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Nation's Eurovision hopes pinned on Molly Smitten-Downes

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 10, 2014

By Jennifer Cockerell

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The nation's hopes will be pinned on Molly Smitten-Downes at the Eurovision Song Contest takes place Credit: Nicky Johnston/BBC/PA Wire

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THE nation's hopes will be pinned on Molly Smitten-Downes tonight as the Eurovision Song Contest takes place.

The kitschest contest on television is being hosted by last year's winners, Denmark, with the UK hoping to improve its fortunes after two woeful years when veteran acts Engelbert Humperdinck and Bonnie Tyler languished towards the bottom end of the voting table.

Smitten-Downes - who will perform self-penned Children Of The Universe at the event in Copenhagen - is trailing favourites Sweden but is still strongly fancied, according to bookies.

The 27-year-old is ranked at 9/1 to triumph by bookmaker William Hill, with Austrian drag act Conchita Wurst - the "bearded lady" - also a hot favourite to win at 3/1.

Smitten-Downes will be the last act to perform on the night, with Eurovision experts saying it is a good position because the song will still be fresh in the memory as voting begins.

She landed her place in the final because the UK is one of the competition's five big players who, along with the host nation, get an automatic place.

However Ireland, which has often performed well in the contest, have not been so lucky, with their entry, Kasey Smith, crashing out in the semi-final stages this week.

Tonight's finale, which will be broadcast live on BBC1, has a potential global TV audience of 120 million.

One person who is unlikely to be tuning in however is Prime Minister David Cameron, who yesterday failed to identify the UK's entry and admitted he did not know who was hosting the show.

Asked if he would be watching, Mr Cameron said: "Probably not, if I'm absolutely honest."

Smitten-Downes, from Leicestershire, has been writing songs for a decade and has supported acts such as Jake Bugg, Tinie Tempah and Labrinth.

But her latest effort has so far failed to resonate with music buyers at home, with the song likely to achieve number 34 in the singles chart, according to latest figures from the Official Charts Company.

However, even that lowly placing is better than the past two efforts, with Tyler's song failing to chart last year and Engelbert Humperdinck's 2012 entry only making it to number 60.

Experts at the London College of Music have come up with a formula for the perfect Eurovision entry and reckon it points to possible success for the UK.

It found winning songs are usually no more than three minutes long and often have a three note hook on the chorus.

Bookmaker Hill is predicting the biggest year yet for betting on the contest as it predicts more than £1 million will be placed in stakes.

Spokesman Rupert Adams said: "We have never seen so many bets on the Eurovision Song Contest - records could be broken and there is even a chance we will see a UK winner."

The programme airs on BBC at 8pm tonight.

Latest odds:

:: 11/4 - Sweden

:: 3/1 - Austria, Netherlands

:: 11/2 - Armenia

:: 9/1 - UK

:: 14/1 - Hungary, Ukraine

:: 20/1 - Greece

:: 25/1 - Denmark

:: 33/1 - Norway

:: 40/1 - Azerbaijan, Spain

:: 50/1 - Finland

:: 66/1 - Malta, Romania

:: 80/1 - Italy, Poland, Switzerland

:: 100/1 - Iceland

:: 125/1 - Russia

:: 150/1 - France

:: 200/1 - Germany, Montenegro, Slovenia

:: 250/1 - Belarus, San Marino

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