Category Archives: Eurovision Song Contest

ESC 2015: The split televoting and jury results of the semi-finals and the final

Hi,

esc2015logo

Some minutes after the end of ESC 2015‘s Final, the split 50/50 voting results of the televote and jury were revealed (since 2009 that it’s done (in the case of the semi finals, since its voting introduction in 2010) and in all times it’s not known when to expect them). And like last year, every little detail about the jury and the televoting was revealed and it can be acessed in here: http://www.eurovision.tv/page/results

For my definite conclusion to the ESC 2015 season on my blog, I’ll give my opinion about those results and then a general opinion of them in the end (note: like last year, the voting procedure was giving full rankings instead of just the combined top-10. The following images were, though, converted into the previous procedure of combined top-10 – despite the fact the jury only voted by ranking (the televoting results are correct on both procedures, though). First, we’ll go to the semi-finals results:

1ST SEMI-FINAL

esc2015semifinal1splitresults

No really suprise as to who won the semi, eventhough the gap wasn’t as big as one could’ve thought: Russia did win both the televoting and the jury’s heart, while Belgium did top-3 on both accounts and Georgia got a 4th place from both as well

However, Estonia did do much better with the televoting than with the juries (when many expected them to do pretty well with the juries as well), while The Netherlands did extremely well the jury, while they flopped the hardest with the televoters – the same thing happened with Hungary (despite the qualification for the final) and Belarus

On the other hand, Finland had perhaps one of the weirdest disparity of points I’ve ever seen in semi-final’s split results: while it could have (almost) qualified for the final with the televoting alone, this wouldn’t happen with the jury (it could have even been a nul points case hadn’t they get that single point. The gap between them and their “closest” opponent, Macedonia, is – therefore – huge)

2ND SEMI-FINAL

esc2015semifinal2splitresults

No big differences in the overall split results of the semi as well. Sweden managed to beat their closest opponents on both jury and televoting accounts and Latvia also managed to do extremely well with both, well enough to get a top-3 from their part. Same for Israel and Norway that got at least a top-5 from both accounts

Curiously enough, Poland has the biggest difference of points in this semi: while reaching a honourable 4th place with the televoters, the juries gave them a bottom-3 placing (in fact, they were almost last with them)

Like last year, Azerbaijan was once again in risk of almost not qualifiying for the final due to televoting (the jury saved them for a suprising non-qualification), while Malta and Ireland didn’t have enough televoting points to save them from the qualification. Czech Republic was, on the other hand, one of the jury’s victims – they did better with the televoters

FINAL

esc2015finalsplitresults

For the first time since the 50/50 voting was implemented back in 2009 (only for the final at the time), we have two different winners in each voting procedure (which was, by the way, one of this year’s biggest controversies within in ESC fandom. If not, the biggest): Sweden convincingly won the contest, but was only the big favourite within the jury (they only were 3rd in the televote). While Italy, despite coming 3rd, was actually the people’s favourite (they would only have to blame on the juries who put them in the 6th place)

A few more suprises and curiosities:

Norway (sadly, in my opinion) failing hard to impress the televoters, while getting a big score with the jury. The same thing happened with Cyprus, for example

Albania doing suprisingly well (suprisingly as I didn’t think the performance was great enough for such a result) with the televoters, while the jury didn’t give them much favours. Serbia and Armenia also got a similiar outcome

Germany and Austria doing better with the jury than with the televoting, especially the latter (if only the televoting was used, they would still get the infamous nul points)

Finally, let’s see an example of a detailed jury and televoting results (some countries, though, only used one way of voting) – those from my country (Portugal):

PORTUGAL’S DETAILED JURY AND TELEVOTING RESULT (AS REVEALED ON EUROVISION.TV)

SEMI-FINAL 2

esc2014detailedportuguesevotingsemifinal2

FINAL

esc2014detailedportuguesevotingfinal

(NOTE: the portuguese jury members were Renato Júnior (Jury A), Adelaide Ferreira (Jury B), Gonçalo Tavares (Jury C), Inês Santos (Jury D) and Nuno Feist (Semi-Final 2)/Nuno Marques da Silva (Final) (Jury E). Adelaide Ferreira was the portuguese representant of ESC 1985, while Inês Santos was the vocalist of Alma Lusa, the portuguese representants of ESC 1998)

