Eurovision 2018: Apr 29 rehearsals

A reminder that first rehearsals are just that: last year, Belgium’s Blanche scored a big fat zero in the opening-day press poll before coming fourth overall; and Israel’s Imri sounded like a non-qualifier before his third place in the second semi.

Some acts go through the motions, concerned more about getting their marks right on stage. That was certainly true of the first run-throughs of two outright contenders, Israel and Czech Republic, upbeat entries which also require the audience to bring them fully alive.

What you can evaluate are the staging concepts, though even these are subject to change.

Azerbaijan are one of those with a concept, which is floaty people in white on clifftops calling to “luna moon me up”. My one criticism of it was that the blue / white colour scheme and armography felt rather generic for a generic song, but it became apparent later on that having a concept was one advantage it had over some others today.

Iceland don’t really do anything beyond the traditional Eurovision ballad staging, as if this isn’t doomed enough already. Albania also suffers by going down a standard staging route (this time from the folder marked ‘rock band at Eurovision’) rather than doing anything different, which is a shame as Eugent’s vocals were superb.

Belgium was conceptually a disappointment too, in that there was no intimacy beyond the opening section, where the light focused on Sennek’s eyes. After that she wandered up and down the stage a little like it was a preview party, rather than a song that merited something more thoughtful.

Czechia’s rehearsal was rougher, partly because it involves lots of quicker cuts to camera and many different elements. Upbeat entries like this need movement, and there’s plenty of that, though Mikolas needs to be careful with the forward somersault near the end, as he hurt his back in a minor way this time; next time it could be a sprained ankle.

Lithuania’s rehearsal was one of the most pleasing, because it had a concept that fitted with the song, creating the intimacy that Belgium requires. I’m not sure the augmented reality shots that appear during the chorus are helpful in that respect, and it evolves nicely anyway, with Ieva moving to a bridge stage left where her husband comes to meet her.

Israel’s Netta is well dressed in a kimono, and the Japanese theme is carried over to two cabinets of lucky cats behind her. There’s evolution and movement here too – she starts behind her machinery with the dancers on the bridge. They all join each other centre stage before coming together again on the satellite catwalk. Netta was in fine voice.

Belarus provided enough concept for the whole semi-final, a gothic tale of Alekseev having a rose shot through his hand by a female assassin in red. It ends with him high on a plinth showing off a rose-scarred back that looks like a trip to the tattoo parlour gone horribly wrong. After this, Estonia had the good sense to keep things simple, but upgrade their dress effects. This is otherwise exactly as we saw it in Eesti Laul.

The day finished with Bulgaria providing something dark and brooding with the five members of Equinox agonising about their Bones in different spots on a plinth. There are lots of camera effects of the kind we’ve seen before with Sacha-Jean Baptiste productions, including camera shudders and ink stains. It’s very much an ensemble effort, with Zhana going from the lowest profile member to the highest profile one at the climax.

Clips can be found on the Instagram and YouTube channel of the official Eurovision site. Do keep your thoughts coming below.

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51 comments to Eurovision 2018: Apr 29 rehearsals

  • To me, this would be my first half ranking after today:

    01. ISRAEL (so far….)
    02. ESTONIA (vocally and visually a stand-out)
    03. CZECH REPUBLIC (this needs rehearsing, that’s all)
    04. BELARUS
    05. LITHUANIA
    06. BULGARIA
    07. AZERBAIJAN
    08. ALBANIA
    09. BELGIUM
    10. ICELAND

    But there are a whopping 9 more countries (!!!) to come tomorrow.

  • Sagand

    Hopefully it won’t come to it but has there every been a situation before where the performer potentially can’t perform like the Czech Republic might be facing? Do the delegations have backups to stand in or do they just withdraw?

    Or will SuRie step in? 😛

  • I have to say, the set this year is one of the best ever, if not *the* best. I, along with many fansd, always hold Stockholm (and to a lesser extent Malmo & Copenhagen) up as the benchmark for How To Produce Eurovision, but this stage is definitely even better than the one two years ago. Infact for me only Copenhagen 2014 comes close.

    RTP were brave dropping the LED videowall, but we’ve seen more physical elements – both song-specific props, and things like the bridges and catwalk – come into play and it will make much more interesting television than a massive television behind the singers. I think it will be a far, far better show as a result, and I hope that the successful broadcaster come May 12 will have noticed this.

