7 Lasting Thoughts from the Eurovision Grand Final

So Portugal’s Salvador Sobral ended up taking the Eurovision trophy for 2017 with 758 points with the song Amar Pelos Dois. The bookies predicted this win just a few days before the final but I leave the Eurovision final thinking less about the winning song and just about everything else:

  1. Oleksandr Skichko, Volodymyr Ostapchuk and Timur Miroschnychenko were not good hosts

Maybe it’s because we had Petra Mede and Mans Zelmerlow last year but I felt the quality of the hosting went down this year. The hosts seemed to be pretty unnatural, clinical and robotic; they lacked the fluidity and chemistry of Petra and Mans. When Timur asked the crowd for a cheer, he got nothing. NOTHING. I cringed so much at that point. Also Oleksandr and Volodymyr (who I’m sure asked everyone to call him ‘vulva’) kept asking the female spokespersons to “leave their phone numbers” during the jury voting. That was cringeworthy too.

  1. Where did it all go wrong for Italy’s Francesco Gabbani?

I couldn’t fault his performance whatsoever. The vocals were on point and the choreography worked. I think that it ever so slightly lost its charm on stage with the choice of colours. The gorilla rather got a bit lost in the end. Not only that, it was pretty early on in the running order and coming after Moldova and before Portugal, it suffered. There was so much hype over it winning before the contest yet it finished 6th overall. Sorry Francesco.

  1. Where did it all go wrong for the UK’s Lucie Jones?

I can’t even begin to wonder why juries did not rate that as highly as Italy, Bulgaria or Portugal. This performance has absolutely everything. A strong message (more on that later), a stunning clean vocal and powerful staging that looked like a winning performance. The juries should have lapped this up! This was the first performance, to me, which screamed winner. Maybe I’m biased but this is miles ahead of anything we’ve sent recently.

We also got no points from the Irish jury; I know that the jury isn’t the place where we use bloc voting but Moldova gave 12 points to Romania, Greece gave 12 points to Cyprus and vice versa and Denmark and Finland gave 12 points to Sweden. Like come on Ireland!

And as for the televotes, we had a prime spot in 18th position, surrounded by Spain, Norway and Cyprus. I think that Romania stole many of the televotes from this section with their song and even though our staging had winning qualities about it, it just wasn’t enough to overcome the strong end to the songs. Shame really, this was one of our best chances to do well and this was my personal winner.

  1. Austria received 0 points and Australia received 2 points from the televote; Spain received 0 points from the jury vote

I’m not surprised that Spain got no points from the juries – which sort of begs the question how it ever won the jury vote back in Objetivo Eurovision! (cough Mirela should’ve won, I’ve put her song “Contigo” below, that would not have finished last) – as the song was rather lacklustre and very repetitive. That “do eet for your lovah” gets very annoying very quickly.

I was rather surprised with the televotes for Austria and Australia. Last year, Austria sent a cutesy song with Zoe’s Loin d’Ici and that finished 8th in the televote with 120 points. This year, they sent a pretty cutesy song and got nothing. This is the 2nd time that Austria has received 0 points from the televoting, the first of which being in 2015. Australia, I’m less surprised by but to get only 2 points is shocking. They were overshadowed by Croatia probably and in the end, got lost in the entire crowd of 26 songs.

  1. Moldova, Bulgaria and Portugal received their best ever results in Eurovision history

Moldova’s best result in Eurovision was all the way back on its debut in 2005 in Kyiv with a 6th place from Zdob și Zdub. Now Moldova’s new best result in Eurovision comes from Sunstroke Project and “Hey Mamma” with 374 points. I’ll be honest, I never expected Moldova to perform this well. It finished 3rd in the televote which is a huge achievement that Sunstroke Project can be proud of – putting it in the same league as Mans Zelmerlow’s Heroes and Michal Szpak’s Color of Your Life, both of which finished third in the televotes in 2015 and 2016 respectively. It finished much higher in the jury vote than I thought it would, finishing with 110 points in 8th place.

Bulgaria has been fantastic in the past 2 years, sending songs which wouldn’t be out of place on the UK charts. Last year, Poli Genova got Bulgaria their best result since their debut in 2005 with “If Love Was A Crime” with 307 points, finishing in 4th place. But Kristian Kostov blew Poli Genova out of the water with a huge 615 points and 2nd place. His performance was amazing, I was blown away and it’s still impossible to believe he is 17 years old! Kristian finished 2nd in both the jury and televote which was enough for Jamala to win last year. This year, Bulgaria was my personal winner (besides the UK!)

This year, however, Portugal appealed to both the juries and televote and blowing all of the other songs out of the water with 758 points, setting new records for the highest amount of jury points (382, taking over from Mans Zelmerlow in 2015 with 353) and televote points (376, taking over from Il Volo in 2015 with 366). I don’t like the song and I’m not sure that I ever will but I see why others do. Portugal has been waiting for a win for 53 years and its best result before this year was back in 1996 with 6th place. It is a huge achievement for Portugal.

The big names in modern Eurovision, Belgium, Sweden, Australia, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan all had mixed results tonight.

Belgium claimed another 4th place tonight, improving on last year’s 10th place with Laura Tesoro but matching Loic Nottet’s performance from 2015. Sweden have another 5th place under its belt, its fourth consecutive top 5 finish and its tenth top 5 finish this century! Australia claimed its 3rd top 10 finish tonight, even with receiving just 2 points from the televote!

