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Jury Final: Live Blog from the Press Center

Jury Final: Live Blog from the Press Center

Welcome to the live blog of the Jury Final! This post will be updated every few minutes, so make sure to refresh for updates!

Fake voting sequence concludes with the Israeli fake vote which they use to test what to do in a case of a connection / voting table failure. This is followed by everyone basically blabbering through their lines because at this point no one gives a damn.

They are now facing the joy of trying to get through the televote segment, and I actually feel bad for the hosts having to deal with the new system for the first time because my God, this is too confusing.

It’s been a long night so it’s no wonder it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out what I did to make the page not update, and I do web development for a living. While I was being an idiot, we got no mention of Madonna and instead skipped right into the fake voting segment in which everyone awkwardly talk to one another to make sure the connections with all the spokespeople work.

Netta’s new single isn’t really my thing – and I’m not entirely sure why we need both this and Madonna when it’s not really great and we’ve seen Netta many times, and we’re almost 3 hours into the show (and before Madonna) so how they think they can fit this into the time slot, I don’t know. I do wonder what process host broadcaster and EBU have in place for the show itself, because you’d think the EBU will have to clear that (as Madonna’s performance and broadcasting rights was coordinated with EBU).

The Mentalist returns to fill in during another ad break. I wish we had an ad break too.

The next interval act is one of Israel’s most famous musicians, Idan Reichel, performing a new version of his first breakthrough hit, Bo’i (come) with a group of musicians representing the musical culture of many ethnic groups in Israel. On a personal level, it’s a song that means a lot to me and came out in an important time of my life, so this is very special for me.

Gal Gadot shows up in a 3-minute segment showing Tel Aviv, which I imagine is being used for ad breaks or BBC doing whatever it is they are doing when the rest of Europe sees that (or ads).

The first interval act is the promised Eurovision-artists-singing-other-artists’-songs and it showcases some interesting versions of well known songs, lots of epic crazy and a few minutes of me tearing up because even the cynical woman that I am can’t help it once in a while.”

Seems like the EBU decided there won’t be second run for Norway which serves a good reminder for what the juries vote for – songs and performance quality by the performers themselves. In the context of what the juries are expected to do, three seconds of a camera black out and shot from a different angle shouldn’t make a difference in how the juries perceive the song or their performance of it.
Spain: A million great runs of this, and Miki ended up dedicating this performance to Duncan by being flatter than the Netherlands. Ouch. There are some very upset fans over here right now.

Mini break Australia: Well, the audience and Kate had a very big shouting fight over who is louder. So basically: just like the semi final performance.

Switzerland: My main take away from this performance is that half the audience in the hall has a crush on Luca. It’s still a very cool and very red looking performance, and he kept his vocals in (relative) check.

Serbia: Focusing on what’s really important, they could never settle on exactly how they wanted the snow, fire and dust storm effects to look like, so they actually look different every time. Tonight’s combination was a new one which obstructed her from view slightly too much even though it was dramatic, so I imagine they’ll scrap that one. More importantly, though: her vocals were good, and she’s incredibly charismatic. I don’t think it works too well in that running order, though.

Italy: Delivering hardcore biting journalism straight from the press center, I can report that we’ve had a heated discussion about Mahmood’s questionable taste. Performance wise, though, it was the best I’ve seen from him, and it was helpful to see a bit of sadness instead of just anger, which made the emotional aspect of this resonate more than it did previously.

France: A strong performance from Bilal, with a bit of fragility getting into his voice at parts, which actually added a lot to this.

Azerbaijan: We had an unexpected opening when the heart decided to be projected at some of Chingiz’s other body parts instead. It made for an entertaining opening! Otherwise – the same as it always did and a cheeky smile at the end.

Belarus: Did we ever find out what her backdrop is supposed to represent? Other than that, a self-confident performance with only a few bits where it was a little too shouty, but nothing that would make a difference, really.

Estonia: Victor kept shouting the ending of his sentences at both me and the juries, usually offkey. He’s sympathetic enough to forgive some of that, but with so many strong songs still in the line up, I was hoping he’d make a more obvious effort to control that.

Iceland: Was pretty much the same as it always was, and actually works well coming after the break.

The next ad break is all about our returning artists!

United Kingdom: Nerves galore here with offkey start, lots of random runs flat parts that he didn’t have in rehearsals – which wasn’t really helped by the fact he’s not exactly charismatic. He wrapped up by going off and on the right key throughout the last part of the song. Not the performance the UK wanted to have tonight.

Norway: An obvious crowd favorite, luckily for everyone involved – as one of the cameras shortened its circuits during the performance, forcing the broadcast to switch to a different camera just to make sure there is a shot of it and causing an abrupt, even if short, of it.

Israel: A couple of dodgy notes for him with how loud the cheers were but overall strong performance of a, well, less strong song.

Another ad break so they can set up the Israeli prop.

Greece: Technology decided to eat up my Greece entry when I tried to update the page, but here I go again – it was one of their better performances overall in their two week rehearsal run, with Katerine making sure to hit her notes – albeit carefully – and the visuals feeling more cohesive than before.

Netherlands: Duncan’s vocals were as flawless as ever, and the performance is for the most part unchanged with the exception of the light ball creating a blinding effect during the peak of the song and making that moment a little bigger than it was before.

Cyprus: Much like in the jury semi, not the strongest of vocal performances, but enough for what it needed, as she came across as the pop star that she is. The hall appreciated the change of pace, too.

Slovenia: I slept 3 hours since yesterday morning and this is not helping. They were lucky to be in the semi they were in but this will have a much harder time here.

Sweden: You know that thing the human brain does where it sees what it expects to see? At this point John might have an alien invasion through the hair straightener that is actually the gateway from Mars and I’ll keep seeing the exact usual strong and charismatic performance from him. But my mind did catch some changed melody towards the end, so apparently it’s not entirely numb yet.

Ad Break in which we talk to Malta and hear subtle Grindr jokes.

North Macedonia: Speaking of contrasts – Tamara after Serhat. It’s almost like the production is telling her, well, we had you after the Netherlands in the semi, so let’s be really nice to you and put you after *this*.

San Marino: The things I do for love (of Eurovision). I really wanted to go the bathroom and normally I’d use this time to do so, but I sat here instead to report on his Serhat Vocals. Apparently his solution for attempting to not go offkey by going above it was going offkey below it about 3 seconds in and never finding the key – or any key – again.

Denmark: Leonora’s voice has definitely reached the overuse boundary, but she kept it together well and actually managed to come across as a bit more mellow than she often does.

