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Eurovision 2018: Day 7 Review

Starting with Russia this morning and Yulia remains on top of the mountain. You can’t see her wheels but you can see the mountain’s. Yulia looks more at ease on camera, or at least not as off-putting. The ballet dancers have slightly different choreography. Russia could probably just sneak into the final.

DoReDos are exactly what we needed this morning. Moldova is the shining star in this semi-final and should feature in the semi top-3 and top-10 in the final. Beyond that is anyone’s guess. The British public will love this, so prepare for an in play odds crash or maybe Norton saying it could do very well.

Waylon toned down the krumping dance moves, instead opting to take more of the camera time. It works, but the presentation is still divisive, especially in eastern and balkan nations. Netherlands looks like it could drift in-play, so a value qualification price may not appear until next Thursday evening.

Not many changes for Jessica other than maybe more unsuitable dance moves. It was another poor vocal performance too, which saw Australia drift to over 100/1 in the Betfair outright. It really is one of the worst staging concepts this year and seriously brings into question Australia’s ability to qualify. From being contenders for the win, this may now be Australia’s worst result in the Contest.

Georgia is a sea of calm after the messy Aussie performance. It’s still feels like a half-time toilet break. However, Iriao should get half decent jury points from the east.

Following Georgia, Light Me Up has the same effect as Moldova does following Russia. Poland is fun if not rather low-rent pop, though it’s important not to be too snooty in these circumstances, as this should be enough to motivate Polish diaspora. The same cannot be said for Malta, which now deploys even more lasers to dazzle the audience into submission. It’s a disorientating mess and a great example of style over substance.

Hungary isn’t what I needed after lunch following my tranquil hour in the sun. The middle-eight now features a geyser of sparks in the centre of the stage. Otherwise this is very much as noisy and impactful as their rehearsal.

Over to Latvia now where Funny Girl has had some lighting blackouts added to the opening in sync with the musical pauses. It’s pretty much the same as rehearsal 1 but with a little more armography.

Some of the lighting tubes were removed for the first run through of Dance You Off to test for more brightness. The reason for this is because they are struggling to recreate the Melfest cinematic glow on the Eurovision stage. It’s unclear as to why this is a problem, as it should be down to a simple soft-focus or wider-aperture setting. At this point I’m not certain they can achieve the same effect without fundamental changes to the lighting prop. Stick or twist Sweden?

Montenegro added to my lack of enthusiasm today. Struggling to get through this.

Lea still does the fake music drop, asking: “where is music…” – it stopped when we got to semi-2, love! There’s a new armography intro to Slovenia along with one or two costume alterations. It’s still too flashy during the chorus and remains chanceless in this semi.

Last up, THANK GOD, is Ukraine. Under the Ladder is back to the energy of the national final resulting in Ukraine looking like a much more competent act for the final. I doubt it’ll do much damage on the scoreboard, but at least there’s some purpose.

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Owner & Chief Editor   I’m a qualified designer and the official geek in the crew, dedicating most of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

16 comments

  1. so both Greece and Denmark will have an extra rehearsal tomorrow. Denmark’s because of the wrong type of snow being used (sigh) but I wonder what reason Greece could have, maybe some on screen graphics?
    It will be interesting anyway, IMO the Greeks were seriously underselling their song, so I’m curious to see what kind of ace they have up their sleeve.

    • The Greek sites report that the Greek delegation wants to use some laser effects during the bridge and maybe something more and all these haven’t been succesful so far due to technical issues.
      I don’t really know what to expect, but at least it’s a sign that they try to find a way to make the whole staging more impactful…
      Gav, do you know if these extra rehearsals for Denmark and Greece will be open for the press?

  2. For me, the situation looks something like this:

    Semi-final 1:
    1. Estonia
    2. Czech Republic
    3. Lithuania
    4. Israel
    5. Cyprus
    6. Austria
    7. Azerbaijan
    8. Finland
    9. Bulgaria
    10. Greece

    Semi-final 2
    1. Norway
    2. Sweden
    3. The Netherlands
    4. Australia
    5. Moldova
    6. Poland
    7. Russia
    8. Denmark
    9. Ukraine
    10. Malta


    Nechayeva an unequivocal winner of the 1st semi-final. It reminds me of Lazarev. I don`t like this song, but this show always impresses me. This is more than just a fiery show like Cyprus, but it still remains pointless to win definitively.
    The second semi-final does not seem to have a clear winner.

  3. Judging from the second rehearsals videos, reports of Waylon’s demise may be greatly exaggerated. The dancers are a risk (probably one that won’t pay off) but on the other side of the scales there is the song, Waylon’s voice, his looks and his stage presence. This is qualifying.

