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.

Oh, what could’ve been…

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.

2018 odds

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.

Cookie Monster waiting on all these bloody internal selections.

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!

Madrid 2019 anyone?

3 thoughts on “Waiting on a Winner: The Hunt Continues…

  1. Interesting article, thanks. When you say ” 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.” Do you mean this is the date that it was confirmed as the song which would be representing the country, or the first time that it was heard as a contender hoping to represent the country in question?


  2. I don’t think that Måns would agree that he ‘romped home’ with no competition – remember that Il Volo won the public vote in 2015 and Polina pushed him up until two thirds of the votes were in – it was still anyone’s game before the final voting started!

    As for the acts this year you mentioned, they simply didn’t have the backing of anyone in their country – Michael Schulte won by a landslide in Germany and MADARA didn’t win any of the five different votes that Latvia ran (SMS, internet, spotify, jury, televote). As for Tamar, I think the fact that she is based in the USA really counted against her, as did her being paraded into the studio for Depi on a couch as though she was a queen to be crowned…

    You possibly have it right though as far as hearing a winner – no real standouts so far, so we might be in for a 2011 scenario, the artist who hits that two week window in Lisbon full on and nails it gets the win.


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