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ESC 2018 Grand Final Live Notes!

Hello Dear Readers!

The time is upon us once again – we shall be crowning a new Eurovision Champion tonight. Through a series of misfortunes, bad luck, and poor attention paid on my part, I’m in my hotel room here in Lisbon.

Which means I’m here to do live notes! Sonce I’ve seen the final twice before, I will focus on just the performances and votes.

Ukrainian Flag MapUkraine – he seemed weak or something, the intensity was there but not so much the quality.

Spanish Flag MapSpain – it was going really well until about the last third, when the wheels started to come off. They were out of tune throughout the last section.

Slovenian Flag MapSlovenia – ahhh, nice, instead of a power outage, they pulled it off as a call for the music to stop. Much better. The choreography for this act is amazing but the song is still mediocre at best.

Lithuanian Flag MapLithuania – we just saw the first winning performance tonight. Unfortunate for Lithuania, but fortunate for us, it won’t be the last.

Austrian Flag MapAustria – he was good! Still do not understand that outfit or the choice tonhave him appear as a large figure on screen.

Estonian Flag MapEstonia – there seems to be something going on, or perhaps just lost via tv, she seems to be at only partial strength. Still a fantastic song, though.

Norwegian Flag MapNorway – he also seems to be just a bit off tonight. Wow, we may see some unsuspecting entry back into victory with all these acts shooting themselves in the foot.

Portuguese Flag MapPortugal – man! She sung her heart out. This is a song that relies on the conveyance of passion and she pulled it off. It’s not going to win, but it will probably do better than initially thought.

British Flag MapUnited Kingdom – I’m really happy the crowd’s enthusiasm is coming through over the television. Her voice seems—- whoa!! We have a stage interruption first time since 2010 (Spain). She’ll be performing again after Italy.

We’re in the Green Room as we figure out the next steps

Serbian Flag MapSerbia – As good as they could be!

German Flag MapGermany – started off shaky, but got better throughout. I think Europe’s heartstrings are being pulled rather tight.

Albanian flag countryAlbania – still don’t quite get the appeal of this song. But he performs it well; hitting the high notes perfectly.

New French Flag MapFrance – I like this song less each time I hear it. They performed pretty well, though!

CzechFlagMapCzech Republic – definitely one of the best times he performed this. Should easily establish a new best position.

Denmark – he missed that high Danish Flag Mapnote. Though, this song and its call for retreat and sureender seem to resound with many folks.

Australian Flag MapAustralia – if she didn’t lose the victory last night, she surely did just now. That vocal performance was not great; which is a shame

Finnish Flag MapFinland – tame, but better than usual. This was my pick for last place. Maybe I’ll be wrong.

Bulgarian Flag CountryBulgaria – Golly, I love this song. And I think the staging fits it perfectly, as well. And they performed it passionately.

Moldovan Flag MapMoldova – fun performance, as always, perfectly executed. There seemed to be some harmony issues, but the overall impression is positive.

Swedish Flag MapSweden – aside from sounding out of breath at the beginning, he performed and danced flawlessly. Definitely another Top Ten placing for Sweden.

Hungarian Flag MapHungary – I’m really not the best judge of this song. It’s a tolerable screamo song; I guess that’s a positive. It was performed well, not much more I can say.

Israeli Flag CountryIsrael – she’s an amazing performer and this is the best I’ve seen her do this song! Is it enough to win? Probably not, but it’s definitely Top Ten.

Dutch Flag CountryThe Netherlands – In the US, this staging is what we would call “problematic.” I doubt the intention is to put forward the image of a white guy and his four dancing negroes, but that’s how this comes off. Just poorly thought out. The song is good and well-performed.

Irish Flag MapIreland – I hate being pandered to, and this sog about a straight guy going through a divorce hidden behind a pair of cute gay dancers is the definition of such. I like the song, but hate its presentation. I kinda hope it fails, though it probably will not.

Cypriot Flag MapCyprus – the song is catchy and fun, but her voice is not good. The choreography makes this song; without it, it’s just another attempt at sounding contemporary that originally landed at 26th in the betting odds. The performance was flawless, of course, the vocals, not so much, the song is average. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

Italian Flag MapItaly – Is it me, or were they going at half power like thise at the beginning of the show? Meh, this song has always not been for me.

*For whatever reason, the UK has decided to not have SuRie perform again. Why not take a free second performance? There is no reason not to. So, because she was shaky before and after the stage invasion, that’s what people are going to remember. Bad choice, BBC, bad choice.

So, my ten favorites from tonight:

1. Bulgaria

2. Portugal

3. Israel

4. Czech Republic

5. Austria

6. Estonia

7. Serbia

8. Moldova

9. Sweden

10. Finland

And who do I think will finish in the Top Ten? (in no prticular order)

• Israel

• Cyprus

• Australia

• Lithuania

• Germany

• France

• Sweden

• Norway

• Estonia

• Austria

And, finally, who is going to win?

