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  • Writer's pictureDale Roberts

Eurovision semi-final running order - what do the stats say?

The Eurovision 2023 semi-final running order was revealed today and, as ever, there is a great deal of analysis by fans on how their favourites have fared.

We've taken a look at what the raw statistics tell us and how important they are in terms of qualification.

The data is from 2013 onward, which is the year producers took control of the running order rather than leaving it completely to chance.

Which running order position has the best qualification record?

Running order 18

Qualification record: 86%

2023 entries: Not being used!

Position number 18 in the running order has only been used eight times since 2013 and on all occasions except for one (semi-final 2, 2018), it has been the closing act of the show.

Every act has qualified from this position except Triana Park from Latvia in 2017. Their song 'Line' finished in last place in their semi-final. Last year's 'We Are Domi' qualified from here but alas this position will not be used in 2023!

Closing the show

Qualification record: 83%

2023 entries: Finland and Australia

Closing the show has a much better record than opening, and has a record of 83% of acts qualifying from this spot.

Recent show closers to make it through to the Grand Final have been We Are Domi with 'Lights Off', Rosa Linn's 'Snap', Destiny's 'Je me casse', San Marino's Serhat with 'Say Na Na Na' (which was given little chance!) and Chingiz with 'Truth'.

However, in 2021 Denmark's 80s throwback 'Øve os på hinanden' by Fyr & Flamme closed the show and missed out in 11th spot.

Australia will be hoping the good record continues in 2023!

Running order 8

Qualification record: 72%

2023 entries: Switzerland and Greece

This position has been a real improver in recent years, with the past seven entries all qualifying.

These have included: Australia's own Sheldon Riley, S10 with 'De Diepte', Daði og Gagnamagnið with '10 Years', Elena Tsagrinou with 'El Diablo', John Lundvik with 'Too Late for Love' and Zena with 'Like It'.

On the downside, Alekseev with 'Forever' missed out in 2018.

Running order 9

Qualification record: 72%

2023 entries: Israel and Poland

Position 9 has been used in every semi-final and recent qualifiers from there include Zdob și Zdub and Advahov Brothers from Moldova last year, Tix with 'Fallen Angel', Hurricane with 'Loco Loco', Nevena Božović with 'Kruna', Elina Nechayeva with 'La Forza', Jessica Mauboy with 'We Got Love' and Salvador Sobral with 'Amar pelos dois'.

However, recently Andromache with 'Ela', ' PÆNDA with 'Limits' and Brendan Murray with 'Dying to Try' were non-qualifiers from this spot.

The position's high record is helped by some strong numbers in its early years, whereas recently entries have ranked 8th, 12th, 10th, 8th, 7th and 17th. This shows that qualification is no sure thing from a ninth position performance.

Running order 12

Qualification record: 72%

2023 entries: Azerbaijan and San Marino

This position does appear to have a very solid qualifying record, with recent entries Stefan with 'Hope', Eden Alene with 'Set Me Free', The Black Mamba with 'Love is On My Side' and Kate Miller-Heidke with 'Zero Gravity' all qualifying.

However, stats can be deceiving. Four entries in recent times have missed out: Reddi with 'The Show' in 2022, Jurijus with 'Run with The Lions' in 2019, Franka with 'Crazy' and Christabelle with 'Taboo' in 2018.

Running order 15

Qualification record: 72%

2023 entries: Finland and Lithuania

Some excellent entries have qualified from this position, including Amanda Tenfjord's 'Die Together', Go_A's 'Shum', KEiiNO's 'Spirit in the Sky', Saara Aalto's 'Monsters', Benjamin Ingrosso's 'Dance You Off' and Hovig's 'Gravity'.

It's not all good news however, with Vladana's 'Breathe' finishing 17th last year, Conan Osiris coming 15th with 'Telemóveis' in 2019 and Samanta Tina's 'The Moon is Rising' coming 17th (last) in 2021.

Which position in the running order has the worst qualification record?

Running order 2

Qualification record: 22%

2023 entries: Malta and Armenia

It's long been called the death slot for a reason, with only four acts qualifying since 2013.

The last eight acts have all missed out, including Citi Zēni with 'Eat Your Salad', Michael Ben David with 'I Am' last year and Ana Soklič with 'Amen' and Uku Suviste with 'The Lucky One' in 2021.

The last qualifier from this position was Nathan Trent with 'Running on Air' in 2017. However, Georgia in 2017 and Romania in 2018 just missed out in 11th place so all is not lost!

Running order 3

Qualification record: 44%

2023 entries: Serbia and Romania

Barely any act qualified from this position up until 2017, but since then it has had a 60% qualifying record including a 100% record in 2022.

