Each year in the build up to the final a lot of importance is placed on whether artists perform in the first or second half in the final, but is the running order influential as we believe?
Second half = success?
During the semi-final winners press conference we saw a number of artists show a somewhat pained or disappointed expression when they had chosen a first half slot, yet maybe that’s something they should’ve been celebrating.
Eight of the top ten were made up of songs from the first half including the winner, Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw.
Some may point out this was a year where an unprecedented number of the fan’s favourites drew the first half, but looking back at the last five years would suggest it wasn’t a one off.
Of the 50 songs that have reached a top ten placing in that time, 31 of those were from the first half of the show compared to just 19 in the second half.
Albeit, eight of the last ten winners performed in the second half of the grand final but the margins that a number of those winners won by would suggest that they’d have won regardless of what position they’d performed in.
There are a few positions considered death slots in the final but none more so than 2nd in the running order.
The stats suggest that it isn’t a good place to be too. Six of the last ten songs to go on stage second ended the night either 20th or worse, with Dino Merlin bringing the position it’s only top ten finish (6th) in that time in 2011.
This is where we once again look at the quality of the songs. With the exception of Dino and perhaps Israel in 2009, none of the entries performing second were tipped to do well or were amongst the favourites so their lack of success isn’t the most surprising thing in the world.
Performing last is also seen as a bad omen amongst fans, some believe the audience’s interest would’ve faded somewhat having sat through over 20 songs.
Yet again, the stats say differently. The position has resulted in two bottom two finishes in the last ten years, but surprisingly yielded five top tens in that time including a third place for Italy’s Il Volo this year.
Quality over timing
Fans and media try and work out who wins and loses once the running order is released, but ultimately the biggest, and arguably the only, impact on the result are the quality of the song and performance on the night.
Your average song performing 19th in the final may well pick a point or two more than it would if it was performed 4th but there isn’t anything to suggest it would make an impactful difference on either end of the leader board.
There is no way of fully determining the true impact of the running order, but it is however clear that quality will always win out and a lack of it will always go unrewarded.