Eurovision Song Contest 2013 Grand Final Preview: Which Country Will Win?
May 18 2013 10:41 am CET

The 2013 Eurovision Song Contest will come to a close Saturday as 26 countries battle it out on stage in hopes of gathering the most points from across Europe. Will Denmark confirm its status as favorite, or do other countries have a shot at winning this year's Contest?

Here is the Running Order for Saturday's show in Malmö, Sweden:

1 France
2 Lithuania
3 Moldova
4 Finland
5 Spain
6 Belgium
7 Estonia
8 Belarus
9 Malta
10 Russia
11 Germany
12 Armenia
13 Netherlands
14 Romania
15 United Kingdom
16 Sweden
17 Hungary
18 Denmark
19 Iceland
20 Azerbaijan
21 Greece
22 Ukraine
23 Italy
24 Norway
25 Georgia
26 Ireland

We are just hours away from the Final. As of this posting, Denmark is still the favorite, with Norway and Ukraine closing in. Frankly, I think the entries to watch out for are Azerbaijan, Netherlands, and Ireland. This isn't just my gut talking (it's still recovering from the punch of San Marino not advancing):

• Unless one of the auto-qualifiers was holding back in rehearsals, Azerbaijan has the best stage performance of the finalists. The artistry reminds me of Ukraine's sand art performance in 2011, which earned fourth place.

• Only one former SSR (Latvia) failed to make the final. That will likely result in an insane amount of points collusion, watering down the results. While Ukraine may be the prime candidate to benefit, Russia and Azerbaijan are going to add to the watering down of points.

• With none of the former countries of Yugoslavia in the final, it is going to be very difficult to predict how they will vote. Will participation decrease? Will televoters try to stick it to Sweden's neighbors?

• Ireland will get a boost from landing the closing slot in the running order. Not only does the stage performance rival Azerbaijan's in terms of quality, the song is an encapsulation of the Eurovision ethos. If the crafted running order is trying to create a narrative, "Only Love Survives" is one of the best choices to end on.

• Netherlands has the ultimate underdog story and an incredible song to go with it. I could see countries awarding "welcome back" points, similar to when Italy returned to the Contest in 2011. Italy snuck into second place that year – could a similar result be awaiting Anouk?

Mike McComb – TVLatest.com

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