ESC 2016

Some thoughts on the Grand Final line up 2016

I normally do this after watching the press run-through on Friday afternoon but as I'm not in Stockholm here's my thoughts and predictions for Eurovision 2016.
1. BELGIUM: Well styled and performed, great show opener but the draw also kills off any chance of doing well. PREDICTION: 11th-15th
2. CZECHIA: An achievement just getting here, but will be long forgotten by voting time. PREDICTION: 21st-26th
3. NETHERLANDS: Stands out, charismatic performance and is quite memorable. Juries will like it. PREDICTION: 6th-10th
4. AZERBAIJAN: Very clever use of backing vocalist and ridiculous choreography doesn’t disguise a weak song. PREDICTION: 16th to 20th
5. HUNGARY: Off-key in the semi and now struggling to be remembered. PREDICTION: 21st-26th
6. ITALY: Mediocre and monotonous song. The lyrics are nice, but in Italian. May get jury votes. PREDICTION: 16th-20th
7. ISRAEL: Bland flat song made to look better by great staging and sound better with a terrific vocal, but it’s still as dull as ditch water. PREDICTION: 11th-15th
8. BULGARIA: Great energy but messy performance and it’s lacking anything that says “vote for me”. PREDICTION: 16th-20th
9. SWEDEN: After last year’s staging, it’s a major gear-change to “less is more”. Very instant song with a contemporary vide which is unusual this year. PREDICTION: Top 5.
10. GERMANY: The studio version is terrific but it’s transferred very badly to the stage and coming after the host country, it has “last place” written all over it. PREDICTION: 21st-26th.
11. FRANCE: Helped by coming after Germany, but the staging is wrong and it just confirms my suspicion that it never was a contender for victory (apart from biggest fanwank). PREDICTION: 11th-15th
12. POLAND: The most old-fashioned song in the show, but it’s well-performed and dramatic and will get jury and diaspora votes. PREDICTION: 6th-10th
13. AUSTRALIA: I don’t like the rather awkward and clumsy staging, but it’s a terrific vocal and this is the best of the over-blown female mid-tempo songs. PREDICTION: Top 5.
14. CYPRUS: It was lucky to qualify after the dreadful messy staging and now Georgia is likely to walk all over it. It should get some Greek diaspora votes though. PREDICTION: 21st-26th.
15. SERBIA: I was disappointed by the old-style Eurovision staging on this. It would have been better creating a jazz club style vibe, but great vocal and strong melody. PREDICTION: Top 5.
16. LITHUANIA: A perfect example of how to sell a very ordinary song with a slick, professional performance. But it’s now caught between two more memorable entries. PREDICTION: 16th-20th.
17. CROATIA: I love the staging and say what you like about the costume, it makes it memorable. Not helped by coming before Russia. PREDICTION: 11th-15th.
18. RUSSIA: If Eurovision was still a song contest, it would struggle to be Top 5, but in a show where music is secondary and against a poor field it’s hard to see another winner. PREDICTION: Top 5.
19. SPAIN: Coming after Russia is not a disaster (ask Czechia). Being a poor version of the far superior Belgian entry is a far bigger issue. PREDICTION: 21st-26th.
20. LATVIA: Patently unsuited to being a show opener, it still survived but it’s still a male, pale, and stale version of last year’s entry. Mind you that was Top 10 in a much better field and the late draw helps. PREDICTION: 6th- 10th.
21. UKRAINE: I was disappointed by this in the semi, but if Albania can be Top 5 with a similar song in a better year, so can Ukraine. You won’t forget it. PREDICTION: Top 5.
22. MALTA: The late draw and being the only contemporary pop song in a run of five helps this poor song and mediocre performance. But again nothing says “vote for me”. Prediction: 21st to 26th
23. GEORGIA: I can’t stand it as a song, but it’s presented terrifically (in contrast to Cyprus) and it adds variety to the show. PREDICTION: 11th-15th.
24. AUSTRIA: The biggest winner of all in draw, and this twee nonsense will actually come as a relief to many after the Georgian onslaught. PREDICTION: 16th to 20th.
25. UNITED KINGDOM: Apart from Israel, no song has improved as much since March as the U.K. The lads now look confident and it’s a terrific draw. PREDICTION: 6th-10th
26. ARMENIA: Italy won the televote from last position last year but Il Volo were unique and charismatic. This is still a nothing song, but absolutely superbly staged. PREDICTION: 6th- 10th

Semi two predictions from us two.....

