I love(d) Eurovision this year! It was funny, well-presented and even the worst acts had a certain quality despite dropping out. That includes the semifinals, which for the first time I actually managed to watch in their entirety on the day (and then again on YouTube).
That being the case, I had a gut feeling early on that the race would be between Salvador Sobral and that Bulgarian Justin Bieber (who surprisingly enough has one hell of a voice for his 17 years of age). I also liked several other songs a lot, including that Romanian yodel thingy, the Dutch “Dreamgirls” or Belarus‘ folk-pop song, but in the end I’m just as glad that Portugal won. It was really the best. It’s so evocative of those old movie songs from the 1940s to the 1960s. You know, “Moon River” and all that.
On the other hand I thought from the start that Italy, called the frontrunner by many beforehand was totally overrated. I’m also getting a bit tired of the “handsome hunk sings techno-pop” scheme employed by countries like Sweden, Norway or Cyprus. I don’t understand what they are hoping to achieve with that, since in the end they are only doing shitty run-off-the-mill stuff that isn’t even a tiny bit funny or quirky in the Eurovision sense. The whole point is to not take the whole competition too seriously, after all.
Of course politics loomed over everything with that fallout over the Russian singer, but they managed to push that aside and present a show that despite being full of Ukrainian traditions and their own celebrities managed to be balanced enough to appeal to everyone. That kind of lightness and levity is just nice to see.
What else? Not much. Of course Germany only came in at the bottom of the list only barely before Spain (which had a really terrible song and presentation), but that’s really nothing new. I’m not saying that the song was actually bad, but it just doesn’t fit the mold and didn’t generate any emotional response. More than anything else that’s what Eurovision is about – you have to get people enthused to a level they are willing to make that call, send their text message or hit the button in the app to vote for you.