His song “Occidentali’s Karma” has already topped the Italian FIMI Singles Chart and racked up 34 million views on YouTube. And now, as the wave of hype swells further still, Italy’s Francesco Gabbani finds himself as the odds-on favourite to win Eurovision 2017.
As of February 27 at 21:00 GMT, leading betting agencies William Hill and Betfred had the Italian singer sitting pretty with odds to win of 2/1.
Francesco’s song, which some mistake as silly and shallow, is actually built around a series of scientific and philosophical references. It cleverly spears man’s evolution from ape to Chanel shopper, questioning some of our less enviable dimensions. Fans, including many of us at wiwibloggs, have embraced the song musically. And Desmond Morris, the famed animal behaviourist who inspired the song, has also endorsed it intellectually.
“I’ve read the lyrics and I’ve been fascinated by their beauty, culture and richness of citations,” he recently told La Repubblica. “Never heard anything like this, perhaps only in Bob Dylan and John Lennon…the precision and sophistication of the lyrics is something I know because I met Lennon and we often talked about this art.”
The bookies currently have Sweden listed as second-favourite to win – despite the fact the country hasn’t even chosen its winner. Their high ranking stems, no doubt, from Sweden’s recent strength at the contest and, to some extent, the selection of songs in this year’s Melodifestivalen.
At the moment “Hold On” singer Nano is the favourite to win in Sweden (with his odds at 2/1 there), though the Swedish bookies have Melfest 2016 runner-up Wiktoria within striking distance (at 7/2).
Russia currently finds itself down as third favourite to win Eurovision 2017. Its historical strength in the contest, coupled with a rather impressive shortlist of artists, have given the bookies hope for success. But Russia isn’t alone. Its yet-to-be-revealed artist shares third position with Greece’s Demy, who is already known to be working with a dream team on her song and staging.
The rest of the Top 10 includes Australia, which will reveal its song and artist on March 7; Romania, whose selection includes a rather fantastic yodeller; Bulgaria, where Gery-Nikol remains prominent among the rumoured contenders; Estonia, which will choose between Kerli, Elina Born, and Laura & Koit (and some others) on March 4; Azerbaijan, where DiHaj will likely go for something edgy and electronic; and Armenia, which is fielding balladeer Artsvik.
Eurovision 2017 Odds to win (27 February 2017 at 21:00 GMT)
At the other end of the spectrum, a handful of acts currently share last place, all with odds of 100/1.
Among these are Austria’s Nathan Trent, whose song leaked on Spotify on Sunday evening; Albania’s Lindita Halimi, who will reveal her revamp of “Botë” in the weeks ahead; Germany’s Levinia, whose song still reminds us of Sia’s “Titanium”; Slovenia’s Omar Naber, who is serving West End musical theatre realness with “On My Way”; Malta’s Claudia Faniello, who stunned fans with her upset of Brooke Borg and Janice Mangion at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest; and Spain’s Manel Navarro, who faced the most controversial selection in recent memory.
What do you make of the odds? Is this another case of Sweden 2012 and Denmark 2013 when we knew the winner ages in advance? Let us know in the comments box below.