This weekend the 64th Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Tel Aviv, with 26 countries battling it out to be crowned European champion of song and spectacle. Six countries will automatically place in the final: Israel as hosts and the so-called “Big Five” biggest funders of the event, UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. The remaining thirty five nations will first have to negotiate an extra qualifying round this week.
The first semi-final is on Tuesday evening, with 17 countries competing for the 10 spots available for the final. Greece is favoured by Paddy Power to win that round, at odds of 5/4. Australia is at 16/5 and Cyprus at 7/2.
The second semi will take place on Thursday 16th May, when all remaining contestants will be selected. This semi-final contains many of the favourites to win the overall contest, so competition will be steep. Even so, the Netherlands are near certainties to do well, with odds of 1/100 to qualify from the group, and 6/4 to win the round. They also maintain their position as favourites for the competition as a whole, with Paddy Power offering 5/2 on a Dutch victory.
The UK entry, “Bigger than us”, sang by Michael Rice, is a 200/1 longshot.