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  • Dale Roberts

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

The Eurovision 2022 semi-final running order was revealed this week 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 are 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%

2022 act in this position: Czech Republic

Position number 18 in the running order has only been used seven 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.

Running order 9

Qualification record: 75%

2022 acts in this position: Moldova and Cyprus

Position 9 has been used in every semi-final and recent qualifiers from there include 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 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 10th, 8th, 7th and 17th. This shows that qualification is no sure thing from a ninth position performance.

Running order 12

Qualification record: 75%

2022 acts in this position: Denmark and Estonia

This position does appear to have a very solid qualifying record, with recent entries 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. Three entries in recent times have missed out: Jurijus with 'Run with The Lions' in 2019, Franka with 'Crazy' and Christabelle with 'Taboo' in 2018.

Running order 15

Qualification record: 75%

2022 acts in this position: Greece and Montenegro

Some excellent entries have qualified from this position, including 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 Conan Osiris finishing 15th with 'Telemóveis' in 2019 and Samanta Tina's 'The Moon is Rising' coming 17th (last) in 2021.

Running order 8

Qualification record: 69%

2022 acts in this position: Netherlands and Australia

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

These have included: 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.

Ultimately, however, this is a very strong position and Australia should be pleased its spot in this running order.

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

Running order 2

Qualification record: 25%

2022 acts in this position: Latvia and Israel

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

The last six acts have all missed out, including 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!

Additionally, it appears as though producers are placing more "up-beat" songs in this position as compared with previous years, so things may start to improve from this unlucky spot.

Running order 3

Qualification record: 38%

2022 acts in this position: Lithuania and Serbia

Barely any act qualified from this position up until 2017, but since then it has had a 50% qualifying record.

The qualifiers have been '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

18 - 86%

9 - 75%

12 - 75%

15 - 75%

8 - 69%

5 - 63%

6 - 63

14 - 63%

16 - 60%

1 - 56%

7 - 56%

11 - 56%

13 - 56%

4 - 50%

10 - 50%

17 - 45%

3 - 38%

2 - 25%

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:

18 - 6.29

12 - 7.00

9 - 7.06

15 - 7.50

The next best is position 16, which jumps up from 10th place in the qualification record.

Running order 16

Average ranking: 8.00

2022 acts in this position: Norway and Belgium

Although this position only has a qualification of 60%, its overall average ranking is very good.

This has been helped by the last three semi-final winners all coming from this position.

The acts in question were Gjon's Tears with 'Tout l'univers', Destiny with 'Je me casse' and Duncan Laurence with 'Arcade'.

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 - 12.31

3 - 11.75

The next struggler in the average ranking is position 11.

Running order 11

Average ranking: 11.06

2022 acts in this position: Croatia and North Macedonia

Although the last three entries have qualified, they did only scrape. Belgium finished 9th last year 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 56%.

Running order 10

Average ranking: 10.56

2022 acts in this position: Portugal and Ireland

Another position that struggles is 10th in the running order. It has had five non-qualifiers in a row, with an average ranking of 13th since 2018.

Those five non-qualifiers were Albina with 'Tick-Tock', Tornike with 'You', Roko with 'The Dream', Eliot with 'Wake Me Up' and Iriao with 'For You'.

All running order positions - average ranking

18 - 6.29

12 - 7.00

9 - 7.06

15 - 7.50

16 - 8.00

7 - 8.06

6 - 8.44

8 - 8.56

5 - 8.75

13 - 8.94

17 - 9.27

1 - 9.31

14 - 9.38

4 - 9.50

10 - 10.56

11 - 11.06

3 - 11.75

2 - 12.31

What about the show openers?

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

Position 1 ranks 11th in qualifying record (56%) and 12th in average ranking (9.3).

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

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'.

And closing the show?

Closing the show has a much better record than opening, 81% of acts qualifying from this spot.

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

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

The 2022 acts closing the show, Armenia and Czech Republic, will be hoping that they can continue this spot's solid record.

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.

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.

It is also quite clear that some different approaches have been taken by producers this year, with Armenia closing a semi-final and Latvia in the "death slot".

This approach seems to indicate that some surprise results could occur and go against traditional form.

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 2022 will take place on Tuesday, 10 May and Thursday, 12 May in Turin.

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