Favourite Wins Eurovision

The bookies got it right by making Sweden favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest May 26, although the odds were so cramped that those who took the plunge would have been lucky to double their money.

Loreen’s shiny trance-pop track “Euphoria” had been installed as hot favourite since easily brushing aside the opposition in the competition to find the Swedish entry for this year’s competition.

An each-way bet on the second favourites – the elderly ladies known as the Buranovo Grannies, who started the competition at 7/1 and came in second – would have turned an even smaller profit.

Having stuffed their satchels with any money that UK punters had put on Engelbert Humperdinck, who trailed in 41st of the 42 nations taking part, the English bookies are already tempting punters with odds for next year’s Eurovision.

Stories suggesting the UK will pull out of next year’s competition because of “political voting” aren’t impressing the oddsmakers at William Hill, who are offering 25-1 against that happening.

The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express and The Guardian have all reported that British viewers flooded social-networking sites with calls for the BBC to quit the contest.

“Enough is enough. The BBC must have better things to spend its money on” said one disgruntled UK viewer.

The Telegraph quoted a BBC “insider” saying it would “only go against us” if the corporation complained about political voting, but did admit “it was a strange Top 5.”

Only four of the 42 nations – Ireland, Latvia, Belgium and Estonia – awarded any points to Humperdinck. Only the Norwegian entry polled less than The Hump.

Bookie Willam Hill is undeterred and is offering 10-1 against The Spice Girls representing the UK in 2013, 12-1 against Susan Boyle, 33-1 against Take That and 50-1 against Sir Elton John.

Despite the odds, the safest bet with William Hill is the 2/5 it’s offering on the UK not winning the competition in any through to 2020.

This is likely the last time Eurovision will see the plucky Russian grannies, as some of them aren’t any younger than 76-year-old Humperdinck.

This year Elizaveta Zarbatova, or “Granny Liza, who wrote their “Party for Everybody,” was unable to travel to the final in Baku, Azerbaijan, with the rest of the girls because she’s 80.

The refrain of Granny Liza’s song is in English but the rest of it is in Udmurt, a distant relation of Finnish that’s spoken by about only 325,000 people.

The cruelest criticism of this year’s Eurovision suggested that Ireland ensured itself against winning – and therefore having to bankroll the 2013 final during a eurozone depression – by once again fielding TV talent show rejects Jedward, who this time performed one-handed cartwheels in golden space suits before being drenched by a fountain.

The “strange Top 5” in this year’s Eurovision were Sweden, Russia, Serbia, host nation Azerbaijan and Albania.