*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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Thursday’s Semi Final 2 sees Ireland make their first and probably only performance in this year’s Eurovision as we look to fail to qualify for the final for the 7th time in 8 years. This year’s entry “That’s Rich” by Brooke Scullion looked a dead-cert not to qualify when it debuted on the Late Late Show back in January. It ticked every box of poor vocals, cheap staging and dated song. Admittedly, it has improved since then but from a very low starting point, vocals and staging have made progress but it would still be a surprise to see this make it through to Saturday’s final.
At least it looks promising that we won’t finish dead last of the semi-final entrants like we have for our last two appearances.
As mentioned, San Marino’s rock performance is preferred to Finland’s and at a decent price I think it’s worth backing the Finn’s not to qualify. They open the show which has its benefits but if they deliver a dodgy vocal performance like in rehearsals they could fall foul and miss out like Albania did from that slot on Tuesday.
Malta and Cyprus are others I feel could fail to qualify. Both are currently considered to have about a 50/50 chance to get through but vocals again are iffy which could count against them in them in the jury vote and I don’t think they stand out that much to pull in too much of a televote.
Who knows, if both miss out it gives Ireland some feint hope to cause a shock and qualify.
At the other end of the market Sweden (our arch-rivals in overall Eurovision success, one behind our 7 wins and likely to bridge that gap in the not too distant future) are deserved favourites to win this semi-final with a very polished performance by Cornelia Jakobs with “Hold me Closer” that is likely to score very well with juries.
It is somewhat of a grower though which might mean it doesn’t resonate immediately with the public. For that reason and considering their short price it is worth opposing them to place first in the semi-final. Serbia would have been outside bet in this market had they been drawn a more favourable slot but appearing 3rd will likely diminish any top spot hopes for them.
Poland are the best alternative to win Semi-final 2. Like Sweden, they have a favourable draw in the second half of the semi-final and will score well with juries. While Sweden edges it with the song, Poland has the more memorable staging which gives me hope they can get closer to Sweden here than their odds suggest
Again, please note that Semi-final winners won’t be revealed until after Saturday’s show.
Serbia have an excellent record of qualification from the semi’s making it through 10 times out of their 13 attempts. Their entry this year will stand-out for their unusual song (which mentions Meghan Markle’s hair in Serbian) and capturing staging and delivery. I expect it to overcome it’s tricky slot performing 3rd and ease through to the final.
San Marino are the true underdogs of Eurovision illustrated by them only qualifying once in their first 9 attempts. But they have turned this around with recent success and are looking to make it 3 qualifications in a row. Their punk rock entry entitled “Stripper” appears to be trying to replicate Maneskin’s success last year with Italy and while their entry is nowhere near as strong as that it still could squeak through.
Punk/Hard Rock have had recent success at the Eurovision which is likely why there are two entries falling under that genre in this semi-final and I think San Marino’s eclipses the more fancied Finland’s entry entitled “Jezebel”.
There are a lot of similar standard entries in this semi-final which means I think it’s worth chancing one at the higher end of the odds. Israel have been drawn the death slot at number 2 and if it weren’t for that I think they would be close to odds-on to qualify.
Their upbeat dance-pop entry will go down well with certain Eurovision fans and that boost from a televote might be enough for it to scrape through into the final.
- Poland to win Semi-final 2
- Serbia, San Marino and Israel to qualify
- Finland, Malta and Cyprus not to qualify
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