Eurovision 2017: Grand Final preview

This year’s Eurovision looks like a three-horse race between market leaders Portugal, Italy and Bulgaria. Last year was nail-bitingly close between the eventual top three, where huge disparities between respective jury and televote scores added to the suspense. I think this renewal will be more reminiscent of 2014, where the top three all scored really well in both the jury vote and televote.

There might not be much between the three, and a good case can be made for all of them. After much deliberation, my selection for the win is Portugal. It’s created the most excitement in the last few days, and with good reason: the performance feels like the “moment” of the contest, and the success of ‘Amar Pelos Dois’ on iTunes Charts around Europe is surprisingly strong when you wouldn’t expect it to particularly appeal to the downloading audience.

Portugal’s effort is very much a sui generis entry: a retro piece of jazz that is as far removed from a typical Eurovision winner as a trip-hop paean to genocide. But what this and last year’s winner do is create an emotional connection with the performer within the allotted three minutes. Conchita Wurst did the same in 2014. Salvador is helped by using the small satellite stage in the middle of the arena, creating intimacy and a rapport with the crowd.

Do note if you’re watching for the first time: like Jamala and Conchita, Salvador is not your Zelmerlow-style conventional pop star. Slightly dishevelled, he has a wide range of nervous tics. Backing him involves taking a chance that these don’t become extreme enough to overshadow the performance. For last night’s rehearsal, shown to the national juries, he was focused, and spellbindingly good. If you’re backing Portugal, prepare to be on the edge of your seat.

Having just watched Italy’s Francesco Gabbani and his dancing gorilla charm the audience in this afternoon’s final rehearsal, it seems almost sacrilegious to oppose the long-time favourite, whom I expected to win comfortably when I came to Kiev two weeks ago. It’s worth reminding ourselves that this is the earworm-iest song with the most charismatic performer.

My reluctant decision to jump ship at this late stage is based on a growing sense of unease about the vocals and messy performance throughout rehearsals. Francesco was more polished for the juries last night, but placed at #9 before Salvador at #11, it felt like the latter’s connection with the audience trumped the party nature of ‘Occidentali’s Karma’. Tonight’s televote may end up proving me wrong.

Bulgaria offer a more straightforward package: a contemporary ballad with a hint of eastern instrumentation sung by Kristian Kostov, a big-voiced androgynous teen. It’s the most obvious jury bait, and Kristian was strong in last night’s jury rehearsal. He also straddles a couple of voting blocs, which should ensure support from the Balkans and the former Soviet bloc (he was born in Moscow and appeared on the Russian kids’ version of The Voice). Add to all this his penultimate slot in the running order.

It should mean plenty of points on the board. Enough maybe to come up the middle between his more divisive rivals. But two things make me think it will fall short: Kristian’s iTunes downloads after the semi-finals were lower than Salvador’s, when you would have expected the Bulgarian to appeal more to this demographic; and while ‘Beautiful Mess’ is wonderfully staged, it arguably lacks a “moment”. Eurovicious’s excellent article on how to stage a Eurovision winner has only been half-achieved: initially Kristian is commanding the void and making sparks appear, but by the end he’s dodging lightning in a rainstorm.

Outside the top three, strong entries from Belgium and Sweden appear towards the end of tonight’s show. Belgium’s Blanche has worked with her nerves to produce a fragile performance of the contemporary ‘City Lights’, a big iTunes hit; Sweden’s Robin isn’t quite Mans Zelmerlow, but ‘I Can’t Go On’ is still a typically slick pop effort. Armenia have a much earlier draw, but that shouldn’t deter their diaspora coming out in support of the very solid ‘Fly With Me’.

It’s worth bringing Romania’s ‘Yodel It’ to your attention, because I think it’s likely to be in the top four of the televote, at which point the charming pairing of Alex Florea and Ilinca will appear in a quarter-screen alongside the three other most popular acts with viewers. The question is how far the crowd-pleasing mix of yodel and rap will be marked down with juries – we’ll find out during the first half of the voting. If they’re not near the bottom at this point, you could see the pair go high on the scoreboard.

That leaves three spaces in the top ten up for grabs, and plenty in with chances. The United Kingdom may find it has the opposite trajectory to Romania, scoring well enough with juries to be securing a high berth at this point, before seeing how far it drops in the televote. A lower top ten placing is very possible for Lucie Jones, who sells ‘I Will Never Give Up On You’ very well.

Other entries fighting for similar placings include Hungary’s ‘Origo’, a passionately performed ethnic effort that should score well in the eastern half of Europe. Moldova’s lightweight but enjoyable ‘Hey Mamma’ is another; it’s worth bearing in mind that we usually have a few ex-USSR countries in the top ten, and we’ve only mentioned Armenia so far. At bigger prices, Israel’s Imri has really got his vocals together and the ethnopop ‘I Feel Alive’ is an excellent show opener.

In my opinion, the most overrated entry in the top ten market is Croatia. Much as I love the kitsch on offer, it’s the kind of thing that juries ignore, while televoters have much less cringeworthy, fun stuff like Romania on offer. Meanwhile, the way France’s Alma is left to negotiate the large stage on her own doesn’t do anything for her top ten chances either, despite ‘Requiem’ being a decent enough song that has the pimp slot.

The contest for the wooden spoon has long been headed by the bland efforts from Spain and Germany. I’ve always been of the belief that the former is likely to be the worst effort in the final, and I haven’t seen anything in the last few weeks to change my mind.

Here’s my top three prediction:

1. Portugal
2. Italy
3. Bulgaria

Good luck to everybody tonight, and let us know your thoughts below.

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121 comments to Eurovision 2017: Grand Final preview

  • My top 10 of the grand final:

    1. Portugal
    2. Bulgaria
    3. Belgium
    4. Italy
    5. Armenia
    6. Sweden
    7. Moldova
    8. Romania
    9. Croatia
    10. Norway

    Portugal. I think it will be both jury and televote winner. Someone in the comments described Salvador as “singing Jesus”.
    Bulgaria. Big support from Balkan countries. Could win if they bribed the juries. I hope that is not the case.
    Belgium. This is the dark horse of this year. Very popular on iTunes and Spotify.
    Italy. To me it was always overrated and I think juries will find it too amateurish.
    Armenia. Huge diaspora. When Armenia sends a good song they always finish in the top 10.
    Sweden. One of the Nordic countries always ends in the top 10. Very radio-friendly song. Slick performance. Sexy male singer.
    Moldova. It was my favorite song from the very beginning. There’s always a place for a fun song in the top 10.
    Romania. Low jury score but huge televote should be enough for top 10.
    Croatia. 13th position must mean it did very well in the semi. Reminds me of Serbia 2015 which also finished in the top 10.
    Norway. Very radio-friendly and good-feel song.

