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SongHunt 2018: Introducing the finalists

SongHunt 2018: Introducing the finalists

Twelve songs have made it through the rounds of SongHunt 2018 to compete for your vote in the grand final.

If you know them all already, click here to vote in the grand final! You can vote once every 24 hours, so make sure you keep coming back to support your favourite song(s).

But in case you still need help making up your mind, here’s a quick introduction to the dozen candidates who are vying for your vote!


Tamás Horváth – Meggyfa (Hungary)
This folksy number lost out to screamo rockers AWS in the A Dal superfinal but would surely have had a decent chance of maintaining Hungary’s strong Eurovision qualification record this decade.

Emmy Liyana – OK ou KO (France)
Co-composed by French music superstar Zazie, “OK ou KO” was an early favourite for the French selection when the clips of the songs first emerged. Emmy Liyana delivered an intriguing performance using doubles of herself, and while she didn’t get the ticket to ESC, she’s proved a favourite throughout the SongHunt process.

Inis Neziri – Piedestal (Albania)
Festivali i Këngës is typically the first national final of the season, so it’s nice to see a non-winning song from there still pleasing fans in mid-May. Given Albania’s penchant for dramatic female-sung entries, Inis might have expected to be making a trip to Lisbon, but she will have to satisfy herself with a place in the SongHunt final instead.

Aitana & Ana Guerra – Lo malo (Spain)
If the return of OT has been a success, “Lo malo” has been the cherry on the cake. Well in excess of five million views for this video alone and the song of the summer season in Spain, we’ll never know how well it might have done at ESC, but its success has achieved an even greater feat: persuading the singers that they actually quite like the song after all.

Felix Sandman – Every Single Day (Sweden)
We’re still none the wiser as to why SVT decided to style his name as FELIX SANDMAN (ALL CAPS), but the former FO&O member made a big impression at Melodifestivalen, emerging from the Andra Chansen round to almost deny Benjamin Ingrosso the big prize.

Rebecca – Who We Are (Norway)
Poor Rebecca. Did she ever really stand a chance against the Eurovision juggernaut that is Alexander Rybak? A strong showing to reach the superfinal in Norway helped her win over a lot of our SongHunt voters, though, and here she is in our grand final.

Nassi – Rêves de gamin (France)
The French selection proved to be a particularly popular one among SongHunt voters, dominating the early stages of the competition and contributing one-quarter of the entries for our grand final – including this fun number from Nassi.

Aitana – Arde (Spain)
Aitana makes her second appearance in our SongHunt final with a song that could hardly be any different to “Lo malo”. This powerful and smoky ballad might well have been cannon fodder in the Saturday night Eurovision show, but it’s been music to the ears of the SongHunt voters so far.

Asmik Shiroyan – You And I (Armenia)
Would Asmik have been able to qualify for the Eurovision grand final where Sevak failed? We’ll never know – although she’d probably have to have sung a whole lot better than she did at Depi Evratesil.

Margaret – In My Cabana (Sweden)
The Polish final was an enjoyable enough event, but none of the competing songs were strong enough to fight their way through to the SongHunt final. Never fear, though: Poland has a proxy representative in the form of Margaret, whose “In My Cabana” was another graduate from the Andra Chansen round in Sweden.

Dora Gaitanovici – Fără tine (Romania)
Ah, Romania. You delivered a month and half’s worth of reliable Sunday night entertainment, salt mines and all. The rest of the fan world might still be screaming that Feli was robbed, but we know differently – Dora’s powerful ballad got the highest chat score of any song this season.

Lisandro Cuxi – Eva (France)
Speaking of “robbed”, there would probably be a lot more anguish over Lisandro Cuxi’s ultimate failure to win the French ticket to ESC 2018 if Madame Monsieur hadn’t swiftly established themselves as a fan favourite for the contest proper. The lyrics pitying Eva for being a single mother may be a little dubious, but the song remains a bit of a banger.

And that’s all twelve songs. Now all you have to do is vote – and keep coming back every day to defend your favourites from elimination!

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SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning national final song of the 2018 Eurovision season? Our SongHunt reaches its conclusion – and your votes will decide the winner!

read more

A German in Lisbon: The first full day

As anyone who ever lived in Cologne would say: "Et es wie et es, et kütt wie et kütt, un et hätt noch emmer joot jejange." That's Cologne dialect for "It's how it is, it will be like it is, and it has always worked out fine in the end." It's time for me to adopt this...

read more

Gallery: The host city Lisbon

We’ve been out and about in Lisbon, surely one of the most picturesque and personality-filled Eurovision host cities. Enjoy some of our photo highlights in this gallery!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Imagine actually being proud of this xenophobic nonsense 😂

Can’t decide on your Top Ten #Eurovision songs for the #ESC250? There are 1062 to choose from on this playlist:
https://t.co/F29Zfj1Plr

When you're idly flicking through the back catalogue of a Eurovision boyband and your eye falls on track B4 and, um...

