Eurovision 2017 – So it has come to an end. The 2017 edition of the Song Contest in Ukraine has ended and next year we will be learning Portuguese after Salvador Sobral’s win last night. Here I want to look back at the events of this year. Good and Bad.
We have start at the beginning… The song selection stage and as usual, there were some controversies surrounding some songs that were selected.
Spain – Objectivo Eurovision Fiasco
RTVE caused major uproar with the Spanish Eurovision Fans who were not happy with eventual winner Manel Navarro’s selection. Six singers performed their songs for the Jury and Public at home and the results ended up with a tie. Mirela was the publics choice for the win however the jury favoured Manel but when a tie is the result, the public usually have the deciding vote and their winner would qualify. This happened back in 2014 when Ruth Lorenzo (public winner) was picked over the Jury favourite Brequette but this year, for reasons not explained, it was decided the Jury winner would proceed.
As a result the Spanish fans, who are usually 100% behind their song (Adurne in 2015 anyone? Spain really thought they had a winner with her) never really got behind Manel and the Spanish Song was pretty much forgotten about.
Russia – A Ukranian Ban
Apart from confirming early on that they would be taking part in Eurovision 2017, Russia kept very quiet about their selection process until BOOM! Out of nowhere, they revealed they would be sending Julia Samoylova with the Song “Flame is Burning”.
However, shortly afterwards the Ukrainian Security Service revealed they will not be letting Julia into the country for the contest due to a breaking of their law. The law abolishes anyone who has entered the Crimea territory after the 2014 annexation by Russia from entering the country.
The EBU, although unhappy with the decision had no choice but to let it pass as the law is well out of their hands. It did not stop Eurovision Fans from complaining that the EBU let this happen though and the fandom was in an uproar that politics had been allowed into the contest even though politics has always been involved in Eurovision.
The EBU pleaded with the Ukraine President pretty much demanding the decision be U-Turned but this failed. They also gave Russian Broadcaster Russia-1 the chance of staging Julia’s performance in Russia and use a satellite feed to air it as part of the contest but they declined and eventually withdrew from the contest.
Russia have said that they intend to take part in 2018 and that they will be sending Julia Samoylova but will they be allowed? The EBU could still but a ban on Russia for withdrawing so late in the game.
Upsetting Semi Final Non-Qualifiers
It’s normal that we like songs that fail to qualify to the final and opinions on this depend on the person you are asking but let’s look at some countries that failed to qualify but maybe should have…
“Dance Alone” sung by Jana Burčeska is undoubtedly the best song FYR Macedonia have ever sent to Eurovision so it is very upsetting that the song failed to qualify to the final. The blame can be put on the live performance of the song and it’s place in a very strong semi final. It’s never nice when the best song a country has sent fails to qualify. I’m sure her proposal and the expected arrival of a baby made the pain of not qualifying go away though.
Poor Estonia. Usually a shoe in to make the Final they failed to qualify for the 2nd year running. The song was very Eurovision Friendly and they had a benefit of performing near the end of the 2nd Semi Final however it was not to be. I know our readers here did not like the Estonian Song but most of you still thought they would make it to the Grand Final. As for me, this is the non-qualifier I was most upset about.
Boy I hated the Finnish song this year. I really, really did but this was a huge favourite with our readers and you were all very (rude word here) off when they failed to qualify from Semi Final One. Was the song too forgetful with the casual viewers at home? They were before Azerbaijan after all and how can you compete with a man with a Horse head?
Are there any more countries you were upset about not succeeding?
The dreaded last place. No one likes to come last but at least with a jury / public split you may not have finished dead last with both so you can at least say “at least they jury liked us more”… Here are the last placers of this years contest…
Semi Final One
Latvia came last with the Jury in SF1 getting only 1pt from the Azerbaijan jury. Latvia also came last overall with 21 after getting 20pts from the public who placed them 17th. The Czech Republic came last with the public getting only 2pts from the televote but because the Jury placed them seventh they were able to climb up to 13th place overall.