From Mike;

Latvia Yes
Poland Yes
Switzerland No
Israel Yes
Belarus Maybe
Serbia Yes
Ireland Yes
Macedonia Maybe
Lithuania No
Australia Yes
Slovenia No
Bulgaria Yes
Denmark Yes
Ukraine Yes
Norway No
Georgia No
Albania Maybe
Belgium Yes

I am really unsure about Ireland so may swop that with Macedonia or Belarus

From Daniel;

Latvia Yes
Poland Yes
Switzerland No
Israel Yes
Belarus No
Serbia Yes
Ireland Yes
Macedonia No
Lithuania No
Australia Yes
Slovenia Yes
Bulgaria Yes
Denmark No
Ukraine Yes
Norway No
Georgia No
Albania No
Belgium Yes

Daniel is unsure about Albania and Belarus and might swop those with Slovenia and Latvia

Live blog second Semi Jury Show

Rolling live blog of Jury Show Second semi

Keep Refreshing this page;

Opening;

Views of Globen and crowd shots and COME TOGETHER. Seem like quite a crowd in the area too which is nice.

Now we have lots of Swedish humour and comedy form the hosts, but this washes over me and leaves me very cold I am afraid. All a bit too much MF for my liking.

Both hosts resplendent in silver jacket for Mans and a dress for Petra....all very sparkly. And now we have a duet from the two of them....very smorgasbord like in Malmo

Latvia

Justs creates this emotional monster on stage as he leaps around and gives everything to the performance. For me it is slightly over doing things. Yes he has a great voice but this is not how to perform an Aminata song. That said the backdrop is just perfect for this. Sure fire qualifier but no winner....
Lots of crowd cheering for this though...
The graphics look amazing too

Poland

Michal always hits the spot for me. Simply effective staging for this seems to work. Nothing none of us have not seen on the promo tour or the rehearsal clips so far. He does seem to come to life on stage with his powerful voice and presence. The real issue is that the song is a bit weak both lyrically and musically. He tries his best but given what he has to work with this is not really doing it for me.
Juries should fall in love with this though.....the emotion in his eyes and connection with the camera is one of the highlights this year.
And words on the backdrop are always a no-no in my world, sorry

Switzerland

Sorry but this is going no where fast. No charism, no charm, nothing at all really. Tonight the blue hair is still there and this time it’s curly, but no amount of whacky clothes, designer hair or anything is saving this from being one of the 8 that go home.
3 minutes I will never get back

Israel

Simply perfection from Hovi, great presence, great voice, perfectly suited to this song…the stage really lifts this too, this could really scoop a lot of votes on final night. Yes qualifying and with a good draw on final night who knows?
The earnest emotion that he's given tonight does make me think that Hovi has a lot more to gibe as an artist in the future....and seeing the acrobats on screen for the first time I now get the the inclusion of them on the stage.
Oh and a pyro waterfall.....always love them.....can we have them in every song please?

Belarus

Amazing staging totally distracts from the weak song here, though IVAN does make good use of all the stage and performs the hell out of it. What would have happened if the guy had been given a half decent song to sing? Oh and the baby is still there. Weirdly.
But it's not all about the staging, it's about the song and this is getting totally lost after Israel and before Serbia
Also we have some missed camera angles tonight with his.....but he bring sit back by hitting all those important notes at the end of the song
And he does look amazingly cool on stage

More Eurovision Taxi moments, with some folks that we know.
While this is quite funny the guest appearances from Lordi really give away that this was totally contrived and constructed, which steal the magic for me

Serbia

Great song and great vocal BUT and it’s a small but, the staging is so dark that it loses something for me here. I feel ditched from the performance and slightly distracted by he dancer. But toward the end it starts to lift and when the backing vocalists gather around her it pulls it back a bit for me.
She is giving her all to this tonight though. however like Belarus we do have a few missed camera moments tonight too.