What I’m going to say is nothing new: I still think the 50/50 voting is still the fairest way of voting, giving the best of both worlds. I know it’s always hard to please everyone – especially when each person has its own taste (there’s still complaints from the ESC fandom concerning the voting procedure (rankings as opposed to only top-10) – one that changes the outcome of a country’s official points in some cases)

One more thing before ending my posts about ESC 2015 – relive the final voting with the SVT 1 (Sweden) commentary provided by Edward af Sillén and Sanna Nielsen (ESC 2014):

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)

ESC 2015: My opinion about the Final (Part II)

Hi,

esc2015logo

The second part of my opinion regarding the Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 is now here. On my previous post, I started talking about the begining of the show + started to review the songs and its performances during the final one by one. After talking about the first 14 entries, here’s my opinion of the last 13 entries:

15: Greece – Maria Elena Kyriakou – One last breath

15greece

After going to the catchy route these last few years, the country has sent their first classic ballad in years (at least, not since… 2006!!!): “One last breath”, sung by cypriot-born singer Maria Elena Kyriakou. A perfectly confident performance with a strong vocal showcase and a empowering visual concept. Better than that would be impossible, me thinks

16: Montenegro – Knez – Adio

16montenegro

The traditional balkan mid-tempo ballad is on Knez this year as he sung “Adio”. As expected from a song of its genre, here we have a emotional performance that builds and builds until reaching the ultimate climax. A symbolically powerful visual and vocal performance from the singer and his backing vocalists part (loved the dance routine in the second instrumental section, just before the keychange)

17: Germany – Ann Sophie – Black smoke

17germany

A sensual indie-pop entry is coming our way: Ann-Sophie is the singer that defends “Black smoke”. The visual performance in ESC was completely different from the NF: defintively more polished and better concieved than before. And the singer, while giving a solid vocal performance, also gave a visually stylish sultry look which emphasized the entry as a whole. Also loved the light props used into the performance

18: Poland – Monika Kuszyńska – In the name of love

18poland

“Angelic” is perhaps a good word to describe the adult contemporary-like ballad “In the name of love”, sung by Monika Kuszyńska. Nice vocal performance from the singer’s part and smoothly well-executed ideas in visual terms (I liked that special touch in the middle of performance in which we could see clips of the singer years before the car accident happened)

19: Latvia – Aminata – Love injected

19latvia

Make way for the new electronic queen Aminata who wrote the entry “Love injected” by herself. The performance, like the song itself, is a true work of art: magnificence in her vocal performance, as well a alternative eclectism and grace in the visual performance (I’d even say this was one of the several performances that worked well on the TV screen). All in all, there’s such a mystically good aura around it – indeed a wonderful moment

20: Romania – Voltaj – De la capăt

20romania

The words are Voltaj’s biggest weapon for this year’s edition of ESC – in the shape of a mid-tempo rock entry titled “De la capăt”. Nothing too special in this performance, but the social message of song was pretty well executed on its visual performance. The vocal performance was also good enough – nothing really faultess on this aspect

21: Spain – Edurne – Amanecer

21spain

Drama, adventure and romance are the secret ingridients for the midtempo track “Amanecer”, sung by Edurne. Visually, it had an interesting concept… on paper, as it didn’t quite translate well on stage (the begining was good, but it just became more and more confusing until the end). On the other hand, the singer gave a solid vocal performance, although she had a few mishaps at times – especially in the end, when she sadly missed the note

22: Hungary – Boggie – Wars for nothing

22hungary

A simplistic plea for peace as we have “Wars for nothing”, a ballad sung by Boggie. As said a couple of letters ago, there’s only one word to describe this performance: simple. It’s a bit like that country’s great debut entry from 1994 – only add some LED imagery of peace and nature, backing vocalists and even a choreography. Visually impressive on its own, although not as strong as the entry I mentioned before. The singer herself defended quite well, although she was a bit better in the semi she was in

23: Georgia – Nina Sublatti – Warrior

23georgia

There has been fiercy female singers in past – but Nina Sublatti elevates that category to the next level. How? With the power-pop entry “Warrior”. Despite the serious smoke incident that hid the singer for a few seconds in the begining of the performance, she did handle it like a professional that she is. Powerful vocal delivery and total fierceness on the visual performance

