Can we predict the winner of Eurovision 2021 based on Semi Final YouTube views?
In the last couple of days the official Eurovision YouTube channel have uploaded the semi final and pre-qualified nation's performances for public viewership at the conclusion of each live broadcast. These included the Big Five and Host Nation's dress rehearsal footage. YouTube is second most utilised website in the world after Google - can we use it to predict the results of Eurovision 2021? I've crunch this years and the last five years numbers to find the answer.
Naturally the more views the better, indicating greater interest in the entry which in many cases correlates to general appeal. Of course, there will always exceptions with certain entries gaining substantial internet traction but still flopping eventually at Eurovision. Generally, if you're a Duncan Laurence, Eleni Foureira or Måns Zelmerlöw with a cracking entry - you're going to see a significant spike in their semi final performances views in relation to the rest.
More interestingly and importantly, it's fascinating to look at that second tier of entries - the ones that fill the left-hand-side of the scoreboard, had a high YouTube viewership but weren't necessarily tipped off to do as well as they did and vice versa. Their YouTube views told the more accurate story and the bookies weren't in agreement.
For example: Melovin's 'Under the Ladder' (Ukraine 2018) was on course to finish in the bottom five if they didn't claim a whopping 7th in the televote - retrospectively it was no surprise they accumulated such a strong vote, they were 3rd overall in semi final YouTube views behind only Netta and Eleni Foureira. Michał Szpak's 'Color of Your Life' (Poland 2016) still has the highest semi final views of any entry from 2016, were essentially ignored by the odds at 18th place and went onto to finish 3rd in the televote and 8th overall.
'Scream' (Russia 2019) was 8th in the odds but 3rd overall in YouTube semi final views, they went on to finish 3rd overall in the televote in the grand final and 3rd in the contest. The surprise package of Sunstroke Project were 3rd in YouTube views (behind only Salvator Sobral and Kristian Kostov) to claim 3rd place overall - they were 9th in the odds going into the final. Essentially - entries that were tipped to do "well" that did "very well" can be picked up before the contest by looking at their semi final YouTube views.
Looking at the previous five winners the semi final views tell a similar story:
'Arcade' was first in semi final views overall (500,000 more than next best 'She Got Me')
'Toy' was first in semi final views overall (6 million more than next best 'Fuego')
'Amar Pelos Dois' first in semi final views overall (500,000 more than next best 'Beautiful Mess')
'1944' third in semi final views overall (2 million behind 'Colour of Your Live' and 1 million behind 'You Are The Only One')
'Heroes' second in semi final views overall (3.5 million behind 'A Million Voices')
Now - let's look at 2021's semi final views:
In order to make a level playing field I will be comparing views at the same point in time - twelve hours post broadcast. Enough time to capture that first wave of people wanting to relive their favourite performances straight away and enough time for people to wake up and want to view them again (in Europe). Semi final 1 has a two day head start over semi final 2 which would severely skew results if we were to compare their results any other way. The Big Five and Host nation are separate because they too are at a disadvantage since their entry was only shown for a short time during the live broadcast.
The Qualifiers (YouTube views 12 hours post broadcast):
1. Serbia: Hurricane 'Loco Loco' - 1,500,000
2. Russia: Manizha 'Russian Woman' - 1,200,000
3. Ukraine: Go_A 'Shum' - 885,000
4. Greece: Stefania 'Last Dance' - 627,000
5. Cyprus: Elena Tsagrinou 'El Diablo' - 622,000
6. Azerbaijan: Efendi 'Mata Hari' - 467,000
7. Albania: Anxhela Peristeri 'Karma' - 381,000
8. Finland: Blind Channel 'Dark Side' - 344,000
9. Malta: Destiny 'Je Me Casse' - 277,000
10. Israel: Eden Alene 'Set Me Free' - 274,000
11. Lithuania: The Roop 'Discoteque' - 271,000
12. Iceland: Daði og Gagnamagnið '10 Years' - 246,000
13. Switzerland: Gjon's Tears 'Tout L'Univers' - 225,000
14. Moldova: Natalia Gordienko 'Sugar' - 217,000
15. Portugal: The Black Mamba 'Love Is On My Side' - 213,000
16. Bulgaria: VICTORIA 'Growing Up Is Getting Old' - 209,000
17. San Marino: Senhit ft Flo Rida 'Adrenalina' - 185,000
18. Belgium: Hooverphonic 'The Wrong Place' - 152,000
19. Norway: TIX 'Fallen Angel' - 141,000
20. Sweden: Tusse 'Voices' - 117,000
Big Five + Host Nation (YouTube views 12 hours post broadcast):
1. Italy: Måneskin 'Zitti e buoni' - 266,000
2. France: Barbara Pravi 'Voilà' - 188,000
3. Spain: Blas Cantó 'Voy a quedarme' - 96,000
4. Germany: Jendrik 'I Don't Feel Hate' - 65,000
5. UK: James Newman 'Embers' - 50,000
6. The Netherlands: Jeangu Macrooy 'Birth Of A New Age' - 41,000
Big winners of the YouTube views are Serbia, Russia, Ukraine and Italy. It's to be noted that generally Eastern European songs do get a small boost from huge fan bases locally, however, all three songs have huge televote appeal and knockout staging so it isn't surprising to see them smash it.
I would say the biggest winner is Italy - considering their full show (and arguably the best parts) was not shown live has amassed a strong viewership on YouTube to rival fellow Western European big hitters such as Switzerland, Iceland and Malta in the same amount of time. Usually the Big Five's views are considerably lower than those televised. Other notable finishes are Azerbaijan, Albania and Finland - generally not on the bookies or fan radar but jumping into the Grand Final against odds with strong YouTube views to boot.
The biggest concerns are Sweden, Iceland, Switzerland and Malta - it's certainly not impossible for an entry to have fairly mild YouTube views and go on to do incredibly well...however it's historically impossible to go on to win a contest without a huge YouTube backing relative to your semi final competitors.
Who do you think is going to win Eurovision 2021? Tell us at Aussievision on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram for updates, live-tweeting and a chance to listen our dulcet Australian tones on the Aussievsion podcast on Apple and Spotify.