What the 2019 #Eurovision Grand Final Draw might tell us

In the days of the random Eurovision draw, there was a sort of fatalism amongst fans and delegations. Since 2013, the producers have largely determined the draw and many have worried about potential biases in favour of some delegations over others. Now that we know the performance order for Saturday’s Grand Final, we decided to seek any patterns.

We looked at all the Results between 2013 and 2018, since 2013 is when we shifted from a random draw to a producer-led draw of two halves. From 2013 onwards, each delegation that will appear in the Grand Final draws either the first or second half. The host delegation is the exception: they draw their specific Grand Final slot randomly at the January heads of delegations meeting. Israel this year will perform Home  14th, as the opener of the second half.

Once all the qualifiers are known after the Thursday night semi-final, the producers finalise the Grand Final performance order. In reality, however, they have been working on this all week. They have almost certainly tentatively clustered both Big 6 and the first ten qualifiers from the first semi-final—and probably the top ranked jury scoring entries from the Wednesday night jury semi-final. In other words, this is not done from scratch late Thursday night.

It’s important for the production team to get this sorted ASAP because the 26 delegations need to know when they are performing in the first dress rehearsal for the Grand Final—which is less than 20 hours after the last qualifiers are announced!

No vocal rest for these folks.

Method

We aggregated the semifinal rankings from all qualifiers and mapped their sem-final rankings onto the Grand Final performance order for that year. Next we highlighted the top three from each semi-final to ascertain if there were any patterns or consistencies. Only once has anyone won the Eurovision with a semi-final ranking lower than second: Diman Bilan’s Believe managed it for Russia in 2008 when the scores were televote only. Regardless, but included the third ranked semi-final qualifiers too, just in case.

It’s worth noting that these were all 26 song Grand Finals except 2015, where Australia, as the special guest entry, was the 27th entry. The Aussies who never left…

Results

In 2013, both semi-final winners (Denmark and Azerbaijan) drew the second half and were put just before the final run of songs in slots 18 and 20. Their runner-ups, Russia and Greece, were put in 10 and 21: roughly the same area of their halves of the draw. The third rank entries came late in the order (22nd and 24th; 18th and 21st). 

Grand Final 2013 Delegation Semi final rank   Grand Final 2014 Delegation Semi final rank
10 Russia 2   6 Romania 2
11 Germany Big 6   11 Austria 1
        12 Germany Big 6
        13 Sweden 2
18 Denmark 1   18 Finland 3
        19 Spain Big 6
20 Azerbaijan 1        
21 Greece 2   21 Hungary 3
22 Ukraine 3        
23 Italy Big 6   23 Denmark Big 6
24 Norway 3   24 Netherlands 1

In 2015 the top qualifiers were split more evenly across the two halves. The winners of each semi-final were allocated 10 and 25; the runners-up were given 13 and 19. Interestingly, the runner-up from each semi-final were given ostensibly poor slots: 3 and 4.

In 2016 the split favoured the second half again. The winners of each semi-final were put in 13 and 18. The runners up were late in the order and given 21 and 26, , One of the third ranked qualifiers ran in 22; the other third ranked entry opened the Grand Final.

Grand Final 2015 Delegation Semi final rank   Grand Final 2016 Delegation Semi final rank
        1 Belgium 3
             
3 Israel 3        
4 Estonia 3        
10 Sweden 1        
13 Belgium 2   13 Australia 1
        18 Russia 1
19 Latvia 2   19 Spain Big 6
21 Spain Big 6   21 Ukraine 2
        22 Malta 3
25 Russia 1   25 UK Big 6
        26 Armenia 2
27 Italy Big 6        

 In 2017 the split was towards the first half of the performance order. We saw the winners of the two semi-finals in slots 11 and 25. The runners-up appeared consecutively in 7 and 8. Our opener was again a third ranked qualifier: the other third ranked qualifier appeared in 24.

In 2018 most of the top 3 qualifiers drew the second half, though our winners were split across the halves in 7 and 22. The runners up were put late in the order in 20 and 25, with the two third ranked entries used to open the second half (14) and start the run of big hitters (19).

Grand Final 2017 Delegation Semi final rank   Grand Final 2018 Delegation Semi final rank
1 Israel 3        
7 Moldova 2   7 Norway 1
8 Hungary 2        
11 Portugal 1        
        14 Czechia 3
        19 Moldova 3
        20 Sweden 2
22 Ukraine Big 6   22 Israel 1
24 Sweden 3        
25 Bulgaria 1   25 Cyprus 2
26 France Big 6   26 Italy Big 6

Patterns

Here’s a synopsis of the results above.

Winners of semi-finals have appeared 7th, 10th, 11th (twice), 13th, 18th(twice), 20th, 22nd,24th and 25th (twice).  Nothing earlier than 7th in the first half and mostly clustered between 10 and 13. Always 18th or later in the second half, with a slight skew to 24th or thereafter.

If we add in the runners up, we get 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 13th(twice) in the first half: a cluster around 6-8. Then we get  19th, 20th, 21st(twice) , 25th and 26th in the second half, so another cluster 19-21.

Add in the bronze medalists and we get 1st (twice) 3rd and 4th in the first half. So no real pattern, except putting a strong banger to open the show if possible. In the second half we see

14th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd (twice) and 24th (twice). That’s a relatively even distribution that probably has more to do with song sequencing than anything else.

For 2019

Here’s the remainder of this year’s Grand Final performance order if we only leave in the slots that have been occupied by a top three ranked semi-final qualifiers, with the slots that have had a semi-final winner in it in bold:

Grand Final
Performance Order
Delegation Semi final rank
1 Malta  
3 Czechia  
4 Germany Big 6
5 Russia  
6 Denmark  
7 San Marino  
8 North Macedonia  
10 Slovenia  
11 Cyprus  
13 Greece  
14 Israel Big 6
18 Estonia  
19 Belarus  
20 Azerbaijan  
21 France Big 6
22 Italy Big 6
24 Switzerland  
25 Australia  
26 Spain Big 6

Of these, Greece, Azerbaijan, Switzerland and Australia seem plausible semi-final winners.

2 Responses

  1. Keley Ann says:

    You know that the people who put the running order together don’t know the semi results, right? The EBU has clarified this many times. I’m sure they take the hype/betting odds into account, hence why it generally seems to play that way, but actually the less expected podium countries (e.g. Moldova & Hungary 2017) not fitting the pattern goes to prove that they don’t know the results.

  2. John says:

    Where did you get that idea? They know the results and they also know which entries scored well with juries versus the public. The only entries for which they have no ESC data are the prequalifed entries in the Grand Final. Watch this video of Bjorkman: he describes some of the criteria used. He never says anything about whether they take into account how well an entry has done in its semi-final. Otherwise, how have they magically avoided putting a semi-final winner in the dog slots of 2nd or 3rd in the Grand Final?
    https://youtu.be/HHaXCYoDXzk

    Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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