Russia: Being 5th might sound like a bad position for Russia, but they do come in after Germany, so the contrast is very stark. The staging is as same as always, but Sergey has a different vocal melody towards the end, a special gift for the juries!

Germany: They are so nice I feel bad writing anything bad about them, but there’s really not much to write about there. They sing it really well, though, but there’s very little there to sustain attention.

Czech Republic: I’m not sure how effective this can be so early in the line up, but it does work well after Albania. I’m also a bit envious of Albert of being able to sustain the same level of energy in every single take they had done.

Albania: Having been great vocally through rehearsals, Jonida ended up being off in both the jury semi and the broadcast – moreso in the latter. She was sounded way better this time around, but ended up with an odd I-could-not-be-bothered-to-be-here-anymore stare. Oops.

Malta: They’ve had a busy few days adjusting and readjusting their performance, but Michela finally got a familiar enough routine which allowed her to be a bit more relaxed on stage, and that was reflected in her vocals as well. It’s a great opener.

Opening: Well, well. Oh My God. This is all sorts of bonkers and epic and fun, and I’m sure a lot of people will spoil you, but not me. Too good to ruin.

We continue with another quick montage of different hots opening the show over the years before our hosts do the usual “this is how things work” speech.

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

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Visit our Eurovision Chat!

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Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more

After 44 years, the Netherlands win Eurovision!

The winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is "Arcade" by Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands - ending a 44-year wait for the country dating back to Teach-In and "Ding-A-Dong" in 1975. In an incredibly exciting results presentation, Sweden won the jury vote...

read more

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Hey you!

Do you like #Eurovision?

Do you write songs and want to take part in a Europe-wide competition with other amateur songwriters?

Then you have 2 weeks left to enter the 2019 Home Composed Song Contest!

Full details here: https://t.co/MDIc4bnCLD

https://t.co/JNSbLtyRlk

Eurovision 2020: It could have been anywhere, but it’s Rotterdam! https://t.co/lLlbIM6yFp via @escgo

With Jay Out Of Bucks Fizz standing for the Brexit Party I can hardly avoid reposting this. https://t.co/XrcZbutNZu

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Semi-Final 2, Jury Rehearsal: Live Blog from the Press Center

Semi-Final 2, Jury Rehearsal: Live Blog from the Press Center

Welcome to the live blog of semi 2’s jury rehearsal! This post will be updated every few minutes, so make sure to refresh for updates!

And we close with… well, actually, we close with Martin writing on Shi’s behalf as she had to make a mad run for a shuttle bus and has no internet access while doing so. Thanks for following her live blog of tonight’s 18 songs in the jury voting show!

Azerbaijan: As it often is with the more WTF stagings, watching audience seeing it for the first time is kinda fun! Vocally, this has been steadily good all the way through rehearsals, and it did the same today too.

North Macedonia: Another professional who went on stage and got the work done. Nothing left to say about this one, really.

Netherlands: Let me be clear about this. I love the song to bits. Duncan sings it amazingly every single time. And I have no way of knowing that this wouldn’t work beyond my own feeling that establishing a connection with the audience is important, even with a wonderful song, and that this doesn’t do it enough. In terms of camera work, it’s pretty much the same it has always been – 50 seconds to the first close up, and majority of long shots of dark blue. The lamp has made it, and it now comes down from the ceiling, participants in one shot and then goes back up into the ceiling. I know the song too well to have any sense of how this will work on people who don’t know the song at all. I hope it does work, because it’s a wonderful song, but I just personally feel they have made life harder for themselves than they should have, and that if it does manage to win it will be in spite of the staging, and not supported by it.

Norway: I tried to write that Fred sounded alright for a change, but my blog wouldn’t have any of it and just decided to delete it and paste Albania instead. Anyhow, I felt it didn’t work as well as I thought it would with the audience.

Albania: Oh, Albania. Not that you were every very close to qualifying from this semi, but this might not have been the best place to have your only off vocal performance, Jonida.

Russia: I like this song but I think I have hit my capacity watching this performance – it’s really not meant for anything beyond that first and second impression at Eurovision. It also sounds like Sergey has screamed a lot in the past week, and while he stayed in key the entire time he sounded like he was about to go off more than once. The crowd loved it, obviously.

Another break!

Lithuania: He came, he sang, he had a bunch of lights behind him, he left and is probably on his way to the hotel to prepare his suitcases for tomorrow.

I feel bad for him, because he’s lovely, but there’s just nothing for anyone to notice this tomorrow.

Malta: Hmm, so somehow the Maltese changed pretty much half of the camera angles and effects. This meant a few missed camera shots and Michela less comfortable than she should be for this because everyone had to remember all the different things they have changed in the last 2 hours, apparently, and it also meant Michela delivered one of her worst vocal performances, having to once again concentrate on so many technical details. Trust the Maltese overcomplicated something that was working in a really nice way to begin with.

Croatia: A great vocal performance to THAT song. There are also angels and golden wings and lots of lava and a lot of subtle representations of heaven and hell, and seriously I can’t really deal with this.

Austria: The greatest asset of this is the direct connection Paenda has with the viewers and how well she transmits the fragility of this. They have changed the staging from the black-and-white-to-color versions they used in earlier runthroughs to color all the way through, and I preferred the former, but it might be one of those “you won’t miss it if you never saw it” things. Her vocals were beautiful and raw in the right amount.

Sweden: John did his John thing where he just will not ever have a bad rehearsal, and the hair straightener stopped being a diva after its first rehearsal dramatics. Strong as expected.

Denmark: Much like the earlier rehearsal she still sounds like she’s battling her voice, but saving it in the first rehearsal allowed her to get the vocals right, and there was a very relieved smile there at the end.

Green room break!

Romania: Apparently Romania’s approach for last minute staging changes is that no amount of pyros is too little. Earlier in the hall it actually gave me a heart attack every single time. Otherwise: good vocal, and overall as it always was.

Latvia: I already came into terms with this not being noticed by anyone, juries included, but it sounded as lovely as it could, really, and I do maintain a slight hope it made a difference for some jurors.

By the way, for whatever reason there’s no opening act so we go straight into the songs. It’s kind of weird, mostly because I feel like the rest of Europe deserves to have an impressive opener as well. But I suppose at least this semi’s songs are stronger.

Switzerland: I don’t know if I just got used to his vocals or that they improved at this point, to be honest, but it sounded good and looked as good as it can be considering they spend much of this wearing red against a red backdrop.

