Select Page
ESC 2018 to be held in Lisbon on 8, 10 and 12 May

ESC 2018 to be held in Lisbon on 8, 10 and 12 May

Image sources: visitlisboa.com, eurovision.tv

At a press conference today, Portuguese broadcaster RTP announced that Lisbon will be the host city of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. The semi-finals will be held on Tuesday 8 May and Thursday 10 May, followed by the grand final on Saturday 12 May.

The venue has been confirmed as the MEO Arena, popularly known as the “Pavilhão Atlântico” and originally constructed for Lisbon’s role as host of EXPO’98. With a capacity of around 20,000 (which will undoubtedly be reduced for ESC once the stage, backstage area and other technical equipment are in place), it had already been widely identified by fans as the only arena in the country that could realistically offer everything required of a modern-day ESC venue. It remains to be seen if the venue will go by a different name for the purposes of ESC, as the EBU often insists that sponsor names like MEO not be used.

Portugal will host the competition for the first time following Salvador Sobral’s historic victory at ESC 2017 with the song “Amar pelos dois”.

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!
Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more

ABBA, Sobral. Why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision

The victory of Salvador Sobral is a turning point in Eurovision history. It’s probably the most important victory since ABBA. Felix points out what’s so important about Portugal winning with this entry, and why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision.

read more

Reviewing Eurovision 2017: Felix’s top three thoughts

Oh Eurovision, oh Europe. It’s 14:00 CET on day 1 after Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the first day of a new calendar. What a historic night! And impossible to narrow it all down to just three thoughts. Felix tries anyway.

read more

Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Congratulations to Portugal, which has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, with Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar Pelos Dois". In the grand final, Portugal was the clear favourite of the juries and televoters alike, amassing a huge total of 758...

read more

Shi’s San Francisco final preview

And just like that, this is it. That big day, the one before the PED - but I won’t bring up such depressing topics right now. Instead, how about a preview of sorts? You might have noticed that I have ignored the direct finalists until now. I realized two things: the...

read more

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

SAMRA: I need a topic for my new single that no one has ever written a song about before.
SONGWRITERS: Will this do?
https://t.co/NiStivSyNm

Portugal won #Eurovision 40 years more recently than France.

Socio-critical tendencies, cigarette lights and a song "plucked right out of a movie" - #Eurovision 1962 had it all: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

We revisit #Eurovision 1962 in our review series and pick out three awesome songs for you to enjoy! Check it out: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

Do it for your Labour, do it for your Labour
Vote May out and do it for your Labour
#GE2017

Load more tweets...

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

image source: Instinct (Facebook page)

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end: “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, has won the grand final!

Based on the votes of our chatters in the #esc chat and supplemented by our Last Chance poll, a total of 96 songs took part in the eight SongHunt heats between January and March, followed by four quarter-finals and two semi-finals. The 12-song final was open for the two weeks during and after ESC 2017 itself, and over the past week we have been eliminating one song every day until we got to tonight’s six superfinalists.

In a special event in the chat, our chatters voted in three rounds. Firstly, they chose their favourite of the three lowest-scoring songs from the public vote, which resulted in “Feel Me Now” by Ariadne going forward to the next round (with Holly Brewer from the United Kingdom and Inês Sousa from Portugal dropping out). Next, the four remaining songs were whittled down to two, which meant we said goodbye to Loreen and Roger Pontare from Sweden.

Ariadne and Instinct were then left to compete in the final duel, which ended up in a dead heat. According to SongHunt rules, we counted back to the previous rounds as the tie-breaker. As “Petale” had scored better previously, it was duly crowned the winner of SongHunt 2017!

Looking back at the full results for this year’s SongHunt, “Petale” actually achieved the highest chat score of any non-winning finalist during the respective national final show, so its victory didn’t come completely out of the blue. That said, it’s worth noting that “Statements” by Loreen received a higher average score during its Melodifestivalen semi-final – but that didn’t count towards the SongHunt master list as only finals are counted, not earlier rounds in the national selection process, hence she had to qualify for SongHunt via the Last Chance poll instead.

Here’s the reprise of the winning song and performance – many congratulations to Instinct, and we look forward to seeing which songs become our chat and poll favourites when SongHunt rolls around again in 2018!

 

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!
Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more

ABBA, Sobral. Why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision

The victory of Salvador Sobral is a turning point in Eurovision history. It’s probably the most important victory since ABBA. Felix points out what’s so important about Portugal winning with this entry, and why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision.

read more

Reviewing Eurovision 2017: Felix’s top three thoughts

Oh Eurovision, oh Europe. It’s 14:00 CET on day 1 after Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the first day of a new calendar. What a historic night! And impossible to narrow it all down to just three thoughts. Felix tries anyway.

read more

Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Congratulations to Portugal, which has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, with Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar Pelos Dois". In the grand final, Portugal was the clear favourite of the juries and televoters alike, amassing a huge total of 758...

read more

Shi’s San Francisco final preview

And just like that, this is it. That big day, the one before the PED - but I won’t bring up such depressing topics right now. Instead, how about a preview of sorts? You might have noticed that I have ignored the direct finalists until now. I realized two things: the...

read more

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

SAMRA: I need a topic for my new single that no one has ever written a song about before.
SONGWRITERS: Will this do?
https://t.co/NiStivSyNm

Portugal won #Eurovision 40 years more recently than France.

Socio-critical tendencies, cigarette lights and a song "plucked right out of a movie" - #Eurovision 1962 had it all: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

We revisit #Eurovision 1962 in our review series and pick out three awesome songs for you to enjoy! Check it out: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

Do it for your Labour, do it for your Labour
Vote May out and do it for your Labour
#GE2017

Load more tweets...

Five countries that broke new ground at ESC 2017

Five countries that broke new ground at ESC 2017

all images from eurovision.tv

We’ve had a week to digest the results of ESC 2017. Now it’s time to crunch the numbers and take a look at some of the countries that made statistical history at this year’s contest – one way or another!

