy into the crowd than award it to this mess". Clearly we got that wrong...our unsubstantiated suspicion is a few brown envelopes were strategically gifted from the Serbia delegation.
As in the last semi-final, there was one result that got us down and this time it was Poland, qualifying in all of our stats platforms and top of the table on Facebook (that one hurt the most and the main reason we weren't as satisfied as we could have been last night). We thought the performance was pretty good and had placed a decent bet on them progressing but started to get cold feet and lay it off a little. We ended up breaking-even on the night as a result of Poland not qualifying. We suspect they were top 10 in the televote but were brought down by the jury votes. There may have been a few people who were caught out by Poland's non-qualification so apologies to anyone who came undone like we did on the stats. As an aside, Malta got an excellent Facebook result but bombed everywhere else - as to an explanation for that one we have no idea, maybe just an anomaly.
Big 5 + Portugal
Before we talk about the final, these are the YouTube stats for the Big 5 + Portugal. As mentioned in our previous article, Spain has a strong showing on these stats but we're starting to suspect that diaspora is playing a big part in them. Couple that with the fact they're singing 2nd in the final means we have to (reluctantly) write-off their chances.
The result that surprised us was Italy, beating France and Germany despite them being 3rd and 4th favourites in the market right now (not that that means much, most entrants have been 3rd or 4th favourites by this point...). Furthermore, Italy have taken the very last slot in the running order whereas France and Germany perform right in the middle of the final. This in my mind makes Italy a decent bet for Top Big 5.
First off, this needs to be made absolutely clear - there are plenty of cocky and dismissive people in this space and many of them will confidently say that country X will win - they're lying and should be treated with suspicion. This market has to be the most erratic ever seen in Eurovision - anyone placing big money on short-priced favourites has been burned badly this year. Punters getting burnt only serves to make the market more erratic as they then pile onto the next hyped country in an attempt to recover their losses - only for the cycle to repeat. This is why we suspect many of the acts at the top of the market aren't there out of merit, but out of punter's panic.
We've not had any serious money in the Outright yet and we don't have any particular affinity to any song or country so we reckon our predictions are about as objective as you'll find anywhere. Our suspicion is that despite all the craziness in the market, it will most likely come down to Israel or Cyprus. We think Israel will have a high jury vote and a medium televote whereas Cyprus will have a high televote and a medium jury vote - it wouldn't surprise us if the result is a close one. You're out of luck if you want to wait for either of their stats to come in on the night, both Israel and Cyprus perform late in the show so you'll have the 10 - 20 minute stats available at best (that is, if you're a registered user). At a stretch we think Cyprus will get a greater share of the jury vote than Israel will get of the televote, Cyprus' semi-final numbers have also been stronger than Israel's on all metrics which suggests this is likely to be true. Our best guess for now is that Cyprus wins.
Our advice to you would be to not get too invested in the Outright market and instead target the Top 10 and Top 5 markets. The stats are likely to be too close to call for Israel and Cyprus in the final either way. You should be able to get a reasonable indication of whereabouts countries have placed by analysing the stats and focus your efforts in making money on the Top X markets instead.