  • Milton

    So today its France’s turn to be second favourite. As Tim pointed out, they only managed third place with the international juries in their national final and only came 16th in the Eurojury. One of these in isolation could be seen as a blip. Taken together the only reasonable conclusion is this is not a jury friendly package that really shouldn’t be second favourite. Love this market more every day!

    • niko

      Came too late to get into the discussion on the other post about France, but I don’t see this as second favourite either. Not so much because of their jury score, but because I don’t see this rocking the televote in any way.

      I get that people are looking for the story of the year, seeing that there was a great story in almost all of the last many winners. Even though the song is about refugees, I can’t imagine their performance is going to touch very many non-French speaking people. Just being told by your local commentator for three seconds “By the way, this is a song about refugees” does not bring any emotions to life. And the song itself or the performance does not show those emotions when you don’t understand the lyrics. You could feel the pain in Salvador’s voice, I don’t hear it in Emilie.

      I also believe that a song needs some sort of hook, and I can’t find it in Mercy. Again, Amar pelos dois had a very powerful and memorable start to the chorus “Meu bem…”

      I simply cannot see how this would get nearly enough televoters to vote for it to even compete for the win. But I would love to hear from people who are backing it, what they are hearing or seeing song- or performance-wise that I am not.

      • France won the Tele vote on Eurojury last night but came a miserable 16th in the Jury vote resulting in an overall 4th place !
        Moreover, in the French national finals M M were headed for certain defeat in the jury vote but were saved by the Tele vote … I think France will win the Televote in the finals but may get killed by the Juries ; they will need at least a top 5 finish with the Juries to have a chance of winning on Saturday night

        In regards to the song it’s good musically but not a winner, but it has a huge advantage with its political/humanitarian message that will strike a chord and chime IMO

        • niko

          Eurojury are fans who know the story and the televote in the French final were French people who understood the song. I don’t believe that in any way is representative for how the general audience will receive the song.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        @niko

        I must have chatted about and analysed the French package extensively over the last few weeks. I’m one of those who have backed it.

        There’s must be traders on this site who have already won bundles on this year’s ESC. Bulgaria’s odds inflated before being pushed down in price. Norway has enjoyed an extraordinary journey in the odds. France’s odds have recently plummeted. Australia’s odds have performed a series of zig-zags. And so on and on…

        I suppose it is ridiculous the French package, a message song, which prides itself on repetition, sang in its own language, with no recent (the actual inspirational event took place before last year’s ESC), publicised, real-life, parallel event acting as a widely known, relatable inciting incident for an audience re the song story, and sang by two humourless French jazz cat intellectuals is now the 2nd favourite to win the thing.

        It could be that the French message gets lost at sea…

        Is the true heir to Italy and OK…

        Someone (I just can’t remember who) on this site the other week memorably described the Bulgarian concept as having disappeared “up its own arse.” Could be the French performers are already heading in that direction.

        Re the Bulgaria package, is there a potential parallel with the trajectory last year of Armenia and Artsvik?

        Italy’s talk-a-thon of an entry probably has a better claim to troubling the zeitgeist. The ultimate in zeitgeist-ness has to be with Israel, with Netta…but the price on that has been nigh-on unbackable near-after it splash landed.

        It could be that all the message songs fail, this year.

        I’ve nice odds on France and could easily move away from my position with a profit – and am considering it. Especially as I’ve not a bean on what I consider to be the heavily underrated package from Ukraine. Hell, I’m not particularly a fan of the Swedish entry but @32 looks an interesting kind of wrong.

        In the discussion on the other post (which I think to which you have referred?), pre-rehearsals, where I talked about France, I noticed at the time that I ended up making a better case for Lithuania than I did for France!

        http://sofabet.com/2018/04/25/eurovision-2018-five-points-consider/#comment-89391

        I do really like Mercy, by the way! Just watching and listening to the French NF performance again (do check out the incredible Lisandro Cuxi, if you have a moment) and I have to admit it just sort of reaches me, moves me.

        It creates a moment for me. She’s telling a story. A kind of electro-pop infused serious nursery rhyme. Its beat steps up, kicks in, hypnotises. There’s a kind of hushed reverence abounding. By design, the music beat seems to poetically mirror the story commute. The costume choices and staging look are striking. I like the use of repetition and the earnestness of the delivery; there’s time to breathe and absorb and ask and understand the sentiment and then perhaps the story-message. In this sense, it is not the true heir to Francesco’s OK – which was, on reflection, just too busy.

        There’s even an extended clap-along celebratory elation section as the song’s denouement.

        I’m in two minds about France.