The qualifiers have been 'Sentimentai' from Lithuania, 'In corpore sane' from Serbia, 'Russian Woman' from Russia, 'Mall' from Albania', 'Nova Deca' from Serbia and 'Don't Come Easy' From Australia, while Benny Cristo with 'Omaga', Ana Odobescu with 'Stay', Darude with 'Look Away' and Jana Burčeska with 'Dance Alone' all missed out.

All running order positions - qualifying record

19 - 100%*

18 - 88%**

8 - 72%

9 - 72%

12 - 72%

15 - 72%

14 - 67%

16 - 65%

6 - 61%

1 - 56%

4 - 56%

5 - 56%

13 - 56%

17 - 54%**

7 - 50%

10 - 50%

11 - 50%

3 - 44%

2 - 22%

*Only used once since 2013

**Will not be used in 2023

***Closing the show has a 83% record

Which running order position has the best average ranking?

If we look at the average ranking the same running positions appear in this top four (as they did in the qualification record). They are:

19 - 2.00

18 - 6.00

12 - 7.22

9 - 7.39

15 - 7.78

8 - 7.78

Closing the show has an average of 5.67

Which running order position has the worst average ranking?

The same poor performers in the qualifying record are also the worst when it comes to the average ranking:

2 - 12.44

11 - 11.06

3 - 11.00

10 - 10.44

Running order 11

Average ranking: 11.06

2023 entries: Sweden and Georgia

The worst position to come in a semi-final is 11th, which just misses out on qualifying.

Running order 11 has an average ranking of 11.06 and last year's two acts Croatia and North Macedonia in that position finished, you guessed it, 11th!

(We do have a feeling at least one of the 2023 songs won't finish 11th in the semi-final....)

Before that the previous entries qualified, but they did only scrape in. Belgium finished 9th with 'The Wrong Place', Albania 10th with 'Karma' and 'Chameleon' in 8th for Malta in 2019.

Previously, there were three consecutive non-qualifiers, ranging from 14th to 18th. Additionally, since 2014 the highest position an entry has finished in the semi-final is 8th and this spot has an overall qualification record of 50%.

Running order 10

Average ranking: 10.44

2023 entries: Moldova and Slovenia

Another position that struggles is 10th in the running order. It has had six non-qualifiers out of the last seven acts in that position. It has an average ranking of 12th since 2018.

These six non-qualifiers were Brooke with 'That's Rich', Albina with 'Tick-Tock', Tornike with 'You', Roko with 'The Dream', Eliot with 'Wake Me Up' and Iriao with 'For You'.

The one to buck that trend was Maro from Portugal last year with 'Saudade, saudade' which qualified in 4th position.

All running order positions - average ranking

19 - 2.00*

18 - 6.00**

12 - 7.22

9 - 7.39

15 - 7.78

8 - 7.83

16 - 8.00

6 - 8.44

7 - 8.83

17 - 9.15**

14 - 9.22

13 - 9.28

1 - 9.33

4 - 9.50

5 - 9.72

10 - 10.44

3 - 11.00

11 - 11.06

2 - 12.44

*Only used once since 2013

**Will not be used in 2023

***Closing the show has an average of 5.67

What about the show openers?

When it comes to opening the show, it's quite a mixed bag.

This year's openers are Norway and Denmark and they will be hoping they can replicate the successes of 2021 and 2014 when both first acts qualified.

Last year Finland with The Rasmus qualified from this position while Ronela from Albania missed out.

In 2021, it was all smiles for The Roop with 'Discoteque' for Lithuania and Senhit from San Marino with 'Andrenalina', both of whom made it to the Grand Final.

Other recent qualifiers have been 'Replay' from Cyprus, 'That's How You Write a Song' from Norway and 'I Can't Go On' from Sweden, while the NQs came from Armenia with 'Walking Out', Azerbaijan and 'X My Heart' and Serbia's 'In Too Deep'.

So what can we take from this?

Ultimately, some positions do seem to have more favourable records. Rather than a specific running order position, it does seem to be more generally when a song is performed during the show that has the greatest impact.

Towards the end of the first half (8th and 9th) and mid-to-late in the second half (12th, 15th, 16th and 18th) seem to be more beneficial, particularly closing the show.

Conversely, just after the show opens in the first half (2nd and 3rd) or at the start of the second half (10th and 11th) have less than ideal qualifying records.

Generally, it will be those areas, plus the songs coming before and after a specific entry, that will help or hinder that entry's chances.

However, there is one thing we know for sure: if your song is good enough, it should be able to qualify from any position in the running order.

The semi-finals of Eurovision 2023 will take place on Tuesday 9 May and Thursday 11 May in Liverpool.

For continued updates on all Eurovision Song Contest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. All the links can be found at:


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