Posts tagged “iceland

Playlist of the Week: Eurovision Stagings for the Uninitiated

Hello Dear Readers!

Trying to pull together more playlists (and potentially updating old ones). This playlist was inspired by one of my favorite podcasts, Hella in Your Thirties; the hosts advertised EO and promised to release playlists of their favorite Eurovision stagings. Interestingly enough, this will also be the first playlist to have a corresponding Spotify song list.

These will be twenty of the songs with the most dynamic, impactful, mesmerizing, and/or effective stagings (in my opinion, duh). A few things to note, because I anticipate this post seeing traffic mostly from the US, all songs will be 1998-2015 since the EBU started geoblocking the Contest in the Western Hemisphere starting with 2016. Check out the honorable mentions for a bonus ten songs from 2016-2019. Also, because this might someone’s entry point to the Contest, I’m going to eschew some of the zaniest stuff because 1) the Contest is so much more than that and 2) it’s not really all that typical anymore.

Once again, all the songs come from the Televoting Era (post 1998) of the Eurovision Song Contest. Not every featured staging will be over-the-top; sometimes, less is more. Not every song is one that I like, but every staging is one that is memorable. Enjoy!

View the playlist here: Eurovision Staging for the Uninitiated
Find it on Spotify

So, unexpectedly, lots of winners on the list (songs 1-6), runner-ups (7, 12, 26), and a slew of Top Tens songs (8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 18, 20-22, 25, 27, 28-30). You can also see the countries with lots of strong stagings – Sweden, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova – all legendary stage show makers. And yes, 2016 deserves four songs – and really deserves more – watch those three shows!

  1. EO logo with latvian flagLatvia 2002 – I Wanna performed by Marie N

  2. Ukraine 2004 – Wild Dances performed by Ruslana

  3. Serbia 2007 – Molitva performed by Marija Šerifović

  4. Russia 2008 – Believe performed by Dima Bilan

  5. Sweden 2012 – Euphoria performed by Loreen

  6. EO logo with Swedish flagSweden 2015 – Heroes performed by Måns Zelmerlöw

  7. Azerbaijan 2013 – Hold Me performed by Farid Mammadov

  8. Ukraine 2011 – Angel performed by Mika Newton

  9. Moldova 2010 – Run Away performed by Sunstroke Project & Olia Tira

  10. Belgium 2015 – Rhythm Inside performed by Loïc Nottet

  11. Moldova 2013 – O Mie performed by Aliona Moon

  12. Ukraine 2008 – Shady Lady performed by Ani Lorak

  13. EO logo with Belorussian flagBelarus 2007 – Work Your Magic performed by Dmitry Koldun

  14. Russia 2011 – Get You performed by Alexey Vorobyov

  15. Sweden 2011 – Popular performed by Eric Saade

  16. Croatia 2006 – Moja Štikla performed by Severina

  17. Malta 2013 – Tomorrow performed by Gianluca

  18. EO logo with Maltese flagBulgaria 2007 – Water performed by Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov

  19. Iceland 2010 – Je Ne Sais Quoi performed by Hera Björk

  20. Spain 2014 – Dancing in the Rain performed by Ruth Lorenzo

Honorable Mention: MANY MANY SONGS! But, these ten specifically for those in the Eastern Hemisphere or with a VPN.

  1. EO logo with Swiss flagSwitzerland 2019 – She Got Me performed by Luca Hänni

  2. Russia 2016 – You Are the Only One performed by Sergey Lazarev

  3. United Kingdom 2017 – Never Give Up on You performed by Lucie Jones

  4. Czech Republic 2019 – Friend of a Friend performed by Lake Malawi

  5. EO logo with Armenian flagArmenia 2016 – LoveWave performed by Iveta Mukuchyan

  6. Australia 2016 – Sound of Silence performed by Dami Im

  7. Hungary 2017 – Origo performed by Joci Pápai

  8. Belgium 2016 – What’s the Pressure performed by Laura Tesoro

  9. EO logo with Moldovan flagMoldova 2018 – My Lucky Day performed by DoReDoS

  10. Australia 2019 – Zero Gravity performed by Kate Miller-Heidke

What are some of your favorite stagings from the Contest’s recent history? What about from the early years, when almost every song was a person standing alone on a stage with a microphone? Should I do another list of insane and bizarre stagings?

Follow @escobsession on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Sporcle, and Spotify!


So, who would have won in 2020?

Graphic for the "Totally Definitive" winner of 2020

Graphic for the "Totally Definitive" winner of 2020

Hello Dear Readers!

Well, another Eurovision season is in the books. This one was unlike any other because of the historic cancellation of the 65th Edition of ESC. There have been an array of fan media sites and organizations across the internet holding mock competitions and polls in order to decide their own winner. Here on EO, we held the inaugural Eurovision Tournament this year, which was handily won by Iceland. While the Eurofandom will be arguing until the end of time about who would have won had 2020’s Contest occurred, EO hopes to draw its conclusion through combining some of the largest fan media polls of the 2020 Season. These are Eurostream, Eurovision Online, WiwiBloggs Fan Poll, Dziennik Eurowizyjny, ESC Plus, and the INFE fan poll, and – the biggest of them all – the OGAE fan poll (which allowed non-OGAE members to vote for the first time). These were chosen because: Eurostream and Eurovision Online are new, fan-driven pseudo-Contests that deserve attention and accolades, WiwiBloggs is (currently) the largest and most popular fan media website, Dziennik Eurowizyjny created the best video Contest, ESC Plus is one of the oldest and biggest fan media sites, and INFE & OGAE are the official confederation of fan clubs approved by the EBU. Let me be clear, Eurovision Obsession is not directly in partnership with any of these organizations/media outlets. Additionally, only three of the ten national broadcasters (not counting the RTVE poll from Spain) – those from Australia, Iceland, and San Marino – released a full list of the final ranking of all 41 songs. These rankings were compiled to provide an eighth ranking for this process.

