Sunday, November 03, 2019

Ukraïner: The Movie

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Cock-up On The Eastern Front

It seems that there was a mistake in the way the Belarus jury votes were allocated. They had been excluded from applying their actual votes as their Semi final results had been released published early, against EBU regulations. Instead, someone invented some scores! But they got the formula wrong - or the formula may have been right but the calculations wrong! Whatever the case this is all a bit weird and has resulted in a change in the final results.

The Netherlands, fortunately for everyone other than Italy, still win and the Top 4 remain the same. Sweden are now 5th and Norway 6th and North Macedonia 7th. There are a few other changes too. Here are the revised scores in total:

  1. Netherlands (498)
  2. Italy (472)
  3. Russia (370)
  4. Switzerland (364)
  5. Sweden (334)
  6. Norway (331)
  7. North Macedonia (305)
  8. Azerbaijan (302)
  9. Australia (284)
  10. Iceland (232)
  11. Czech Republic (157)
  12. Denmark (120)
  13. Cyprus (109)
  14. Malta (107)
  15. Slovenia (105)
  16. France (105)
  17. Albania (90)
  18. Serbia (89)
  19. San Marino (77)
  20. Estonia (76)
  21. Greece (74)
  22. Spain (54)
  23. Israel (35)
  24. Belarus (31)
  25. Germany (24)
  26. United Kingdom (11)
There's really nothing I can say.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The bookies were right after all!

Well done to The Netherlands. Although they didn't win either the Jury or Tele votes, they did accumulate enough points to win overall. I was pleased with my predictions and Norway did win the Tele vote, with North Macedonia very nearly winning the Jury vote!

Italy 2nd
Australia 9th
Russia 3rd
Azerbaijan 7th
Sweden 6th (1st in Jury Vote)
The Netherlands 1st
Iceland 10th

Long shots
North Macedonia 8th (2nd in Jury Vote!)
Norway 5th (1st in TeleVote!)
Switzerland 4th

Here are the summaries:

Friday, May 17, 2019

Eurovision 2019: Too Close To Call?

Italy's guy has not performed well so far so, unless he can pull something exceptional out of the bag on Saturday night I fear that instead of being a possible winner he may not even make Top 10.

Australia remain my first choice for the #1 spot but watch out now for Norway and, as a very long shot, North Macedonia, who I have been hinting should do well for a long time. That's a possible Top 3 with only Iceland likely to upset the party.

For Top 5 expect to see Russia or The Netherlands join the leaders.

For Top 10, add Sweden, Azerbaijan, Switzerland and Czech Republic

Clearly this flies in the face of the bookies, with North Macedonia out at a crazy 560-1 as I write! The Netherlands are 6-4 on to win. Even Norway are out at 70-1. It's like everyone has bet on The Netherlands and so the bookies' calculators have had to produce this amazing range of odds for everyone else.

I don't recall just one entry being so far ahead since France some years ago. they were seemingly bound to win but on the night a poor performance that simply did not match the video at all left them floundering way down on the right hand side of the board. Loreen was always looking likely but she did still have some others in close competition in the betting at this stage.

If we can swallow the fact that The Netherlands may not win, after all, then I can imagine any of another ten acts winning if the perform well on the night and catch voters' attention (and have already bagged a decent jury vote). so, unless the bookies have seen the jury votes and they show The Netherlands as so far ahead as to be almost unstoppable, I think this will be a close one to call.

The Netherlands stay firm favourites but I don't know why

The second Semi Final went very much according to most predictions.

Armenia's girl brought us more thigh-length boots but she was too scary and just missed the cut.

Ireland really let themselves down terribly with such a poor singer, ineffective song and they must be now thinking that had been a huge mistake to put this girl in the show in the first place. the girl was almost permanently out of breath and that's not in a sexy or sultry way - just purely amatuer. So they never had a chance and will have been last or almost last.

Moldova's girl had that annoying accent which many from other countries have when trying to sing in English. The snow work by the Ukrainian artist was pretty but seemed rather disconnected to the song and there just to get attention. Whilst there were some great notes and the girl was in tune, this was not good enough to get through.

Switzerland sailed through with the guy who seemed popular. It's a nice commercial number that would not have been out of place in the 90s. With all the PC stuff at Eurovision I'd be surprised if it gets Top 5 but it is a good song.

Latvia have a well-sung, gentle number. It's simple, honest and well presented but has been at the bottom of the list of those expected to win since the start and is likely to fail as there just isn't anything to lift it and make it more memorable or lovable.

Romania have a curious entry. Some bits are very good and there's talent there but then there are also some pretty bad bits too. They're going home.

