On Tuesday March 20th, the draw for the running order of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest was made. In January the semi-finalists had been allocated to the first and second semi-finals and which half of the semi they would perform, but the running order draw is only made after all entries have been confirmed.

While some might disagree, the position in the running order can have a major impact on a song's chances of success, and history has shown that a late draw tends to have an advantage, especially since televoting was introduced to the Eurovision Song Contest, back in 1997. With that in mind, it is no surprise to find that the five countries that drew the wildcards and were then able to determine their own position in the draw, all chose late positions. Below you can find a summary of the draw.

The draw for the first Semi-Final:
  1. 1. Montenegro
  2. 2. Iceland
  3. 3. Greece
  4. 4. Latvia
  5. 5. Albania
  6. 6. Romania
  7. 7. Switzerland
  8. 8. Belgium
  9. 9. Finland (wildcard)
  10. 10. Israel
  11. 11. San Marino
  12. 12. Cyprus
  13. 13. Denmark
  14. 14. Russia
  15. 15. Hungary
  16. 16. Austria
  17. 17. Moldova
  18. 18. Ireland (wildcard)
The draw for the second Semi-Final:
  1. 1. Serbia
  2. 2. FYR Macedonia
  3. 3. Netherlands
  4. 4. Malta
  5. 5. Belarus
  6. 6. Portugal
  7. 7. Ukraine (wildcard)
  8. 8. Bulgaria
  9. 9. Slovenia
  10. 10. Croatia
  11. 11. Sweden
  12. 12. Georgia
  13. 13. Turkey
  14. 14. Estonia
  15. 15. Slovakia
  16. 16. Norway
  17. 17. Bosnia & Herzegovina
  18. 18. Lithuania (wildcard)
The draw for the countries automatically qualified for the final.
  • 01. United Kingdom
  • 09. France
  • 10. Italy
  • 13. Azerbaijan
  • 19. Spain (wildcard)
  • 20. Germany

Countries drawing wildcards decided their own position in the draw.

SEMI-FINAL 1

 

1. MONTENEGRO This is Montenegro's fourth entry as an independent country, but remarkably, it's the third time they have opened the show. In 2008 and in 2009 they missed out on qualifying and indeed Montenegro has never made the final in its own right. Only five of the twelve songs performed first have qualified, which is slightly below average. On a slightly positive side, Montenegro's left-field song probably benefits from being first on stage.  

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2. ICELAND After three failures from 2005 to 2007, Iceland is attempting to qualify for the final for the fifth year in a row. However #2 in the draw is a poor position. Five songs performed second have made the final since 2004. Russia in 2010 and Austria in 2011 prove that you can qualify with a ballad from #2, and while this is a tough draw for Jonsi & Greta Salóme, but it's far from an impossible task.

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3. GREECE The first up-tempo song in this year's contest will come from Greece, a country that has never failed to qualify for the final, since the contest expanded in 2004. #3 in the running order is the worst possible place to be drawn and only two of the twelve songs performed third in the semis have qualified; Turkey in 2008 and Israel in 2010. If there's any any good news for Greece it is that their pop-dance song has ballads at either side of it.

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4. LATVIA Three of seven Latvian songs performed in the semis made it through to the final, but in the last three years, Latvia has failed badly. Early betting odds suggest that won't change, as Latvia have the longest odds to qualify of any country. Five songs performed 5th made the final, but among those that didn't is Latvia's 2004 entry and last yea, Armenia lost its 100% record, with this draw. All things considered, it's difficult to see Latvia in the final in May.

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5. ALBANIA Three of seven Albanian entries have made it through from the semi, but Rona Nisliu has a tough job to make it to the Saturday night show as #5 is another draw position with a poor record. Only Latvia in 2005 and Sweden in 2009 have qualified from #5 and last year Turkey lost its 100% record after drawing this position. Also in 2011, another dramatic entry from Albania, failed to qualify after getting an early draw.

