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Eurovision 2018: Day 5 Review

Azerbaijan kicks off this faster paced run of second rehearsals and Aisel appears more confident performing X My Heart. The staging is more sparkly and the camera angles have improved during the middle-eight and outro. What is Azerbaijan’s gain could seemingly be Finland’s loss.

With Iceland stuck in traffic, Albania were advanced to second in today’s running order. Eugent continues to standout with his fine vocal and authentic performance. There are some subtle low-level swooping camera angle changes that capture Eugent at his smiley best. The bass guitarist also starts on the satellite stage, but this change is barely noticeable. During the last run through, it seemed as if more strobing was added to the outro climax.

As mentioned above, Iceland were caught in a car crash this morning. There are no noticeable changes to either their staging or their chances of qualification.

Sennek now performs A Matter Of Time entirely from the satellite stage. The focus on the Sennek’s eyes at the start has altered and now sees Sennek covering her eyes with her hand. There is slightly more interaction with the camera, but there’s still something very distancing and vote-demotivating about the performance for Belgium.

Mikolas isn’t exactly fighting fight for Czech Republic, but he was at least pushing through the pain barrier to make the most of today’s rehearsal slot. After a few false starts, he settled into the new choreography-light routine. By the final run through Mikolas’ charisma and voteable personality was coming through and looks a more worthy contender now. FYI, one of his dancers is taking final exams today, so wasn’t present.

After a lovely KFC lunch, Ieva performed next for Lithuania. They’ve managed to soften the impact of the overlays, so the presentation is much more watchable. The only negative, in my view, is the pink hygge garb which looks like a £5 charity shop purchase. Admittedly, it gives her a girl next door appeal, but it looks awful when she walks over to the bridge. The final line of the song is now in english.

Israel have added coloured lighting to the cat cabinets. Other than that, nothing has changed beyond the camerawork and choreography looking much slicker on TV. The production and fun factor has really come together and is enhanced with a bubble machine during the outro.

is unchanged. It’s a crazy 3-minutes that appeals to some folk in that part of the world. Could be close.

Elina was off key during the first run-through but pulled it together for the remaining rehearsals, though she continues to miss her arpeggios.  This still feels like a ‘look at our lovely projection’, rather than a solid contender for the victory. Elina also appear more human since her Sunday appearance. Estonia should be through ok.

One country went backwards today: the Common Framework just look in pain during every verse. Trey is breathy and off key during his first part and every other member of Equinox lack a sense of purpose and barely look at the camera. Then there’s the Sacha effect which sees distracting and unnecessary movements and camera effects. Zhana continues to look like an evil nun from a horror film. The whole performance is dreadful – there really is no way to put a positive spin on it. Bulgaria in a dangerous spot here.

Check this beauty from Tobbe Ek. I had no prior knowledge of this question. Honest.

Correction, FYRoM have also gone backwards. The sound levels seem off to me and it’s probably a technical glitch someone has yet to notice. Even worse, Marija now removes her tunic to reveal a skimpy, chainmail top which basically says ‘here are my boobs’. It’s not good.

Croatia and Austria seemingly have a crucial deciding factor in this semi; either one makes it or neither gets through. But both are very good making Bulgaria look and sound even worse. Both are very similar to first rehearsal with maybe Austria taking small steps forward. There’s still a massive charisma deficit for Cesár, though Nobody But You needs the juries to love it.

Next up Yianna Terzi was slightly off key for most of her rehearsals today. This improved for the final run through when the combination of smoke and wind added to the mood. Greece are 8th-12th in the reckoning here.

Last up was everyone’s favourite, Saara Aalto. The production feels a little slicker, but there’s still a sense of desperation etched on Saara’s face. And what looks really great today will be totally different when Cyprus comes along just four songs later. At one point this year people were talking up Finland as potential winners, now qualifying is seen as the main benchmark.

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. Hi Gavin 1st post on here. Hello 🙂

    Israel looking lots of fun and some brilliant moments. Netta strong vocally but looks tense and frantic at the start. The backing vox sound painful and it all looks a bit comedy and mad although granted attention grabbing and a really good song.

    I guess none of us will know until we see the final camera work live on Tues.

    If nothing has changed much since 1st rehearsal (and you were underwhelmed then), can you give us a more detailed take on your updated view on its chances for the win thanks?

    I may be wrong but Norway seems far ahead of Israel at this point…

    • Hey Showlad, it’s pretty much as I said in the review, stating that Israel looks slicker. The opening looper segment can sound a bit messy, as the looper effect is now recreated with backing singers. The EBU informed Israel that the looper is essentially a live instrument and is thus banned. The presentation is great, but as I suggested in the ‘fast food preview’ article, I reckon the vote will galvanise around easier to like pop songs. We’ll have to wait and see if that transpires after the live show and the downloads start to clock up. But from this semi, I reckon the general public will enjoy Czech and Cyprus more.

  2. Gav is there any chance to q all three Fin, Aze and Cyp?

  3. Bulgaria and Greece seem a little safer than suggested here. I fear Bulgaria will be heavily overrated by juries and this is such a good semi for Greece they’re fine with this- could have been better but it’s no Argo.

    Belarus, Azerbaijan, Finland my 3 borderline outs- Lithuania, Belgium, Armenia just in.

  4. I’m surprised Bulgaria are still trading at 17.00 after this video has been out for a good few hours: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkeQi9WfOUg

    Sounds and looks awful. They literally look like they’re getting in the way of each other.

    I saw a comment on Twitter earlier saying it feels like a penalty shoot out where nobody wants to score, and that is a perfect way of describing this first week in my opinion. The big favourites going into it really haven’t delivered, apart from maybe Estonia where the performance has stayed the same – but fears over the song itself still remain.