        I’ve also been thinking that instead of filling these sofabet boards with my lengthy comments, I should do my own blogspot elsewhere and simply provide a link, while posting shorter comments here.

        • niko

          Thank you, that was very informative! Still not totally convinced the things you’re listing can connect with a Saturday night audience, but we’ll have to wait and see 🙂

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Hi again, Niko,

            Decided to take a profit on France, while leaving a sufficient portion on to allow me to will them on to the win.

            I have some doubts about France … and they looked too low in the odds. Especially as they are a BIg 5 country. Consideration of that known disadvantage is what finally provoked the tipping point for me, in my partial withdrawal.

            Add to that, as I thought it over: Madame and Monsieur are not the best performers I’ve ever seen. I’d rather be relying on Jessica Mauboy, Netta, or Alexander than Émilie & Jean-Karl.

            The dream duo to perform Mercy would be: SuRie and Amir. Or Alma and Amir (who I’ve seen combine beautifully together). That I was even thinking that was not a good sign.

            I wouldn’t be thinking the same about anyone other than Jessica, or the super-indivisables: Netta or Alexander.

            I do believe the French delegation will make a success of the staging. There’s a real-life story-event to visually tell. In my opinion, it would me more difficult to somehow not successfully show the story!

            Also, I drew a comparison between the French and Lithuanian packages. There’s no fundamental reason why the French staging cannot rival the promise shown by the Lithuanian rehearsal.

            Motherhood, childbirth, a new-born baby, nationality and refugee issues, displacement, hope, new beginnings away from war, a perilous journey, survival. How can you miss?!

            Plus, there’s the strongest female thread running through the production. Only Madame (Émilie) speaks / sings; Mercy is a baby girl; Taiwo her mother; the sea is often referred to as female; a ship is often considered female.

            (Albeit, in the Year of the Woman, there’s a bigger female friendly song in town.)

            For another perspective or theme: Émilie & Jean-Karl are the mother and father of the song.

            Ah! Just spotted an interesting article on Mercy, featuring in (or being picked up by) of all places: billboard (online).

            https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/8390266/madame-monsieur-mercy-eurovision

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            This ESC has been an ideal one in steadily teaching me how to trade (a bit). Took my French profit and, like most people on this site (it seems), moved onto Sweden (in the early 30s), then that price contracted, and then I moved off (with profit) that and onto Norway, off which I have now jumped (with profit). Am currently keeping my eye on the Czech Republic odds as a possible next brief saddle.

            Israel and Netta and it’s prohibitive betfair odds have made this ESC a trader’s delight, haven’t they? There must be big money experienced traders on this site who are in marvellous positions.

            My only outright bet remaining is one of my series on France. I’ll keep that one.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Hopped off the Rybak saddle a little bit early. Norway’s odds just creep ever lower, it seems.

          France are also creeping ever lower in the outright odds, too, vying with Norway for 2nd favouritism.

          It would be interesting if France reveals a well-executed rehearsal performance.

          I say that, because you would have a package with the tone pushed by France, against Israel and Norway’s packages, which both carry a different tone to that of the French.

          Specifically, Norway’s “That’s How You Write a Song” against France’s song would be a fascinating head to head.

          Then the rehearsals for Italy and for Germany would be of interest to backers of France.

          Norway versus Israel would be a different kind of interesting.

          I was hoping that the Czech Republic odds would be rising towards 25s but they seem to have stabilised around @16.

          The Ukraine maybe looks a touch of value, but in which market? Performer – tick. Song – tick. Staging – tick. Plus performer, song and staging are all memorable. But it doesn’t look a real contender for the top honours.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Also, now Fuego is much lower in the odds, I do suggest it’s worthwhile trying this comparison I suggested.

            http://sofabet.com/2018/03/19/eurovision-2018-netta-barzilais-toy-recent-selections/#comment-88420

            Is Fuego inspired by it, albeit with additional ethnic sounds?

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            My other, bigger, question: is Israel, currently backable around @3.7, now, finally, a value price? It feels like there may be value, there.

            It’s big rivals, with the exception of Norway, have so far failed to impress? The ESC is now a smaller field?

            Which (leaving other rehearsals to come to one side) potentially leaves the competition between the 2 indivisible, undisputed, superstar performers: Netta vs Alexander.

            But Netta has the better song, the more difficult song, the more impressive voice, a broader range of vocal abilities, and is the equal of Alexander for stage presence, charisma and for the fun factor; and she also has a potentially knock-it-out-the-ball-park stage show.

            If Israel is not value @3.7, at what odds does it become so?

