Hello Dear Readers!
Wow wow wow! What a show! My favorite song won, the voting was incredibly exciting, and each entry was performed amazingly. I wanted to put out a reaction post for you all and then my normal recap post with my Annual EO Awards towards the end of this week or next (depending on how quickly I can process my photos without my computer).
So, we have a top ten, of which, I predicted only 6. Sad, as I was batting with 80% accuracy with the semi-finals, but you can’t with them all.
Some historic markers of note from this year’s Grand Final:
-For only the second time, a country that was neither an automatic qualifier nor won its semi-final, was victorious. Just like in 2004, Ukraine was second in the semi-final but won the Contest.
-With 534 points and 17 sets of twelve, Ukraine has set the bar for this new voting system. We’ll see how long this record stands. FICongratulations to Norway 2009, that will eternally be enshrined as the highest point total under the previous system (1975-2015). And Sweden 2012, which will always hold the record for most sets of 12 points.
-This year, we also saw the best finish for a host nation since 2012.
-Russia extends its Top Ten streak to five, Ukraine and Sweden take theirs to three, and Australia and Belgium start streaks with their second consecutive Top Ten finishes. Norway’s streak ended (though, that happened with its elimination on Thursday night).
Individual Country Historical Markers:
-Bulgaria reached its highest place ever, besting their 2007 finish by one spot. Australia also reached its highest position, beating last year’s finish by three places.
-Poland and Lithuania get their second best finishes ever. Armenia tied its second best finish (after getting seventh in 2010).
-France was the top Big Five country for the first time since 2001.
-Croatia, Georgia, and Serbia all had their lowest finish ever in a Final.
Some of my reactions to the Grand Final:
-I was rather skeptical of the new voting system. While it needs greater transparency, it definitely made things quite exciting! This had to have gone better than they could’ve imagined.
-I’m shocked Ukraine won, but incredibly happy that it did! It was my favorite song this year and, I think, one of the most significant, meaningful, and artistic entries in the Contest ever.
-I’m equally shocked by the success of Lithuania and Israel, as I find both songs to be generic and underwhelming. On the flip side, I’m shock and disappointed by Spain, UK, and Czech Republic’s finish. They all had fantastic entries that deserved more points. In the case of Spain and UK, great running order positions and very memorable, catchy pop tunes. Spain had a legitimate chance of winning after amazing performances Friday and Saturday; I just don’t get it.
-Finally, while I loved each aspect of the voting entertainment and the interval acts, there was just too much! “Love Love Peace Peace” could’ve been the voting entertainment after the interview with Justin Timberlake. JT’s performance should’ve been moved to the Interval Act alongside Måns. The “Nerd Documentary” should have just been for the semi-finals. This year’s show could’ve easily stayed under three and half hours (if not three) if SVT didn’t go overboard with everything.
Congratulations to Ukraine!! 1944 earned its victory through telling a meaningful story through a captivating composition and an emotional performance. I look forward to its impact on next year’s Contest and the show that Ukraine will give us!
Check back soon for my end of Eurovision wrap-up!
Hello Dear Readers!
My march through the 23 competing songs continues with the first half of the Second Semi-Final. Just because I noted that the First Semi-Final is stronger yesterday, does not mean that I think the Second Semi-Final is full of slouches. In fact, I think there are some real gems here.
Second Semi-Final, First Half
*There are three basic ways for a song to be chosen. Internal Selection which is when the broadcaster within a country chooses both the performing artist and the song completely on their own without help from a professional jury or the public. Televised Selection which is the exact opposite, both the performing artist and the song are selected through a competition (or set of competitions) in which some combination of professional jurists and the public vote on the winners. There are also Mixed Selections, in which either the performing artist or the song is selected internally and the other is selected through a televised process.
Don’t forget to checkout the reviews for the First Semi-Final first half and second half!
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Happy New Year, Dear Readers!
May this year bring you much love to light your lives, much hope to embolden your spirits, and laughter to brighten your days (and nights)!
This week, we turn our gaze to the most notorious of ESC genres: ballads! Historically, “ballads” were stories that were sung. People who sung these stories were called “troubadours” (much like the title of Dutch winner from 1969). Over time, the term “ballad” became more associated with the musical style than the lyrical content, particularly since most were stories love.
The music style is typified, generally, by a slow pace, a lack of musical complexity, and usually only one (or two) primary vocalist. Since the beginning, this has been the dominant musical genre of ESC entries, to the chagrin of some (who prefer more uptempo songs), but to the joy of many! This week, for the final Playlist of the Week, the focus is on ballads.
