Eurovision 2020

Among the many events that have become “casualties” of the coronavirus is this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. With the pandemic raging across Europe, it was decided that it just wouldn’t be safe to have an event bringing thousands of people into Rotterdam for an international “battle of the bands”. When the announcement of the cancellation was made, there was no small amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth from fans, expressing dismay that their favorite artists and songs would be forgotten.

As it happens, all the participants and their songs had been announced prior to the cancellation. So one could easily support their favorites by purchasing their music – even the official CD compilation. Also, Eurovision officials have stated that while this year’s songs will NOT be eligible next year, there’s nothing to prevent any of this year’s performers from being chosen to represent their countries next year in Rotterdam (the host city this year, and the presumptive host next year).

As far as the Grand Final show is concerned, organizers are working on a special concert in lieu of the finals.

And if you miss the voting and drama (such as it is), the people behind the “My Eurovision Scoreboard” app have set up a polling among their users to pick a winner. It’s being done along the same lines as the real competition, with two semi-finals and a Grand Final. They’ve already done their voting for the First Semi-Final:

I can’t tell if that’s some careful editing or if they actually did manage to get two real Eurovision hosts to announce their winners. If it’s the latter, you have to give some real applause to them.

I wonder who they will announce as their winner…..

Eurovision Time Again

Yep, it’s that time of year.

All the official videos are out, the running orders for the semifinals are set, the host city is getting ready for the crowds, bookies are giving odds…

Having looked over and listened to all the entrants, I have to say that nothing really stands out. Maybe I just haven’t listened to them enough.

Anyway, here’s the “compilation” video if you don’t want to spend over two hours listening to the songs in their entirety:

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The Eurovision Camp Factor – II

Well, another Eurovision has come and gone. Portugal’s Salvador Sobral won everyone over with his passionate love song, “Amar Pelos Dios”.

But of course, no one watches it for the songs, right? You all want to see wacky staging and crazy costumes!

A few weeks ago, I posted a “Eurovision Camp Factor” scale, setting up scores from 1 (a basic, straightforward performance) to 10 (way over the top in everything). How did the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest turn out?

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Eurovision: The Camp Factor

Another Eurovision approaches, and commentators here in the US are, if they talk about Eurovision at all, will often bring up the “campiness” of the proceedings, and go on in a snarky attitude about how silly the whole thing is.

While it’s true that the show has been campy in the past (thanks in part to scoring rules that tended to favor spectacle), and still gets there occasionally, the acts you see are more like those who would appear as the musical guest on a late night talk show. The performances aren’t really different than what you’d expect to see for an act with a similar career arc (a few years in the business with an album or two under their belt) at a similar venue.

If you insist on watching the show for the campiness and not for the great number of fine performances, here’s a handy 1 – 10 scale for judging the Camp Factor of a performance (with examples from the past five years of Eurovision). There’s no “zero” score (or “nil points”, to use the Eurovision term) for campiness. Simply by association, you get a bit of campiness rubbed off on you.

(lots of embedded videos after the jump)

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Random Thoughts from Eurovision 2016

No Love for the Czech Republic? Gabriela Gunčíková got gornischt from the televoters. This was the first year that the C.R. made the cut for the finals, and although “I Stand” got some points (41) from the jurors, not a single country’s televoters saw fit to toss them a point or two. I suspect that this was due to the flat and uninspired staging. The song was fine, her performance was fine, but there was nothing in the staging to help Miss Gunčíková stand out. No fireworks, no light-up costume, no backup dancers, no cool graphics or lighting. In a competition this intense, you can’t afford to miss any aspect of the performance.

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So, How’d They Do?

Thanks to the new method for announcing the scores, it came down to the very end. Only forty-three points separated the Top Three. Here’s the Top Ten, and the predictions from my post last time:

Bookies EurovisionTops ESCape Wiwibloggs
1. Ukraine Russia France France  Russia
2. Australia Ukraine Russia Russia  France
3. Russia France Spain Australia  Bulgaria
4. Bulgaria Sweden Bulgaria Spain  Iceland
5. Sweden Australia Hungary Ukraine  Croatia
6. France Malta Australia Croatia  Australia
7. Armenia Armenia Croatia Bulgaria  Ukraine
8. Poland Israel Latvia Latvia  Spain
9. Lithuania Italy Italy Italy  Malta
10. Belgium United Kingdom Azerbaijan Hungary  Cyprus

Looks like the bookies had it best, but even so, they had quite a few misses in the Top Ten. Everyone overrated France, YouTubers blew it on Ukraine, and the expert fans at Wiwibloggs…. Well, let’s hope no one lost too much money on the outcome…..

I’ll have some personal thoughts and observations in my next post.

Eurovision 2016 – The Predictions

The rehearsals are all done; the first semi-finals are tomorrow.

Now’s a good time to take a look and see what songs are predicted to win Eurovision this year. I’m going to go by country names and not song titles or artists, because that’s what everyone else does. I know it’s not really fair to them, but that’s the way it is.

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Eurovision 2016

It’s probably expected that anyone writing for a mostly American audience explain what the world’s largest song competition is about when discussing Eurovision.


Think of “March Madness”, the national college basketball championship tournament. Picture the fan following, the media coverage, the statistical analyses, and even the betting. Now imagine that instead of basketball, it’s all about a “Battle of the Bands”.

That’s what Eurovision is like in Europe.
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Final Thoughts on Eurovision 2015

The kitsch / camp / cheese factor that the contest has been known for seems to have vanished this year. There were no truly bizarre costumes or “WTF?” staging. The UK’s Electro Volta did have light-up costumes, but given their music video, something like that was to be expected. Same thing for the “air violin” woman with Slovenia’s Maraaya.

Even though there are breaks in the show where one could insert commercials or sponsorship announcements, I don’t think we’ll ever see it on TV in the US. No network, even a cable one, is going to want to sacrifice four hours on a Saturday afternoon without being able to get advertising dollars; and the European Broadcasting Union is not going to alter their format for a country that isn’t part of the festivities anyway.

People take it WAAAAY too seriously. Oh no! Did a malfunctioning smoke machine hurt Nina Sublatti’s (Georgia) chances? France says their poor showing is an “injustice” and are thinking of withdrawing next year!* How could the juries have scored Italy so low when the song was so awesome? An Australian juror knows one of the people who wrote Russia’s entry!!! SCANDAL!  Jeez. It’s just a song contest. The biggest in the world, to be sure, but still a song contest. It doesn’t decide which countries get to be part of the EU or anything really important. If you really want something to complain about, ask yourself why San Marino (population 32,000) and Malta (population 446,000) have as much influence on the results as France (population 64 million) and Germany (population 80 million). Chill out, and instead of whining about the unfairness of it all, just go out and buy the music from your favorite artists.

* The performance was very impressive, and the song in and of itself was quite good, but it probably wasn’t a good idea to bring a song that was essentially a memorial to war dead to Europe’s biggest party….

While it is OK to make a little fun of the singers, I wonder if the UK would do better if they weren’t so snarky and condescending about the whole thing.

All the songs – even those that don’t make it to the final, or those that get the dreaded “Nil Points”, are actually pretty good. Even at their worst, they are still worth a listen or two.