CyprusI’m loathe to say this, but I think we might be heading to Cyprus next year. It’s an average song, but it’s gonna siphon a lotnofnthe gay vote and the teenage girl vote given the style and choreography. It will also get a lot of the general vote as it’s one of the more commercial-sounding entries this year. It’s a shame, there are better songs this year, but I don’t think any of them will be able to surmount Cyprus’ appeal.

Jury Votes!

And so it begins! Doize points get sent across all of Europe

Ukraine’s to France

Azerbaijan’s to Albania

Belarus’ to Cyprus

San Marino’s to Israel

So confusing so far!

The Netherlands’ to Germany

Macedonia’s to Estonia

Malta’s to Cyprus

Georgia’s to Sweden?!

Spain’s to Cyprus, none for Portugal

Austria’s to Israel

Denmark’s to Germany

Points are going every which way!!

UK’s to Austria

Sweden’s to Cyprus, none to Denmark

Latvia’s to Sweden

Albania’s to Italy

Croatia’s to Lithuania

Ireland’s to Cyprus

Romania’s to Austria!

Czech Republic’s to Israel

Iceland’s to Austria, none!! to Denmark or Norway

Moldova’s to Estonia

Belgium’s to Austria

Israel, Austria, and Cyprus are leading thus far

Norway’s to Germany, none for Denmark

France’s to Israel!

Norway just got its first 12! (From Italy)

Australia’s to Sweden

Estonia’s to Austria

No one believed me when is said Austria had a winning song.

Serbia’s to Sweden

Cyprus’ to Sweden

Armenia’s to Sweden

Bulgaria’s to Austria

Greece’s to Cyprus, no surprise there

Hungary’s to Denmark – how random

Montenegro’s to Serbia, no surprise there

Germany’s to Sweden

Finland’s to Israel

Russia (Alsou competed in 2000 and got 2nd place; she hosted the Grand Final in 2009) sent its to Moldova, not too surprising

Switzerland’s to Germany

Israel’s to Austria! And it’s back in the lead

Poland’s to Austria!

Three countries left!

Lithuania’s to Austria!

Slovenia’s to Sweden

Ten points between Austria and Sweden

Finally, Portugal’s to Estonia!

Austria wins the Jury with 271 points (Sweden is in second with 253; Israel in third with 212)

On to the televote!!

Australia, only 9

Portugal with 18

18 also for Spain

21 to Sweden — WHAT?!?!?!?!?!

23 to Slovenia and Finland

25 for the UK

32 for the Dutch

55 for Albania

59 for France

62 to Ireland

65 to Hungary (this is not going as expected)

66 to Bulgaria

71 to Austria?! Oh, golly, Cyprus is gonna win (only 130 over Israel)

75 to Serbia

84 to Norway

Lithuania gets 91

102 to Estonia

Moldova get 115

119 to Ukraine

136 to Germany

So, Austria will not win

188 to Denmark

215 to Czech Republic

Three left! Israel and Cyprus are both able to surpass Austria.

249 to Italy

So, for sure, the winner will be either Israel or Cyprus.

Cyprus is leading the vote?

Cyprus gets 253

Israel wins the televote and the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 with a total of 529 points!

Israeli Flag Country

The fourth victory for Israel, exactly twenty years after its third (Diva). In my opinion, a really good song. Truly “different” as Netta just said. As a bigger guy myself, it’s exciting to see a big person win – first time ever! This is also, as I’ve said previously, one of the most original songs this year and is a bit more reminiscent of what one sees at jESC. One of my favorites tonight and overall. Congrats to Isreal and its brandnew broadcaster, to Netta, her songwriting & production teams, and her backing dancers & singers!

Check back tomorrow for reflections and closing thoughts. As well as soon after for my annual awards!

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Thoughts After the Grand Final Jury Show

Hello Dear Readers!

Whoo!! What a show! This is a very competitive year with many popular songs and many songs deserving of victory – with there being much overlap between the two.

So, thoughts and predictions after the jury Final?

Who helped their cause?

  • The ballads – Spain, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, and Lithuania all were top notch and performed the best they could. At least one will be top ten, if not two.

  • UK – while the audience reaction may not be conveyed on tv, the juries are  sequestered in the arena; SuRie had one of the biggest crowd reactions of the night and it definitely enhanced an already great performance.

  • Cyprus was, by far, the strongest uptempo number on the night. Still not convinced it appeals to the juries, but when compared to Czech Republic, Israel, Israel, UK, and Moldova – it shines.

  • France – again, Madame Monsieur stepped up their game and were stronger than ever. Paris is a feasible option for ESC 2019.

Who still has work to do?

  • Australia most likely lost this last night. It’s popular with the fans but it needed a strong jury performance to contend and it just wasn’t there.

  • Finland – she was screechy throughout the entire song; it just was not very well performed.