  • Ben Cook

    I think you need to be careful about reading too much into iTunes sales when comparing the front-runners. Salvador is 20 places higher in Finland for instance, but that’s only 7 copies a day compared to 5. Even in a larger market like Netherlands, it’s only a few dozen downloads separating them.

  • Hippo

    Not long to go now, I’ll just share my thoughts on the market leaders and what I expect.

    Portugal – I was never on Italy to win and saw just as many flaws in it as any other contender, so was naturally looking for alternatives throughout the season. I settled on Portugal as I felt it has the emotional connection no other song has, a great niche and a narrative that could help it gain momentum. With a second half draw, this would be game over. This is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of youtube views, searches and should really not be doing anything on esctracker, yet it is. My fear was always that we’d be thinking “this will connect” but wouldn’t know until the results whether it did or not. That like 2011, bookmakers would be left thinking “why did we think a scruffy lucking guy singing in a foreign language in a different genre could win”. It is clear that this has connected and I don’t see any other country winning the televote at this point and I’m expecting a haul of around 300 on this side. Whether this wins will all depend on how strong the jury goes for Bulgaria. This should get at least 250 on the jury side of things, which I expect will be enough. Lisbon 2018.

    Italy- My one red out of the top 6. Everyone got a little carried away on this for not much reason. Sure it’s a strong package but such an overwhelming favourite for so long? First of all, this is not the only fun song- Moldova starts the party, Romania ends it with some Croatian lols for good measure in the middle. They all take away potential votes from Italy.
    Next there is the fact this is clearly not a jury song. The San Remo jury didn’t go for this and far too many Eurovision juries will hear that vocal, see that Gorilla and mark him down.
    Also, in San Remo itself he was fourth with the public in his first performance. It took the full week for this to catch on and finally win the televote, which is the only part of the scoring it won. This was dismissed as him being up against established stars but if he ever wanted to do a Rybak or whatever, overcoming loyalties (in Eurovision, diaspora and cultural) is something he needed to do anyway. I know I’ve tipped Portugal, who didn’t win the televote either in his national final to storm it from 11th here but the whole momentum has changed, his performance has come on and stands out. Francesco’s staging (too dark and distracting) and song (following the cut) have regressed further. Italy is third at best with the televote behind Portugal and Bulgaria, and potentially lower depending on Belgium and Sweden. On the jury, he’s behind Portugal and Bulgaria again at least and I’d argue probably Sweden and potentially the Uk and Belgium. He won’t do a Rybak, he will potentially do an Aaram Mp3 at best.

    Bulgaria- A lot of things have fallen kindly for Bulgaria this year. The competition in semi 2 was the weakest in a long time, they’ve drawn second half twice, Australia have cocked it up with a rival entry, the East and Balkans is at an all time low in terms of competetive entries and loosing Russia gives him a little (not a lot) of help too. I don’t think the song is that strong and the staging is a little gimmicky so this has needed all that help it can get on the televote to push for the win. It’s hard to estimate a televote score for this, on the one hand he’s on very late and France feels like its just there to waste time as you decide Bulgaria was better than you first thought. On the other hand, Belgium and Sweden are more instant and could overshadow it, whilst the charting of this hasn’t been impressive. I see Kristian on somewhere between 200-250 on the televote. With the juries I’m not sure. The eurojury suggests the underlying song is nothing special but his vocal is solid and the staging straight out of the new “jury’s love a technological gimmick” playbook. You’d hope the juries don’t just see some squiggly lines and go nuts although I fear Dami’s minority report gimmick just allowed them to check the staging box and award a high score on that. There is clear previous for this to get a high jury score, but maybe the juries will see it as a copy of “Sound of Silence”. So again, I’m not sure what will happen here I wouldn’t be surprised if they have it first in their rankings and in the last two years that has meant a runaway jury winner of 300+ but for now I think it’s getting around 250 too. I estimate Bulgaria’s total to be somewhere above the 500 point mark in total, but if it is to win, it needs to be at least 30 points clear with juries as I don’t think it wins the televote. I covered it after semi 1 when it went to 19s and did some ok trading backing pre song so it would be a decent return for me (though nowhere near as good as any other contender I have green) in the entirely possible event that it wins. I have it currently as runner up, but might have a slight lead with juries over Portugal.

    Belgium- It would be odd if this won. Conveying emotion in a performance is never a bad thing, but is she in control of it? I don’t know. Even ‘poor’ winners in the past like Elle and Nicki have looked at least visually professional. But something has connected with the public at least, and now with a better running order could it overtake the obvious televote winner from semi 1 Portugal? I don’t think so, although a lot of us have already been guilty of underestimating the performance.I also think juries simply can’t give this performance top marks, but I’m ready to be surprised. I scrambled some on at good odds after the semi so this would be the best outcome atm for me, but I don’t think it can break the top 2. There’s a chance it beats Bulgaria’s televote though, and I have it 2nd or 3rd with the public, and a little lower with juries.

    Uk- It’s very well drawn, very well sung and very well staged. I’m not surprised by this being fifth favourite now. I had it sixth in my last pre rehearsals prediction, and have always felt the song was strong. I was backing this speculatively at long odds (as well as Israel and Serbia- with less success) so built up a nice green. I’ll be honest in that I can’t see this winning and have traded much of that green away. However, this can sneak a place in the top 5. I said when it was selected that the only thing “It’s my time” beats this on was having Andrew Lloyd Webber at the Piano for kudos so a similar fifth place is possible now. I have it 4th or 5th in the juries and 10th or so in the televote. Won’t set the scoreboard alight with 12s but will get a little from most countries. There’s a chance this beats Italy in my opinion, but I can’t see it beating any of the other favourites.

    Sweden – Juries love Sweden. Just look at the last Stjernberg song in 2013. That was third with juries despite a horrible vocal and a mess of staging. This is so slick and professional, and the song contemporary and chart friendly that I feel this is coming at least 3rd again with juries, and could possibly win that side of things. I’m not expecting a great televote, from MF this wasn’t that popular, hasn’t charted much in Sweden and hasn’t picked up much momentum since Tuesday. I think this is at least top ten in the televote, probably higher however and the draw has helped this. Will probably land a top 5 in total. A good cover bet and should trade lower during jury voting.

    Romania- Wasn’t going to mention this as I give it exactly 0% chance of winning but since it’s close to the Uk and Sweden I’ll be brief. Will do well in the televote from Diaspora alone but I don’t think its as strong on the televote as most think. In fact if it wasn’t for diaspora and running order, I’d have this below Moldova and Croatia in the fun/novelty song category. Can realistically get to 5th in the televote in my opinion, and probably 15-20th with juries. I have it top 10 and no more.

