Eurovision 2013 Semi Finals Running Order: What does this mean for Ireland?

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 13th position (out of 16 countries/acts) in the first of these semi-finals. Rather controversially, this was not done this year by means of a draw as in previous contests but was decided on by the show producers, although a draw was held in January to decide whether acts would be performing in the first half or the second half of the contest.

Figure 1: Average points by draw position in Eurovision semi-finals, 2004-2012

Figure 1: Average points by draw position in Eurovision semi-finals, 2004-2012

This is not as good a draw position as Jedward enjoyed in the semi-finals of 2011 and 2012, but as Figure 1 above shows it is still, on average, one of the better draw positions a country can hope to get in a Eurovision semi-final. The 13th draw position would rank as the fourth 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. Ryan Dolan will also be performing after a female ballad (in Romanian) from Moldova and before a female ballad (in Greek) from Cyprus, allowing his up-tempo dance song a better chance of standing out in this competition. But Ewan Spence on the ESC Insight website actually sees this aspect as a weakness, arguing that the jarring contrasts between the Moldovan, Irish and Cypriot entries means that he “wouldn’t rate Ireland at more than a 50/50 shot right now”. 

This will be the third time that Ireland will have performed in 13th position at a Eurovision Song Contest but the first time an Irish act will have done so in a Eurovision semi-final – Irish acts have performed in 13th place in Final on two previous occasions: Tina with Cross Your Heart in 1974 (finished in 7th place) and Dawn with Is Always Over Now? in 1998 (finished in 9th place).

The best draw position to get in a semi-final based on these figures is to perform last in a semi-final, with the second-last draw position and the 14th draw position (which will be the third-last draw position in this semi-final) being the next best positions to perform from in a semi-final. The worst draw position based on the above analysis is the No. 3 draw position, ahead of the No. 8 and No, 5 draw positions.

First Semi-Final

1. Austria, 2. Estonia, 3. Slovenia, 4. Croatia, 5. Denmark, 6. Russia, 7. Ukraine, 8. The Netherlands, 9. Montenegro, 10. Lithuania, 11. Belarus, 12. Moldova, 13. Ireland, 14. Cyprus, 15. Belgium, 16. Serbia

This is obviously a very good draw position for Serbia – a country that has a very strong semi-final qualification in any case, but also for Belgium and Cyprus – countries whose semi-final records are not as good in terms of qualifying for the final – as well as Ireland. Statistically this is a bad draw position for Slovenia, a country that has little in the way of luck in recent contests, as well as The Netherlands, a country that has not qualified from a semi-final since 2004 although their act is highly rated by the bookies this year. It is also a bad draw for Denmark, although it is unlikely to prevent the contest favourites from qualifying from this semi-final.

Figure 2: Success (qualification) levels by draw position in Eurovision semi finals 2008-12

Figure 2: Success (qualification) levels by draw position in Eurovision semi finals 2008-12

Based on the number of qualifications from semi-finals since the two semi-final system was introduced in 2008, the chart above (Figure 2) suggests that the best draw positions in this regard would be the No. 14 draw position (100% qualification record) followed by the No. 13 and No. 2 draw positions (both with a 70% qualifications record). This is obviously good news for Cyprus, Ireland and Estonia. The least successful draw positions to get on the basis of these figures would be the No. 5 and No. 11 draw positions (20% qualification records) as well as the No. 3 and No. 4 draw positions, which is bad news for Slovenia and Croatia, but especially Norway and Belarus.   

Second Semi-Final

1. Latvia, 2. San Marino, 3. F.Y.R. Macedonia, 4. Azerbaijan, 5. Finland, 6. Malta, 7. Bulgaria, 8. Iceland, 9. Greece, 10. Israel, 11. Armenia, 12. Hungary, 13. Norway, 14. Albania, 15. Georgia, 16. Switzerland, 17. Romania

This is a very good draw position for Romania – a country with a 100% semi-final qualification record in any case, but also for Switzerland – a country that has qualified from just two semi-finals out of eight attempts since 2004 – as well as Albania and Georgia. Statistically this is a bad draw position for FYR Macedonia, a country with a mixed qualification record and which will also be suffering in this semi-final in that the other Former Yugoslav states have been drawn to perform in the other semi-final, as well as Bulgaria, a country that has qualified from a semi-final on just one occasion to date, and Finland, a country with a mixed record in terms of semi-final results. 

Based on the number of qualifications from semi-finals since the two semi-final system was introduced in 2008, Figure 2 above, in addition to analysis by the ESCXtra website, suggests that the best draw positions in this regard would be the No. 14 draw position (100% qualification record) followed by the No.17 draw (80% qualification record) and the No. 13 and No. 2 draw positions (both with a 70% qualifications record). This is obviously good news for Albania, Romania, Norway and San Marino. The least successful draw positions to get on the basis of these figures would be the No. 5 and No. 11 draw positions (20% qualification records) as well as the No. 3 and No. 4 draw positions, which is bad news for FYR Macedonia and Azerbaijan, but especially Finland and Armenia. 

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