Hello Dear Readers!
Finally, it is here: The Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv! One of the greatest days of the year. So, what are we looking at? Well, an array of uptempo crowd-stoppers, a once-in-an-era ballad that has been a runaway odds-favorite since it was selected, and a piece of crossover-operatic-musical-whimsy.
For your ESC Parties:
Help your uninitiated friends with my Eurovision for Beginners
Check-out my ESC 2019 – Write-ups that provide a brief history of ESC, explains the rules, and gives an explanation of the songs.
Also check-out my 2019 Country Profiles – Grand Final Only which covers the 26 entries of the Grand Final – giving a brief history of each country, details of each entry, and a brief bio for each performing artist.
After two semi-finals (live notes for the first and second semis) short on surprises (hmm, Portugal failing and Belarus qualifying might be the two biggest ones), We turn to a Grand Final with a running order that may turn things over completely. Let’s look at the top ten in the betting odds (post-jury final):
The Netherlands (performing 12th)
Australia (performing 25th)
Switzerland (performing 24th)
Sweden (performing 9th)
Italy (performing 22nd)
Iceland (performing 17th)
Russia (performing 5th)
Azerbaijan (performing 20th)
France (performing 21st)
Norway (performing 15th)
First reactions: Cyprus, Greece, and Malta are completely out of the top ten (guess they truly were pretenders). Australia and France have moved into the top ten, while France peaked around third place and started dropping again, Australia has firmly placed itself into the second position behind the Netherlands after qualifying on Tuesday night.
If the Netherlands was in the second half, I would say it was an easy win for the Dutch. While 12th is a good spot, it is surely not the sure thing that, say, 22nd is. So, now the door is open for the likes of Switzerland (which has the strongest staging and performance across the 41 entries), Italy (whose edge and novelty helps it standout), and Australia (a powerful and captivating song that has shot up the odds á la Cyprus 2018).
In my opinion, the winner will be one of these four
The Netherlands Australia Italy Switzerland
The Netherlands, my personal favorite, is perhaps one of the highest quality entries to date. It is earnest, honest, and heart-breaking. It also suffers from a singer without much stage presence leading to a boring, trite staging.
Australia is perhaps the most fun “believe in yourself” song we’ve seen since, perhaps, Austria 2014. It has the magic of a Disney song and a whimsical staging that is absolutely stunning. It also is a song from a country that historically fares quite terribly with the televoters surrounded by two equally as mesmerizing stagings and songs (Switzerland and Spain).
Italy is a powerful, dark song that stirs deep emotions in the listener performed passionately from a country that is quite popular with juries and televoters. However, it is staged in such a way to diminish this impact – much brighter than it should be; not to mention, juxtaposed to France (which is preceding it), it may come off as over dark.
Switzerland, much forlorn and forgotten on the Eurovision stage, has come with the tightest, most interesting, most dynamic performance this year and beyond. Unfortunately, this is a rather generic song that is like so much else we hear on the radio; plus, the juries historically drag down the Swiss.
Taking all of this into consideration, right now, if I had to predict the winner (and I do, since I am a decade-long ESC blogger), I believe that The Netherlands will win!
I have believed this from the first time I heard the song and am choosing to stick to my instincts on this. Its quality as a composition, as a lyrical work, and in Duncan Laurence’s sheer vocal talent will all shine through. I think the Netherlands will handedly win the jury vote and, furthermore, will finish top five among the televote, though, not number one, but still high enough to win the Contest.
I think the top ten will comprise of:
And who will be in the Bottom Ten? I hate thinking of the negative, but again, I must make a prediction:
As y’all know, I love North Macedonia, Albania, and Denmark – but I cannot see them succeeding (this is doubly so as Albania was put in the 2nd slot, which is generally reserved for the weakest ballad).
Quite frankly, while my prediction average needs to go back up (it’s back down below 80%, currently) as long as the Netherlands wins, I will be happy. I cannot wait to see how this turns out!
Happy Eurovision Everyone!
Be sure to come back tonight so you can follow my live notes as the Contest unfolds.
Hello Dear Readers!
Eurovision continues is reaching a wider audience than ever before! I’d thought it would be a good idea to create a quick reference post for newbies to the Contest. Here are the top ten things you need to know in order to understand and enjoy Eurovision.
1. The Contest began in 1956 in order to bring together war-torn Europe. Starting with just seven countries, the Contest has exploded as Europe welcomed new countries. There are a total of 42 countries involved in ESC 2017, spanning the continent and beyond.
2. The participating countries are randomly split in half based on their voting history and must compete in one of either two semi-finals. Ten songs qualify from each semi-final and meet the automatic qualifiers in the Grand Final.
3. The automatic qualifiers are the host country, which is the defending champion, and the Big Five. These are the countries with the five largest television audiences in Europe and pay the most to the EBU (the organization that runs Eurovision). These countries are: France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
4. The competitors are broadcasting companies (typically government-run) that select a representative to fly the flag. Countries can choose their entries any way they like. Some opt for a competition in which artists compete with songs, some choose an artist and song internally, and some do a combination of these things.
5. Songs can be in any language, but most choose English (or partially English) to broaden their entry’s appeal. Songs cannot have offensive, overtly sexual, political, or overtly religious lyrics. All lyrics can be found, in English and French, on the official website: eurovision.tv.
