Which National Finals Sent The Wrong Songs To Tel Aviv 2019

Which National Finals Sent The Wrong Songs To Tel Aviv 2019

Belarus Should Have Sent ‘Potato Aka Бульба’

There are true Eurovision fans who watch the Grand Final religiously every year, there are those who join in with the Semi Finals, others make a point of watching their broadcaster’s National Finals. And then there are those at the other end of the scale who will watch the fixed camera livestream from the Belarussian auditions.

The latter discovered the earworm of the season and we’ve made sure to let everyone know the power of the (mis-heard) ‘Potato Acapulco For some reason BTRC didn’t even let this into the televised rounds. What a missed opportunity!

Australia Should Have Sent ‘2000 And Whatever’

A number of broadcasters would love a ninth place finish at the Eurovision Song Contest, but for Australia it feels like a poor return given the press interest around Kate Miller-Heidke and ‘Zero Gravity’. Put aside the intensely personal lyrics, the real story of Australia 2019 was spectacular gimmick from Strange Fruit that saw Kate and her backing performers wobble around the stage in time to the poperatic chorus.

And perhaps that was the problem. This was the first year that Australia held a National Final. Watching that show, there was a huge emphasis in the VT clips between the performances on what made a ‘good’ Eurovision song. If you tell the Australian public that Eurovision is all about gimmick and spectacle, then the gimmick and spectacle song is going to have an advantage in the public voting.

If the VT focus had been more on diverse musical styles and creating emotion in the viewer (arguably the key to winning in the last few years) then the audience would have been guided elsewhere, and the likely victory would have been Electric Fields’ ‘2000 and Whatever’.

Moldova Should Have Sent ‘Ca Adriano Celentano’

After a number of years of sending utterly memorable and memeable moments to the Eurovision Song Contest, Moldova managed the same again for 2019, but this time for all the wrong reasons – a rather tepid song coupled with an on-stage presentation that everyone recognised as ‘Ukraine 2011’s Sand Lady’. This is not the combination that has brought Moldova success.

Much like Belarus, the real goldmine was the audition phase. Much as I love the absolute madness of ‘Robin Hood’, I’m drawn into the turbo-prog-folk power of Irina Tarasiuc & Lume with their ode to the pillar of Italian music in ‘Ca Adriano Celentano’. It was all here, you just had to follow the plan that had worked so well for you in Lisbon and Kyiv.

Sweden Should Have Sent ‘I Do’

John Lundvik (eventually) took fifth place after the jury votes were re-calculated, but the irony is that ‘strong jury and poor televote’ has been the Swedish story for the last three years. Another year of a male solo singer, another year of relying on impactful staging, another year of the same split result.

Much like Australia, the final result feels lower than the personal target. SVT, it’s time to change the story at Melodifestivalen to change the story at the Song Contest. Looking at the entry list there were a number of choices that could have stood out – Wiktoria, Anna Bergendahl, and the duet of Hanna Ferm and Liamoo – but given the success of the ‘feel happy’ songs at the Contest (‘Say Na Na Na’ and ‘Spirit In The Sky’), I’m going to cheer for a return to Eurovision for Arvingarna.

Denmark Should Have Sent ‘League Of Light’

I’ll be honest, I’m still undecided about this one. Leonora did qualify for the Grand Final (err…) and made the left hand side of table, and I’m the first to admit that it is a real marmite song. But nothing about it says ‘Danish’, and at an emotional level I like my Eurovision songs to say something about where they come from.

Which means I’ve been much more invested in ‘League of Light’  and the return of Greenlandic of Dansk Melodi Grand Prix than ‘Love is Forever’. More honesty and authenticity will always win me over – consider this my personal wild card.

Croatia Should Have Sent ‘Tower Of Babylon’

You can’t escape the feeling that ‘The Dream’ was less about Roko getting to Eurovision than Jacques Houdek returning to the Song Contest. From the weak use of the wings to the poor use of CGI on the Tel Aviv backdrop, Croata deserved more.

Lorena Bućan finished second in the return of Dora with ‘Tower of Babylon’. This strong, female-focused number with lots of staging potential would have given the semi final running order a bit more drive and direction, which could well have been enough to get to Saturday night.

Ukraine Should Have Sent ‘Siren Song’

It’s going to be the great ‘what if’ for the ages. Did Ukraine have a potential winner here? Would it have depressed the votes going towards Sergey Lazarev? Just how mental would the back half of Semi Final 1 been with ‘Siren Song’ in the mix? We’ll never know…

We’ve already looked at the National Finals that got it right – read that article here. As for the big mistakes of the year, do you agree? Let us know in the comments!

Categories: ESC Insight


Discrepancy between RAI and EBU televote results probably explained

Discrepancy between RAI and EBU televote results probably explained

Thank you for your vote

EBU did most likely not mess up the televoting results from the Italian broadcaster, nor was RAI completely wrong. We can now been explain what we feel confident about lays behind the apparent difference.

