While Eurovision may first and foremost be a singing competition, it’s difficult to deny that the voting sequence in the last third of the show is what provides the most entertainment. Producers take us on a whistle stop tour of Europe (and in some cases a bit further afield…), as spokespersons display horrendous fashion, gush insincerely about “the great show” and, in some cases, try and singularly fail at comedy. Before the show starts, Team Wiwi offer a quick guide to where we think points are going tonight. This is based purely on historical voting patterns, not our opinions of the songs…
The Scandinavians, Baltics and Ex-Soviets
Let’s not kid ourselves – in a Grand Final swimming in former Soviet Republics and the always solid Scandinavian bloc, there’s going to be A LOT of neighbourly voting. The strongest entries from those blocs will likely hoover up those points.
Norway’s Carl Espen and Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen will be squaring off for the 12s from Denmark, Finland and Iceland—and Norway and Sweden will likely give 12s to each other.
The former Soviet states are a little less predictable this year, owing to political cleavages between Russia and Ukraine. The conflict seems to have weakened the bloc’s identity. The strongest two songs from the bloc – Ukraine and Armenia – will each lose out on points from one of the constituent countries (Russia for Ukraine and Azerbaijan for Armenia). Fortunately for Kyiv it can also count on points from its other neighbours Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova.
That only leaves Belarus for the two to squabble over. The strong competition in the leading blocs will also make it difficult for either one to produce the winner off the back of neighbourly points alone. They need to translate across borders. Adding interest to this bloc rivalry will be the Baltic States. Since none of the three states have qualified, their votes are up for grabs and they have a history of splitting votes between the competing Scandis and ex-Soviets.
The Balkan pack has been slimmed down to a trim fillet of countries this year. Romania, Greece, Slovenia and lastly Grand Final debutante Montenegro are the only survivors of the Danish exchange rate and the Semi-Finals. Romania and Greece will take the lion’s share of 12s and will likely give each other their top points in absence of their voting alliance partners Moldova and Cyprus. Slovenia is, however, in real trouble. The last time they made the Grand Final they picked up a lot of points from other countries of the Former Yugoslavia, of whom only F.Y.R Macedonia remains in the Contest. If 2011 provides any indication, Ljublijana are in for a perilous evening on the scoreboard. Montenegro are an unknown entity. They’ve scored well previously from Albania and San Marino in the semi-finals so might expect a few surprise marks, but with competition like Greece and Romania from the region, they’re unlikely to light up the scoreboard. That said, Sergej did say in a press conference that he was singing for Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia—his Balkan neighbours who didn’t show up to the party….
Central and Southern Europe
Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Malta, San Marino, Switzerland and Poland all have mixed track records at the Contest. Leading the pack Italy and Hungary can count on high scores from across the continent – Spain seem likely to furnish big points for Italy, having given Rome their 12 in 2011 and 2013. Hungary likewise seems almost certain to benefit from Finland’s 12, having also taken it in 2011 and 2013.
Malta shocked everyone last year by performing so well but ‘Coming Home’ lacks the charm of ‘Tomorrow’. It does, however, have a much better draw than Gianluca did. Switzerland faired appallingly the last time they qualified so hopefully Sebalter can count on doing a bit better and picking up some points from France and Italy, which have given a few points to Swiss acts in the past.
San Marino’s Valentina Monetta may be a fan favourite but she’s unlikely to do much beyond dance in her clam shell. She’s performing between the Netherlands and the UK, and without wishing to tempt fate, will likely be passed over between the two. She still has a chance of pulling in a few points, though – she did manage to qualify!
Poland are also an unknown quantity. Since they haven’t actually been at a final since 2008 it’s pretty hard to say what will happen but it’s likely the juries have killed off any chances of Polish success at the Contest. The butter-churning may get some TV-viewers going and is likely to pick up points in the spoof-act inclined United Kingdom and Ireland.
Elaiza are vocally more promising than Cascada, but ‘Is It Right’ becomes repetitive and lacks the punch of ‘Glorious’. Despite performing one place later than Cascada, Elaiza are sandwiched between Conchita and Sanna and it seems likely they’re the palate cleanser between courses. A sympathy twelve from Austria is likely the best the girls can hope for on the night.
Lastly there’s Austria – the great unknown. Conchita dazzled hardcore fans, but she also dazzled casual viewers on Thursday. If the performance won over the juries then Conchita has every chance of doing well despite the likelihood of nil points from the ex-Soviets. Germany should send twelve her way and, due to feverish coverage in the Benelux press, it seems likely she might take 12 from Brussels and Amsterdam too.
This is one great big unknown. Spain, United Kingdom and the Netherlands are (rather unusually) all fielding confident songs and performers in the winner-producing golden mile of 17th-26th place. France’s ‘Moustache’ is likely to suffer from its draw and the fact that, deep as the message may be, it will have been lost on jurors. The best result would be a re-run of Jessy Matador in 2010 but ‘Moustache’s is perhaps a little too lyrically complex to replicate that perfectly.
Though the UK and the Netherlands are the most highly rated of the acts from Western Europe, Spain should not be counted out. Ruth can probably count on the top score from Portugal and the UK will send big points their way – they gave Pastora 8 in 2012 and Jedward won the top mark and 10 points in 2011-12. And lest we forget: Spain’s Ruth Lorenzo is still famous in the UK because of X Factor!