    I’m expecting a Portugal win. Bulgaria is very possible but needs to be well in the lead with juries. If Belgium is close to the top with juries, things could be very interesting, although its mainly Portugal or Bulgaria for me. I will just say that away from my personal feelings on any of the songs or my position on them, I hope the televote winner is the overall winner. Three non public winners in a row would not be good for the contest.

    1-26 Prediction:

    1. Portugal (Jury 2, Televote 1)
    2. Bulgaria (Jury 1, Televote 3)
    3. Belgium (Jury 4, Televote 2)
    4. Sweden (Jury 3, Televote 7)
    6. Italy ( Jury 6, Televote 4)
    6. Uk (Jury 5, Televote 10)
    7. Armenia (Jury 7, Televote 8)
    8. Romania (Jury, 15, Televote 5)
    9. Moldova ( Jury 12, Televote 6)
    10. Croatia (Jury 11, Televote 9)
    11. Hungary (Jury 16, Televote 12)
    12. Greece (Jury 19, Televote 11)
    13. France (Jury 9, Televote 16)
    14. Azerbaijan (Jury 10, Televote 15)
    15. Cyprus ( Jury 13, Televote 13)
    16. Netherlands (Jury 8, Televote 21)
    17. Norway (Jury 18, Televote 18)
    18. Belarus (Jury 20, Televote 17)
    19. Australia ( Jury 17, Televote 20)
    20. Denmark (Jury 14, Televote 24)
    21. Poland (Jury 25, Televote 14)
    22. Ukraine (Jury 22, Televote 19)
    23. Israel (Jury 21, Televote 22)
    24. Spain (Jury 26, Televote 23)
    25. Germany (Jury 24, Televote 25)
    26. Austria (Jury 23, Televote 26)

    Best of luck everyone and enjoy the show.

  • Donald

    Good luck to all. Been travelling all week and no time to participate on here this year sadly. And no time to decide. Haven’t heard the songs but Italy sounds a winner unless pipped at post. There are some risks attached to Portugal according to Daniel. Sounds a tight year. Again good luck to all. I will do Italy pre show!

  • Alpie

    with Salvador’s saying I think that Sweden is plastic so that I cant go on to feel it. Here is my list:
    1. Italy
    2. Portugal
    3. Bulgaria
    4. Romania
    5. Belgium
    6. Armenia
    7. Moldova
    8. France
    9. Israel
    10. Denmark

  • Chewy Wesker

    This is going down to a shootout between Italy & Portugal, IMO both Francesco and Salvador deserve the title, and are both fantastic memorable acts in their own right, and don’t see the running order being problematic here. The “Timeless Dream State” staging from both of these two acts but them shades ahead and clear from what I think is a weak field, Blanche has by far the best song “City Lights” but is let down sadly by her on stage presence, Isaiah’s performance of “Don’t come easy” is vocally performed very badly. Dihaj’s “Skeletons” which I love, but staging is very over the top and it’ll leave tonight’s audience puzzled, Drum Drum Drum Bring Out The Guns!! and shoot me. Kristian’s “Beautiful Mess” has so much more to offer a great slot in the running order, with his beautiful angelic face, he gives us an innocent and pure performance that it’s hard for me to rule him completely out but that’s what i’m going to do here, Bulgaria have pretty much copied and paste their 4th place finish last year where Poli Genova had the same futuristic modern look but i’m not totally feeling it for Bulgaria to triumph and achieve victory tonight.

    So here goes my prediction


    Good luck to everyone on sofabet having a punt on Eurovision tonight.

  • johnkef

    Τhe night has come!!! All those months of thinking and listening and talking has come to an end. Personally i feel happy that the contest starts in more or less 3 hours and we are not yet sure about the winner, even though we had a clear favourite for almost three months.

    Like most of you i believe that Portugal is gonna be the winner and i feel very happy that my bet on the favourite or co-favourite of the night (2.92 Ita- 2.96 Por at the moment) was bought when it had 7.3% chance of winning the contest. I will go as well with the singing Jesus who’s surrounded by his students and followers who are gathered in a small forrest outside an ancient city away from the ‘Roman’ oppression…The message is stronger by the one of the human race that is trying to stand up on its feet again and definitely more stronger than the superhero who kneels when the storm is coming.

    My Top-3 goes like that

    1. Portugal
    2. Italy
    3. Bulgaria

    I expect all of them to have a score at the 575-525 area and have a huge margin from the rest of the field.

    4. Belgium. I admire the way that a 17 year old girl found the courage to bounce back and give her fight when everyone was against her. Her fragility and weakness gave her tons of sympathy and empathy and she’s gonna land somewhere in the 350-400 points area.

    5. Armenia. I still believe that running order is not that important for them. They have diaspora, allies and some orphan russian votes going their way.

    If that is the final Top-5 my betting year will be the most successful of all times. And for bragging rights my prediction for the rest of the final rankings.

    6. Sweden
    7. Romania
    8. Azerbaijan
    9. Croatia
    10. Israel
    11. France
    12. Moldova
    13. Hungary
    14. Poland
    15. UK
    16. Cyprus
    17. Denmark
    18. Greece
    19. Netherlands
    20. Australia
    21. Belarus
    22. Ukraine
    23. Norway
    24. Spain
    25. Germany
    26. Austria

    Austria has 9/49 last places, 5 of them coming with 0 points. It has also a weak running order and i think the fewer views of everyone. I made my bet @41 so there’s more value than Spain or Germany.

    Good luck to everybody.

  • Black n Blue

    Big thanks to Daniel and all the commentators on here who make for such lively discussion (and argument!).

    Last year’s result really changed my perception of what a Eurovision winner can be. The biggest trope found in winner’s pre-Jamala was happiness. The performance had to be uplifting, it had to make you smile, otherwise it was gone. 1944 was a watershed moment because it broke down a lot of barriers. To win in the modern era you no longer have to sing 100% in English, you don’t need to be pop, and you don’t necessarily have to make people feel happy watching your performance either.

    So getting back to this year, I’ve reached a point where, after the madness of NF season and rehearsals, I have two contenders, neither of which have the bounciness of Satellite, the on top of the world feeling of Euphoria, or the rejoice of Rise Like a Phoenix. They are Portugal and Bulgaria.

