As we approach another weekend chocked full of National Final action we now have nearly half the songs for this year’s Contest. Of course, we don’t have the exact versions of all of these entries. We still need to hear three minute versions of ‘Mall’ and ‘Non mi avete fatto niente’ and of course, the crushing inevitability that some songs will end up switching to English. Regardless, we are now getting a decent idea of how the 2018 Contest is shaping up. Have we heard our winner yet? I certainly haven’t.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these people who pops up every March/April with ‘this is going to be the worst Eurovision ever’. I actually think it’s lining up to be another decent year. Sure, I would’ve preferred the majesty of Madara and her cello and some thigh slapping fun from voXXclub but as it stands we have a solid selection thus far. However, when looking at our 21 selected songs and released NF playlists there’s not one out and out winner.
It’s always something a risk to pay too much heed to betting odds at Eurovision but if we do there’s a fairly telling sign. Currently sitting pretty with the bookies is a country whose song hasn’t even been released yet.
The highly anticipated entry from Bulgaria has been more favourably backed than any other entry thus far. The fact a song that won’t be publicly released until 12th March currently out ranks all entries we have actually heard says all you need to know. As I say though these odds really are to be taken with a pinch a salt, after all look at who’s 7th favourite. Sheesh
When considering this matter it would be pertinent to ponder whether or not we’ve normally heard the favourite by now. Looking back at the average dates of when we’ve first heard the highly tipped songs of the last decade, we probably should’ve heard our winner by early March. Looking at an average of the last 10 years the pre-Contest favourite has been released on the 53rd day of the year, 22nd February. In terms of the actual winner it’s even earlier, having normally appeared on the 18th of the month. Only three times in the past decade have we had to wait till March. Perhaps, we may be in for a year like 2014. It wasn’t until 14th March that we got to hear the favourite and then a further three days until we were graced with ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’. We may have to play the waiting game just a wee while longer.
Having no stand out favourite is, of course, no bad thing. In recent years Rybak, Lena, Loreen, EdF and Mans have all romped home to wins with little competition. Having an entirely open year going into the first two weeks of May will only help build the excitement further. Over the last two years we have seen the pre-Contest faves get bounced on the night. In both cases it took stand out songs with good PR stories behind them to come up on the rails and oust the favourites. To have a completely open field with no obvious winner would certainly be welcome change. Though the last time this happened a bland romantic duet managed to sneak up and take victo…oh Christ no!