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Eurovision 2016: Jury Final

Hello, this is Sweden calling!

Our girl Dami Im made it to the final and there was no way I was going to miss this after travelling thousands of miles and using all of my goddamn vacation days.

The ticket was not cheap, but in the end, worth every penny. I saw my favourites perform again, was interviewed for Austrian TV, watched Måns Zelmerlöw performing ‘Heroes’ (I will never tire of that song), laughed at Petra’s banter. All of that and Justin Timberlake. I know, right?!?! I mean, I never would have seen JT live if not for this. If you told me last year that all this was possible, I would have laughed at you.

So now, it’s late. And I have to be up in a handful of hours to meet my Austrian mate M for a touristy cruise around the islands of Stockholm. So lets’ get this wrap-up of the Eurovision 2016: Jury Final underway!

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Here are my thoughts on the Eurovision 2016 final, in broadcast order:

01 Belgium: Laura Tesoro – What’s the pressure

A perfect song to open the final! Laura has plenty of energy but seemed a little unsteady with her vocals tonight. Nevertheless, she’s perky, has great choreography, and I’m certain she’ll rise to the occasion tomorrow. She knows how to get the party started and I think she’s in with a sporting chance.

02 Czech Republic: Gabriela Gunčíková – I stand

I think this is my least favourite of all the songs tonight. I mean, it’s a nice song. But aside from pulling her hair out of the ponytail, there’s little that makes it endearing. I think she suffers from a lack of theatre — she is trying to win Eurovision, after all. Tonight, her vocals took a little time to warm up, but she came good by the end.

03 Netherlands: Douwe Bob – Slow down

As I mentioned the other day,the Dutch really seem to like American pop-country. And this guyis hilarious. Maybe he’s the second coming of Elvis?

‘Tis the year of men sending sultry looks down the camera. After seeing  Douwe Bob [pronouced ‘Dour Bob’] in the first semi and harrumphing at his cheesy winking at the camera, he went overboard this time around. He actually stopped in the middle of the song (granted, where there was a slight pause) and mouthed the words “I love you and blew a kiss to the camera. UGH! The fifteen-year-old in me faux-vomited. I just don’t don’t think he’s what Europe needs right now when you have so many other good entrants with more catchy songs.

04 Azerbaijan: Samra – Miracle

Now, I like this song. And it worked well on stage the other day, but she was very wobbly vocally tonight. I cringed multiple times. Whilst it was no Jemini, you never want anyone to sing off key. But the presentation works. Just not feeling it as a top contender.

05 Hungary: Freddie – Pioneer

Another of the male sultry lookers. But the more I’ve heard him sing this song, the more I like it. He sings really well live. As for his styling, he’s gone for the bad boy look who has a half-tucked-in shirt because, you know, he’s being beamed around the world.

06 Italy: Francesca Michielin – No degree of separation

Tell me she doesn’t look like a sparkly farmer! I am not a fan. Italy and I — you know, we just don’t click. Except for Pizza. I rarely like their entrants, and I’m afraid I cannot sing her praises. But I appreciate her trying and perhaps you might find it lovely…

07 Israel: Hovi Star – Made of stars

Still don’t love this one, but again, I value his effort. He gives this song everything he has, and I like the sentiment: we are all made of stars. I do enjoy watching the acrobats he has performing behind him. They’re mesmerising. But they are very firmly relegated to background behind Hovi. Bless!

08 Bulgaria: Poli Genova – If love was a crime

I LOVE POLI! It’s a super catchy song, with very Eurovision lyrics (“If love was a crime/then we would be criminals”), and she just looks like she’s having a blast up there. But beware: it’s a real ear-worm.

The crowd really enjoyed her performance tonight and I think she’s in with a real chance. I love her styling and the glow patch thingies. Two thumbs up from me.

09 Sweden: Frans – If I were sorry

Now, this song didn’t do anything for on the album. It sounds a little Bieber-y. But I like Frans, and I had an opportunity to meet his parents and little brother the other day before the first semi. So now, there’s a little more of a connection.

I appreciate his downtempo song and the way he performs it, most notably his lack of pyrotechnics. Many solo performers tend to rely upon fancy lights and what not. But not Frans. He just has a few words flash up on the screen behind him. The kid is 17, but everyone is really getting behind him. Has real hometown support. 🇸🇪

10 Germany: Jamie-Lee – Ghost

I like this song, and Jamie-Lee can sing! She doesn’t struggle at all with the higher notes and tonight’s performance was better than when I saw her the other day. It actually looks pretty effortless really. For styling, she’s gone for the Harajuku-inspired look and I think it works.

11 France: Amir – J’ai cherché

France keeps it real, with little more than effortless French style, a smile, and that je nais se quoi. Even though it’s just him onstage, he really brings a lot of energy and you don’t wonder when the tricks will happen. He’s a crowd favourite, and with good reason. I predict he’ll place well and maybe even win?

12 Poland: Michał Szpak – Color of your life

Few people seem to like this one in the crowd — he didn’t get a good reaction, but I’m all about it. It doesn’t really sound familiar. He didn’t sing as well tonight as he could have, and his voice was suffering by the end of the song and he had to really force it. But I see him as a bit of a dark horse again. Maybe Europe will be all about it. And I want know where he bought that jacket!

13 Australia: Dami Im – Sound of silence

DAMIIIIII! There needs not to be a disclaimer by this time because we’re all aboard the #DamiArmy bandwagon. And she’s amazing. Vocally, she was on tonight, and it sounded wonderful. And she’s wearing white. She’s a massive hit with the crowd, and I’ve had so many people tell me that they love Dami. Us too! Even the set of lights across from the Eurovision Village plays an instrumental version of her song while you wait to cross.

