Eurovision 2018: The post-mortem

The chicken wasn’t the gorilla after all. Like Francesco Gabbani, Netta Barzilai lost her status as red-hot, ante-post favourite; but unlike him, she still won. Beyond the animal references, ‘Toy’ and ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ were two different beasts.

The best single lesson of a madcap Eurovision season? Don’t apply the previous year’s lessons too literally to each specific case. Nonetheless, in a year when the betting market got drunk on every piece of hype, let’s put forward a few thoughts.

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Israel and Netta Barzilai win Eurovision 2018

After a close-fought battle between the top two in the betting, Israel’s Netta beat Cyprus’s Eleni to take the Eurovision crown. Austria finished third after winning the jury vote. Please let us know your continued thoughts on the contest below. Here are the latest links to the semi-final and final scoreboards.

Eurovision 2018: The Grand Final

The Eurovision betting market has been deranged this year. Had someone told me just a few weeks ago that Cyprus would be hot favourites with Ireland firmly in third, I’d have laughed. Yet here we are.

The potential weaknesses of the early favourites came home to roost: Israel’s Netta wasn’t allowed her looper, instead playing up the chicken noises behind what looks like a Fisher Price kids’ toy; Mikolas Josef put his back out and the Czech staging lacked dynamism; Australia’s Jessica Mauboy performed like she was singing Sea of Flags in the 2014 interval; France didn’t bring the message with their staging; while Scandinavian giants Sweden and Norway brought exactly what we expected, only for it to be met with a shrug of the shoulders.

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Eurovision 2018: Live blog grand final, first dress rehearsal

The final has long been a marathon: not only more songs, but more stuff in between too. The first dress rehearsal can can be a slightly ragged affair, working on a completely new running order that was only decided late last night, rather than weeks in advance with the semi-finals.

The show was supposed to start at 1pm, but this first practice run is only starting up at 1.20pm. A longer introduction means it will be a while before we see Melovin bring the final to life, rising up from his piano coffin.

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Eurovision 2018: Grand final running order

This year’s outright market has been more topsy-turvy than ever, and we now enter the home straight with the announcement of the draw for Saturday’s big finale. The producers had a real job negotiating a worthy first half with many ballads, and a noisy second half full of uptempo stuff.

Let us know how you think they got on below, and who you think has benefited or come off badly. I’ll be live-blogging the first dress rehearsal which starts at 1pm tomorrow, then tweeting thoughts of the crucial jury rehearsal in the evening.

Eurovision 2018: Second semi-final preview

The second semi-final is upon us, with a largely underwhelming set of songs the puzzle for punters. You’ll excuse me for feeling slightly uninspired by what’s on offer, and I think the market has got this heat more right than the first one.

Let’s start with the Scandinavian titans, because Norway and Sweden are obviously sailing through. Neither are appreciably different from their national final performances, which is more than enough.

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Eurovision 2018: Live blog second semi-final, first dress rehearsal

Having tried it once, I’m continuing with this live blogging malarkey for the first proper run-through of the second semi-final. Quick impressions of each act after they have performed will appear below. Update the page for the latest.

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Eurovision 2018: First semi-final preview

We’ve just watched the final dress rehearsal for the first semi-final, and it hasn’t made things any clearer. I’m keeping this preview short as I’m more uncertain than I’ve been for any previous semi-final.

In draw order, I think that Czech Republic, Israel and Cyprus are sailing through. Mikolas Josef has managed to recreate an atmosphere not dissimilar to his video, and looks increasingly at ease. Without her looper, Israel’s first 30 seconds is the biggest hurdle for viewers coming to Netta for the first time, but ‘Toy’ takes off from there. Eleni for Cyprus finishes off the semi with a bang, and was excellent in last night’s jury rehearsal.

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