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6. ROMANIA Romanian entries have a 100% qualification record, although this is the first time that one of their songs is performed in the first half of the running order. Exactly half of the songs performed at #6 in the draw have qualified, which is slightly better than average. Romania's pop-dance song is likely to come after an ad break and while this is far from a great draw, it's slightly undone the disadvantage of performing in the first half of the semi.

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7. SWITZERLAND The Swiss will be hoping for a third success in the semi-final, after making it through to the final in 2005 and 2011. This is the seveth time that Switzerland performs in the first half of the draw, compared with only once in the second half. This is another position with a 50/50 record in terms of qualification but having the only rock song in the first half of the draw is probably an advantage.

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8. BELGIUM Only one of Belgium's seven semi-finalists has qualified for the final. That came in 2010, when Tom Dice spectacularly changed Belgian fortunes by not only making it through, but actually winning the semi, from #10 in the draw. #8 is another draw position with a 50/50 record and coming after Romania's dance-pop and Switzerland's rock entries, may help Belgium's gentle ballad, although Finaland coming after it may not be such good news.

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9. FINLAND Four of seven Finnish entries have qualified from the semi-final, but on the two occasions they performed in the first half of the draw in 2004 and 2010, they failed to make it. Five of the twelve songs performed at #9 have qualified, which is lower than average and Finland's chances are probably not helped by coming after another female sung ballad, which is something of a disappointment after drawing the wildcard.

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10. ISRAEL Four of seven Israeli entries have made it through the Eurovision semi-finals, but they have also had some high profile failures, the biggest of which came last year, when 1998 winner Dana International failed to make it to the final in Dusseldorf. #10 is the first draw position with a better than 50/50 record and Israel qualified from this draw in 2009. Izabo's pop-rock song is a good contrast to the two ballads that come before it, so all in all, a good draw.

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11. SAN MARINO Like Israel, San Marino would have hoped for a later position, when they were allocated to the second half of the draw. This is close to the #12 draw that saw Senit miss out in 2011 and San Marino will hope for "third time lucky" as their two previous entries have failed to qualify. Despite being in the middle of he running order #11 has a poor record with only three qualifiers, and for the most recent of those you have to go back to 2008.

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12. CYPRUS The third Meditteranean country in a row, two qualifications in seven attempts is the Cypriot semi-final record. Only four of the twelve songs performed at #12 has made the final, since the contest expanded in 2004, Yohanna won her semi-final in 2009 from this draw. Until we know the new Sanmarinese entry on Thursday it's hard to fully judge this draw, but after being drawn in the second half, Cyprus would probably have hoped for better.

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13. DENMARK After the spectacular failure of "Drama Queen" in 2007, every Danish entry for the last four years has qualified for the final, giving them and overall five and two record. Despite the unlucky connotations, #13 is actually a great draw in the semi-finals, with eight of the twelve songs qualiying and it would be nine if the jury hadn't replaced Macedonia with Finland in 2009. The only minor downside to this draw, is what comes next......

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14. RUSSIA With a 100% qualification record and the amount of international media attention on their group of grannies, it really didn't matter where Russia were drawn, as they are virually guaranteed finalists. They ended up getting #14 which has a fantastic record in terms of qualification, with an eleven out of twelve record, only spoilt by the Polish entry in 2004.  

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15. HUNGARY Three successes and two failures is Hungary's record in Eurovision semi-finals and remarkably, this is the fourth time they've been drawn at #14. Nox in 2005 and Kati Wolf in 2011 both qualified, but Csézy came last in her semi-final in 2008. Eight of the twelve songs performed at #15 have qualified from the semi and coming between what are the closest things to novelty acts in this show, may helped Compact Disco's earnest ballad stand out.

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16. AUSTRIA Austria's in and out record at Eurovision means that they've only competed in three semi-finals, missing out in 2005 and 2007, but returning in 2011 and making the final. For a late position in the running order, #16 only has a 50/50 success rate and last year Portugal and Belarus failed. The record of songs performed third to last is also 50/50. This is a good draw for Austria, but more to do with whats on either side of them, than the starting position.