Procedure

The results of each poll will be enumerated. For those that use semi-finals, the same thing most of us do for the real Contest will be done; the results of the two semi-finals will be combined to create the 27-41 rankings based on points earned and the specific media site’s tie-break procedures. Yes, this privileges the Netherlands and the Big Five, but that is how ESC is structured.

Once all eight 1-41 rankings are crafted, a composite 1-41 ranking will be crafted using each entry’s average placing (out to two decimal points). In the event of a tie, I will use the average percentage of points received as the tie-breaking variable. If the tie persists, then the countries’ performance in the EO Eurovision Tournament will be used. If the tie persists, then the two entries will just be considered tied. So, let’s look at the detailed results of each of our eight polls (which, again, are completely unaffiliated with ESC Obsession and have not provided any endorsement to this blog).

  • EuroStream 2020 logo

    Eurostream 2020

    • Date: 9 May

    • Total number of points: 95,058

    • Voting Structure: Televote: individuals could vote in both semi-finals and the final; individuals can vote for 1-5 entries per vote. Jury: a selection of ESC stars, music professionals, and former ESC jurors from 38 of the participating countries; jury panels ranged from 1-4 members. Countries without juries Russia, Israel, and Latvia) were given a composite score from a selection of their neighbors.

    • Final Ranking: 50/50 Jury and Televote; jury points are totaled. The jury total provided the number of points available for the public. The televotes were totaled, converted to percentages, then the percentage was used to calculate points to be awarded.

      EuroStram Winner Graphic Iceland

      Copyright EuroStream 2020

  • Winner: Iceland (9.12% of vote)

    02. Lithuania (6.31%)

    22. Australia (1.70%)

    03. Russia (6.01%)

    23. Serbia (1.49%)

    04. Sweden (5.89%)

    24. Armenia (1.47%)

    05. Belgium (5.84%)

    25. Israel (1.41%)

    06. Malta (5.72%)

    26. Albania (1.32%)

    07. Switzerland (5.59%)

    27. Estonia (4.19%)

    08. Italy (5.55%)

    28. Poland (4.11%)

    09. Bulgaria (5.38%)

    29. Finland (3.82%)

    10. Georgia (4.25%)

    30. Latvia (3.69%)

    11. Azerbaijan (4.25%)

    31. Ireland (3.58%)

    12. Germany (3.89%)

    32. Ukraine (3.49%)

    13. Netherlands (3.70%)

    33. Czech Republic (3.33%)

    14. Romania (3.51%)

    34. Cyprus (3.23%)

    15. Norway (3.28%)

    35. San Marino (2.96%)

    16. France (3.07%)

    36. Moldova (1.89%)

    17. Greece (2.99%)

    37. Portugal (1.60%)

    18. Denmark (2.48%)

    38. Croatia (1.55%)

    19. Austria (2.00%)

    39. North Macedonia (1.51%)

    20. United Kingdom (1.98%)

    40. Belarus (1.25%)

    21. Spain (1.81%)

    41. Slovenia (1.21%)

  • Eurovision Online logoEurovision Online 2020

    • Date: 16 May

    • Total number of points: 9,512

    • Voting Structure: Jury – 41 jurors voted via traditional ESC points to name their top ten. They were separated into their respective semi-finals, and then all 41 were used for the jury votes in the Final. Televote – Collected by country. When this failed, the results from at-large voting were employed. See their explainer (linked on “Voting Structure”) for a full explanation from Eurovision Online.

    • Final Ranking: Combination of jury scores and televote scores at a 50/50 ratio.

Eurovision Online's Bulgaria graphic

Copyright Eurovision Online

  • Winner: Bulgaria (10.87%)