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Semi 1: The ten qualifiers and their final halves!

Semi 1: The ten qualifiers and their final halves!

The first semi-final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest is over, and we have our ten qualifiers for the grand final on Saturday night! At the post-show press conference, the lucky artists also found out whether they will perform in the first or second half of the final.

The ten qualifiers and their final halves are as follows:

  • Austria: 1st half
  • Estonia: 1st half
  • Cyprus: 2nd half
  • Lithuania: 1st half
  • Israel: 2nd half
  • Czech Republic: 2nd half
  • Bulgaria: 2nd half
  • Albania: 1st half
  • Finland: 2nd half
  • Ireland: 2nd half

Good luck in the grand final!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!
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Visit our Eurovision Chat!
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SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning national final song of the 2018 Eurovision season? Our SongHunt reaches its conclusion – and your votes will decide the winner!

read more

A German in Lisbon: The first full day

As anyone who ever lived in Cologne would say: "Et es wie et es, et kütt wie et kütt, un et hätt noch emmer joot jejange." That's Cologne dialect for "It's how it is, it will be like it is, and it has always worked out fine in the end." It's time for me to adopt this...

read more

Gallery: The host city Lisbon

We’ve been out and about in Lisbon, surely one of the most picturesque and personality-filled Eurovision host cities. Enjoy some of our photo highlights in this gallery!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Imagine actually being proud of this xenophobic nonsense 😂

Can’t decide on your Top Ten #Eurovision songs for the #ESC250? There are 1062 to choose from on this playlist:
https://t.co/F29Zfj1Plr

When you're idly flicking through the back catalogue of a Eurovision boyband and your eye falls on track B4 and, um...

https://t.co/b7iYacWGIT

Units of time, from shortest to longest:

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Good, better, betting: Your guide to semi-final 1

Good, better, betting: Your guide to semi-final 1

As the first semi-final of ESC 2018 approaches, we take a look at some of the betting markets you might want to consider for tonight’s show! As always, all odds are correct at the time of writing – and if you need an introduction to betting odds, our friends over at Sofabet have a comprehensive guide.

The obvious place to start is the qualification market, since the “yes/no” binary of whether a country comes out of one of those digital envelopes is the only result we’ll actually get to see tonight – the detailed breakdown won’t be revealed until the early hours of Sunday morning. Semi 1 is widely regarded as seriously tough, which means there are some decent prices to be had if you can spot the outsiders that will outperform the market’s expectations. For example, Franka from Croatia has enjoyed excellent rehearsal reports and could get some serious jury love – a price of 5.1 (Betfair Exchange) for qualification seems quite generous right now, particularly as the country should enjoy a baseline of televoting support from the likes of Macedonia, Switzerland and Austria. Speaking of countries with televoting support, if you’re happy playing the shorter odds, Sevak from Armenia is seen as marginally more likely to qualify than not, but 1.89 (Betfair Exchange) for qualification is very tempting all the same. And, of course, there’s Finland’s Saara Aalto – an early-season favourite who, remarkably, is now trading at around 2.4 (Sportingbet) to qualify. If you still believe in the quality of “Monsters” as a modern pop song, that’s an obvious bet to chase.

Oh, and then there’s poor old Ari from Iceland. No song in any year has ever seen such long odds to qualify as “Our Choice” – it’s been trading on Betfair at around 50, currently sitting in the low-40s. And remember, that’s just to finish in 10th place or above in a semi-final of 19 songs. Ouch.

Crazily priced?

The other side of the binary is non-qualification. I often make my best profits by betting “negatively” – sometimes it’s easier to work out what won’t happen than what will. For example, Ieva from Lithuania feels like she’s been flattered by a good set of rehearsals this last week and is now viewed as a comfortable qualifier on the betting markets. If you’re still sceptical, Betway will offer you 2.75 for a Lithuanian NQ. Other potential candidates for “shock” non-qualification (though is there really such a thing in this ultra-competitive heat?) could include Austria at 3.25, while I’m surprised by how well-regarded the Swiss duo ZiBBZ appear to be, and Betway will give you 2.0 if you think they’re heading home tonight.

What we won’t find out tonight is who the winner of the semi-final is. Netta from Israel has been the leading candidate for the last month and more, but the recent dramatic move towards Cyprus (which I’m still struggling to fully understand) means there’s finally some value available if you want to back “Toy” to triumph tonight – Marathon Bet are offering odds of 4.0, while most other sites are in the mid-to-high 3s. Alternatively, if you do buy into the Eleni Foureira hype, odds of 3.0 (BetVictor) are still pretty generous for an entry that’s being touted as the hot new candidate for overall victory, never mind victory in a semi-final where it enjoys the bonus of the pimp slot.

