ESC Pulse Article: Eurovision 2018 Final Predictions

Olá! This is it, it’s the big finale. The final jury rehearsal is done, half of the final scores are now decided. So now, it is time for the team to sit down and lay down their cards for what they think the final outcome will be…

Kylie: It’s gonna be a really good show, there’s definitely something for everyone on offer, which I think makes for the best final in my opinion. The running order is freaking crazy, most of the uptempo bangers are in the second half and most of the ballads/mid-tempo songs are in the first half. I wonder if that’s going to have a major effect on the result. Either way, the voting is going to be hella crazy!

John: The final line-up is so strong with so many different genres and languages on show. Surely the most wide-open final I can remember for a long time and the most difficult to predict. Just a little word about the rest of the show too – lovers of fado will probably get all misty-eyed at the opening!

Flag parade at the Grand Final. Photo credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

So, who’s going to win?

Kylie: Oh boy, there’s so many variables at play here. Or maybe the winner is obvious and I’m just being obtuse (thus making the following paragraphs possibly unnecessary). Let’s run through a list of who I think can realistically win (apologies for the essay):

First of all, let’s discuss the current favourite Cyprus. Right now the momentum is in their hands, although that isn’t always a guaranteed path to a certain win, I still have memories of 2016! One concern is whether juries would happily go for fun. This is a pure dance-pop song, even Heroes and Euphoria had more going for those songs than just a beat for you to jam to. Another concern is running order, yes they have a prime position, but it’s coming after a very uptempo second half. Will the audience be all “bangered-out” by then? I dunno… If it makes people feel better, I kinda felt the same way about Conchita four years ago: I’ll believe it when I see it.

Next, let’s discuss France. I’m very pleasantly surprised that they’ve been given the latest slot possible in the first half, so maybe even Christer believes this is a worthy competitor. It’s a very simple, yet emotive performance and every commentator will mention the backstory. The big question is that will they be able to grab a last minute momentum from the semifinalists? Lena pulled it off because she was already charting across Europe before the show and thus had an unkillable hype.

If we’re looking for a possible “accidental winner”, it could be Sweden. Their draw suggests to me that they possibly won Semi 2, and if the maths add up, all they need to do is be second in both scoreboards and *boom!* suddenly Stockholm 2019 is a thing.

One that is now a long shot, but I wouldn’t completely rule out given how crazy this year has been so far is Norway. Yes, I see you dear reader scoffing at me. Their draw is too early to really hoover up the votes, but then again it’s the first real “fun” song of the night, and just look at Russia 2012 to see how that might be a huge help in the end. Plus there is potential for a “can he pull a Logan?” narrative to come into play, and he’s one of two potential recipients of those lost ex-Soviet televotes.

Last, but by no means least: making a late charge with the bookies is Ireland of all countries. Is the hype justified? Is it just “bubble-speak” talking? You could make an argument for both. The fact that we’re even seriously contemplating Dublin 2019 in this day and age is incredible, and d’you what? A big part of me would love for it to happen. Considering how bats**t crazy this year’s contest has been so far, this little acoustic ditty from one of the big “loser” countries of recent years blindsiding us all and winning out of nowhere would make the most fitting ending.

If I have to put my foot down and name one? I really can’t do that. This final just feels too unpredictable for me to put down one name and feel confident about it. Sorry for wimping out on you guys.

Current bookies favourite Cyprus. Photo credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

John: That is the question. Erm….

Everything seems to completely change by the hour. I’ve always had a good feeling about France and the performance is so impactful.

I’m currently leaning towards Cyprus, Eleni just blows everyone else out of the water.

There’s also room for a complete surprise, and in the last couple of days Ireland have come out of absolutely nowhere, to where they now sit as third favourite to win the whole thing. Maybe the daft prediction I made at the start of this season wasn’t so daft after all!

Ireland emerging as a potential surprise contender. Photo credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Who’s in with a shot of the top 10?

Kylie: Apart from all of the above I mentioned…

Moldova has a real show-stealing act and is the other possible recipient of those lost ex-Soviet televotes. Germany could do it as it’s real jury bait and also emotionally manipulative enough to get a few nan votes. We have to put Israel and Australia down as well due to their popularity (as naive as that statement might be).

And lastly: Call me crazy, but if there’s gonna be a real surprise top 10 result, maybe we shouldn’t count out Austria. It’s doing reasonably well on the ESC Tracker and is jury friendly, so it could sneak in under the wire.

Moldova making a strong case for another top 10. Photo credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

John: Lithuania and Estonia have to be in with a shot of a great result – running order, schmunning order. Do not write off Australia, they’re a lot more popular than you’d think. There’s a lot of momentum behind Germany which is great for them after three years of misery. And I can see the likes of Denmark, Finland and Hungary doing surprisingly well too.

Germany aiming to end their recent run of bad luck. Photo credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

And… who’s going to get the wooden spoon?

Kylie: Call me the typical pessimistic (half) British fan, but I’ve got a bad feeling it’s going to be the UK. SuRie is trying her best, she really is, but that performance has literally NOTHING going for it. There’s no call to action, no “wow factor”, out of the 26 finalists in my opinion it’s got the least reason to vote for it.

The UK informing Kylie that “storms don’t last forever”. Photo credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

John: Almost as difficult as predicting a winner. Nobody this year deserves to finish last. Something tells me that it actually won’t be the UK. You could actually hear the audience singing along during SuRie’s performance, which is so rare and tells me that Storm does have its fans.

My hunch is that it’ll be Slovenia, who have done ever so well to get this far, but as I write this they are last in the odds and I can’t see it troubling the scoreboard.

Slovenia firmly saying “hvala, ne” to John’s prediction. Photo credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

So there you have it! Those are our final predictions. Will they come to fruition? Will there be a huge spanner in the works? In any case, enjoy the show, best of luck to all our finalists, and we wish you all a Happy Eurovision Day!

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Author: Kylie Wilson

Editor-in-chief of ESC Pulse. A British-New Zealander who's an unashamed Norwegophile, has watched Eurovision every year since 1999, and is not afraid to speak her mind and step outside the general consensus.

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