    I’ve had Italy down for weeks as a likely runaway winner, and went so far to think that Francesco was quite literally the second coming of Alexander Rybak, the Moses who would part the red sea, the Jesus who would walk on water. That’s what the bubble does to you, and now it’s burst. I’m not a tin-foil hat wearing sort of person, you won’t find me on a Breitbart comment section claiming the globalists are taking over the world, or arguing elsewhere that the Kennedy assassination was an inside job (although I’m sure there’s a place for that sort of debate). However, I’m starting to believe Italy have pulled the subtlest of hatchet jobs this year. I wouldn’t say they don’t want to win, more so it’s that they don’t know how to win. Since the Sanremo victory, we’ve seen lots tinkering and tampering that has always looked a bit off, but I was willing to overlook any doubts by virtue of what was and is an incredibly infectious, foot tapping song, by a seasoned and charismatic performer, with a memorable visual hook. Italy haven’t lost this because of the quality of the Portuguese and Bulgarian packages, they’ve lost this because of themselves through small yet consequential wrong turns. The decision not to have put at least a verse into English, the decision not to have made a more coherent 3 minute edit, the decision not to put a spotlight on the Gorilla on stage, the decision to choose backing singers who are far too high pitched for the song, the decisions relating to choice of camera shots and so on so forth. As much as I’d like Italy to win, these small misjudgements have all added up, and as a result I don’t see this as a winning performance. That is why it’s 9th in the order (provisionally 7th if the rumours turn out to be true). Italy essentially had the perfect package in February, it couldn’t be improved on, and hence it’s gone backwards to the point where I’m contemplating whether or not Occidentalis Karma can still finish top 3.
    I’m confident in predicting the top 2, it’s the order that makes things challenging. I agree with Daniel that this is very much a 2014 style year; a disappointing bookies favourite usurped last minute by two brilliant on-stage packages. It’s classic versus contemporary, and either to my mind would make a good winner. While I don’t believe there has been any EBU skulduggery favouring Bulgaria, I do see the juries lapping it up. As Eurovicious has described on here in detail, the juries aren’t high-brow. Many of them are ordinary people with questionable taste. They had the power to give Georgia a douze pointe last year, as well as giving Dami Im a 100 point head-start on the field before Saturday night’s show even began. That is not to say they have bad taste. We all have varied tastes for different things, and that variety tends to be reflected in how both jury members and joe public vote. Although I wouldn’t put it up there with Sweden 2015 or Australia 2016, Bulgaria this year seems to fit the archetype of a jury winner the most, in sending a contemporary Anglo-pop tune, that is extremely well produced, excellently performed, and is filmed onstage with the sort of precision that Italy can only dream of right now. This is for me a default winner in that it ticks all the boxes. Yet I think the problem Bulgaria faces comes more from the televote side of things. People generally don’t want perfection, they want imperfection. They wanted Leicester to win the premiership, they wanted Sergio Garcia to win the Masters, and again against the odds Portugal always face going into Eurovision, I’ve a firm feeling they’ll want Salvador to win tonight. It’s three minutes of TV magic, by a virtuoso performer with a health-related backstory and an utterly enchanting song. Amar Pelos Dois, is doing everything it’s not supposed to do. It’s not a chart-friendly song, yet it’s top of ESC tracker, it’s not the sort of song you would repeat over and over again yet it’s top of the Youtube stats, nor is it the sort of song that people would be able to understand lyric-by-lyric yet it’s gotten the biggest ovation in the hall. When I look at these two songs, Amar Pelos Dois is the one that I think will grab people the most for sheer standalone quality whereas Bulgaria is very much a song designed more for chart success than stage success. 50 years ago Eduardo Nascimento performed a song called O Ventu Mudou (The wind changed), and tonight the winds will definitely change if Portugal the ultimate underdog of Eurovision wins tonight. Wouldn’t that be a storie dal gran finale?

  • beanie0784

    Main bets are Hungary top 10, Norway top 15 and Cyprus top 10/15. The first two have performed above my expectations on downloads/online videos and are fairly unique in this contest. The latter is a bet purely on price – its well sung, well staged, and has a good draw so the odds look far too generous.

    Top 4 for what its worth:

    1. Italy
    2. Bulgaria
    3. Portugal
    4. Belgium

    Good luck all!

  • Europe is going to love Salvador tonight I think. Enjoy the show everyone.

    1 Portugal
    2 Italy
    3 Bulgaria
    4 Belgium
    5 Armenia
    6 Sweden
    7 Romania
    8 UK
    9 Israel
    10 Hungary
    11 Netherlands
    12 Moldova
    13 Croatia
    14 Cyprus
    15 France
    16 Azerbaijan
    17 Ukraine
    18 Norway
    19 Greece
    20 Denmark
    21 Australia
    22 Austria
    23 Belarus
    24 Poland
    25 Germany
    26 Spain

  • BT

    1. Italy
    2. Portugal
    3. Bulgaria
    4. Belgium
    5. Romania
    6. Armenia
    7. Sweden
    8. United Kingdom
    9. Hungary
    10. Norway

    Good luck for everyone’s bets tonight. I’m agreeing with the market at the moment about the winner and it really is too close to call, but I think Italy will just edge it and do better with the juries than expected although I’d be happy with any of the top 4 winning profit-wise. My main bets are UK, Romania and Armenia top 10 and Norway offering up something different to rack up enough of the smaller points and place in the top 10 and 15. There’s a few deserved last place contenders but I agree above with Austria offering value at current prices along with a punt on Australia.

  • Sindi

    My prediction:

    1. Portugal
    2. Bulgaria
    3. Italy
    4. Belgium
    5. Hungary
    6. Armenia
    7. Azerbaidžan
    8. Romania
    9. Australia
    10. United Kingdom

    I know it’s risky to leave Sweden out. I think they have the least likeable entry for a very long time. Still it’s true that juries might save them.

    • eurovicious

      Well done on getting 3 of the top 4 in the correct positions, calling Australia’s position correctly, and having Hungary and Romania in the top 10 too!

  • Mr Wolf

    My call for tonight:
    1. Portugal
    2. Italy
    3. Bulgaria
    — gap —
    4. Sweden
    5. Belgium
    — gap —
    and then in random order like Hungary, Aze, Moldova, Croatia, Romania, Netherlands or Austria, maybe Armenia, maybe France or Oz or UK
    Cyprus may also surprise and be in TOP15

  • Stoney

    Portugal smashing just about every twitter poll out there. Add that to the other key points been mentioned by others and there really is only 1 winner tonight. Salvador will get by far the best reception of the night and viewers all round Europe will be caught in the magic.

    Good luck everyone

  • ChrisR

    Good luck tonight everyone, I always get goosebumps when Te Deum starts. I’m not in the winners market tonight thankfully, I can’t call it. I’m just on top 15 for UK France Romania Croatia and Armenia, and opposing Austria Whatever your investment, try to enjoy the ride

  • I agree that Italy has faded somewhat, but I still expect it to do quite well. It’s a shame, but if anyone deserves to take it over Francesco, it’s Salvador. It ticks the Classy/Timeless box of my winner’s criteria hugely, with a bucketload of personality to boot and the possible narrative of his health sneaking in there somewhere with perhaps some less tasteful national commentators. The opening camera shot says it all, here’s just hoping there’s as few inaudible/trumpety bits as possible. 46 years and the circus has never rolled into Lisbon. Time for that to change.