Yeah, yeah, winner

In terms of tonight’s top 3, I’d say there are four obvious candidates fighting it out for the three spots: Cyprus, Israel, Estonia and the Czech Republic. You can currently grab odds of 2.75 (Unibet), or in excess of 3 on the Betfair Exchange, for Mikolas from the Czech Republic to sneak onto the podium this evening. Since every commentator will surely mention the struggles he’s had following his back injury earlier in the rehearsal period, that could potentially be televoting gold, and if the juries are doing their job then they should reward his contemporary song.

The only other question is who will finish in last place tonight. This market basically only exists on Betfair Exchange, and it’s fair to say that there are two clear candidates: the aforementioned Icelandic entry (1.46), and Eye Cue from Macedonia (2.04). No one else even comes close in terms of the odds, and I’m happy to agree with that analysis at this stage. While Iceland should get the wooden spoon, it’s not inconceivable that Ari’s winsome performance and strong vocals will pick up a smattering of jury and televote points, while a weak vocal and ill-advised staging on the part of the Macedonians could easily see them lost at the bottom of the scoreboard and never to be found again, even with a few friendly countries to help them on the televote front. It’s still going to be Iceland though… isn’t it?

Charming but doomed

As always, you can see a full overview of the odds for the various markets and bookmakers at Oddschecker. Wherever you place your money and however you watch the show tonight, I hope you have a fun and profitable evening – and join us in two days’ time as we return to analyse the second semi-final from a betting perspective!

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SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning national final song of the 2018 Eurovision season? Our SongHunt reaches its conclusion – and your votes will decide the winner!

read more

A German in Lisbon: The first full day

As anyone who ever lived in Cologne would say: "Et es wie et es, et kütt wie et kütt, un et hätt noch emmer joot jejange." That's Cologne dialect for "It's how it is, it will be like it is, and it has always worked out fine in the end." It's time for me to adopt this...

read more

Gallery: The host city Lisbon

We’ve been out and about in Lisbon, surely one of the most picturesque and personality-filled Eurovision host cities. Enjoy some of our photo highlights in this gallery!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Imagine actually being proud of this xenophobic nonsense 😂

Can’t decide on your Top Ten #Eurovision songs for the #ESC250? There are 1062 to choose from on this playlist:
https://t.co/F29Zfj1Plr

When you're idly flicking through the back catalogue of a Eurovision boyband and your eye falls on track B4 and, um...

https://t.co/b7iYacWGIT

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Semi-final 1: Jury rehearsal tweet blog

Semi-final 1: Jury rehearsal tweet blog

Felix was tweeting live from the arena during tonight’s semi-final dress rehearsal, which will also form the basis for the juries’ votes. This post rounds up all his tweets in a handy place – and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter if you don’t already, of course!

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

SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning national final song of the 2018 Eurovision season? Our SongHunt reaches its conclusion – and your votes will decide the winner!

read more

A German in Lisbon: The first full day

As anyone who ever lived in Cologne would say: "Et es wie et es, et kütt wie et kütt, un et hätt noch emmer joot jejange." That's Cologne dialect for "It's how it is, it will be like it is, and it has always worked out fine in the end." It's time for me to adopt this...

read more

Gallery: The host city Lisbon

We’ve been out and about in Lisbon, surely one of the most picturesque and personality-filled Eurovision host cities. Enjoy some of our photo highlights in this gallery!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Imagine actually being proud of this xenophobic nonsense 😂

Can’t decide on your Top Ten #Eurovision songs for the #ESC250? There are 1062 to choose from on this playlist:
https://t.co/F29Zfj1Plr

When you're idly flicking through the back catalogue of a Eurovision boyband and your eye falls on track B4 and, um...

https://t.co/b7iYacWGIT

Units of time, from shortest to longest:

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Brexit cabinet meeting
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SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning song of the 2018 national final season?

The semi-finals are closed, and our SongHunt is finally reaching its end! In the past weeks, we have narrowed down our favourites from the national preselections to just 12 songs, and now it’s time to pick the very best.

In the final, you can only vote for one song at a time – but you can vote again once 24 hours have passed since your last vote. So don’t forget to keep coming back day after day and supporting your favourite(s)!

The voting period will be open for two weeks. All 12 songs will participate in the first week – then, starting on Monday 14 May, every evening at 21:00 CET one entry will be eliminated (naturally, the one with the fewest votes by the deadline!), meaning only 6 songs will reach the super-final on Sunday 20 May. The super-final will be celebrated with a group viewing in our #esc chatroom, and the poll will be closed and the final results revealed during the course of the event.