Semi Final Two
Oh dear. Malta and San Marino really did poorly this year. San Marino got nothing from the Jury at all and only 1pts from the public vote. This means that not only did San Marino come last in the Semi Final, they fared the worst of all 42 participating countries with only 1pt overall.
Malta did not appeal to the public at all as no body voted for them at all with nil points. Malta was the public last place of the contest overall but the jury saved them the embarrassment by placing them 8th place with 55 votes.
As was predicted by you in our poll yesterday, it was Spain that came last in the Grand Final but luckily for them the public stopped them from getting the dreaded nil points. The juries gave nothing to Spain this year but the televoters in Portugal gave them 5pts. Thank You Neighbours.
The Juries… Not political? Really? Erm, okay
The opinion on the juries and their usefulness depends on who you ask. I personally hate them but to others they make the contest fairer and balances the political voting of the public but this does not always work. Here are some things I noticed about some of the jury votes when looking at the break down
last night this morning.
The Armenian Jury
So we all know by now that the Armenia Jury will always place Azerbaijan last. They have to or they’ll get told off (joke) however if you look at who came first in the jury vote for SF1 you will see that it was Cyprus. All the jurors placed Cyprus 1st but was the song that good? No, it just happened to be sung by Hovig who is of Armenian descent.
The Azerbaijan Jury
It looks like Azerbaijan also knew Hovig was of Armenian descent too because he came 16th with all members of the Azeri jury. Note that in the Grand Final, the Azeri jury changed their tune with Anar Huseynli placing Cyprus 13th. Their 17th place obviously went to Armenia all round.
The Moldovan Jury
Next door neighbours Romania can thank Moldova. Every member of the jury placed Romania 1st place. I always get suspicious when all five jurors vote the same.
Other neighbourly voting with the juries
- The Greek Jury gave their 12pts to Cyprus
- The Cypriot Jury reciprocated and gave their 12pts to Greece
- The Denmark Jury gave their 12pts to Neighbour Sweden
At least the Irish Jury didn’t go political – they did not give anything to the UK over the way.
Per Sudnes, a juror within the Norwegian Jury was removed from the jury after comments he made about Ireland’s Brendan Murray. “It’s been a long time since they’ve gotten up and I do not think they’ll do it again. They try the same formula year after year”.
As he had said prior to the contest that he did not like the Irish song, he would not have given them high scores even if Brendan gave the best performance of the night. Should jury members be banned from hearing the songs before the contest begins?
The Jury Vs the Public
The public and jury have many moments of disagreement and we always see examples of the jury loving what the public hate and vice versa. We have only seen examples of these in 2017 with Malta and Czech Republic in the Semi Finals (see the section about last places) but there’s more.
The United Kingdom
There was a lot of hope with Lucie Jones this year. She sung “I Will Never Give Up on You” flawlessly and the juries awarded that by ranking the UK 10th in their voting getting points from 21 countries. Then the public had their say and the UK came 20th our of 26. Were the UK really one of the worst songs this year? Interesting to note that the points the UK did get from the public came from allies Australia, Malta and Ireland. The exact same countries who voted for us last year too but at least Spain got on the UK side also this year. Without Australia, the UK would have fared even worse.
On the flip side the UK public voted different to their jury thanks to Diaspora. A highly multicultural country with Romanian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish Natives, the public voting usually goes their way. In the Semi Final the UK public gave their 12pts to Poland and the jury placed them 6th. The public ranked Latvia 6th but did not make the jury Top 10. Lithuania, having performed in Semi Final 2 never got to receive the benefit of a UK vote but in the Grand Final Romania came 4th in the public vote but came mid table with the jury.
Ah Australia… The public don’t really want you in the contest do they? Australia came 4th with the Jury receiving 171 points from the jury vote but the public placed them allllll the way down in 25th. The public thought Australia had one of the worse songs of the contest but boy did the jury disagree. Due to the high Jury vote Australia came 9th overall. This is a big disagreement between the two groups of voters. Should the opinion of 205 people override the opinion of millions? (Writer Opinion – No and a reason I think jurors should not be used)
I’m sure Austria would disagree with my comment above as they would have got the dreaded Nil Points if it was televote only. No one voted for Nathan Trent but the jury had Austria at #11
The jury had the Dutch up in the Top 5 at #5 but the public thought that was too generous and placed OG3NE at #19 only 3pts ahead of the UK.
