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Eurovision 2016 – II

Seems like I am getting around to adding what was missing from the previous post on Monday, so let me get right to it, starting with comments about the top five acts in the actual classification. The comments about the top ten in mine will follow right after them. See said previous post for the links to the performances.

Must say I like what Ukraine’s win means in terms of politics, especially considering the clearly stated message of the song. Or the message clearly stated by the artist, I mean, as I’d have never known after simply listening to the song, the only message I got out of it being overwhelming but quite generic grief. However, while I can recognize the artist’s vocal abilities and the overall value of the composition, the genre always made me pretty much turn around and walk away. Couple that with the admittedly theatrical but nevertheless static performance and you have something that ended up at the bottom of my classification, 24th out of 26 finalists.
Australia had a nice overall package, one of the better songs of the competition being paired with making fairly good use of what the organizers offered to provide a decent show value despite also only having one person on stage. The topic of the song wouldn’t have really allowed for more than one person anyway. So it wasn’t the best in any aspect, but it was among the top few in each and it deserved a high position.
Russia was in a league of its own in terms of show value, so much so that, while a few others showed they understood that this was a television show as well, it wasn’t really worth watching anything else after seeing this. In terms of listening, there were at least a few better songs, but the overall result was quite clear when the elements were put together. Sure, rather relieved that it didn’t win, considering what it’d have meant in terms of politics, but if you leave that aside and simply judge the performance, things are different.
Bulgaria had a nice, upbeat entry which put ticks in a fair number of checkboxes. To me it didn’t stand out, but it was one of the better ones out of the crowd of more or less expected sort of entries and my classification may not have done it justice, so I don’t mind seeing it obtain a good position.
Do mind seeing Sweden so high up, on the other hand. I guess there may be a somewhat interesting beat and general sound there if you happen to hear it once and not pay much attention but, to put it bluntly, I can’t find the song in that little rant placed on top of a background too basic to save it in any way. And pretty much no show value either.

As I already said, I placed Russia first thanks to the show value, as from that point of view it was one of the best entries ever in the competition, if not actually the best. And the song wasn’t bad either. Not standing out, but probably right below those that did, so if you judge the overall package and ignore politics, the choice seems clear to me.
Poland, on the other hand, crushed the competition thanks to the guy’s voice. Had some issues with that generic beat that pretty much covered the rest of the instruments and say the song would have been better even if it’d have simply been removed, without adding anything else in its place, but the rest of the song is quite good and that voice is simply awesome. Sadly, only the voters recognized this, as the juries somehow placed it next to last with a mere seven points, which can’t be justified in any reasonable way. Even in spite of the low show value, this was at least a top five performance either way you looked at it and wouldn’t have minded to even see it winning.
Australia is another entry I already commented on, so I’ll simply say again that here it was a matter of the overall package. Not the best in any aspect, but one of the best few in each and another entry I wouldn’t have minded to see winning. Would have sure complicated matters in terms of hosting next year’s competition though.
In case of Italy, I quite liked both the song and the way the stage was used, though the performance was entirely static. That said, after thinking of it a while longer, it was an entry which may have ended up pretty much anywhere, depending on the others in the competition and personal tastes. Don’t really mind that it ended up so low, wouldn’t have minded if it’d have been even higher. Winner may have been too much though, despite the fact that I gave it the same ratings as I gave Australia.
The Czech entry may be said to be typical, but in that case it’s a very good typical Eurovision entry, and I liked the song even more when I heard it again. The song rating was 7 at first in the semifinal, then I changed that to 7.5, then in the final I gave it an 8, putting it on par with Poland and I may even rank it above it if I’d compare, for the reason I mentioned above when it came to the Polish entry. Sadly, very little show value to speak of, which dragged it down, but definitely shouldn’t have dragged it down so much. And zero points from televoting, so not in the top ten for the voters in any single country, is something I can’t explain in the least. But at least it made it into the final, unlike last year, when I considered the Czech entry one of the best in the entire competition and it didn’t even get that far.
Cyprus tops the long list of entries I consider more or less average thanks to the genre. Not that I liked it too much, but it was the only one that could be considered at least some sort of decent rock, obviously not counting whatever that thing from Georgia was. Wouldn’t have placed it this high if the Romanian entry wouldn’t have been kicked out, both of them likely to have ended up around the middle of the classification in that case, but under these circumstances I have to admit I gave it a boost that wasn’t quite on its own merit.
Continuing that long list of more or less average entries, Azerbaijan did seem one of the better ones of the bunch. That’s almost entirely thanks to the chorus, however, and it could have been performed better as well, so I don’t mind that it ended up as low as it did. If I were to rate again now, I’d probably drop it a few places myself.
Israel was a surprise, as I had listened to the original version and thought it was pretty crappy and then I didn’t bother with the new version after it was changed, so I definitely didn’t expect what I ended up hearing in the competition. This was far better and I definitely stand by ranking it significantly higher than where it actually ended up. Not top five, but should have quite clearly been in the top ten.
I started with a poor opinion of the German entry because of what didn’t end up in the competition due to it winning the national selection there, but when I tried to judge it fairly I considered it decent enough, as far as that long list of more or less average entries goes. There were several better songs and voices, but add what it was to doing something with the stage and her quirky style and I think it should have at least been around the middle of the classification, and definitely not last.
As for Armenia, that spoken start bothered me and I’m not keen on this sort of sound, but it was still a fairly decent song, the voice was obviously good as well and it also had some show value to add to the overall package.


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