Written by: Eurovision Deepthroat
Tonight the big night finally arrives and we get to find out where we’re all going to spend a fortnight of free beer, weird food and punishing late nights this time next year. Oh, and of course the songs. We mustn’t forget the songs. So which of the 26 golden voices on show tonight is going to help us start planning our annual visit to Eurovision funland? Let’s look at the contenders…
The bookie’s favourite
Sweden have been skirting with evens in the betting almost since the book was opened, and are surely the hottest favourite to win this thing in years. But while it’s true that it’s a stunning performance that you just can’t take your eyes away from, we’re still not convinced it’s got the broad appeal to take us back to Stockholm next year. Will they prove us wrong?
Coral’s odds: 5/4
The people’s favourite
There’s no denying the Russian nans have been the stars of this year’s show. Everywhere they go, they’re followed by a buzzing media storm that has seen them on the front pages of every newspaper in Europe. And when the good people of Europe see the money shot of tiny nan grinning toothlessly to the camera they will fall in collective love and vote for them in their droves. But will the reputedly over-serious juries scupper their chances and cause a riot in the hall. Could be an interesting night for the old gals.
Coral’s odds: 11/2
The experienced jockey
Serbia’s Željko Joksimović has been here before, coming second back in 2004. He even hosted the thing when it was held in Belgrade, so he should be at total ease on the big stage tonight. And while his song this year isn’t a patch on Lane Moje, it’s presented fabulously well, and should be there or thereabouts in the run in.
Coral’s odds: 15/2
The party chick
Italy’s Nina Zilli has been out smoking, drinking and generally carousing most nights since they arrived, but her dusky voice and attractively grubby smirk has won her a million friends out here, and her song is the one all the cool kids are hoping will win – despite protestations from her delegation that they really don’t want to win. But maybe it’s just a bit too cool to appear to the massed housewives of the east. Turin 2013 has a lovely ring to it, mind.
Coral’s odds: 10/1
The old gunfighter
King Engelbert’s gently regal demeanour and incredible velvet pipes have been wowing even the most cynical hack out here all week. He’s been plugged with a bum draw, but considering the dreary few songs following on his tail he’s stand above them like a beacon of easy cool. But he couldn’t go the whole hog and win the thing for us? Could he?
Coral’s odds: 16/1
The terrible twins
No one much is considering Jedward as serious title contenders, but they’ve been putting in the groundwork around the Balkans and the ex-Soviets and are being met with screaming girls wherever they go out here. And don’t forget, the rest of Europe doesn’t carry the same Jedward baggage that we do, so you might be looking at a decent outside each way bet for this pair.
Coral’s odds: 18/1
The party anthem
The Romanian pop stomper was clearly written more for the Costas than this contest, but with its Cuban influences and Spanish lyric it’s the one real toe-tapper that could stand a remotely decent stab as winner.
Coral’s odds: 22/1
The chasing pack
Although we expect the winner to come from the selected few above, there’s a few form horses coming in on the rails who might give the bookies a few nervous moments on the night.
Spain‘s immense Disney ballad has been charging up the odds over the last couple of days, but might be just a tad to transatlantic to bag the big one. But 22/1 seems like a good value bet if you can still catch it.
Denmark is beloved by the press pack, and looks great, but her voice has been giving her problems over the last few days and she might just struggle on the night. 25/1 is about its money.
Germany is perhaps a bit too Cardle to go the whole way, but his easy, everyman-in-a-vest charm might pull him into the running. No better than a decent E/W at 25/1.
Ukraine: If you’re looking for a decent outside bet this is it. Big, brassy and impossible not to sing along to, it’s a mystery why this is still only 25/1.
You should never discount the home country, but no host has won it since the dark years of Irish domination in the 1990s. A classy, if regulation ballad, with a tremendous frock and the will of a nation behind it, it should finish somewhere near the frame without ever looking like a winner. 33/1 might lure a few to flutter a few bob though.
Hungary, Malta, Bosnia, Lithuania and Macedonia probably won their battle getting to the final, so should scarcely show on the night. France look cut adrift in the middle order, while Iceland, Turkey, Estonia and Norway may pick up the odd early 12 pointer, but shouldn’t trouble the scorers too unduly. Cyprus and Greece will pick up the party votes across the continent, but may just cancel each other out, but there’s one song that’s just too tricky to call.
Albania had an entire arena (and indeed most of the press centre) on the verge of tears in her semi with her jaw-dropping, spine-tingling performance in the semi on Tuesday. Our brain tells us that it’s perhaps a touch to difficult to get a decent result. But there’s something about that tiny lady with the dreads that makes you want to drop everything that you’re doing and just watch. We can’t see her as an overall winner, but she may just surprise a few on the night, so the very generous odds of 100/1 seem just too tasty to avoid.
But what do we know. We’ve been so darned close to this whole thing for song long that we think the nice man who checks our bags on the way in has got a decent chance of winning. Just make sure to watch tonight, pick your own winner, and let us know how wrong we’ve got it. But one thing’s for sure – it’s going to be one of the most exciting Eurovisions for years!
There’s still time to have that one last punt though. So don’t forget to take a look at Coral for some very attractive odds!
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