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17. MOLDOVA Five of Moldova's six semi-finalists have gradulated to the big night, with 2008 being a miss. Seven of the twelve songs performed in the semi at #17 have qualified, and only one song performed second to last (Austria in 2007) has failed to make it. Based on history, Moldova already has one foot in the final, but if there is a disadvantage to this draw, it's more to do with the songs that bookend their entry, possibly over-shadowing them.

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18. IRELAND RTE's Head of Delgation, Julian Vignoles is facing the long journey back to Dublin with a smile on his face, having drawn the all important wildcard in this section of the draw. For the second year in a row, Jedward will perform last in their semi. This should help boost Ireland's 50/50 qualification record from the semi-final. Nine of the twelve songs performed last have qualified, with Iceland's Sylvia Night in 2006 and the Dutch Toppers in 2009 being two notable exceptions. Make no mistake, this is a great draw for Ireland.

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SEMI-FINAL 2

 

 

1. SERBIA Two countries that contested the 2004 and 2005 together, now open the 2012 semis with separate enties, however the independent Eurovision records of Montenegro and Serbia couldn't be much different. While Monenegro is still waiting for its first final appearance, three of the four Serbian entries have qualified and they won the contest in 2007. Five of twelve show-openers have qualified for the final and Jeljko Joksimovic won the 2004 semi-final.

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2. FYR MACEDONIA Between 2004 and 2007, Macedonia had a 100% qualification record, but since voting moved from 100% televoting to 50/50 televote/jury mix, no Macedonia song has made the final. This is the first time that a Macedonian entry will be performed in the first half of the running order and while five songs have qualified from #2, being sandwitched between the more memorable entries from Serbia and Netherlands, may be a challenge.

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3. NETHERLANDS The first Eurovision semi-final in 2004, saw the Dutch qualify for the final, but since then, their record is seven consecutive semi-final failures. This is the second year in a row that the Dutch have drawn #3 and the omens are not good as 3JS finished last in the 2011 semi. Third in the running order in the semi-final is a historically bad draw, with only two successes from televe entries and once again the Dutch have a tough job to make the final.

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4. MALTA The Maltese haven't performed in the first half of the Eurovision semi-final since 2008, but Julie & Ludwig made the final in Istanbul, the first of only two Maltese semi-finalists, to do so. Five of twelve songs performed at #5 have qualified and despite being early in the running order, but being surrounded by other songs which are low in the rankings, is some compensation. 

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5. BELARUS Like Malta, Belarus has qualifed from the semi-final on only two occasions and their most successful entry, performed by Koldun in 2007, actually made it through after being drawn as early as #4 in the semi. However as this is another drawn position with a record of only two successes and ten failures, its hard to see anything good in this draw, from a Belarusian perspective.

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6. PORTUGAL Three of eight the Portuguese semi-final songs since 2004 have made the final, but all three songs, in 2008, 2009 and 2010 were performed in the second half of the running order. On a positive side, the songs performed at #6 have a 50/50 record and in a semi-final full of ballads Portugal has a better chance of standing out being between four up-tempo songs although it is likely to come after an ad break. 

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7. UKRAINE Ukrainian entries have competed in six semi-finals and they all qualified with ease and while the draw is not totally irrelevant, as Armenia and Turkey showed last yeare, an early draw can kill the best of Eurovision records. Coming after a ballad and getting a position in the running order with a 50/50 qualification record is probably as good as it could get for Ukraine, once they were drawn in the first half of the semi-final.

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8. BULGARIA Since entering the contest for the first time in 2005, Bulgaria has only qualified on one occasion, and that was when they opened the toughest of all semi-finals in 2007. In the years since then, Bulgaria has been draw in the middle order and that trend continues in 2012. Despite getting the advantage of a wildcard and getting a position with a 50/50 qualification record, Bulgaria cannot be pleaseed to be drawn after a similar uptemp song from Ukraine. 