24: Azerbaijan – Elnur Huseynov – Hour of the wolf

24azerbaijan

This could really be something out of a musical theatre play: Elnur Huseynov goes narrative (musically-wise) with the ballad “Hour of the wolf”. The singer and the modern ballet dancers’ artistical dual interaction during the performance could have been a pretty good idea – however, it wasn’t really effective, despite being well executed. And curiously enough, the singer’s vocals were suprisingly disapointing (I don’t know what he vocally pretended to deliever, but I believe he’s much better than what he gave that night)

25: Russia – Polina Gagarina – A million voices

25russia

The quintessential power ballad of the evening: Polina Gagarina sings the peace-driven track “A million voices”. The “tour of force” of the overall performance is the singer herself – first of all, the visual performance was both celestial and colossal (something that the entry really needed + we could see the singer was really feeling the song’s message). As for the vocal performance, I can only say she sung it like there was no tomorrow. Overall, a pleasantly dignified performance

26: Albania – Elhaida Dani – I’m alive

26albania

Despite the precedent events, Elhaida Dani fought it out like a survivor – just like in the ballad she sung: “I’m alive”. Despite the fact that the singer itself is usually a great vocalist, this song seems to be too hard for her to sing: really shaky at times, but becoming quite strong in the second half (eventhough that wasn’t still enough to disguise the shakyness of those vocals. At least, she handled well the highest note of the song (in the semi, it was even better). As for the visual performance: well, not necessarily something out of this world, although she did the best she could to transmit the song’s message

27: Italy – Il Volo – Grande amore

27italy

The last entry of the night was a big favourite to win the edition: the three crossover opera threesome Il Volo with the opera-pop ballad entry “Grande amore”. And there’s a word or two to describe the overall performance: stunningly powerful. Vocally, more perfect than what was delievered would be impossible: they gave their all and much more. On visual terms, they also gave it all to embody the message + the LED imagery (similiar to their Sanremo Festival 2015 performance) perfectly matched with the entry’s soulness (although it also plays a bit with sterotypes)

After the songs have been performed, several interval acts were done between the time when the televoting lines were open and the time before going to the results presentation. The 1st interval act was a electrifiying percussion extravaganza provided by Martin Grubinger

The televoting lines were closed and the final interval act appeared on the stage: Conchita Wurst, previous edition’s ESC winner, sings a medley of two songs included on her debut album “Conchita”: “We are unstoppable” (the 2nd official single from the album) and “Firestorm”

And finally, we come to the most important part of the contest… after the songs, that is: the results. There were quite a few suprises this year as well – like Israel and Serbia‘s top-10 placings (in a time when ethnic and classic ESC catchy songs apparently don’t do as well as they did years before, this is quite an achievement. And it’s all thanks to their appealing performances) and the first time since 1997 that we have two countries without a single point on the scoreboard (host country Austria and Germany)

But we also have some great and not so great outcomes besides what was already mentioned: Belgium and Latvia doing extremely well (I was fearing the worst for the latter country, I admit. Glad I was proven wrong), Albania doing better than expected (especially after a pretty troubling overall performance), Spain failing to deliever a great placing, etc… As for the winner itself: I believe it was quite deserved (eventhough I prefered Estonia) – all in all, one could say it was the most professionally designed and delievered performance of the evening. No wonder why it won

Next year, we’re going to Stockholm. Until then, I hope next year’s ESC will be as great as this one was. And I hope Portugal starts to change their attitude towards ESC and get into the moode with a more competitive entry… one that not only assures us of a qualification to the final, but also fights out for a top-10 or higher (the last one we got on a final was in 1996, the year we got our best placing ever: 6th place. And we’re still the oldest participating country in ESC who hasn’t achieved a top-5 as of yet) – wishful thinking, though… considering RTP‘s current mindset towards ESC

A last treat – the reprise performance of the ESC 2015 winner (as seen by Das Erste (ARD – Germany):

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)

ESC 2015: My opinion about the Final (Part I)