Portugal joins the 2,000 club

There are lots of ways in which Salvador Sobral’s victory was a landmark, from the 758 points amassed by “Amar pelos dois” (the highest absolute score ever seen on an ESC scoreboard) and the 18 times it received douze points from one of the national juries, right through to the 53 years Portugal has had to wait for its first win in the competition. But how about this bit of numerical geekery? In its 40 previous appearances in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest before last Saturday, Portugal had received 1,256 points – in total. Now, thanks to Salvador Sobral, the country has leapt forward to an all-time total of 2,014 points. There have been vastly different voting systems over the years, of course – the current system is geared towards huge winning totals, whereas in the early days of the competition it was rare for more than a few entries to reach double figures in any given year – but it does serve to illustrate just how utterly exceptional “Amar pelos dois” is in the context of Portugal’s long and largely unsuccessful ESC history.

Not messing around

Bulgaria and Moldova hit new heights

The last time the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Kyiv, Bulgaria and Moldova made their debuts in the competition. Their fates could hardly have been more different: Zdob și Zdub’s drumming granny took Moldova all the way to 6th place in the final and remains a fixture of TV clip shows even now – while “Lorraine” by Kaffe made precious little impression with Europe’s voters, limping out of the semi-final in 19th place. The two countries do have some things in common, though. Both are still waiting for their first ESC victory – and both came closer than ever before when the contest returned to Kyiv this year. Taking the bronze medal, SunStroke Project from Moldova wisely put their Epic Sax Guy front and centre in order to attract a strong televote (as expected) and an awful lot of jury love (as definitely not expected!). Meanwhile, Kristian Kostov from Bulgaria charmed his way to second place with the slickest visual production of the night. It remains to be seen whether the parallels with the ESC career of his talent-show mentor, Dima Bilan, will continue with a victorious appearance at ESC 2019 – but we wouldn’t bet against it.

Dispirited

Valentina’s luck runs out

San Marino’s eternal participant had been on an upward trend. After she finished 14th in the semi-final in 2012, 11th in the semi-final in 2013 then finally squeezed into a qualification spot in 2014, the fansites who worship at the feet of Valentina Monetta were eager to see if she could continue the pattern of improvement on her fourth appearance in the competition. But it wasn’t to be. Indeed, it could barely have gone worse for Valentina and her duet partner Jimmie Wilson, as their “Spirit Of The Night” gathered a grand total of one point. One point! A whole 41 fewer than their nearest rival Lithuania. Not only that, the previously dependable juries abandoned the microstate altogether – their single point came from none other than the televoters of Germany, some of whom presumably wanted to bestow their countryman and veteran songwriter Ralph Siegel with at least some kind of reward for his effort.

And yet San Marino still didn’t finish last in the semi 2 televote. That fate befell Claudia Faniello from Malta, whose “Breathlessly” not only scored a big fat zero with the public, but failed to finish higher than 14th in any single country’s televote. We’ve seen zero scores in the semi-final before, of course – Piero Esteriore is and always will be the benchmark in that respect, but his was a multi-vehicle car crash of a performance. By contrast, Claudia delivered her entry perfectly professionally, give or take the looming boobs on the backdrop – which suggests that the televoters of Europe simply didn’t like the song at all. Ouch.

Breastfully

Armenia-Azerbaijan relations begin to thaw (sort of)

You can’t expect many signs of friendship between two countries in a permanent state of political conflict. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Armenia actually gave one point to Azerbaijan in 2009 – not least since this was understandably overshadowed by the fact that Azerbaijan got the police to interrogate the 43 people who had televoted for Armenia in return. Lovely. In any case, real-life tensions between the countries have escalated further in the meantime, and relations in the Eurovision world haven’t improved much either. Armenia withdrew from the Baku-hosted contest in 2012, before deciding to toy with disqualification by flying the Nagorno-Karabakh flag in the green room last year. Ever since the EBU started publishing the jury results in full, we’ve seen the Azerbaijani jurors consistently putting the Armenian entry in last place across the board, with Armenia always keen to return the favour. Fans are quick to cry foul, but really, what do they expect under the circumstances?

And then 2017 happened. OK, so the juries still did their usual trick of systematically downvoting the enemy in both the semi-final and the final – but take a closer look at the full results for the first semi-final and you’ll see a tiny miracle begin to emerge. “Skeletons” by DiHaj, the entry from Azerbaijan, finished 16th in the Armenian televote. Not 17th and last, like you might reasonably expect, but 16th – one whole place ahead of Triana Park from Latvia. Can we get a hallelujah? It turns out that the televoters of Armenia are not just an easily influenced mass of neighbour-haters; rather, some of them can recognise and acknowledge a well-performed, contemporary pop song even when it comes wrapped in the flag of their mortal enemy.

Either that or the Latvian entry was just really shit.

Still, thank you, Triana Park – yes, you finished last in the semi-final, but you might just have given a divided region a tiny glimmer of hope for the future.

 

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!
Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more

ABBA, Sobral. Why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision

The victory of Salvador Sobral is a turning point in Eurovision history. It’s probably the most important victory since ABBA. Felix points out what’s so important about Portugal winning with this entry, and why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision.

read more

Reviewing Eurovision 2017: Felix’s top three thoughts

Oh Eurovision, oh Europe. It’s 14:00 CET on day 1 after Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the first day of a new calendar. What a historic night! And impossible to narrow it all down to just three thoughts. Felix tries anyway.

read more

Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Congratulations to Portugal, which has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, with Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar Pelos Dois". In the grand final, Portugal was the clear favourite of the juries and televoters alike, amassing a huge total of 758...

read more

Shi’s San Francisco final preview

And just like that, this is it. That big day, the one before the PED - but I won’t bring up such depressing topics right now. Instead, how about a preview of sorts? You might have noticed that I have ignored the direct finalists until now. I realized two things: the...

read more

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

SAMRA: I need a topic for my new single that no one has ever written a song about before.
SONGWRITERS: Will this do?
https://t.co/NiStivSyNm

Portugal won #Eurovision 40 years more recently than France.

Socio-critical tendencies, cigarette lights and a song "plucked right out of a movie" - #Eurovision 1962 had it all: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

We revisit #Eurovision 1962 in our review series and pick out three awesome songs for you to enjoy! Check it out: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

Do it for your Labour, do it for your Labour
Vote May out and do it for your Labour
#GE2017

Load more tweets...