And now all that remains is for you to vote! A video playlist can be found below the poll if you need a reminder – or you can read our full introduction to all twelve songs.



Want to know more? You can read about how SongHunt works here, and the full qualification list can be found here.

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

SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning national final song of the 2018 Eurovision season? Our SongHunt reaches its conclusion – and your votes will decide the winner!

read more

A German in Lisbon: The first full day

As anyone who ever lived in Cologne would say: "Et es wie et es, et kütt wie et kütt, un et hätt noch emmer joot jejange." That's Cologne dialect for "It's how it is, it will be like it is, and it has always worked out fine in the end." It's time for me to adopt this...

read more

Gallery: The host city Lisbon

We’ve been out and about in Lisbon, surely one of the most picturesque and personality-filled Eurovision host cities. Enjoy some of our photo highlights in this gallery!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Imagine actually being proud of this xenophobic nonsense 😂

Can’t decide on your Top Ten #Eurovision songs for the #ESC250? There are 1062 to choose from on this playlist:
https://t.co/F29Zfj1Plr

When you're idly flicking through the back catalogue of a Eurovision boyband and your eye falls on track B4 and, um...

https://t.co/b7iYacWGIT

Units of time, from shortest to longest:

Millisecond
Second
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Week
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Year
Brexit cabinet meeting
Misión Eurovisión 2007

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Five more times the Eurovision host country went local

Five more times the Eurovision host country went local

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest is great. Not only do you get to host the event the next year, but the pressure is off when it comes to getting a decent result. You can sit back and bask in the reflected glory of your recent win – and as a broadcaster, you may even want to actively avoid the cost and effort of organising the event two years in succession.

Even better, being automatically qualified for the grand final gives you the opportunity to take a few risks and show a bit of local colour, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be enjoying the adulation of the Saturday night crowd no matter what. The host country of ESC 2018, Portugal, could be viewed as taking precisely this approach. Of course, no one is suggesting that RTP is going out of its way to score badly, but the home entry “O jardim” is a brave and atypical package that would have some real question marks hanging over it if it needed to battle its way out of a semi-final. Instead, this very Portuguese song will take pride of place in the final line-up, filling a niche that would otherwise remain unfilled.

But 2018 is far from the only time the host broadcaster has seized the moment and given us a more unusual home entry with some local flavour. Join us as we explore five of the more interesting home entries from years gone by…


GreenJolly – Razom nas bahato (Ukraine 2005)
It was meant to be Ani Lorak’s year. But when you schedule a national selection with fifteen (!) weekly semi-finals, you run the risk that circumstances might change in the meantime. Even then, the Orange Revolution represented a pretty major change in circumstances, and one which prompted Ukrainian broadcaster NTU (with just a hint of external pressure) to parachute four additional wildcard entries into its grand final in late February. Among them was “Razom nas bahato” (“Together we are many”), a hip-hop song that just happened to have been one of the unofficial anthems of the revolution. To no one’s surprise, it duly won the ticket to ESC proper. The lyrics had to be tweaked in order to satisfy the EBU’s “no political content” rule, but this particular home entry couldn’t have been more local if it tried – everyone knew what it was really saying (and indeed what it originally had said), and to complain that it ultimately received very little love from the voters in rest of Europe would be to miss the point. As for Ani Lorak, she would get her revenge three years later – and very nearly cause NTU to have to find another home entry.


Furbaz – Viver senza tei (Switzerland 1989)
In the days when you had to sing in your native language at Eurovision, Switzerland had something of an in-built advantage. The alpine nation had no fewer than four languages at its disposal, and while almost all of their biggest successes (including their two victories in the competition) came when singing in French, they also deployed German and Italian on many occasions. But what about Romansh? Although spoken as a first language by very few Swiss citizens – estimates range from 35,000 to 60,000 depending on who you ask – the Rhaeto-Romance language enjoys official status in Switzerland alongside French, German and Italian, and yet it had never been seen on the Eurovision stage until the contest was hosted in Lausanne in 1989. Furbaz, a quartet led by pianist and singer Marie Louise Werth, had already entered the previous two Swiss national finals, finishing third and second. Perhaps this trajectory meant they would have won in 1989 anyway, or perhaps a desire to show off the minority language on home soil pushed them over the line. Either way, “Viver senza tei” (“To live without you”) remains the only time Romansh has had its moment in the Eurovision limelight – and, with English now the lingua franca of the competition, that seems likely to remain the case.