Hi,

esc2015logo

Later than usual, but here I start my view on Saturday, 23rd May 2015‘s last ESC event for the year – more precisely, the ESC 2015 Final. And it all started with a classical music opening of “Te deum”, as well as few images from last year’s edition held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Then we’d move on to Austria and to where ESC 2015 was held this year: Vienna – most precisely, a dynamic look around the city…

As we move on to this year’s venue, Wiener Stadhalle, the classical music is once again into the spotlight as last year’s winning entry gets a brief mention. The real opening act, though, is Conchita and the presenters’ performance of ESC 2015‘s main theme, “Building bridges”, with the collaboration of a children choir with ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, conducted by Peter Pejtsik and rapper Left Boy. After that, there’s the always necessary Olympic Games-like parade of nations

The presenters of the show (Alice Tumler, Arabella Kiesbauer and Mirjam Weichselbraun), who had been part of the opening act, finally get their chance to greet the audience and do their usual stuff. Like last year, the presenters defended their job well – but I can’t help having the feeling that this year’s greenroom host (the one and only Conchita Wurst) overshadowed them by a long shot

Unlike my previous posts about the semi-finals and also unlike my posts of all the ESC 2015 songs, I’ll do a one by one opinion more concerning the performance than everything else – in this case, this is the first of two parts including the first 14 entries. The last 13 will be reviewed in the next blog post:

01: Slovenia – Maraaya – Here for you

01slovenia

A tenacious catchy indie-pop entry is starting the parade: “Here for you”, sung by Maraaya. They weren’t kidding whenever they said their performance was more TV-oriented than live tour-oriented (ESC fans were in general worried this wouldn’t look good during rehearsals): it actually looked slick and refreshingly vibrant, always full of action throught the entire course of the performance – that same compliment goes for Marjetka‘s soulful raspy vocals. A pretty wonderful start…

02: France – Lisa Angell – N’oubliez pas

02france

The first slow song of that evening is provided by Lisa Angell – the title: “N’oubliez pas”. There’s no doubt she’s a wonderful singer and she proved that with her massively powerful vocals. Sadly, her vocal performance alone couldn’t save a song that didn’t particulary have a shot at doing particulary well – yes, the minimalistic visual performance with the tin-drummers appearing in the second half of song was a nice touch, but what else could the french team do in order to set the scoreboard on fire?

03: Israel – Nadav Guedj – Golden boy

03israel

Ethnic uptempos are back – courtesy of the “Golden boy” from the block (paired up his trustable backing crew): Nadav Guedj. The song might not really be outstanding (not for me, at least), but the performance was vocally fine (he was out of breath at times, though) and visually great (its simplistic party mood-like idea was its greatest trait). One more thing: I don’t know why, but the visual performance’s cheerful atmosphere and well-studied professionalism reminded me of Israel‘s ESC golden age (late 70’searly 80’s)

04: Estonia – Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye to yesterday

04estonia

From happiness, we’re now getting into melancholy realms with “Goodbye to yesterday”, sung by Elina Born & Stig Rästa. This is one of the entries that worked really well visually-wise (some might not think so, though): you can sense a story is being told during the entire course of the performance (the shadow effect, Elina‘s entrance with the aid of the LED door, etc…). In vocal terms, Stig isn’t on his best in vocal, but we can forgive that – Elina becomes, therefore, the main vocal force of that performance

05: United Kingdom – Electro Velvet – Still in love with you

05unitedkingdom

1920’s swing with electro-pop? A bizzare combination that you’ll only get from Electro Velvet and “Still in love with you”. First of all, the duo’s vocal performance was OK and they had a nice chemistry (well, not as strong as the other competing duos…) – the problem was the visual performance: it seems like they tried so hard to stand out from the rest (there were some good ideas, though, like the glittery stairchase), but ended up being quite messy overall

06: Armenia – Genealogy – Face the shadow

06armenia

The six-combo project Genealogy pays their tribute to the armenian community in the form of a pop-soul entry: “Face the shadow”. Considering this was a one-time project, I didn’t find them totally cohesive (some of them were definitively better than others (in terms of vocals and presence). Still, the main attraction of their performance was the visuals: it perfectly matched the song and the message they wanted to deliever

