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The running order for the grand final (and what it tells us)

by | May 11, 2018

The running order for the grand final (and what it tells us)

by | May 11, 2018 | Eurovision |

In the early hours of the morning, the producers announced the running order for the grand final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, which is as follows:

1. Ukraine
2. Spain
3. Slovenia
4. Lithuania
5. Austria
6. Estonia
7. Norway
8. Portugal
9. United Kingdom
10. Serbia
11. Germany
12. Albania
13. France
14. Czech Republic
15. Denmark
16. Australia
17. Finland
18. Bulgaria
19. Moldova
20. Sweden
21. Hungary
22. Israel
23. Netherlands
24. Ireland
25. Cyprus
26. Italy

So what can we glean from the running order? Despite claims to the contrary, it’s popularly assumed that the producers have some idea of how the semi-final qualifiers did in their respective shows. That would certainly seem to be reflected in the relatively late positions of the likes of Cyprus, Israel and Sweden – not to mention Moldova, which probably outperformed in the weaker semi-final and reaps the rewards by being nicely framed here.

Of course, any such assumptions are complicated by the presence of the automatic qualifiers. It’s surprising to see Spain thrown away quite so early in the draw, not least because you’d think they’d want to keep those passionate OT fans hanging on a bit longer, although this way I suppose there’s a better chance they’ll stick around and watch the whole show! Italy is quite a logical closer in terms of its “feel”, while we have to assume the producers think Germany and France are likely to do fairly well, as it’s hard to believe Serbia and Albania did much in the semi-final and that would otherwise be a fairly weak stretch of the show.

What this draw doesn’t do especially is reflect the betting odds – Lithuania were trading as fourth or fifth favourite for a while yesterday, but they find themselves marooned in a fairly thankless fourth spot in the Saturday night running order, while Norway had already drifted from second in the overall betting by the time the order was determined, but it’s notable that the producers haven’t seen fit to put Alexander Rybak right at the end of the first half.

If the producers’ task is also to ensure a good balance of styles, that was made more difficult by the fact that a lot of the slower songs ended up in the first half and a lot of the faster or more unusual entries are in the second half. The run from Lithuania to Estonia could be quite heavy going, while it’s perhaps surprising to see Australia and Finland back to back (albeit separated by a commercial break), though you’re inevitably going to get two up-tempos bumping into each other at some point in that bit of the draw.

Speaking of up-tempo, Latvia’s uphill task in the second semi-final was made even harder by having to follow the pyro overload of Hungary‘s AWS. The final big surprise from the producers, then, is that “Viszlát nyár” will precede Israel‘s “Toy” in the grand final. That promises to be six minutes of very loud, very in-your-face, very un-Eurovision television. It remains to be seen whether the Hungarian pyro damages the next song just like it damaged poor Laura Rizzotto. But they wouldn’t do that to Netta. Or would they…?

 

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