Grand Final televised on BBC One from 8pm on Saturday
Sweden on track for another dose of euphoria
Back in 2012, Sweden's Loreen wowed the crowd in Baku with a spellbinding performance, as she mixed together the mood and the moves with trophy-winning dance track Euphoria. Fast forward 11 years, and one of Eurovision's most captivating performers is back on the stage.
"Tattoo" isn't quite as breath-taking or energetic as "Euphoria", but it's still a strong vehicle for Loreen's soaring vocals, and her stage presence is as strong as ever.
The staging is cool, as she starts off squeezed between the floor and a massive light-box, only to be gradually liberated as the song progresses.
The overall package really works, and this should be the perfect mix of jury catnip and fan excitement. It's worth remembering that votes are made up of jury votes and viewer votes, with equal importance given to both categories. At time of writing the Winner price has been smashed into 1.538/15, so it's not exactly a thrilling recommendation, but I do think this will win the contest.
The market has Finland as the closest challengers, but I've never quite deciphered the appeal of "Cha Cha Cha" by Kaarija. Our protagonist dons his Incredible Hulk sleeves (you'll see what I mean on the night) and climbs out of a massive crate to deliver a high-energy but really messy song that I can't just see appealing to enough juries.
I've already opposed Finland in the Top 3 market at 1.42/5 in my semi-final previews, and another way to attack them is to lay Kaarija in the Tele Vote Winner market, which concentrates purely on the viewer votes at home. You can lay Finland here at 1.68/13, and even though it's got a decent slot in the running order at 13 (final song of the first half), it shouldn't be odds-on to be a fans' favourite.
If you want a long shot in the Winner market, I'll go with my heart and recommend Norway at 80.079/1, as it's my favourite entry of the whole contest. Alessandra is superb on "Queen of Kings", singing and dancing with gusto.
It's staged well, and it'll do really well in the arena. The only thing that might drag it down slightly is the jury vote, as Alessandra sometimes sounds a bit out of breath. It's Top 5 price of 1.768/11 is fair enough.
UK fans Mae be disappointed
Sam Ryder was in sensational form for the UK last year, finally showing everyone that poor UK performances in years gone by were about song choice and artist choice rather than anything political.
Finally we picked a great singer with some global profile (Sam was and still is a massive social media star) and lo and behold he did well.
Similarly, Mae Muller is a relevant artist with a bit of a track record, but "I Wrote A Song" isn't as strong a package as "Spaceman" was last year. It's a catchy pop song about a break-up, and it'll be helped by the "pimp slot", which means Mae will close the show just before the televoting begins.
However, Mae has struggled a little vocally in some of the pre-Eurovision performances, and the odds of 5.79/2 to finish in the Top 10 seem about right.
Australian entry has promise
A neon, 80s-inspired cityscape. A lead singer who starts a track sat in a sports car. A Bastille-esque opener that slides into rock, and finishes with a keytar riff. What's not to love?
Voyager aren't messing about with "Promise", and their love of Eurovision (they have tried for years to be selected) shines through. They perform this brilliantly, and the running order placement (they are in the second half, performing 15th), shouldn't do their chances of a top-half finish any harm.
I'll back Australia in the Top 15 market at 2.021/1.
Austria are worth considering in the Top 10 market at 2.47/5. "Who the Hell is Edgar?" is absolutely nuts, but it's a proper earworm, and Teya and Salena sell it brilliantly. I feel like the staging could've been even more wild, but it's still an entry that should appeal to fans and juries alike.
The song is about our dynamic duo being inspired to write a killer track after being haunted by the ghost of American literary legend Edgar Allan Poe, but the real message is about songwriters and performers being ripped off by streaming services.
Teya and Salena will open the show, and the hope is that their impact will last until the televoting.
Big Five showdown is fascinating
The Big Five are the countries that contribute the most to Eurovision financially, and therefore don't have to qualify for the Grand Final. We've covered the UK, and Germany's "Blood and Glitter" is a nightmarish mess (it's a really long three minutes), so it feels like a three-way fight between France, Spain and Italy.
France's "Evidemment" is...incredibly French. La Zarra smoulders her way through it, and there's a strong finish here that should catch the ear of juries and televoters alike.
Spain's "Eaea" by Blanca Paloma seems a lot less accessible. Blanca's a great singer, but it does feel like a long three minutes, and it's not a track that has a big moment to lift it. Juries will score it highly, but I don't see how this cuts through with televoters.
Italy's "Due Vite" by Marco Mengoni is a heartfelt ballad which stacks up well against France and Spain, and it's hard to discount Italy's record in Eurovision in the last few years - finishing top ten in 10 of the last 12 contests, top five in three of the last four, and winning the whole contest with Maneskin in 2021.
All three entries are in the first half of the show, and with Italy priced at 4.1 in the Top Big Five market in such a tight contest, that feels like the value pick to me.
Plenty of fun and frolics to keep an eye on
There is so much to enjoy this year. Estonia have a piano that plays itself, Croatia's entry features a bald man running around with missiles and some glittery dictators, watch out for the Dad in the Albanian entry trying to upstage the rest of his family, and Armenian singer Brunette references a future lover who might "kiss her face", in a line borrowed from Alan Partridge at his peak.
Watch Eurovision...Only Bettor here
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