The most anticipated event in the European music scene is almost upon us, with all roads leading to Tel Aviv, Israel for the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Being held at Expo Tel Aviv, the grand final will take place on Saturday May 18 2019. Looking for Eurovision 2019 predictions? Read on for all you need to know about this year’s contest.
In Lisbon, Portugal, last year’s Eurovision win belonged to Israel, with singer Netta storming to victory with her bizarre yet playful song “Toy”.
Largely sung in English, except for the small number of Hebrew slang combined with Japanese pop culture references, the song was a true novelty – with Netta’s performance of the chicken dance in front of shelves full of Maneki-neko figurines the defining image of Lisbon 2018.
This is the fourth time Israel has been victorious in the Eurovision, with the Middle-eastern state previously taking home first place in 1978, 1979 and 1998.
This year, 41 countries will travel to Tel Aviv – with Bulgaria and Ukraine declining to take part. The first semi-final will take place on May 14 2019– with the second semi-final taking place two days later on May 16 2019.
The final will take place on May 18 2019, with 26 countries participating, and all 41 entrant countries eligible to vote.
Six countries are automatically pre-qualified for the grand final. These are the so-called 'Big Five': France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom — and the host country, Israel.
How is the Eurovision winner decided?
There are two sources from which a countries receives points – national juries and via televoting.
After all songs have been performed, each country will give two sets of points: one set given by a jury, and one set given by viewers at home. The points range from 1-8, followed by one country receiving 10 points, and one country receiving the highest amount of 12 points. Viewers can vote by telephone, text message and via an official app.
The jury to televoters ratio is 50/50, but since Eurovision 2017 the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) does have the ability to change this “subject to Reference Group approval” – following large and notable differences between the jury and televoters in recent years.
Naturally, viewers are not allowed to vote for their own country in the grand final or semi-final – and viewers can only vote in the semi-final that their country is participating in. For the pre-qualified countries, their semi-final vote position is pre-determined. In the first, Spain, France, and Israel can vote. In the second, Germany, Italy, and the U.K can do so.
Given the numerous changes in voting rules, annual changes in performers, and even the political make-up of entrants, historical data is largely irrelevant
For 2019 however, one change that has been made is the presentation of the votes. For this year, the order in which the televoting results are revealed will now be determined by the ranking of the jury result.
With the announcement of the televoting results, they will start with the country that has received the fewest points from the juries, and end with the country that has received the highest points from the juries.
The presenters will then announce the sum of points that each song has received from the votes of the televote, across all participating countries.
In order to create the highest level of tension and entertainment, all voting rules and procedures are created and structured in a way to ensure the winner is announced as late into the night as possible.
Is there a winning formula for Eurovision?
For bettors, making Eurovision 2019 predictions can prove difficult as you have to ignore metrics that you’d instantly consider in sports betting.
Given the numerous changes in voting rules, annual changes in performers, and even the political make-up of entrants, historical data is largely irrelevant.
For example, with seven Eurovision victories, Ireland is the most successful nation in Eurovision history – even winning the contest three years in a row from 1992 to 1994 – and yet has failed to make any sort of impact in the past two decades.
So, rather than look at the country that wins, is it worth bettors looking at the type of song – and is there a winning formula for Eurovision?
For starters, each act must sing live, while no live instruments are allowed. Each song must be a maximum of three minutes and not have been released before September 1, 2018 – which gives artists the opportunity for the song to build momentum and possibly chart outside their country of origin.
C major was the most popular key between all entries – but by no means the most popular
For example, Italian singer Mahmood’s entry, a dance song called “Soldi”, was released in February and aside from going straight to number one in his native Italy, has also charted in Croatia and Switzerland - with over 46,000,000 streams on Spotify alone.
In May 2018, the BBC conducted research into whether “happier” or “sadder” songs tend to receive the most votes – and the results should provide bettors with some interesting insight.
