It happened, it’s over. No more Eurovision posts interrupting my history and anime for another 9 months at least, and the victory goes to Portugal of all people! Admittedly, after the semi-final, I saw the possibility of this coming, but given I predicted it to not qualify in the first post I covered on here, I obviously got that a little bit wrong. Every year (even though I’ve never done predictions that detailed before) I get a little bit wrong and clearly this year is no exception, if you’ve read all my posts, you might also recall I said Estonia would do rather well. Well, I changed my prediction about them the second they opened their mouths on stage, sadly, as Verona remains wondrous in studio form. Still, Koit has, I will inform you, become a brief meme in a friendship group of mine so not all has been lost.
For my money, quite literally, as they were the ones I voted for, I thought Croatia, Ukraine and Belarus had the best performances. They were all in my favourites before the contest, true, but Croatia again sent smiles around the group I was watching with, felt completely epic and my god it was the best Eurovision performance since Loreen in 2012. I am not kidding. My Friend was fantastic and everything I want out of Eurovision. And I get the pleasure of having supported him from the start. Belarus was really cheery and the embrace they shared at the end was adorable, plus I’m still belting out HISTORIA in my mind. Ukraine, like with most rock performances at the contest, really got under my skin and made me feel alive. I was one of the few. Guys, we need a rock renaissance in Eurovision sharpish. I didn’t vote for all of my pre-contest favourites, I left out France, for example, although I was pleased to see her top 10 on the televote unexpectedly, I didn’t think the performance was that standout. I wish she had been top 10 overall though, and that’s where the juries come in. Why did the juries not flock behind such a solid pop song? And a million other questions.
It emerged that the jury voted Australia almost entirely into the top 10. The same with Austria on a lesser scale. With no offense meant to the singers, these were boring songs that entertained almost no one. Yet so many of the jury loved Australia for reasons I cannot fathom (so much so that an accusatory part of me suspects that they’re still on a high from them being new participants) – and so they get a top 10 while songs that entertained millions more, like Croatia, like France, are left outside. Not that I’m saying to scrap the juries because of this besides, my own country benefited from them hugely and lord knows that performance doing reasonably well for Lucie was necessary, and there were other good things, they rewarded the technical brilliance of the Netherlands more than the public did, but then equally they rewarded soulless clinical pop from Sweden way more than the public and tried to look cool by jumping onto a ‘trend’ from Norway. I’m well aware of why thejuries in here, to prevent people voting for their neighbours. And yet, what emerged in the jury votes was that they were quite often… still voting for their neighbours. Greece and Cyprus even got booed, which isn’t something I support and the Nordic countries and Romania/Moldova were doing it just as blatantly.
There’s a huge disconnect and I disagree with some of the jury methodology. Firstly, from looking at some of the juror scores (an example is always Azerbaijan juries ranking Armenia last across the board and vice versa, it’s clear that they’re influencing each other’s ranks somehow. Just take my own country. All five of the jurors had France in their bottom 6. A trendy western pop song, competently if not amazingly performed, and they all had it in their bottom 6? All but one had the same for Croatia. Meanwhile all of them had Sweden and Australia in their top 10. Granted there is some degree of individuality but clearly they are commenting to each other on some of the songs, in true reality, those results would be all over the place and only together for songs that generally had been dismissed as completely good or bad. France was generally regarded as good in all the circles I saw, Australia generally regarded as underwhelming and not that interesting. Moving onto a randomly picked juror, Romania, the same happens for France, this time in every single Romanian juror’s bottom 4, every one of them ranking it below Germany, which, with its blatant ripoff hook line and poor singing, should have been juror avoidance #1 (granted, for most it was).
First off, 5 people controlling half of the result of a country is far too small a pool, I would prefer that it be bigger so that a decent mix of personal tastes means that jury having personal taste does not overshadow the result, secondly, that they watch the contest separate from other juries so they do not influence each other, and thirdly, watching the same final. Music critics all have wildly different taste in real life and a song contest should not be held hostage to the whims of a small group, who, on the whole, do not seem to be ranking Eurovision to the standards of Eurovision. Entertainment, how much good does this song do to the brand and entertainment factor of the Eurovision Song Contest – I hope they’re considering that, but I doubt it, sometimes I wonder whether they’re taking the chance to go overly intricate with their analysis. Which, hey, that can be a good thing but I don’t think Eurovision is the time or place for that, sometimes you just have to admit the brilliance of a man singing an opera-pop duet with himself (and why was his technical ability for doing that not shown more love with the juries?)
On the winner, it is a really underwhelming winner, I probably won’t really listen to it outside of this, I got a little bit of ‘yes, this is good’ vibes from the performance but if I’m honest, Bulgaria’s performance stuck more with me, I actually have U-turned a bit on that one and quite like that now. I’m very happy for Portugal as a country and for them to win in their own language with a very Portuguese entry is great, just like Lordi, it’s a country winning with their speciality when no one expected them to. That part I love. I just wish I liked the song more, because there’s just so little there to like.