      • The Nefeilibata

        I suggest looking up ESC Bubble’s public review video, where it got a very good response, and while a few people commented that they didn’t understand what the song was about, the general reaction pretty much summed up as “I like this, this is very French!”

    • Ande

      ‘Mercy’ is good but since the concept for their national final is weak I wouldn’t go for France in the outright market before they’ve presented some kind of an accessible presentation. My guess is the staging will be dreary just like in the NF which will still be enough for top a 10.

      Mercy lack some box-ticking capacity which might prevent it from being top 2 with juries. However a great staging concept might be able to cover that base.

  • Ande

    For those who haven’t gotten a backup bet in on Sweden to win now is a perfect time @ 33. Neither Israel nor Czech has convinced in rehearsals and other favorites also have their own obvious weaknesses. Furthermore, unless Australia is outstandingly staged I believe Swedish odds will shorten after the Semi 2 rehearsals enabling a potential cash-out.

  • Ande

    Daniel, you claim that “Israel’s Netta is well dressed in a kimono”!?

    I mean really?? I thought it was horribly tacky!

    https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/netta3.jpg?w=480&h=320

  • M.

    We’re really looking for contenders while they’re not there, aren’t we? Out of nothing, France jumps to number 2 and is seen as the big favourite.

    Why? What happened?
    – Nothing.

    The only thing going for them now is the momentum. But is the song really that good that it will do well without good staging? I’d say no, even not in the top 10 with average staging. There’s a reason it wasn’t really picked up for all these weeks. The fandom even seems tired of Netta now and is looking for a new one to embrace.

    There is potential there because of the ‘message’ and the momentum they might get (in the media), but don’t see top 5 jury support and don’t see it getting 8, 10 and 12’s from the east.

    Just look how France have staged their entries over the years. Amir you could compare to like a free wordpress template, just nothing unique, sterile and nothing that connects with the song. Alma wasn’t telling a story either and got back to the damn Eiffeltower again. This song needs amazing staging to emotionally connect too, which is not likely to happen.

    With this day, with no favourite standing up, I think Sweden above 30 is really great value. We all are bored of it, we’ve seen it by now. The crowd won’t, and many will be thinking ‘This is pretty damn amazing’ on a stage like this. In this year without LEDs staging-wise it will be the WOW-one. The song is also stylish and modern enough to do well. I really see it winning the juries, and hopefully scrape enough televotes…

    And yes, still believing Waylon might knock it out of the park 🙂 So these are my 2 main positions I’m taking, but it’s also very possible there will be a ‘Lena-winner’ eventually… Don’t see the ’emotional’ winner happening this year, Estonia doesn’t seem like a winner, France has to connect or surprises like Germany have to stand up, all not very likely I think

    • M.

      The question that sums the France thing up in my eyes: Would Mercy make the top 5 in Melfest? Or even qualify? Think about it…

      This year was maybe weaker but – as a song- it wouldnt even been close to Last Breath, For You and Every Single Day, songs tthat didn’t even win or came close to winning…

      Eurovision is much more ofcourse, it’s media, momentum, staging, (political) messages,, emotional connections and more. But the song itself is just nice and decent, but not great at all, we seem to forget that. Also can’t totally ignore the third place in juries at the national final either, and the 16th(?) juryplace in Eurojury

      • Dan

        I don’t think 1944 or APD would have been in the top 5 either. And saying that the song is “great”, “nice”, “decent” or “bad” is just of matter of opinion. The participants in ESC Bubble’s public review video seemed to like it for example.

        France has the song, the artists and the message IMO. What concerns me is the staging at the moment. And I think we should wait for their first rehearsal before writing them off.
        But given France’s recent staging concepts, I agree that there is a very high chance that it won’t meet the expectations.

        • M.

          This is a betting-related site though. It’s a matter of chance, how likely something like a Jamala or APD will happen with this song, considering what’s on the table.

          Now it’s the second favourite, but what is it actually based on? No rehearsal yet, no clear info about the performance.

          You can see I’m not writing them off yet, just saying it’s very unlikely and the odd is just not attractive at all. I think we can conclude it won’t be top 3 in melfest and it’s not the best, quality, modern song, that’s more of a fact than opinion, also considering the jury-stuff…

          I think it should still be up with the dark horses, 20+ odds until rehearsals, not a second favourite. And if it doesn’t have simply amazing staging it should drift a lot in my eyes

        • Ande

          I disagree, I strongly believe ‘Mercy’ (with MF level staging ofc) would’ve been Top 3 televote in Melfest. It even bears some superficial similarities to the 2016 Melfest winner. I’m not sure it would’ve beaten the Top 2 however.