A shock was sent through the Eurovision world when RAI Sunday published their televote result. On several points they were different to the ones EBU released shortly after this year’s Grand Final was over. This came just a few days after EBU had to admit that “a human error” had messed up the calculation of jury points leading to a new final result. The new corrected result saw 15 of the 26 finalists with more or less points than before – and for many of them, a new placement in the ranking.

RAI published the result of Italy’s televoting in the second semi-final. Had these been fully accurate, it looked like Lithuania would have qualified instead of Denmark. Most drew the conclusion that this was another “human error” from EBU and partners, and demanded that Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest Jon Ola Sand stepped down from his position. But was it really EBU’s fault or could there be another reason?

A quick glance at the discrepancies shows Russia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Lithuania receiving more points according to RAI’s list. The order of the other countries did not change. This led us to speculate if RAI perhaps published raw data available to their local televote operator, while Digame, pan-European televoting partner of EBU, would have cleaned this data for invalid and/or fraudulent votes.

Invalid votes could include people who voted more than the allowed 20 times, votes coming in from foreign phone numbers and SMS’s containing something else than just the number of the country that’s being voted for.

See alsoThe Netherlands 2020: Host cities that match requirements can apply in a month

There have been previous reports implicating Azerbaijan in Eurovision voting fraud, which also implicated Lithuanians in the scheme. Furthermore Russia and Moldova aren’t known for being completely “clean” either, though no confirmed cases of Eurovision fraud have surfaced.

The EBU is rather secretive about exactly what measures they have in place to prevent invalid votes from being counted. Unless this explanation receives official confirmation from EBU, Digame, independent observers from EY, or even their former ones at PwC there is no way to be absolutely sure.

Either way, we feel confident that EBU, Digame and EY are on top of fighting fraud and that they aren’t to blame in this situation.

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Duncan Laurence points at Davina Michelle and Naaz as possible Dutch participants for 2020

Duncan Laurence points at Davina Michelle and Naaz as possible Dutch participants for 2020

Davina Michelle and Naaz

The newly crowned Eurovision winner names two young talent show participants he would like to see represent the Netherlands on home field at next year’s contest. Duncan also sees the host city race as a duel between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Upon his arrival back to the Netherlands, this year’s Eurovision winner Duncan Laurence spoke out about his wish to see a young talent rather than an experienced act to represent the country next year. In an interview with Radio 10 today, he named two special artists, he would like to be chosen – with the right song, of course as he adds “that’s what it’s about after all”.

The two artists named by Duncan are 23 year old Davina Michelle and 21 year old Naaz:

  • Michelle Davina Hoogendoorn is not completely unknown to the Dutch population. She took part in talents shows like Idols in 2016 and Beste Zangers in 2018. The young singer, who is quite an active YouTuber, had a number 1 hit with the song Duurt Te Lang.

  • Naaz Mohammad took part in Holland’s Got Talent in 2014. In 2017, her two singles Words and Up To Something both reached the tip parade of the Dutch top 40. Last year, she released the EP titled Bits Of Naaz.

Duncan was also asked about his view on in which city the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest should be held. For him it’s a matter of Amsterdam or Rotterdam because as he sees it, they have the largest arenas. He adds that Amsterdam might make most sense as it’s the city everyone knows, but he adds that in the end, it should be the most optimal arena that is chosen.

See alsoPossible host cities for Eurovision 2020 in the Netherlands

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Worst dressed Eurovision 2019 act: Conan Osíris wins Barbara Dex Award

Worst dressed Eurovision 2019 act: Conan Osíris wins Barbara Dex Award

Conan Osiris (Portugal 2019)

Conan Osíris got the outfit so completely wrong this year that he has just won the anual Barbara Dex Award. Cyprus and Belarus came in second and third.

Barbara Dex Award is named after Barbara Dex, who represented Belgium at the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest. Her self-created dress has put name to this special award that has been handed out every year since 1997. The purpose is simple: Pick the worst dressed act from that year’s Eurovision Song Contest. It’s a democratic online voting held by Songfestival.be where everyone can only vote once. Voting has been open since May 19th – the day after the final. After seven days of voting, it closed today at 12.00 CEST. An hour after closing the voting, the result was published.

One hour before the lines closed, a message was shared on Facebook encouraging people to remember to vote. It was at that time so close that every vote could matter. A record number of nearly 4000 votes were received.