I appreciated her sitting on that sparkly box for the first part of the song because I found myself perfectly positioned behind the camera man 👎🏻

14 Cyprus: Minus One – Alter ego

Don’t be fooled by their tough exteriors, these guys sound remarkably like the Killers. The cages are simply there to scare. The Cypriots rely on plenty of lighting tricks and camera effects, but I think they stand out because they follow the ballad or pop song formula.  I like them but I don’t think that’s what Europe has in mind to win Eurovision 2016.

15 Serbia: ZAA Sanja Vučić – Goodbye (Shelter)

Once again, a Balkan country has sent something dark. Personally, I think she’s talking about domestic violence. It’s important to talk about it and the Eurovision stage is as good as any. In terms of her performance, she has been very consistent the numerous times I’ve seen her. She can certainly sing!

I was watching her tonight in the Green Room and I saw just how into Eurovision she is, how well she knew the words to the other contestant’s songs (and danced her arse off!). I liked her a lot more. She’s my kinda girl. But I don’t she has the right combination to win this year.

16 Lithuania: Donny Montell – I’ve been waiting for this night

All the gay men and the straight women in the crowd sighed simultaneously when he emerged tonight. He has a jazzy, energetic performance, but I don’t think it’s enough to make up for a song that’s only… okay. Notable mention for the removal of the jacket and the addition of the trampoline. I don’t think Donny will be in the running for long. 

17 Croatia: Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse

Okay, when you think of Eurovision, this is the type of entry that would win: 1) she’s in white, 2) there’s a costume change,and 3) there’s a key change. Her voice is interesting and memorable, her haircut adorable. She was a little shaky vocally tonight, but was able to compose herself and get back on track. I really hope she does well!

18 Russia: Sergey Lazarev – You are the only one

Before the contest started, France was the favourite. But after seeing him perform this the other day (and the entire crowd gasped), Russia has now taken the mantle as evens favourite.

Tonight, Sergey was as exacting as ever, if a little uninspiring. But simply put, I just don’t want Russia to win for reasons other than a song contest. The focus of the performance is in the second verse so keep your eyes peeled when he starts climbing.

19 Spain: Barei – Say yay!

This was my favourite song on the album by far and Barei’s performance makes it even more impressive. She brings bucketloads of energy and her vocals have been spot on. I love that she has her own style (a very similar one to me!) and I think her own style of dancing makes her endearing. The crowd loved her, and I thik she’s well placed to win. She in my top three.

20 Latvia: Justs – Heartbeat

I don’t love this one. He sings fine, he performs okay, the song is a little bland. But he tries, and he doesn’t sound bad, so there’s that. It’s doubtful that we’re heading to Riga next year.

21 Ukraine: Jamala – 1944

Europe always throws a curve ball, and trying to anticpate which curveball it will be is half the fun. I was cheering for the FYR Macedonia but it was to be the Ukraine. It’s a good song, if exceedingly dark, but I wonder abou the political voting (and thus, how much adding the Ukraine to the mix was a big FU to Russia).

Anyhoo, Jamala wails. Apparently the song captures the pain of real life and I would say that’s an accurate summation of it. Unless it gets political (and it does every year!) , I can’t see her winning.

22 Malta: Ira Losco – Walk on water

I enjoyed Malta’s performance the other night but she lacked onstage tonight, being a little rusty vocally and a little off her game with her performance. I don’t love the backup dancer, but what can you do? Catchy tune, though. I found out yesterday that she’s pregnant, so props go to her for managing an insane schedule and not letting it stop her.

23 Georgia: Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight gold

I am totally in the minority, but I LOVE these guys. They sound like a mash-up between Oasis and Underworld, and I think it works really, really well. The visuals play a big part in this performance, and they work. An outside chance, but I’d back it.

24 Austria: ZOË – Loin d’ici

A perfectly crafted pop song and image. She’s cute, but enough with the swishing of the dress! She was very wobbly tonight and it wasn’t a good performance. But she did glow, and it is in French. So there’s that. I think, though, that most people have already made up their mind which one they like by now. She’s definitely a contender.

25 United Kingdom: Joe & Jake – You’re not alone

Why does it always feel like the UK are overrepresented in the audience? It’s always an enjoyable experience, nevertheless. They came across well, but I think their placement in the list will actually hinder them, rather than help. But they pretty good vocally and entertaining to watch. Europe rarely votes for the UK, however.

26 Armenia: Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave

She blew me away earlier in the week but she was missing the same intensity tonight. The crowd still loved her, though. I love the pyrotechnics with this performance as she builds to the first chorus. Drama! It’s sexy and bold and just so strong. I really like her and she’s well placed to win.

Worth a mention:

Fans of Justin Timberlake will want to tune in (this means you, Jo!), the great man himself performs whilst the votes are being tallied. I have never seen him in concert (and I’m not a big fan of his music) but I have to admit it was pretty special.

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Rebecca’s picks for the final:

Obviously, I want Dami to win (can you imagine that storyline?!), so I am going to say AUSTRALIA FOR THE WIN!

But here’s my top six:

  1. Australia
  2. Spain
  3. Bulgaria
  4. Armenia
  5. Belgium
  6. France

I’ll be watching the event down in Eurovision Village at the Kungsträdgården with the other Aussies I have met over the course of a week here in Stockholm. It’s shaping up to be a big night!

GO DAMI!! 🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺

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