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9. SLOVENIA Two successes in eight semi-finals is Slovenia's Eurovision record since the contest expanded in 2004 and for the fifth successive year, they have been drawn in the middle order. Slovenia was originally drawn in the second half of semi two, but following the withdrawal of Armenia, they have moved into the first half. To makk a bad draw even worse, they now find themselves right bside another Balkan ballad from Croatia. 

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10. CROATIA Four of seven entries from Croatia have made it through the Eurovision semi-finals, but they they failed to progress in the last two years. #10 in the running order may have a 50/50 success rate but having been draw in the second half, Croatia would probably been hoping for something better than having another Balkan ballad before it and the favourite to win the sem-final, just after it. 

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11. SWEDEN The Swedish 100% qualification record was lost in 2010, when Anna Bergedahl just missed out, in Oslo, but they returned to form in 2011, bit their best result of the century. #11 is not an especially good place to be drawn., with only three qualifiers from 12 entries and Swedden will have he sixth female solo singer in a row, although it comes after two ballads. While a failure to qualify would be a shock, this is not an especially good draw for the Swedes. 

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12. GEORGIA Since making its Eurovision debut in 2004, Georgia has qualified almost effortlessly for the every final, generally performing close to the middle of the running order. #12 in the draw is another rather anonymous position, with a below average qualification record and Georgia comes in the middle of three rather zany stage performances. Again, when they were originally drawn in the second half, Georgia would probably have hoped for a better spot.

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13. TURKEY After fter five consecutive qualification, Turkish 100% qualification record was dented in Dusseldorf in 2011, when the group Yüksek Sadakat only finished 13th. This a reasonable draw for Turkey as eight of the twelve songs performed in this slot have qualified and despite coming after the contest favourite, Turket uptempo cabaret song comes before a ballad. 

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14. ESTONIA From 2004 to to 2008, Estonia failed to make the final, but two of their last three entries have made it to Saturday night, both after having reasonably late draws. Having a non-English ballad in in the semi-final has always been a challenge and with several Balkan ballads there was a danger that Estonia could have been lost, but between Turkey and Slovakia is a reasonable contrast and no position in the running order has a better record than #14

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15. SLOVAKIA Since returning to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009, Slovakia has sent three entries, but is still waiting to make it out of the semi-final. The good new here is that for the first time since coming back, Slovakia will be performing in the second half of the running order and coming after a ballad will make their rock track a good contrast for voters. Two thirds of the songs performed at #15 have qualified, so all the omens are good.

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16. NORWAY Three successes and two failures is Norway's Eurovision record in semi-finals and last year, Stella Mwangi's failure to make the final was one of the apparent shocks. In contrast to 2011's early draw, this year Norway is late in the running order and while #16 only has a 50/50 qualification record, the contrast to the songs that come before and after Norway, may be an advantage.

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17. BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA Six appearances in the semi-finals and six qualifications is Bosnia's almost unequalled record of success. This year thre was some concern that with so many Balkan ballads in this semi-final, Bosnia's run could come to an end, but with Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia all performing before it, Bosnia looks like it has the advantage as it has drawn the position with the best qualification record in the running order.

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18. LITHUANIA Lithuanian entries have competed in seven semi finals and since 2005, there has been a general trend. Every time Lithuania performs in the second half of the running order they qualify and every time they perform in the first half, they fail. Therefore Lithuanians most have been pleased to be drawn i the latter half of semi two back in January and now they have the icing on he cake of performing last after getting a wildcard.

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THE FINAL

To understand what are good and bad draws in the final we have looked back at the votes for every song that has competed in the final since the contest expanded in 2004. On average a song gets 20% of the availabe votes, the available votes being 12 pts multiplied by every country voting, minus one, as you cannot vote for youself.

As you can see on the graph. positions that are late in the draw, tend to do a lot better. The best draw is #22, followed by #18. The worst position is #2, followed by #4. The black trend line indicates the advantage of a late draw compared to performing early in the running order.  