Roger Pontare – When Spirits Are Calling My Name (Sweden 2000)
On the surface, Sweden’s home entry from 2000 was a fairly standard schlager stomper with a barely concealed desire to be a Meat Loaf album track. Sometimes things can get lost in translation, though. The English lyric alludes to the song’s theme with lines like “let me be the native son with freedom in my heart”, but the Swedish original made it much clearer that this was all about indigenous people fighting to defend their traditions, their cultures and their territories (“I see the axe in the hand of the warrior… I’ll never let down my land when the winds are whispering my name”). Almost immediately after winning Melodifestivalen, the song was hailed by populist political party Sverigedemokraterna and other right-wing groups as a coded call to defend Sweden itself against outside threats – something fiercely denied by Pontare and songwriter Peter Dahl, needless to say. Like at Melodifestivalen, Roger Pontare wore a Sami outfit on stage at ESC in Globen – he himself comes from Sweden’s Lappland province – while his backing group included Cree, Inuit and Norwegian Sami representatives. All of this helped to drive home the message of minority empowerment and wave away any residual whiff of nationalism, leaving Sweden to place comfortably inside the top 10 on home soil – aided by one of ESC’s first demonstrations of seriously heavy pyrotechnics.


Peppino di Capri – Comme è ddoce ‘o mare (Italy 1991)
Italy long had an indifferent attitude towards the Eurovision Song Contest, and nowhere was this better reflected than in their hosting of the 1991 event following Toto Cutugno’s victory in Zagreb the previous year. Firstly, the venue was changed at short notice from the classic concert hall in Sanremo to a studio at the Cinecittà film complex in Rome, ostensibly due to security concerns surrounding the Gulf War; in any case, the result was a shabby-looking hall and a stage full of random design elements. Secondly, the hosting job was given to Cutugno himself and fellow winner Gigliola Cinquetti, neither of whom possessed a particularly strong grasp of the English language or the concepts of order and calm. Add an orchestra with a misfiring saxophonist and a voting sequence that ended in a dead heat, and it’s no wonder that EBU scrutineer Frank Naef was reportedly very vocal in his relief at the dull but competent arrangement of the contest in Malmö the next year. The calm in the eye of the Italian storm, however, was provided by the home entry. Veteran singer Peppino di Capri performed “Comme è ddoce ‘o mare” (“How sweet is the sea”) effortlessly and with an engaging kind of anti-charisma, while the Neapolitan language combined with lush orchestration to evoke the titular coastline and the sensation of weightless love. The local flavour of the entry and its last place in the running order almost made it feel like an interval act. Handily, this also allows us to block out the memory of the actual interval act, which may be for the best.


Jelena Tomašević – Oro (Serbia 2008)
Vidovdan or St. Vitus Day is a national and religious holiday in Serbia, commemorating the martyrs who fell during the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. It also plays a central role in the lyrics to “Oro”, the entry that represented Serbia on home soil following Marija Šerifović’s win in Helsinki in 2007. Ostensibly a lament for a missing lover couched in the language of a lilting lullaby, you don’t need a literature degree to read between the lines: Jelena’s fella has been massacred by those evil mediaeval Turks and she’s not too thrilled about it. Context is everything with an entry like this – so let it be noted that Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008, an action that was (and remains) vehemently rejected by Serbia and that even precipitated the fall of the country’s coalition government the following month. Less importantly, but more relevantly to the case in hand, the Serbian preselection Beovizija was delayed by several weeks as a result of the turmoil – and so, on 10 March, a song with fairly unambiguous allusions to the Battle of Kosovo won the right to represent Serbia as the home entry at that year’s Eurovision Song Contest in May, where it would finish in a thoroughly respectable 6th place. And some people think ESC is a light entertainment show…


 

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Visit our Eurovision Chat!
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SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning national final song of the 2018 Eurovision season? Our SongHunt reaches its conclusion – and your votes will decide the winner!

read more

A German in Lisbon: The first full day

As anyone who ever lived in Cologne would say: "Et es wie et es, et kütt wie et kütt, un et hätt noch emmer joot jejange." That's Cologne dialect for "It's how it is, it will be like it is, and it has always worked out fine in the end." It's time for me to adopt this...

read more

Gallery: The host city Lisbon

We’ve been out and about in Lisbon, surely one of the most picturesque and personality-filled Eurovision host cities. Enjoy some of our photo highlights in this gallery!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Imagine actually being proud of this xenophobic nonsense 😂

Can’t decide on your Top Ten #Eurovision songs for the #ESC250? There are 1062 to choose from on this playlist:
https://t.co/F29Zfj1Plr

When you're idly flicking through the back catalogue of a Eurovision boyband and your eye falls on track B4 and, um...

https://t.co/b7iYacWGIT

Units of time, from shortest to longest:

Millisecond
Second
Minute
Eurovision song
Hour
Day
Week
Month
Year
Brexit cabinet meeting
Misión Eurovisión 2007

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SongHunt 2018 – Semi-Final 2

SongHunt 2018 – Semi-Final 2

The SongHunt continues!

Our quest to find the best song from the 2018 national final season continues with the second of our two semi-finals!