Once again, twenty songs from the Televoting Era (post 1998) of the Eurovision Song Contest. I curated this list to provide an array of ballads, some are the traditional story style, most are slow, heartfelt love songs. All are ballads. Enjoy!
View the playlist here: Eurovision for Balladeers
Greece 2003 – Never Let You Go performed by Mando
Estonia 2012 – Kuula performed by Ott Lepland
Monaco 2005 – Tout de Moi performed by Lise Darly
Italy 2011 – Madness of Love performed by Raphael Gualazzi
Cyprus 2004 – Stronger Every Minute performed by Lisa Angel
Hungary 2007 – Unsubstantial Blues performed by Magdi Rúzsa
France 2001 – Je N’Ail Que Mon Âme performed by Natasha St-Pier
Romania 2009 – Pe-O Margien De Lume performed by Nico & Vlad
Spain 2012 – Quédate Conmigo (Stay with Me) performed by Pastora Soler
Malta 2005 – Angel performed by Chiara
Portugal 2009 – Todas as Ruas do Amor performed by Flor-De-Lis
Azerbaijan 2015 – Hour of the Wolf performed by Elnur Huseynov
Ireland 2010 – It’s for You performed by Niamh Kavanagh
United Kingdom 2002 – Come Back performed by Jessica Garlic
Israel 2005 – Hasheket Shinish’ar performed by Shiri Maimon
Germany 2004 – Can’t Wait Until Tonight performed by Max
Sweden 2014 – Undo performed by Sanna Nielsen
Bosnia & Herzegovina 2006 – Lejla performed by Hari Mata Hari
Sweden 2006 – Invincible performed by Carola
Honorable Mention: MANY MANY SONGS!
What are some of your favorite ballads from the Contest’s recent history? What about from the early years, when almost every song every year was a ballad? Is there a decade of ballad style that particularly speaks to you?
Hello Dear Readers!
Do you like to dance? Do you like to party? Well, good news! This week’s playlist will help you do both of those things! I tried to have a good mix of styles, countries, and finishing positions. No notes this week as most of the songs are fairly self-explanatory, but I did my best to curate a party playlist for you all!
Find the playlist here: Eurovision for Dance Parties
- Israel 2015 – Golden Boy
- Germany 2013 – Glorious
- Armenia 2008 – Qele, Qele
- Hungary 2009 – Dance with Me
- Poland 2011 – Jestem
- Montenegro 2013 – Igranka
- France 2010 – Allez! Ola! Olé!
- Portugal 2014 – Quero Ser Tua
- The Netherlands 2008 – Your Heart Belongs to Me
- Lithuania 2010 – Eastern European Funk
- Cyprus 2012 – La La Love
- Serbia 2011 – Čaroban
- Estonia 2014 – Amazing
- Moldova 2015 – I Want Your Love
- Norway 2007 – Ven a Bailar Conmigo
- Albania 2006 – Zjarr e Ftohte
- Turkey 2009 – Düm Tek Tek
- Greece 2007 – Yassou Maria
- Romania 2012 – Zaleilah
- Ukraine 2006 – Show Me Your Love
Honorable Mention: Moldova 2010, Turkey 2007, Russia 2012, Ireland 2013, Ukraine 2008, Azerbaijan 2009, Norway 2012, Macedonia 2014, Hungary 2011, Austria 2007, Serbia 2010
- While animals are not allowed on the stage, puppets are; and in 2008, Ireland sent their humorous comedy puppet Dustin the Turkey.
- While the title of the 1963 winner from Denmark, Dansevise, translates to “dance song,” the first, truly uptempo song to win the Contest was 1965’s Poupé de Cire, Poupée de Son from Luxembourg (which is featured on my playlist Eurovision for Beginners).
- Of the 63 winners in Eurovision history through 2015 (remember, four songs won in 1969), only 29 (46%) have been moderate to uptempo. Thirteen of which (45%) of those came in the televoting era (1998 to today).
- Greece and Turkey are, generally, the most renowned for their ethnic-pop infused dance numbers. Highlights include: Greece – 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2013; Turkey – 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2012.
What are your favorite ESC songs to dance to?
Missed last week? Eurovision for Anglophobes
Next Week: Eurovision for Rockers (prepare for a lot of Finland and Turkey!)