Jedward’s semis slot is a bonus, says stats expert

JEDWARD’S hopes of making it to the Eurovision final could be boosted by their last-place slot in Thursday night’s semi-final in Germany, according to an academic who has analysed previous contests.

Better known for his election predictions based on local voting patterns, Dr Adrian Kavanagh of NUI Maynooth’s geography department is turning his focus this week to his other passion — the Eurovision Song Contest.

He says previous acts to go on stage late in the night appear to have a better chance of success than early performers. The teenage twins sing Lipstick as the last of 19 songs on Thursday, hoping to be among 10 picked for the final two nights later, joining tomorrow night’s top 10 and the five countries which qualify automatically for the final.

“Research shows songs performing later in the draw tend to do better and acts performing in the last five positions have earned an average of 80 points in all contests held since 2004, against an average of 48 points for those performed in the first five positions,” Dr Kavanagh said.

However, he cautions that the last draw position has sometimes proven to be a graveyard slot for quirky and up-tempo acts, a category in which most observers would put John and Edward Grimes.

Another reason for caution may be the fact that juries — who are back in play in the awarding of points — are more likely to favour ballads, which helped Niamh Kavanagh make it into last year’s final.

“They are helped by being already experienced live performers and good backing support including 2008 You’re A Star champion, Leanne Moore. They are by no means certainties to make the final but neither are they travelling without hopes of a strong showing — for Jedward, it’s definitely still all to play for in Dusseldorf,” he said.

Ireland’s chances of making it into Saturday’s finale are quite high. For the Eurovision crown, however, Jedward are hovering at 10th favourite out of all 43 countries.

But Irish punters seem to be chancing their luck on the duo. Boylesports have shortened their odds from 25/1 to 16/1.

“They are a fantastic novelty act and their song ‘Lipstick’ has already gone down a storm with Eurovision fans, so a win for Ireland wouldn’t be a shock,” said spokeswoman Nicola McGeady.

France lead the betting, followed by Estonia, United Kingdom and Hungary. But one set of twins unlikely to be celebrating after Thursday’s semi-final are Slovakia’s Daniela and Veronika, 150/1 outsiders with their Corrs-sounding entry I’m Still Alive.

* Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals, RTÉ Two television 8pm, Tuesday and Thursday.


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