Each semi-final features 12 songs that qualified from the previous phase. Your task is simple: You have three votes to give to your favourite songs!

A playlist of all the songs can be found below the poll if you need a reminder.



Want to know more? You can read about how SongHunt works here, and the full qualification list can be found here.

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

SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning national final song of the 2018 Eurovision season? Our SongHunt reaches its conclusion – and your votes will decide the winner!

read more

A German in Lisbon: The first full day

As anyone who ever lived in Cologne would say: "Et es wie et es, et kütt wie et kütt, un et hätt noch emmer joot jejange." That's Cologne dialect for "It's how it is, it will be like it is, and it has always worked out fine in the end." It's time for me to adopt this...

read more

Gallery: The host city Lisbon

We’ve been out and about in Lisbon, surely one of the most picturesque and personality-filled Eurovision host cities. Enjoy some of our photo highlights in this gallery!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Imagine actually being proud of this xenophobic nonsense 😂

Can’t decide on your Top Ten #Eurovision songs for the #ESC250? There are 1062 to choose from on this playlist:
https://t.co/F29Zfj1Plr

When you're idly flicking through the back catalogue of a Eurovision boyband and your eye falls on track B4 and, um...

https://t.co/b7iYacWGIT

Units of time, from shortest to longest:

Millisecond
Second
Minute
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Hour
Day
Week
Month
Year
Brexit cabinet meeting
Misión Eurovisión 2007

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Five things to look out for as rehearsals begin

Five things to look out for as rehearsals begin

Over four months since the first entry was chosen and after an April full of well-attended preview parties around the continent, rehearsals for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest begin this Sunday morning. By this time next week, we’ll have a good idea of which countries have arrived in Lisbon with a convincing stage package all ready to roll, which performances still need some work – and which are beyond saving.

The rehearsals will be avidly followed by the fan press in the press centre, including our very own Felix who arrives in Lisbon on Wednesday. But what should they be looking out for as each of the 43 countries takes to the stage for the first time? What do we want them to be reporting in their blogs, tweets and videos? Here are five things we’ll be sure to keep a keen eye on.

1. Netta
The very first day of rehearsals will see the first appearance by this year’s fan darling (and current bookmakers’ favourite), Netta from Israel. “Hotly anticipated” doesn’t come close to describing it. Unlike a handful of the 2018 entries, we have at least seen Netta at a couple of the preview parties, but that didn’t necessarily tell us a great deal about the Israeli staging plans. Will she be allowed to use her looper properly or will it be pre-recorded in some way? Will she be trapped behind the technology or will she get out and move a bit? Can the camerawork bring across the fun of the entry and the singer’s quirky facial expressions, or will it all come across as a bit, well… silly? We’ll find out very soon.

Love is not a gadget, love is not a toy

2. Backing vocals
As we all know, Eurovision entries are permitted a maximum of six people on stage (or just behind the stage, if recent years are anything to go by). Several of this year’s songs, however, come with masses of backing vocals that we haven’t seen them recreate live yet. “Oneiro mou”, the Greek entry, has layers of particularly processed harmony vocals that felt like they would be tricky to pull off, but a recent brief rehearsal clip suggests that things are looking good on that front. Austria’s Cesár Sampson will presumably be accompanied by five singers as they attempt to replicate the gospel choir feel of “Nobody But You”, while it will be endlessly fascinating to see how the diverse vocal styles of Bulgarian common framework (ahem) Equinox come together on stage after several live performances that felt less than entirely live. Perhaps most perilously of all, none of the four non-singing members of EWS from Hungary look like they’d be able to recreate the choir of heavenly voices that basically sing the last, post-key-change chorus of “Viszlát nyár” while lead singer Örs screams for his life. They have room for one off-stage female backing vocalist, but things could get awkward for Hungary – if not outright messy – unless they’ve managed to come up with a solution.

Oh, and then there’s Russia. But that could be a category all by itself.

Scream if you wanna go faster

3. Props
As some fans are keen to remind us again and again (and again), for the first time since Oslo in 2010, the ESC stage this year will not feature any LED walls. The Eurovision Diary blog tantalisingly informed us that a number of countries have embraced the challenge of coming up with more innovative ideas for presenting their ideas than simply showing some computerised images on a backdrop, so that sounds promising. We know Benjamin Ingrosso’s Tron wall will be making an appearance, and there has been no end of controversy over Elina Nechayeva’s projection dress, which apparently comes with an eye-watering €60,000 price tag. But what else can we expect? Will Mélovin from Ukraine be allowed the stairway and burning platform from his national final performance? Can Eleni Foureira commit arson on a car without setting off the arena sprinkler system? How will France and Germany live up to their promise of on-stage video screens of their own? And will the end result be more Lazarev or Gaitana?