Some of our favourite tweets from last night’s show

Twitter is never more fun than when the Eurovision Song Contest is taking place. We collected some of our favourite tweets from last night’s show:

That dawning realisation that it could be a long night:

Romania made an impact in so many ways:

On Ukraine:

On Bulgaria:

Then the voting began:

And the sudden realisation that it’s nearly all over for another year…

…but at least we have this to look forward to:

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!
Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more

ABBA, Sobral. Why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision

The victory of Salvador Sobral is a turning point in Eurovision history. It’s probably the most important victory since ABBA. Felix points out what’s so important about Portugal winning with this entry, and why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision.

read more

Reviewing Eurovision 2017: Felix’s top three thoughts

Oh Eurovision, oh Europe. It’s 14:00 CET on day 1 after Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the first day of a new calendar. What a historic night! And impossible to narrow it all down to just three thoughts. Felix tries anyway.

read more

Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Congratulations to Portugal, which has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, with Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar Pelos Dois". In the grand final, Portugal was the clear favourite of the juries and televoters alike, amassing a huge total of 758...

read more

Shi’s San Francisco final preview

And just like that, this is it. That big day, the one before the PED - but I won’t bring up such depressing topics right now. Instead, how about a preview of sorts? You might have noticed that I have ignored the direct finalists until now. I realized two things: the...

read more

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

SAMRA: I need a topic for my new single that no one has ever written a song about before.
SONGWRITERS: Will this do?
https://t.co/NiStivSyNm

Portugal won #Eurovision 40 years more recently than France.

Socio-critical tendencies, cigarette lights and a song "plucked right out of a movie" - #Eurovision 1962 had it all: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

We revisit #Eurovision 1962 in our review series and pick out three awesome songs for you to enjoy! Check it out: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

Do it for your Labour, do it for your Labour
Vote May out and do it for your Labour
#GE2017

Load more tweets...

Five interesting bets for tonight’s Eurovision final

Five interesting bets for tonight’s Eurovision final

all images © eurovision.tv; all odds correct at time of writing

Tonight is the grand final of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest! And while we all choose to celebrate the contest in different ways – voting sheets, flags, country-themed snacks and drinks, life-size cardboard cutouts of Jacques Houdek – there’s an entire sub-culture of fandom dedicated to betting on the competition. When re-watching old contests, you’ll often hear commentators talking about who the British or Irish bookmakers think will be the winner, as they were the only ones offering odds in those days. In this internet age, however, the winner is just the start of it – there’s a whole range of betting markets dedicated to all kinds of outcomes, from which countries will reach the top 5 or the top 10, right through to regional champions (e.g. the top Nordic nation), the number of 12 points a country will receive, or head-to-heads between two specific entries.

To help you navigate this complex landscape of betting opportunities, our resident gambler Martin has selected five bets you might want to consider ahead of tonight’s show. Needless to say, these are suggestions only – your bank balance may go up as well as down, and escgo! can provide no guarantee of future performance, as much as we’d love to.

As always, Oddschecker provides a good overview of the available markets here, and if you’re new to the concept of betting odds and what it all means, our good friends at Sofabet can explain everything right here.

Over to Martin’s thoughts, then:

Portugal to beat Italy

You all know your way around the winner market (and can draw your own conclusions anyway), so I’m going to focus on some of the more specific markets in this post. For example, head-to-heads are always a good way of playing it safe if you think Country X will definitely finish ahead of Country Y regardless of where they end up on the scoreboard in respect of the other entries.

Take the hot contenders for the win tonight, for instance. The betting markets are satisfied that it’s a three-way fight between long-term favourite Francesco Gabbani from Italy, the man with the momentum, Portugal’s Salvador Sobral, and young upstart Kristian Kostov from Bulgaria. I think it’s entirely plausible that any of those countries could win – indeed, if I had to pick a favourite right now it might just be Bulgaria, but maybe that’s because my brain refuses to accept the concept of Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest in the first place. (What next, Finland triumphing with a masked heavy metal band?) Alternatively, the fans and the markets could be completely wrong and we’ll see a total outsider stealing a march on the field, especially if there’s a big jury/televoting disparity like last year. So why not focus on the individual battles instead? In this case, I think Salvador’s narrative, his jury-friendliness and his ability to nail a more convincing performance when it counts all add up to Portugal finishing ahead of Italy on the scoreboard tonight. Odds of 2.0 (Bet365) are available if you agree – and you’ll win your bet regardless of whether Portugal and Italy finish 1st and 2nd or 24th and 25th!

ARMRI


Israel to finish in the top 10

Last year, Belgium’s Laura Tesoro barged her way to qualification from the last spot in her semi-final, was placed first in the final running order and still snuck into the top 10 thanks to a persuasive up-tempo performance. I think that’s exactly what IMRI from Israel offers this year, and while Laura’s song was probably more jury-friendly, this is the kind of year where the top three might suck up a lot of the points (hello 2015!) leaving things to get a bit more random in the mid-table area. Moreover, IMRI’s opening number is immediately followed by three less impactful performances all with a white-and-blue staging theme, which should make him stand out even more in hindsight. If I’m being completely honest, I feel like he probably will end up more towards the middle of the final scoreboard, but with odds in the 7s with most bookmakers and as much as 8.5 in places (e.g. MarathonBet), I think a top 10 punt on Israel constitutes a value bet at this stage.

Austria to finish last

Speaking of those early performers in white on a blue background… OK, let’s be honest here, we all know it’s probably going to be Spain and Germany battling it out for last place tonight. But I think their songs have at least as much quality to them as the Austrian composition, and they benefit from a much better position in the running order. If Manel Navarro in particular pulls out a vaguely charming performance and Levina from Germany keeps that engaging smile on her face, someone else will have to finish last, so why not Nathan Trent? We know from two years ago that friendless Austria are perfectly capable of propping up the table, and “Running On Air” is insubstantial enough that it could easily fall through the gaps with juries and televoters alike. More to the point, the odds of 29.0 (SkyBet) are extremely tempting. (It’ll probably still be Spain though.)

Show me a jury that can resist a good “jusqu’à ce que”


France to receive at least one jury 12

Here’s a brilliantly niche bet that Bet365 are currently offering at a price of 2.62. Last year illustrated just how wildly all-over-the-place the jury votes can be. Bear in mind that a jury is just five people in a room, each ranking the songs in full regardless of how much or little attention they’ve actually been paying attention to them all. Strange things can happen, in other words. Last year, jury 12s went to artists as varied as Barei, Joe & Jake and the Georgian band with the long name, none of whom made much of an impact on the overall scoreboard. So why shouldn’t “Requiem”, the kind of wannabe-classy song juries ought to love, come away with at least one top mark tonight?