    I definitely have a feeling the UK might do a little bit better than we think tonight though. The pyro big note camera shot gives me slight Everest vibes. The BBC have touched greatness this year and this should finally give them a great platform on which to build. Beyond my top 3 is mostly guesswork but for the fun of it:

    1: Portugal
    2: Bulgaria
    3: Italy
    4: Belgium
    5: Armenia
    6: Romania
    7: UK
    8: Greece
    9: Moldova
    10: Hungary

    I’ve largely stayed out of betting this year, but I have a modest 3 figure win on Portugal hoping to be boosted by a nice back to lay on Lucie in play so I’m pretty chill this year which is a welcome relief from this time last year.

    Thanks to Daniel and everyone else for a fun year – enjoy the show!

  • A top 10 prediction seems very tricky tonight. I have to admit that my own country’s poor vocals and staging drop it well out of top 15. It’s a shame for Demy, and for the Greeks. Expectations are very high here… Anyway here is my top-10 final prediction and the wooden-spoon prediction as well:

    1. Bulgaria
    2. Portugal (Please don’t let this win… I can’t stand watching it!)
    3. Italy (He is exaggerating…)
    4. United Kingdom (The best staging, and the best vocals, would have won if it was coming from any eastern european country)
    5. Belgium (I am very happy that she finally improved her performance to a decent level, the song is my personal favourite, but I don’t think she can win)
    6. Armenia
    7. Hungary (very effective stagins as well)
    8. Sweden
    9. Norway
    10. Moldova (should give the epic sax guy a special prize for his performances)

    And the wooden spoon goes to… Spain! They will do it… just not for your lover…

    Daniel, thanks again for a great Eurovision Season. Also have to mention eurovicious’ fantastic article. Very happy to be part of the conversation.

  • stuart

    I expect these 8 to definitely be in the top 10: (They’re in no particular order, not going to try and guess)

    Italy, Portugal, Bulgaria, Sweden, Moldova, Armenia, Romania and Belgium.

    The 11 I have outside the top 15 are: Spain, Germany, Ukraine, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Greece, Poland, Croatia, The Netherlands and France.

    The other countries I’m slotting between 8th – 15. UK might just sneak top 10, although I’m worried about the televote.

    My picks are:
    Moldova top 10
    UK Top 15
    Belarus Top 15 – (Outside chance)
    Lay Ukraine Top 15
    Lay France Top 10

    All the best for tonight 🙂

  • Stoney

    Wow italy odds sinking like an anchor during performance

    Can’t imagine Salvadors performance having a negative effect on his odds

  • Tpfkar

    Watching totally blind, most songs for first time. Based on seeing it all new I would be nervous if I had money on Italy at short odds, put it that way.

    Good luck everyone

  • Hippo

    Italy at 5s. Only 8th in twitter trending. Prepare for a low televote, peaked way too early.

  • Stoney

    Bulgaria making a charge for favouritism now. No way can they top Portugals popularity for phone vote. Twitter went mad for Salvador. Spose it depends how the juries scored it.

  • Stoney

    If that song was from any other country other than uk it would Be top 3. Great effort from Lucy Jones.

    • Ande

      Not a chance, your bias is telling. With extreme luck it could’ve perhaps landed 10th if entered by Greece in the pimp slot. The USP was simply too weak in the UK entry.

      • Stoney

        No bias at all really. I said people were mad to be spending money backing us for a top 10. I knew it was never gonna happen in a miliion years.
        However, Lucys performance in my opinion was better than the Bulgarian effort.

        • Ande

          You are overrestimating Brexit’s importance io the rest of Europe. Western nations still like the UK and UK aren’t perceived nearly as bigoted as for example France or Italy. Either way it’s not like anyone cares in regards to a music competition. Watched Eurovision with a group of 15 people last night and not one person mentioned Brexit during the entire show.

          Regarding the UK entry people mentioned that she was good and lthat they liked the seashell but that the song was bland and a bit boring…

  • Curtis

    That was genuinely fantastic from Lucie Jones. However, I have to say that exactly like when she was on the X Factor while her vocal is great she does lack something – charisma or stage presence perhaps.

  • Stoney

    I would like to think Bulgaria will suffer from being in amoungst some other strong songs in the second half of the draw. But eurovision politics will no doubt play a part in the results.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Having not followed any of your preparation or watched any of the preview shows or being involved in anyway – I’m calling it for Romania. This is Eurovision ffs. If a song with rap and yodelling doesn’t win then nothing means anything anymore.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Also, J K Rowling has tweeted asking all her european followers to vote for the UK on the grounds that it will be very funny to force the UK to pay for an expensive celebration of Europe in 2018.

    • eurovicious

      She’s a twat. Even when I completely agree with her on a given issue she still manages to communicate it in a way that’s smug and patronising.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I quite like her. I wasn’t a particular fan of the books but then they’re for kids and I’m (mostly) a grown up. I quite like her on Twitter (although tbh I’m fed up with everyone‘s politics).

  • eurovicious

    Kristian summons the rain.

  • Hippo

    Italy 11s, behind Belgium.

  • Keanu

    Are we saying between Portugal and Bulgaria right ??
    That’s a big price on Italy now
    Just trying to cover all 3 so make tidy profit split stakes now mainly going on Bulgarian and Portugal . Mostly go on Portugal at this moment an trade off later

  • Tarmac

    Any good forums for live betting updates? And general updates? As brilliant as it has been here it’s quiet at the moment just when some inside knowledge would be useful!

  • Stoney

    Portugal cruising the jury vote

  • SamH

    They should go round Europe for the Televote IMO not the juries

  • Jessica Hamby

    If last year is any guide then Portugal are not going to win. Didn’t they have an algorithm that chose the order the various countries announced their results to make sure that the final 1 2 3 was not predictable?

  • 360

    Seems my pre-finals prediction didn’t load earlier. I had Bulgaria picked for my #1.

    Portugal is doing way better with juries than I expected. Also, Blanche much worse than I expected. I know we’re only halfway through but 150 points behind Portugal is [i]not[/i] what I expected.

  • Hippo

    Wow. Bulgaria instructed juries to avoid any competitors then…
    That is so dodgy.

  • Hippo

    Portugal surpasses Mans on jury. Biggest win ever is on.

  • Curtis

    Poor Lucie gets snubbed by televote. As predicted by many here, Brexit hasn’t gone down well!

    • eurovicious

      It wasn’t because of Brexit.

      • johnkef

        even though i had the impression that Brexit would harm UK’s chances it was Lucie’s awkward expressions that did the job. She looked liked she was constipated while singing. I did guess it would finish 15th. hehe

        • Dull awful song is wat dun it.