    I’d say France at 10.00 is still good value before its rehearsal tomorrow. The contest is crying out for something a bit stripped back and “real” (as Salvador may put it!) after the antics and high energy of the likes of Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Israel, and Moldova. As long as they keep it simple and mimic the national final, I can see it overtaking Rybak.

    • Welcome to the world of Eurovision bots designed to keep a price low for PR.

      • I’ve been betting on Eurovision for years now but still feel the need to ask this…but when do “regular” punters start impacting the market? I can’t remember the market moving *that* much after the Semi Finals last year, and more so just on the night itself.

        I remember Italy drifted after his performance and Portugal went to pretty firm favourite, IIRC…

        Perhaps the initial reaction this year after the performances will tell us whether its going to be something a bit more fun and fast-food music, or we’ll be sticking with the theme of “realness”, something like France.

        • The real money doesn’t really arrive until the live shows, so when a much larger demographic of people get involved, it naturally starts to sort the potential winners from the losers. It’s also when bots start to lose influence.

  5. You may want to correct the paragraph after Bulgaria, you meant Croatia instead of Serbia.
    I’d say only Iceland, Macedonia and Albania are completely chanceless, do you agree? I also think Greece is iffy, but that may be wishful thinking, as I don’t care for the song myself.

  6. Gav is Finland still a red for you

    • It is for now, but it’s floating around the 9th-14th mark. I’m not sure what’s there for the televote outside of the UK. Also, Cyprus didn’t rehearse today and Fuego exposes Finland’s weaknesses.

  7. What’s your current take on Albania’s qualification chances Gav? While the first half is still a bloodbath, based on the clips Mall is standing out nicely between Iceland and Belgium and Eugent is finding the camera really well in the short clips available.

    • He’s brilliant, Beanie. One of my favourites this year. It’s just a shame about the running order as he deserves to qualify. I think he needs to be top-4 with the juries, which is a tough ask. However, people hark on about Belgium being a jury favourite, yet Sennek doesn’t look particularly voteable, whereas Eugent is Mr Charisma.

      • Thanks – it looks marginally overpriced to me at the moment but will wait for the rest of the semi to complete tomorrow.

        Hope the weather is good out there – I’m heading out to Lisbon with the wife next Tuesday for the week :0

      • I don’t think their is any chance he will be top 4 with the juries, bar how great a performer Eugent their is very little for juries to vote for in the entry, dated, in Albanian etc. However I think if he can get a top 10 in the jury he will be trough because I expect him to at least get close to qualifying in the televote as it will have a market plus Albania are amongst friends but the jury is the main thing for me.

        Did my prediction today and have it coming about 13th in the semi.

  8. I have to say from the limited amount of what I could see and hear Bulgaria looked and sounded good to me. The staging gives it a modern feel which is essential for the juries. It is too dark to win, but I would be very surprised if it doesn’t qualify.

    • It really is messy. The clip doesn’t show the worst bits. But I’d be worried about the amount of money they’ve ploughed into Betfair – they may have done the same with delgations.

    • I expect that Bulgaria will get enough points from all the friendly countries in the semi to qualify without problems.
      The Bulgarian PR machine has been constantly pushing very hard the song in all these countries and I’m sure that the money they have spent -I’m not suggesting bribery here- don’t want to be wasted.
      Not in my contender list anymore, because of the failed staging concept, but I’ll not be surprised if they end up in the top 10.

  9. Gav what are the chances of Croatia qualifying…. Amber 50:50?

  10. I’ve always suggested that Greece is a marginal qualifier and that it has been constantly overrated based on a good studio track and high expectations on the staging. At the same time all the information available prior to the rehearsals was indicating lack of experience, poor organisation and inadequate promotion strategy from the Greek delegation.

    The chances of the Greek song imho currently depend on how the diaspora will react and to what extent will support the song and my major concerns right now is a possibly low mobilization of the diaspora to engage overall with the contest this year and the possibility that Cyprus will win a larger than expected number of votes.

  11. What do you think are the chances of Lithuania qualifying? Still amber?

    • Hi Alex, I think it’s ahead of Belgium on televote, but then it just depends where the juries have it. I think it should just about make it at the cost of someone like BEL or BUL.

  12. I know they haven’t rehearsed yet, but no one is talking about Italy as a dark horse?!

  13. I would be very pleased if somebody asks the Greek and Cyprus delegations too why would everybody else vote for them since we all know that they will just give each other the 12 points (from jury and televote) no matter the songs’ quality.

    • It’s a fair point, but not always true. In 2015 the Cyprus and Greece juries gave their 12-points to Italy. In 2016, both nations awarded their 12 to Russia. The televote is always difficult, as diaspora has an effect. It’s the same in the Nordic and eastern nations too.

      • A fair point from you too. However, Greece did not qualify for the final in 2016, so Cyprus could not vote for them. And in 2015 both countries finished around the 20th place, so I guess they realized themselves how bad they were. But, anyways, you are right to some extent.

  14. justasking I presume that you feel the same when Nordic countries like Sweden, Finland etc and Eastern Europe countries like Lithuania, Belarus, Russia etc and also when San Marino and Italy exhange 12s and best votes

    • Yes, sure! But Greece and Cyprus are the best examples that come to mind. Furthermore, this year they are two of the favorites and this question is very valid. Plus, Russia lost its influence long time ago and Serbia hasn’t qualified for the final since ages. While the Nordic countries always have quality songs everybody would vote for.

  15. Stephen Muckle

    What are your views at the prospect of Belarus or Azerbaijan actually going all the way and winning?

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