Eurovision 2018 | Ireland Shoot Up To Third Favourite In The Odds
They were a big outsider to even feature in the final with the bookmakers, but after defying the odds and qualifying to tomorrow's Grand Final, Ireland odds have been shrinking by the second and now stand in as the third favourite to walk away with the trophy.
Ireland, being represented by Ryan O'Shaughnessy was initally ranked at 16th in the bookies to qualify form their semi final on Tuesday night, but after defying the odds and snatching a spot with his emotional love ballad titled "Together" he has slowly being climbing the odds, and overnight gone from 12th place to 3rd favourite after the running was released for the final, so could Ireland actually take the trophy back to the Emerald Isle?
The bookies favourite remains to be Eleni Foureira and "Fuego" which leapfrogged now second favourite Netta Barzilai, who is representing Israel on Tuesday, the other front runners were along the likes of Estonia, Bulgaria, Norway, France and Czech Republic in the run up to the contest, and even Lithuania making a surge up the bookmakers once the delegations landed in Lisbon, however this is the first and only spike Ireland have experienced in the odds over the last few months, this is also the first time Ireland have featured in the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final since 2013.
So what is causing this surge to make people sit up and notice "Together"? Well firstly it is having the chart success in sales. Currently charting in seven countries on iTunes which are voting in the final, including the likes of Estonia, Belgium and Denmark, making it currently the sixth most commercially successful entry from this years contest at the current time, it also is a vocally sound performance from Ryan and with a music video and staging which reflects a young LGBT couple in love, which has sparked mass conversation about the Irish entry, both positive and negative, it also has sparked controversy in which the EBU has now banned China from airing the contest after the broadcaster, Mango TV, edited out any acknowledgement of Irelands entry in their delayed broadcast of the semi final, due to the imagery of two young men dancing together, which was also brought to Ryan's attention live on the BBC during their broadcast of the second semi final last night by host Rylan Clark-Neal.
It is also the only ballad in the second half of the competition, with a lot of the uptempo songs drawn in the second half and the ballads either being eliminated or drawn into the first half, it's given Ryan very little competitive in his genre, would a ballad after a strong string of uptempo song work in their favour, they are also performing 24th out of 26 in the final, making them also fresh in the mind of the viewing public.
Ireland last won the contest in 1996, and many have said criticised Ireland and their broadcaster RTE for their run of poor results as a result of the broadcaster not putting in as much effort as the fans and Irish public would like them to, but could Ryan give them a surprise eighth victory? Watch the semi final performance below and judge for yourself.