2016 Semi-Final Two Prediction: Our Infinitely Reliable Non-Scientific Model

We have one semi-final behind us and the next looms large. Whilst 80 per cent accuracy isn’t bad, the perfectionists at 58points.com  aspire to, well, perfection. But we are sticking with our 2016 model to see if it does any better on a second go-round.

As described previously we have tried to build a model that reliably predicts qualifiers from each semi-final. Before we share our prediction, we would like to explain how we came to our rankings.

Our Top Prediction Model

Whilst most Eurovision winners have a certain intangible je ne sais quoi, often many of the semi-final qualifiers can be predicted. While it is true that each entry is judged in two wholly different ways (professional juries versus the televoting public), but we think it remains possible to unpack key elements of the entrants in a semi-final and come up with a quasi-scientific quantification of each’s chances. We do this by consider each element a criterion: we make each element a criterion by quantifying different performance indicators (level of performance) for each. Over the years we have realized that none of these criteria should be over-weighted in relation to the others; some, in fact, are only worthy of a range of zero to one point.

Here is our model for 2016:

Criterion Performance Indicators Notes
Bloc 0 or 1 Membership in a voting bloc. How well you do within the bloc is not consistent enough to quantify.
Diaspora 0, 1 or 2 Having no, a small but committed, or a large diaspora that can boost televote scores.
Jury & televote” bait” 0, 1, or 2 each Extent to which there are any elements aimed at either score components. Jury bait can be playing your own instruments, presenting yourself as a musician rather than “just a singer”. Televote bait can be showing some flesh, singing well whilst performing challenging choreography, flirting with the camera.
Performance 0, 1, 2, or 3 Extent to which act can sing well, and perform well for a TV audience.
Gimmick 0 or 1 A schtick to make the voters remember you. It need not be classy; in fact, it can be cringe worthy.
Established artists 0, 1 or 2 Act has an established, hit making career that gives them profile, usually internationally, but can be regional.
Selection 0 or 1 How entry was selected. Anything except “televote only” gets 1 points
Self-sung 0 or 1 Artist is also writer of song. Juries, in particular, love that.
Slot qualify Fraction A conversion of the percentage score for songs in this slot qualifying from a a semi-final.
Country qualify Fraction A conversion of the percentage for songs from this country qualifying from a a semi-final.
Prediction [scale] Poor – less than 4 points

Marginal – 4-5 points

Fair – 6-87 points

Good 8-9 points

Excellent 10 or more points


Here are the rankings, from most likely to quality to least. These are presented in bands, based on clusters of scores. The highest possible score would be 17 points. Only one entry scored above 13.

Excellent: Ukraine (15.63 points), Serbia (13.46), Macedonia (12.92), Bulgaria (11.99), Lithuania (11.93), Israel (11.17), Norway (10.28), Ireland (9.88), Poland (9.71) and Georgia (9.38).

Now isn’t that nice: a tidy cut of 10 qualifiers! That makes things a bit easier for the average sidewalk social scientist.

Limitations. And Outliers

This hasn’t changed in two days: our model is designed to reflect that in recent years both jury and televote scores in countries in voting bloc or with strong diasporas get points regardless of what they send. That’s not fair, but life isn’t fair. These sorts of models are relatively reliable in most years: most often they predict seven to nine qualifiers in each semi-final. They have never been 100 per cent accurate, however.

Where they have been almost useless is when there’s an outlier—an entry that stands out in so many ways that any disadvantages, such has not being in a voting bloc, having a poor track record qualifying from semi-finals and not seeming—at first—as the sort of entry that will inspire jurors or televoters.

Click here for our full scoreboard for semi-final two. And stay tuned for our Grand Final prediction—once we know the draw performance order!