Moldova: If you heard the press center clapping and shouting in any of the live streams, let me tell you that I have no idea what it was for. Clean performance for a song with little substance.

Ireland: There’s not much to write about this, really. Sarah is lovely and it was vocally fine but this song is hard to impress with, especially in the context of this semi.

Armenia: The presentation issues aside, Srbuk did what she needed to do for this rehearsal and nailed her vocals.

A look back at semi 1: As we still have a little bit of time to go before the beginning of the jury rehearsal, I found myself reflecting on last night’s first semi.

Oddly enough, more than anything, it reminded me of my years as a full time sportswriter: you’d follow a team or an athlete throughout a season or preparation period ahead of a big event, and still there were always so many unknowns. They would have a terrible run-up to their big game and somehow wake up on the day of the game and have the best day of their career. They would have an excellent string of friendly matches only to have a day in which nothing came together. They would peak too early. They would crumble under the pressure or they find reserves they didn’t know they had and thrive on it. They would have the luck of their rivals just being worse on that day.

Slovenia looked pretty much dead every time they performed. Not just in terms of chances, moreso that they never were entirely in it, and that made the staging that was supposed to bring their chemistry and connection across not work. There was no better day for them to get their best performance where everything clicked last night, and in addition they were helped by that semi going in flames around them.

Hungary had amazing first rehearsals – they actually had considerably different camerawork and some effects that have since been removed. With each rehearsal they took something away, to the point that I assumed that the fact I wasn’t entirely in awe when watching the staging was because I got used to it. Only last night I realized that they have been slowly changing what they had – perhaps they started doubting themselves – and by doing so they have not only taken a particular element that was a goosebump moment, they ruined the entire visual flow this performance had.

Belarus, well. Their stage is still a result of a person sitting in stage control and trying random buttons, but apparently sometimes being a talented pretty girl singing an easy-to-listen to song can take you far, especially in this semi.

Or being Victor Crone, for that matter.

Sometimes your best is not enough – although it should be said that last night wasn’t Oto’s strongest performances, but the combination of his jury rehearsal and this one were a big effort, but at the end of the day some things can only go so far, no matter how impressive their performance is.

The others, for the most part, kept doing exactly what they were doing until that point, and did everything they could do on the night. Which is all you can ask for, really.

Then there was Eliot, who was actually getting to the right place by the end of the runthroughs, but the inexperience and nerves caused a weak jury performance, and my guess is that knowing that put an extra pressure on him last night which he just couldn’t handle, causing everything to fall apart.

And turns out the only way to really fall apart and still qualify is being Serhat, but let’s not talk about that.

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

Join the Chat!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

Join the Chat!

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more

After 44 years, the Netherlands win Eurovision!

The winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is "Arcade" by Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands - ending a 44-year wait for the country dating back to Teach-In and "Ding-A-Dong" in 1975. In an incredibly exciting results presentation, Sweden won the jury vote...

read more

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Hey you!

Do you like #Eurovision?

Do you write songs and want to take part in a Europe-wide competition with other amateur songwriters?

Then you have 2 weeks left to enter the 2019 Home Composed Song Contest!

Full details here: https://t.co/MDIc4bnCLD

https://t.co/JNSbLtyRlk

Eurovision 2020: It could have been anywhere, but it’s Rotterdam! https://t.co/lLlbIM6yFp via @escgo

With Jay Out Of Bucks Fizz standing for the Brexit Party I can hardly avoid reposting this. https://t.co/XrcZbutNZu

Load more tweets...

The View from Tel Aviv: I’m coming home

The View from Tel Aviv: I’m coming home

In a few hours, the first semi final of Eurovision 2019 will take place at the Expo Arena in Tel Aviv. It somehow feels like it was just a day ago when the rehearsals started, but also like it’s been ages. So far, it has been a very different experience for me than the previous Eurovisions I have attended, and not only because they were different in principle than this one. It does make a difference, though: in some ways, 1999 was the last of the old ESCs. The contest grew in scale considerably the following year and has never really looked back since. While I do remember being in the press room in the International Convention Center, it was the early days of the internet and the gathered press and fans weren’t anywhere near what they are now. The next editions I attended, in 2004 and 2005, were already much bigger, but ESC was still in an interim phase before it became branded the way it is now.

But the main difference for me is I simply hadn’t realized how exhausting it is to have Eurovision on home soil. Not only because of being the one helping foreign visitors to figure out the unapologetically direct and somewhat chaotic Israeli culture, or providing context and history to random things – like why the orange carpet was held where it was (it’s a square that hosts both our national philharmonic orchestra and our national theater, so it’s symbol of music and culture) – but also because of that sense of patriotism you find creeping up on you, where you want this Eurovision to be a really good one just because it’s your country, even though you’re not involved in the production in any way.

Attending the entire two-week Eurovision run is exhausting. That was never in doubt, because we know what to expect: 41 countries rehearsing over a long stretch of days, performing 5-7 run-throughs each. You do the math. And then there’s the dress rehearsals, and honestly, by the time you get to the live shows there’s very little you haven’t seen yet except the results. It’s a mix of heightened emotions – great pride in everything that is done right, and shame and embarrassment when things go a bit awry. Everything is felt through a magnifying glass, in a way that you don’t really have when the contest is held elsewhere. Partly because you lack the cultural context to be sensitive about the things you think your culture is weaker at, and partly because you just don’t care as much.

It borders on the surreal, to be honest. Today is my eleventh day at this Eurovision – when did that happen? – and I still find myself stopping randomly as I cross the street from the train station to the arena in disbelief. We’re hosting it. We’re actually hosting it. We’re hosting this television monster that we’ve seen growing on TV for so many years but that felt so very far away. Tonight, when the first Te Deum finishes at 22:00 local time, it’ll be our hall that you’ll see. And our hosts – with the varying degrees of Mediterranean volume and Hebrew accent that entails. And it’ll be that girl from last year, Netta, opening the show with the song she won with, the one that made an entire country fall in love with her. It will be that girl who was a nobody just a year and a half ago. And this year is the reason why EVERYTHING is Eurovision-themed, even the main Tel Aviv Independence Day Celebration. Talk about crazy levels of “you did this!” – I never really thought about how this must feel for the previous year’s winner, seeing the massive operation their country is putting together and realizing it’s all because, one year ago, they went on stage and managed to get Europe to vote for them.

And at a more selfish level, Netta is the girl who brought me home.

