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

Adrian Kavanagh, 28th March 2014: edited and updated on 8th May

The running order for the two semi-finals for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest was announced on March 28th 2014 and Ireland will perform in 9th position (out of 15 countries/acts) in the second 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, be 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.

This will be the first time an Irish act will  performed in 9th place have done so in a Eurovision semi-final and only one Irish act has performed in 9th place in a Final : Linda Martin with Terminal 3 in 1984  (finished in 2nd 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, as well as the 14th draw position (which will be the second-last draw position in Semi Final 2) and the 13th draw position (third-last position in Semi-Final 2), 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, No. 2, No. 11 and No. 5 draw positions.

First Semi-Final

1. Armenia, 2. Latvia, 3. Estonia, 4. Sweden, 5. Iceland, 6. Albania, 7. Russia, 8. Azerbaijan, 9. Ukraine, 10. Belgium, 11. Moldova, 12. San Marino, 13. Portugal, 14. The Netherlands, 15. Montenegro, 16. Hungary.

Contests favourites, Armenia, will open the semi-final, and indeed this year’s contest; this is however not a good draw position for a ballad act. The Baltic states, Latvia and Estonia, both get to perform early in the show for the second year in a row.  This is obviously a very good draw position for Hungary, especially as their act this year figures amongst the pre-contest favourites, but also for Montenegro and The Netherlands – countries whose semi-final records are very poor. Statistically this is a bad draw position for Estonia, Azerbaijan, Latvia, Moldova and Iceland, although Azerbaijan’s ranking in the bookies odds suggest that this draw position may not be a serious issue in their case.

Second Semi-Final

1. Malta, 2. Israel, 3. Norway, 4. Georgia, 5. Poland, 6. Austria, 7. Lithuania, 8. Finland, 9. Ireland, 10. Belarus, 11. Madedonia, 12. Switzerland, 13. Greece, 14. Slovenia, 15. Romania

This is yet again a very good draw position for Romania – a country with a 100% semi-final qualification record in any case – with the Romanian act closing the second semi-final for the second year in a row. But it is also a good draw for Slovenia – a country that got the worst possible draw statistically in last year’s first semi-final – as well as for Greece. As noted below, since 2008 countries performing second-last or last in a Eurovision semi-final have gone on to qualify on 85% of these occasions! Malta will not be happy with the No.1 draw position, given that this is generally a poor draw position for low tempo acts such as their’s, although it is by no means the worst draw position to get in a semi-final. Statistically this is a bad draw position for Norway, although that country’s strong ranking in the bookmakers’ odds suggest that they will not fail to qualify for the final because of this, as well as for Israel, Macedonia, Poland and Ireland.

Qualification levels by draw position, Semi Finals 2008-2014* (now including Semi Final 1)


Based on the number of qualifications from semi-finals since the two semi-final system was introduced in 2008 and now including the results of Tuesday night’s first semi-final, the chart above (Figure 2) suggests that the best draw positions in this regard would be the No. 13 and No. 14 draw position (77% qualification record) and then the No. 2, No. 6, No. 7 and No. 12  draw positions (all with a 62% qualifications record). This is obviously good news for Greece and Slovenia, as well as Israel, Austria, Lithuania and Switzerland. The least successful draw positions to get on the basis of these figures would be the No.3 draw position (23% qualification record) and the No. 11 draw position (31% qualification record) as well as the No. 4 and No. 5 draw positions (38% qualification records), which is bad news for Norway and FYR Macedonia, as well as Georgia and Poland. It’s worth remembering, however, that Sweden and Iceland qualified from the No. 4 and No. 5 performance positions in the first semi final, while Portugal failed to progress from the No. 13 draw position. A good/bad draw can help/hinder a song’s chances, but does not necessarily mean that song will qualify/fail to qualify from a semi final.   



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