  4. Okay, here are my predictions fort he two semi finals (after watching also all 45 sec. footage clips from eurovision.tv):

    SEMI FINAL #1:

    01. ESTONIA: Sometimes people exaggerate this “storytelling” thing. And traditions are to be broken. With that I mean: (p)Opera at Eurovision. We have seen quite a bit of crap lately. What comes to my mind are Italy 1984, Latvia 2007 and Slovenia 2007. But for every music genre there’s a way to stage it properly. And this is the first time in Eurovision history that I feel an ‘opera’ related song is staged magnificently.

    02. CZECH REPUBLIC: I find it so difficult to predict the TOP 4 of this semi final. But it will include this Central-European nation. Mikolas is a charismatic boy. And the front shots of Mikolas and his two dancers actually work pretty nicely. Feels more like a tightly knitted videoclip.

    03. ISRAEL: Netta is still a top favourite for me. But I do think it works slightly better as a radio song (hence the status of a favourite). On Eurovision the first minute is pivotal for maximum impact. But Netta’s opening sounds……at times it feels like she doesn’t want to do it and wants to get tot he actual song.

    04. CYPRUS: Outdated Britney-/Shakira-esque pop bonkers, BUT with this one the staging is fantastic. I can see this doing very well, even grabbing a 7th place in the final. But winning? Let’s not exaggerate. For that I think juries will slightly rate it down and prefer Israel and Czech Republic over this one.

    05. BELARUS: He has been ridiculed a bit within the betting community (which at times appears to me a bit like a separate fan bubble). But Alekseev has proven it to us all that he can sing. He’s a charismatic stage performer. And the act to me is not that laughable as many people in here want to make it believe us. It reminds me a bit of the piano woman from Russia 2006.

    06. LITHUANIA: Being smashed in between countries like Czech Republic and Israel might actually help this slightly? Perfectly staged. A wonderful understated song, with a lovely message. This to me in the end resonates better than Ireland. To me now this is a certified qualifier.

    07. AUSTRIA: It’s a great modern pop-/soul-song. But it could have been helped by backing vocalists like those with Netherlands 2013. A bit more gospel flavor would actually help this. Now it’s a bit…empty on stage. I disagree with many pundits that he lacks charisma. It’s just not much to boast about, but still effective enough.

    08. BELGIUM: I found it so difficult to put this song in my eventual list of qualifiers. And let’s face it, down below you’ll see that I added Bulgaria too. That makes 7 (!!) countries from the first half of this semi-final to qualify. Sounds ridiculous, but remember, traditions are tob e broken every no wand then. And this song simply is quality. Juries will help it.

    09. BULGARIA: It’s like one giant anthem for a vampire movie. Not voteable to me. They tried too hard to detach the unity of this group. The song in itself is quality. But, like Armenia 2017 and Azerbaijan 2017, it’s simply put too ‘artsy’ to do well. This will struggle, but could still qualify.

    10. ARMENIA: If I left Azerbaijan in, that would result in 8 (!!) countries from the first half qualifying. But both Azerbaijan and Armenia are not giving their best lately. The Armenian ballad has a nicer running order, but it lives me rather cold.

    11. to 15.: AZERBAIJAN (first time ever), CROATIA, GREECE (2nd time in three years, although I personally love it), IRELAND & ALBANIA

    SEMI FINAL #2:

    01. NORWAY: Need I say more? This is not a matter of “That’s how you write a song”, but more a matter of “That’s how you stage…..and perform a song”. The USP, thus the story of this song (i fit has one) is Alexander Rybak himself. Vvery much like Johnny Logan’s story on the contest of 1987 in Brussels: Weaker than its predecessor, but up there for a victory.

    02. MOLDOVA: Kinda crappy song, but then again 2018 is the year that happy up-tempo, camp and cheese are returning again (Look at Norway, Cyprus, Israel, Sweden this year). As long as you excell in that genre. Moldova is doing exactly that. Very kids-friendly too.

    03. SWEDEN: I think people are overthinking the Swedish entry. And therefore a certain anti-Sweden-feeling is taking the better of the fans…and the odds. To me the Swedish entry still is wonderfully staged. Quite unique really. If Norway, Moldova and Cyprus have so so songs, then why only blame Sweden fort hat?

    04. AUSTRALIA: It’s kinda sad how fashion people behind the stage dressed Jessica up in a frock like that. It’s not suited to her, to say the least. But here some anti-Ozzie-backlash is creeping in as well. This could have helped more with better staging, but the staging is far from a disaster.

    05. UKRAINE: Kinda scary to see Melovin with a colored eye. I know it’s fake, but still. Nevertheless, it’s a perfect closer of this semi final. I fit draws 1st half in the grand final, I could see this as a show opener.

    06. THE NETHERLANDS: Although I am still far from satisfied with the staging of this song, we are overreacting a bit. What works with this particular entry is an incredibly charismatic singer, who vocally stuns most other singers in this semi final. I think it will score more or less evenly between juries and televoters. Yet, I am still pissed this wasn’t staged like in “De Wereld Draait Door”, with nice intimate MTV-Unplugged-like camera angles, and some lense flares.

