Eurovision often is a contest full of surprises, but 2018 is one of the hardest to predict in recent memory. Before the contest, Israel’s Netta was the one to beat with her song ‘Toy’, but just like last year, the odds started to shift when the rehearsals started. According to the bookies Eleni Foureira representing Cyprus is now the favourite to win. A Bit of Pop Music takes a look at the bookmakers, the download and streaming charts around Europe and the starting order and predicts the winner for this year’s contest.
For two months, the bookmakers seemed sure of one thing: Israel’s Netta was going to win Eurovision with her song ‘Toy’. Just like Italian Francesco Gabbani last year, Netta had to give up her position to a country that impressed during the rehearsals and semi final. Eleni Foureira from Cyprus is now the one to beat with her upbeat pop song ‘Fuego’. Israel currently still holds the second spot, but behind those two leading ladies, everything seems to change by the hour.
Earlier this week Norway’s returning winner Alexander Rybak made it all the way to the runner up spot, but now saw his odds go back to the 9th position. Lithuania briefly claimed a spot in the top 3 after Ieva’s well received semi final performance, but now holds the 7th spot. The new rising star is Ireland. Ryan O’Shaugnessy surprisingly qualified during Tuesday’s tough semi final and is now one of the front runners according to the bookies. France has been doing well for months and Madame Monsieur’s ‘Mercy’ sits at a steady 4th place. Germany has been rising like crazy in the past few days and hours. Michael Schulte’s emotional ballad is well performed and Bookmakers think the country has a shot at top 5 after years of finishing in the bottom. Sweden has been making top 5 for four years in a row now and Benjamin Ingrosso has a good chance of making this 5, with a 6th spot currently. Italy and Estonia complete the top 10.
Downloads and streams
Looking at the European iTunes downloads and Spotify and Apple Music streams, there is only one conclusion possible: Cyprus is going to win, judging by these numbers. Eleni’s ‘Fuego’ charts in the iTunes top 100 of 16 countries, including number 1 in Greece and top 10 in Malta and Spain. She made it into the Spotify top 100 of six different countries. Sweden and Denmark’s viking Rasmussen follow with nine top 100 placings in the iTunes charts and three and two notitions in Spotify. Australia’s Jessica Mauboy found her way to the top 100 of iTunes in eight countries, while she made three Spotify top 100’s. Israel managed to get a score of five placements in iTunes and five in Spotify. Madame Monsieur from France already made it into top 100 of iTunes in five countries without performing their full song during the broadcasted show yet.
One could question the significance of these iTunes charts, as in some countries, you don’t need a whole lot of downloads to get a place in the top 100. Spotify lists therefore might be more impactful. Czech Republic’s Mikolas Josef is doing well on Spotify with a spot in the top 100 in five countries, while Finland’s Saara Aalto and Bulgaria’s Equinox have streaming success in four countries.
The EBU gave Cyprus potentially one of the best starting positions as 25th. She again performs after Ireland‘s Ryan O’Shaugnessy and only Italy will perform after her. Israel‘s Netta will take the stage as 22nd, in between the metal from Hungary and country rock from The Netherlands. Both Estonia and Norway have to perform early on in the show (6th and 7th), but the huge contrast between both performances could work in their favour. Lithuania‘s Ieva might struggle to be remembered after 26 countries, as her quiet ballad is already performed as 4th. Germany starts at position 11, right in the middle. Their emotional ballad might have thrived more if placed after or before a loud song or big show, which is not necessarily the case with Serbia before them and Albania after.
Sweden and Moldova seem to be dark horses in this year’s competition. Sweden performs as 20th, after the happy slapstick folk pop from Moldova. Italy’s duo is up last with their song about war victims and the state of the world. They use lyrics on screen to get their message across and if Europe is still awake after 25 performances, they could become an outsider for at least a spot in the top 10.
All things considered I have to conclude that Cyprus has the best chances of winning at the moment, although I am not entirely convinced Eleni will do as well with the juries as the televoters. Israel’s Netta might not have the winners performance after all, but she should be able to claim her spot in the top 5. Moldova might well be the surprise of the contest again after last year’s top 3 placement. Their song ‘My Lucky Day’ is currently in 16th position according to bookmakers, but I think they might do a whole lot better as their act is eye catching and they are one of the only countries in their region that made the final, so they won’t have to split the neighbouring votes. Elina Nechayeva from Estonia was one of the early favourites to win and I think she still has a shot, as her performance is impactful and I expect both juries and televoters to award lots of points to her vocal performance. I expect Sweden to make the top 5 for the 5th year in a row. Both the juries and televoters have shown appreciation for their slick pop tracks and ditto performances before, although Germany or Ireland might well jump in and snatch Sweden’s place if the people at home get touched by their performances.