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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Sweden look the likeliest victors of weaker semi

Latvia could be viable outsiders come the final

1 of 1

Second semi-final
BBC4, 8pm Thursday

If Tuesday's first semi-final was an eight-course tasting menu in Noma, then the second qualifier is a cold chicken and stuffing sandwich from a filling station refrigerator.

Norway are favourites for victory, represented by 2009 winner Alexander Rybak. While the energy in the performance can't be faulted, the lyrics are reminiscent of a Junior Eurovision track and it's difficult to see such a naff effort being a contender for overall honours.

Coming from the first spot is always a difficult sell and Azer­baijan lost their 100 per cent qualification record from the same draw on Tuesday.

There is no real depth to the second semi-final and the only other realistic contenders for the win are probably Sweden and Moldova.

While the Moldovan entry will be popular with tele-voters due to its quirky staging and Carry On dynamics, it may struggle a little with juries as the song is dated.

Perennial professionals Sweden bring a perfectly polished pop-robot performance to the platform. With shades of Michael Jackson and a chart-friendly track, this looks sure to contend from a nice draw as act 15 of 18. They look the likeliest winners of the second semi.

Latvia go into the competition with a smoky jazzy number and singer Laura Rizzotto gives a wonderfully sultry performance that sells the song brilliantly.

They should have the quality to qualify as their song will hopefully do well with juries in what looks a weak semi-final. Rather than back them at 4-6 to qualify, however, a small bet at 20-1 for a top-ten finish in Saturday night's final is preferred.

Recommendations
Sweden to win semi-final two
1pt 5-2 Coral, Hills, Ladbrokes
Latvia to finish in top ten in final
0.5pt 20-1 general


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If the first semi was an eight-course tasting menu, then the second qualifier is a cold chicken and stuffing sandwich from a filling station fridge
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