The entire top 5 was:

  1. Portugal – Conan Osiris
  2. Cyprus – Tamta
  3. Belarus – ZENA
  4. Belgium  – Eliot
  5. North Macedonia – Tamara Todevska

Barbara Dex Award winners

2019Conan OsírisPortugal
2018Eye CueNorth Macedonia
2017Slavko KalezicMontenegro
2016Nina KraljićCroatia
2015Trijntje OosterhuisThe Netherlands
2014Vilija MatačiūnaitėLithuania
2013Moje 3Serbia
2012Rona NishliuAlbania
2010Milan StankovićSerbia
2009Zoli ÁdokHungary
2007Verka SerduchkaUkraine
2005Martin VučićNorth Macedonia
2004Sanda LadoșiRomania
2002Michalis RakintzisGreece
2000Nathalie SorceBelgium
1998Guildo HornGermany
1997Debbie ScerriMalta

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10 years after Fairytale: Alexander Rybak proves he is still here with a great new song

10 years after Fairytale: Alexander Rybak proves he is still here with a great new song

Alexander Rybak

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“I’m Still Here”. That’s the title of a new strong output from Alexander Rybak. This is quite a bit different from most of his other material, but absolutely worth listening to. The 2009 Eurovision winner sings about how life is, hoping to get back together with the one who left him.

The new single I’m Still Here was released on the 11th of May, but let’s be honest, it probably got buried a bit underneath all the news from a certain contest going on, a contest Alexander Rybak actually won 10 years ago with the song Fairytale. At the contest held in Moscow, Russia, he scored an impressive 387 points, which at that time, was the highest number of points any winner had received.

Last year, Mr Rybak returned to the Eurovision Song Contest. He tought us all how to write a song – and it did win it’s semi-final. In the final however, it only finished 15th.

I’m Still Here is a great song. It starts out with him playing the violin we know so well. His voice is almost fragile as he describes love as seasons changing:

All the pretty birds, and the flowers in your window, staying for the summer, gone in the winter. Birds fly away. That’s the way love goes“.

The piano adds great depth to the song – and half way into it, when a strong choir kicks in, you are really captured. He tells the girl who left him, that he is still there. He still loves her. Now, he is holding on for the day that it will be the two of them again. It gets a bit repetitive around 3 minutes into it, just to fade out lovely at the end.

The song is a new release from Rybak, but he actually wrote it for Franklin Calleja, who participated at the Maltese national selection in 2015 with this song. It placed 5th. The two versions are similar naturally, but Rybak gives it so much more. The instruments and the powerful choir adds to the charm of this new version.

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Jacques Houdek angry for being accused of taking advantage of Roko for self-promotion

Jacques Houdek angry for being accused of taking advantage of Roko for self-promotion

Roko (Croatia 2019)

Jacques Houdek is angry. Really angry. This is due to a few Croatian media have accused him of taking advantage of Roko Blažević, who unfortunately failed to bring this country into this year’s Eurovision final. 

Jacques Houdek, who back in 2017 performed MyFriend and finished 13th in the final, wrote and composed this year’s Croatian entry TheDream. Houdek chose 18-year-old Roko Blažević to perform his song in Tel Aviv. The two have co-worked for some time, as Houdek was Roko’s mentor in the Croatian talent-show Zvijezde (Stars), where Roko came second last year.

After Croatia failed to qualify for the final in this year’s contest, the Croatian web portal direktno.hr published criticizing Jacques Houdek for taking advantage of Roko. Allegedly, he spent too much time in Israel on self-promotion. They continued saying that Houdek put too much focus on himself during the Eurovision weeks, and thereby overshadowed Roko. Direktno.hr claimes, for example, that Houdek came up with too many comments and videos from Tel Aviv on his Facebook and that it was wrong of him to release the video for his new song Razgovor during the Eurovision event. Another claim is the video of Houdek singing the traditional Israeli song Katonti at the Croatian embassy in Tel Aviv. According to the portal the video directed attention away from Roko as it circulated on social media for a couple of days.

See alsoSerbian Nevena Božović blames neighbour countries for her disappointing result

Jacques Houdek has addressed this issue on Facebook. He described all the claims as ridiculous, sad and improper. Houdek is also planing to pursue a lawsuit against those media who have criticized him. He explained that his goal in life is helping young talented artists as Roko to find their way to the Croatian music scene and that he is not afraid of rivalry, and asks if the media expected him to be invisible, and states that this Eurovision entry was a project for the two of them.

I don’t know what did you expect from me? To get invisible? I am very charismatic person and yes, I have talent and I have my opinion. And I am very powerful even without trying to make an effort. I have used all these characteristics in order to promote our Roko and to serve our song and our Croatia. Because “The Dream” was our common project. Thanks to all of you, who have recognized that.

Jacques Houdek

Roko Blažević didn’t make any comments on the accusations against Houdek. To Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija, he however said after the missed qualification that they did their best on stage, enjoyed it and of course is sad, the viewers didn’t award it.

I cannot say I am disappointed, because there is no need to be disappointed. We left our hearts on the stage and we did our best. We enjoyed it to the maximum and we are said because we haven’t been awarded by the audience.

Roko Blažević

At the video below, you can watch Roko and Jacques Houdek singing My Friend (Croatia 2017) together from a press conference at the Eurovision Song Contest. Most loved it, but is this the kind of self-promotion, the Croatian media didn’t like?

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