          BBC ceding staging to the record company hugely significant for future UK entries if they maintain that arrangement. The industry could even start to become interested in the song choice.

        • Black n Blue

          The UK got the maximum out of the package, which does bode well for the future. Never give up on you as a song wasn’t going to set the world alight, so I agree that the same approach with a better song should yield a top 10 placing.

        • johnkef

          Looking at the list of the countries that voted for the UK on the other hand, televoting wise, i believe Brexit did play a part. Just 11 points from 3 Commonwealth countries and 1 point from Spain, maybe had supporters in Cataluna and Basque country.

          Ireland also played the Brexit card game by punishing UK and not giving a single point by their jury.

        • Black n Blue

          I could see Brexit playing it’s part with some of the juries, even though they were the ones who abetted the song the most. Allies like Ireland and Malta who have rewarded worse off UK entries in the past, chose to snub them last night. That was very deliberate.

          However, I don’t think that was the case with the televote. I agree with the notion that last night was an indicator that the public has moved on from the generic female ballad, as seen from the dismissal of the UK/NL/Denmark/ and Malta’s nul point in the semi-final.

          • I genuinely don’t think people would NOT vote for a song because the country wanted to leave the EU. In any case, there’s plenty of people in Spain, Greece, Italy etc. who have seen the Euro trash their economies. There’s a lot of countries, including the hosts, who aren’t in the EU. Next year’s host is in the EU but it’s not long ago they sent a protest song at the fact their economy was on its arse too.

            I could understand some resentment from some of the newcomers to the EU in the East, and those nations that actively want to join.

            We’ve got Italy in the Top 10 and France and the UK in the middle, but once again there’s Big Five countries at the bottom. Granted, Do It For Your Lover sounded good as a single, but fell to bits live. Germany… it wasn’t awful. But it wasn’t exactly Satellite either.

  • 360

    Well, Bulgaria second is not so bad. I did not expect Portugal to do so well on jury, that blindsided me. Not what I expected for a competition which for such a long time recently has favoured modern pop songs.

  • Keley Ann

    Denmark getting only 5 televote points in the semi but qualifying has to be a record surely?

  • Stoney

    Having skipped eurovision last year I was unaware of this new format. Just before they went to the phone votes I could have cashed out for around 95% of my total returns but I chose not to. What I didn’t know was how nerve racking the new format was when revealing the phone votes. Next time I’ll be taking the cash out!
    All in all I don’t think anyone could argue that Salvador wasn’t a worthy winner. The Bulgarian entry wasn’t on the same level. Italy flopped way harder than I imagine. Uk did pretty much as I expected maybe a little bit better.

  • Alpie

    tonight’s suprise is Moldova and disaster is Armenia. Unbelievable !!!! My worst ESC night as well.

    • Papa

      Armenia cost me as well, seems like the one that was consistently throwing people off. Still got Portugal at good odds before the semi but couldn’t resist shifting some of it tonight towards Italy duh

  • johnkef

    My best Eurovision ever!!! Got an almost 200% Roi in 4digit sums.

    Portugal to win @10.93 with some covers to Italy, Bulgaria, Armenia and Belgium

    Top-3 @2.97, Top-4 @3.00, Top-5@2.49, Top-10 @ 1.84

    plus Belgium’s Top-4 @ 2.96, Top-5 @ 2.62 and Top-10 @2.24

    Armenia my biggest disappointment. Happy i barely touched Bulgaria and Italy and Sweden not touched at all.

    I had Moldova Top-15 @ 2.08

  • Thanks to Daniel for maintaining this site and to Dan and Eurovicious for the articles. See you for the next one.

  • johnkef

    Voting Paradoxes

    1. Finland was 12th with the juries and 10th with the televoting…
    2. Blanche was bullied for 10 days but Isaiah managed with an atrocious second half out of tone to be 2nd with the juries and 15th in televoting in the semi.
    3. Apparently the super-hero Polish diaspora does not exist
    4. Slovenia was 17th with the juries and 16th with the televoting. Good voice or not you need a good song.
    5, Norway was a paradox all the way. What exactly did the jurors find appealing to that?
    6. Austria. Being off key apparently is not that important for the juries unless you are Blanche
    7. Denmark in semi 5th with juries – 16th!!!! with televoting
    8. Malta- This is not a paradox but what is this country doing with the juries every year? i’m curious
    9. Lithuania scored one point more than Estonia with the juries!!! lol
    10. San Marino finished last with just a point when the penultimate Lithuania had 42, but managed to finish 17th with the public, ahead of Malta!!!
    11. Greece got48 jury points and 29 televotes in final…

    • Good results johnkef.

      Interesting paradoxes but I don’t agree with Norway, I think it was a fantastic modern song. Actually Norway Top10, and before that To Q, were my biggest single wins. The staging was poor and the singer could have done with more charisma but the overall package was good imo.

    • Greece – huge diaspora + good song + good draw + great singer = 29 televotes. I think they’re sick of the government and economic situation and have their patriotism on hold. Worth remembering for next year.

    • zelenovi

      Re point 9 (Estonia v Lithuania) – I’m not so surprised. Fusedmarc are a band with 20 years’ experience together and even if their song was terrible, it was quite experimental, very different to the rest on offer and performed well if you’re into that kind of thing.

      Estonia (while I enjoyed it more myself) had two singers with zero chemistry, joining up just for the occasion, singing a dated song, with vocal issues and a messy act. If you’re actually judging on musical merit and quality of performance, I would give Lithuania the edge.

  • James Martin

    And that is why we voted to leave.

    • eurovicious

      Leave it aaht m8. We got our best result in 6 years because of an outstanding performer and staging. The song was the weak link, everyone knew that. Most people are celebrating, even the mainstream press who all too often consider anything worse than 1st a failure are saying we did ourselves proud. Onward and upward.

      • Fair beans, but I have to say as a fan as well as a better, it is sad that once again we have done well with the juries but dragged down significantly by the televote.

        Why isn’t Europe picking up the phone for us?

        • eurovicious

          Because the song wasn’t good enough or didn’t have relevance/strike the zeitgeist. We were above 6 countries in the televote, you could equally well ask why Europe isn’t picking up the phone for them. We were 5th in the televote in 2011 when we sent a well-known international act. Other countries in Eurovision don’t respond with a self-defeating “Europe hates us” when they keep doing badly, they just keep trying or mix it up and put more effort in. The top 2 this year, Portugal and Bulgaria, both have shocking Eurovision records for the past 20 years, among the worst of any participating country. Same was the case for Austria and Netherlands in 2014. You gotta mix it up and go outside the box. The only place a possible Brexit effect is notable, I think, is that we didn’t get our usual jury votes from Ireland and Malta. But our entry this year was a step in the right direction and I think we can all be proud of it.