Doom bars

4. Stage colours
The last few years have seen an overdose of blue stages, often accompanied by white outfits. With the theme for ESC 2018 being “All Aboard!”, the concern is that Portugal’s seafaring past might mean yet another blue Tuesday (and Thursday, and Saturday). We’ll be looking out for any countries that break the mould and stand out with a genuinely interesting lighting concept amid what threatens to be a veritable tidal wave of navy and aquamarine colour schemes. The land of Festival da Canção might be giving us a more organic contest this year – and why not? – but that’s no reason to just accept the visuals you’re given, sing your song and hope for the best.

Song sung blue

5. Don’t get carried away!
The key thing for any Eurovision fan to remember about the first round of rehearsals is that they really are just that. Technical rehearsals, even. Sometimes a country might only manage a couple of run-throughs during their allotted first-day time. For instance, when escgo! was last in the press centre in Vienna, Stig and Elina from Estonia and Loïc Nottet from Belgium spent most of their first sessions getting the stage placings and camera angles right for what were two technically quite complex pieces of filming – while there was very little in the way of actual performance. Just because a country takes its time over these things doesn’t mean it’s all going wrong. Indeed, just because Carola saves her voice at a rehearsal of “Invincible” doesn’t mean she’s decided to not bother singing the chorus at all on the big night. You see? It’s been this way for years. You know these things. So do we. But we’re fans. The tendency to overreact is built-in. And if nothing else, it’ll be fascinating to see whether the betting markets respond to any first-day glitches.

Shadowy men on a shadowy planet

Don’t forget to stay tuned to escgo! as the rehearsals begin. We’ll have extensive coverage from both near and far, with Shi’s traditional long-form analysis from San Francisco and Martin’s betting blogs accompanied by Felix’s on-site insights, rehearsal reports and audiovisual goodies from inside the Eurovision bubble in Lisbon. So clean out the crumbs from under your refresh button and get ready for the fun!

image sources: eurovision.tv, YouTube, SVT

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SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning national final song of the 2018 Eurovision season? Our SongHunt reaches its conclusion – and your votes will decide the winner!

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A German in Lisbon: The first full day

As anyone who ever lived in Cologne would say: "Et es wie et es, et kütt wie et kütt, un et hätt noch emmer joot jejange." That's Cologne dialect for "It's how it is, it will be like it is, and it has always worked out fine in the end." It's time for me to adopt this...

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Gallery: The host city Lisbon

We’ve been out and about in Lisbon, surely one of the most picturesque and personality-filled Eurovision host cities. Enjoy some of our photo highlights in this gallery!

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 escgo! on Twitter

Imagine actually being proud of this xenophobic nonsense 😂

Can’t decide on your Top Ten #Eurovision songs for the #ESC250? There are 1062 to choose from on this playlist:
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When you're idly flicking through the back catalogue of a Eurovision boyband and your eye falls on track B4 and, um...

https://t.co/b7iYacWGIT

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Line-up check 2018: Our views on the automatic finalists

Line-up check 2018: Our views on the automatic finalists

Have you been keeping up with our line-up check of the ESC 2018 entries? Each song is assigned to one of our team, and once they’ve had their say, the other team members get a brief right of reply. That way you get to see what we all think – and whether we share the same opinions or disagree wildly.

Anyway, don’t worry if you missed a post or two – we’ve already compiled our views on semi-final one and semi-final two, and below you’ll find an overview of what we had to say about the six automatic finalists. Simply click the country name to read the full review!

France
“Current and modern and, at the same time, so very French – and not just because of the language.”

Germany
“It’s hard to be excited when the performer doesn’t look like he particularly cares.”

Italy
“There’s not much happening, like in those movies where the main characters talk non-stop without any actual plot taking place.”

Portugal
“Quiet, personal, introverted, feminine, unassuming, uncompromising.”

Spain
“So revolutionary that it knocks down the age-old concepts of taste.”

United Kingdom
“SuRie comes across as a radiant, almost beatific presence at the heart of this otherwise average entry.”

all images from eurovision.tv

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SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning national final song of the 2018 Eurovision season? Our SongHunt reaches its conclusion – and your votes will decide the winner!

read more

A German in Lisbon: The first full day

As anyone who ever lived in Cologne would say: "Et es wie et es, et kütt wie et kütt, un et hätt noch emmer joot jejange." That's Cologne dialect for "It's how it is, it will be like it is, and it has always worked out fine in the end." It's time for me to adopt this...

read more

Gallery: The host city Lisbon

We’ve been out and about in Lisbon, surely one of the most picturesque and personality-filled Eurovision host cities. Enjoy some of our photo highlights in this gallery!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Imagine actually being proud of this xenophobic nonsense 😂

Can’t decide on your Top Ten #Eurovision songs for the #ESC250? There are 1062 to choose from on this playlist:
https://t.co/F29Zfj1Plr

When you're idly flicking through the back catalogue of a Eurovision boyband and your eye falls on track B4 and, um...

https://t.co/b7iYacWGIT

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Albania wins ChatVote 2018!

