Is it possible to predict the winner of Eurovision? The jury is still out - the competition can be unpredictable until the very end.
Victor M. Escudero
Posted 26 January, 2018, 16:00
From the moment a song is chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest, speculation about how it will score in the competition begins among the fans, media and bookmakers. How often do they get it right though?
When it comes to predicting the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, sometimes a favourite emerges before all the participating songs have even been selected. As history shows though, the road to Eurovision glory is often far from predictable.
The surefire favourites
In 2009 Alexander Rybak was the favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest before he had even won the Norwegian national selection! In Moscow there was no stopping him and he took the lead from the very first vote with his entry Fairytale. The song received a record-breaking 387 points out of a possible 492, the highest total score in Eurovision history at that time.
Sweden's Loreen was a big favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 with Euphoria. Whilst the Buranovskiye Babushki from Russia captured the media's attention, Loreen, just like Alexander Rybak took the lead from the early part of the voting and never really looked challenged. Euphoria became a huge international hit and reached number one in several countries, selling more than two million copies.
Beating the odds
Pre-show favourites at the Eurovision Song Contest haven't always gone the distance as France's Amaury Vassili proved in 2011. The young tenor was the big favourite with his song Sognu but he was wide off the mark, finishing 15th in the Grand Final in Düsseldorf. Azerbaijan lifted the trophy with with Running Scared despite not being widely tipped by bookmakers.
Ukraine's Jamala created a moment when she snatched Eurovision victory from big favourite Sergey Lazarev in 2016. Jamala's song, 1944, was the first song in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest to be performed in Crimean Tatar.
Last year Francesco Gabanni from Italy was the pre-contest favourite with his hit song Occidentali's Karma. In the weeks leading up to the contest in Kyiv it looked like Eurovision was heading to Italy in 2018. That was until Salvador Sobral from Portugal took to the stage and Italy's odds began to slide.
When predictions go wrong
The UK entry in 1989 was called Why Do I Always Get It Wrong? and whilst many Eurovision fans and bookmakers do correctly predict the winner of Eurovision, many do not, despite their absolute certainty. One fan declared Russia's Sergey Lazarev as the winner of Eurovision 2016 before the voting had even closed:
Italy's Francesco Gabanni engendered similar proclamations from fans and bookmakers in 2017, with some predicting that Occidentali's Karma would not only win, but would win by the biggest landslide in Eurovision history. In the end Gabanni failed to make the top five.
The famous gorilla added to a lot of the buzz around Italy and captured much of the attention on Twitter during the Grand Final in Kyiv:
The Eurovision.tv team can also get it wrong when it comes to predictions. Just like the songs come in all different styles, so too do opinions and indeed predictions. Sometimes the predicted winner lifts the trophy, other times they don't. That is the beauty of the Eurovision Song Contest.