        • edwardo

          Or perhaps we could ask why the juries are so generous to the UK’s entries when the general public is uninterested?

          The answer’s probably different to the one you’d get if you asked it about Malta, but still, it’s worth asking. (Also, as an Australian I have no idea why the juries liked our entry so much at all. It was blander than the UK one, and not sung anywhere near as well)

          • I think juries put middle-of-the-road Anglo-American pop (which by extension includes Australia) on a pedestal. The top 10 in the televote had 5 western European and 5 eastern European countries, whereas the jury top 10 had 8 Western countries and only 2 eastern European ones. Cultural cringe plays a significant role, I think, especially when strongly performed artistic singer-songwriter entries like Origo and Blackbird are (counterintuitively) strongly marked down by juries and have to rely on televoters saving them (which in Finland’s case wasn’t enough) – while juries ranked I Can’t Go On 3rd in the final to televoters’ 8th.

        • Unfortunately, though they did less bad than usual, this missed top10 is still on the BBC. That nobody told Lucie she was grimacing throughout the whole song is quite frankly insane. She has a wonderful smile as shown in the VT, if she had replaced the faces with the smile I think top10 would have been within reach through a much boosted televote.

          Also, who decided to ruin the climax star moment with completely distracting pyros? Less important than the faces, but still. BBC has a long way to go.

          • Milton

            Spot on squall, very disappointing outcome for the UK in the end, should have done so much better. Well done to those who predicted it. Very well done also to those who predicted that the juries would be so keen on Oz. I said that I’d be surprised to see them get 20 points from the televote so at least I got that right, but even getting just 2 points from the public didn’t prevent them from getting top 10 overall.

  • I would love to have seen the odds on Austria to finish higher than Armenia before the show!! My Italy win bets were more than compensated by plenty on Portugal e/w at 14-1 three weeks ago and Moldova top ten….Netherlands and UK landing outside top ten cost me a bit…..not as good a year as Jamala 2016, but still a solid green…..Delighted for Portugal….always great to have a new wining country…..I hope Bulgaria and Armenia’s turns will come soon…..

  • Ben Cook

    It really seems that the public now are fed up of women singing classic Eurovision power ballads. A lot of them failed to qualify, and the three that did (UK, DK, NL) all did well with the juries but did absolutely nothing on the televote. Malta got 0 points from the public in their semi! This does seem to happen a lot, with the only recent exceptions I can think of being Conchita & Sanna.

  • Black n Blue

    Can anyone tell me what the odds were for Moldova Top 3/4/5 yesterday morning?

    • johnkef

      Definitely crazy. Is there someone that actually took one of these bets?

      Every year there is a huge surprise in Top-4 or Top-5 and even though in here you can see every kind of dare or crazy predictions, usually the one that happens is missed by everyone.

      I am actually curious to know if everyone hit that. I had it Top-15@ 2.08

      • Mr Wolf

        I was buying Moldova TOP5 around 6-8 on Saturday. I just realised on the day of the Final that it has strong enough potential for that (to be this year Poli and sneak into TOP5).
        I saw them threatening Belgium and Sweden, but didn’t expect them to beat Italy overall lol.

    • Black n Blue

      Could it have been @40-50 for Top 3?

      From reading people’s thoughts on forums, it seems like Moldova was this year’s Poli Genova, in presenting an extremely well put together chart-worthy and stage ready package that most including myself had written off for being too fun/daring/mad/whatever you want to insert here.

      • johnkef

        Agree. I thought it looked too cheap to even to crack the Top-10, but i believe that people are now voting for something authentic. Be it a timeless ballad, a funny song, a weak but full of sentiments voice. Maybe Moldovans have read Eurovicious’s article about Eurovision being the modern church and decided to present a church mystery on its stage…hehe

        The industrial-fabricated songs built to win the contest don’t do the trick any more.

        • eurovicious

          Portugal was a prayer, Bulgaria shot sparks and caused tremors, Moldova staged a triple wedding and took the idea of “Eurovision entry as meme” to its logical extreme by sending an actual internet meme. I’m delighted for them, and I had it top 10, but I thought it’d come about 8th, not 3rd. Watching it back, it really doesn’t seem of top 3/4 quality – the English is near-totally undecipherable…

  • samxerxes

    I backed it on the morning at 18.5 on betfair for top 3. Already had it at top 10 at 5 (start of the week) and rebacked same day at 2.3.

    I felt it was fun and well staged so had the potential to do well. One of the few songs I had stuck in my head from an overall weak set of songs. Thank you Moldova!

  • ChrisR

    I stupidly layed Moldova for top 10. My only downer on the night. The current Mrs R watched the first 20 songs with me, at that point I asked her favourite so far, she piped up with Moldova and Portugal. I should have cashed out then. Next year I will start listening to her. Not til then though. On a non betting note, I bet Lisbon is nice in May… tempted.

  • Thanks to all who have organised coverage again, by the way. As always it’s been an enjoyable read.

    It’ll be time for X Factor before we know it!

  • johnkef

    I am looking at the polls in various sites plus OGAE and i’m trying hard not to start laughing out loud. Italy 1st, Portugal 5-6th, Bulgaria the same, Estonia, Macedonia and Finland in the Top-10. And there are still people that take them seriously or as an indication of the public’s trends…

    • OGAE isn’t much use from a prediction perspective. The Eurojury jury vote however is extremely useful in roughly predicting the jury vote on the night, including outliers.

      • Nail in the coffin for OGAE?….

        Moldova didn’t get a single vote…

        such a populist, up tempo track which outdid everyone’s expectations…..

        I know OGAE has, from time to time, picked out a winner or two, but its days are numbered……certainly as a accurate predictive instrument…..

        • zelenovi

          ‘Nail in the coffin’? OGAE is a fan club, mate – predictions are a fun side activity for them, it’s never been the point of its existence. I agree that is has no real value for betters, but that should have been clear years ago.

      • johnkef

        I have to disagree here. They might got right some of the countries but in the same time they missed many others. They got Estonia right and they have Romania just one spot above it. 40 jury points for Spain and 46 for Moldova? And what about Portugal and Bulgaria jurywise?

        My point is that without having the final product to judge you cannot make an accurate estimation. If we analyse all the top-10’s and final’s rankings in here, the chance is that some of us got right some countries and some not. But when all polls fail to predict the Winner, 2nd and 3rd, without implying that me or you or anyone else in here did it, then the polls help no more than a prediction of a punter in sofabet or any other site. In fact most of the Top-10’s, mada 3 weeks after eurojury, are far more accurate

    • Ande

      You have to realize that there’s huge discrepancies in uncertainty factors between diffrent entrants.

