Eurovision 2016 wrap-up: Who saw that winner coming?!

Winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 and this year's co-host Måns Zelmerlöw presents an understandably thrilled Jamala from Ukraine as the winner of this year's event (photo (c) Andres Putting EBU)
Winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 and this year’s co-host Måns Zelmerlöw presents an understandably thrilled Jamala from Ukraine as the winner of this year’s event (photo (c) Andres Putting EBU)

 

Well cover me in a glitter and call me a poorly-synchronised back up dancer but you could’ve knocked me, and I suspect much of Europe over with a very small feather when the Ukraine was announced as the winner of this year’s event.

Talk about coming out of left field.

Granted the song and its singer/songwriter Jamala had attracted a fair of attention throughout the lead-up to the contest and during the event itself, thanks largely to the allegedly political nature of the lyrics which are usually banned under Eurovision rules, but the song did not feature in many Top 10s and while the song was largely favourably reviewed, it was hardly pegged as winner material.

Possessor of a worth message, yes, with a singer who could more than do it justice but not the sort of song that could beat France, Bulgaria, Russia, or for reasons I still can’t fathom, Sweden (I still can’t understand how Frans’ song was so popular).

But there it was, the beneficiary supposedly of a new voting systemin a year with many highlights, which saw the jury votes announced votes first, followed by the televotes in least popular to most popular order.

While Russia was,as you might expect, none too thrilled about the result, and there were cries that Australia was robbed of an historic win, analysis by the number crunchers at Wiwibloggs underscores that the voting system appears to be inherently fairer and less opaque than past years.

And yes it did add to the excitement during voting as was promised. (Well towards the end anyway; the result is the jury vote segment was interminably long, a return to the bad old days of paint-drying-on-the-wall voting.)

 

 

 

But even so, talk about an unexpected win!

No one I know was predicting a Ukraine, even with the considerable pro-Ukrainian, anti-Russian sentiment that prevails throughout much of Europe, with my Top 10 (in no particular order although I’d picked either France or Bulgaria to win), running like this:

France
Australia
Lithuania
Bulgaria
Belgium
Armenia
Malta
Latvia
Russia
Israel

Contrast this with the actual Top 10 which shows that while I wasn’t ridiculously off the pace for the most part – though I would never ever begin to think I could divine the mind of Europe – I didn’t take into account how politics still plays a big part in the way people vote.

In this case, not the alleged geographical voting blocks of old but a pro-Ukrainian sentiment which saw a worthy and beautifully sung but ultimately reasonably ordinary song leapfrog with back-up dancer verve over all the favoured contenders.

So that means we’re heading to Kiev next year which many of Eurovision’s most fervent supporters prefer greatly over Russia whose trenchant anti-gay stance would have made life interesting at the very least for anyone of non-heterosexual persuasion.

We can only hope that 2017 offers us what 2016 did in abundance – a random astronaut (Moldova), a suspended singer (Russia), a celebration of unitards (Armenia, Malta, Azerbaijan) and the kind of hilarious self-deprecatory humour and musicality that the charming Swedish co-hosts Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw brought in spades.

See you in Kiev everyone!

 

Sorry Sergey but all the praying in the world wasn't going to give you a win (image via SBS)
Sorry Sergey but all the praying in the world wasn’t going to give you a win (image via SBS)

 

4 thoughts on “Eurovision 2016 wrap-up: Who saw that winner coming?!

  1. I did not see this coming, despite all advance warnings from the bookies. I had Australia down to win afte rher performance. Would have been a great message to everyone to make this a global event and to have a media darling win over the two ‘quarreling’ nations.
    The aftermath of this year’s contest is spoiled by foul cries from the ‘losers’. I, however, think the system is fair and good. I am not surprised the juries slightly favoured an artistic, albeit odd Ukranian song over a bland and overstaged Russian one. Cheeky Girls went to Number One but nobody would expect professional Juries to give them 12 points. Being German and living in the UK, both countries in the bottom three, I accept the result with a tear.
    I had a great time and think Sweden staged the best contest ever in terms of production.

    1. I would’ve liked an Aussie win and agree with you that it would’ve nicely cemented the universality of an event that long ago left its solely European base behind. But then we came 2nd at least so that was a nice consolation prise 🙂 And agree that all the losers decrying the result takes away all the gloss. Perhaps the current voting system isn’t perfect but then what system is perfect – certainly not the old purely televote one. It is what it is and it’s fun. I had a ball too and frankly Sweden should host it every year please and thank you!

  2. I didn’t think the Ukraine’s song was all that great, and Dami Im was amazing in the night. But you know, it was fun and exciting, and I still have the interval performance by Petra and Manz bouncing around my head.

    1. Agree all around. That interval performance was absolutely brilliant – leave it to Sweden to come up with something cool and wholly original … and funny. They should host everything really 🙂

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