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Analysis of the Grand Final Running Order for Eurovision 2022 Written by on May 13, 2022 | 3 Comments

With the 25 songs all set for Saturday’s Eurovision Grand Final, ESC Insight’s Ben Robertson looks at the storyline, logistics and the song progression from song 1 to song 25…and how it all may make a difference on the scoreboard.

The running order for the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final 2022 was revealed in the early hours of Friday morning. From the Czech Republic with ‘Lights Off’ to ‘Hope’ from Estonia ending the show, this is your list.

The running order for the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final 2022

Italy, as host country, drew position 9 in the running order back in March. Further to that the Big 5 countries and Semi Final qualifiers drew a position in either the first half (1-13) or second half (14-25) and from there the producers of the show selected the running order positions for each nation.

This analysis will work in two parts. Firstly we will look at the story of the show and how we expect it to build narrative throughout Saturday night, before we look at the competitive analysis of those songs that are expected to compete for victory.

Classic Openings and Unconventional Combos

Topping and tailing the show with these up-tempo numbers fits in with modern Eurovision logic. The Czech entry has a stunning lights show in the arena and has been confidently performed all week in rehearsals. It is an accessible piece of Eurovision pop music that shows off the stage superbly and quickly accelerates the crowd’s energy to where it is desired. It wasn’t rocket science for the producers to open with the Semi Final Two closer.

More noteworthy perhaps is the use of ‘Hope’ to end the show. The way the running order draw this year constrained the producers into having a much higher tempo opening half to closing half meant that one anticipated utilising songs like ‘Hope’ as energy pills throughout the second half. Placing ‘Hope’ last has led to combinations that on paper lack drive throughout the run from song 1 to 25. We’ll discuss some examples of these later, but there is one quality that ‘Hope’ possesses that makes it the perfect public broadcasting closer. The uplifting lyrics. ‘Hope’ is eminently singable and the camera shots include plenty of the audience in the Pala Alpitour embracing togetherness as a choir in unison. This message of…errr…hope and positivity given the darker world that our continent holds today provides from a narrative perspective the perfect bookend to this 25 song run down.

The choice of WRS from Romania in Eurovision’s oh-too-often-called death slot of second in the running order may surprise. Convention would be to follow up your up-tempo introduction with a song that ducks down into tempo here, which the last four examples of ‘Karma’, Ktheju tokësTu canción, ‘Flashlight’ demonstrated previously.

Instead number two this year is used for another uptempo number that screams a style of Eurovision Song Contest that we left behind fifteen years ago. Now I wrote back when Latvia and Israel were drawn number two for their Semi Finals that they were the type of entry that was most immune to the stigma of 2nd, and Romania as a song deemed an unlikely qualifier does have immunity from the negative perception 2nd gives. Instead the glory is in being part of the show itself.

The commentator in me also sees some good combinations between songs where the narrative helps us to do some comparison. I take ‘Jezebel’ for example in slot 4, which wants to spread a message to all that you should be enacting on the emotions you feel which is followed by ‘Boys Do Cry’ which as a song tells the listener it is ok to accept your said emotions, even if they hurt. Similarly songs 13 and 14, ‘Rockstars’ and ‘Sentimentai’, both feature the artists reflecting on their previous life experiences from yesteryear.

However one of the most notable aspects of the challenge this running order possesses comes from the random drawing at the press conference. The two halves of the show feel split for energy, with lots of delicate songs like ‘Sentimentai’ and ‘Með hækkandi sól‘ lowering the tempo of the second half after many energy rich numbers before. If you can recall the Grand Final of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna there was a similar lopsidedness the of first half/second half split.

The run this year from song 13 to song 19, that is from Germany to Iceland, is devoid of natural disco-esque energy in the way that producer-led running orders generally try to avoid. It is for this reason that while I find the narrative appealing to run with Estonia last in the order it is a surprising choice, as somewhere in the middle of this run would help with the show’s energy flow and provide tempo.

