Eurovision 2010 Forecast (Part 1)

Last week I submitted predictions for the Kaggle Eurovision 2010 competition under the team name StatoVIC. The first part of the competition requires selecting the 25 countries that will make the Eurovision 2010 final. Once the 25 finalists are chosen, you are asked to predict the voting behaviour of all the participating countries based on 10 years of data collected from previous Eurovision competitions. In this years Eurovision, 20 countries are selected for the final based on the outcome of two semi-finals. In both semi-finals, there are 17 countries competing and the 10 countries with the most points go through to the final. The remaining five countries (Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, France and Norway) are guaranteed final competitors. With the second semi-final finishing last Thursday, it is time to see how the StatoVIC team has fared thus far.

In the first semi-final, I ended up predicting five (Bosnia, Russia, Greece, Serbia and Belgium) out of the ten finalists correctly. In the second semi-final, I fared somewhat better selecting eight of the ten countries that made the final. I missed out on picking Romania and Cyprus and instead chose Croatia and Finland. Given the relatively naive strategy that was used to select the finalists, these numbers are certainly not too bad.

Out of interest, I had a brief look at how you would fare if you were to randomly select all the finalists in any of the two semi-finals. First, the “good” news is that you are guaranteed to select at least three finalists correctly. The odds of correctly guessing all the ten finalists in a semi are unfortunately 1 in 19,448. The probability of correctly guessing five and eight finalists is about 0.27 and 0.05 respectively. In expectation, the mean number of finalists guessed correctly with this strategy is between five and six. In light of this, the performance of StatoVIC is about average in the first semi, and moderately better than average in the second.

The Eurovision final is on this Saturday night, but is shown Sunday night on SBS if you are in Australia. It will be interesting to see how StatoVIC fares in predicting the voting behaviour. In the mean time, here are the predictions of the fine folks at Google:

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