    2

    Iceland

    10.51%

    22

    Slovenia

    1.47%

    3

    Sweden

    9.59%

    23

    United Kingdom

    0.80%

    4

    Italy

    5.93%

    24

    France

    0.76%

    5

    Lithuania

    5.70%

    25

    Greece

    0.40%

    6

    Russia

    5.45%

    26

    Spain

    0.38%

    7

    Switzerland

    5.34%

    27

    Serbia

    4.56%

    8

    Ireland

    4.84%

    28

    Romania

    4.31%

    9

    Malta

    4.81%

    29

    Azerbaijan

    3.97%

    10

    San Marino

    3.99%

    30

    Belgium

    3.15%

    11

    Germany

    3.83%

    31

    Belarus

    2.84%

    12

    Ukraine

    3.60%

    32

    Georgia

    2.67%

    13

    Norway

    3.15%

    33

    North Macedonia

    2.72%

    14

    Armenia

    2.71%

    34

    Finland

    2.46%

    15

    Denmark

    2.69%

    35

    Portugal

    2.09%

    16

    Austria

    2.69%

    36

    Croatia

    1.94%

    17

    Israel

    2.61%

    37

    Cyprus

    1.94%

    18

    The Netherlands

    2.44%

    38

    Estonia

    1.72%

    19

    Australia

    2.14%

    39

    Poland

    1.68%

    20

    Albania

    1.77%

    40

    Czech Republic

    1.31%

    21

    Latvia

    1.53%

    41

    Moldova

    0.70%

  • Wiwibloggs LogoWiwiBloggs Fan Poll

    • Date: 16 May

    • Total number of votes: 35,644

    • Voting Structure: Open public vote

    • Final Ranking: Summation of votes cast

Swiss flag map

Winner: Switzerland (14.90%)

2

Italy

11.93%

22

Latvia

1.19%

3

Serbia

8.78%

23

Albania

1.14%

4

Greece

6.02%

24

Spain

1.01%

5

Lithuania

5.96%

25

United Kingdom

0.95%

6

Iceland

4.69%

26

Ireland

0.94%

7

Bulgaria

3.52%

27

Belgium

0.85%

8

Malta

3.40%

28

Poland

0.80%

9

Russia

3.26%

29

Croatia

0.75%

10

Norway

2.58%

30

Cyprus

0.75%

11

Ukraine

2.46%

31

Portugal

0.60%

12

Romania

2.36%

32

France

0.57%

13

Germany

2.31%

33

Austria

0.56%

14

Azerbaijan

2.26%

34

Czech Republic

0.54%

15

Israel

2.11%

35

North Macedonia

0.46%

16

Georgia

1.92%

36

Slovenia

0.45%

17

Armenia

1.90%

37

San Marino

0.45%

18

Sweden

1.85%

38

Belarus

0.45%

19

The Netherlands

1.62%

39

Finland

0.42%

20

Australia

1.46%

40

Estonia

0.33%

21

Denmark

1.21%

41

Moldova

0.28%

  • ESC Plus Poll logoESC Plus

    • Date: 16 May

    • Total number of points: 2375

    • Voting Structure: Open public vote

    • Final Ranking: The raw votes were converted using a proprietary algorithm into the “final classification.”

Screen capture of Lithuania from ESCPlus video

  • Winner: Lithuania (8.59%)

    2

    Switzerland

    6.61%

    22

    Albania

    1.77%

    3

    Iceland

    5.60%

    23

    Armenia

    1.68%

    4

    Bulgaria

    5.56%

    24

    France

    1.52%

    5

    Malta

    4.51%

    25

    Ireland

    1.52%

    6

    Norway

    4.51%

    26

    Latvia

    1.43%

    7

    Italy

    4.25%

    27

    The Netherlands

    1.26%

    8

    Azerbaijan

    4.25%

    28

    Poland

    1.14%

    9

    Russia

    3.92%

    29

    Georgia

    0.97%

    10

    Germany

    3.83%

    30

    Portugal

    0.97%

    11

    Sweden

    3.45%

    31

    North Macedonia

    0.97%

    12

    Romania

    2.99%

    32

    Cyprus

    0.93%

    13

    Australia

    2.82%

    33

    Croatia

    0.93%

    14

    Greece

    2.78%

    34

    San Marino

    0.88%

    15

    Israel

    2.69%

    35

    Austria

    0.88%

    16

    Ukraine

    2.61%

    36

    Moldova

    0.84%

    17

    United Kingdom

    2.15%

    37

    Estonia

    0.80%

    18

    Serbia

    2.11%

    38

    Belarus

    0.67%

    19

    Spain

    2.06%

    39

    Czech Republic

    0.59%

    20

    Denmark

    2.02%

    40

    Slovenia

    0.55%

    21

    Belgium

    1.94%

    41

    Finland

    0.46%

  • Logo for Dziennik EurowizyjnyDziennik Eurowizyjny

    • Date: 9 May

    • Total number of points: 9513 points across three shows

    • Voting Structure: Televote: individuals could vote in both semi-finals and the final. Jury: a selection of ESC fans and stars from the participating countries

    • Final Ranking: 50/50 Jury and Televote; jury points are totaled. The jury total provided the number of points available for the public. The televotes were totaled, converted to percentages, then the percentage was used to calculate points to be awarded.

DZ Eu Online WInner - Switzerland

Copyright Dziennik Eurowizyjny

  • Winner: Switzerland (12.09%)

