UK singer Molly Smitten-Downes heads into tonight’s Eurovision Song Contest trailing favourites Sweden but is still strongly fancied, according to bookies.
The 27-year-old, who will perform Children Of The Universe at the event in Copenhagen, is ranked at 9/1 to triumph by bookmaker William Hill, with Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen’s track Undo heading the field at 11/4.
The UK is hoping to improve its fortunes after two woeful years when veteran acts Engelbert Humperdinck and Bonnie Tyler were chosen and languished towards the bottom end of the voting table.
Molly will be the last act to perform, 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, has not been so lucky, with its singer, Kasey Smith, crashing out in the semi-final stages this week.
Austrian drag act Conchita Wurst – the “bearded lady” – has got through to the finale, which will be broadcast live by BBC1.
Molly’s 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 2013 song failing to chart and Engelbert Humperdinck’s entry the year before only making it to number 60.
Bookmaker Hill is predicting the biggest year yet for betting on the contest as it predicts more than £1m will be placed in stakes.