Eurovision 2016 betting odds: Ukraine surprises
For the last few months, Russia has dominated the betting odds for Eurovision 2016, securing the top spot since March. Soon after, France jumped to the number two place, with Sweden and Australia alternating between third and fourth places.
After the first rehearsals of the second semi-final on Thursday though, something began to happen. Ukraine starting moving up in the betting odds. And up. And up.
By the end of Thursday, Ukraine had secured the third place comfortably from Australia. Then yesterday came and the second rehearsals of the second semi-final were performed. And Ukraine took the second place from its long-holder France.
Now is Russia’s nightmare of nightmares. Russia’s most favored song in several years with the bookmakers is facing strong (and growing) competition by the country that has a song with the message of messages.
Russian media has criticized Jamala and her song “1944” for being too political against Russia and their discrimination and deportation of Crimean Tatars from their ancestral home in Crimea, a measure that has since began again in Crimea since Russia’s invasion and annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014. Jamala has repeatedly dismissed the specific politics of her song and stated it is a general message of freedom.
A vote for more than the song
So the simplest of scenarios is: Russia is competing in an all-out fight against Ukraine, the country that is being invaded by Russia. That is why 2016 will be the most political voting seen in decades. Any vote for Russia will be an affirmation for their actions in Ukraine and Europe, and any vote for Ukraine will be a vote of human support and condemnation of the Russian invasion and annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
Or in musical terms, Europe will have to choose between a male singer with a pop song with interactive projection on a background, similar to last year’s winner, or a symbolic ballad with a strong female singer and a powerful stage performance.