    2

    Lithuania

    11.65%

    22

    United Kingdom

    0.46%

    3

    Bulgaria

    10.89%

    23

    Albania

    0.21%

    4

    Norway

    8.52%

    24

    Spain

    0.19%

    5

    Malta

    7.95%

    25

    France

    0.17%

    6

    Azerbaijan

    6.14%

    26

    The Netherlands

    0.08%

    7

    Iceland

    5.78%

    27

    Austria

    3.45%

    8

    Germany

    5.51%

    28

    Finland

    2.54%

    9

    Russia

    5.17%

    29

    Czech Republic

    2.30%

    10

    Sweden

    4.58%

    30

    Belgium

    2.28%

    11

    Ukraine

    3.93%

    31

    Portugal

    2.05%

    12

    Romania

    3.36%

    32

    Ireland

    1.94%

    13

    Israel

    2.23%

    33

    Georgia

    1.89%

    14

    Italy

    2.14%

    34

    Cyprus

    1.72%

    15

    Greece

    1.98%

    35

    Croatia

    1.03%

    16

    Serbia

    1.53%

    36

    North Macedonia

    0.99%

    17

    Denmark

    1.49%

    37

    Estonia

    0.94%

    18

    Australia

    1.39%

    38

    San Marino

    0.78%

    19

    Latvia

    0.93%

    39

    Slovenia

    0.78%

    20

    Armenia

    0.84%

    40

    Moldova

    0.74%

    21

    Poland

    0.78%

    41

    Belarus

    0.52%

  • INFE Poll 2020 logoINFE Poll 2020

    • Date: 12 May

    • Total number of points: 1262 points from 22 INFE Member Groups

    • Voting Structure: Each of the 22 INFE member groups submitted points in classic Eurovision style (points 12, 10, 8-1) to a total of ten entries.

    • Final Ranking: Simple summation of all points distributed

lithuanian flag map

  • Winner: Lithuania (14.74%)

    2.

    Switzerland

    10.54%

    22.

    Australia

    0.87%

    3.

    Italy

    7.69%

    23.

    Slovenia

    0.79%

    4.

    Iceland

    7.37%

    24.

    Greece

    0.79%

    5.

    Russia

    7.37%

    25.

    Albania

    0.79%

    6.

    Bulgaria

    6.66%

    26.

    Belgium

    0.55%

    7.

    Norway

    6.42%

    27.

    United Kingdom

    0.55%

    8.

    Malta

    4.75%

    28.

    Poland

    0.40%

    9.

    Sweden

    4.52%

    29.

    The Netherlands

    0.24%

    10.

    Azerbaijan

    4.44%

    30.

    Georgia

    0.24%

    11.

    Ukraine

    3.80%

    31.

    Czech Republic

    0.24%

    12.

    Germany

    3.17%

    32.

    N. Macedonia

    0.16%

    13.

    Romania

    2.06%

    33.

    Croatia

    0.16%

    14.

    Armenia

    1.98%

    34.

    Austria

    0.08%

    15.

    Serbia

    1.74%

    35.

    Portugal

    0.00%

    16.

    Cyprus

    1.35%

    35.

    Belarus

    0.00%

    17.

    Latvia

    1.58%

    35.

    Estonia

    0.00%

    18.

    Israel

    1.03%

    35.

    San Marino

    0.00%

    19.

    Ireland

    1.03%

    35.

    Finland

    0.00%

    20.

    Spain

    0.95%

    35.

    Moldova

    0.00%

    21.

    France

    0.95%

    35.

    Denmark

    0.00%

  • OGAE Fan Poll 2020 logoOGAE 2020 Fan Contest

    • Date: 16 May

    • Total number of points: 4989

    • Voting Structure: Each of the 45 member clubs submitted points in classic Eurovision style (points 12, 10, 8-1) to a total of ten entries. These votes constitute a pseudo-jury vote. The televote is comprised from non-OGAE members, who could vote for the first time this year. These votes were collated and countries were ranked from 1 – 41. Points were distributed via taking the same amount of points distributed by the OGAE fan clubs and divvying them up based on percentage of votes received.

    • Final Ranking: OGAE club votes combined with at-large voting at a 50/50 ratio.

lithuanian flag map

  • Winner: Lithuania (15.43%)

    2

    Iceland

    12.71%

    22

    Albania**

    0.42%

    3

    Switzerland

    12.43%

    23

    Belgium**

    0.42%

    4

    Bulgaria

    8.04%

    24

    Ireland^

    0.42%

    5

    Italy

    7.62%

    25

    The Netherlands^

    0.42%

    6

    Norway

    5.93%

    26

    Croatia

    0.40%

    7

    Germany

    5.79%

    27

    Spain

    0.38%

    8

    Russia

    5.23%

    28

    Estonia

    0.30%

    9

    Malta

    4.91%

    29

    Cyprus

    0.28%

    10

    Sweden

    3.79%

    30

    Poland

    0.22%

    11

    Azerbaijan

    3.59%

    31

    Georgia

    0.16%

    12

    Ukraine

    1.96%

    32

    Austria+

    0.14%

    13

    Serbia

    1.78%

    33

    Moldova+

    0.14%

    14

    Romania

    1.14%

    34

    San Marino+

    0.14%

    15

    Israel

    0.98%

    35

    United Kingdom

    0.10%

    16

    Latvia

    0.90%

    36

    North Macedonia#

    0.08%

    17

    Australia

    0.78%

    37

    Portugal#

    0.08%

    18

    Greece

    0.72%

    38

    Finland#

    0.08%

    19

    Denmark

    0.68%

    39

    Slovenia#

    0.08%

    20

    Armenia*

    0.64%

    40

    Belarus

    0.02%

    21

    France*

    0.64%

    41

    Czech Republic

    0.00%

    *Armenia had a higher OGAE televote than France

    **Albania had more wins in the EO Tournament

    ^Ireland had a higher OGAE televote than the Netherlands

    +San Marino had the fewest OGAE televotes, Austria had more wins than Moldova in the EO Tournament

    #First tie-break, Finland & Slovenia had fewer wins in the EO Tournament, Finland had the higher vote percentage in the EO Tournament. North Macedonia had higher vote percentage than Portugal in the EO Tournament

  • TV Broadcasters

    • Date: 17 May

    • Total number of votes: 3 broadcasters: SBS (Australia), RÚV (Iceland), SMRTV (San Marino)

    • Voting Structure: While the linked Eurovision World article uses all ten broadcasters’ top ten lists to determine who would have won, EO required a ranking of all 41 countries in order to include it in this calculation. All three rankings were averaged for each country (or two rankings for Australia, Iceland, and San Marino).

