|Bulgaria To Win: Each Way||14/1||Unibet|
|Lay France For a Top 3 Finish||2.75||SpreadEx|
|Ukraine For a Top 10 Finish||2/1||William Hill|
The 65th Eurovision Song Contest is almost upon us. With the Netherland’s being the defending champions (from way back in 2019) Rotterdam is this year’s host city and the 16,400 capacity Ahoy Arena is the venue – it’s not going to need all those seats!
In total 39 countries are set to take part with two semi-finals scheduled for May 18 and May 20. The final is slated for May 22. It will consist of the top-10 from both semis plus six countries which are automatically fast-tracked to the final every year: The defending champions, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Following the cancellation of the 2020 Eurovision, 24 countries announced they would allow the same artists to represent them in 2021. As a result it is fair to say the overall song quality is lower, and very different, than the abandoned show from 12 months ago.
LISTEN: Gambling.com's Eurovision Betting Preview Podcast 2021
Of course once a year Eurovision viewers would not know that. Those that take the event seriously would be fully aware the songs and acts are made available for all to see and hear weeks and months ahead of the show. Additionally there is traditionally a host of ‘pre-parties’ all around Europe which serve as warm-ups for acts who have a ticket booked to the main event.
The ongoing Covid pandemic put an end to most of these in 2021 but the Spanish managed to piece together an online party during the last Saturday in April – it saw 31 of the 39 acts perform remotely and 100,132 people watch all or part of the concert streamed live on YouTube.
Eurovision 2021: Best Outright Winner Odds
|Nation||Best Odds||Bet With|
Malta’s Got Talent
Of course all you are probably interested in is the likely winner or, from a betting viewpoint, any angles that can be used to win some cash. We are talking top three, top five and top 10 finishes, semi-final winners and even the act which will finish last.
The longstanding favourites are Malta (who have never won Eurovison but have come second twice – in 2002 and 2005) with a song performed by 18-year-old ‘Destiny’. You may recognise her from the eleventh series of the UK’s Britain's Got Talent where she finished sixth in her semi-final.
Countdown to #Eurovision ...Malta are the current favourites. If you think you recognise their performer 'Destiny' you probably watched the eleventh series of Britain's Got Talent where she finished sixth in her semi-final. She is still only 18! pic.twitter.com/97h0fe35cT— Roy B (@RoyTheBoyF1) April 27, 2021
Destiny’s song, ‘Je me casse’, is a clubby-dance female empowerment kind of number. The singer herself is quirky, akin to 2018 Israeli winner, Netta. So far it’s been a hit with pollsters but naysayers will point out over 90% of Maltese are voting for their own song and the song lacks a chorus which is normally considered essential for this type of track.
Je n'aime pas la France
Second best, according to the bookmakers at 4/1, is France. They have won Eurovison five times but not since 1977 and Europe’s third biggest country has breached the top 10 just once in the past decade. That is a very poor record given they are automatically placed in the final every year.
Twenty-eight-year-old Barbara Pravi is the performer of their song, Voilà, and for me it hasn’t got a chance of making the top three. Firstly it is a depressing track, which would fit nicely in the sad reflective segment of a rom-com (involving a Gallic hunk of course), that is sung entirely in French. Non-English speaking songs have a very poor record in Eurovision.
France are clearly not feeling love from any of the 11 countries which border it and vitally this genre of song has a dire record in the contest. You cannot forget their 2011 candidate – the year the country traded as short as even-money on finals night – 21-year-old operatic singer Amaury Vassili who bombed so badly he finished 15th (and was ‘done’ at 1.01 for a top 10 finish on the betting exchanges).
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Ukraine To Trump The Old Enemy?
So if we have the favourites beaten, who can we expect to fill the top spots including the highest step on the Eurovision podium? At a huge price Ukraine is a contender. They have an excellent overall record winning twice and finishing second twice. Impressive stuff for a country that only made their debut in 2003 and can boast an additional five top 10 finishes.
In 2016 Ukraine won the competition with a completely unfancied and pretty woeful song, ‘1944’. However, this was a political winner as the lyrics for ‘1944’ (sung in English and Crimean Tatar) entailed the deportation of the Crimean Tatars in the 1940s by the Soviet Union. As the Russians had recently annexed Crimea this was a political hot potato.
Russia’s state broadcaster boycotted the following year’s contest after Ukraine, the host country, barred entry to their Russian contestant because she had performed in Crimea after the region was annexed by Russia.
Ultimately Eurovision rules prohibit songs with lyrics that could be interpreted as having ‘political content’ so this one slipped under the radar. 2021’s Ukrainian entry is subtly directed at the former USSR’s involvement with the Chornobyl nuclear disaster meaning it has Moscow’s fingerprint on it.
Until recently Russia had thousands of troops camped on the Ukrainian border and if that had escalated an ‘outrage vote’ could have carried the country to Eurovison victory. Popular with the voters of neighbouring countries and other former soviet states, Unibet’s 2/1 about Ukraine making the top ten with their song, which is best described as an 80’s electric track with some additional input from a flute, is still a great proposition.
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Finland’s Rocking It Too
Recall Lordi who won the 2006 Eurovision for Finland. On that occasion theirs was a heavy metal song and hard-core act. 15 years later they have their best chance since with a rock song which sounds like something straight out of Linkin Park’s portfolio. Musically, this is not a classic, but this year it will receive 100% of the rock vote as it stands alone in that category and that could be enough to push them into the top 10 too.
Fellow Scandinavian country Sweden have an unbelievable overall and recent Eurovision record. A top six finisher in eight of the past nine years, they know what it takes to attract votes and this year they believe that is a 19-year-old black artist called Tusse.
He booked his place in Eurovision by beating 27 rivals in the hugely popular Melodifestivalen 2021. While his talent is clear to see (and hear), surely his embarrassingly repetitive song, ‘Voices’, is going to come up short in the race for gold.
Bulgaria’s Victoria Gets Our Vote For Victory
Bulgaria, with a second and fourth from their last three appearances, are clearly not suffering from the unpopularity that has blighted the UK, Russia and even France in recent times and I believe they can improve on the 2017 runner-up spot courtesy of a captivating solo female effort from ‘Victoria’ who sings ‘Growing Up is Getting Old’.
Her performance during the Spanish online party night smashed her rivals out of the ballpark (checkout PrePartyES 2021 on YouTube if you don’t believe us) and the country has surged up the opinion polls ever since. That’s enough to get my each-way money (for 14/1 and a ¼ the odds head to William Hill) amongst a field that lacks strength and depth.