Hello there ladles and jellyspoons, it’s that time again! Well… it was that time again, now we have to wait a whole year until it’s that time again. But let’s not dwell on the depressing stuff, let’s look back on what a spectacular competition we witnessed this past weekend – it’s time for my annual write-up of the Eurovision Song Contest! As always, I’ve picked my ten favourite acts from the competition and I’m going to tell you what I thought of them in a little more detail… but just so you don’t think I’m playing favourites or ranking them, I’ve put them into alphabetical order. Though if you take a glance at my traditional homemade Eurovision bingo card, you may be able to hazard a guess as to what my top two might have been…
…and the more astute among you will have noticed that I somehow managed to do a decent crest on the Moldovan flag, but I can’t draw a Portuguese flag worth shit. But let’s get right into it, shall we?
Albania 🇦🇱 Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
I liked this song as soon as I heard it for the first time. It did lose a bit of its oomph when they cut it down to three minutes (which I do understand that they have to do), but mostly I’m just glad that they didn’t translate it into English. That would have ruined it totally. There was a bit of controversy surrounding this entry in that it wasn’t shown as part of the Chinese broadcast, because of the performer’s tattoos. I don’t know a lot about China or their sensorship guideline but what I can say is… they missed out, he’s kind of hot in a wiry, manic sort of way. Final placing: 11 of 26 with 184 points.
France 🇫🇷 Madame Monsieur – Mercy
You know… I wasn’t sure about this. When I first heard it, I thought it was catchy, but way too political to do well. But I was proven wrong – 13th place definitely isn’t something to be sniffed at in a contest like this, where a song with a message can all too easily get lost. Overall, I think the performance in the final was a little bit lacking… and just a little weird. But I guess it was always a simple song, so it made sense to have a simple performance. Final placing: 13 of 26 with 173 points.
Germany 🇩🇪 Michael Schulte – You Let Me Walk Alone
This was another song that I wasn’t sure of at first. I’d written it off as being slow and a bit dull, but it wasn’t until I saw it on the night that I really started to appreciate it. His live performance and the staging really added a lot, and now I think the song is great, even without those extras. This song is powerful. Watching it live on the night, everyone at our Eurovision party said they were tearing up at this part. I may even have shed an actual, human tear. But I’ll deny that under all known forms of torture. Well done, Michael. You got me. Final placing: 4 of 26 with 340 points.
Hungary 🇭🇺 AWS – Viszlát nyár
So, I have watched A Dal (the Hungarian preselection for Eurovision) in the past despite speaking absolutely zero Hungarian, but this year it kind of snuck up on me. I was pleasantly surprised with the result, though! AWS is an unconventional choice, I’ll admit… it’s a bit different, but I really like it! I don’t really understand what it’s about, though a quick Google search revealed that ‘viszlát nyár’ means ‘goodbye summer’. Which is a bit odd for spring, but it’s best not to get into it. And in case any of you were wondering, I can also confirm that, after some exhaustive research, the hottest member of the band is Bence, the drummer. Final placing: 21 of 26 with 93 points.
Israel 🇮🇱 Netta (נטע) – Toy
I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding this song and this performer now, but for the purposes of this I’m going to ignore that and focus entirely on the song contest. When I first listened to the album and the songs for this year, I skipped this one after a few seconds. The chicken noises were off-putting. But now, they’re endearing. I think of Netta as being a kind of happy Björk – weird and wonderful, and her message of body positivity is something I can definitely get behind. It also wins my love for being the first ever Eurovision song to cram in the name of a Pokémon. Well played, Israel. Well played. Final placing: 1 of 26 with 529 points.
Italy 🇮🇹 Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – Non mi avete fatto niente
I remember hearing this one for the first time and thinking it was catchy, and then seeing a subtitled video of it on YouTube and disliking it. But then when I saw the actual performance, the whole thing seemed a lot less preachy and a lot more like a message I could see myself getting behind. The snippets in various languages were a neat touch, to be sure – I’m sure I even saw some Icelandic! No matter what, it’s a catchy song. Even if I don’t understand a word they’re saying. Final placing: 5 of 26 with 308 points.
Moldova 🇲🇩 DoReDos – My Lucky Day
I have absolutely no shame in admitting that I absolutely adored every single part of this. I thought the staging was quirky and fun, the song was catchy and the singers were just plain adorable. It’s been in my head for weeks, I don’t think I’ll ever manage to get rid of it. And I can absolutely guarantee that it’ll still manage to put a smile on my face whenever it comes on my playlist, long after Eurovision 2018 is over. It’s a shame it didn’t do a whole lot better in the voting, but I definitely think we were witnessing the birth of a Eurovision classic. And also, did anyone notice that we had a pair of extra female legs? Methinks mister red on the right there had a quick outfit change before he came out at the end. Watch it again, and pay attention. You’ll see what I mean. Final placing: 10 of 26 with 209 points.
Slovenia 🇸🇮 Lea Sirk – Hvala, ne!
So… this one kind of got stuck in my head pretty early on. Not least because it’s in Slovene, but also because the chorus is just one repeated phrase that I already knew the meaning of, so I got to feel smug and clever while basically just repeating two words over and over. I do think she may have misjudged the whole ‘stop the music, everybody sing along’ portion of the song… but at least it was better than the rehearsal, where the music cut out on its own and she pretended not to know anything about it. Final placing: 22 of 26 with 64 points.
Ukraine 🇺🇦 Mélovin – Under the Ladder
It’s turning into a trope all of its own – there has to be a vampire in Eurovision every single year. Mélovin, known to his friends as Kostjantin Bočarov (Костянтин Бочаров) is definitely on the ‘adorable’ side of the vampire stage though. I do love his Marilyn Manson contact lens, and basically just his whole look. If I could make an entrance by rising up Dracula-style from a grand piano, don’t you think I’d be doing that at every available opportunity? You bet your ass I would. The song isn’t half bad either, though he’s mostly here because I kind of wish I was him. Final placing: 17 of 26 with 130 points.
United Kingdom 🇬🇧 SuRie – Storm
I usually find it pretty difficult to support the UK in this competition because we rarely seem to take it as seriously as anybody else in Europe. But with SuRie, I was pleasantly surprised. The stage invasion was an incredibly unfortunate event but honestly I’m surprised it didn’t work in our favour – the grace and professionalism with which she handled the interruption was incredible. It’s hard to think anything other than that we were the victims of political voting. But that is always the case, and probably always will be. I still think our girl did us proud, and I hope it didn’t ruin her entire Eurovision experience. Final placing: 24 of 26 with 48 points.
Honourable mentions go to Denmark, who only just missed out on the list because I only decided I liked the song the day after the competition. The hosts don’t get a big mention because I feel mostly like I was enduring them rather than enjoying them, but you can’t win ’em all. I wonder who we’ll get as hosts next year? I’d quite like to see Mr Israel 2017 (by which I mean Imri Ziv (אימרי זיו), the singer for Israel in 2017) and Netta give it a go. But that’s just wishful thinking.
And that’s it for another year, Eurovision fans! Who were your favourites? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As I’m sure you’ve gathered after years of doing this, this is entirely my opinion and although I welcome debate, please try and keep it civil. I’ve seen an unusual amount of vitriol going around on social media wherever Eurovision is mentioned this year and it’s truly saddening, and honestly not in the spirit of the contest. But I suppose you can’t have everything you want in life. Anyway, thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment telling me your favourites! I’ll see you next month.