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Eurovision 2018: Day 3 Review

Today started with the feeling that we might get a new Eurovision market leader given Alexander will surely impress and Australia could tick all the right boxes to earn victory. Day 3 is the day of kitsch and the kitchen sink.

On the subject of kitsch, Eurovision 2009 winner, Alexander Rybak, opens the day’s rehearsals with his large slice of cheese and a point-by-point plan for writing a song. The song actually becomes a secondary factor in the performance as Rybak dazzles us with his infectious charisma. The MGP graphic overlays remain – they’ve just been spruced up a bit. The final run through featured big pyro jets at the front of the stage. Rybak is the big PR story of 2018, and matched with this simple, but slick performance, Norway are a major contender for the win.

The Humans for Romania now and their staging is anything but human. It’s like they raided a 1980s C&A shop-window with all the mannequins . In fact, it’s like an artistic recreation of the film Carry On Screaming. Oddbod and Oddbod Junior seemingly escort lead singer, Cristina, to her future as a shop-window dummy. The staging is mostly purple with Cristina also wearing a long purple dress. Her less telegenic band members are in white. The problem here is the choreography and masks: the connotations are bad and confuse rather than add to the impact of the song. Even so, Cristina’s vocals are exquisite, so one can’t discount a decent level of jury support here.

Watch out the Nazi salute in Serbia’s performance. Blimey! Who checks these things? Nil-point from Germany me thinks.

Nova Deca sounds promising when it first starts, but it rapidly loses its credibility when the plastic beat kicks in. It’s performed nicely, provided you overlook the Nazi element, but the juries will hate this.

Ending this dire twosome of songs is San Marino. There are dancing robots on stage folks. Jessika appears on screen in a dark hooded robe scowling at the camera during the first verse. This is removed by two dancers, revealing a glittery gold jacket. The press centre loved this show purely for comedy value, but this is Social Network Song levels of trash. The song ends with Jessika and rapper, Jenifer, forming a heart from their hands. This trite gesture should now be a capital offence. Robots can be programmed to look as if they’re enjoying this song. Unfortunately for San Marino, the public and juries are capable of independent thought.

Denmark were as reliable as ever in terms of keeping nearly every detail of the staging concept from their national final. It’s a dark and static presentation with five non-voteable bearded guys. The love in the fan community is real, but Denmark is third in the queue for Nordic points and even further down the reckoning in the other regional blocs.

Putin just unveiled his new intercontinental weapon on the Eurovision stage, so watch out for wheelchair-bound women being shot from volcanoes. Russia has done everything possible to coverup the frailties of Yulia by focussing as much attention as possible on two ballet dancers. According to Wiwi, the final 43-seconds doesn’t feature a single closeup of Yulia. Job done in my opinion. The vocals aren’t great, but we never expected them to be. On the back of what I’ve just seen, Russia should still be ahead of Denmark when the points are combined.

I received a tip as to what to expect from Moldova, so had high hopes for their staging concept. They’ve worked a miracle here with the three main singers – joined by three body-doubles – performing a slapstick hide ‘n’ seek seaside-cum-music hall routine with some innocent Carry On naughtiness chucked in for good measure. It perfectly suits eastern and western humour and will be extremely popular on the British-centric betting markets after the live semi-final. Our new bookmaker friends, Karamba, are still offering 50/1 each-way to win this semi-final. I think they’re on for top-3 at the very least.

Over to Netherlands now and what appears to be a blend of US Country-Rock meets 1970s Live & Let Die Bronx as pimp-suited Waylon is joined on stage by four industrial black dancers. The dancing is aggressive and certainly not vote-motivating. Stage director Hans Pannecoucke has once again proven that he’s a one trick pony. Waylon in serious danger here as he’s getting nothing from the televote.

Australia were one of the early favourites going into rehearsals, but Jessica has been dressed like a half-opened sweet against dull green/purple staging. Even worse is that they’ve made this larger-framed woman gyrate and dance, rather than just standing front to camera delivering the song passionately like Dami Im – because that’s obviously what’s required. If dancing is needed, get dancers to do it! Stage designer, Sacha, even has her doing the robotic arm movements like Kristian Kostov last year. Why?

As an early Australia backer, I see no return for this unless they massively overhaul the concept, but even then there’s a ceiling.

About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.