    07. POLAND: Nice enough song, but I still need to hear/see a song from the Polish people that is as good as Poland 1994. Why can’t they send a little bit more ‘urgent’ quality? Nevertheless, this is fun, and with the audience present this comes to life.

    08. HUNGARY: Great concert-like performance by this metal-band. But I think that even with those weird dansers Netherlands is more palatable than Hungary. It’s all a lot of fun, but it feels more ‘niche’ to me than Netherlands. Another question with rock groups like these: It’s always hard tob ring about charisma. Will still qualify though.

    09. SLOVENIA: Okay, perhaps a surprise. But I think it’s quite a contemporary pop song. I’ll be honest, I dislike it. But the Armenia 2017-style dance choreography actually works here. Lea Sirk sells this song very well as well. Could bet he surprise qualifier of the night.

    10. GEORGIA: Most fans probably dislike this entry tremendously. But it has this weird kind of quality that entries like Armenia 2015 and Hungary 2015 had as well. I think jury’s will help this enough.

    11. to 15.: LATVIA, DENMARK, RUSSIA (can’t see it guys), ROMANIA (takes like 1 min to take off), MONTENEGRO

    • And is Norway or Estonia going to come out on top in the final? 😉

      Very nice write up. Agree with a lot of it.

    • I can’t see 7/10 qualifiers from the first half of semi 1. Maybe Belgium or Belarus (or both) will miss out and 1-2 of Finland/Switzerland/Ireland/Croatia will advance. Not sure yet.

      On the 2nd semi I agree on the first 8, but I would exchange Slovenia (too aggressive) and Georgia (probably last in the public vote) with the likes of Latvia (jury support) and one of Romania or Russia (thanks to televoting).

      Overall, Israel and Norway indeed seem to be the main contenders right now, but things might still change after the actual semifinals take place.

  5. I had high hopes for France , but the staging is very basic and may fail to get their message across with the TV audience ..they will have no trouble in that regard from the juries , but the juries have not been impressed with their song ; third in their national finals and a miserable 14th in the Eurojury

    Estonia may just win , they hit the high notes and have that WOW moment with the dress ; it all depends on how the juries will react

  6. Would be gutted with an Estonian win. No discernible song there and not likely to chart across Europe. Cheap gimmick with the dress and is an immediate pass on the playlist for me. Would be up there with the worst winners ever for me…….but I have covered it bet wise when it drifted earlier in the week as can see it will attract votes.

  7. Qualifiers:

    Norway – irritating song sung by irritating performer = obvious qualify for people with no taste.
    Romania – oh c’mon everyone, Romania has huge number of friends here and hasn’t failed to qualify since Moses ascended Mt Sinai
    Netherlands – despite a staging disaster Waylon is charismatic and the son good enough for jury support
    Poland – bloody awful this but the diaspora should keep it safe
    Hungary – will qualify simply because of the USP and standing out in the worst SF in living memory
    Latvia – Great contrast after Hungary. Simple staging, good singer, good jury support
    Sweden – another plastic performer selling stale plastic pop – another safe Swedish qualifier
    Ukraine – pimp slot, USP, Ukrainian voting power – easy through to final

    in with a chance:

    Denmark – awful dark alienating presentation. i only give it a chance because its with it scandi mates.
    Russia – only here because it is RUSSIA so they might cheat… just sayin’
    Moldova – don’t get the hype? it’s a poor song badly sung. if the juries are playing fair it should be close to the bottom of their lists
    Australia – total dogs dinner but i give it a slim chance because it might get friendly votes from the scandi countries and anyone who sympathises with drunk women dancing round their handbags at parties.

    going home:

    Serbia – poor song blandly staged, poor running order.
    San Marino – as amateurish as usual
    Georgia – song has no impact and few blokes standing around with instruments doesn’t improve it
    Malta – the country of my ancestors heroically throwing everything at it and coming up with a total omni-shambles.
    Montenegro – dull as dishwater ballad
    Slovenia – ok they are trying but even with the late running order this fails to make an impact.

  8. In every Eurovision Song Contest a few traditions will be broken. Traditions that were quite rock solid at first sight and that weren’t touched by pundits.

    A few of those traditions could be:
    — 7 countries from the first half of a semi final will qualify
    — Both Russia and Romania won’t make the cut (a shocker that hasn’t happened since 2011 when Armenia and Turkey did not qualify). By the way, I think the Romanian staging is as much as a fail as the Dutch staging.
    — Either Armenia or Azerbaijan won’t qualify. That’s a shocker too, but quite conceivable
    — A win for a pretty weak song. If it’s Estonia or Norway, both entries know how to make staging an even more important decisive factor than…..the song. But for the moment I think Norway has a slight edge.

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