Winner - Eurovision Ukraine UKR
2016 was only the second year I had been involved in watching the ESC. After my first betting win 12 months earlier with Mans from Sweden becoming the 2015 winner, I came into 2016 with an air of optimistic confidence. However, the Investor Model algorithm was still in it's infancy and looked very primitive.
So I did alot of research looking into different metrics, experimenting with points weighting, and also making sure that any improvements to the algorithm were statistically significant. My personal favourite song that year was "1944" by Jamala, she was representing Ukraine. She was a distant third in the betting odds. The runaway favourite at the time was Sergey from Russia. Australia's Dami Im was a close second favourite.
After completing the Investor Model, the result was clear - Ukraine was both my personal choice and the algorithm's choice. Another year where we were both in unison! Happy days! I knew the battle was far from over, mainly because the market didn't rate the song. Nobody was talking about it.
"1944" is a culturally sensitive and artistic performance, sung with immense passion and emotional resonance. Jamala comes across as both a natural and charismatic performer, this song her own composition, and the message of the song is converyed very effectively. My gut instinct and the algorithm were both telling me this should be the right song to win. It's never easy going against the crowd, and that was a little draining on my psyche, creating much doubt in the hours leading upto the Grand Final.
Image : Jamala from Ukraine performing "1944" at Eurovision 2016
In the final count, Dami had topped the jury vote with Jamala coming in second. I really had doubts now that she would perform well in the televote, because Russia's Sergey was very popular - topping streaming stats everywhere.
And so it came down to those excruciating last moments of the televote count. I was almost resigned in my mind to losing these bets on Ukraine. Those last seconds felt like an eternity...
And while Russia won the televote, Ukraine also held their position coming second, and with Australia dropping away in the televote, Ukraine became the winner of Eurovision 2016!
My heart was racing. My mind was so conflicted with emotion. How did she do that!?
I was jumping for joy in the living room with my 3 year old daughter! Quality does prevail in the end.
2016 was the greatest victory of all! It was so emotionally and financially satisfying. And it set the stage for greater things to come over the years with the evolution of the Investor Model and my analysis of the Contest.