YLC’s Eurovision expert Rafi Uddin has been following Eurovision closely for over a decade and has a great track record in predicting the winner of the contest. In the last five years, he has in fact picked the winning entry correctly four times. This time he has done some deep research in order to assess the chances of the contenders and predict the winner. Here’s what he has to say…
There are two countries that are most likely to win the televote: it’s clearly between Iceland and Italy.
I think Iceland is a very polarising song and people will either love it or hate it. Those who hate the song can’t vote against it, though, which means that the people who love the song are the ones who will truly have an impact on the voting. I’m thinking there will be enough people who love the song, so it could very likely go all the way to first place with the televoters.
Italy also stands a good chance at winning the televote, since the song has done incredibly well in the Italian charts selling double platinum and receiving over 70 million views on YouTube and over 40 million streams on Spotify. People outside of Europe seem to really love the song as well. There was the annual German pre-Eurovision song-check program where Italy received the highest score ever from the panelists and the audience. The show has been running since 2010 so that is quite an achievement. I’ve also sent this song to people who aren’t as into Eurovision as the hardcore fans and they were very impressed with the song and I see this appealing to casual fans. I think the rest of Europe could react the same way and Italy could ultimately win the televote.
Some people think that The Netherlands will win the televote, but I don’t see it happening. I think it appeals more to hardcore fans than casual fans. I’ve introduced the song to several people who aren’t as much into Eurovision as the hardcore fans and they weren’t sold on the song. I think the casuals could react the same way during the night and the self-proclaimed music ”experts” will vote for this song. I think The Netherlands are going to do really well in the televote, but I don’t think it will be enough to be the winner of the audience.
Here’s how I think the televoting top 5 will look like:
4. The Netherlands
I haven’t really mentioned Russia or Sweden yet, but more on these countries will come later.
I’m pretty sure I know who the winner of the jury vote will be and I don’t think it’s even close. I think it will be Sweden and I could even see this breaking the record of 382 points received from the jury. Other countries I see doing really well with the juries are The Netherlands and Greece.
There’s a lot of indicators to predict that Sweden will do extremely well with the juries. Back in Melodifestivalen, the Swedish pre-selection for the Eurovision, John Lundvik received 12 points from every single international jury group that voted. Not even Loreen in 2012 or Måns Zelmerlöw in 2015 managed to do that despite winning the jury voting by over 100 points each in the Eurovision.
People have also compared Sweden to Austria’s song from 2018 which won the jury voting back then and finished in third place overall. The only similarity between those two songs I see is the music genre in both of them being gospel and soul influenced music. Even in the case of them being similar, Sweden this year is a way more amplified version of Austria last year. It’s more energetic, more modern, and more chart-friendly, which is the type of songs the juries usually go for.
The juries also always rate Sweden highly. Since 2012 Sweden has finished in the top 3 with the juries every single time except 2016 where they finished eighth. These are the reasons I think Sweden will very likely win the jury voting.
I think the juries will also go for The Netherlands. It has a very professional sound and I think the juries will respect it. I don’t think it will be enough to gather more points than Sweden, but I see this easily getting a podium placement with the juries.
I think the juries will respect Greece as well. Greece could possibly have the best live vocals of the year and that will definitely appeal to the juries. The song is also different from the rest yet it has a professional sound and it has a sort of mainstream appeal unlike some other songs this year. The juries usually vote for radio-friendly songs and songs with great vocals so I see Greece doing really well with the juries.
On the other hand, I don’t see Iceland doing well with the juries. Since the song is so polarising, there could be a fair amount of jury members who vote against the song and I could even see some of them putting Iceland down in last place. So ultimately, I don’t see Iceland winning Eurovision.
Here’s how I think the top 5 of the jury will look like:
2. The Netherlands
Who will benefit the most from the 50/50 system?
Russia hasn’t been discussed at all yet, but now is the time for that. Russia is the wildcard of the year and I’ll explain why.
The song of Russia is alright, but the song by itself isn’t enough to give Russia the result they want. It ultimately comes down to the staging. If they nail the stage show, Russia will do really well. I think both the televoters and the juries will go for Russia and there’s good reason to believe that.
Sergey Lazarev, the representative of Russia in this year’s contest, is a big star in all of Eastern Europe and his fans will vote for Russia only because they love Sergey so much. The juries will also vote for Russia because this time Sergey will be able to showcase his vocals which increases Russia’s chances of receiving jury points. The song itself is also more jury-friendly than his previous effort in 2016 because it is a ballad and juries do appreciate a good ballad.
Who will win Eurovision?
I think it comes down to three countries. I think the winner will ultimately be either Italy, Sweden, or Russia.
Italy would probably be the most satisfying winner in Europe’s eyes, as I think Italy will do the best out of these countries in the televote. Unlike Iceland I think the juries will appreciate Italy and that’s why Italy could win the whole Eurovision.
I see Sweden finishing in fifth place in the televote, but I think that could be enough to win Eurovision because the juries will be heavily in favor of Sweden. Based on previous years, fifth place with the televoters would be enough to win the contest if my predicted jury record will come true.
If Russia nails the staging, they could certainly win the whole contest. Sergey also represented Russia in 2016 and won the televote back then and Russia has won the contest previously with a returning artist. Dima Bilan, who represented Russia in 2006 finished as runner-up, then he returned in 2008 and ultimately won Eurovision. The same could happen this year.
My initial winner pick is going to be Russia. I think Russia will have what it takes to win Eurovision because of the massive combined televote and jury support and I’m going to assume that Russia will have amazing staging. Another reason why I think Russia will win is because Sergey wouldn’t return to Eurovision if he didn’t think he could win. This indicates that there’s something big in store and we will just have to wait and see.
Note that a lot could change at the rehearsals and my pick isn’t final until the day of the Grand Final. Last year people didn’t expect Cyprus to do well, but everything changed at the rehearsals and they skyrocketed to first place in people’s predictions and ultimately finished second overall. We could possibly see something similar happening this year.
I also advice you not to take my predictions as facts. These are only my own speculations and opinions and I could be completely wrong with every prediction, but this is what I believe will happen and I think I’ll be somewhat correct.
Official press photos via Eurovision.tv
Text Rafi Uddin