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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Semifinal 2 Reactions and Final Predictions

It's finally time - in about 6 hours we will have a new winner of the Eurovision song contest.

Some late reactions to the 2nd semifinal:

  1. Semifinal 1 was better - the opposite of last year.
  2. My prediction was 9/10, with Norway instead of Poland. The actual result makes sense. Michal had better connection with the audience.
  3. Ukraine and Georgia looked phenomenal on stage. 
  4. Hovi was either sweaty or had a lot of strobing going on.
  5. I'm disappointed that Bulgaria hid their backing singers. It really could have used backing dancers.
  6. The opening number was so Melodifestivalen. Is this their typical humor without the international language barrier?
  7. I will miss Kaliopi in the final.
  8. So happy Denmark can't get through anymore with their super MOR entries.
  9. No Nordic countries except Sweden in the final - conspiracy alert!

Now, take a peek in my foggy and cracked crystal ball for results from tonight:
  1. Russia will win, at least the televote. Its semifinal performance has the most Youtube views by a margin of over a million views. It's at the top of the betting, even with Australia's late surge. And it's not doing too badly in the iTunes and Spotify charts. Australia and Sweden may be tipped because they're more contemporary, but after the last two years' televoting results, it seems televoters still have different standards for Eurovision songs than "regular" pop music. If "Rise Like a Phoenix" and "Grande Amore" can win the televote with retro sounds, "You Are The Only One" can win while sounding very Eurovision.
  2. We are headed for a 2008 result with Russia, Ukraine, and Armenia in the top five.  Actually, all of the finalists now have better songs than they had in 2008, except Sweden and the Czech Republic.
  3. Sweden and Australia to round out the top five. 
  4. France will end up in the bottom half of the top ten. He was highly favorited to win before rehearsals started, but his performance lacks spectacle and is not lighting up Youtube. Still, it's doing well enough outside of the fan circles that it will not bomb. 
  5. To conclude this season's greatest catfight, the Netherlands will place higher than Israel. 
  6. Poland will be top 10 in the televote. I rated the song low, but it's hugely popular on Youtube. Their semifinal performance has more views than Armenia.
  7. Croatia to place 11th-15th. My heart wants a top 10, and they are 7th in the Youtube views, so who knows.
Best of luck to everyone competing today!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Semifinal 2 Predictions

The second semifinal of Eurovision 2016 is in six and a half hours. Here are my predictions for the ten qualifiers, which will probably be pretty wrong as usual.


My maybes are Denmark, FYR Macedonia, and Poland.

As always, best of luck to all the contestants!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ten Thoughts About Semifinal 1

1) Seven out of ten qualifiers predicted right, not bad. My two maybes both qualified.

2) Whatever Croatian prayer circle is out there worked! So happy for this. Nina sounded like an angel and the second dress looked almost avant garde.

3) I'm not too upset about Moldova not qualifying - it was never really expected to and the performance was pretty sparse.

4) Bosnia & Herzegovina should have qualified over, say, Malta, but maybe it was a little too theatrical for everyone at home?

5) It's too amusing to see the fans on Tumblr be upset over Estonia and Iceland not qualifying, especially because I felt the same way exactly ten years ago about Slovenia and Belgium.

6) Beside those two, the best non-qualifier's staging was Montenegro.

7) Congratulations to Czech Republic for finally qualifying. Not surprising that Greece failed to qualify for the first time.

8) Russia looked much more striking in the rehearsal videos and lost some impact with the camera angles used on TV

9) Armenia's performance is this year's "Calm Against the Storm," with exceptional staging elevating a song into being a contender. While "Calm Against the Storm" was melancholy, "LoveWave" is seductive. The part in the bridge with the nude bodysuit holograms is perfection.

10) American citizens don't have to get a visa to enter is Yerevan this time of year?

Monday, May 09, 2016

Semifinal 1 Predictions

The first Eurovision semifinal of 2016 is tomorrow! Keeping with tradition, here are my predictions for the ten qualifiers in alphabetical order:


I'm probably being overly optimistic about Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia's chances. My backups after them are Czech Republic and Malta. Despite it being my favorite song, I'm okay if Moldova doesn't qualify but I would be pleasantly surprised if it did. Greece is also tricky because have always qualified, but there is precedent in 2011 when Armenia and Turkey failed to qualify with weaker songs and performances despite large diasporas.