Albania wins ChatVote 2018!

Albania has won the 14th annual edition of ChatVote, the traditional event held by escgo! and the #esc chatroom to find our favourite song ahead of each year’s Eurovision Song Contest!

In the 2018 edition, “Mall” by Eugent Bushpepa received a total of 412 points, ahead of AWS from Hungary in second place (342 points) and Sennek from Belgium in third place (181 points). Meanwhile, San Marino propped up the table, receiving 25 points in last place.

Repeating the new ChatVote concept we introduced two years ago, 50% of the total score was determined by “juries” – regular chatters who gave their votes in ESC-style (12-10-8…) – and 50% by “televoting”, which took the form of a fast-paced poll that was held live in the chat at the start of the grand final, with everyone attending the event welcome to participate and submit as many votes as possible in the five-minute voting window.

This year’s big fan favourite, Israel, narrowly won our jury vote but with only a handful of top marks, so it was perhaps no surprise to see it fail to perform quite as well in the televote – but there was shock in the chat as it was left behind completely. Perhaps everyone expected someone else would vote for it? Meanwhile, Albania (which had finished a close second in the jury vote anyway) and Hungary benefited from huge support from the chatters in attendance on the night.

The televote system allows people to either spread their votes around several entries or concentrate their votes on their one big favourite, and unlike in previous years, it seems the latter is very much what happened tonight. In any case, the live-streamed scoreboard accompanying the televoting reveal was a fitting highlight to an exciting night in the chat – and we’d like to say thanks to everyone who attended and took part throughout the various events of ChatVote 2018.

You can see the final scoreboard here:

We can now also publish the full results of our semi-finals, in which voters were asked to nominate their ten favourite songs in each semi in two live polls after we had previewed the entries in the #esc chat. This gave the following results:

Semi 1:
1. Israel and Greece, 3. Albania, Czech Republic, Austria and Armenia, 7. Lithuania, 8. Belgium, Bulgaria and Macedonia || 11. Cyprus, 12. Estonia, Finland and Ireland, 15. Azerbaijan, 16. Belarus, 17. Iceland and Switzerland, 19. Croatia.

Semi 2:
1. Australia, 2. Romania, 3. Denmark and Sweden, 5. Montenegro, 6. Moldova and Georgia, 8. Hungary, 9. Ukraine and San Marino || 11. Norway, Latvia and Slovenia, 14. Netherlands and Malta, 16. Serbia, 17. Poland, 18. Russia.

For the record, Australia was the only song to receive a vote from every single person who voted in the respective semi-final. Meanwhile, unlike last year when Lithuania’s Fusedmarc were left empty-handed, every single song received a vote from at least one of our chatters. Hurrah!

So that’s all until 2019 – although there is the small matter of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest for us to enjoy first. And while the #esc ChatVote is very much a preference poll, it can be fun to look back and see how our taste has corresponded to Europe’s over the years. As the ChatVote history shows, Albania’s victory may not necessarily be an omen of success in Lisbon next month, but there is a possibility we might have got it “right” – just ask Lena, Loreen, or indeed last year’s ChatVote winner Salvador Sobral! In reality, though, qualification for the ESC final will already be a victory for Albania, and on behalf of our chatters we wish Eugent Bushpepa all the best with that.

And now, enjoy our winning song one more time!

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SongHunt 2018 – The Final!

What’s the best non-winning national final song of the 2018 Eurovision season? Our SongHunt reaches its conclusion – and your votes will decide the winner!

read more

A German in Lisbon: The first full day

As anyone who ever lived in Cologne would say: "Et es wie et es, et kütt wie et kütt, un et hätt noch emmer joot jejange." That's Cologne dialect for "It's how it is, it will be like it is, and it has always worked out fine in the end." It's time for me to adopt this...

read more

Gallery: The host city Lisbon

We’ve been out and about in Lisbon, surely one of the most picturesque and personality-filled Eurovision host cities. Enjoy some of our photo highlights in this gallery!

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Imagine actually being proud of this xenophobic nonsense 😂

Can’t decide on your Top Ten #Eurovision songs for the #ESC250? There are 1062 to choose from on this playlist:
https://t.co/F29Zfj1Plr

When you're idly flicking through the back catalogue of a Eurovision boyband and your eye falls on track B4 and, um...

https://t.co/b7iYacWGIT

Units of time, from shortest to longest:

Millisecond
Second
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Eurovision song
Hour
Day
Week
Month
Year
Brexit cabinet meeting
Misión Eurovisión 2007

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