Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
Hello Dear Readers!
I’m back for another awesome year of Eurovision — my ninth! Though, for fast counters in the audience and long-time readers, you’ll know this is actually the eleventh Contest I covered on this blog.
I will be traveling to attend the Contest live once again! So, look for me in Lisbon! (WHO thought that would EVER be the case?) Over the next few days, you’ll be seeing my reviews of each of this year’s entries. Written before I dived too heavily into the fan communities and betting odds. Since I’ve looked at them…let’s just say I have a few controversial opinions.
A few notes about this year.
- There seems to be an uptick in political entries, including Italy, Iceland, Switzerland, and Serbia
- Speaking of which, anyone else notice that seems to be a particularly weak year for the former Yugoslav?
- Hooray for the increase in non-English songs! We even have a non-English, non-native song from Estonia. This is actually the most non-English entries we’ve had (13) since 2013 Malmo (17 non-English songs)
- We also see the return of Alexander Rybak who is hoping to become just the second ever performing artist to win more than once.
This will also be the first Contest after passing of a Eurovision legend. The “Mother of Eurovision,” Lys Assia, who was the winning artist of the very first Contest in 1956 and competed several more times, and almost won a second time, passed this year. She will be missed, but her Refrain shall live on forever.
Come back over the next few days as I give you my thoughts and opinions on this year’s 43 entries. And, of course, next week we’ll be having our annual “Contender or Pretender” series.
Also, back for it’s third year! The 2018 Eurovision Tournament check back at the end of the week to see how I completed the bracket! I’d love to see yours – you can connect with me here, on Twitter (@escobsession), or even on Reddit.
Hello Dear Readers!
First, in the event that you missed last week’s post, here are my initial thoughts concerning the songs that I think have a legitimate shot at winning this year in Kyiv. This also included this year’s bracket for ESC Obsession’s Annual Eurovision Tournament.
And, if you are curious, here is my personal bracket based solely on my personal preferences.
Second, we come to our yearly Contender or Pretender series, where we look at the top ten countries in the betting odds and access whether they have a realistic chance of winning (contender) or if they are merely names without foundations (pretender). I took the top ten countries and randomly sorted them.
You’ll see them in this order:
Day One: Australia and Romania
Day Two: Bulgaria and Italy
Day Three: Portugal and Belgium
Day Four: Azerbaijan and Sweden
Day Five: Armenia and Ireland
Some notes: It has been interesting watching the movement in the betting odds. Per usual, Sweden and Italy are in the top ten. Azerbaijan seems to be back in the good graces of ESC while Armenia has made its typical late-season push towards the top of the odds. As shocking as it is to see countries like Belgium (perhaps, though, not so much after finishing in the top twelve in three out of the past four years), Portugal (when was the last time they were among the top in the betting odds?), and Bulgaria, I think the most shocking are Ireland and Australia. Both started in the low teens back in March (once all the songs were known). Both sneaked up the rankings while others slipped (France, Denmark, Greece, and Hungary are the next four, all of which were once in the top ten). Interestingly, Macedonia seems to have fallen the farthest; reaching about seventh in the betting odds before following to the low teens.
Stayed tuned! Each day this week, we’ll cover each of the ten entries at the top of the betting odds; analyzing their potential, identifying their shortcomings, and providing a verdict.
Hello Dear Readers!
So, there you have it, my initial thoughts on the 2017 Eurovision field of entries. It was hard this year to choose top contenders, so many songs sound similar and parceling out those that were stronger from the weak wasn’t easy. Amongst those that sound different, I’ve tried to identify which ones were memorable for the right reasons. Below is my first prediction for 2017’s Top Ten and winner!
As of right now, I predict that the following songs will be in the Top Ten (in alphabetical order):
Armenia – it’s dazzling and intriguing; captivating and unique.
Azerbaijan – a return to form and powerful pop song
Belgium – unique, current, and incredibly popular
Bulgaria – the strongest ballad this year
Denmark – stands out with its R&B sound
France – even better than last year, very French, yet still accessible
Italy – certainly one of the smarter entries in ESC history, very entertaining, too
Macedonia – this year’s strongest entry from the former Yugoslav
Poland – dark and stirring, will outperform expectations for sure
Sweden – well-done schlager with a flashy stage routine
With that said, who do I think will contend for the title of ESC victor? Well, so far, my thoughts have not yet changed.
Denmark, Bulgaria, France
Anja has an amazing voice and the song is well composed. However, R&B does have a dicey history at the Contest. Will the audience be able to get behind this song, even though it strays from the traditional pop style?
Perfectly capturing the styling of the modern ballad, Bulgaria brings its most competitive entry to date. However, Kristian Kostov, while supremely vocally-talented, is one of the youngest performers this year, I wonder if he has the stage presence to convey this kind of song. Will Bulgaria be able to build on its success from last year by putting together a useful staging and promotional work?
An intriguing entry that does a strong job of displaying the French aesthetic without scaring those who are non-French. However, this song requires a well done staging, and we all know that is most definitely NOT France’s department. Can Alma guide the production process enough to ensure that the song presentation is both meaningful and enjoyable without it becoming a distraction?
Ultimately, if I had to choose one song right now as the winner. I would choose…
Bulgaria! Ultimately, I think Kostov has the look, sound, and stage presence to aptly perform this haunting – yet relatable – ballad. The music is stirring, yet not overly complex and the lyrics are captivating without being inaccessible. And, without Russia around, there will be more points up for grabs, particularly for those from Slavic backgrounds. Though, this song will definitely appeal to Westerners as well.
I definitely look forward to diving deeper into these entries, commentary, and internet buzz. Even more than that, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below or catch up with me on Twitter!
Once again, ESC Obsession has created a Eurovision Tournament Bracket for you! Forty-two songs enter, only one can survive. Seeded by their current betting odds, this bracket sets up a series of duels until one song comes out on top. Whether you want to think about the competition in a new way, compare your picks with friends, or simply are having trouble determining your favorite entry this year – the bracket is for you! Feel free to download it, feel it out, share it around. Post about it here and/or Reddit! I’ll post mine next week.
Hello Dear Readers!
I hope you all are enjoying filling out your brackets! Here is mine. This one is focused on my personal opinion. Look for my follow-up post that examines each individual battle!
My winner should not come as a surprise to those of you who read my predictions wrap-up post. Though, it was not easy getting there. How does my bracket compare to yours? Comment below!