Denmark have a vaguely similar sort of entry to Ireland but this girl gets it right. A gentle but cheery number that seems to last quite a lot longer than the others! It doesn't but just seems that way. It's not a winner but makes the final. Why on Earth they need a big chair I have no idea. Sweet but no winner.

Sweden have a very confident and professional guy singing. He's good but I'm not convinced that the song is that great. Is he the only black guy in the Final? He's got lots of crowd support and Sweden are there, of course, but I don't see this doing the Top 3 thing that everyone expects.

Austria have a clever song but it is lost in the background noise. The girl tries hard but it's all a bit too much like hard work for most of us and Austria won't be in the final this year.

Croatia have one of the few real ballads and it is very well sung. The wings are all a bit 1980s and may lose them some votes. Nice job made overall and this might just sneak through into the final, I'd thought. It didn't. My guess is that it won't have missed by much.

Malta, like Ireland, are off-key from the start. It has a strange beat and really is not the best of songs and not performed well either. People had been praising the Maltese entry this year but I'm not sure it even deserves to get to the Final at all. It does, though.

Lithuania is tedious and really not worth writing much about.

Russia have an impressive song and performance from one of their best guys. It's smooth and classic but lacks something that makes it a winner for me. Certainly they're in the Final again.

Albania are impressive too. A very well-sung and traditional type of performance that we haven't seen many of so far. An impressive and interesting song which may just slip into the Top 10 and surprise people.

Norway have one of the best opening vocals and one of only a few catchy entries. If I can get Gary Barlow out of my mind then this stands a chance of surprising everyone and being Top 3.

The Netherlands are the out-and-out favourite to win and stay even further ahead after tonight's performance. It's a nice number, not easy to sing but lacks personality and I don't know how this guy will really 'connect' on the night. I just don't see this winning.

North Macedonia have one of the best songs in my opinion. It is sung really well. No fancy effects. Just a cool performance. I am delighted to see them get through and reckon they may well give everyone a surprise on the night.

Azerbaijan have a good pop song and make it through this year. There aren't many of the old Soviet countries in there this year so that will benefit them considerably. Well-presented and better than Sweden. It gets a bit boring but different enough to do fairly well.

My ranking was:

1 Norway
2 North Macedonia
3 Russia
4 Netherlands
5 Azerbaijan
6 Sweden
7 Switzerland
8 Croatia
9 Denmark
10 Albania

In the actual votes, Malta made the Final. Croatia didn't.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Iceland and Australia win a lot of votes in Semi Final 1

Here are the top ten as predicted by Betfair's odds after the first Semi Final.

Australia did a super job, both visually and vocally, bringing their odds down substantially and now they must be regarded as a potential winner in what is proving to be a very open competition.

Iceland did themselves no disservice either and their unique entry in a year of generally tedious and non-memorable tunes may give them an opportunity to win by simply being the only one that's in the style a certain type of voter likes.

I gave 3rd place to Slovenia. The pair did seem a little too twee and quiet but there was a certain charm and that clearly also appealed to voters as they sailed through to the final. Their presentation does smack of Spain's effort last year - which didn't find a great deal of support on the night - so I doubt it will get far. Spain made it just one place above UK in 23rd in 2018.

4th place went to Czech Republic with a professionally delivered cheery number which I think people will love. One to watch which could surprise us all.

5th Cyprus. The girl is nowhere near as good live as she is on the video but i do like the boots and it does, at least, sound like a modern pop song.

6th Greece. Strong vocals and this will also be fairly popular. Not a winner, though, but certainly deserves to be in the Final.

7th Serbia. A serious blonde this time. No thigh length boots. It's a slow anthemic song and there aren't too many of these for her to compete with so she'll pick up a good few points for this. Someone for the Balkans to vote for too.

8th Hungary. I thought the guy deserved to get through with his traditional-sounding track. Not many of those in the Final this year so far. But he gets dropped.

9th Belarus. The other sexy girl in this Semi Final and she gets through despite all the criticism that Belarus have nothing other than sex on their mind at Eurovision. I can't tell whether she hopes he'll like it but I'm sure plenty of blokes out there in voting land will. Win? No chance.

10th Belgium's reasonably modern pop number was one I thought might scrape through but the young lad's performance was not really up to much and he gets dropped.

11th Finland. Only Because Darude should be in the Final as he's Darude. The other bloke let him down badly, though.

12th Estonia. A casual bloke just turns up and sings! His high notes are rubbish and I've heard something like this before. Remarkably, he gets to the Final.

13th Georgia have a strong national-sounding song - all classic stuff from the region but that bloke's eyes will have scared most voters away.

14th Montenegro. A pretty dreadful number. The guys and girls try but fail miserably.

15th Poland. My ears hurt. Weird teen singing. Good co-ordination but I have absolutely no idea what that was all about.