Ukraine Will Be Coming In Cold

Ukraine are the favourites to win the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 and have been awarded a running order slot of 12 out of 25. In terms of absolute position this is almost as late in the show as possible given their first half draw, and yes, statistics suggest later in the show is somewhat better.

With ad breaks after songs 8 and 16, watch for some smaller mini-breaks during the show for some of the complex set changes that may disrupt the rythym.

There is the obvious ‘latter is better’ narrative in place here but it’s likely that Ukraine would be a moment in the running order no matter where it was. However I don’t expect this to go down as big in the hall as many others expect. I attended Monday’s jury performance in person and while audience participation was huge for clapping along and giving a standing ovation at the end of ‘Stefania’ there were certainly other numbers, such as those from Moldova, where the cheering was more frenzied and filled with joy.

Given this, the addition of the Netherlands before Ukraine creates a juxtaposition. Usually we find in producer-led running orders that they not only tend to have most of the favourites towards the rear of their respective half but they also build up the crowd energy just for these points. While the fan community consider ‘De Diepte’ one of the songs of the season the outro this song has is so quiet and stripped back that a pin could drop in the Pala Alpitour while it concludes.

There’s been some great crowd noise being transmitted through the satellite links across Europe this week – with the audience very prominent in the sound mix. Ukraine is definitely going to get a surge of support from the crowd on the night but it might not be at the level a track that is odds-on with the bookmakers would generally tend to have.

United Kingdom and the Sandwich of Comparative Doom

I plucked out 22 as a dream position for the United Kingdom before the running order came out and lo and behold that is where Sam Ryder will be performing in the Grand Final. He has been increasingly tipped to get a good result and thus a late running order slot gives him every chance. However, the drama surrounding this position comes from the extremely slow pace of the second half and the decision to place Sam Ryder’s explosive vocal alongside two other big hitting male vocalists in Sheldon Riley and Krystian Ochman.

There is a perception in the community that this is bad for Sam Ryder and that this risks further splitting the vote between the three vocalists. I would think the contrary. Humans who judge competitions like this as looking for similarities and assimilation as they watch one song to the next and in this rare example where they are similar that comparison is easier to do. As discussed on the ESC Insight podcast after rehearsals, the United Kingdom and possible winning chances is a conversation we are having and the best chance Sam Ryder has of doing that is by being better than Poland and Australia and stealing away their support. That is easier to do if you perform next to them, and better than them.

From a British perspective I consider this a high-risk, high-reward running order slot, and I question the common rhetoric that similar means bad.

Train-ing Up The Crowd

Being drawn in the second half of the show after a powerful Semi Final performance has seen Sweden hit third place in the odds as of this moment and a draw position of 20 is exciting for those looking to see Sweden tie Ireland’s 7 victories.

It is an absolute blessing for this fan favourite song that Moldova performs before them. ‘Trenulețul‘ is possibly the only one from the semi finals which has had the biggest and most surprisingly positive reaction inside the arena and that slow, slow burn through the start of the second half will be desperate for the energy this gives the audience.

Once our Moldovan band have cleared the stage the mood has been reset and it is time to turn up the competition once more. The crowd on their feet bouncing to Moldova will stay on their feet and they will let the crescendo wash over them all until Cornelia’s introspective opening first lines. The warm up has done their job. Eurovision has been turned from background noise on the screen to must watch entertainment in the space of three minutes.

It should be said that there’s every chance that Moldova is the moment for the viewer, rather than Cornelia Jakobs’ performance. However, unlike the British entrant, the songs are on opposite sides of the musical spectrum and aren’t competing for the same voting demographics. What Moldova does here is help bring attention to the show which is what Sweden needs – you can’t engage with ‘Hold Me Closer‘ in passing and fall in love with it, it is a song that requires your full attention.

