For months going into the Eurovision Song Contest, Francesco Gabbani was the clear favorite for victory. Halfway through the first rehearsal week, professional gamblers, journalists and fans were wondering if anyone could still make this a close contest. However at the start of the final day, Portugal and Bulgaria have come closer than ever before.
Ever since Gabbani won the San Remo Festival, he topped the charts and dominated the betting markets. The videoclip for “Occidentali’s Karma” broke all records in terms of Youtube hits. Gabbani and his gorilla were everywhere, and took every chance they got to explain that the song is not a joke. “It is the combination between a simple tune and a very deep, complicated message.”
The gorilla displays the simplicity of western mankind, who think that we have got it all figured out and that we have become superhumans when mastering the internet. While at the end of the day, we are still all “naked apes”, as Desmond Morris wrote it. And when we turn to Eastern cultures for comfort and peace, we look a little bit awkward. Just like Francesco Gabbani in his performance.
“Searching for a second favorite”
The story came across so well, that Italy became the hottest favourite ever in the Eurovision Song Contest. Midway through rehearsal week 1, professional gambler Daniel Gould said in our morning podcast Daily Coffee that he and his colleagues were almost hoping for a second favourite to arise.
And then it happened. Italy drew a place in the first half of the Grand Final. At that point, many people still believed they would easily win the competition. However, when Portugal’s Salvador Sobral arrived to Kiev and gave a magical performance in semi 1, the first competitor was born.
Portugals odds shortened, and Kristian Kostov from Bulgaria quickly hopped on the train. The youngster became top favourite to win the second semi final. And when he was the only of the three to draw a slot in the second half of the show, he joined the party at the top of the betting markets.
Three countries came closer together every day. And for a brief period of time during Friday, Portugal was even ahead of Italy. Francesco Gabbani felt the pressure and gave a magical performance during yesterday’s jury show, but so did the competition. With just a few more hours to go until the final, it has become far from certain that Italy will take a runaway victory.