          Same with 1944 and APD, they’d be definite Top 3:s at Melfest.

    • Chris Bellis

      We’ve all said it – France has a terrible record in staging, going right back to Sébastien Tellier in 2008. Last year the swirling stage with the effing Eiffel Tower backdrop was truly awful. They even ruined a feelgood summer song like Allez ola olé, which is one that has gone on to far more success outside Eurovision. I like the song this year, but at these prices there’s only one thing to do. I love France, but I wouldn’t put it past the designers to have Madame and Monsieur dressed as sodding Bip the Clown, Marcel Marceau style.

  • Dan

    I don’t think the winner rehearsed yesterday. Maybe tomorrow

  • BT

    I agree entirely with the arguments being made about Sweden being value at the current price, I’m not convinced it can win yet but I’ve had some on because I can’t see any reason for the price to go any higher than it is.

    Looking beyond the winner market, I can’t think of a better bet at current prices this year than Sweden top 10 @1.5 (1/2). It’s slick, it’s contemporary, it’s competently performed – you can describe it in many ways, but ultimately WYSIWYG, it has the least question marks around it of maybe all entries and there’s going to be no surprises. Sure, it probably won’t win but there’s a reason it’s being described as the ‘default’ option to win.

    As with every Swedish entry, we can look to Melodifestivalen to boost our arguments. Yes, it was a relatively weak year but Benjamin did well with the international juries and placed in everybody’s top 2 apart from a 4 from the UK and an 8 from Georgia. It was clearly not a marmite song for these juries, it scored consistently. Although it shouldn’t be looked at in isolation, its 7th place overall, 3rd place Jury in Eurojury was promising too (it bombed in their televote but that happened last year too).

    To stay on that theme of consistency, we know Sweden has a good track record of staging an entry and we already know what that staging is going to be and it should stand out. I can’t remember any major changes in recent Swedish entries because they know what works from the Melodifestivalen dry run. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

    Another aspect of this consistency is in Sweden’s results over the last few years. This isn’t an entirely strong argument because we’re not comparing like-for-like songs and Benjamin is no Loreen or Mans but I’d argue Dance You Off isn’t the worst of the bunch.

    2011 – 9th Jury, 2nd Televote
    2012 – 1st Jury, 1st Televote
    2013 – 3rd Jury, 18th Televote
    2014 – 2nd Jury, 4th Televote
    2015 – 1st Jury, 3rd Televote
    2016 – 9th Jury, 6th Televote
    2017 – 3rd Jury, 8th Televote

    The one result standing out there is Robin Stjernberg’s televote in 2013. In my subjective opinion, it was the weakest song of the lot and that explains the poor result but if we need something objective then we can just look to the Melodifestivalen results and see that the warning signs were there. It went to AC, scraped the duet by a couple thousand votes and then didn’t even win the televote in the final. Quite a bit worse than DYO’s result even taking into account the weaker year this year.

    Simply put, there really should be no reason Sweden isn’t making top 10 this year. Of the shorter priced entries at the time of writing (Israel, Bulgaria, Australia, Norway and France), they all have question marks about staging, performer, jury/televote appeal, how dated the song is etc. I don’t see any such question marks around Sweden but I also don’t see how it can be elevated beyond what it currently is: a competently performed, contemporary track by a telegenic performer. For me, it’s perhaps the most obvious top 10 place in the contest but not a winner (unless every other contender somehow fails to deliver but I don’t see that happening). You can get 1.54 on the exchange but I’d have it down as maybe a 1.25-1.3 shot, it’ll almost certainly be that by the end of rehearsals.

    The price seems too much of a gift so I’d appreciate any counter arguments or reasons against Sweden making top 10 in case I’m being a bit blinkered here.

    • M.

      Amen.

      Only reason I see is that the vocal rules might be different in Eurovision, so to reproduce thesame vocals/sound in the chorus like at Melfest might be harder. But not totally sure how these rules are at the moment, but with Bjorkman it will probably be fine eventually

      • Ben

        They’ll have found a way. It’s Sweden! And Benjamin is always pitch perfect. I don’t know why so many have ruled Sweden out. They’ll be right up there as usual. Maybe not a winning song but that staging is impressive enough to lift it. I don’t think it’s really any worse than Heroes as a song actually.

