Where The Euro struggles Eurovision stands strong. Nothing unites Europe like Eurovision. For one night people gather in front of televisions across the continent to eat, drink and judge songs, oh and also complain (a lot) about the voting system.
What is The Eurovision?
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union.
Each member country submits a song (a questionable definition sometimes) to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries’ songs to determine the most popular song in the competition.
The contest began in 1956 and is one of the most watched non-sporting events in the World. It also helped launch the career of Sweden’s finest export (pre Ikea) ABBA and Swiss, French-Canadian singing machine, Celine ’I believe the note does go on’ Dion.
How Does The Eurovision Song Contest Work?
In recent years the show has expanded out as Europe has grown and now features two semi-finals before the main final. Only the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany (and the host nation for that year) are guaranteed a final place, ironically enough four of the nations who probably care least about it.
The semi-finals though make things tricky, because the voting is only conducted among those countries which participate in that semi-final in question and selected nations from the five with an automatic bye to the final. Shocks can occur and therefore I would recommend holding all bets until you can guarantee your act is going to be performing on the night.
What also makes the semi-finals useful is that this gives you a real chance pre-final to see how an act is performed, you can see first hand which acts excite the Eurovision crowd and which songs you remember. The key is that a song must be memorable, because you see a lot of songs in the final and the performance aspect of the show lasts for two hours plus.
Once into the final the order becomes very important and this is known in advance of Saturday’s final. Starting is not statistically a good thing, The past seven winners have come from within the final eight performing acts.
Acts can perform in a language of their choice, with 16 of the last 20 winners having sung in English, although the UK has a terrible record, finishing top ten in just two of the last 14 years.
After all the acts have performed then the telephones lines open (text voting is also available) and this combines with the votes of a jury system in each nation. The votes of each nation are then revealed in a lengthy drawn out process. This allows for plenty of betting in running options as acts can start out strong and fade away or vice versa.
Ten acts will receive points, the tenth act receives just one point and then all the way up to eight points for the third most popular act, ten points for the second act and twelve points for the top act. This is where the real fun starts, Eurovision song points are not just awarded for the best song, but all manner of weird political/social and economic factors.
To prove this point further, seven of the last 12 winners have come from the Balkan and Eastern European countries, where a number of countries in small proximity tend to vote for each other.
Armed with all this Eurovision betting knowledge, I hope you are left singing with joy and not the blues come the show’s finale.