It’s not that I haven’t been back to Israel since I moved away. I’ve visited every year, or at least every other year. But truth be told, I’ve never felt completely at home in Israel. Maybe it’s my dual nationality that always impacted the way I behave – a little bit from here, a little bit from there. Maybe it’s just the way I am. But I always felt a bit like an outsider. When I was growing up, I had a hard time feeling like I belonged, and Eurovision was the first place where I felt comfortable being entirely me. It took a long time for me to grow into this person, a process that really started once I moved away, a year after the last Eurovision I attended, back in Kiev in 2005. And perhaps there’s no fuller circle than coming back, as the version of me I’m meant to be, to the place and the community that were the first to let me know who that is.

ESC 2019 has given me the opportunity to finally take some of my Eurovision friends to my hometown, Jerusalem – less than an hour away from Tel Aviv by public transportation, but a different planet in every other sense. It has given me the chance to show my friends a little bit of my world and my childhood, of a place that everyone in the world has heard of – that’s always a bit mind-blowing when you think about it – and to give them some small bits and pieces that they wouldn’t have seen on the news or learned about at church. Jerusalem is the city that the news presents as the backdrop to the mother all of wars, but that, in my heart and my memories, is a place where you can walk around in a skirt and a tanktop, where around you Orthodox Jews, monks, nuns, priests, Christian and Muslim residents of the city, and people from everywhere in the world walk past you as if a girl with all the colors in her hair is the most normal thing. And in a way, in Jerusalem of all places, having all the colors is normal.

When we arrived at the train station in Jerusalem and took the five massive flights of escalators from the depths of the earth to street level – incidentally, exiting right across from the International Convention Center, where both the 1979 and 1999 competitions took place – we ran into a group of young Orthodox Jewish men. My visitors didn’t really grasp what happened next, both because of the language barrier and because they didn’t have enough understanding to realize how monumental that moment was, but I’ll try my best to make a better job of explaining it here. You might recall that one of the main reasons against having Eurovision in Jerusalem was the objection of the Orthodox Jews – this is why the Shabbat was a problem, because the city has such a big community that would be bothered about doing it in Shabbat and would protest against it. It’s the community that is known for its intolerance towards gays and intolerance towards Jewish woman who don’t maintain a modest fashion style.

So when they turned to one of the tourists next to us and asked whether he was here for Eurovision, it was easy to worry that it wouldn’t end well. Except there was something in the tone that caught my ear, so as soon as that tourist explained that he wasn’t, I pointed at my friends and said that we were. Maybe it was a bit irresponsible to follow my gut instinct on this one, but I wanted to see where it was going. And their response to the Hebrew-speaking girl with the tanktop and the rainbow hair, and the group of gay Eurovision fans surrounding her, wasn’t the one you might expect.

“Welcome!” they said in English, the only bit of the language they knew. And then they turned to me and asked questions. Where were my friends from? Were they excited to be here? “Wish them a good stay,” they said excitedly, “and tell them we hope they enjoy the experience”. All my friends saw was a group of Israelis being welcoming and excited about Eurovision, like it has been pretty much everywhere around here. But I saw so much more. Eurovision can be such a huge thing to ask a country to host that it’s easy to wonder what the benefits are, especially when you look at all the things that can (and do) go wrong and all the inconveniences it can cause. But this is what Eurovision can do for you. It can make a complex, torn society come together and coalesce around the most unexpected of things. You did this too, Netta.

Still, it turns out that you can take the Israeli out of Israel, but you can’t take Israel out of the Israeli. Because I have no explanation as to how I can stand with an accreditation around my neck, surrounded by foreigners, and yet have people coming up to me and immediately talking to me in Hebrew while addressing everyone else in English. As I’m discovering, it’s something about the way we communicate even when we don’t talk – just the brazenness of never avoiding looking anyone, everyone, straight in the eye. It’s the way you end up having conversations with random strangers about Eurovision – I actually had to take a break while writing this, because the people at the table next to me in this small urban Tel Aviv park started talking about Netherlands leading the odds and how Kan picked Kobi’s song so we won’t win again. And they’re not Eurovision fans, just Tel Aviv residents who have been living and breathing Eurovision for the last year. I joined the conversation – which included the three people next to me and one more on the phone – before returning to my writing. I didn’t even tell them I was at the Expo every day, or that I know way more about the subject than they do. I was just another Israeli counting down the hours to tonight’s broadcast.

“It feels like a holiday, doesn’t it?”, the chocolatier in the candy store downstairs asked me.

Yes, it really does.

It’s been eleven days already, but in some ways, the real Eurovision starts with the first Te Deum. And tonight, in the country where I was born and raised, watching the broadcast of an event that’s taking place just across town, I’ll be truly home.

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

Join the Chat!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

Join the Chat!

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more

After 44 years, the Netherlands win Eurovision!

The winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is "Arcade" by Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands - ending a 44-year wait for the country dating back to Teach-In and "Ding-A-Dong" in 1975. In an incredibly exciting results presentation, Sweden won the jury vote...

read more

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Hey you!

Do you like #Eurovision?

Do you write songs and want to take part in a Europe-wide competition with other amateur songwriters?

Then you have 2 weeks left to enter the 2019 Home Composed Song Contest!

Full details here: https://t.co/MDIc4bnCLD

https://t.co/JNSbLtyRlk

Eurovision 2020: It could have been anywhere, but it’s Rotterdam! https://t.co/lLlbIM6yFp via @escgo

With Jay Out Of Bucks Fizz standing for the Brexit Party I can hardly avoid reposting this. https://t.co/XrcZbutNZu

Load more tweets...

Semi-Final 1, Jury Rehearsal: Live Blog from the Press Center

Semi-Final 1, Jury Rehearsal: Live Blog from the Press Center

This was the live blog of the first semi jury rehearsal. Come back to ESCGO! in the next days for more live coverage and View from Tel Aviv articles. See you soon!

00:43 It works! The prop works! Which is more than I can say about my voice. I felt bad for Kobi because this was pretty unnerving, but at least it was in the part that wasn’t the show so they had the time luxury of fixing it. It was just some of the lights on the stage shapes that didn’t work properly, so they’ve taken the time to fix it, but would have gone with it as is on a live show.

00:35 Just so you know, Israel apparently dared to dream a particularly bonkers Eurovision montage. It’s all kinds of awesome. Also, Spain re-performed, Israel is yet to perform, but the hosts are now practicing the remainder of their text, and they are now trying the Israeli prop again in the hopes it’d behave.

00:22 And they now put the Spanish prop back on with Miki about to go for another run. I have no clue what’s going on. Good thing the jury is already done with its work because this is very confusing.

