Hard to believe after all the build-up, the song reviews, the minute breakdown of national selection results, and the general buzz of excitement but the Eurovision Song Contest is over for another year.
But is it really ever over?
We’ll be listening to the songs from this year’s contest for months to come, especially the winner, the #metoo movement-inspired “Toy” by Israel’s Netta Barzilai which came complete with an engagingly and bright and vivacious performance that only improved between semi-final 1 and the grand final four days later.
The song, in common with pretty much every winner of Eurovision has come in for more than its fair share of criticism, with everything from charges of “cultural appropriation” to being a gimmicky “freak show” song leveled at it, but at the end of the day, the people of Europe placed it in the top position after the jury votes had it sitting in third place. (The voting reveal, which was agonisingly stretched out for maximum impact, was tenser than usual this year with Israel only leaping to first place when it was down to them and Cyprus and the second-to-last votes were handed to Eleni Foureira’s “Fuego” handing Israel the win).
That’s not much of a difference in placing there, and while I will leave the minute dissection of voting stats to the maths nerds who do it so much better, suffice to say, this narrow difference between jury and popular vote adds a lot of legitimacy to the result.
As articles in both The Guardian and Metro were at pains to point out, politics no longer lays a substantial role in who gets the nod, and while many people have expressed their disappointment at the result, this is a yearly dynamic that happens regardless of who wins.
So what were the highlights (beside Netta’s exhuberantly-happy win)?
There were quite a number and you can watch a quick summary of them below, but the five that really struck me were:
- The UK’s entrant SuRie, who made quite an impression with her song “Storm” had her performance temporarily interrupted by a protester who rushed onto the stage and grabbed her mike before being taken off by security. Terrifying as it must have been for her, she kept her composure, and finished the song like a trouper, the adrenaline fueling a fiery end to her already-impassioned delivery. (ABC Online)
- Estonia’s Elina Nechayeva struck a dramatic pose in her enormous gown which added some very pretty, strikingly-colourful visuals to her dramatically operative song “Forza” (which makes me want swirly ice cream) …
- Ukraine kicked off the semi-final in fine form with MELOVIN, he of the singular, disconcertingly intense contact lense, arising from a piano coffin which later burst into dramatic flames. Attention-grabbing? TICK!
- The 1500th Eurovision song was performed during semi final 2 when Norway’s Alexander Rybak, who previously won, and won convincingly in 2009, lit up the stage with “That’s How You Write a Song” …
- Moldova might have been labeled “The Wiggles on acid” but frankly I loved the song – fun, upbeat, with a clever stage presentation to match. This video gives you a fantastic look behind-the-scenes at one of the most inventive performance …
— Peter Hayes (@ThatPeterHayes) May 12, 2018