Last night, the second semi-final of Eurovision 2019 took place and the ten qualifiers drew halves for the final. Producers then went to work preparing the running order of the grand final. We are now going to analyse the draw and see what it might mean for your favourites.
Since 2013, the running order has been determined by producers. The intent is to put together the best show possible. This is done by providing a degree of variation in genre and feel, rather than, for instance, giving us six ballads in a row. The running order also takes staging requirements into consideration, ensuring that large props won’t be crowding the off-stage area all at once, nor will we get a glut of performances all with the same colour lighting.
Bearing all of this in mind, let’s take a look at what the draw means. We are primarily going to focus on the contest from 2013 onwards, as the running order was determined completely randomly before this.
Malta will open the show with Michela’s “Chameleon”. While nobody has won the contest from this position in recent years, it is certainly possible to achieve a good result. Laura Tesoro of Belgium finished 10th in 2016 and Mariya Yaremchuk of Ukraine finished 6th in 2014 after opening the show.
Second in the running order is generally considered the “death slot”. Nobody has ever won the contest singing second in the final. Since 2013, Teo of Belarus achieved the best result from this position, placing 16th in 2014. He is also the only act to make the Top 20 from this spot since 2013. As such, the signs are not looking good for Jonida Maliqi of Albania.
Sergey Lazarev of Russia was considered a big favourite coming into the contest. He will sing fifth, which may be considered too early for a winner. The last person to win from this early in the piece was Turkey’s Sertab Erener in 2003 who sang fourth. However, Cesár Sampson won the jury vote from this position last year and finished 3rd overall. Going further back, Armenia’s Sirusho finished 4th from the same spot in the running order in 2008 and received the most douze points that year. Combined with the fact that Russia is surrounded by acts that are not predicted by bookies to contend may indicate that Russia’s draw is not as bad as it appears on the surface.
John Lundvik of Sweden is one of the favourites to win, currently sitting third in the odds. He will sing 9th, situated between two slower songs in North Macedonia and Slovenia, allowing him to shine. This is a solid draw for Sweden, singing one position earlier than their win in 2015. The draw suggests Sweden did rather well in the semi-final. However, if John won, it would be the earliest a winner has performed since the rule change.
Cyprus will sing 11th — the same position as Austria in 2014 and Portugal in 2017 for their wins. The Netherlands will go 12th in what is undeniably a very favourable draw for the competition favourite. While nobody has won from 12th in the 2000s, a late first half draw is prime position to strike for the title. Australia’s Guy Sebastian most recently managed a Top 5 finish from this spot in the running order in 2015.
Greece sing 13th, closing out the first half. On the surface, this may appear to be a great draw. After all, Dami Im won the jury vote and came 2nd from this spot in 2016. Loïc Nottet came 4th and Sanna Nielsen came 3rd from the same spot in 2015 and 2014 respectively. However, they are singing between the favourite and the host country, which may make this draw a little tougher for Greece.
Iceland will sing 17th, the same position as Loreen, Marija Serifovic and Lordi. Since the rule change, Emmelie de Forest sang 18th, which would suggest Hatari’s draw is generally positive. There are also no heavyweights within earshot of Iceland according to the bookies.
A run of strong songs follows with Azerbaijan, France and Italy singing 20th to 22nd. All three countries are in the Top 10 to win with bookmakers and have great spots in the running order. Alexander Rybak won from 20th, Jamala from 21st and Lena and Netta both won from 22nd.
The bookies’ second favourite Australia has also been given prime real estate at 25th. Nobody has won from quite so late in recent years but the runner-up has sang 25th in both of the last two years. This indicates Australia did well in — and possibly won — their semi-final, much like Bulgaria’s Kristian Kostov in 2017. Going back to 2008, Dima Bilan sang second last in his victory for Russia. Switzerland are on right before Australia and may benefit from the contrast of singing between Serbia and Australia.
Spain will close the show in what is also a favourable draw. Italy managed a Top 5 finish last year from the same spot and Armenia and Italy have both managed Top 10 finishes in recent years from that position with Iveta Mukuchyan and Il Volo respectively. In Il Volo’s case, they won the televote after singing last.
What do you think of the running order? Who will benefit from it and who will be hindered by it? Let us know in the comments below.