Ukraine finished in 24th, its worst ever finish in the history of Eurovision. For a country who’s finished in the top 5 six out of the 14 times they’ve taken part, they should aim to do better next year. Azerbaijan had 5 consecutive years in the top 5 from 2009 to 2013 but since then, they’ve gone slightly downhill. Finishing 14th would be good for many countries but is a step backwards for Azerbaijan. Armenia is a bit of a Eurovision powerhouse with 7 top 10 finishes in their 11 appearances. Artsvik finished in 18th, not their worst result but nowhere near where they finished with Aram MP3 or Sirusho.

  1. What did Salvador Sobral mean by “We live in a world of disposable music, fast-food music without any content and I think that this can be a victory for music with people that make music that means something. Music is not fireworks, music is feeling”?

I sincerely hope that Salvador was not referring to any of the songs in the contest because music is a powerful device to convey messages to all kinds of people through all kinds of genre. The songwriters of all the songs at Eurovision, I’m sure, would be deeply offended by hearing him say that your songs don’t matter because it’s disposable or it has no feeling.

Music touches people in different ways and some songs can have different meanings for different people. I picked out a few songs from Eurovision 2017 which have touched me deeply with their strong and heartfelt messages:

  • Finland’s song “Blackbird” by Norma John uses the blackbird as a symbol for a trigger, a memory that reminds her of a broken relationship and asking the blackbird to not sing symbolizes the heartbreak that she still feels. This is a powerful song which is haunting in its melody, one which connects to many listeners.
  • Svala’s song “Paper”, like “Blackbird”, contains a deep message using the symbolism of paper. It symbolizes emotions; “you cut right through / I’m stuck like glue to you” means that our emotions can cut right through and destroy us but they are a part of who we are and we have to accept that. Svala herself opened up about how personal the song is, dealing with anxiety herself as a teenager.
  • Lucie Jones wants to earn the trust of someone close and lets them know that she will “never give up on [you]” even when all hope is lost. The line “if you could see how far you’ve walked / the mountains climbed the oceans crossed” connects with me on a very personal level and makes me often think about how much I have achieved in my life.
  • O’G3NE’s song was written by their father and is addressed to their mother who has a terminal illness. The song is empowering, telling us to fight our personal demons and come out stronger the other side; there is hope. Everyone will “walk that road that everybody goes, through lights and shadows”, the lights and shadows symbolizing the good and bad times in our lives.

Not all songs contain such powerful messages as Finland, Iceland, the UK and the Netherlands. Some songs contain much more light-hearted messages in more high tempo songs but they are just as important nevertheless:

  • Moldova’s song “Hey Mamma” discusses an overbearing mother-in-law who prevents her son-in-law from having fun with her daughter and tries to convince her that he is the right person for her daughter to marry. “You will never hide what you think of me” is a powerful line in this upbeat song. Clearly the son loves the daughter so much yet the mother is blind to it with her overprotectiveness and is perhaps unwilling to let her go.
  • Romania’s song is upbeat and a lot of fun. The message of the song could not be made any clearer than the following lyrics: “If you’re stuck in a place feeling incomplete / If you wanna run feeling like a misfit / Come on sing along, come on sing this song”.

Whether your song is a ballad or a rap with yodelling, they can both discuss the same content, just in different styles. Every song has meaning, every songwriter uses song writing as a way to get a message out there in the same way a poet uses poetry, an author uses a story or even me using my sites as a blogger. Just because a song is staged with a cannon exploding confetti, a guy playing a fake saxophone with 3 girls singing into flower microphones or a few pyrotechnics, that does not mean their song is not without content or a strong message. If anything, they can sometimes enhance the messages.

I don’t feel anything when I listen to Portugal’s song. I get why others like the song but it’s just not for me. I see why Portugal broke the Eurovision records for the highest number of televote AND jury points tonight. But that doesn’t mean you can be arrogant and say that other songs don’t matter. All music matters and Salvador saying that “music is not fireworks” disregards the strong and powerful delivery of Lucie Jones’ song, for example, and any other song that used pyrotechnics last night. He did himself a disservice with this comment.

However we will be heading off to Lisbon for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, moving away from the Nordics and Eastern Europe to Western Europe for the first time since Dusseldorf 2011. Twitter was immediately awash wondering whether Portugal could finance the competition but as the Eurovision season draws to a close for another year, we’ll just have to wait and see whether Lisbon 2018 will indeed happen!

  1. Moldova finished 3rd!

This is still mind boggling to me. A song about an overprotective mother-in-law, a man who was a meme 7 years ago playing a fake saxophone, 3 girls wearing wedding dresses and hat singing into flower bouquet microphones and 3 Moldovan men in suits finished ahead of 3 of the pre-contest favourites in Belgium, Sweden and Italy? Moldova, who failed to qualify for the past 3 years, finished 3rd. Well done Moldova!!

What did you think of the Eurovision grand final? Did you agree with the results last night? Which songs were your favourites? Let me know!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. dkotseva2014 says:

    That was a very insightful and well-written article. Eurovision is such a peculiar phenomenon and I feel like every show is bringing new observations about Europe’s state of mind. Thank you for all the kind words on Bulgaria. We were all very proud of our performer! I do think Portugal’s song is one of the most easily forgettable ones and I am puzzled we lost out to it. I thought that Italy, Belgium or the UK would nab the top spot to be honest.

    Like

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment! It’s quite hard to predict what happens every year, the odds had Italy as its clear winner for many months yet it ended up in 6th :/ you’re welcome, Bulgaria was my favourite song before the live shows and Kristian performed it amazingly in the final, he sang well and looked so professional! I agree, it may have broken Eurovision records but I wonder who will remember it in the upcoming months. ‘Beautiful Mess’ should be a chart hit around Europe and will be played a lot! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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