6. All performers (singers, backing singers, and dancers) must be at least 16 on the day of their first night of competition. No animals are allowed on stage. All music must be provided by backing track, but all singing must be done live. Songs must be no longer than three minutes.
7. Voting results are a 50/50 combination of professional juries and public vote (televoting). Each country provides a jury of five music professionals; they watch the second dress rehearsal (the evening before the televised show) and cast their votes then. Televoting occurs during the televised show during a fifteen minute window after the last song is performed.
8. Every competing country, regardless if they qualified for the Grand Final, vote for the winner. The results of the jury are revealed, country by country. The televoting is then revealed in ascending order, from least points to most points.
9. The winning song has the honor of being reprised at the end of the show. The winning artist gets a crystal trophy shaped liked a microphone. The winning composers and lyricists receive plaques. The winning broadcaster and country get to host the Contest the following year.
10. The Eurovision Song Contest is for EVERYONE. Despite the stereotypes, Eurovision is enjoyed by all kinds of people across the world and has the goal of uniting us ALL through music for one week a year.
Craving for more information about Eurovision? Check out my ESC Notes that give a look at the history, rules, and notable quirks about the Contest. They were written with a particular eye towards those new to the Contest.
Want more information specific to ESC 2017? My country profiles will satiate your appetite as they cover information for each competing nation – their history and the background of their competing artists.
Wondering how you can hear great hits from Eurovision’s past? I have assembled playlists capturing different elements of Eurovision. This includes an Eurovision for Beginners playlist with twenty of the most influencial and historically important entries of all time.
Last year during the Second Semi-Final, two great productions were made wherein hosts Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw explain the Contest in fun ways.
Hello Dear Readers!
Finally, after much struggle and anguish and many hours, I have finally resolved enough of my technical woes to finally be able to post my notes for y’all!
Reactions from the Jury Final
Last night was the jury final and I can safely say that only one country had a bad enough performance to hurt themselves. Though, Italy had, by far, the worse performance. It was pretty flat. This will definitely be Italy’s worse finish since returning. Even if Emma has a mind-blowing performance tonight, I see little reason to believe that she will score any higher than 15 based on the jury performance alone.
The UK also had some minor issues when a backing singer tried to end the song a few seconds early. I am sure that will not happen again tonight. Poland also seemed to suffer from some timing issues that affected the performance.
A few countries also helped their case. Azerbaijan, a song that was already jury fodder, will likely score very highly for the performance she gave last night. Likewise, Austria, Sweden, and Switzerland also gave exhilerating performances that are sure to go over well with the juries. I won’t go into more detail because they were minor improvements to their semi-final performances. Spain gave a good performance as well. Valentina Monetta from San Marino was the most improved from her semi-final performance and has secured that she will at least be spared the embarassment of a null points.
Well, I think (and really, really hope) that this will be the closest Contest in quite some time. The odds favorite is now Austria, with Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK right behind. After that, the odds begin to drop. After much back and forth and consultation with my new friends waiting in line for the shows, I truly think that Sweden will take the crown. Denmark’s song and staging is weak. The Netherlands will benefit from being so close to the end and so different from everything else, but at the end of the day, country has never placed higher than second at ESC and I do not think that will change this year. I do not think the juries will be as enamored with the UK entry as the fans are. Even though the Austrian entry is my favorite this year, I do not think it will be a winner. Aside from Conchita Wurst’s look, songs in this style – big, dramatic, ballads that sound like they should be on a James Bond soundtrack – do not have as much mass appeal as one would think. Especially, not compared to more traditional pop ballads such as the one Sweden has. Sweden has a simple staging that emphasizing the song; its subtly and power seperate it from the other entries, the juries traditionally like these kinds of songs, and the drama is just enough to captivate audiences without scaring them off. Undo has the perfect combination of factors to carry the trophy, and the Contest, back across the Øresund for the sixtieth edition in 2015
After Sweden, I think the remaining Top Ten will be:
- The Netherlands
As far as the Bottom Five, I would predict Italy, Belarus, Iceland, Slovenia, and Finland. These five lack a combination of adequate public appeal, public interest, and stagning.
Final Thoughts Ahead of the Grand Final
Let’s try to keep the politics out of ESC! This goes both ways. As far as Russia is concerned, booing Russia does not help anything and only encourages the true villains more. What happens when you boo the Tomaschevy Twins is that you are booing 17 girls who are Junior Eurovision champions – that’s all. The best way to handle the situation is to sit quietly; lack of reaction is much more impactful. Additionally, with Austria. What the character of Conchita Wurst represents is great, but that is no reason to vote. Give Austria points because Rise Like a Pheonix is an amazing song, not because you want the drag queen to win.
And with that, enjoy the show!! It promises to be fantastic! I will be keeping live notes the best I can from the ESC party that I am attending. See you this evening!
As we head into the last few days ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 – Malmö, I thought it would be good idea to provide some resources to help your ESC preparations. I have been hosting Eurovision Parties for the last two years with the small group of friends that I have converted to ESC fandom. I have always written up brief profiles of the competing countries as well as several briefs detailing the ESC history, rules, and procedures – as well as notes about the current year’s edition. I have decided to make these available for you to use at your own Eurovision parties (and/or personal edification). I’ll update with the running order numbers after they’re released next Friday morning. On Sunday, I’ll have my final predictions for this year’s Contest!