16th Portugal. Horrible. I prefer the Polish teens to this mess.

17th San Marino. Oh dear. This is almost laughable as it is so bad but, wait, it gets through!! Ha ha! Oh boy, this is Eurovision for sure.

So there is still a lot to happen with the second semi set to wheedle out another 8 contestants. That shouldn't be too difficult at all as there are some clear acts which are almost guaranteed to be there and some which will most definitely not be.

Whilst the Netherlands are still out front my own feeling is that it will be either Iceland or Australia for the top slot. Russia, Czech Republic and Italy making up the top 5.
The Netherlands will certainly be Top 10, with Sweden, Norway, North Macedonia and Azerbaijan making up the rest of the 10. Cyprus and Greece will be lurking and could swap places with one of these.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Eurovision. How Low Can The Netherlands Go?

With just over a month to go it's a good time to see how the main contenders have been faring at the bookies.

What is evident is that The Netherlands have stayed clear favourites ever since Russia's entry was released. Whilst not bad, the second attempt by Sergei to bring Europe to Moscow has not really excited anyone much. However, as the only 'Eastern' nation that seems to stand a chance, Russia is very likely to win by default in that all their friendly neighbours and those who do not wish to offend Big Red will give them bags of votes near the top end of the scale and that may well be sufficient in  a year with no obvious stand-out so far.

The only other ex-Eastern bloc country to stand much of chance is Slovenia but their still out at about 60-1 and haven't changed over the months much at all.

As the artists start to perform at various places you get feedback from people there and it is apparent who has impressed audiences and who may have been rather disappointing.

Iceland seem to have suffered most in this respect. They have a pretty mad entry anyway which will annoy many but which is so out there on the left field that it is unique this year. That could well mean that Iceland attract all the odd votes in their entirety and score well as a result. That's presumably what the logic was when their video came out and there was an almost commercial version of a track about being non-commercial. You could almost imagine it winning. At one point they were second to Russia and stayed in the Top 5 for a long time. Now, though, I am guessing that some poor live performances or negative publicity has lost them some backing.

Greece have suffered too. Again, I am assuming that the singer just hasn't been performing well. The three girls from Greece, Cyprus and Malta have been jostling for position throughout the last few weeks. Malta and Cyprus seem to be doing the better job now.

Competing for 2nd place with Russia are Sweden, Italy and Switzerland. Sweden have something just like Russia. An OK song. A good singer and a song that sounds like it was written by a committee. So it should keep the Swedes in the Top 10 but it really isn't going to be something that we remember afterwards. In fact, they may even get a shock if other nations decide to say that they've had enough of the formula type of entry and give another Nordic entry a chance. Not Iceland, hopefully, but maybe Norway or Denmark will get a look-in.

Switzerland have a surprisingly good pop song but, as it is about some guy appealing to girls on the dance floor I suspect it may not win the PC votes. So it's good enough to win but it would be seen as a retrograde step, I suspect, and various bots would be charged up ready to ensure it just misses the Top spot on the night.

Italy have, in my view, the best chance of defeating the Ruskies and The Netherlands and winning this year. They have consistently come up with remarkably well-written songs over recent years and have been very much in with a chance each time. This may seem one of their weaker efforts at the start but it grows on you and has a suitably anti-establishment theme which will satisfy the Icelanders while not upsetting anyone else particularly.

If the Russians don't use their hacking powers to win then they may accept the Italian venue for 2020 and move swathes of votes in Italy's direction.

The Netherlands entry, just like many in the recent past, is very pleasant and warm and soft and unoffensive. I am happy to play it at home and I can see it will have plenty of appeal. Whether it will warrant lots of 12 pointers I don't know. The Netherlands is one of those nations other countries feel they can vote for and not cause problems with their governments. It's a pretty open and Eurovision-friendly nation with lost of posters about sex, sculptures of bits of one's anatomy in parks and how they're happy for people to do whatever they like wherever they like within reason. The Netherlands is a natural 8 point vote for almost anyone and they'll do well. Win? I still don't think so.

At the moment I favour Big Red and Italy but watch out for Iceland and North Macedonia if she gets past the Semis (which is touch-an-go as things stand at the moment).

For my home readers, I am afraid that our nice chap and pleasant song is going nowhere fast this year, despite there not being much by way of competition. The UK will gather a few votes along the way and maybe get several steps up from the bottom if the chap does a good job on the night. But it's another forgettable evening for the UK, I'm afraid. Over in Ireland, too, I fear there will be a lot of disappointment as their entry is not even expected to make it through the Semis. I am surprised as it seems quite a good entry but I can only imagine that the girl isn't performing well or there's something people just don't like about it. Odd, but there you go. The axis would have to stretch up to 350 for the UK odds and 700 for Ireland!

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