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Eurovision odds first semi final

Semifinal 1: Which country wins?

Odd unit: EU | UK | US

As is traditional, last year’s winner will host the event, with the Portuguese capital of Lisbon chosen for the country’s first ever Grand Final, which will take place at the Altice Arena.

The 37 semi-finalist countries were divided into several pots and distributed equally into each of the 2 semi-finals by a draw.  This is a massive number, which equals the record amount of participants in the 2008 and 2011 editions. Russia will return after their absence from the previous edition. For the first time since 2011, no countries have withdrawn from the contest.

The distribution of the countries in the pots will be based on the voting pattern in each country in the past years. This mechanism is used in order to avoid neighbourly voting and countries that tend to vote for each another ending up competing in the same semi-final. There aren’t too many changes from last year’s pots. Pot one remains the Balkan region plus Switzerland. In pot 2 are the Nordics, with Ireland replacing Estonia. Pot 3 contains eastern Europe, with Ukraine re-taking their usual spot here from Israel. Pot 4 takes a journey from Hungary in the north to Cyprus in the south. Pot 5 contains a number of “leftover”, perhaps Western-leaning countries (with Israel replacing host nation Portugal). Pot 6 contains the three Baltic nations and the remaining north-western countries.

Nineteen countries will participate in the first semi-final. At the request Italian broadcaster broadcaster RAI, and following approval from the Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, Italy will broadcast and vote in the Second Semi-Final on Thursday 10th May. France and Germany were drawn to vote in the Second Semi-Final. Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal will vote in the First Semi-Final.

When we look at the all-time statistics of semi finals at the Eurovision Song Contest and the draw of today, we still see that in the first semi final, Azerbaijan (always qualified), Greece and Armenia are the strongest nations in the pack. Behind these three nations, the percentage of qualifying from a semi final immediately drops to around 50% with Croatia. It looks like many countries in the first semi final will get the chance to improve their numbers this year.

The arena for Eurovision 2018 is called Altice Arena (former called MEO Arena, originally Pavilhão Atlântico). The technical production team behind Eurovision Song Contest 2018 has started to prepare the arena Altice Arena for next month's huge event. The arena, stage, backstage area and press centre have to be ready for the first rehearsals starting in the end of April 2018. The Altice Arena is one of the largest indoor arenas in the EU, build in 1998. It has a capacity of 20,000 guests, 12,500 seats and 5,200 square metres. The stage is designed by Florian Wieder, and is inspired by the hull of a ship and reflects Portugal's history and culture.