      Sweden is probably the most reliable one as the Eurovision performance is usually very similair (albeit a little worse) than it’s MF equivalent. If Sweden wins OGAE it is a very reliable top 3 unless it specifically caters to the OGAE audience. If it places lower top 10 it shouldn’t be a contender for the win. Other reliable contestants are the Nordic countries as well as Russia and Azerbadjan, all of whom usually gets the staging right.

      OGAE usually doesn’t care about vocals, so a weak/strong performer won’t show in OGAE polls. Also countries releasing well produced western oriented music videos will be rated higher.

      The cases of Portugal/Bulgaria is quite similair to Austria in 2014. The non live part of the OGAE voting ensured that their vocal prowess, stage presence and staging didn’t affect voting results. On the other hand all three of them performed better than you would expect in an OGAE poll, good indicators that there was potential there. Often people only care about poll winnersso if something lands outside the top 3 it generally goes by unnoticed.

  • I want to pinpoint that Portugal 2017 is a record breaking winner. It broke winner’s points record. From jurors it received douze points in 18 countries. From voters douze points received in 12 countries. It got points from every country in the televote and from 39 countries in the jury. Only Bulgaria’s and Montenegro’s jury didn’t give points. This is phenomenal win. It is bigger than Euphoria or Fairytale.

    • Under the old system it would have beaten the mighty Rybak. it’s a huge victory.

    • Stoney

      Bulgaria hmm I wonder why they didn’t give any points. Didnt see the Portuguese jury being so petty.

      • Ande

        Yeah, check the Bulgarian jury, not a singel favorite received any points from them :-O

      • Sagand

        Well, the Portugese jury gave Bulgaria their second lowest Jury ranking (the lowest being Ukraine who seemed to be reacting to Kristian’s Crimea visit) so they can’t really be praised for being that much above it. In a way being better at cheating is worse.

        The three pre-contest favourites were Portugal, Italy and Bulgaria the only two countries those Jury that didn’t give points to any of them were Bulgaria and Portugal.

  • fused

    I know I haven’t commented much on here about Eurovision this time round, but the articles and comments on this site have been very, very good, as always.

    I wrote something about this year’s Eurovision, mainly the final, if anyone’s interested:

    • Montelll

      I enjoyed reading that. I really hope Israel will manage to participate next year.

    • It wasn’t the best Eurovision, and anything was going to be a huge downgrade from the flawless SVT production in Stockholm, but it’s by no means the worst.

      That said I have to congratulate the techincal teams, where M&M Productions and SVT effectively produced the programme. To get that side of things up to the standard they did was very impressive considering they had 4 months tops to put it together, and I hope some of the team get to work on Lisbon. I’m certainly really enouraged by how keen RTP seem to want to be seen as having their ducks in a row ASAP.

  • Milton

    Doesn’t look like the EBU are sharing the voting breakdown by individual juror like they have the past three years, unless I am looking in the wrong place? So much for being open. Its not surprising really as the last three years they have exposed blatant collusion amongst the five jurors from many countries for all to see.

  • Milton

    Cheers Montell. My apologies to EBU and fair play to them still being prepared to share this info warts and all.

  • I feel like we need to discuss the eagle in the room – exactly what went wrong for Armenia this year?

    Was Artsvik too fierce and aggressive-looking for televoters?
    Did the song take too long to get going?
    Was there even much of a song there at all?
    Were the Armenian diaspora living under a rock?

    All of the above? I’d be keen to hear what other people think happened for their shockingly poor result.

    • I was meaning to write a post-ESC summary but didn’t get round to it, partly because there were 3-5 other really good articles in the immediate wake of Eurovision that said a lot of what I wanted to say – e.g.:
      – (and also this, in relation to Monday, which I’d strongly argue doesn’t stand in opposition to what Salvador said but complements it:

      But, yes, Armenia – I’m going for “all of the above”. I watched SF1 and the final with different sets of people, and the Armenian entry passed both of them by, it just blended in and people didn’t really notice or comment on it. I think the campness of the presentation (pink-bathed and full of attitudinal posing and werqing, a sort of ethno Drag Race without the drag) was a significant part of it (it was much kitschier than the music video), perhaps even more so than the fact that yeah, Artsvik’s perceived personality as conveyed in those 3 minutes was mysterious, imperious and unapproachable (ditto her two dancers) when in reality she’s anything but. The pink eagle she cast into the audience came too late and looked naff. Don’t know about the diaspora vote, maybe they only vote heavily for established stars so the fact Artsvik is a newcomer (am I correct?) could have played a part. I like the song, but it’s not especially emotive, doesn’t have a message or key takeaway feeling, and isn’t as singular as their similar 2014 entry or as emotive as other low-key success stories like CATS and APD. Bottom line is I think there just wasn’t a sense of relevance there.

    • Ronn

      Going into the contest, the buzz around Armenia suggested that it would essentially be Love Wave Pt 2 – a diva vocalist, a song that builds to a dramatic climax, and visually impressive staging.

      But it didn’t work like that. Iveta Mukuchyan is a sex bomb pop goddess; Artsvik is just a nice lady who can sing really well.

      There was nothing about the Fly With Me performance that delivered the sort of “wow” feeling that Love Wave had. It was an average song delivered competently by a vocalist who felt more like a schoolteacher (her actual day job) than a pop star.

      And then there was the whole issue of Fly With Me not actually being a catchy song. Where’s the hook to drunkenly singing with your mates on the way to Euroclub?

      If 2017 taught us anything, it’s that a diaspora isn’t all that powerful if the song isn’t so great to start with (Armenia, Greece, Poland).

      • 360

        I felt the stage was ‘too big’ for some of the acts, they struggled to fill it and as a result it came across emptier than it should have done.

        I felt this about Armenia 2017 and Italy 2017. I felt that was a big factor why Italy in particular did worse than we predicted – on the night it just didn’t quite hit and bring the whole room into the party the way it was intending to; instead, the party was limited to the stage.

        Of course; that played to certain acts’ favour, Blanche was as isolated as the song described her to be; Moldova were doing their own crazy party with the audience able to look in like being at the zoo, and the winner Sobral avoided the whole thing altogether by using only the smaller part of the stage inside the crowd.

    • I think Armenia tried to apply last year’s success formula. The song was composed and produced by the same crew that did “LoveWave”. It is hard to create a masterpiece two years in a row. You either have to be very talented or have a big team of professionals. I suddenly remembered Aminata. She was 6th in 2015 with her beautiful song “Love Injected”. Next year she wrote “Hearbeat” for Justs who initially was among the favorites but in the end finished only 15th. This year she wrote “I’m Like a Wolf” for Aistė Pilvelytė who competed in Lithuania’s national selection and finished 3rd.

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