00:20 Looks like the Israeli prop had failed, and they actually took it off stage now. I’m sure the audience is thrilled about that one, considering most of them are Israeli. No idea what they are planning to do, because they actually shut off the audio on the feed.

00:13 They are having an oddly long pause before starting to record Israel – we can’t actually tell what is going on, but since it’s not a part of the actual show, we’re using the time to figure out arena shuttles to Euroclub. Multitasking galore.

00:00 Spain has done its thing, and I now get to watch someone watching France for the first time, which is almost as interesting as watching the actual screen. It took him about two minutes to react before saying he hates it but it’s going to do well. And the audience reaction was bigger than Australia. Fun times.

23:50 The hosts closed the fake televote, and we’re now having a bit of a break in the actual scripted show as they are getting ready to record the performances of Spain, France and Israel. They seem to have some issue with getting Spain started for whatever reason, though, so we’ve had Spain waiting in the darkness for the last couple of minutes.

23:41 At some point seeing Assi photo bombing the other hosts in green room shots will stop making me laugh. Not yet.

23:39 The postcard montage with A-Ba-Ni-Bi is so much fun! I might rewatch it a few times once it’s on youtube.

23:34 It’s playback Dana and Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars time, so I might need to step aside for a few minutes. Ugh.

23:31 Recap notes: Cyprus picked the part where the pyros sound like a terror attack in the hall, good going there. Slovenia is dead. Czech Republic picked a part where he is actually trying to belt a note, which is a bit of questionable choice. Greece put the big note in its entirety, which is courageous.

23:20 San Marino: There was a point this week where this actually sounded very good in the mix. But give Serhat a couple of nights of parties and he sounds at his worst (and let’s face it, his starting point wasn’t that great either). Good luck with that.

23:16 Greece: It was a bit of a nervous performance from Katerine, and it was more pitchy than she would have hoped for, although for the most part she wasn’t off key until very end. Song wise and singing style is very much a jury thing. This could have been better, but unless something unthinkable happens she will get another chance to impress the juries.

23:12 Portugal: It’s performed as well as it can be performed, but it comes down to whether interpretive dance and this music style are your thing, and if it makes you willing to forgive the fashion choices and the color scheme of this.

23:08 Estonia: Victor is still shouting at me. What did I do to you? The big note at the end is way off, but the graphics finally all work and he’s so incredibly sympathetic it might as well serve as a test for how forgiving juries are with vocals (because they sometimes are).

23:04 Iceland: This comes after a green room break, since it takes a very long time to take 3 people on poles off the stage. It had the most accurate camerawork we’ve seen of it so far. I’m also wondering whether they broke the Eurovision record in pyro usage per minute.

22:58 Australia: This will never be my thing, but I will give it that – it has improved massively on the visual aspect since the first rehearsals, and Kate is amazing pretty much every time she sings. It still makes me sad that the story of the song doesn’t really make it through, but it’s clearly a televote magnet.

22:54 Georgia: Same as it always been – intense vocals and expression, stunning staging and a very very difficult song to sell.

22:50 Belgium: My favorite bit of this is that they properly use the moving small triangles from the ceiling throughout the performance, which is a sign I’ve watched this way too much. On to more important topics: unfortunately for Eliot this was very weak vocally, which I don’t think is a luxury he can afford with that kind of song.

22:46 Serbia: They were adjusting Serbia’s visuals until the very last moment, but when all put together it looks amazing! Vocally, Nevena never faltered during rehearsals and this was no different, although she looked the most emotional I’ve seen her all week.

22:42 Belarus: I still have no idea what the point of their staging is, but it’s a good time to mention that I forgot to report about our first green room break, where our hosts talked to Tamta and Tulia and cut their Polish folk singing abruptly because they need to learn to time this segment better. Also: Zena was good, but the entire thing is still a non-coherent mess on stage.

22:38 Hungary: Beautiful voice and plenty of emotion, as always, and they managed to not mess up that one shot they somehow did mess up in the earlier dress rehearsal. I had a bet with myself about this working well with the audience in the hall, considering it’s mostly Israelis, and it did.

22:31 Czech Republic: Well, that one went down well in the hall! Albert has the same level of energy and enthusiasm at every rehearsal and this one no different. But we did get to see one new surprise shot!

22:27 Slovenia: The most interesting thing that happened here is that she had a microphone feedback at the beginning for about half a second. Otherwise it’s still this lovely mellow song with an overly tedious performance. Missed opportunity.

22:23 Poland: Another performance, another studio version and this surprising magnetism you wouldn’t expect four Polish Ladies standing and singing in that style. Their stage looks incredibly good on stage and the audience was really into it (well, we do have quite a few people of Polish origin here)…

22:20 By the way, I love the postcards. Love. They are incredibly creative in the way they are shot and the music, and really serve as a great way to show off the artists, as well as showing the production made a great effort to match the theme of the postcard to the artist. I’m not telling anything else because I want you to enjoy them when you get to see them!

22:19 Finland: Sebastian wasted all his good vocals on the afternoon rehearsals and now he sounds the worst he had all week. Luckily for him, it’d make no difference: this was never going to make the cut.

22:15 Montenegro: in the risk of sounding like an evil and grumpy human being: I’m really glad I only have one more time to watch this after tonight. They do their best, they really do, but they’ve actually sounded better until now – I think the nerves have been getting to them a bit.

22:11 Cyprus: It’s not Tamta’s best vocal – the afternoon one was better – but honestly, imperfect vocals were never a problem in that sort of performance, and she looks like a pro popstar doing her thing, and she even improved vocally as it went on. A fun one to start with!

22:00 We start off we a video montage of past Netta watching Dana winning 1999 and starts to (dare to) dream and present Netta’s winning moments in Lisbon, before the wonder woman herself and about 32432 dancers dressed in her Eurovision outfit take the stage for a new (and great) remix of Toy. It’s a great opener! And With the audience in the hall it looks way bigger than what it actually is.

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

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Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

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The winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is "Arcade" by Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands - ending a 44-year wait for the country dating back to Teach-In and "Ding-A-Dong" in 1975. In an incredibly exciting results presentation, Sweden won the jury vote...

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The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

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In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Hey you!

Do you like #Eurovision?

Do you write songs and want to take part in a Europe-wide competition with other amateur songwriters?

Then you have 2 weeks left to enter the 2019 Home Composed Song Contest!