    • Final Ranking: The final averaged rankings were used to compile the songs from 1 to 41. Average ranking is given in the table below.

  • lithuanian flag map

    Winner: Lithuania (2.67)

    2

    Russia

    3.00

    22

    Serbia

    22.00

    3

    Iceland

    3.50

    23

    Belgium

    22.33

    4

    Italy

    4.00

    24

    San Marino

    22.50

    5

    Bulgaria

    5.00

    25

    France

    23.67

    6

    Switzerland

    5.33

    26

    Austria

    25.33

    7

    Norway

    9.67

    27

    Cyprus

    26.00

    8

    Sweden

    9.67

    28

    Latvia

    26.33

    9

    Malta

    10.00

    29

    Armenia

    26.67

    10

    Germany

    10.33

    29

    Ireland

    26.67

    11

    Azerbaijan

    10.67

    31

    North Macedonia

    29.00

    12

    Denmark

    13.67

    32

    Finland

    29.67

    13

    Romania

    14.00

    33

    Georgia

    30.00

    14

    The Netherlands

    15.00

    34

    Croatia

    31.67

    15

    Ukraine

    17.00

    35

    Moldova

    32.33

    16

    United Kingdom

    17.33

    36

    Australia

    33.00

    17

    Israel

    18.00

    37

    Estonia

    33.33

    18

    Greece

    18.33

    38

    Slovenia

    34.00

    19

    Spain

    19.33

    39

    Czech Republic

    34.33

    20

    Albania

    21.33

    40

    Belarus

    34.67

    21

    Poland

    21.67

    41

    Portugal

    35.00

Final Ranking

41. Belarus
40. Moldova
39. Czech Republic
38. Estonia
37. Finland
36. Slovenia
35. Portugal
34. North Macedonia
33. Croatia
32. San Marino
31. Cyprus
30. Poland
29. Austria
28. Georgia
27. Ireland
26. France
25. United Kingdom
24. Belgium
23. Albania
22. Spain
21. Latvia
20. The Netherlands
19. Australia
18. Denmark
17. Armenia
16. Serbia
15. Greece
14. Israel
13. Ukraine
12. Romania
11. Azerbaijan

And our TOP TEN is:

10. Germany
9. Sweden
8. Norway
7. Malta
6. Russia
5. Italy
4. Bulgaria
3. Switzerland
2. Iceland

And our winner is:

1. LITHUANIA

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, seven major polls plus three broadcasters reveal that it is quite likely that LITHUANIA would have won (for the first time) had Eurovision 2020 been held. This would have toppled betting odds favorite, Bulgaria and relegated Iceland to the runner-up position yet again. Do I think this is accurate? Well, I think it is the best I can do to find a legitimate prediction. Of course, the majority of voters are not the same mega-fans that would have been voting in these polls and viewing these alternative programming. The broadcasters’ ranking may be the closest we get to representing the general public’s view and there’s evidence that, had all ten been incorporated, Iceland would be the broadcast favorite. So, what do I think all this means? Lithuania and Iceland were legitimate contenders. Bulgaria and Switzerland, while strong entries, would likely needed to have relied upon world-stopping performances in order to seriously contend for victory. Additionally, fan favorites Latvia and San Marino under-performed whereas fan scourges Norway and (to an extent) France over-performed.

Meanwhile, my personal Top Ten is:

10. Israel

9. Austria

8. Latvia

7. Albania

6. Australia

5. Russia

4. Iceland

3. Poland

2. Malta

1. Switzerland

I think 2020 would not have been an earth-shattering Contest, resulting in only a few classics (Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Russia) while being considered mostly forgettable by most, much like 2006 or 2017. It breaks my heart that Bulgaria, Iceland, Lithuania, and Malta all had top ten betting odds to win – which would have been a first for each country. Throw in Switzerland which would have gotten its first back-to-back Top Ten finishes since 1981-1982. But, hopefully, this means that these (and other) countries will more seriously take into consideration the fact that they have a legitimate chance of winning against the likes of juggernauts like Russia and Sweden. I look forward to a lifetime of debate over who would have won, but hope that this article can provide guidance to folks in debate.


Eurovision Song… Celebration – Part Two

Hello Dear Readers!

Here we are! Eurovision Song Celebration Part Two! Celebrating the remaining the twenty-one songs of the 2020 Contest. Once again, I’ll be providing live commentary since I’ve not had occasion to release my thoughts on the songs previously. Like on Tuesday, my comments are below the video.

Greek flag mapGreece I think this is a serviceable pop song, definitely hearkens back Greece’s heyday in the 2000s. It definitely would have qualified but I’m not sure it would have been enough to restore Greece to the Top Ten.