Analysing every Eurovision song entered from 2006 until 2018, the research revealed that in eight of the previous 12 contests a song “sadder than the average song” had proved victorious – and it was a trend songwriters appeared to have picked up on. Entries for 2018, the report claimed, were 30% sadder than that of 2006.
For bettors wishing to evaluate songs of Eurovision 2019, it’s suggested they can use a measure of musical positivity called valence to categorise songs as “happy” or “sad” – a measurement used by streaming sites to auto-recommend new music.
Importantly, the measurement ignores lyrics and concentrates solely on a song’s key, harmony, and beat – suggesting singing in English isn’t a necessity if you want to win.
Looking closer at the importance of what key a song is sung in, the data revealed that between 2006 and 2018, C major was the most popular key between all entries – but by no means the most popular.
A perception that high-tempo Euro pop will bring success appears equally outdated - with four entries in the last decade that used 128bpm coming last or second-last
In fact, a song performed in minor key was twice as likely to end up winning - accounting for eight of the previous 12 winners.
Interestingly, despite being almost synonymous with winning entries for decades, a song containing a major key change is also less likely to win than one that does not.
Furthermore, a perception that high-tempo Euro pop will bring success appears equally outdated - with four entries in the last decade that used 128bpm coming last or second-last.
However, given Israel’s victory last year was contrary to much of the above data, bettors need to consider more than just the song when making Eurovision 2019 predictions.
Eurovision voting trends
One of the most important considerations for bettors when making Eurovision 2019 predictions is Eurovision voting trends – namely, the regional block voting that takes place every year.
Statistical analysis of Eurovision voting shows that countries will often vote for each other purely because of political, cultural, or geographical alliance.
There are at least 11 blocks of countries that regularly award each other high points:
- UK and Ireland
- Netherlands and Belgium
- Spain, Portugal and Andorra
- Turkey and Azerbaijan
- Cyprus and Greece
- Georgia and Lithuania
- Romania and Moldova
- Nordic states
- Baltic states
- Balkan countries
- Former Warsaw Pact countries
Previous winner odds
Who are the favourites for Eurovision 2019?
44 years since their last Eurovision victory, 24-year-old Duncan Laurence is currently the favourite to bring home the famous glass microphone. A semi-finalist in The Voice in his native Netherlands, Laurence’s song “Arcade” is a power ballad about “the search for the love of your life”, with the Dutchman admitting the song is inspired by the story of “a loved one who died at a young age.” He is currently 2.630* to win.
Not the first time they have adopted a tried and tested method, Russia are re-sending Sergey Lazarev to Tel Aviv this year – three years after his runner-up finish at Eurovison 2016.
Originally known in his home country as an ex-member of boy band Smash!!, Lazarev’s song “Scream” is a melancholic number with its own music video featuring children and abstract animations. He is currently 5.220* to win.
Second only to Ireland in all-time Eurovision wins, Sweden are sending ex-sprinter and serial songwriter John Lundvik.
London-born, and having moved to Sweden at age six after adoption, Lundvik has also co-written the United Kingdom’s song – “Bigger Than Us” by Michael Rice.
Pinning his own hopes on the gospel-inspired “Too Late For Love” – previous performances suggest Lundvik will be joined onstage with a choir. As the third-favourite, he is 8.990* to win.
Currently fourth-favourite to win Eurovision 2019, Switzerland’s entry comes courtesy of Luca Hanni and his song “She Got Me.”
A winner of German talent show Deutschland sucht den Superstar back in 2012, model/singer Hanni’s effort is sung in English and concerns itself with “dirty dancing” and “getting naughty”. The dance song is currently 9.840* to win.
In conclusion, bettors should err on the side of caution when making Eurovision 2019 predictions – as many ‘go-to’ sources of data that would be used for traditional sports betting are actually redundant in this instance.
For the best possible insight, bettors should pay close attention to, among other things, any pre-existing popularity of a song, its specific genre, sound and speed, and Eurovision voting trends.
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