07: Lithuania – Monika Linkytė & Vaidas Baumila – This time

07lithuania

Just one kiss and you’re in Monika Linkytė & Vaidas Baumila‘s cutesy pop-country world, merrily singing “This time“. I’d say the performance’s best trait is the duo’s cheerful chemistry – that certainly gave a highly colorful touch to the song’s message. While it wasn’t as vocally strong as many of the other competing entries, there were some well executed visual ideas (such as the famed “one kiss” sequence and the duo’s final cute shot simulating what looked like a selfie, as well Vaidas huging and kissing Monika on the cheek)

08: Serbia – Bojana Stamenov – Beauty never lies

08serbia

When Bojana Stamenov comes to town (well, in this case, it’s “the contest”), all people gather around (a play on “Foxy Brown (1974)”‘s movie trailer’s first phrases) and start dancing to the power pop entry “Beauty never lies”. If there’s anything that could lift this one up to a higher level was a stand-out performance… and that’s what happened: yes, it’s visually quite kitschy – but in a positively funny way (especially from the moment the dance music part kicks in). And Bojana did a great favour to the song thanks to her massive vocal performance (although I believe her vocals were just a tad better in the semi she was in)

09: Norway – Mørland & Debrah Scarlett – A monster like me

09norway

The unusual good looking couple Mørland & Debrah Scarlet lash out the inner beast within them as they sing the delicate alternative ballad “A monster like me”. Vocally, it’s like Estonia in a way: although heartfelt, one of them is better than the other – in this case, the main power behind the vocal performance is Mørland himself, while Debrah isn’t considered as a vocally powerful singer (although her performance in the final was better than in the semi the duo was in). The strikingly and mystically tenderness of its unique visual performance compensates all the minor vocal flaws with gracefullness and

10: Sweden – Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes

10sweden

Spaghetti Western, Cinemascope… and a autobiographical story: mix all these attributes up and then you have a smash dance-pop track named “Heroes”, sung by Måns Zelmerlöw. The performance was certainly elaborate and massively well-concieved from head to toe – some might not like this commercial approach, but it sure is an effective show-stopper when it’s properly done. Nothing really wrong on both vocal and visual terms – everything on the right track, me thinks

11: Cyprus – John Karayiannis – One thing I should have done

11cyprus

A soothing ballad is ready to be performed: John Karayiannis is, therefore, about to sing “One thing I should have done“. Simple staged performances can be effective at times… and this is one of them: the singer did a pretty good job selling the entry with his cutesy warm vocal performance without any exaggerations from his part. And it visually looked great as well: quite intimate in a way – I liked the black and white effect in the begining of the performance

12: Australia – Guy Sebastian – Tonight again

12australia

For ESC‘s 60th anniversary, Australia has been invited to participate as a competing country, eventhough they aren’t active members of EBU. And Guy Sebastian gave it all with his contemporary and funky pop-soul entry “Tonight again”. Everything went professionally well with it (it almost seemed like we weren’t watching ESC at all): from Guy‘s outstanding vocal performance to its feel-good visual performance – totally on the spot, without getting over the top

13: Belgium – Loïc Nottet – Rhythm inside

13belgium

Mystery and creativity: two words that blend well with Loïc Nottet‘s contemporary indie-pop entry “Rhythm inside”. Only one word to describe the overall performance: art – it’s like a marvelous canvas of surrealism, abstractism and cubism put togheter in order to create a sublime, but eerie work of art. It was visually well concieved (although the camera work could have been much better) and vocally strong (only a few vocal glitches from the singer’s part, but even those errors are forgiven due to the singer’s confidence)

14: Austria – The Makemakes – I am yours

14austria

To end this first batch of entries, here we have the ultimate alternative rock ballad with late 60’s/early 70’s influences sung by The Makemakes – talking about “I am yours”. Soild and powerful visual performance with the highlight being the piano on fire during the second part of the song – on the other hand, the vocal performance was good, eventhough quite shaky at times

Before ending this first part of my opinions regarding ESC 2015’s Final, a special treat – my favourite’s performance in this year’s ESC edition:

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)