Full details here: https://t.co/MDIc4bnCLD

https://t.co/JNSbLtyRlk

Eurovision 2020: It could have been anywhere, but it’s Rotterdam! https://t.co/lLlbIM6yFp via @escgo

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Semi-Final 1, Dress Rehearsal 1: Live report from the hall

Semi-Final 1, Dress Rehearsal 1: Live report from the hall

This is how Shi saw the first rehearsal of semi-final 1 of ESC 2019 from the hall, as reported live on our Twitter (and if you’re not following us there, you should be – click here!).

She’ll be back later this evening from the press centre for a rolling live blog of this evening’s all-important jury show, where half of the points in the first semi-final will already be decided!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

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Visit our Eurovision Chat!

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Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more

After 44 years, the Netherlands win Eurovision!

The winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is "Arcade" by Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands - ending a 44-year wait for the country dating back to Teach-In and "Ding-A-Dong" in 1975. In an incredibly exciting results presentation, Sweden won the jury vote...

read more

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Hey you!

Do you like #Eurovision?

Do you write songs and want to take part in a Europe-wide competition with other amateur songwriters?

Then you have 2 weeks left to enter the 2019 Home Composed Song Contest!

Full details here: https://t.co/MDIc4bnCLD

https://t.co/JNSbLtyRlk

Eurovision 2020: It could have been anywhere, but it’s Rotterdam! https://t.co/lLlbIM6yFp via @escgo

With Jay Out Of Bucks Fizz standing for the Brexit Party I can hardly avoid reposting this. https://t.co/XrcZbutNZu

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Rehearsals Day 8 LIVE: Second Rehearsals – Israel, France, Spain, Italy, UK and Germany

Rehearsals Day 8 LIVE: Second Rehearsals – Israel, France, Spain, Italy, UK and Germany

Welcome to the last day of runthroughs! A short day today with only 6 rehearsals before going into the second week, starting with the opening ceremony and then – how is it time already? – dress rehearsals and live shows.

Israel
If you’re going to write a song that is trying to be The Greatest Showman, at least make the presentation match, I guess? With the camerawork coming together a lot more, this Musical vibe comes across quite clearly in that staging, which helps Kobi’s antics and facial expressions feel less out of place. He looked more comfortable as the runthroughs went by, too, and while alternating between going for some of the big notes or deciding against it, he was always perfectly in key.

I don’t think they could have done much more with that performance, but this song is still this song, but if that’s your thing this performance will work for you.

France
Bilal is not a morning person, so his limited vocal abilities were slightly clearer this morning, but he’s covered well by his backing singers. That aside, it’s more or less the same, but the visuals were adapted a bit to make the back stories of the dancers easier to understand – especially the deaf one, which I didn’t catch in the first rehearsals until someone pointed it out to me.

It’s definitely something that is going to catch the televoters’ attention, especially as they are watching it for the first time. I’m still not sure how I personally feel about the entire thing, but it’s very effective in its entirely non-subtle ways.

Spain
Someone in the Spanish delegations is reading the blogs! They’ve changed a massive amount of shots, so the entire thing is shot now in a way that highlights Miki way more and focuses on him and not in wide shots that show off the prop instead. The cropped shots also make the backdrops look considerably nicer than they look in those wider shots from the first run throughs. It also looks like the cringe kiss cam moment has been dropped in favor of a more standard audience shot that will be on the backdrop behind them for a few seconds but now it doesn’t steal the focus away from the song.

Paco (that’s the puppet for you) is still a bit unnecessary, the backdrops still look like they were made in paintbrush and it’s still overall way too colorful (and that’s coming from a person who has hair in 7 colors), but that was a giant leap from the first runthroughs and therefore wins my “country which made the most progress from first rehearsals to the second” award.

Italy
Italy has made some adjustments to the camerawork and also made sure to have more light on Mahmood so it doesn’t look as dark as it did before. The choreography was also more cohesive and more in sync with the backdrop. The entire feel is gloom, though, as expected with that kind of song, which was always going to be its struggle with viewers. But it now has more visual moments connecting the staging to what the song is about and definitely so memorable visual moments as well.

United Kingdom
It seems that in between the first rehearsal and this the Brits have discovered the stage can do things, so now the small triangles on the ceiling go into frame at some point, the big triangles move right before the backing singers join and the columns in the back turn around as well. But as nice as it was to see them utilizing the stage more, it pretty much looked the same as before, X Factor staging and all that, and Michael is as appealing performer as he was, which is to say: not very much. I wish the staging was a bit more daring, because the song does have the potential in it, but you need a bigger than life performer and that’s not him.

Germany
I really want to be nice about this because I like the girls and their enthusiasm so much, and to be fair: the staging isn’t their fault. They do their best and they do what they are supposed to do well: they sing and harmonize wonderfully. But the entire concept is useless and very Geramny-in-Eurovision whenever they finish last, which very much feels like where this is heading to.

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

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Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more

After 44 years, the Netherlands win Eurovision!

The winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is "Arcade" by Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands - ending a 44-year wait for the country dating back to Teach-In and "Ding-A-Dong" in 1975. In an incredibly exciting results presentation, Sweden won the jury vote...

read more

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Hey you!

Do you like #Eurovision?

Do you write songs and want to take part in a Europe-wide competition with other amateur songwriters?

Then you have 2 weeks left to enter the 2019 Home Composed Song Contest!

Full details here: https://t.co/MDIc4bnCLD

https://t.co/JNSbLtyRlk

Eurovision 2020: It could have been anywhere, but it’s Rotterdam! https://t.co/lLlbIM6yFp via @escgo

With Jay Out Of Bucks Fizz standing for the Brexit Party I can hardly avoid reposting this. https://t.co/XrcZbutNZu

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Rehearsals Day 7 LIVE: Second Rehearsals, Semi 2 – Norway through Azerbaijan

Rehearsals Day 7 LIVE: Second Rehearsals, Semi 2 – Norway through Azerbaijan

And we’re wrapping up the last rehearsals of the second semi final!

Norway
The Norwegians have called in some enforcement, and now they have very big arctic animals as part of the backdrop. They can win it now!

Not really.

It is better, though. They changed some of the awkward camera work that made it look very empty and with the smoke and fire effects there’s something to look at all the way through. I still can’t help thinking that they are taking themselves too seriously, considering what this song is.

Netherlands
It’s been an odd rehearsal. They’ve tried different things in each rehearsal in terms of angles, picks of camera shots, and when they used the light. But the underlying principle remained the same: they’ve tried to make him seem like he is in world of his own, but it’s still overly understated. Instead of 41 seconds to the first close up, it’s now 50 seconds. The backdrop is still a never-changing dark blue, there were slightly more close up shots in the first run through, but generally they are sparse and not in places that make sense in terms of the song, more like an afterthought of “oh, we should probably show him once in a while”. The 3 minutes are still made of mostly long or wideshots, and almost nothing happens when reaching the high point of the song. If you muted the audio, you’d never guess that something big happens at this point of the song, because the presentation isn’t reacting to the song.