I should point out that Bet365 have all kinds of interesting markets available. If you’re not convinced by Alma’s chances, how about Belgium to finish 6th or lower at current odds of 2.0? The bookmakers cater for all kinds of specific outcomes these days, so there are opportunities to be had left, right and centre. As if to prove it, here’s my final suggestion:

The juries and the televoting to agree on the winner

In the wake of Måns/Il Volo and the three-way Sergey/Dami/Jamala split last year, we’ve got used to the idea of the juries and the televoters disagreeing on the winner. But it’s not actually all that common – let’s not forget that they were happy to agree on Conchita, Emmelie de Forest and Loreen as the deserving champions in the three preceding years, after all. So what if you disagree with my above assessment of the tough fight we’re going to have on our hands tonight? Maybe you think Italy will sweep up the jury and public votes just like the markets have been assuming all season long (until this week); maybe you think “Beautiful Mess” is a jury magnet and the public will fall for Kristian Kostov’s camera tricks and angsty Bieber charms; maybe you just think yodelling is the hot trend of 2017 and we’re all fools for not having realised it sooner. Whatever your theory, bwin will give you odds of 2.0 if you think the jury favourite and the televoting favourite will be one and the same this year.

Beautiful bets

And that’s all from my series of betting posts on ESC 2017. I hope I’ve been able to give you a bit of extra insight and guidance (and that I haven’t misled you too horrendously along the way). Wherever you place your money for tonight and whatever you’re doing for the show itself, I hope you have a profitable and enjoyable evening!

Who will you be betting on for tonight’s grand final? Let us know!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!
Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more

ABBA, Sobral. Why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision

The victory of Salvador Sobral is a turning point in Eurovision history. It’s probably the most important victory since ABBA. Felix points out what’s so important about Portugal winning with this entry, and why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision.

read more

Reviewing Eurovision 2017: Felix’s top three thoughts

Oh Eurovision, oh Europe. It’s 14:00 CET on day 1 after Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the first day of a new calendar. What a historic night! And impossible to narrow it all down to just three thoughts. Felix tries anyway.

read more

Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Congratulations to Portugal, which has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, with Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar Pelos Dois". In the grand final, Portugal was the clear favourite of the juries and televoters alike, amassing a huge total of 758...

read more

Shi’s San Francisco final preview

And just like that, this is it. That big day, the one before the PED - but I won’t bring up such depressing topics right now. Instead, how about a preview of sorts? You might have noticed that I have ignored the direct finalists until now. I realized two things: the...

read more

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

SAMRA: I need a topic for my new single that no one has ever written a song about before.
SONGWRITERS: Will this do?
https://t.co/NiStivSyNm

Portugal won #Eurovision 40 years more recently than France.

Socio-critical tendencies, cigarette lights and a song "plucked right out of a movie" - #Eurovision 1962 had it all: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

We revisit #Eurovision 1962 in our review series and pick out three awesome songs for you to enjoy! Check it out: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

Do it for your Labour, do it for your Labour
Vote May out and do it for your Labour
#GE2017

Load more tweets...

It’s nearly Eurovision. It’s always Eurovision.

It’s nearly Eurovision. It’s always Eurovision.

Some people think the Eurovision Song Contest is a television show that takes place on a Saturday in May. But we know better.

From the moment in late December when the Festivali i Këngës theme tune kicks in, to the dying strains of “Te Deum” after the ESC credits fly past at supersonic speed and the lucky winner faces a blitz of cameras, this is how we spend half of our year.

And the other half is spent dissecting what we’ve just seen, and looking forward to what’s coming next.

For me, the week of the contest itself has become an excuse for a holiday in the sun with some of the great friends I’ve made as a result of ESC. Even from a distance, we’re as engaged as any other fans – printing out voting sheets, speculating wildly about what’s going to happen during the shows, and hoping and praying that our villa will have the right TV channels and internet that’s fast enough to support half a dozen nerds all obsessively loading and re-loading YouTube rehearsal videos on their phones while sipping a poolside glass of something chilled.

Press centre, Lanzarote-style, complete with deformed cake

It’s a fine habit and a masterclass in glorious geekery – where else but with this gang would you hear “Esmer yarim” three times in a week? – but it’s a habit that’s kept me out of the press centre bubble more often than not these last few years, and it’s the reason my blogging this year has been mainly limited to betting posts and some idle analysis here and there. While I can’t deny the merits of hot weather and holiday food, every year I do find myself jealous of the friends and fan-press colleagues who make their way to the host city for the contest, and (to borrow from Brendan Murray) I’m dying to go back again – even if it’s just for the first week of rehearsals, like I did in Vienna in 2015 before escaping to the sunshine for the shows themselves.

Thanks to the usual boring time and money commitments, these days the host city needs to be somewhere actively interesting to me in order to justify a visit. Hence Vienna but no Stockholm last year – I love the Swedish capital, but I’ve been there almost every year of my adult life, so I don’t need to pay inflated accommodation prices for the privilege of yet another swing around the cobblestones of Gamla Stan. If the bookmakers are right, next year’s Euro-circus might well be rolling into Turin or Milan (where I’ve never been), Lisbon (where I’ve been once, on a day trip as an already sulky 12-year-old) or Sofia (where I’ve been as recently as last October, but I’d be delighted to revisit). Any of those would stand a very good chance of tempting me back into the bubble, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings in that respect.

Sofia calling?

Regardless of where and how we consume the contest, ESC week can be a surprisingly strange experience for the hardcore fan. Because it’s nearly all over. All that waiting and wondering, a whole season of it, is channeled into the intense rush of three shows in five days. We juggle multiple webstreams and mourn for what gets left behind in the national finals; we obsess over, analyse and overanalyse the songs that do make it; we place our bets, hold our preview parties, share our toplists, pore over rehearsal blogs and videos. Then suddenly, within the space of barely 48 hours, we find that 42 songs have already become 26. Our lovers get lost in Verona; blackbirds fall down the rooftops. The final running order comes out and we rush to start obsessing all over again, knowing there’s only a day and a half left for us to truly indulge in the joy of anticipation before “Te Deum” kicks in one last time to herald the start of our Cup Final, our Olympics, the culmination of our religious worship at the altar of Eurovision.

Yes, it’s a strange week. But it’s still the best week.