ESC 2015: My opinion about the 2nd Semi-Final

Hi,

esc2015logo

Another good day for ESC 2015 in my opinion. Nothing more to say that has been said before – only a few things more, though: curiously enough, there wasn’t a opening act (like the past few years)… and the interval acts weren’t really… well, interval acts: it was more like the 2nd part of the video-comparsion between austrian history and ESC. And to celebrate the 60th anniversary of ESC, we also had a video-look at some of the most iconic highlights from the results, always one of the most expected moments in the contest. In compensation, the quality of songs in this semi was much higher than in the first one

Like in every ESC edition, there are flaws – but they are quite minor: bar Conchita and her great job in the green room, it seems the three presenters haven’t yet shone up (they are doing their job pretty well, but it seems they aren’t as memorable as they should be). And a show overrun almost happened once again, something that affected the qualifiers announcement (eventhough it lasted a little longer than in the 1st Semi-Final)

From my predicition, I got 8 out of 10 (like last year too), missing Lithuania and Latvia (I had Iceland (a bit suprised about this non-qualification – then again, they didn’t have a pretty good performance and that might have hurt their chances in qualifiying for the final) and Czech Republic). On this semi, I had, at least, five song to cheer for: Norway, Latvia, Slovenia, Sweden and Czech Republic – and all but the latter mentioned country qualified for the final. Extremely happy with those qualifiers, although it’s a pity Czech Republic missed the ticket. On the other hand, thank God  Malta didn’t qualify for the final – never saw something really special in it, although it wasn’t a bad song…

As for my home country, Portugal: I didn’t expect us to qualify for the final and that became true (we’ll see tomorrow what was our result in our semi). Despite the fact that Leonor and her team did a pretty good job with the performance (at least, that was quite better than in the NF), the entry wasn’t strong enough to put Portugal in the final + the competition was too strong for such a simplistic pop-rock entry. All in all, I believe RTP should change their mentality towards ESC and start thinking  new ways of choosing the portuguese entry – what we need an entry and a performance that can please both the televote and the jury… and perhaps going out for more than just a qualification for the final

Yesterday, the draw was revealed a few hours after the 2nd Semi-Final‘s press conference had ended… so, here it is:

01: Slovenia
02: France
03: Israel
04: Estonia
05: United Kingdom
06: Armenia
07: Lithuania
08: Serbia
09: Norway
10: Sweden
11: Cyprus
12: Australia
13: Belgium
14: Austria
15: Greece
16: Montenegro
17: Germany
18: Poland
19: Latvia
20: Romania
21: Spain
22: Hungary
23: Georgia
24: Azerbaijan
25: Russia
26: Albania
27: Italy

Meanwhile, here’s the Semi-Final 2 qualifiers’ press conference (as shown on Eurovision.tv):

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)

ESC 2015: My opinion about the 1st Semi-Final

Hi,

esc2015logo

Yesterday was such a great start for the ESC 2015 week: from that tremendous opening act (Conchita Wurst snatching everyone’s weaves by singing “Rise like a pheonix” and presenting at the same time) to the aesthically beautiful graphics (quite different from the previous two years) , from the clever postcards (with the classical music giving a special touch with the modern imagery) were really effective to the marvelous stage – and also a special mention to the unusual interval act in which three animals were wandering around Vienna with portable video cameras…. In a way, ORF is really doing a great job for this year’s edition thus far

There were a few minor issues, eventhough not too troublesome: eventhough the presenters were much better than those from the last year, they were simply overshadowed by Conchita – she really is a true entertainer. And the qualifiers announcement felt unusually rushed, perhaps because the show was almost on the verge of being overrun (I wonder if the same thing will happen again this Thursday)

From my predicition, I got 7 out of 10 (like the last two years), missing Albania, Hungary and Serbia (I had Belarus, Denmark and Moldova). On my overall top-10 for this edition, my top-2 consisted of songs from this semi – a pity Denmark (my 2nd) didn’t do it… but I’m tremendously happy to see Estonia, my personal favourite, qualifiying for the final. The rest of the qualifiers ranged from great to nice – Serbia, in particular, did have a performance that took it to a higher level. Also: thank God, Moldova didn’t qualify for the final (I really feared that would happen due to its utterly over-the-top performance – too much to bear for me)

Like last year, the draw will only be revealed just after the end of the 2nd Semi-Final… so, we’ll just have to wait until then

Meanwhile, here’s the Semi-Final 1 qualifiers’ press conference (as shown on Eurovision.tv):

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)