Estonia I think this song is critically underrated. It is a powerful love song that I would happily have a first dance to. I am not quite sure why the fandom does not like this song, but I think it would definitely outperform expectations, though, likely would not have qualified.

Austria One of my favorites this year! I love the 90s R&B sound of this song and I think Vincent Bueno would have been a fantastic performer on the ESC stage. I look forward to seeing what he brings in 2021. I think this had a strong chance of qualifying, particularly with the large diasporas from Southeast Asian countries that would get behind him.

Moldova Another criminally underrated entry from this year. I think the overwhelming consensus is that this song is fine, but desperately average (think Cyprus from Tuesday night). I think this song is fantastic – engaging, interesting, and powerful. Unfortunately, I know I’m in the minority holding that opinion, so I do not think it would qualify.

Sammarinese flag mapSan Marino This is an interesting choice for the running order. But given how unique this song is (disco! likely a stage show with lots of glitter), it was probably difficult to find a place in the running order for it. For what it’s worth, this song really grew on me. Longtime readers will know that, in addition to Denmark, San Marino is my country of choice at Eurovision. Initially, I hated Freaky! but over the course of the past six weeks or so, I have just been utterly taken over by its infectious melody and refrain. Could have been a borderline qualifier for SM, which would be its first back-to-back qualification.

Interval — Ukraine was only 50% not English. Portugal 2017 was one of only three 100% non-English songs to win in the televoting era (Israel 1998 and Serbia 2007). With that said, generally speaking, the non-English to English ratio of songs in the Top Ten and qualifications tend to be representative. I really do love hearing these native language versions of songs and wish broadcasters made it a habit of recording and releasing the native language version when the song is in English/some other language.

Czech Republic I believe I am one of the three people in the fandom who think the song was improved by its “Africa” revamp that added more guitar and adjusted the instrumentation overall. I think it gives the song a bit more of an authentic feel and I hope he further embraces his Angolan roots in his song next year. The African diaspora is quite large. Not sure if this would qualify, especially coming after the glitter bomb that is San Marino and before the ball of female fury that is Serbia, but I think it would sneak through.

Serbia On the opposite side of the revamp spectrum, the revamp of Hasta la Vista is not as strong as the original. Not that it matters as I think would be a shoo-in qualifier. It’s memorable, it’s fierce, and all the girls (and gay bois) would send this through.

Poland One of my favorites this year. It is such a powerful song with a powerful message. It reminds me of the Shelley poem “Ozymandias” – basically, no matter how strong, how invincible, how beloved, we all fade away. This song goes the extra mile to highlight that we fall because of our hubris – we think we’re unstoppable, but we’re merely mortal. Do hate the revamped ending, it’s lame and takes away from the song, especially since she’s not the strongest live performer. I’m not sure what to make of Poland’s chances of qualification.

Iceland You don’t need me to tell you how popular Iceland is – y’all voted it the champion of EO’s inaugural Eurovision Tournament! I love this song, one of my absolute favorites this year and I think it had a very legitimate chance at victory. I wonder if RÚV is paying attention to all the love Think About Things is getting; the band has already said that they would take a direct ticket to Eurovision next year, but would not go through thr national selection process again, so, we’ll see.

Switzerland WHOA! This was one of the big favorites and it is the first song of the back half. Interesting choice, producers. This is my favorite song this year. By a lot. It’s so vulnerable, so honest, so different than anything else this year. With that said, I do not think it would win, but it would have secured Switzerland its first back-to-back Top Ten finishes since the early 1980s.

Interval If you haven’t watched the Eurovision Home Concerts, I would STRONGLY recommend it. They’re fantastic. Also, I love that they used Stand By, my favorite Sammarinese song, for Senhit’s background music.

Denmark The only folksy/country song this year. That automatically helps it stand out, even though it sounds like something from the early 2010s. I like this song quite a bit; it’s just so adorable and earnest. And Ben + Tan have great chemistry together. It breaks my heart that they won’t be able to return next year (DR very strictly uses Dansk Melodi Grand Prix to choose entries and winners of DMGP have to wait like three years or so before they’re allowed back in). I think this would have been another sure qualifier.

Albanian flag mapAlbania RTVSh – don’t think we didn’t notice that you released this music video, like, yesterday in order to have this out for the Celebration. I like this song for a lot of the same reasons I like Poland – it is a powerful song with a powerful message – this time about self-empowerment in the face of someone who is emotionally abusive. While I think this should be an easy qualifier, I’m not sure it would stand out without a stage show that matched its intensity.

Finland Another criminally underrated song. It’s the perfect anthem for the age of nostalgia that we find ourselves in – even more so as this pandemic has forced us to start thinking about our own mortality and futures. I cannot help but wonder how people would feel if he was a conventionally-attractive guy as opposed to bigger guy with a bad mustache. He sings with such power, emotion, and authenticity. I think it could have been a shock qualifier, but not sure it would have the juice to do so, particularly in this running order – with Albania hitting a lot of the same (figurative) notes and Armenia coming behind with what was sure to be a stunning stage show.

Armenia The more I hear this song, the more I think it would finish Top Ten. It is criminally infectious, they would surely have an insane dance routine that likely would have included Athena walking several boys on chains made from diamonds, and it’s one of the few true club tracks songs we have this year. And, again, who doesn’t like a song about a girl threatening a boy with marriage?

