Russia’s place in the Eurovision Song Contest has been had fans flocking to the bookmakers, putting their money on singer Sergey Lazarev possibly taking the crown from Israel with his performance of an English version of his hit song, Scream.
The 64th edition of the annual event will see performers from across Europe arrive in Israel’s capital city of Tel Aviv this week for the semi-finals as well as the grande finale on Saturday, which will be broadcast on the BBC.
Last year, Israel’s Netta Barzilai won the support of the crowds with her performance of Toy and Russia will be hoping to follow in the reigning champion’s footsteps.
However, Sergey has taken to Instagram this weekend to tell his 3.7 million followers his rehearsals have been hit by technical difficulties, with his chances of getting to the final possibly in jeopardy.
There are still technical issues
Sergey’s performance relies on digital elements as the Russian will sing his song alongside nine hyper-realistic projections of himself with him on stage.
Taking to Instagram following rehearsals for the semi-final, the 36-year-old posted: “We held the second rehearsal on the Eurovision stage.
“There are still technical issues and difficulties in shooting the number.
“There is a huge amount of reflections and it is important to remove the errors,” the Eurovision entrant continued, adding: “Difficult statement both on execution and on shooting …. but I hope all effort will not be in vain.”
The Russian thanked his fans, telling them: “Many rave reviews and comments … thanks! Support is important… Scream for Russia.”
If Sergey were to make it to the final, it wouldn’t be unfamiliar territory as the singer performed in the contest in 2016, coming third.
Recent odds from Coral bookmakers has put Russia at 5-1 of winning the contest this weekend, with the Netherlands in the pole position at 2-1.
Italy isn’t far off the trail, with their chances at becoming champions at 7-1 with Eurovision alumni Sweden at 8-1.
The odds aren’t looking too good for the UK however, with singer Michael Rice’s chances at scooping the crown at 50-1.
Michael will be performing his song Bigger Than Us, after the young singer landed his place in the competition having won the first series of All Together Now last year.
Speaking of Michael’s chances, a spokesperson for Betway bookmakers said: “The Brexit debacle probably doesn’t make the UK the most popular nation in Europe at the moment, and it looks as though he’ll need a small miracle if he is to sing Britain to its first Eurovision title in over twenty years.”
As always, Graham Norton, 56, will be on hand to commentate for the UK, haven taken on the role from the late Terry Wogan in 2009.
For the first time in 20 years, Graham will be replaced on his BBC chat show in order to fulfil his duties for the Eurovision song contest.
Graham will be replace by Jack Whitehall, 30, on this Friday’s edition of the chat show with the comedian saying of his announcement as stand-in host: “I was so honoured Graham asked me to do this for him.
“The thought of stepping into his huge showbiz boots fills me in equal measure with fear and excitement.
“Worst case, I will make everyone appreciate just how lucky we are to have him,” Jack said, with Graham adding: “I’m thrilled to know that I am leaving the show in Jack’s capable hands. He is bound to do an amazing job.”
The Eurovision Song Contest Final 2019 airs Saturday at 8pm on BBC One.
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