As always, best of luck to all competitors for a great show!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

The Only Ones

It's finally Eurovision week, and time for my top 5 songs in this year's contest. This year's top 5 was easy to form because these five really stood out from the pack. I have to give a disclaimer and say this is my personal opinion, and I don't even expect all of these songs to do well (a few are very unpopular with fans), but every song has to be someone's favorite in order for it to get points!

5. Croatia
Nina Kraljic - "Lighthouse"
Reaction: After a 2 year absence, Croatia returns with their best song since "Maria Magdalena." It's not quite a Balkan ballad but it has a very Croatian feel (must be the nautical elements). Nina has the voice of an angel and delivers the song with sadness and hope all in one.
Best Part: Last chorus
Rating: 5/5

4. Bosnia & Herzegovina
Deen & Dalal feat. Ana Rucner and Jala - "Ljubav je"
Reaction: A Balkan ballad is irresistible, and this is the best one this year. It stands out from the usual by being a duet, and it has a unique and effective twist in THE RAP PART YEAH I SAID IT to create some tension prior to the final chorus.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 5/5

3. Bulgaria
Poli Genova - "If Love Was A Crime"
Reaction: This song doesn't waste any time getting to the hook and doesn't stop. The fabulous dance pop is augmented by the "ethnic" touches of the flutes. The catchy melody is the perfect vehicle for the positive, easy to digest message. This is the best Bulgarian entry ever, by far.
Best Part: "Together we're untouchable/you and me against the world/together we're invincible"
Rating: 5/5

2. Russia
Sergey Lazarev - "You Are The Only One"
Reaction: Anyone who thinks this isn't winning or coming close is delusional. The biggest, catchiest, most Eurovisionest song of them all. This has been getting a lot of comparison's to "This Is Our Night" from 2009, but it's much more polished and put together, a complete package.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 5/5

1. Moldova
Lidia Isac - "Falling Stars"
Reaction: This kind of Europop is irresistible to me and why I keep following the Contest. It has a mid-00s Cascada feel (and is better than Cascada's own entry). There are other songs that are technically better or more unique than this one, but it has the best chorus and I have listened to this more than any other song by far. There's just something about the first lines of the chorus ("The sky is tumbling/it's coming down, coming down") that is just magical.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 5/5

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Baby When I Hear Your May Day

Bad pun of the week in the title, and one week too late for the ranking too!

It's finally time for the top 10! I hope all these songs moving forward do well, would be happy with any of them as a win, and have decent expectations for this group. It's also probably a more respectable top 5 than my actual set.

10. Germany
Jamie-Lee Kriewitz - “Ghost”
Reaction: Jamie-Lee's angelic voice makes this youthful ballad appropriately haunting. Somewhat off-topic: a lot of people find her fashion style off-putting, but I find it endearing.
Best Part: “Like a dragon to his gold/We're still holding on” 
Rating:  4/5

9. Serbia
ZAA Sanja Vucic - "Goodbye (Shelter)"
Reaction: It's a ballad from Serbia, but rather than a Balkan ballad it's a true diva ballad. The serious message and soulful voice give kind of a Christina Aguilera feel.
Best Part: Oh-oh-oh-oh bridge  
Rating:  4/5

8. France
Amir – "J'ai cherche"
Reaction: This wasn't an immediate favorite of mine, but it really stands up to and develops with multiple listenings. Upbeat and catchy, this is much different than the last time France had a fan favorite song – it's contemporary and charismatic.
Best Part: Pre-chorus Related Video:
Rating:  4/5

7. Ukraine
Jamala – "1944"
Reaction: A few years ago everyone loved Jamala's song “Smile” in the Ukranian preselection – this is a complete 180. A modern sound expressing a familial and national history, full of perseverence through pain and suffering. Jamala's voice is extremely expressive and cuts to the bone.
Best Part: “You think you are gods/but everyone dies”  
Rating:  4/5

6. Latvia
Justs - “Heartbeat”
Reaction: This cool synthpop song takes from “Love Injected” and expands on it. With a faster tempo, catchy melody, and passionate yet cold delivery, it's much more instant and accessible/
Best Part: The heart “beep” sounds  
Rating:  4/5