World of Chig   

Eurovision - Tonight's Final

You have to feel for those who are attending the Eurovision final in Moscow tonight, especially the performers, as the show starts at 23:00 local time, scheduled to finish at 02:15. That means the winner's media conference will probably start at around 03:00 and finish about 04:00. Then there's a party... Good luck, all of you!

My each way bets for tonight, placed before the semi-finals, are on these five countries to finish in the top four. Obviously at least one of them will fail, but it won't matter, especially if Armenia make it again. (They were fourth last year.)

Song 08 Greece
Song 09 Armenia

Song 11 Azerbaijan
Song 12 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Song 20 Norway

If Bosnia don't make the top 4, I will be surprised and a lot poorer. My ten bets for Thursday's semi-final produced a return of £37.04, after betting £38, so despite getting eighto ut of ten right, Ilost 96p overall. I did better on Tuesday, withonly seven right but a profit of nearly £16. At least I'm in profit overall, so far.

I'm worried that there are now nine countries which I think could win and the more I think about France, the more I think it could be them. I hadn't realised until this week that Patricia Kaas is famous in the East as well as Western Europe. She received a gold disc for album sales in Russia in her Eurovision media conference this week. Her performance seems to stop everyone in their tracks, being described as "stunning" and "mesmeric". A second win for France, with Paris next year, would be wonderful. It just won't win me any money.

But I've only narrowed down the potential winners to eleven countries. Ha, ha. I don't think the fourteen not listed here have a chance, but won't it be funny if I'm wrong?

The potential winners are, I believe:

03 France
08 Greece
09 Armenia
11 Azerbaijan
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 Estonia
18 Turkey
19 Albania
20 Norway
21 Ukraine
23 United Kingdom

The UK votes 20th tonight, out of the 42. We're after Lithuania. Will we reduce our usual recent points for Greece and Turkey in favour of Alexander Rybak for Norway? Will we also give middle points to the Swedish popera? Possibly yes in both cases.

The last five countries to vote are all from Eastern Europe, so if it's neck and neck between, say Norway and Bosnia, the Eastern country will win. A Western country will need to have a commanding lead after Denmark votes 37th in order to win.

Something you should know about Jade Ewen. The UK entry was given away last week as a free CD with Russian OK magazine, so lots of Russians have it. This was arranged by Universal, her record company. I've also read that it has SOLD another 100,000 copies in Russia. I'm expecting big points from Russia later, if not some of her former satellite countries too. Putin promised it to Andrew Lloyd Webber, after all.

Another thing you should know is that MTV Russia had a poll three or four weeks ago and viewers voted the UK winner of all the 42 songs. The winner! Is it any wonder we're slightly excited?

Here in the UK, Jade has at last sneeked into the midweeks at #69 in the official UK chart, taking sales up to Thursday night into account. She's up to #43 on iTunes, where Alexander Rybak's 'Fairytale' has also sneeked in at #204, being cherry-picked from the Eurovision compilation album.

Whatever you're doing tonight, have fun and enjoy what promises to be a spectacular show, with better presenters, Cirque du Soleil and a flying Dima Bilan, plus some close voting, I hope, made more unpredictable with the input of music business juries deciding 50% of the vote from each country, with televoting accounting for the other half.

If you want a pointless prediction, I'll go with this:

1st Bosnia-Herzegovina
2nd Norway
3rd Greece
4th France
5th Azerbaijan
6th United Kingdom

23rd Spain
24th Romania
25th Germany

I'll be watching at the Wellington in Brum with about 20-30 people crammed into the pub's small back room, before popping out later to see Jessica Garlick and Scooch at the Nightingale. It should be quite a night!

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