Mere moments ago the EBU released this year’s running order:
- 🇨🇾 Cyprus / Elena Tsagrinou – El Diablo
- 🇦🇱 Albania / Anxhela Peristeri – Karma
- 🇮🇱 Israel / Eden Alene – Set Me Free
- 🇧🇪 Belgium / Hooverphonic – The Wrong Place
- 🇷🇺 Russia / Manizha – Russian Woman
- 🇲🇹 Malta / Destiny – Je Me Casse
- 🇵🇹 Portugal / The Black Mamba – Love Is On My Side
- 🇷🇸 Serbia / Hurricane – Loco Loco
- 🇬🇧 United Kingdom / James Newman – Embers
- 🇬🇷 Greece / Stefania – Last Dance
- 🇨🇭 Switzerland / Gjon’s Tears – Tout l’Univers
- 🇮🇸 Iceland / Da∂i Freyr og Gagnamagni∂ – 10 Years
- 🇪🇸 Spain/ Blas Cantó – Voy A Querdarme
- 🇲🇩 Moldova / Natalia Gordienko – SUGAR
- 🇩🇪 Germany/ Jendrik – I Don’t Feel Hate
- 🇫🇮 Finland / Blind Channel – Dark Side
- 🇧🇬 Bulgaria / Victoria – Growing Up is Getting Old
- 🇱🇹 Lithuania / The Roop – Discoteque
- 🇺🇦 Ukraine / Go_A – Shum
- 🇫🇷 France / Barbara Pravi – Voilà
- 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan / Efendi – Mata Hari
- 🇳🇴 Norway / TIX – Fallen Angel
- 🇳🇱 The Netherlands (Hosts)/ Jeangu Macrooy – Birth of a New Age
- 🇮🇹 Italy / Måneskin – Zitti E Buoni
- 🇸🇪 Sweden / Tusse – Voices
- 🇸🇲San Marino / Senhit – Adrenalina
Let’s drill down!
Opening and Closing
Once again one of our semi-final openers will be closing the Grand Final. Senit (with Flo Rida!) will perform 26th with Adrenalina. Our opener comes from the first semi-final: Cyprus’s Elena and El Diablo. Two entries with titles in a language other than English—though not the songs themselves—is interesting.
More importantly, it’s inconceivable that the producers would bury a strong contender at either end of the running order. Opening with a bang might well get you into the top 10, but no one’s won a Grand Final from first in the running order in decades. Similarly, while songs performed last have often been in the top five, in a longer 26 entry Grand Final, there is concern about attention fatigue among viewers—even with a well-structured running order. Il Volo topped the public vote with Grande Amore in 2015, but the juries had them well back. But ask the UK and Irish delegations about performing last in a long Grand Final. Go one. We’ll wait…
No one has ever won from second in the running order and only once has a fourth performed entry won, which is why it’s called doing a Sertab. Your entry would need to overcome the disadvantage of being just after a big banger of an opener. Third spot isn’t great either. So not great news for Albania, Israel, and Belgium—if their delegations were hoping for a win.
Last in the first half isn’t horrible, but does not seem amazing either. But let’s remember that in 2016 Australia was placed here after winning their semi-final. But the Spanish delegation might not be thrilled. Early in the second half is about the same, so Moldova and Germany are not well positioned for victory: perhaps Moldova was our 10th qualifier tonight?
The Prime Slots
If 10th-12th are the sweet spot for victory in the first half, Greece, Switzerland and Iceland should be very excited. However, two of the more fancied entries for the win are earlier than these three songs: Russia and Malta are fifth and sixth. Aside from the contrast, putting Iceland after Switzerland effectively doubles the time to get Gjon’s Tears’ gear offstage. As an aside: in 2018 Norway won its semi-final and was given seventh in the performance order (and ended up 15th in the Grand Final). That Alexander Rybak was unwell much of that week could be why he was put in 7th slot (doubtless the producers knew this).
In second half 18th has been given to Lithuania: might they have been a surprise winner on Tuesday night? Twenty-first and 22nd feature Azerbaijan and Norway. Again, might these have done much better on Tuesday than many assume?
Again, look around these entries and you find considered contenders Ukraine (19th), France (20th), and Italy (24th). Yes the Netherlands could be a contender—but they drew their slot randomly, so everything else in the second half needed to be built around this.
Ukraine, Norway and Italy all have some props to be moved about, so having them next to entries without a lot of big hardware also makes sense for the producers.
Sweden in 25th seems…generous.
Who will win
Whomever gets the most points. In the event of a tie, whomever gets the most 12 points from the public, then whomever gets the votes from the most countries, then….
No idea, in other words. But I think the likeliest top 10 are:
- The Netherlands
- San Marino
Thanks to TH for several corrections to this article!