Tomorrow, of course, is when we’ll get messages from our friends and relatives, asking us who’s going to win and who they should look out for. As if we couldn’t have told them three months ago, or two months ago, or one month ago, or one week ago. With a different answer every time.

They think it’s just a television show that takes place on a Saturday in May, you see. But we know different. We know better. And whether our favourites take home the trophy or crash and burn in the semi-final, we know there’s always a next year, and a next, and a next.

The cycle will begin again. The cycle never really ends.

It’s the Eurovision Song Contest, it’s bloody marvellous, and it’s ours. Enjoy it.

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!
Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more

ABBA, Sobral. Why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision

The victory of Salvador Sobral is a turning point in Eurovision history. It’s probably the most important victory since ABBA. Felix points out what’s so important about Portugal winning with this entry, and why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision.

read more

Reviewing Eurovision 2017: Felix’s top three thoughts

Oh Eurovision, oh Europe. It’s 14:00 CET on day 1 after Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the first day of a new calendar. What a historic night! And impossible to narrow it all down to just three thoughts. Felix tries anyway.

read more

Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Congratulations to Portugal, which has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, with Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar Pelos Dois". In the grand final, Portugal was the clear favourite of the juries and televoters alike, amassing a huge total of 758...

read more

Shi’s San Francisco final preview

And just like that, this is it. That big day, the one before the PED - but I won’t bring up such depressing topics right now. Instead, how about a preview of sorts? You might have noticed that I have ignored the direct finalists until now. I realized two things: the...

read more

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

SAMRA: I need a topic for my new single that no one has ever written a song about before.
SONGWRITERS: Will this do?
https://t.co/NiStivSyNm

Portugal won #Eurovision 40 years more recently than France.

Socio-critical tendencies, cigarette lights and a song "plucked right out of a movie" - #Eurovision 1962 had it all: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

We revisit #Eurovision 1962 in our review series and pick out three awesome songs for you to enjoy! Check it out: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

Do it for your Labour, do it for your Labour
Vote May out and do it for your Labour
#GE2017

Load more tweets...

Semi 2: Three bets to consider

Semi 2: Three bets to consider

all images © eurovision.tv; all odds correct at time of writing

So how was your Tuesday night? Did all your personal favourites qualify and, perhaps more importantly, did you make a bit of money with your bets? Of course, some of the betting markets – like the semi-final winner – will only be settled once the full results are presented in the early hours of Sunday morning. But in the meantime, let’s turn our attention to tonight’s second semi-final and some of the betting options you might want to consider if you have a few currency units floating around your online account!

As always, Oddschecker provides a good overview of the available markets here, and if you’re new to the concept of betting odds and what it all means, our good friends at Sofabet can explain everything right here.

Over to Martin’s thoughts, then:

Armed and dangerous

Israel to finish in the top 3 of the semi-final

There’s almost no point in looking at the “to win semi 2” market, as Bulgaria is far and away the favourite; the best available price for Kristian Kostov at the time of writing was 1.73, with the nearest contenders in the 9s and 10s. Of course, there very much is a point if you don’t believe “Beautiful Mess” will be tonight’s semi winner. But I do – it’s jury-friendly and televoter-friendly in equal measure. So let’s consider the “top 3” market instead. This is a tougher one to read, as entries have a habit of popping up into the semi-final podium places without that necessarily being any indication of great success in the final, as anyone from Paradise Oskar to Ira Losco will tell you. Factors that are diluted in the final, like the immediately surrounding songs, the composition of the voting countries and the running order, can be magnified in the unforgiving arena of the semi-final.

Last year, a bouncy up-tempo number from Belgium surprised many by finishing third in its semi-final from last place in the running order, and I can see IMRI from Israel achieving exactly the same thing tonight. “I Feel Alive” has enough real-world relevance to score well enough with the juries, and televoters will be desperate for a bit of fun after slogging their way through the teenage angst of Bulgaria, the telenovela drama of Estonia and whatever the hell Lithuania is. If you agree, Betfair Exchange will give you odds of 3.23 for a top three finish for Israel. Alternatively, you could take an each-way bet on IMRI to win the semi-final with one of the bookmakers who will pay out for the first three places, such as Coral (odds of 17 at time of writing).

Laying down my armour, packing up my case

Denmark to fail to qualify

While all of my betting suggestions are just that – suggestions – I’d like to make it especially clear that I don’t think this one will happen, as our escgo! prediction post will show. But there are signs that Denmark is by no means as clear a qualifier as the market thinks, and I’m surprised you can get NQ odds as generous as 5.5 (SkyBet). The country is on a losing streak, failing to qualify by some distance in each of the last two years, and tonight Anja will deliver a highly competent but not especially likeable performance of an identikit staging that might remind viewers too much of something they’ve seen many times before. I still think the solid quality of the composition will shine through in the end, but it wouldn’t shock me if Denmark ended up by the wayside for the third year in a row.

Whether you buy into this theory or not, it’s always fun to dabble in the non-qualification market – I’m tempted by the generous prices on the likes of Austria and Serbia too, for example. All you need is a rogue Jacques Houdek to bludgeon his way to a final ticket and suddenly things start looking dicey for several of his competitors.

Lights out

Lithuania to finish last in the semi-final

Yes, Lithuania has diaspora in some of the televoting countries. Yes, they tend to overperform in semi-finals. Yes, Fusedmarc are competing against “Spirit Of The Night” with its 47 key changes. But come on. “Rain Of Revolution” is the longest, loudest three minutes to disgrace the Eurovision stage in many a year. Surely it can’t come anywhere but dead last tonight? Odds of 3.28 (Betfair Exchange) are available if you agree.

Where will you be placing your money for tonight’s show? Let us know!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!
Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more

ABBA, Sobral. Why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision

The victory of Salvador Sobral is a turning point in Eurovision history. It’s probably the most important victory since ABBA. Felix points out what’s so important about Portugal winning with this entry, and why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision.

read more

Reviewing Eurovision 2017: Felix’s top three thoughts

Oh Eurovision, oh Europe. It’s 14:00 CET on day 1 after Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the first day of a new calendar. What a historic night! And impossible to narrow it all down to just three thoughts. Felix tries anyway.

read more

Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Congratulations to Portugal, which has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, with Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar Pelos Dois". In the grand final, Portugal was the clear favourite of the juries and televoters alike, amassing a huge total of 758...

read more

Shi’s San Francisco final preview

And just like that, this is it. That big day, the one before the PED - but I won’t bring up such depressing topics right now. Instead, how about a preview of sorts? You might have noticed that I have ignored the direct finalists until now. I realized two things: the...

read more

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

SAMRA: I need a topic for my new single that no one has ever written a song about before.
SONGWRITERS: Will this do?
https://t.co/NiStivSyNm

Portugal won #Eurovision 40 years more recently than France.