I always say about good stagings that they make the song feel more than it is, and bad stagings make the song feel less. The Dutch one is the latter.

The main struggle with this is that because I do know (and love) the song, I find it very hard to guess what new audience would do with this. I personally felt it was a struggle to get into it despite loving it still, not being tired of it and having Duncan at his vocal best.

North Macedonia
If this was in any way from the first run throughs, I didn’t notice it. The gimmick at the beginning is still unnecessary, but it doesn’t distract and goes away quickly, and she sounds like a studio version in every take. She’s incredibly charismatic and emotes plenty without going overboard in her expressions. Classy.

Azerbaijan
Still looking strong and sounds strong. Not much changed in terms of presentation although we now have some extra on-screen effects, but with all the tech going on, some shots need more work so they are synced correctly.

That’s it for today! Back tomorrow for the second run throughs of the direct finalists!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

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Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more

After 44 years, the Netherlands win Eurovision!

The winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is "Arcade" by Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands - ending a 44-year wait for the country dating back to Teach-In and "Ding-A-Dong" in 1975. In an incredibly exciting results presentation, Sweden won the jury vote...

read more

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Hey you!

Do you like #Eurovision?

Do you write songs and want to take part in a Europe-wide competition with other amateur songwriters?

Then you have 2 weeks left to enter the 2019 Home Composed Song Contest!

Full details here: https://t.co/MDIc4bnCLD

https://t.co/JNSbLtyRlk

Eurovision 2020: It could have been anywhere, but it’s Rotterdam! https://t.co/lLlbIM6yFp via @escgo

With Jay Out Of Bucks Fizz standing for the Brexit Party I can hardly avoid reposting this. https://t.co/XrcZbutNZu

Load more tweets...

Rehearsals Day 7 LIVE: Second Rehearsals, Semi 2 – Croatia through Albania

Rehearsals Day 7 LIVE: Second Rehearsals, Semi 2 – Croatia through Albania

Oh, joy! It’s a half day at the press center, with 9 run throughs of the second semi and then time for some beauty sleep ahead of Euroclub’s opening night.

So how did the five countries of the morning session do today?

Croatia
It’s beautiful on screen. It really is. And he’s fantastic. And if he was in semi 1 I could have made some arguments for him qualifying. In this semi, however? Not so much. Sorry, Roko. Come back with a better song.

Malta
They have dropped the bedroom prop and now do all the projects directly on the wall. It means they need to do some work on it since they didn’t practice it as much as before, but it’s a good decision: having just the main stage backdrop behind them makes it look better on screen overall, and this is great fun.

Lithuania
Well, at least I didn’t forget to blog him now.

Russia
As expected, Russia has tightened up some shots that weren’t working before, and while they have some work to do still, the transitions in the problematic parts where shots just lasted for too long are better. It’s very dramatic but I still feel they managed to balance the usage of props and tricks well so it never feels overboard, unlike his previous attempt, and the act overall connects well the song.

Albania
I’m really mad at you, Albania. You have this ethnic track that no one else has in this semi, and this gorgeous, talented singer with such commanding presence, and you manage to do nothing with the stage to make it remotely interesting or memorable. Not that I have anything against 1991 stagings, but still. They did give up on the eagle, thankfully, and instead tried to make the stage look fuller by moving the backing singers forwards, which I like, as well as adding more dynamic shots with her. But all in all, it will be extremely hard for her in this semi.

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

Join the Chat!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

Join the Chat!

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more

After 44 years, the Netherlands win Eurovision!

The winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is "Arcade" by Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands - ending a 44-year wait for the country dating back to Teach-In and "Ding-A-Dong" in 1975. In an incredibly exciting results presentation, Sweden won the jury vote...

read more

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Hey you!

Do you like #Eurovision?

Do you write songs and want to take part in a Europe-wide competition with other amateur songwriters?

Then you have 2 weeks left to enter the 2019 Home Composed Song Contest!

Full details here: https://t.co/MDIc4bnCLD

https://t.co/JNSbLtyRlk

Eurovision 2020: It could have been anywhere, but it’s Rotterdam! https://t.co/lLlbIM6yFp via @escgo

With Jay Out Of Bucks Fizz standing for the Brexit Party I can hardly avoid reposting this. https://t.co/XrcZbutNZu

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Rehearsals Day 6 LIVE: First Rehearsals – Israel, France, Spain, Italy, UK and Germany

Rehearsals Day 6 LIVE: First Rehearsals – Israel, France, Spain, Italy, UK and Germany

The internet is trying to murder me today, but one way or another this rolling blog and I will be here!

Israel
Also trying to murder me: our own entry. It’s actually staged quite nicely, in black and white light that very much matches the atmosphere of the videoclip, but the song is still the song and Kobi is still Kobi and I don’t think he knows how to not come across not over the top. The vocals are note perfect and he does have a special tinge. There’s some props – geometrical shapes behind him that occasionally show his black and white pictures, but in a much less cringe worthy way than video. and movement but it doesn’t feel like too much or too desperate (especially with that type of song), which I’m actually glad about – it would have been an easy route to pick considering the reaction to the song. It’s what it is and if you like that kind of thing, then this should make you happy.

And appropriately for Israel: there’s a bit of Israeli choreography as at some point the backing singers all walk forward and join him.

France
I’ll say this right away: I have no idea what to make of it. I don’t know if I like it or not. I don’t have an idea of how it will do. But I do now know that the French aren’t going for subtle this year. We start with projections on Bilal’s face before pulling out to reveal a stage with projects of quotes and words about acceptance. Bilal sports a longer blond wig so he can do a hair dance a-la Eleni Fuego, and we have a very overweight female dancer bursting into an impressive sequence of pirouettes, and an apparently deaf dancer doing a bit of a more modern take on the song. There’s a lot of nice gold decorations on the backdrop, although it does occasionally switch into Vegas casino territory, and in other times it displays giant messages like “we are kings” and “we are queens”.

It pulls you right into the discussion of whether featuring an overweight dancer and a deaf one in a song talking about acceptance means that they are not different or further labels them into that place. Some will be touched by this, some will feel uncomfortable with this – and not necessarily because they are not tolerant, just because it’s such a touchy and complicated subject that we each process and deal with differently. It is, however, going to be noticed on the night, no matter what.