When a song wins based on jury votes or public votes it leaves discussion open on who truly deserved to win. 2016 was a good example because Jamala won neither the public nor the jury vote but still won overall and as such people don’t think Ukraine should have won.
No discussion can be had this year though as the public and the jury both placed Portugal #1 meaning he really is the true winner of Eurovision 2017. How nice.
Onto some good news. There were two record breakers this year which is always nice…
They first participated in 1964 and this is the first time they have won the Eurovision Song Contest so 2017 is Portugal’s most successful placing. I do wish I had but that bet on Salvador winning now let me tell you.
Moldova have only made the Top 10 three times since 2005 when they first came on board. Zdob si Zdub were 6th Place in 2005 and Natalia Barbu made #10 in 2007. Even Pasha Parfeny only made it to #11 but “Hey Mama” by Sunstroke Project came 3rd overall this year making this Moldova’s best ever result.
A lesson learnt Moldova… Keep the women away. You do better with Men.
Just as Imri was performing in the second semi final news broke out that the Israeli broadcaster IBA were shutting down and that the Grand Final would be the last show to be broadcast before it’s closure. IBA are the only Israeli broadcaster that is a member of the EBU so unfortunately this means Israel can no longer take part in the song contest. Israeli spokesperson Ofer Nachshon announced this before announcing the Israel Jury votes.
IBA is being split into two broadcasters… IPBC (rebranded KAN) which will be for general viewing Eg. Entertainment and another broadcaster that will be for news and current affairs. As KAN will not be broadcasting news items, they cannot become a member for the EBU so Israel will be absent for the foreseeable future. A shame as Israel have been on a qualifying streak of late. Sad news indeed.
A Full Moon
You may have noticed that when last years winner Jamala performed her new song “I Believe in U” as votes were being cast, an Australian fan (EDIT: Apparently the mooner is Vitalii Sediuk, a Ukrainian prankster carrying an Australian Flag) managed to get up on her pedestal and moon all of Europe, USA and China before security got up and dragged him down. A funny prank or disrespectful loser? I’m sure the answer depends on who you ask but in many years of televised contests, this hasn’t happened before (let me know if I’m wrong). Jamala however is a complete pro so carried on as if nothing happened.
Marcel Bezençon Awards
Marcel Bezençon is the grandfather or Eurovision coming up with the concept of the show all the way back in 1955. With respect, there are three awards given out in his name. Here are the winners this year..
Artistic Award – Salvador Sobral “Amar Pelos Dois”
Composer Award – Salvador Sobral “Amar Pelos Dois”
Press Award – Francesco Gabbani “Occidentali’s Karma”
To finish of this article there are few more controversies to discuss so let’s get to it…
Salvador was late to the party due to health issues and only came out last Sunday for the Red Carpet event but at the start of his Eurovision week, Salvador wore a jumper that had “SOS Refugees” on it when attending the Semi Final Qualifiers Press Conference. According to Sobral this was a message to Italy, Greece and Turkey to open their borders to refugees. The EBU told him off for this political message and he was banned from wearing it again.
Sobral then caused small controversy when winning the Grand Final with his acceptance speech. He made a statement that a song did not have to be all fire works to win and that he was glad that a song with meaning was finally able to win the contest. This struck a nerve with some fans. He must not have liked the other entries then?
One of the rules of the contest is that all vocals need to be 100% live however “Grab the Moment” had digitally enhanced vocals in its chorus and NRK requested that the EBU allow them to keep their song as it was. The EBU allowed this but this was to some fans annoyance. It did not affect the countries score though as Norway finished in the Top 10. Could this be a change of rules moving forward? We are living in the digital age and current music use techniques like these on a regular basis. Rules should be changed as Technology evolves.