  • Italy seemed to be going at half power (which is to be expected at this point) – I predict another low jury score with a sizeable popular vote.

  • Slovenia – seemed to be off their game as well. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but they were not as strong as they have been all week.

Of course, there were songs that did well but probably still won’t impact their position with the juries: Hungary, Estonia, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Serbia. These are genre songs that juries will either enjoy or not.

Fan reactions aren’t everything, but…

  • Cyprus, Australia, UK, Israel, France, Denmark, Germany, Slovenia, Estonia, and Norway had huge reactions in the arena.

  • Ukraine, Austria, Lithuania, Ireland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Sweden, and Spain all had big reactions that seemed to fizzle away.

  • Albania had little to no reaction (other than the high note)

So, who do I think will finish in the Top Ten (in no particular order):

 

 

  • France

  • Israel

  • Spain

  • Cyprus

  • Australia

  • Germany

  • Lithuania

  • Norway

  • Sweden

  • Estonia

 

So, after all of that, who do I think is going to win?

The smart money is on Cyprus. It has the fan support, mass appeal, and running order spot necessary for the win. It’s also been a few years since an uptempo song won.

If not Cyprus, then France would be the next smart choice. Popular song, jury appeal, and good running order position.

However, long time readers know that I don’t always go with the smart choice. So, who am I predicting to win?

LithuaniaLithuania — I think it has massive jury appeal and quite a bit of televote appeal, as well. For sure, Germany and Ireland will cut into its success, but I don’t think quite enough.

We’ll see!! I’m so excited and hope you are, too! See you after the show!

Reaction to the Second Semi-Final

Hello Dear Readers!

Ugh! I am losing my touch. Once again, only seven out of ten on predictions: Slovenia, Denmark, and Serbia all qualified whereas I had predicted Montenegro, Malta, and Romania.

So, as always, first, some historical markers:

  1. Russia and Romania join Azerbaijan as countries having their 100% qualification streak snapped.

  2. Leaving Australia and Ukraine as the last countries to hold that honor (thus far, Australia has always qualified for the final, once automatically and now three times from a semi).

  3. Slovenia qualifies for the first time since 2015.

  4. Russia’s Top Ten streak also comes to a halt at six. Leaving Sweden as the frontrunner, with four consecutive Top Ten finishes. Followed by Australia, with three, and then Bulgaria with two.

Key Reactions:

  • My biggest disappointment would have to be Malta’s failure. The staging was amazing! Truly elevating the song and conveying its meaning.

  • Biggest point of satisfaction would be Moldova’s qualification. At the end of the day, things were getting tight and they squeaked through.

  • Biggest Takeaway: Australia has come to win. When I watched it, I just got the feeling that I had just watched a winning performance. The crowd got more into it than any other song I’ve seen this year, including other top contenders like France, Cyprus, Israel, and Estonia.

There you have it! Our finalists are known. As I write this, the running order was just announced and Cyprus has risen to the top of the betting odds. It’s going to be an interesting and competitive year.

Thoughts After the Second Semi-Final Jury Show

Hello Dear Readers!

Here we are, the day of the Second Semi-Final. The jury show was last night and, once again, some acts stepped up their game while others, not so much. So, thoughts on the show?

Who helped their cause:

  • Denmark – not only were there a ton of Danes, but also Norwegians and Swedes, meaning that this song had the biggest crowd reaction of the night. Rassmus and his team definitely fed off that energy.

  • San Marino – to be clear, this is not a strong entry. Though, I think Jesika and Jenifer and the backers did the very best they could with what they had.

  • Malta – oh my goodness, the staging is perfect and Christabelle’s vocals were spot on. It’s not going to win but it will probably qualify.

  • Hungary – whoa! It was much better than anticipated and the boys put on quite the show. Expect a qualification.

  • France – since 2016 the AQs perform during the jury show. Last night was France, Germany, and Italy. Not only did France win an already friendly crowd by singing a French-language version of “Amar Pelos Dois” but their performance made the crowd go wild which is perfect for the playback tonight,

Who still has work to do:

  • Russia – oh, it started rough, but once Julia got her bearings it locked in. But the staging is terrible. They have her on this giant mountain and these irrelevant dancers, it’s all just too much. Could we see more history being made with Russia’s first non-qualification?

  • Slovenia – the staging was amazing…until the power went out. It was planned, but not well executed at all. This is a weak song and they shot themselves in the foot.

  • Georgia – a boring song with a boring stage performance. Its only hope now is to have a mind-altering performance tonight and get by on the televote.

So, who do I think won the juries last night? Australia — it’s really hard to predict this semi-final, but I think “We Got Love” is just the kind of song that the juries eat up.

Predictions for qualifiers (in no particular order):

  • Norway

  • Romania

  • Hungary

  • Malta

  • Sweden

  • Moldova

  • Australia

  • Montenegro

  • The Netherlands

  • Ukraine

See y’all after the show!!

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