 

1. UNITED KINGDOM Since the contest expanded in 2004, only one song that opened the show has finished in the Top 5 and Azerbaijan's "Drip Drop" was actually the the pre-contest favourite in 2010. Three Eurovision winners have come from #1 in the draw; "Dinge Dong" for the Netherlands in 1975, "Save All Your Kisses For Me" for the U.K. in 1976 and most recently "Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley" for Sweden in 1984. On the other two occasions that the U.K. entry opened the show "Looking High, High, High" came 2nd in 1960 and in 1963 "Say Wonderful Things" came 4th. One thing that stand out is that in general uptempo songs have done a lot better than ballads when performed first. Since 2004 songs drawn at #1 have averaged 16% of the available votes and this is not a particularly good draw for the U.K.'s Engelbert Humperdinck.

 

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9. FRANCE Since 2004 no song performed at #9 has finished higher than 7th, a result achieved by Albania in 2004 and Greece in 2011, but interestingly both songs had performed much better in the semi-final. The average vote of songs performed at #9 since 2004 is only 13% of the maximum, which is very low. While this may be somewhat disheartening for French hopes, when you look at the songs that have won from this draw ("Refrain" for Switzerland in 1956, "Un Premier Amour" for France in 1962, "Merci Cherie" for Austria in 1966 and "Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi" in 1988), all had French titles, however this year's French entry has an English title. On the other occasions France drew #9, "Printemps" came 4th in 1961, "Humanahum" came 3rd in 1981 and "Le Dernier Qui A Parle" came 2nd in 1991. All things considered, this is not a good draw for France.

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10. ITALY #10 has been a very mix bag of a draw since 2004. Ukraine's "Wild Dance" won in Istanbul and Russia's "Never Let You Go" came 2nd in 2006, but no song formed 9th in the last four years has made the Top 10, however thanks to Ruslana and Dima Bilan, the songs performed at #10 have averaged a very strong 25% of the available votes. Apart from 2004, only one winner has come from this draw; Isreal's "Hallelujah" in 1979. On the only previous occasion that Italy drew #10 "Chi Sara' Con Te" sung by Massimo Ranieri finished down in 13th place in 1973. This cannot be considered a good draw for Italy, but it Ukraine proved that a highly rated song can win from #10. However it has to be said that France and Italy being drawn back to back, is doing neither song any favours.

 

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13. AZERBAIJAN Since 2004 only "Lejla" from Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2006 has managed to finish in the Top 5. However going back furtherin Eurovision history, we find back to back winner for Norway in 1985 (La Det Swinge) and Belgium in 1986 (J'Aime La Vie). If you go back to 1960, the French winner (Tom Pillibi) was also performed at #13, but that year it was the last song  in the running order. Since 2004, the songs performed at #13 have achieved 18% of the maximum points, slighly lower than average. With only four previous entries, it's no surprise to see than Azerbaijan has never performed at #13, although "Always" finished 3rd in 2009 from the nearby #11 draw.

 

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19. SPAIN If there was to be an award for drawing the wildcard, then it would go to Spain, as this is the third time in four years that they have won the right to choose their own draw position. This may appear to be an unusual position for the Spanish head of delegation to choose, until year realise that it was #19 that gave Azerbaijan victory in 2011 and Greece in 2005. If you go further back, to 1990, it was also the position of Italy's winning entry "Insieme 1992". Despite two victories, on average the entries performed at #19 have only achieved 20% of the maximum vote. On the two occasions that Spain has previously performed at #19, they have done very well, "Su Cancion" finished 2nd in 1979 and in 1991 "Bailar Pegados" came 4th and both songs came very close to winning. This is a great draw for Spain's ballad.

  

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20. GERMANY In 2009 "Fairyytale" got the greatest result in Eurovision history, winning for Norway after being performed at #20 bringing the average vote share since to 24% of the maximum. There were three other winner performed at #20; "Si La Vie Est Cadeau" for Luxembourg in 1983, "Hold Me Now" for Ireland in 1987 and "Everybody" for Estonia in 2002. This will be the first time that Germany has performed at #20, although both German winners in 1982 and and 2010 came from late in the running order. This is quite a good draw for Germany, although perhaps coming after Spain's powerhoue ballad, may be a mixed blessing.

 

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