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Eurovision 2018 – II

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.

It was apparently very much expected that Israel would win, but I for one was unhappy even with the fact that I had to place it in my top ten in the final, after adding another half a point to the song mark compared to the semifinal. Still not something I could like, that difference just stating that I wasn’t actually bothered by the song anymore, the position otherwise being due to the fact that it was one of the few entries that put some thought into having some show value as well, even if largely consisting of silliness. But I’m guessing the fact that it won is in good part due to the message perceived by viewers and how it connects to certain recent events and campaigns, though I for one have to struggle to pick something meaningful out of that silliness, and might have missed it entirely if it wouldn’t have been pointed out in other things I happened to read or hear.
Cyprus is more baffling though. Heard before the final that the betting odds had changed to suddenly list it as second favorite, and also that the singer is apparently famous in her home country, but all I saw was some pretty average “summer song”, and it didn’t have a significant show value either. Definitely no message there and I can’t think of anything justifying a massive “political” vote in favor of Cyprus at this moment either, so I really can’t explain it.
Austria had a decent song, definitely better than the two above, and it was performed well, but it was still nothing that’d stand out, and just seeing a guy standing on a raised platform, and later walking around a little, means that even that was dragged down by the lack of show value. Though that was no longer the case in the final, I remember that at the end of the semifinal I had to check two or three times because I couldn’t remember which one it was and it was slipping my mind again even after I had just checked. But I guess juries look for somewhat different things, as 271 points were received from them, only 71 coming from televoting. And I guess I can’t say I’m exactly bothered by it ending up in such a high position, at least.
That can mostly apply for Germany as well. Pretty good song, likely better than Austria’s, definitely performed well, but still not something to truly stand out, and in terms of show value what was displayed behind the singer could barely compensate for the fact that he was the only one on stage and really just stood there. Especially considering the rather poor edition overall, not bothered to see it end up fourth, may even say that it’s the one act out of the top seven that I find least undeserving of its position, but no more than that.
Italy’s position is the one that’s most obviously explained by the message. The song is in Italian, which is a problem, but those bits of the lyrics displayed in various languages compensate to some extent, and either way it’d have been pretty hard for viewers to avoid learning what it was about from other sources, likely including the commentary in most, if not all, countries. The song was just a method to deliver said message, pretty much being mostly spoken, and there was hardly any show value to speak of, but the message was pretty clear and relevant for many at this time. That’s even more obvious when you see that they received 249 points from televoting and only 59 from juries.

Though there were less problems in the final than in the semifinal, reflected in the fact that I increased the song mark, Denmark’s song could have been performed better. Nevertheless, I quite liked it, and I liked it from the first moment I listened to it, way before the competition, ending up a bit stuck on it for a while at the time. It also had some show value, and what happened on stage actually fit the song. It wasn’t the best in the competition from either point of view, but it was one of the few good ones from both, and one of the very few which had drawn my attention before the competition as well, so it pretty much had to end up at the top of my classification.
Finland is most definitely a case where I don’t agree with my own classification, and also another one where I increased the song mark between the semifinal and the final. Could have also been performed better, but there were parts of it that sounded interesting, and it had show value as well, which led to it gaining quite a number of places. I definitely didn’t want to see it so high, and ignored it when deciding who to vote for, voting for Estonia instead, after Denmark, but it did rather grow on me in time, going from a song I didn’t care for before the competition to one I could listen to well enough in the semifinal and then to one that maybe I wanted to listen to a couple more times after the final.
Estonia probably had the best song in the competition, at least in my view. Yes, it was a rather boring one, if I may say so, and too classical, again if I may use the term, even more so considering the choice of language, but there is objective quality there and it was performed very well. That use of the dress, which is nothing new anymore, barely made up for the fact that there was a single person on stage and she, for obvious reasons, couldn’t move at all from a certain spot though, so that lack of show value dragged it down.
The Netherlands is the third entry in my top four that I gave a better song mark to in the final than in the semifinal, and the second that I did that for simply because it grew on me, not because it was performed better. It also was another song that got my attention to some extent even before the competition, even if I was never stuck on it, and one that seemed quite different from the rest. Plus, can’t deny that I may have been a bit influenced by the fact that I remembered the guy from their great entry from 2014.
While I’m admitting things, I definitely must say that the marks I gave Spain and therefore the position it ended up in were probably influenced to a fair extent by listening to the song back when I listened to all of them, before the competition. Not that this wasn’t still one of the better songs of the competition, but what I heard then was probably better, and the guy didn’t perform it too well either. Nevertheless, it’s not a case where I disagree with my own classification, not at all. In fact, I’d say Spain joins Denmark, Estonia and The Netherlands to complete the list of entries I would have been content to see winning this year’s competition, albeit without challenging that top three.
Ireland had a decent song which was performed well and was also helped by some show value that also had something of a message without the song mentioning it otherwise. Yes, simply showing a gay couple shouldn’t count as sending a message anymore, but it unfortunately does, and it’s a necessary one in many places. And there’s also the fact that it’s known that homosexuals make up a significant part of the audience, in terms of influence even more than in terms of numbers, and this entry quietly, casually, acknowledged that. It would have ended up quite a bit lower in my classification without this, but this message delivered in this manner, as something completely normal, not making a point of it, is something I can definitely get behind.
Ukraine’s entry is another that could have been performed better, but the song itself was all right and there was some show value as well. There’s little to say about it otherwise, so I guess it ended up in this position mainly because I could remember it, largely thanks to the show and the guy’s look, and wasn’t particularly bothered by any element, which can be said for few other entries this year.
Speaking of show value, that’s definitely something Moldova had. Even if, in the end, I didn’t particularly dislike it either, certainly did not like the song, being bothered by certain instrumental parts the most, since I know that kind of music all too well and really don’t like it. However, can’t deny that they put a whole lot of effort into the performance and that made them gain quite a lot of places in my classification, and I’m content with the position they ended up in.
Already covered Israel, being the only entry in my top ten that also ended up in the top five in the actual competition. As stated above, I found it quite silly, and not in any good way, and might have even missed any message entirely if it wouldn’t have been pointed out by other means. It only ended up in the top ten because I had to recognize that some effort was put into the show, silly as it was, and even that wouldn’t have happened if I wouldn’t have increased the song mark too in the final, though if I listen to it again now I can’t quite justify doing that to myself anymore. So, yes, I rather disagree with how high it ended up being in my classification, despite being the only entry in the top half of it that ended up higher in the actual competition. Plus, I do wonder about the political implications of a vote for Israel at the moment, and of what having the competition take place there next year may mean.
As for Lithuania, there was a lot of emotion in that entry. Could have been performed better, but this can be forgiven to some extent when the primary focus is the emotional component, and that’s definitely the case for this entry, even more so than for Spain’s. And that moment at the very end also saved the otherwise all too static performance to some extent. So, while it couldn’t have been too high, this was an entry that I just wanted to see in a decent position.

Before ending this, I also want to make a note of the fact that, on top of the only act from the top half of my classification that ended up higher in the actual competition being Israel, the only ones from the bottom half that ended up lower were Australia and United Kingdom, though there’s also the fact that Slovenia and Portugal were on the same place in both my classification and the actual one.

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