A Host Country Shivering Slowly

The immediate reaction to the host country’s position in the running order has been lukewarm. Armenia before Mahmood and Blanco is logical from a stage production point of view, with the props for ‘Brividi’ much more minimal than the living room set up that must be wheeled on stage for ‘Snap’.

While ‘Snap’ has a crowd pleasing beat and moment with the window opening reveal, as prequel to a mega hit host country entry it is arguably tepid and both France and Norway preceding Armenia do have more obvious crowd energy appeal. My instinct would have been swapping Norway and Armenia would have provided a more logical crescendo into Italy.

What though is striking is the flip from this to arguably the showstopper of the first half in Spain’s ‘SloMo’. Chanel has brought a powerful new mix and amplified routine with this performance and while one may think it would be impossible to retain the crowd’s interest after the local mega hit, if any performer can, it is Chanel. Similarly to the UK I think this is a high-risk, high-reward slot to success. Coming after a strong host country entry may give energy to or distract from the Spanish act’s slickness.

Only Percentage Points On Performances

While we have ran through the favourites for extra focus here and critiqued their running orders, we should also remind ourselves that the impact running order has insignificant to that of the songwriting process and the artistic performances themselves.

We note though that the way running order is done today mitigates risk. It mitigates the risk of getting ‘bad’ positions for fancied songs – the chance of Spain being placed 2nd in the running order for this year’s Grand Final was far lower with the producer-led running order. Indeed once again we see a pattern where those songs that are considered ‘favourites’ have been placed at the 2nd half of their respective halves, reducing the possible negative drag an earlier position would give songs. Meanwhile the songs drawn earlier in each half include those deemed chanceless by the gambling markets.

The producer led running order therefore amplifies the preconceived notions of different songs being better or worse – and this is true year upon year upon year.

Risk is also reduced by ensuring stage changeovers can be minimal so complex props do not get in each other’s way and result in the show flowing as stress-free as possible off-stage as well as on. Remember this whole process is more than just the flow of songs but the flow of the staging and the active promotion of diverse musical styles.

But it is risk that all of these songs are now taking in their quest to score points on Saturday night. The 25 songs are on the final leg of their journey and most of their battle is now made up of what jurors and televotes now cast their votes for. The idea that running order does impact the results of the Song Contest is statistically verified, but the amount of difference it makes is small. There can be the right time and right place for songs to shine, but you need the material first to have something worthy of moving up the leaderboard.

About The Author: Ben Robertson

Ben Robertson has attended 23 National Finals in the world of Eurovision. With that experience behind him he writes for ESC Insight with his analysis and opinions about anything and everything Eurovision Song Contest that is worth telling.

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3 responses to “Analysis of the Grand Final Running Order for Eurovision 2022”

  1. Jake says:

    Does anyone know how sms votes for Eurovision work? If I’m Ukrainian and am now displaced living in Poland and I vote does Eurovision recognize my sms number as Ukranian or does it recognize me as calling from Poland and therefore am a Polish vote? Are we just getting tons of Ukrainian votes for Ukraine from displaced folks on Saturday?

  2. AR says:

    I will admit, when I saw the UK in the ‘sandwich of depth’ I had the immediate thought of… oh no. But on thinking I agree with the comparative point, they are entries Sam needs to beat to get big points. I’ll be honest, Australia isn’t really my cup of tea, but I was mega impressed with it last night, I thought it was great. Poland has been a long time favourite of mine. But where I think Sam can stand out, of these three big male belters, is that the other two are quite a bit ‘darker’ (ok, there is a positive message in Australia but it is delivered quite sombre-ly) whereas it is brighter, it floats a bit more. It would be much more difficult for Sam to stand out had her been put right after Sweden.
    I am definitely going to have to drink to get through 14-18 though. Nothing wrong with them, apart from the total energy suck.

  3. Ewan Spence says:

    Generally you vote in the country you are in. Details on how to vote in Poland will be at

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