The first Eurovision semi-final produced some shocks, with well-fancied acts such as Serbia failing to make it through the preliminaries, whilst unfancied Belgium – as tipped to qualify by your writer – kopped at 15/8. The second eliminator looks fiercely competitive with 11 of the rivals for the 10 qualifying spots layed at odds-on, however lurking amongst those available at odds-against is a former Soviet country with a rock-solid record of reaching the final.
There are five nations pitched into semi-final two of the Eurovision Song Contest who have earned the dubious honour of being rated odds-against chances, whilst rivals such as Norway – second favourites for the competition proper – trade at as short 1/33 to qualify. They are, in ascending price order, Switzerland, Romania, Hungary, FYR Macedonia and Latvia.
The prices about Latvia, FYR Macedonia, and Switzerland seem fair enough, with the unappreciated trio managing not more than one qualification apiece since the two-semi system was introduced in 2008.
However supporters of Romania and Hungary can be far more hopeful of a return on their investment if they back either nation to reach the finale.
Looking at Romania’s unbroken chain of qualifications since 2008 the odds of 11/8 about them going forward to the final seem generous.
They are represented by Cezar’s ‘It’s My Life’, which starts off fairly worryingly, before taking a terrifying turn for Leslie-Garrett-does-Studio-54 territory about 30 seconds in – we’ll just have to trust that the perennial qualifiers know what they’re doing on this one.
Hungary may have failed to qualify in 2008 through 2010, but the Magyars have got cooking like Goulash of late and they’ve made the next stage in the last two contests. They can be backed at 6/4 to progress.
Their entry ‘Kedvesem’ (Darling) has somewhat confusingly been “remixed” for its Eurovision entry, but it’s nonetheless a downbeat and warm-sounding number in the vein of Mercury Music Prize winners Alt-J that deserves to make the final, if only for its recognition of a style of music born after 1989.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.