I admit it, when it comes to predicting the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, I'm pretty useless. I did pretty well from 2004-2006 and yet didn't see Germany coming in 2010. In 2012 I had about ten possible winners down. I tend to get around 8 out 10 the ten qualifiers correct and I dare say it'll be the same this year. I've listened to the songs too many times to form any sort of objective opinion. Let's face it, the vast majority of viewers (and voters) will hear the songs once on the Saturday night final (perhaps in the semis if they're particularly keen). The performance for the juries on the Friday is crucial, as is the Saturday night final. Take the UK's Blue in 2011; they murdered their song on the Friday and the juries marked them down, yet in the final they pulled it out of the bag and the public rewarded them with fifth place. The draw is also pretty important, a song in stark contrast to the entries performed before can really stand out. 2013 is generally seen as an open year with no runaway winner. It'll all come down to how the song is staged and how well it's performed.
I just can't see Denmark doing the business, despite it being the favourite. I can however, see something coming from slightly left-field. Malta is a catchy little ditty, could it be a dark horse? Perhaps not. Belarus? Minsk would be interesting but can't see it happening. I think if the voters and jurors go up-tempo then the winner will be either Norway, Germany or Ukraine. If they go for a ballad it's going to be Georgia, Italy, Azerbaijan (remember the Turkish vote will be stronger this year since Turkey are out) or even Russia. For what it's worth, I have each way bets on Norway, Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. I shouldn't really place any more, although I probably will. I'll wait and see what the rehearsals are like. Songs which come across strongly in the preview videos don't always come across well on the night - look at Ukraine last year. Similarly, songs which don't appear to go anywhere in the videos are transformed when performed on the stage. It's going to be an exciting and interesting contest!
I travel to Sweden on 4th May and will be blogging daily. Happy Eurovision!