Socio-critical tendencies, cigarette lights and a song "plucked right out of a movie" - #Eurovision 1962 had it all: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

We revisit #Eurovision 1962 in our review series and pick out three awesome songs for you to enjoy! Check it out: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

Do it for your Labour, do it for your Labour
Vote May out and do it for your Labour
#GE2017

Load more tweets...

Semi 1: Three bets to consider

Semi 1: Three bets to consider

all images © eurovision.tv; all odds correct at time of writing

Tonight sees the first semi-final of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, and as always, there are many betting markets available for those among you who want to have a little wager on what might happen this evening. To help you get started, for each of this week’s three shows our resident escgo! gambler Martin will be picking out three bets that might be of interest to you. With no guarantee of success, of course – you never meet a poor bookmaker, after all…

Oddschecker provides a good overview of the available markets here, and if you’re new to the concept of betting odds and what it all means, our good friends at Sofabet can explain everything right here.

Over to Martin’s tips, then:

Yaz bitti? Ja bitte.

Armenia to win the semi-final

Following his illness-related absence from the first week of rehearsals, all the talk is understandably about Salvador Sobral from Portugal, who has quietly moved into second place in the betting markets for the overall win. Semi-finals follow their own logic, though – and as contradictory as it might seem, Portugal could even beat Italy to the big prize on Saturday night without necessarily winning tonight’s semi. “Amor pelos dois” feels like the kind of thing that’s more tailored to a mainstream weekend audience, the kind of people who made “La La Land” one of the cinema’s biggest recent hits. But Artsvik from Armenia has a persuasive visual and vocal package, a better position in tonight’s running order, and the group of countries voting in this semi feels relatively more skewed towards the south-eastern corner of Europe in terms of geography and preferences. As such, odds of 3.5 (various bookmakers) for her to win the semi-final represent a reasonable opportunity in my view.

In the danger zone?

Belgium to fail to qualify

All season long, Blanche from Belgium has delivered live performances that have varied from the uncertain to the downright bad. All season long, I’ve been saying that the quality of “City Lights” as a composition means it should still qualify for the final no matter what Blanche throws at it. But her failure to deliver all through the rehearsals in Kyiv is starting to tip me over the edge. This is a competitive semi-final with a lot of competitive borderline qualifiers, and if Belgium failed to persuade the national juries last night, all it’ll take is an especially nervy performance from Blanche tonight and she could be on the first flight home tomorrow. The markets have cottoned onto this a little, and the fall of a former favourite has been intriguing to follow, but you can still get a tempting 2.62 (BetStars) for a Belgian NQ even at this stage.

Faith in the future

Georgia to qualify

It’s more or less Eurovision Law that a big shouty female ballad has to qualify from the semi-final then do absolutely nothing in the final (and all the more so if nervous Blanche leaves an extra qualification spot open this year). I feel like Poland is overrated by the markets despite their strong recent qualification record, and the money has really moved away from Albania’s Lindita (and rightly so) – so why not have a nibble at Tako Tamara from Georgia? She’s been dismissed a little because of her second slot in the running order, but the juries should be her primary audience anyway, and that’ll matter less for them. And “Keep The Faith” really isn’t a bad song, especially now it’s been shorn of the heavy-handed backdrop of war headlines we saw in the national final. You can get odds of 3.5 (BetVictor, Betfair Sportsbook) if you think Georgia will make a repeat appearance on Saturday night – regardless of whether anyone still cares by the time we get that far.

Where will you be placing your money for tonight’s show? Let us know!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!
Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more

ABBA, Sobral. Why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision

The victory of Salvador Sobral is a turning point in Eurovision history. It’s probably the most important victory since ABBA. Felix points out what’s so important about Portugal winning with this entry, and why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision.

read more

Reviewing Eurovision 2017: Felix’s top three thoughts

Oh Eurovision, oh Europe. It’s 14:00 CET on day 1 after Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the first day of a new calendar. What a historic night! And impossible to narrow it all down to just three thoughts. Felix tries anyway.

read more

Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Congratulations to Portugal, which has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, with Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar Pelos Dois". In the grand final, Portugal was the clear favourite of the juries and televoters alike, amassing a huge total of 758...

read more

Shi’s San Francisco final preview

And just like that, this is it. That big day, the one before the PED - but I won’t bring up such depressing topics right now. Instead, how about a preview of sorts? You might have noticed that I have ignored the direct finalists until now. I realized two things: the...

read more

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

SAMRA: I need a topic for my new single that no one has ever written a song about before.
SONGWRITERS: Will this do?
https://t.co/NiStivSyNm

Portugal won #Eurovision 40 years more recently than France.

Socio-critical tendencies, cigarette lights and a song "plucked right out of a movie" - #Eurovision 1962 had it all: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

We revisit #Eurovision 1962 in our review series and pick out three awesome songs for you to enjoy! Check it out: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

Do it for your Labour, do it for your Labour
Vote May out and do it for your Labour
#GE2017

Load more tweets...

Five fan theories we’re waiting to see tested

Five fan theories we’re waiting to see tested

all images © eurovision.tv

Over in Kyiv, we’ve now seen the first and second round of rehearsals for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. And while the artists enjoy a well-deserved bit of time outside the arena at this evening’s opening ceremony (bring on the champagne! and some fresh air!), we’re going to take a look at five popular theories among ESC fans that will have been proven – or disproven – by this time next week.

1. The juries will punish Francesco’s ape
When a contest has a super-hot favourite like Italy this year, everyone instinctively starts looking for reasons why it “can’t” win. With Loreen it was the dark staging and a bit of snowflake-choking at the rehearsal stage (wrong), with Sergey Lazarev it was the theory that the juries would punish Russia for being, well, Russia (probably kind of correct). In 2017 it’s those unpredictable juries who find themselves in the fan spotlight again. Televoters are expected to respond extremely well to Francesco Gabbani’s choreographed routine with a dancing ape – but is that precisely the kind of lightweight fun that the juries will be only too happy to punish?

