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  • Writer's pictureDale Roberts

Semi-final running order 2021 - winners and losers

Last night Eurovision Song Contest organisers revealed the running order for the two semi-finals (above).

Immediately fans began analysing on which countries had been given a great position and who had been given the 'death slot'.

So we decided to put some numbers on this and looked at how songs had gone since producers starting picking the order at the 2013 competition.

Here's what we found:


Australia was given fifth place in the running order which many fans believed was a good result...

And they were right!

Since 2013, 10 of the 14 acts have qualified from this position, giving it a 71.4% qualifying record.

This is the second highest percentage of running order positions that have featured every year.

The average position was 8.14 which was sixth highest among positions featured every year.

In even better news five of the last six entries to go from fifth place have qualified including Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl with 'Sebi' in 2019, Mikolas Josef with 'Lie to Me', Rasmussen with 'Higher Ground', Blanche with 'City Lights' and Ilinca ft. Alex Florea with 'Yodel It'. The only act recently to miss out was Carousel with 'That Night'.

So overall a great spot for Australia!

What are the best positions?

The best position actually isn't a running order number. Since the semi-finals have had a different amount over the years, we also looked and where they featured and there was one clear winner:

Closing the show!

85.7% of entries (or 12 from 14) that closed the show have qualified. In recent years one of the more infamous qualifications was San Marino's Serhat with 'Say Na Na Na' which was given little chance going into the semi-final.

This year Malta with Destiny's 'Je me casse' closes semi-final 1 and arguably the biggest winners from the running order this year Denmark's 80s throwback 'Øve os på hinanden' by Fyr & Flamme closes semi-final 2.

The last closer to not qualify was Triana Park with 'Line' in 2017.

15th and 9th

These two positions do very well.

15th has the highest percentage of qualifiers from positions that featured every year at 78.6% and the second highest average ranking at 7.2

While 9th place in the running order has the best average ranking at 6.8 and the second highest percentage qualifying record at 71.4%.

Ukraine with Go_A's 'Shum' and Latvia with Samanta Tina's 'The Moon is Rising' take up 15th in the running order.

Recent qualifiers from there include KEiiNO's 'Spirity in the Sky', Saara Aalto's 'Monsters', Benjamin Ingrosso's 'Dance You Off' and Hovig's 'Gravity'. However it's not all good news with Conan Osiris finishing 15th with 'Telemóveis' in 2019.

Norway with Tix's 'Fallen Angel' and Serbia with Hurrican's 'Loco Loco' are 9th in the running order.

Recent qualifiers from here include 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' also non-qualified from here.

What are the tougher spots?

2nd and 3rd

Unfortunately these two positions have struggled over the years.

2nd up in the running order has the worst percentage qualifying record (28.6%) and the worst average position (12.2).

This year that's been given to Ana Soklič with 'Amen' in semi-final 1 and Uku Suviste with 'The Lucky One' in semi-final 2.

The last qualifier from this position was Nathan Trent with 'Running on Air' in 2017. However Georgia in 2017 and Romania in 2018 finished just outside in 11th place so all is not lost...maybe?

3rd in the running order has the second worst percentage qualifying with 35.7% and the second worst average ranking with 12.1.

This year Manizha with 'Russian Woman' in semi-final 1 and Benny Cristo with 'Omaga' in semi-final 2 go from that slot.

In good news, recently this has had a better record with half of acts qualifying since 2017.

These have been 'Mall' from Albania', 'Nova Deca' from Serbia and 'Don't Come Easy' From Australia, while Ana Odobescu with 'Stay', Darude with 'Look Away' and Jana Burčeska with 'Dance Alone' missed out.

Opening the show

Opening does not do nearly as well as closing the show. Overall since 2013 it has a 50% record of qualifying and the last year both opening acts qualified was 2014.

This year's openers are The Roop with 'Discoteque' for Lithuania and Senhit from San Marino with 'Andrenalina'.

Recently qualifiers who opened 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's 'Walking Out', Azerbaijan's 'X My Heart' and Serbia's 'In Too Deep'.

So does running order really matter?

As much as we can analyse the numbers it always comes down to the quality of the song and the flow of the show. Your running can definitely help, particularly those that are considered borderline qualifiers, but ultimately if your song is good enough it should be able to qualify from any position.

The qualifying percentage for each running order position is below

  • 19 - 100% (only one entrant)

  • 18 - 85.7% (only seven entrants)

  • 15 - 78.6%

  • 5 - 71.4%

  • 9 - 71.4%

  • 12 - 71.4%

  • 6 - 64.3%

  • 7 - 57.1%

  • 8 - 57.1%

  • 13 - 57.1%

  • 14 - 57.1%

  • 16 - 53.9%

  • 1 - 50%

  • 10 - 50%

  • 11 - 50%

  • 17 - 50%

  • 4 - 42.9%

  • 3 - 35.7%

  • 2 - 28.6%


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