Simon Cowell is the favourite to replace Sophie Ellis-Bextor on the UK judging panel for the Eurovision Song Contest after she dropped out earlier this week.
The media mogul tops the list at Betway with odds of 7/2 followed by One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and Spice Girl Emma Bunton who are both priced at 9/2.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor had been due to chair the panel which helps decide the UK’s scores but stepped down down due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
Discussing her replacement, Alan Alger, a Betway representative said: “The Eurovision Song Contest is a much-loved musical establishment and we think Simon Cowell definitely has enough x-factor to take Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s place on the UK judging panel.
“He tops our betting on Ellis-Bextor’s replacement at 7/2 but there are a few lively contenders in behind too.
“Others in the mix appear to be Emma Bunton and Louis Tomlinson, joint second-favourites at 9/2, while Robbie Williams is 8/1 and punters may be happy to Take That.”
News that the singer had stepped down was announced by a Eurovision spokesperson on Tuesday, leaving a spot open for a new judge on the panel.
The spokesperson confirmed: “Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, Sophie Ellis-Bextor will no longer be able to be part of the UK #Eurovision jury and will be replaced in due course.”
Despite not revealing the reason behind her departure, Sophie Ellis-Bextor took to Twitter to reassure viewers that she is still a fan of the show.
She tweeted: “I still love Eurovision! Wishing all the participants a great show and good luck to the UK entry. Xxxx.”
Kylie Minogue’s musical director Pete Watson, radio DJ Adele Roberts, vocal coach Jai Ramage and singer AJ Bentley are the four members remaining on the panel.
The jury counts towards 50 per cent of the UK’s overall scores and the public vote accounts for the other 50%.
Meanwhile an algorithm has predicted the outcome of the 2019 final and it doesn’t look good for UK’s entry Michael Rice.
Dance Direct analysed Eurovision data from 2012 to find out what makes the ‘perfect’ performance.
According to the algorithm, Michael Rice will finish in 17th place with his rendition of Bigger Than Us.
Netherlands has been tipped to be the country most likely to walk away with the top spot on the weekend.
Bookies Coral has already backed their entry and revealed Duncan Laurence’s Arcade as the hot favourite to win with odds of 2/1.
Australia could prove to be the dark horse of the competition after Kate Miller-Heike’s odds were slashed from 10/1 to 7/1 after her semi-final performance.
Harry Aitkenhead, a spokesperson for Coral, said: “Australia were the big winners of the first night of Eurovision 2019.
“And after sailing through their semi-final we’ve slashed the odds on them going all the way and winning the contest. They’re now just 7/1 in the betting and have shot up to third favourites.”
The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 final airs Saturday at 8pm on BBC One.
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