  1. Good day of rehearsals. Rybak excellent but that was expected, Moldova top 10 was a ridiculous price at 10s and have not been backing Australia at all. Hope Denmark do miss out as its way too short.

    The one bad spot is the Netherlands, that top 10 money has gone up in smoke now and he could nq, worst staging in ages- in what way is it coherent at all, just ridiculous.

  2. Are Australia still contenders?

  3. Completely agree with Australia. Was expecting it to become favourite but it looks pretty awful. If it was in Semi Final 1, I’d say based on what I’ve seen & what people are saying, if they stick with that concept it would struggle to qualify in Semi Final 1. It’ll be fine in Semi Final 2.

    Norway may indeed be a contender but I still can’t take it seriously as a winner. I think its being overhyped. A top five finish similar to Hey Mamma? Likely. Taking enough votes from the Juries to win? No.

    My problem right now is that I say I can point problems out, but I can’t say who will win.

    Israel – The staging didn’t translate the fun at all. Probably being overhyped by the ESC community from the start.

    Norway – see above.

    France – Possibly not a great reaction from the Juries as was the case in the NF, particularly Juries from the East.

    Czech Republic – Concerns over his health now and perhaps a bit too generic for Eurovision. Won’t get the 30+ vote which people do underestimate the power of.

    Bulgaria – Staging wasn’t there in first rehearsal, isn’t a great song regardless.

    Estonia – It’s opera. Perhaps too clinical.

    Sweden – Far too manufactured. Isn’t a great song itself.

    It’s a really, really, tough year for any betting and predictions.

  4. Well, no surprises here. With all due respect to the Dutch entry fans, there was not that much to gravitate to even before the leopard attire reveal. This could be a (not so much) surprising NQ.

    Moldova and Norway stomp their way up but I am still hopeful for the Italian dark horse

  5. A great day for ESC today thanks to Moldova.That nose in the air comment from Salvador last year about real music slayed by the Moldovan team.Three very talented artists who have brought a bit of magic to the stage.Imagine a Moldovan win?.It would bring some fun back to the contest.Ok maybe not,but the top places might be in reach and plenty of juicy prices were and still are on offer.
    Australia have a poor song,but you had to respect the fact they might con people with slick staging and keep it green and hold your nose.The fact the staging is worse than the song is quite incredible.I was very happy to sell my green even if it was at 30% higher than id bought it,i felt much cleaner without it.They will polish it up of course yet.NL was always struggling and the staging is worse than Joan Franka.More wild west rubbish from them.
    Norway is dangerous and im keeping a good green on it,even though i still think it will probably be turned over.
    France will know the upbeat area is getting crowded and there is a route right through the middle to the trophy,but do they have a killer punch or not?.Do RAI and Italy have any plans to take some of Frances USP?.
    I think this is a cracking year.My book is seeing lots of changes yet the cash out number has hardly changed,its like moving your pieces on a chess board.What twists and turns are left is the question.

    • If Israel falters then after seeing the alternatives I’m confident in predicting France to win !
      I expect their odds to shorten again after their rehearsals on Friday and then sometime next week they will be favourites IMO

      I suspect that Netta is like a shooting star that blazes a path across the Heavens then burns itself out ..her gimmicky video doesn’t translate onto a live stage ..she seems more like a novelty act

  6. Cyprus – Moldova – Norway – France for the top spots I reckon. All are different and appealing.

    • Cyprus might take all the Balkan area vote,Moldova the eastern ( a Russian none qualify would be lovely),Norway the scandi and Baltic areas and France the purists across the board.If Lith can qualify i expect them to do well.A top quality piano ballad should feature.
      Can you imagine a Moldova win?.It would be fantastic for ESC.That a very poor country can win by simply making people happy.The contest has improved by massive amounts in production quality over the last decade and presentation,but its lost almost all of its fun and charm.The pendulum could do with going the other way a bit.Unlikely of course,but those EW prices around 100s were a gift.Cyprus would be a huge hit across Europe in the summer.I always think they are hard to pull off those songs and go back to the likes of Secret Combination to see how its done right.Cyprus seem to be close to that level this year.France would deliver the EBU a big 5 victory,something i think they like once a decade or so.I think this is a great year and just wonder what twists are left.Im still interested to see if Italy can stage something right for once.

  7. I have the solution to The Netherlands and Australia’s staging problems – Waylon fires his dancers and hands them over to Jessica.

  8. If its a charm and fun winner then Norway has it in the bag.

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