2. The first half of semi 1 will be a bloodbath
The running order plays an important role in the Eurovision Song Contest results – the producers wouldn’t have decided to take control of it if it didn’t! – and it’s widely accepted in the fan world that six songs simply can’t qualify from the first half of a semi-final. Yet before rehearsals began, all of Sweden, Australia, Belgium, Finland, Azerbaijan and Portugal were seen as likely qualifiers, at least according to the betting markets – and at that stage, the betting basically reflects what fans think (or fans with money to burn, in any case). Can they really all get through? Of course, Belgium’s Blanche in particular has slipped firmly into “borderliner” territory thanks to some pretty unconvincing early rehearsals – but if anything, it’s the likes of Tamara from Georgia, also performing in the first half, who could benefit as a result. So will it be six of one and four of the other on Tuesday night, or will the theory be right after all?

Treble trouble?

3. O’G3NE will fail – because female trios always do
When it comes to ESC, trios mean trouble. Entries where the lead vocal is split more or less equally between three singers have a poor record at the contest in recent years, from hilariously dressed Serbian girlgroup Moje 3 failing to qualify from the plum slot in their semi-final in 2013 to the crash-and-burn of fanfaves Femminem in 2010. The Netherlands have even suffered from this syndrome themselves, with Treble garnering very few votes back in 2006 despite busking in just about every major European city during their promo campaign. So will this also be a problem for their countrymates O’G3NE this year, as the fan theory goes? Their tight harmonies are very much seen as their big strength – which is useful, since their song is on the weaker side – but will voters prove resistant to the charms of a vocal trio yet again?

4. The UK will suffer from the Brexit factor
Lucie Jones is proving to be one of the big successes of the first rehearsal week, delivering largely flawless and well-staged performances of “Never Give Up On You”. But aren’t we all forgetting something? Last year the United Kingdom delivered a huge blow to the peacetime hopes of a continent by voting to withdraw from the European Union, and the resentment – and bafflement – is still felt far and wide on the continent. That said, it’s worth remembering that there are also plenty of Euro-sceptic televoters out there who probably quite approved of the UK’s decision (and who knows, the French election may yet have a sting in the tail in that respect). All the same, the theory goes, it’s entirely plausible that those all-important juries will choose to give the UK a kick in the arse for having the temerity to say “non, nein danke” to the European project – regardless of how well Lucie puts the song over.

Never give up on EU?

5. Valentina Monetta is inexorably on the rise
OK, I admit, this isn’t actually an especially popular theory. But just look at the facts, people! In her three participations to date, San Marino legend Valentina Monetta has done better each time, finally giving the microstate its first qualification for the grand final in 2014. So why shouldn’t her upward trend be a sustainable one? There has to be some reason SMRTV and Uncle Ralph Siegel have turned to her again this year, after all. Who knows – by midnight on Saturday, we might even be looking at San Marino’s first appearance on the left-hand side of the scoreboard thanks to Valentina and Jimmie.

Then again, they might already be back home and watching the show on TV by then…

What are your favourite weird and wonderful fan theories from this year’s competition? Let us know!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!
Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more

ABBA, Sobral. Why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision

The victory of Salvador Sobral is a turning point in Eurovision history. It’s probably the most important victory since ABBA. Felix points out what’s so important about Portugal winning with this entry, and why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision.

read more

Reviewing Eurovision 2017: Felix’s top three thoughts

Oh Eurovision, oh Europe. It’s 14:00 CET on day 1 after Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the first day of a new calendar. What a historic night! And impossible to narrow it all down to just three thoughts. Felix tries anyway.

read more

Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Congratulations to Portugal, which has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, with Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar Pelos Dois". In the grand final, Portugal was the clear favourite of the juries and televoters alike, amassing a huge total of 758...

read more

Shi’s San Francisco final preview

And just like that, this is it. That big day, the one before the PED - but I won’t bring up such depressing topics right now. Instead, how about a preview of sorts? You might have noticed that I have ignored the direct finalists until now. I realized two things: the...

read more

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

SAMRA: I need a topic for my new single that no one has ever written a song about before.
SONGWRITERS: Will this do?
https://t.co/NiStivSyNm

Portugal won #Eurovision 40 years more recently than France.

Socio-critical tendencies, cigarette lights and a song "plucked right out of a movie" - #Eurovision 1962 had it all: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

We revisit #Eurovision 1962 in our review series and pick out three awesome songs for you to enjoy! Check it out: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

Do it for your Labour, do it for your Labour
Vote May out and do it for your Labour
#GE2017

Load more tweets...

Line-up check 2017: The “big 5” + Ukraine

Line-up check 2017: The “big 5” + Ukraine

Images: Raul Tejedor RTVE, RAI, Charlie Clift

Just in time for the first day of rehearsals and our website revamp and relaunch, it’s the final part of the escgo! line-up check for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. And there’s no better way to end than with the songs we’ll definitely be encountering in this year’s grand final – namely the entries from the “big five” pre-qualified countries plus host nation Ukraine.

Without further ado, then, let’s see what our editors – Felix, Shi and Martin – think about the songs personally and how they rate their chances in text and emoji form…

 

FRANCE: Shadows dancing slowly on my wall

France
Shi: Sometimes in Eurovision there are songs I think are really good and I know I’ll keep listening to, but also quickly get a sinking feeling they won’t really work on the night. This is one of those cases. Alma, sweet and lovely as she is, never really convinced me that she can sell this live and make people pay attention to her three minutes, resulting in people heading to the kitchen to get something to drink instead while this nice background tune is playing. Decent singer at best, I’d imagine it’ll score something gloriously mid-table at best with the juries.

➡☺

Martin: I initially thought this was cannon fodder, but it’s grown on me. I also suspect it’s more of a jury fave, but they could like it a lot.

Felix: I never found any access to this song. There was a moment a few weeks ago when I thought I “got” it, but apparently it slipped away again.

Germany
Martin: Having changed their preselection format in the hope of avoiding a third successive last-place finish, Germany have ended up with an entry that… might finish last again. I actually quite like it – it’s a perfectly competent slice of radio pop. And it won’t be the worst song in the final. The problem is Levina is a good but not outstanding performer, and “Perfect Life” is a good but not outstanding song. While it might attract some low jury points, you can’t imagine any televoter seeing it and thinking: “Yes! That’s my favourite, I must vote for it!” Ergo: doomed.

