Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision 2024 Grand Final: Croatia to take fan vote, Germany to fail again

Croatia's Eurovision entry Baby Lasagna
Croatia might not catch the juries' imagination, but fans love them

It's been a classic Eurovision week, full of twists and turns in the market, and Kevin Hatchard is back to preview the Grand Final in Sweden.

Eurovision Grand Final
Saturday 11 May, 20:00
Live on BBC One

Croatia still the market leader

I said in my Semi-Final 1 preview that I'm opposing Croatia as the overall Winner here, and although Baby Lasagna's "Rim Tim Tagi Dim" is an earworm with impactful and enthusiastic staging, my theory is that it just won't be enough of a hit with juries to take the prize. However, it's worth noting that Croatia has been placed favourably at 23rd in the running order, which should make sure the televote is still massive (overall points are decided 50-50 between televotes and jury votes).

There were a couple of really interesting developments after the second semi-final on Thursday. The first is that despite my Winner tip Nemo absolutely nailing their performance of "The Code" (you can read more about my thoughts on Nemo here), Switzerland drifted out to 7.06/1, largely because of a big market move from Israel.

Now, as we know, Eurovision styles itself as non-political, but outside forces often have an impact. Ukraine didn't have anywhere near the best song in 2022, but romped to victory on a wave of sympathy following the Russian invasion. Israel's "Hurricane" is strongly performed by 20-year-old Eden Golan, but the interesting thing was the rumours about a huge televote for the song, which sent its price plummeting.

There have been protests in Malmo about Israel's involvement, and there have been some boos in the arena when Eden has performed, and that seems to have sparked a reaction. We don't know at this stage whether that wave of televote-based sympathy will hold up for the final, but it's sent Croatia's Televote Winner price out to 2.3211/8, and I'm happy to snap that up, as it had been odds-on for ages. Fans have really latched onto Croatia, in a similar way to how they did with Finland last year.

Olly might be waiting Years and Years for Eurovision win

I'm a big fan of Olly Alexander, and I was thrilled to see him selected as the UK entry for this year, because it underlines what I've said for years about the UK needing to pick established and high-quality artists to consistently compete in the contest.

Alas, "Dizzy" just isn't a strong enough song compared to some of the efforts at the top of the market, and the odds of 350.0349/1 in the Winner market seem about right. There are some clever elements in the staging (it looks like Olly is sticking to the ceiling a la Lionel Richie, although I don't remember Lionel being surrounded by thrusting semi-naked men), but as a total package this pales by comparison to a lot of other entries.

I'd love to make a patriotic selection here, but I just can't.

Big guns fighting it out for wooden spoon

While I don't think we'll necessarily see a "nul points" at this year's contest, I think both Germany and Spain are set for a tough night, and I can't see Last Place coming from outside these two.

Germany's Isaak does his level best with "Always On The Run", but it's an uninspiring song, and his gravelly delivery isn't always a pleasant listen. Unless you're a pyromaniac who adores things being set on fire, you'll find the staging pretty bland compared to a lot of the songs in this year's Eurovision.

This is third in the running order, and by the time it comes to voting, no-one will remember it. Germany have finished last in four of the last eight contests, and 25th in two of the others. At 4.77/2, I have to back Germany for Last Place.

You could put half a point on Germany and half a point on Spain, which for me is the weakest entry in the whole contest, and is 3.55 in this market. It's not a good sign that the first few bars sound like that awful Danish Fyr og Flamme nonsense from 2021 Eurovision, and then it gets worse, as Nebulossa's Maria Bas totters around the staging, croaking her way through "Zorra".

Yes, the whole package is high camp, but that's not always the slam dunk for snaring Eurovision fans that you might think. Vocally this is a mess, and it's been buried in the first half of the running order.

I'm amazed that Luxembourg - back in the contest after a long absence - are trading as short as 5.04/1 for last place. Tali's "Fighter" is a fantastic song (number one in the Hatchard Spotify playlist, for what it's worth), she nails the vocals and the dancing, and there's just no way I can see this finishing below both Germany and Spain.

Fun things to watch out for

There are some extraordinary sights and sounds this year.

Finland's Windows95 Man wears a Windows95 cap and t-shirt, emerges from a giant egg, and wiggles around in a posing pouch that barely contains his USB stick.

Latvia's Dons has been styled as a low-budget Avenger, Ireland's Bambie Thug has decided that "screeching witch" is the vibe to go for (you can read why I don't fancy Ireland's entry here), and if you like to rave (and who doesn't?) then Austria is the entry for you.

By the way, if you want a trading guide from Eurovision genius Rob Furber, you can read that here.

*Since this preview was first written, the Netherlands have been disqualified due to an incident involving lead singer Joost Klein and a member of the production crew. The running order remains the same.

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