        • Chris Bellis

          I would never rule Sweden out, even last year when I couldn’t stand the song. This year the song is better, even if it’s not to my taste. Definite top ten, probable top 5. I don’t know why the odds are as they are, but let’s take some advantage. As you’ve all said – look at the form.

    • Ande

      Indeed, 1.54 on the exchange for Top 10 is even better than the outright bet at 30+.

      I can find arguments for Sweden not making the Top 5, mostly regarding uncertainty surrounding the televote appeal of the song. The chorus isn’t the most catchy so it might be forgotten in a 26-player field. On the other hand ‘Dance you off’ managed a similar televote as Robin last year which should indicate a mid/lower top 10 televote. ‘Dance you off’ also benefits from standing out in that it has no obvious likeness in sound nor staging this year.

      The jury score being close to ‘Euphoria’ levels bodes really well, indicating at least a Top 3 with juries.

      I estimate Benjamin’s chances of finishing in the top 10 to be around 90%. Sweden needs a really bad draw and then to completely tank the televote in order for that to happen.

  • Rob4

    i think Greece has the potential to come through as a Jamala-esque experience… but, i might eat my words tomorrow… 😉

  • Ande

    Let’s discuss Estonia again.

    + Obvious USP.
    + Competent staging.
    + Voice is also jury bait.
    – Unorthodox song structure.

    Why would juries kill ‘La Forza’ off?? Why won’t it get televotes? Why shouldn’t this have every chance of winning?

    • Rob4

      because she sounds like a chimpanzee being fingered 😉

      • Chris Bellis

        Rob4
        I’m glad you know what that sounds like because when I’ve tried to finger a chimpanzee they’ve become quite aggressive. Maybe I approached it in the wrong way. Story of my life.

    • eurovicious

      Juries avoid kitsch (even if the singer boasts tremendous vocal prowess) and lean towards mainstream western radio pop. There’s no overriding feeling and it’s not about anything. At most it’s this year’s Gravity for me.

    • markovs

      Because it has no discernible song and for the average viewer on a Saturday night it is almost unlistenable to. I personally hate it but her vocal is quality and I can see it top 5 but not enough jury or public to win

      • Ande

        ‘La Forza’ isn’t remotely as repulsive as ‘Suus’ and even that managed 8th with televoters, 3rd with juries. ‘La Forza’ has less emotive but more of a WOW-factor than ‘Suus’ which should at least help the televote. As such I Estonia for Top 4 is a good bet at 3+.

    • I agree with the above criticisms of Estonia. It got 14th in the jury part of Eurojury. It’s a genre that isn’t popular in ESC (unless it’s exceptional). The jury’s aren’t opera critics seeing a well known production where they are familiar with the story.

    • niko

      I’ve also been thinking about Estonia today. I kind of think I might have been underestimating it originally, especially in this year’s field. It is kitschy and not especially good taste (I showed it to someone who knows opera, who said it was “terrible opera”).

      Saying that, I don’t think most of the audience will see it that way and it was perhaps the only song which gave me a visceral reaction at first listen. Only hearing it once might hide the flaws and so it could be a show-stopper. It might be the hardest entry for me to judge, because it’s tough to figure out whether people will be moved by it. I don’t think I can rule it totally out for the win at this stage, but on the other hand I would also not be surprised if it completely flops.

      • Ande

        The big con with Estonia is it lack of relatability and odd style? On the other hand the instant WOW-factor might make those less of an issue.

        Stats are good indicators. ‘La Forza’ won the televise more than convincingly, receiving more televotes than the other 9 acts combined in both the SF and the Final. With juries it scored 86% of maximum. Estonia should be a very safe Top 10 bet.

  • Chris Bellis

    Agree Ande. She’s an average opera singer. If she was a top diva she wouldn’t be doing Eurovision. People unfamiliar with the opera world might not realise just how much dosh the top stars get. If you are starring in an opera in Milan or Moscow, you would be losing a fortune by doing Eurovision. She’s basically doing a Rhydian – a way to advance your career from the chorus line. Nothing wrong with that, and good luck to her. She still stands out. Pity the tune isn’t up to much. On the night the sort of people who were so impressed by Susan Boyle will vote for her. And she didn’t have a light up dress.

  • markovs

    Does anyone actually still see Israel as the favourite? Is it possible to turn that display into a performance which can win over a large bulk of the public? It’s a novelty song.

    • Ande

      I get that it will stay a weak favorite until people see the actual live performance at the dress rehearsal/semi. It can be quite difficult to judge production values from static camera rehearsal clips.

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