Portugal Oh, poor Portugal. This national final performance is both, flat in pitch and flat in emotionality. Which is a shame, I think the studio version of this entry is absolutely stunning. I just think Elisa has the stage presence to compete on the ESC stage, which makes it difficult to succeed – even more so when you have a ballad that requires a lot of power behind it.

Georgia I try my best to avoid speaking when I have nothing nice to say…but…I am not a fan of this song. I understand that it’s a big “F* YOU!” to Western Europe, which I understand and can see why that is message that needs sending. But I just don’t this song at all. The most positive thing I think to say is that the harmonies on the chorus are really stirring and powerful. When it appears on my playlist, I just skip to the last sixty seconds and enjoy it from there. This would likely qualify given that this is a sentiment felt across most of Eastern Europe and Georgia has Armenia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Poland, Albania, Latvia, Estonia, and the Czech Republic to support it in its message – not to mention the diasporas of those countries in the West.

Bulgaria The big favorite of the bookies. It was the selection of this song that knocked Iceland off the top of the betting odds. VICTORIA definitely captures that Billie Eilish bedroom-dream-pop sound that’s quite popular right now, but is somehow more genuine than her more famous counterpart. Now, do I like this as much as I do its nearest competitor (Romania)? No. But it’s a good song and I see why it was atop the betting odds. I think it’s an easy qualifier, not sure it could win.

Latvian flag mapLatvia Our final competitive song for Semi2, an anthem about throwing off the shackles of expectations of womanhood overtop a sick beat. Yeah, I cannot imagine a world where this does not qualify.

France Ugh. I want to like song but dear God does it drone on. I like it better in the original, where it’s a love song to France and not to a specific lady. While likely not a last place entry, France would have dropped to the bottom of the Big Five.

United Kingdom An average song. It’s in offensive and would likely secure a decent amount of 1-4 points splattered from across Europe (mostly from Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, and Australia – but, you know). Here’s the thing, James Newman has written several hits and has two Grammy nominations. That’s the kind of stuff he needs to bring, not this neutered stuff. In all likelihood, the BBC will bring him back next year. They need to set him loose to write a song that could actually do something.

Spain This is another wasted opportunity, I think. He’s one of Spain’s biggest stars and they send him with a (good but) dated tune. It’s okay to give him something dated, but you got to make sure it slaps, and this does not. I know this is already somewhat club-track-esque, next year send him something that we could hear playing in the clubs tonight! They can keep this style while still kicking the composition up a notch….or three.

Another great show! Again, LOVE the fan recap. Is there a way to find the full version of those three girls doing the Latvian song?

Looking back, if this were a competitive show, who do I think would qualify?

Easily:

  • Greece

  • Iceland

  • Switzerland

  • Denmark

  • Armenia

  • Latvia

  • Bulgaria

More difficult: I honestly think just about every remaining entry has a legitimate shot at qualifying, but, if push came to shove:

  • Serbia

  • Poland

  • Georgia

I would prefer to see some other songs in there instead, but I think this is the most likely set of qualifiers. But what are my top ten from tonight? I’m glad you asked.

  1. Switzerland

  2. Poland

  3. Latvia

  4. Austria

  5. Iceland

  6. Denmark

  7. Albania

  8. Moldova

  9. San Marino

  10. Armenia

Now that we have heard all 41 songs in context, what is my final Top Ten of the Eurovision 2020 Season. Good question! I’ll figure this out while I’m calculating a winner from among the some of the major fan media polls.

OH! I’m going to be compiling seven of the biggest fan media polls that offered alternatives to the ESC this year, including Eurostream, Eurovision Online, WiwiBloggs, and OGAE. Check back next week (assuming everyone gets their results in by Sunday) to find out who I would crown the unofficial ESC 2020 winner.

In the meantime, what are my predictions? I think the Top Ten, remembering that this is a compilation of fan polls not the actual Contest with full professional juries and casual folks, will be:

  • Armenia

  • Australia

  • Germany

  • Iceland

  • Italy

  • Lithuania

  • Malta

  • Russia

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

Who do I think has an actual chance at victory? I do not think it will be any surprise: Iceland, Lithuania, and Bulgaria are the three songs I think have the best chance at victory. A real hot take, I know. So, I won’t waste your time going through each song’s merits at this point other than – these seem to be the three most beloved songs of 2020.

See you next week!

EO logo with the Bulgarian flag

EO logo with Icelandic flag

EO logo with Lithuanian flag


Eurovision 2019 – Final Thoughts!

Hello Dear Readers!

Well, there you have it; another Eurovision in the books. This one was, in my opinion, one of the most entertaining and diverse Contests we’ve had in a while, even if the songs were not as strong as in recent years. And, of course, I’m happy to have seen my favorite win. So, let’s take a breath, take a step back, and take a look at ESC 2019.

Which I will be doing on KUSH 1600AM at 8am US Central Time on Monday (20 May) (of Cushing, Oklahoma, USA – Part One & Part Two) and with the EuroWhat? Podcast this upcoming week to talk with Ben and Mike about this year’s results!

