The Eurovision Handbook 2014

April 23, 2014

Adrian Kavanagh, 23rd April 2014 

The Eurovision Handbook 2014 - my commentary book to accompany this year’s Eurovision Song Contest – is now available to buy! While there is an obvious Irish focus to this book, this will consider the Eurovision stories of all this year’s participants – and also the countries who are not taking part this year but have taken part in previous contests (including Morocco!). This book will look at each country’s history at the contest, identify the other countries that they tend to vote for at Eurovision and also assess the likelihood of them voting for Ireland at this year’s contest!!! The book also looks at the importance of language at Eurovision, outlines some of the websites that are worth visiting for people who are interested in the contest, identifies (what I consider to be) the key dates in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest, and suggests ways in which you can try to predict this year’s winner!

Profits from this book (once printing costs discounted) – if there are any!!! – will go to the Irish Cancer Society.

 

Who will make it to the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 Final? Predictions for the Semi Final contests

April 23, 2014

Adrian Kavanagh, 23rd April 2014

As I used this model to successfully predict the Azerbaijan win at the 2011 contest and also Denmark’s win last year,  I am going to use this to tease out who the likely qualifiers will be now that we know the running order for the two 2014 Eurovision semi-finals. Those of you who have read The Eurovision Handbook 2013 will know that I used this same model to (sort of!) successfully predict most of the qualifiers for the 2013 final.

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Johnny Fallon and Adrian Kavanagh review this year’s Eurovision Song Contest entries

April 15, 2014

Johnny Fallon and Adrian Kavanagh, 15th April 2015

As posted earlier on Johnny Fallon’s website, Johnny and I have looked at all the entries for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest and given our own views on them. Please note that these are our own personal views and – though I can’t speak for Johnny here! – cannot be taken as sure-fire guides as to which songs will do well in this year’s contest (in the Kavanagh clan, it’s Daddy Kavanagh who seem to have the midas touch when it comes to predicting Eurovision/Eurosong winners…). These comments can be viewd by downloading the following PDF file:

Fallon and Kavanagh’s 2014 Eurovision Song verdicts 

 

 

The Eurovision 2014 Semi Finals Running Order: What does this mean for Ireland?

March 24, 2014

Adrian Kavanagh, 28th March 2013

The running order for the two semi-finals for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest was announced today and Ireland will perform in 9th position (out of 15 countries/acts) in the first of these semi-finals. As with last year, there was no draw to determine positions in the running order with this being decided on by the Danish show producers instead, mirroring the approach initiated at last year’s contest in Malmo. A draw was held in January to determine whether countries would be performing in the first half or the second half of the two semi-finals.

Figure 1: Average points by draw position in Eurovision semi-finals, 2004-2013

Figure 1: Average points by draw position in Eurovision semi-finals, 2004-2013

This is not as good a draw position as Jedward enjoyed in the semi-finals of 2011 and 2012 or indeed the the draw position Ryan Dolan had in the 2013 semi-final. As Figure 1 above shows it would not, on average, one of the better draw positions a country can hope to get in a Eurovision semi-final. The 9th draw position would rank as the tenth best draw position to get if based on the average number of points won by acts performing in that draw position across all semi-finals since 2004, as compared with the points averages for acts performing in other draw positions. Can-linn and Kasey Smith will be performing in a section of the semi-final in which most of the more up-tempo/rock acts appears to be clustered, including those from Finland, Macedonia and Belarus.

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Who’s who in Ireland’s 2014 Eurovision Song Contest semi final? Aka Can Ireland make it to the Final?

January 20, 2014

Adrian Kavanagh, posted on 21st  January 2014, with final updates posted on 3rd February 2014.

37 countries will be competing in this  year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The previous post identified the countries that Ireland’s 2014 entry will be facing in the second semi final of Eurovision Song Contest 2014 on May 8th 2014, as well as the other countries (“Big 5″/Hosts group) that will be voting in this semi final.

Figure 1: Average points awarded to Irish acts by country in all Eurovision Song Contest finals and semi finals between 1998 and 2012

Figure 1: Average points awarded to Irish acts by country in all Eurovision Song Contest finals and semi finals between 1998 and 2013

This post will look at these countries in some more detail. The good news is that, as opposed to the 2011 and 2012 draws, Ireland would seem to have a good chance of qualifying from this semi-final on the basis of the past voting history of the countries voting in this particular semi-final (see Figure 1 above), although Irish prospects are not as promising as that arising from the semi final draw accorded to us in 2013. Ireland’s semi-final qualification record compares well with most of the other countries competing in this semi -final, with some notable exceptions including Norway, Romania and Greece.  Read the rest of this entry »

Reviewing Ireland’s 2014 Eurovision Song Contest semi-final draw

January 20, 2014

Adrian Kavanagh, 20th January 2014

The draw for semi-final allocations for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest took place this afternoon in Copenhagen.

As the picture above shows, Ireland will be taking part in the second of the semi finals (on May 8th 2014). This will be the smaller of the two semi finals, meaning that Ireland has a better chance of qualifying obviously with one less country to beat!