⬇️👦🙈

Felix: Badly written song, as simple as that. For example, the chorus begins as a vase and ends as a telephone book. Dull and irrelevant. Will bomb.

Shi: I won’t fast forward this if it comes up on shuffle. I’ll probably also not realize it’s even on, though.

 

ITALY: Der Unterschied zwischen Menschen, zwischen Affen und Primaten

Italy
Martin: The bookies’ favourite, the fans’ favourite. But is it a Rybak, a Lazarev or an Amaury? The pro arguments: The video just topped 100 million (!) YouTube views, Francesco is crazy charismatic, and the gorilla is fun. The contra: Those views might mostly be local, the lyrics are overly intricate even if you do speak Italian, and the gorilla will be seen as a gimmick. Then there’s the three-minute edit, which many hate but I think is quite sensible, focusing on the chorus and synth riff instead of All The Words. Turin 2018? Maybe. But karma can be a bitch.

⬆️😀💃🙏

Shi: Wasn’t my favorite in Sanremo, isn’t my favorite here, I don’t really care much for it, but Francesco is cool and it would make a fun winner.

Felix: I kind of get it now. Still, I feel like people make me watch a movie with them, and tell me “it’s so funny you’ll ROFL”, and I’m like “okay…”

Spain
Felix: Right now, I have two options about what I’m doing next. Doing the laundry or writing about Spain? As much as I try to procrastinate, the empty space glaring at me here still screams “YOU STILL HAVEN’T WRITTEN ANYTHING ABOUT SPAIN 2017”. Argh. I don’t like reggae. I don’t like national final decisions depending on one single person, unless that single person is Pierre Kartner. And I don’t like this song, period. It isn’t bad, it isn’t repulsive, it isn’t annoying, it is NOTHING. And on top of that, the performer is uninteresting too. Not gonna end up top 15.

↘️😴

Shi: To be fair, I think it’s more the live performance of this that doesn’t really work rather than the song itself, but that’s a problem when you still have to perform this live.

Martin: I’m actually really fond of this song (and how much it winds up the Spanish fanboys), but I’m acutely aware of its flaws. I’d love it to succeed, but… yeah.

 

UKRAINE: Time will pass and die, unlike me

Ukraine
Shi: Why do I keep getting all the songs that have no discernible melody? I’m fairly certain the only positive thing I have to say about this is it beat that horrible song that was the favorite in the Ukrainian national final and saved me from it. And I do recall they had a styling that made me think about suicide bombers for three minutes (yes, I know your song is called “Time”, that’s really not a good enough reason to wear ticking clocks as fashion accessories). Luckily for them, not much ambition to win on the Ukrainian end this year, so who cares.

😶😲⌛↘

Martin: I care! Not much, but I do like this well enough. It’s a “third single from a decent but unspectacular album” kind of song, though, which isn’t great for ESC.

Felix: I get a few “Deli” vibes from this, and ever since I realized that, I can enjoy it a bit more. Still, it’s far away from “Deli”.

United Kingdom
Felix: My relationship with this can be divided into three phases.
Phase 1, beginning with the UK final: “I hate it. I much preferred Holly or Olivia. In my bottom five.”
Phase 2, beginning with me watching the preview videos some weeks later: “Oh, is this the UK? Heck, it’s NICE, what did I previously think? I like it!”
Phase 3, beginning with the ChatVote: “How did the UK song go again? I can’t remember”, alternating with “UK is stuck in my head”. All in all, it’s quality, it might go anywhere on the scoreboard, just probably not first or last place.

↗️😫🔜😃🔀😧🎢❓

Martin: As the Brit on the team, I’m just happy to have a UK entry I’m not ashamed of. Lucie is great and this shouldn’t totally bomb even with the Brexit factor. Hopefully…

Shi: She’s classy, a great singer, and emotes this perfectly without ever going overboard. I think this will do well.

And that, dear readers, dear friends, is that! Our line-up check for 2017 is complete. Who will win this year? Who will crash and burn in the semi-finals? Our words may have shed a little light on proceedings, but as always, the beauty of the Eurovision Song Contest is that it’s good for a few surprises (or even more than a few).

Whatever happens over the next fortnight of rehearsals, semis and the grand final itself, whether you’re travelling to see the show or watching it at home, we hope you have an awesome time – and stay tuned for more content and analysis as we start hearing and seeing what’s happening on the big stage in Kyiv!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!
Visit our Eurovision Chat!
Join the Chat!

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more

ABBA, Sobral. Why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision

The victory of Salvador Sobral is a turning point in Eurovision history. It’s probably the most important victory since ABBA. Felix points out what’s so important about Portugal winning with this entry, and why 2017 is a landmark year for Eurovision.

read more

Reviewing Eurovision 2017: Felix’s top three thoughts

Oh Eurovision, oh Europe. It’s 14:00 CET on day 1 after Portugal winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the first day of a new calendar. What a historic night! And impossible to narrow it all down to just three thoughts. Felix tries anyway.

read more

Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Congratulations to Portugal, which has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, with Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar Pelos Dois". In the grand final, Portugal was the clear favourite of the juries and televoters alike, amassing a huge total of 758...

read more

Shi’s San Francisco final preview

And just like that, this is it. That big day, the one before the PED - but I won’t bring up such depressing topics right now. Instead, how about a preview of sorts? You might have noticed that I have ignored the direct finalists until now. I realized two things: the...

read more

“Petale” by Instinct wins SongHunt 2017

SongHunt 2017, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end – and “Petale” by Instinct, from the Romanian preselection, is the winner of the grand final!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

SAMRA: I need a topic for my new single that no one has ever written a song about before.
SONGWRITERS: Will this do?
https://t.co/NiStivSyNm

Portugal won #Eurovision 40 years more recently than France.

Socio-critical tendencies, cigarette lights and a song "plucked right out of a movie" - #Eurovision 1962 had it all: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

We revisit #Eurovision 1962 in our review series and pick out three awesome songs for you to enjoy! Check it out: https://t.co/obFb1ZxyJz

Do it for your Labour, do it for your Labour
Vote May out and do it for your Labour
#GE2017

Load more tweets...