Dutch Flag Map

Historical Markers

This is the fifth Dutch victory, after the Netherlands won in 1957, 1959, 1969, and 1975. They are now tied for third for all-time victories along with the United Kingdom, France, and Luxembourg (Ireland is first with seven wins, Sweden is second with six). Arcade is only the eleventh winner to be performed by a solo male (Rise Like a Phoenix is not counted, as its credited artist is the female character Conchita Wurst).

This is only the second time the final scoreboard had to be adjusted after the Contest. The first was in 1998 when Croatia was docked 1/3 of its points after the EBU ruled the synthesized male chorus on the backing track broke the “spirit of the rule” requiring all lyrics to be live (this is the reason all backing tracks must be turned in ahead of time in March). The EBU announced that, due to human error, the wrong jury votes were calculated on behalf of the disqualified Belorussian jury. The jury from Belarus was disqualified due to sharing video of the jury deliberation process from the First Semi-Final; this is against the rules and the EBU punished them accordingly. Using a secret algorithm, the EBU calculates automated scores for disqualified juries or televotes. This had been used quite a few times since the new voting system was introduced in 2016. The results read live on air during the Contest were reversed, resulting in the bottom ten of the automated ranking receiving points as opposed to the Top Ten. After several fans noted how weird the votes were given what one would predict for Belarus, the EBU eventually reissued the Belorussian jury points, resulting in several changes to the scoreboard, including North Macedonia now being the jury champion and Israel receiving null points from the juries.

Other historical notes:

**updated with the corrected scoreboard

North Macedonian flag mapThis is the best ever placing for North Macedonia (2nd 1st in the jury, 8th 7th place overall) and its first ever Top Ten finish.
This is the best ever placing for San Marino (10th in the televote, 20th 19th overall).
This is the second time that the victor was neither the top in televote nor among the juries (Ukraine 2016 was the first).

This is the third time that Italy has been a runner-up (1974 and 2011 are the others).
This is Switzerland’s best finish (third place) since coming in second back in 1993.
This is the Azerbaijan’s first Top Ten finish since 2013, when it was runner-up.
This is the first Top Ten finish for Iceland since 2009, when it was runner-up. This is also its first qualification since 2014.

British flag mapThis is only the fourth last place for the United Kingdom (2003, 2008, 2010).
This is the third year in a row, and fourth time in five years, that the host country came in the bottom ten.

Finally, Sweden retains the top spot for longest streak of Top Ten finishes, which now stands at 6.
Behind it is Italy, which now has three consecutive Top Ten finishes.
Australia maintains its 100% qualification record.
Montenegro now has the longest non-qualification streak, which now stands at 4.
Unsurprisingly, Sweden has the longest qualification streak at 9, having made the Final every year since 2011.

My Thoughts

EO logo with Albanian flag

I am ecstatic that some of my favorite songs did so well, particularly the Netherlands and North Macedonia. So, after all of the performances this week, what are my favorite ten songs from the Contest?

10. Albania
9. Russia
8. Moldova
7. Malta
EO logo with Czech flag6. Georgia
5. Australia
4. Czech Republic
3. North Macedonia
2. Latvia
1. The Netherlands

 

Israeli flag map

This was quite the year! I think this was perhaps one of the most entertaining and engaging Grand Finals in quite some time. It was also one of the longest. Come on EBU! Five interval acts is way too many. The section with the past winners and runner-ups performing each other’s songs was fantastic! The Ilan Raichel Project was lovely and I quite enjoyed them. The mentalist was superfluous. The Gal Godot video could have been at any other point in the night – perhaps the beginning. The opening act could have clipped down the video or simply replaced it with Gal Godot before the parade of nations. And the Madonna section was unnecessary and bad — we did neither needed it nor wanted it. We can cut the show back down to three hours – or at least down to three and a half. We can do this! It’s not that difficult. Otherwise, I think KAN did a fantastic job – the stage was beautiful. I look forward to what AVROTROS will do next year in the Netherlands — I already have a hotel in Rotterdam; crossing my fingers that it hosts, since it is the only major city not to host a Eurovision thus far.

EO logo witch Dutch flag

And, before I go, I want to congratulate AVROTROS on a job well done. This victory was eight years in the making. It started with the TROS (the broadcaster’s previous incarnation) deciding on a new approach: taking Eurovision seriously. They began by connecting with the Dutch music industry, calling upon Anouk, one of the country’s biggest stars, to restore the county to its former glory. Since Birds became the first Dutch entry in nine years to qualify for the Final and first in thirteen Contests to finish Top Ten, the Netherlands has consistently sent industry stars, resulting in five qualifications (out of six Contests), including a second place in 2014 and now this victory. AVROTROS is a perfect example of a country deciding to actively pursue winning, giving musicians the freedom to craft their own song and performance, and not being afraid to take the long game approach. Hmm, perhaps a few other countries can follow this model and give established artists free reign to create strong entries on their own, just saying. The Dutch music industry is not nearly the strongest one on the continent…

One more friendly reminder: I will be featured on KUSH 1600AM at 8am US Central Time on Monday (20 May) (of Cushing, Oklahoma, USA – Part One & Part Two) and with the EuroWhat? Podcast this upcoming week to talk with Ben and Mike about this year’s results!

Another fantastic Contest that I will be watching for years to come. Many strong entries, a great production, and a winner with whom I fully agree. I cannot wait to attend next year!