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Eurovision 2009

Once again, I knew all the songs before the show, but this time I didn’t try to find out what any of the presentations was going to be like ahead of time.
When ranking, I used the same system I have been using for all these years, which I explained last year so there’s no need to do it again.

I have to say that I really have no idea what the fuck did everybody see in the Norwegian performance to make them win, and by such a huge margin too! It was a song for the bottom half of the classification, and yet… I guess the fact that juries counted for 50% of the vote this time had a lot to do with that, but I still can’t even begin to understand it!
I’m happy for Iceland being second. Should have been first, but second is good too. Not much to speak of as far as show value goes, but a great voice and obviously the best song of the competition. That’s exactly the kind of song Eurovision is about.
I’m also happy for Azerbaijan. I put them second and consider them to be the only ones who had any real reason to challenge Iceland for the top spot, if only they would have done without that annoyingly “traditional” part of the song. Not quite the best in any one aspect, but one of the best in all of them and therefore a very solid performance overall. I ranked them as number one last year, on their debut, so it seems like they have really nice ideas…
The Turkish song was certainly pretty decent, but not one of the best. The show value was quite good, but once again not one of the best. I think “political” votes helped them gain a few places yet again. After all, considering the votes I’ve seen, it’s obvious that juries can pick “friendly” countries just as well as the regular people who vote can.
As for the British entry, it was quite a complex song… Too complex, actually; a bit too much for Eurovision. But it really doesn’t bother me that they ended up fifth, it’s not much higher than I ranked them anyway.

But here’s my classification (actual place between parenthesis):

1 Iceland (2)
2 Azerbaijan (3)
3 Sweden (21)
4 Albania (17)
5 Finland (25)
6 Ukraine (12)
7 Estonia (6)
8 United Kingdom (5)
9 Turkey (4)
10 Greece (7)
11 Germany (20)
12 Denmark (13)
13 Portugal (15)
14 Romania (19)
15 Bosnia (9)
16 Spain (=23)
17 Norway (1)
18 Malta (22)
19 Lithuania (=23)
20 Israel (16)
21 Croatia (18)
22 Moldova (14)
23 Armenia (10)
24 Russia (11)
25 France (8)

Got none right. One place off for Azerbaijan, Denmark, Estonia and Iceland. Two off for Portugal. Three off for Croatia, Greece and United Kingdom.
On the other hand, at least ten places off for Albania, Armenia, Finland, France, Norway, Russia and Sweden.
I have to say that I’m getting used to Armenia ending up way higher than I think it should. Since 2006, I have placed them 19th, 20th, 23rd and now 23rd again, but they ended up eighth, eighth again, fourth and now tenth.

Let me briefly explain my top ten picks now.
I already said what I had to say about Iceland and Azerbaijan, so there’s nothing more to add. I think these two were obviously the top two and that no other participant should have had any chance of challenging for anything higher than third. Period.
The Swedish entry was quite interesting. If Malena would have stuck to the high notes and they’d have had someone else sing the rest it could have really challenged for first, but as it was it didn’t quite work that way, seeing as she was struggling a bit with the parts which were obviously below her usual vocal range.
I find myself having a rather hard time explaining why did I put Albania fourth. I probably gave it an extra point because it came after a few songs which seemed to be of similar value and I thought it was slightly better than all of them. On one hand I’d be inclined to say that it gained four places because of that extra point, as it probably should have ranked right above Turkey, but on the other hand it was certainly better than Finland and Ukraine…
There were certainly plenty of songs better than the Finnish one, but I thought it had the second best show value, so that gave it a serious boost in the classification. It’s obviously one of those moments when I can’t say I agree with my own classification…
Show value was also the reason for placing Ukraine sixth. The song was rather poor, but I thought it had the best show value of all, so it ended up boosted by it and battling Finland for fifth. In the end I placed them sixth because, as I said, the song was quite poor. Once again, I don’t particularly agree with my own classification…
The Estonian song just caught my attention. There was something in it that just sounded “right”. It wasn’t truly great, but it did stand out. The rather low show value and the fact that it was sung in Estonian meant I couldn’t rank it higher than seventh, though.
As I said before, the British song was probably too pretentious for Eurovision. It was a good song, far better than most of their other attempts in recent years, I wouldn’t have ranked it this high otherwise, but they still don’t quite seem to get what this contest is all about.
Already said what I had to say about Turkey too. It was quite all right, but basically just the best out of a rather long series of songs which seemed to me to be of very similar value overall. Relatively good, but didn’t stand out.
And most of what I said about Turkey applies to Greece as well, though obviously I thought they were just a tiny bit worse.

Once again, I used the same system in the semi-finals and six out of my ten picks made it from each. In the first, I picked Andorra, Belarus, Belgium and Montenegro instead of Armenia, Bosnia, Israel and Malta (Armenia ranking last). In the second, I picked Ireland, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia instead of Croatia, Lithuania, Moldova and Norway (Lithuania and Croatia being the last two in my classification). So, yes, I didn’t even think Norway should have made it to the final, much less win it!
As a side note, the countries that benefitted from the new rule that states that juries choose one of the qualifiers from each semi-final were Finland and Croatia, which took the places of Macedonia and Serbia, respectively. I’m really surprised that the jury gave Finland such a helping hand, seeing as I expected the jury vote to go to a good song instead of a good show. It should also be noted that Macedonia was kicked out because of the jury vote last year too, when they also ranked tenth in the semi-final according to regular votes.

Please note that YouTube seems to hunt down and delete Eurovision videos quite often, judging from past experience, so the links are likely to become outdated quickly.


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