Punters managed to predict the top two of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest final – only the wrong way round.
Contest winner Netta had enjoyed the top spot in the odds for some weeks before the first semifinal on Tuesday. However, following the show, Cyprus advanced from nowhere, eventually shortening to spend most of this week in first.
With the release of semifinal results from eurovision.tv, it turns out that confidence in a Cypriot takeover was exaggerated, with Netta winning the first show comfortably ahead of nearest rival Eleni.
However close bookmakers landed with the top two, 2018 turned out to be as unpredictable as expected elsewhere. Ireland, France and Lithuania, starting the evening in the top five favourites, all failed to make the top ten.
Austria was the evening’s huge surprise, landing in third place overall without featuring even in the top fifteen favourites pre-show. Less dramatically, but still unexpectedly, Denmark was lifted to a ninth-place finish by the televote, despite a complete absence amongst the pre-contest frontrunners. Germany and Italy outperformed expectations at the bookies, too, gaining top five placings after lingering in the lower half of the top ten amongst betters.
Sweden achieved a position close to its spot in the favourites, thanks entirely to a high jury vote. Estonia too ended up close to the position predicted by the stakes. The Czech Republic redeemed itself from a strong drift in its odds, making up for lost ground and achieving a record sixth place overall.
Disappointment for former favourites
The biggest under-performers of the evening are Norway and Australia. The former won the second semifinal, briefly led in the odds but crashed to 15th in the final. Australia too had enjoyed a top three position in the favourites list, but shored up in a disappointing 20th place on the night. Punters seemed to sense it coming; both had drifted out of the top ten by the time the show started.
Are we entering a new era of unpredictability in contest results? Or was 2018 a special case of a particularly hard-to-call event? Let us know in the comments!