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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Punters back UK Eurovision win
Jessica Garlick
Garlick visited HMS Chatham off the Estonian coast on Thursday
The United Kingdom is third favourite to win Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest, after a late rush of betting.

The UK song, Come Back, written by Martin Bayley and performed by Jessica Garlick, is now 5-1 to win the contest.


The Eurovision Song Contest is like a lottery

Olavi Pihlamagi, Eurovision watcher
The favourite is Germany at 10-3 with I Can't Live Without Music sung by Corinna May, followed at 4-1 by Sweden's Afro-dite and Never Let It Go.

Bookmaker Coral has now taken more money on the UK's Eurovision entry than on England to win the World Cup - and is predicting a big payout if Garlick should win.

"Jessica Garlick will definitely leave a nasty taste in bookies mouths if she wins the Eurovision Song Contest", said Coral spokesman Simon Clare.

Sahlene
Sweden's Sahlene is singing the Estonian entry, Runaway
Coral has also offered a 125-1 double bet on the UK winning the Eurovision Song Contest and England winning the World Cup.

But likely to create the biggest impression on the night is the Slovenian transvestite trio Sestre (Sisters), in their bright red air hostess costumes.

The annual pop music contest - the 47th - takes place in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

Huge TV audiences are expected for the show, which is being broadcast live on Saturday night from Tallinn's Saku Suurhall in front of 6,000 people.

Talinn
Talinn is hosting the contest for the first time
Whatever the betting odds, the outcome of the contest tends to owe as much to reigonal and national sympathies as to the quality of the songs.

"The Eurovision Song Contest is like a lottery," said Estonian Eurovision watcher Olavi Pihlamagi.

"Music is one thing and regional sympathies are another."

When they are not voting for the home country's act, viewers often give high marks to performers from neighbouring countries - or to countries with which they have historical or emotional links.

The UK will be hoping it can improve substantially on its Eurovision fortunes, having come 15th in the 2001 contest - after finishing 16th in 2000.

The Eurovision Song Contest is on BBC One and BBC Radio 2, Saturday 25 May 2000 BST. BBC Choice's Liquid Eurovision Party starts at 1900 BST.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Peter Dobbie
"The odds are looking good, she stands an 8-1 chance of winning"
See also:

24 May 02 | N Ireland
23 May 02 | Entertainment
17 May 02 | Entertainment
15 May 02 | Wales
15 Apr 02 | Entertainment
05 Mar 02 | Media reports
03 Mar 02 | Entertainment
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