THIS IS MEME

Spain
The short version: it’s all the kitchen sinks.

Long version: I don’t even know what I just watched. It starts with a complicated but still nice idea of a house where Miki’s dancers sleep with their eyes covered, and then he goes on to remove their eye covers. So far so good.

Then the rest of it happens, which includes many colorful backgrounds but with a color range of Paintbrush 20 years ago, projected icons, crazy camera angles from afar, choreography stuck into one box so you can’t even see Miki, a robot, lots of choreography that is done on such dark stage you can’t even see it. Then the colors return and it’s even worse, as they create overly ugly shapes and a kiss-cam kicks into action with the screen becoming the backdrop – and honestly, I can’t even be sure, still, that I registered all the details even after three run throughs. It’s basically the staging of Spain 2011 on steroids plus all the props and Moustache‘s color scheme.

Italy
As always, impressions are a result of expectations. Having seen Italian stagings (and also not thinking this is a winner, despite being my personal #1) I mostly wanted them to not ruin it, and they didn’t. It’s tad too dark, but it has a really nice white/blue/red scheme throughout that works well for the layered backdrops. They use segments from or similar to the videoclip with silhouettes in the right places, and the bridge towards the end is particularly powerful.

The dancers help it look less empty than it would have otherwise, although it still needs a bit more work – some shots are smart in the way they interact with the art, and in others they are just sort of in the shot, although thanks to sensible fashion choices it’s not distracted. There are a couple of shots I’d give up on – especially the burning money – and I’d make some shots brighter. I’m also not a fan of text on the backdrop but they picked only a couple of key phrases and use them sparingly. Overall, still needs work, but has concept and fits the song, so they have what to work with.

United Kingdom
I’m fairly certain this staging was taken out of Britain’s Got Talent circa 2007. It’s not bad per se, just useless. He’s alone for much of the song, first in black and white, then in color – an odd choice considering his level of charisma. The backdrop goes into galaxy mode, but looks pretty low tech and the backing singers finally join to make it look slightly more amateur, standing in a circle a-la Montenegro notwithstanding. For what it’s worth, there’s nothing there that will make viewers laugh hysterically. They mostly just won’t notice it.

Germany
Germany, how about calling Spain tonight at the hotel? I heard they have a few extra props and colors they might want to get rid of. The S!sters start at each side of the (dark) stage and walk towards one another, before ending up in the middle and singing uncomfortably close to one another. There’s a giant “SORRY” on the backdrop during the second verse (apology not accepted, Germany) and a collage of sister photos at the end that goes way too quickly to leave any impact – pretty much like the rest of this performance bar the “goes too quickly” part. I adore the girls and they sing well, but these are three long minutes.

And that completes our live blogging for the day. Apologies for the technical issues that have meant our front page has been down all day. Hopefully we’ll get the gremlins out of the system again by tomorrow and the second rehearsals of the remaining contenders in semi 2!

Images from eurovision.tv

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Five milestones in Eurovision history

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Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Hey you!

Do you like #Eurovision?

Do you write songs and want to take part in a Europe-wide competition with other amateur songwriters?

Then you have 2 weeks left to enter the 2019 Home Composed Song Contest!

Full details here: https://t.co/MDIc4bnCLD

https://t.co/JNSbLtyRlk

Eurovision 2020: It could have been anywhere, but it’s Rotterdam! https://t.co/lLlbIM6yFp via @escgo

With Jay Out Of Bucks Fizz standing for the Brexit Party I can hardly avoid reposting this. https://t.co/XrcZbutNZu

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Rehearsals Day 6 LIVE: Second Rehearsals, Semi 2 – Romania through Austria

Rehearsals Day 6 LIVE: Second Rehearsals, Semi 2 – Romania through Austria

We had four more countries rehearse for the second time before the direct finalists take the stage and as you can imagine, people are slightly excited here… So as we wait for those, here are a few more thoughts:

Romania
Much like last time, although the more I watch it the more details I pick up – I was so focused on the strangeness of the stage as a whole that I didn’t really pay enough attention to the guitar player. I can’t quite decide if having him here makes the staging looks a bit more grounded in reality or breaks the atmosphere of it. Either way, it’s still very dark – not just in colors but the mood of it and the elements that are used, and she sounded fantastic. But I feel it gets a bit lost where it is.

Denmark
This will never be my cup of tea, but it does its job well, and Leonora looks more relaxed which results in a reduced number of death stares. The colors, especially in contrast to what’s before and after it, make it stand out quite a bit, and it very much looks like it’s where it needs to be to comfortably qualify.

Sweden
If I thought that the Swedes would be pleased enough with what they had so far, I was wrong. Apparently they realized everyone aren’t trying to win enough and decided to put the pressure on in the shape of a few very strategically placed backdrops and light changes that make the entire damn thing look like it has already won. The song, in my opinion, is still very much subpar, but I always said about John that he makes the song feel way better than what it is, and that’s how the performance came across – like it’s the best things you’ve seen on the night. Dangerous one, that.

Austria
I was worried that seeing this in context – last time it was performed out of sequence – and that watching it again will dilute the magic. Thankfully, that’s not the case – it’s still beautifully intimate and very special, and is staged so well that despite being right after Sweden it draws everyone’s attention in.

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

Join the Chat!

Visit our Eurovision Chat!

Join the Chat!

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more

After 44 years, the Netherlands win Eurovision!

The winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is "Arcade" by Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands - ending a 44-year wait for the country dating back to Teach-In and "Ding-A-Dong" in 1975. In an incredibly exciting results presentation, Sweden won the jury vote...

read more

Five milestones in Eurovision history

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself – but not at the Eurovision Song Contest. We take a look at five milestones in ESC history that changed the nature of the competition.

read more

The View from San Francisco: Another Summer Night

In the second part of her ESC 2019 review, Shi looks at the differing arcs of the returning artists, what made Duncan’s winning reprise so special – and the delegations that made things unnecessarily hard for themselves…

read more
 escgo! on Twitter

Hey you!

Do you like #Eurovision?

Do you write songs and want to take part in a Europe-wide competition with other amateur songwriters?

Then you have 2 weeks left to enter the 2019 Home Composed Song Contest!

Full details here: https://t.co/MDIc4bnCLD

https://t.co/JNSbLtyRlk

Eurovision 2020: It could have been anywhere, but it’s Rotterdam! https://t.co/lLlbIM6yFp via @escgo

With Jay Out Of Bucks Fizz standing for the Brexit Party I can hardly avoid reposting this. https://t.co/XrcZbutNZu

Load more tweets...