The Big 5/Host countries voting in Ireland’s semi final will be the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. To get the United Kingdom is excellent news, as they are Ireland’s closest friends statistically when it comes to Eurovision voting. On the other hand, it is bad news to have drawn Italy, as that country has yet to award an Irish act any points at the contest since the Italians returned to Eurovision in 2011. On average, Germany is a rather good draw for Ireland, though it is a pity that the hosts, Denmark, will not be voting in this semi-final, as Denmark has awarded more points to Irish acts, on average, than any other country apart from the United Kingdom since the introduction of the televoting era in 1998.

Looking at the positive aspects of the draw – and comparing this to the wish-list developed out of the analysis in the previous post - Ireland will be happy to be drawn with countries such as Malta, Lithuania, Switzerland, Finland and Norway, as these countries have tended to award higher than average points to Irish entries in the decade-a-half-long history of the televoting/50-50 televoting and jury voting eras. Based on past voting trends, a good Irish act would also be hopeful of taking some points off the Polish, Slovene (especially given that there is only one other former-Yugoslav country in this semi final) and Austrian jury voters/televoters. It is also a positive development, from a competition angle, to have missed all of the “big hitters” from the Post-Soviet pot, with Ukraine, Russia and Azerbaijan (as well as Armenia) being drawn into the other semi final. With Sweden also drawn into Semi Final 1, the only really consistently strong countries/consistent qualifiers in Ireland’s semi final would be Greece, Romania and Norway. In effect, Ireland can have little complaints in terms of the countries that they were drawn to compete against from a number of the pots, but most notably Pots 1, 2 and 3. In Semi Final 1 last year, six Former Soviet states took part and all qualified. This year, seven Former Soviet states will be in Semi Final 1 and only three will be in Semi Final 2, so this is another good reason why Semi Final might well be a pretty good draw for Ireland.

On a negative aspect, Ireland will be sorry to have not got drawn with either Belgium or the Netherlands from Ireland’s own pot, though it is probably a good thing that the Irish also avoided Armenia from this pot. (With so many countries with large Armenian diaspora voting in Semi Final 1, such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and with Estonia, Latvia, Russia and the Ukraine also voting in this, this is shaping up as a dream draw for the Armenians!) Statistically, Ireland would also have preferred to have got Hungary and San Marino from Pot 5 instead of Poland and Austria, but a good Irish entry should be hopeful of winning points from the Poles and the Austrians, all the same. Pot 6 was a mixed bag for the Irish; Ireland would have preferred to have drawn Portugal than Romania, but did draw the Maltese and avoid Moldova – so on the law of averages, this could be looked on as a slightly better than average outcome for Ireland in terms of the Pot 6 selections.

On a somewhat more worrying note, if we compare Ireland’s voting record in relation to the countries voting in this semi-final (across the 1998-2013 period) against that of the other fourteen countries that are competing in this, the following result would be predicted for this semi final:

1. Greece 127, 2. Norway 106, 3j. Malta/Romania 97, 5. Israel 75, 6. Lithuania 73, 7j. Georgia/Finland 68, 9. Poland 66, 10. Belarus 58, 11. Ireland 56, 12. Switzerland 44, 13. Austria 43, 14j. FYR Macedonia/Slovenia 33.

This analysis would have Ireland just missing out on being one of the ten countries predicted to qualify from this semi-final, but the margins involved are quite tight and there are relatively few points separating Ireland and the countries just falling inside the Top 10, namely Belarus (2 points), Poland (10 points) and Georgia/Finland (12 points). While the analysis suggests that Greece, Norway, Malta and Romania are relatively safe bets to make it to the final, the same cannot be argued in relation to the countries found in the 4th-10th berths of the predicted Top 10 here!

Based on past voting trends, the type of Irish entries favoured by some of our strongest friends in this draw, namely Switzerland and Norway, tends to be ballad entries, while up-tempo Irish entries have garnered little interest among the Swiss and Norweigian (and also the Israeli) televoters and juries in recent years.

Analysis of the draw for 2014 Eurovision Song Contest semi finals. What countries does Ireland want to be drawn with or avoid?

January 15, 2014

Adrian Kavanagh, 16th January 2013

The draw for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest semi finals takes place on Monday 20th January in Copenhagen. After this draw, Ireland will know what semi final its act will be taking part in, the countries that will be competing against this act for one of the ten qualifier slots from this semi final and (pretty importantly!) the three Big 5/Host countries that will have the right to vote in this semi final. This post will assess the possibilities facing Ireland ahead of this draw and pinpoint what would be an ideal/nightmare draw for the Irish act.  Read the rest of this entry »

Acts confirmed for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest

December 31, 2013

Adrian Kavanagh, 31st December 2013

The 2014 Eurovision Song Contest is scheduled to take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 6th and 10th May 2014, but with a number of countries withdrawing from the 2014 contest the number of participants could well be the lowest since the semi-final system was introduced in 2004. Cyprus, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria are withdrawing from the 2014 contest. However Poland (missing since the 2011 contest) and Portugal (who did not take part last year) are returning, meaning that 37 countries will be taking part in this year’s event. Read the rest of this entry »

Eurovision winners in the UK charts over the past two decades

August 2, 2013

How have Irish Eurovision winners fared in the official UK charts? And how do recent Eurovision winners compare?

