At the press conferences following their second set of technical rehearsals today (ably blogged by my colleague Shi), the “big five” countries drew lots to decide which half of the final running order they would perform in.
This is always an interesting point in proceedings, because so far we only have one fixed position in the running order: the 23rd spot drawn by the Netherlands way back in March 2020 for last year’s cancelled contest, which Jeangu Macrooy was allowed to retain for this year’s event. So now that we know a little more about what the producers will have to work with in the early hours of next Friday morning, let’s indulge in a bit of overthinking about where they might place the contest’s financial big hitters!
With the “big five” containing two of the bookmakers’ favourites this year, the producers will have been relieved that both Italy and France drew slots in the second half. While both would actually make good closers to the show in their own way – Barbara’s (melo)dramatics as the closing scene to “Eurovision 2021: The Movie”, or the pyro extravaganza that ends Måneskin’s song leaving the presenters coughing their way through the smoke that’s left behind – it’s far easier to imagine the producers popping them in the “power spots” in the draw. One around 18th-19th, one either side of the Netherlands nearer the end. Feels about right, doesn’t it?
As soon as Germany also drew second half, though, you can practically imagine the ears of the powers-that-be pricking up in response. My comparison point for predicting Jendrik’s result has always been “La venda” – big, brash, colourful, will probably get a certain amount of televote love and bugger-all from the juries – and now the option of giving him exactly the same spot in the running order is available too, i.e. last. Something OTT and in-your-face to close the final presentation – will the producers be able to resist?
The United Kingdom had an underwhelming set of rehearsals of an underwhelming staging, and right now that’s the only thing that makes me think they won’t open the show next Saturday night – because otherwise, having drawn first half, “Embers” is exactly the kind of friendly party anthem that would make an obvious #1 in the running order. But it’s quite possible that, behind the scenes, there’s already a discussion going on as to whether James Newman’s visuals and vocals aren’t quite strong enough to kick off proceedings. You do want viewers to be engaged enough to keep watching, after all. If so, then tucking him away at an Electro Velvet-ish fifth in the draw feels plausible.
And finally, there’s Spain. As striking and visually appealing as Blas Cantó’s staging is – and well done on some of the choices made there, really; even the permanently threatening massive moon works quite well – “Voy a quedarme” will be viewed as a relatively throwaway number and something that can be used as a bit of padding in the draw. In that respect, it really might depend on which songs qualify from the semi-finals and which half they end up in. If the first half has a whole load of Elena, Albina, Eden, Efendi, Hurricane and Anxhela in it – and it’s not impossible that it will! – then Blas will serve as a very welcome buffer… and might even benefit from the comparison with the brasher performances around him. In any case, it’d be too harsh of them to maroon Spain in second spot again, wouldn’t it?
What do you think about the automatic finalists’ second rehearsals and where they’re likely to end up in the running order? Let us know in the comments!