Seems like I am managing to once again add 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.
The political implications are missing, but in terms of the performance itself, Portugal this year was pretty much exactly the equivalent of Ukraine last year, and they both even ended up in the same position at the bottom of my classification, 24th out of 26. It can objectively be recognized as high quality, albeit rather pretentious, music, there can be no complaints about the artist’s vocal abilities, and it supposedly has a message. But the genre leaves me entirely cold, the performance, while theatrical, is entirely static and features a single person on stage, and now that message was delivered entirely in a language that the vast majority of the show’s audience, myself included, doesn’t know, so it may as well be missing if you don’t look it up. Plus, Portuguese always sounded simply ugly to me. Due to the undeniable objective quality, I don’t mind it winning, but it’s nothing I’d care to watch or listen in any way.
Rather surprised by Bulgaria’s position. Sure, again no complaints about the artist’s vocal abilities, but nothing in the song to catch my attention either way and the performance, while making decent use of the features provided by the organizers, again features a single person on stage and is also quite static. Overall, pretty much entirely forgettable for me, and I actually recall having to look it up again to remember which one it was when making the final classification in both the semifinal and the final.
Moldova had a catchy, upbeat song with some added interesting elements. Considering the way in which it was delivered as well, it’s the only song out of the top five that caught my attention in some positive way, though it’s still definitely not something I’d care for and therefore the song mark ended up being the same as the one I gave Bulgaria and Sweden. The show value was passable, but without really using props or interacting with each other in a meaningful way, no more than that.
In terms of the composition, Belgium actually had an interesting entry. Performed properly, it’s something I may actually care to listen to, but unfortunately the artist messed it up. In the semifinal she destroyed it completely, so the final performance was admittedly less bad, but there were still plenty of problems, and the fact that the backing vocals struggled to save it may have made that even more obvious. Plus, again entirely static, albeit somewhat theatrical, performance featuring a single person on stage. Wouldn’t have minded seeing it so high if juries and viewers would have been asked to judge according to the composition alone, trying to imagine how the songs should ideally sound, but that’s not what this is about, so it ended up next to last in my classification.
Though Sweden ended up higher in my classification than any other out of the top five, that was due to a somewhat higher show rating that I was grudgingly forced to give it. In terms of the song itself, on the other hand, I found little of value. I guess it’s not actually bad, but I probably frowned at times while listening, mainly due to the lyrics. And the artist messed up in a few places as well.
Croatia ended up at the top of my classification because it was a pretty good song that the artist performed not only very well, but also interestingly. Changing his voice back and forth the way he did, having a duet with himself, definitely caught my attention. And at least the maximum number of people were on stage at least toward the end, and there were a couple of instruments as well. So, on an evening when nothing else truly impressed in some other way, it had to be my top pick.
After struggling with it for some time, ended up placing Greece first in a group of three with exactly the same ratings, but I’m far from certain about it. It was a good enough song performed well enough, though I wonder whether the few problems noticed were due to the artist or the sound. Tend to say it was the sound, so I didn’t penalize her for it, but I may be wrong. Either way, there was a little show value as well, so the package wasn’t bad at all.
Azerbaijan ended up second in that group of three, but again I’m far from certain. The song was all right, the artist’s voice was a bit uncertain a couple of times at the start but otherwise it was a pretty solid performance, and again there was a little show value as well. Making a note of the moment when she wrote a word while singing a different line, the line including that word coming later. Quite hard to manage that, actually, and you can hear her struggling, but she didn’t mess up. Didn’t get the point of the horse mask though…
Last in that group of three is Romania, and this I’m less uncertain about. It’s a catchy, upbeat song and there’s a lot going on in it, making it seem longer than it actually is, but it relies more on something of a gimmick than a high quality composition, plus that I have issues with rapping. Still, she has a great voice and there was some show value as well, though that kiss at the end sure was awkward. Pretty sure she didn’t expect it, and read that they confirmed that as well.
Speaking of kisses, Belarus also had an upbeat song with an interesting sound and a catchy chorus. And there was some show value as well, despite only the two of them being on stage. Penalized it a little for the language and for a few moments when their voices didn’t sound too certain though.
At the end of the competition, I was thinking that the United Kingdom had the third best song, after Croatia and Denmark, but it may even be the second, and the artist definitely has a powerful voice and she performed it well. Dragged down by the static performance featuring a single person on stage, however, even if there was that added element there, I guess the result of somebody eventually sparing a little thought about giving viewers something to, well, view as well.
Good song from Netherlands as well, and I’d have probably rated it higher without that repeated sound that gave me the impression of somebody swallowing a lump in their throat and the little bits that were rather spoken. As it was, and with admittedly three people on stage but not doing much, it ended up where it did in my classification.
Italy’s one of the only two entries in my top ten, or in fact in my top 12, that actually ended up higher than I placed it, and I guess it does stand out due to being something of a parody, the only one this year. Other than that, it’s another upbeat and rather catchy song, and there is some show value as well. Still take issue with songs that aren’t in English, even more so when people are supposed to understand the lyrics, but at least Italian doesn’t bother me in itself and it wasn’t a matter of some deep message that actually needed to be delivered, so the general idea was enough.
Likely ranked Ukraine higher than I should have, in part because it was the harder song of the competition and there were a couple of bits where the instrumental part caught my attention. Not something I’d actually care to listen to in itself though, and the voice was a problem.
Sweden’s the second entry in my top ten, and in fact in my top 12, that actually ended up higher than I placed it, and also the only one in that same top 12 of mine that actually ended up in the top five. As I already stated above, however, I grudgingly placed it where I did due to some rules I have for my rating system in terms of show value. As I said, didn’t exactly care for the song, something in the lyrics made me frown and he didn’t perform it quite so well either.
Actually, said the comments will be about my top ten, but mentioned my top 12 three times above, so let me just quickly add that Denmark and Poland had entries with good songs and voices, but were dragged down by show value. At least Poland had a second person on stage, not that there was much reason to notice him, but I rated the song a bit lower, so it ended up below Denmark.