Johnny Logan’s Eurovision winners got to No. 1 (What’s Another Year – 1980) and No. 2 (Hold Me Now – 1987) in the UK charts. That record is not too shabby in fairness. Dana also made No.1 in 1970 with “All Kinds of Everything” and actually had five other Top 40 hits in the UK between 1971 and 1976, probably making her one of the most successful Eurovision acts in terms of UK chart performance.

As for the other Irish winners, Linda Martin’s Why Me made No. 59 in 1992 but Niamh Kavanagh got to No. 24 with In Your Eyes the following year (the strongest chart performance of the 1990s winners) while Eimear Quinn made No. 40 with The Voice in 1996. But Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan’s Rock and Roll Kids does not seem to have charted.

The last Eurovision winners got to the following positions in the official UK charts: Only Teardrops: No. 15 in 2013, Euphoria: No. 3 in 2012, Running Scared: No. 61 in 2011, Satellite: No. 30 in 2010 and No. 10 in 2009. The 2005, 2007 and 2008 winners do not seem to have charted, though Lordi did get to No. 25 in 2006 and Ruslana got to No. 47 in 2004.

Other notable charting Eurovision winners over the past two decades include Dana International’s 1998 winner Diva which got to No. 11 and Charlotte Nilson’s 1999 winner Take Me To Your Heaven which reached No. 20, as well as Katrina and the Waves’ 1997 winner Love Shine A Light, which peaked at No. 3 in the UK single charts. 

Earlier contest winners have fared somewhat better. Bucks Fizz’s Making Your Mind Up scored a No. 1 hit in 1981, while the following year saw the English version of Nicole’s 1982 winner (A Little Peace) reached No. 1 in the charts. Milk & Honey’s 1979 winner Hallelujah reached No. 5.  Corrine Hermes’ 1983 winner did not chart however, while The Herreys’ Diggi Loo-Diggi Ley only got to No. 46 in 1984 and the following year saw Bobbysocks’ Let It Swing fare only slightly better, reaching No. 44 in the charts.

Some of the other UK Eurovision entries have enjoyed some chart success over the past twenty years, with Scooch’s Flying The Flag For You reaching No. 5 in 2007, Precious’ Say It Again reaching No. 6 in 1999, Love City Groove’s er Love City Groove reaching No. 7 in 1995, Daz Sampson’s Teenage Life reaching No. 8 in 2006, Jessica Garlick’s Come Back reaching No. 12 in 2002, James Fox’s Hold On To Our Love reaching No. 12 in 2004, Jemini’s Cry Baby reaching No. 15 in 2003 and Imaani’s Where Are You attaining the same chart position in 1998 and Sonia’s Better The Devil You Know doing likewise in 1993, Blue’s I Can reaching No. 16 in 2011, Javine’s Touch My Fire reaching No. 18 in 2005, Frances Ruffelle’s Lonely Symphony reaching No. 25 in 1994,  Jade Ewen’s It’s My Time reaching No. 27 in 2009, Lindsay Dracas’ No Dream Impossible reaching No. 32 in 2001, Nicki French’s Don’t Play That Song Again reaching No. 34 in 2000, Engelbert Humperdinck’s Only Love Will Set You Free reaching No. 60 in 2012 and Andy Abraham’s Even If reaching No. 67 in 2008.

But the most successful of these entries – and indeed the most commercially successful Eurovision entry in terms of UK chart success over the past two decades – was Gina G’s Ooh Aah…Just A Little Bit which got to No. 1 in the UK charts in 1996 and remained in the UK charts for 25 weeks.

The most successful Eurovision winner, in terms of UK chart success, of course is ABBA, with nine No. 1′s and ten other Top 10 hits between 1974 and 1982. Though even their record is probably surpassed by Cliff Richard, who would (I think) be the most commercially successful Eurovision act as measured by UK chart position. Though still didn’t help him beat “La La La” in 1968…

Although Celine Dion has probably been one of the most commercially successful Eurovision winners and has attained two No. 1 hits in the UK charts to date, her 1988 Eurovision winner, Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi failed to chart.

A Study of All Ireland Football Championship Qualifier series success levels

June 17, 2013

Adrian Kavanagh, 17 June 2013

As with all other aspects of sporting success, there is a notable geographical dimension to success levels in Gaelic Games and this is particularly evident in terms of the success levels enjoyed by different counties and different regions in the Gaelic Football Championship qualifier rounds. This post analyses how different counties have fared in these qualifiers since these were first introduced at the start of the 2000s and notes that certain provinces and certain counties have fared decidedly better in these than other provinces and counties.
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