Semi One predictions from Daniel and me

Mike;

Finland No
Greece No
Moldova Maybe
Hungary Yes
Croatia Yes
The Netherlands Yes
Armenia Yes
San Marino No
Russia Yes
Czech Republic Yes
Cyprus Maybe
Austria Yes
Estonia Maybe
Azerbaijan Yes
Montenegro No
Iceland Yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina Yes
Malta Yes

So someone will miss out from my predictions, and sadly I think it will be Austria

From Daniel;

Finland No
Greece No
Moldova Maybe
Hungary Yes
Croatia Yes
The Netherlands Yes
Armenia Yes
San Marino No
Russia Yes
Czech Republic Yes
Cyprus No
Austria Yes
Estonia No
Azerbaijan Maybe
Montenegro No
Iceland Yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina Yes
Malta Yes

Some slight disagreements here, but more or less we agree this year

Anyway what the hell do we know.....though we usually get 7-9 out of 10

Predictions for Tonight's Semi Final

It's hard to believe tonight the first semi final is taking place. How that week of rehearsals has flown by. So time to give predictions on who will qualify and who shouldn't.

Way back in March when Bulgaria released their song, I ended up with a top 42 after hearing each song once. So based on that list, my personal qualifiers would have been:

Azerbaijan, Russia, Armenia, Estonia, Austria, Malta, Czech Republic, Cyprus, The Netherlands and Croatia.

But two months on, guest apperances throughout Europe AND the rehearsals last week, have shifted things around a little bit. So my careful prediction for the countries going through tonight are:

Russia
Armenia
Iceland
Bosnia Herzegovina
Greece
Estonia
The Netherlands
Malta
Azerbaijan
and Czech Republic

We'll find out whether I'm right, later on tonight.

Happy Semi 1 everyone :)

Rehearsals from Finland, Greece and Moldova

Finland
Ok so this is kinda competent but that's all really. Nothing much else to say, the vocal could do with some work really, but in the arena it looks nice as an opener to the show. Still in the cat suit, still using the whole of the stage hope this works out for them

Greece
The big surprise for me so far, was never going to give this much hope tbh, but it looks really cool not he stage, and we have short ripping off moments so early in the show which is always a good thing

Moldova
Starting to come together for Lidia now, vast improvement on her first run through. Well done.

first rehearsal impression for Hungary

Only a very short snippet with sound was to be seen from Hungary so far.

Freddie's husky, rough vocals are spot on, and he's sticked pretty closely to the concept we already saw in the national final.

No monk in full clothing atire this time, and none have the glowing drum sticks in their hands this time around.

The beat of the drum however is reflected in the floor backdrop which is predominantly red. The beat translates into white cracks into the flooring, which is kept throughout the song.

Vocally, Freddie is on par with things. His voice is sounding husky and rough, so nothing really to comment on there.

Good overall first rehearsal.

First Rehearsal Impressions of Moldova

Space man alert! Space man alert! Yes Moldova's will wake you up this year, and bring some of that good old Eurovision craziness to you.

Lidia starts off her song Falling Stars by her own. The camera work is pretty much focussed on her and varies close up shots with long shots. And then boom!!! He's behind you!!!! The cosmonaut that is...

Funny to think that recently Lidia invited Romanian hopeful Ovidiu Anton to join her on stage, and that would have most likely been his role. Whether he would have managed to do the same dance routine as cosmonaut, is a question we'll never have answered I think. Cosmonaut, has worked with that other Eurovision alum Aliona Moon.

Unfortunately we don't have any sound either, but we've been promised they are working hard on getting it fixed.

Hurrah! Sound... I'm not panicking yet, but I hope Lidia is saving her voice. She's sounding a little bit off at the moment. Could however be the sound as well.... Neither Lidia nor her backings are actually sounding like they are mastering the backing track at the moment. Let's hope that gets sorted out before the next rehearsal.