Eurovision Song Contest 2016

Flag - EngelskThe Eurovision Song Contest is like Christmas. It feels like you spend the entire year looking forward it, but before you know it, it’s already over. It was a tradition on my old blog to publish a write-up, and go through my top ten songs from this year’s contest, and I’d like to continue that here. So, let’s get started, shall we? First of all, the stage this year was amazing. It completely blows me away how every year the set designers manage to come up with new and innovative ways to complement the myriad performances, helping each artist to express themselves and stand out from the crowd while still using more or less the same equipment. So kudos to them for keeping the standard high!

BulgarienBulgaria (България) • Poli Genova (Поли Генова) – If love was a crime.

Well, what can I say about Poli Genova? I loved her song when she represented Bulgaria in 2011 with «На Инат», but this completely blew that out of the water. I have to admit, it would have been nicer if the whole song had been in Bulgarian again – but you can’t have everything you want in this life. I think this might have been Bulgaria’s best result ever, and it was well-deserved!

ItalienItaly (Italia) • Francesca Michielin – No degree of separation.

Okay, this… this was my out-and-out favourite of the competition. After seeing YouTube clips of Ms. Michielin performing a stripped down version of the song with just vocals and piano in a bookstore in Milan, I knew I’d found my favourite. It’s so understated and yet so powerful, even if you don’t speak Italian (which I don’t, but now I kind of want to learn). The performance wasn’t showy, either – it perfectly suited the song. Well done, Italy!

LitauenLithuania (Lietuva) • Donny Montell – I’ve been waiting for this night.

I have so many questions about this song. It’s catchy, and I’m actually surprised it didn’t do better than it did – especially because, let’s face it, he’s pretty cute. But Donny, really, we’re all here today because we care about you and that hair can only be a cry for help. I’m not sure what your stylist was thinking but… yikes. At least if you’d fucked up your flip and landed on your head, you would have had a soft landing – maybe that’s the reason for it.

NederlandeneThe Netherlands (Nederland) • Douwe Bob – Slow down.

Okay, this one was a little weird for me. I really liked it, and his postcard kind of made me fall in love with him a little bit, but I’m still not really sure it’s Eurovision material. It was a little bit… I don’t want to say ‘too cool’, because it was dangerously cheesy (especially the pause… that seemed painfully long!) but I think the vibe was slightly off. It was still a great performance and the staging was excellent – though my only other concern was the weird guitarist who stared down the lens of the camera. Please don’t do that. Dank u.

RuslandRussia (Россия) • Sergej Lazarev (Сергей Лазарев) – You are the only one.

I’ve got to be honest, I’m genuinely surprised that this didn’t win. The staging was beyond impressive – the precision involved to get his dance moves to perfectly line up with the stage? It must have taken a lot of work, and it really showed. Our Eurovision party wasn’t exactly filled with Russophiles, but even they had to shut up and appreciate that it was an incredible performance. In the end, I think politics got in the way a bit, which I can of course understand. I do hope Sergej will be back, though.

SerbienSerbia (Србия/Srbija) • Sanja Vučić ZAA (Сања Вучић ZAA) – Goodbye (Shelter).

This one… well, what to say about this? Such a beautiful song, despite the dark subject matter – her voice was impeccable throughout the performance, which isn’t always a given at Eurovision. I think part of the reason why I like her so much is that, according to her Wikipedia page, she’s a language geek like me – she speaks four languages and is studying at the department of Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Belgrade. How on earth do you find the time?!

SlovenienSlovenia (Slovenija) • ManuElla – Blue and red.

This was the first of my favourites not to qualify to the final. Looking back on it now, I can sort of understand why – but I really like it. It had that sort of early Taylor Swift country vibe that I love, and the Danish acrobat in the background certainly didn’t hurt in my opinion (his name is Jannik Baltzer Hattel, by the way. You’re welcome.) My only real issue with this song is with the lyrics… don’t they have purple in Slovenia?

Skærmbillede 2016-05-15 kl. 22.00.16Sweden (Sverige) • Frans – If I were sorry.

I really don’t know, you guys. The only Nordic to qualify? For Eurovision? I still can’t believe it, and the contest was yesterday. Pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to has said the same thing about this song – it’s a good song and in of itself, but it just isn’t Eurovision material. There were better songs in Melodifestivalen this year, and he obviously won because he’s cute and looks a bit vulnerable. Not entirely my type, but I can see why people would think that. Better luck next time, Sweden! Maybe we’ll be back in Stockholm in 2018.

UkrainienUkraine (Україна) • Jamala (Джамала/Camala) – 1944.

This one really grew on me. And I’m glad it won, because she clearly put so much of herself into her performance and it came across. The staging and lighting were just beautiful – not as technically impressive as some of the other performances, but visually just stunning. And of course the message of the song was bound to make it a success at Eurovision. It’ll be interesting to see if Ukraine will continue their slightly political theme with their hosting of the contest next year.

StorbritannienUnited Kingdom • Joe & Jake – You’re not alone.

Oh lads, I’m truly sorry it didn’t go better for you. It’s so obvious that your Eurovision experience has been unforgettable and enjoyable, and that’s the main thing. As a British act, you just have to remember that you’re probably not going to win – but 62 points! That’s not 0! You’ll both just have to hold on to that, I suppose. The performance was excellent, the song was catchy, but I guess it’s just the poisoned chalice of being the representative of the United Kingdom. I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ll do next, though – try again next year!

Aside from that, there were very few surprises – Lynda Woodruff was hilarious as always, I love watching my Swedish friends cringe every time she appears on stage, when the Brits find her hilarious. The only other shock of the evening was Poland’s sudden rush up the table at the end of the night – suddenly getting loads of points from nowhere, like Gryffindor at the Hogwarts end of term feast. He was a very special young man, and he had an amazing jacket.

Now I’d like to hear what you guys thought! Who were your favourites? Do you think Ukraine deserved to win? Leave a comment! And that’s all from me, I’ll see you next year for a write-up of the 2017 contest in Kiev! As always, thanks for reading.

– J.

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