Eurovision 2020 odds - who is the favourite?

Coronavirus threatens to cancel the contest

James newman
James Newman will be representing the UK at Eurovision 2020
(Image credit: John Phillips/Getty Images)

Eurovision organisers have been in crisis talks over possible cancellation of the contest as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The European Broadcasting Union, which hosts the singing competition, said they had been “looking at various scenarios” to keep contestants and spectators safe from the virus.

Eurovision is set to take place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, this year, bringing together thousands of spectators and a gaggle of singers.

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The odds of the UK winning this year started off at 35/1, briefly surged to 12/1, and are now on 125/1.

“It doesn’t feel like a winner but nor does it feel like an embarrassment. And that, at least, is progress,” said the BBC’s music reporter Mark Savage of UK entrant James Newman’s track.

Here’s a look at the bookmakers’ favourites.

Bulgaria 5/1

Bulgaria is one of the newer entrants to the Eurovision Song Contest, first joining in the fun in 2005. It has participated 12 times, achieving a second-place finish in Kiev 2017.

Bulgarian artist Victoria was named as the country’s entrant back in November 2019.

The singer gained popularity after coming sixth in the fourth season of Bulgarian X Factor.

Lithuania 6/1

Lithuania will make its 21st foray into the world of Eurovision, since its “nul points” debut in 1994. The national humiliation saw Lithuania withdraw from the contest for the following four years, not returning until 1999.

LT United’s 2006 banger We Are the Winners is Lithuania’s best attempt in the contest, failing to live up to its name, but reaching sixth place.

Rock band The Roop will be trying to better that result this year, with On Fire. And if the misspelt YouTube comments are anything to go by, they already have it in the bag.

“Maybie no eurovision this year?” says the top comment. “This song already won…”

Iceland 13/2

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Iceland has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 32 times since making its debut in 1986. It has enjoyed two second-place finishes, and placed six times in the top ten.

But despite performing well for such a small island, the Nordic nation has more in common with the struggling UK than it would be prepared to admit. As well as sharing a name with a popular British supermarket, Iceland has suffered the ignominy of a UK-esque last-placed finish on two occasions.

This year though, it is set to avoid such embarrassment. Quirky electro pop musician Dadi Freyr will perform his track Think About Things at the 2020 contest and is already the bookies’ favourite.

Switzerland 8/1

The Swiss made their debut in the first Eurovision contest in 1956, and have only missed four events in the competition’s history.

Not only was Switzerland a founding member of Eurovision, it was its first ever winner. Lys Assia won in 1956 with the song Refrain. Céline Dion matched her success in 1988, winning the competition for the Swiss with French tune Ne partez pas sans moi.

Dion went on to worldwide fame with 200 million record sales and an estimated net worth of $800m. Lys Assia went on to place eighth in Switzerland’s national selection for the 2012 Eurovision finals in Baku, Azerbaijan.

In 2020, the singer known as Gjon’s Tears will represent the country with his track Répondez-moi, having been selected by a 100-member audience panel and an international jury comprising “20 music experts”, claims Eurovision.

The prodigious talent came third in Albania’s Got Talent in 2012; the semi-finals in the Swiss equivalent Switzerland’s Got Talent in 2013; and the semi-finals of the French talent show The Voice France in 2019.

Russia 9/1

Russia also joined the Eurovision contest in 1994, a mere three years after the final dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of communism.

The country quickly became one of the most successful countries in the contest, with ten top five placements.

One of its most memorable entries was in 2003 with t.A.T.u, described by the BBC's Michael Osborn at the time as “a pair of teenage lesbians from Mother Russia”.

The singers came third despite (or due to) controversy over a music video of the pair kissing in school uniform, which led to accusations of their act being an “underage sex project” and upset Richard and Judy.

This year, Russia will send the self-described punk-pop-rave juggernaut Little Big to represent the country at Eurovision.

“Of course we were happy when the news came. But then it got a little scary. It’s still a great responsibility to represent Russia,” Pruskin told the Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid.

Romania 12/1

Romania has placed in the top ten six times, with two third-place finishes, since 1994.

The country has a volatile history with the competition, having previously been disqualified due to repeated non-payment of debts to the European Broadcasting Union.

But it’s back this year, with 20-year-old deep house singer Roxen emerging from Romania’s complicated and ever-changing Selectia Nationala (national selection).

Italy 14/1

Italy was one of the original seven Eurovision contestants in 1956. It competed annually until 1997 - when the UK won - and made its return in 2011 after a 14-year hiatus.

This year, Antionio Diodato will be representing the coronavirus-hit country with his song Fai Rumore, an appeal to a former lover.

“If you enjoy tear-jerking, Italian love songs, then Italy’s Eurovision 2020 could set you off,” says the Radio Times. “And the pressure is certainly on for him, with Italy being one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision Song Contest, achieving over 30 top ten finishes throughout the years.”

The 38-year-old singer is rightly tipped for glory, if his glittering form book is anything to go by; in 2014, he won Best Newcomer at the MTV Italian Awards.

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