Who will win?
Our geographic map below of the finalists for Eurovision 2010 contains some fat surprises.
The countries shaded in the map in red, orange and brown DID NOT make the finals and they show a contiguous mass of nations running from Sweden and Finland in the North to Italy and Malta in the South, including most of what we might call the traditional "Eastern Europe" border countries.
The various shades of green show the countries that DID make the finals and they are concentrated in what we might call "Asiatic Europe" while the two yellow shades show the "Big 4 nations" (Germany, UK, France and Spain) who are the major financial supporters of Eurovision and who do not have to qualify for the finals. This geographic map in 2010 is REMARKABLE to say the least because it shows how the focus of this year's finalists has shifted quite definitely to Asiatic Europe, where a winner in 2010 is the most likely.
The trend suggests that although the competition takes place in last year's winner Norway, the north countries of Europe have generally not done well thus far in this year's competition, with Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all failing to make the finals. Three+one of those countries (Sweden, Finland, Latvia, plus Norway) are all former Eurovision winners. So, in terms of the Eurovision music trends, we are looking for a winner further South this year.
Bwin.com has the following odds posted for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest (odds as of 15:49 Central European Time, 29 May 2010, so they may change from that yet in coming hours). Other bookmakers have different odds but we think bwin.com is closest to reality - of course, only the actual contest results will reveal the truth. We disclaim any and all liability for any reliance on this posting which is made only in good fun and not as advice of any kind.
Below are some of our comments on some of the major contenders based on our review of rehearsals and newest developments:
Safira's second rehearsal - Azerbaijan
This is currently the top favorite, having only slight edge over Germany. It is rather incredible and a great credit to the country that Azerbaijan is being handled as a favorite of this contest. Azerbaijan is on the far east end of "Europe" on the Caspian Sea, far from the European mainstream countries. Safura has a great song and a professional voice, if it holds up live -- which may be an issue, but the stage steps and costuming in the 2nd rehearsal were distracting - these negative live show effects could cost Azerbaijan the win. After all, it is the TOTAL performance which is essential, not merely the song.
Lena's second rehearsal - Germany
Lena was long the favorite coming into the finals and many still think she is the prohibitive favorite, quite apart from the polls and betting agencies, since she has the ability to win instant supporters, which may turn the tide in her favor when the professional juries AND public vote on the winner. Lena is someone who you either like or not, there seems to be no inbetween. Being from Germany, we are of course biased and will root that Lena wins. This is a zippy unique song written in part by an American, and the success of the song is very much dependent on the artist's presentation, which must match the song's innocent mood.
(Update: Lena won! no arm sleeves, tattoo and all.)
Eva Riva's second rehearsal
A favorite made in Armenia? but it is true. Eva Riva has undeniable natural star allure and the song itself is good enough to put Armenia into the upper echelons this year, though we doubt that it can win because of the song's strong "Eastern" tone and lack of uniqueness.
Harel Skaat - Israel
This is a nice chanson, of which there are many, and we see nothing that sets this song apart from hundreds of others. It will receive lots of middle-field votes but it is not unique enough to win.
maNga's second rehearsal - Turkey
Because of the many Turks living in Europe who vote straight Turkey, the Turkish song is almost always a force to be reckoned with in the voting. Turkey to its credit has also been successful in producing some great songs for Eurovision. maNga continues this tradition with a great show. The song itself is probably not universal enough to win and the robot to human transformation in the background is at best only a distraction
Chanée & N'evergreen's second rehearsal
The Danes have the ability year after year to produce eminently listenable songs and this is one of them., a male-female duet. The presentation probably lacks the show effects necessary to win.
Giorgos Alkaios & Friends second rehearsal - Greece
Opa!! This our personal favorite to whom we would give 12 points.
We love this song from Greece which just makes you smile all the way through. The Greeks are a definite dark horse contender, though the all-male element of the presentation may not be everyone's cup of tea. The dance choreography has an intuitive happy character while the entire presentation exudes power. The song "Opa" - the word in Greek is an expression of jubilation -- is a real crowd pleaser and the odds on a win by Greece have been moving steadily downward.
Tom Dice's Second rehearsal
For someone strumming a guitar and singing along to win Eurovision, the voice and/or song would have to be sensational. As it is, it is nice, but this is not an Eurovision winner. We would not rank the Belgian song this high.
Paula Seling & Ovi's first rehearsal
"Playing with Fire" is a great title, but is Eurovision ready for two pianos and leather? Paula has definitely got it, but the song itself is nothing in particular.
Milan Stanković's second rehearsal
Can "modern ethnic" gather in votes? We shall find out. If they can, Serbia may do better than expected.