WINNER: The Viewing Audience
This was one of the most exciting Eurovisions in recent memory. The jury votes were shared around a number of nations, some that the oddsmakers had written off. For a while there it looked like there might be a major upset. Nails were bitten. My nails.
WINNER: The Listening Audience
This was a fantastic year for Eurovision songs. And for singers. And for great songs paired with amazing singers. For me, after all the dust settled, these countries had the total package – a solid song, performed by people who did not disappoint onstage: Iceland, Croatia, Romania, Albania, Austria, Spain, Italy, Norway, Finland, Moldova, Hungary, Netherlands, and Cyprus. And shout outs to those countries where the song didn’t quite amaze me, but your performer(s) did: France, Slovenia, Montenegro, Australia, and Switzerland.
The Israeli government immediately politicised the win.
“Respect” is a telling word for Netanyahu to use, and not one that usually comes with a Eurovision win. Glory, pride, attention – yes – but “respect”? Maybe it’s an imperfect translation but since Microsoft earlier had him calling her a cow, this is likely as good as it gets. So, well done, Bibi, everyone respects Israel now that they won a singing competition! Yes, I’m rolling my eyes as I type.
Cyprus had previously placed no higher than 5th. And they almost took the top prize. Take a bow, Cyprus.
The honeymoon had to end sometime…
Their unexpected 3rd placing was a fitting result given the quality of the song and the singer. Of course, some of us knew a good thing when we heard it.
LOSER WINNER: Portugal
What. The. Actual? The most beautiful song to come out of Eurovision this decade and it places dead last? Europe, you’re on crack.
Belgium’s top ten streak ends at three: 4th, 10th, 4th, NQ. Maybe time to send a famous Belgian singer, like…um…Lara Fabian? Or…Lara Fabian?
Moldova has officially started a top ten streak: 3rd last year and now 10th. Make it a hat trick! I suggest sending DoReDos again. Mostly so I can ogle hot bear Sergiu Mîța lots more.
The United Kingdom’s third to last placing wasn’t really a surprise, it was a competitive year. That said, their entrant SuRie deserves a medal for the nerve she displayed after being accosted mid-performance – she had her mic ripped off her but she just rolled with it until she was able to pick up the mic, then BAM, back into the song. There’s a steeliness in her eyes as she sings “hold your head up, don’t give up” after the attack. That’s the look of someone who just went through a storm and will cut anyone who gets between her and her rainbow. All joking aside – SuRie, your ability to get back on that horse, and your post-Eurovision attitude, are inspiring. You’re amazing.
LOSER: Israel Televoters
Israel’s public vote gave 2 points to Cyprus. Their jury gave them none. The Cypriot jury also zero-rated the Israeli entry but their televote gave Netta 10 points. Maybe the population of Israel genuinely didn’t appreciate Fuego. Or maybe they were doing their best to tank the competition. Since I’m awful I’m choosing to believe the latter.
LOSER: Netta’s Victory Speech
This is what Netta said after she won. “Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for choosing different. Thank you for choosing daring.” Did anyone “choose” her? She was there representing a nation. When the votes are announced, they name the country, not the artist. Does she think this win validates her as a human being? Because it really doesn’t.
Also, just like 2017, we had a winner who immediately pooped on the competition. Netta is saying that she was more different and daring than the other acts, which couldn’t be further from the truth. She’s a straight, white, woman in a loud outfit (I’m not even going to touch the issue of her cultural appropriation) with some backup dancers and wacky props. Those parameters could describe 80% of all recent Eurovision entries. She’s not “different”. She’s also not “daring”. Daring is sending a song about mass deportation. Or having two men romantically dance on stage together (that got Ireland censored by a broadcaster). Netta, dear, you are at best an uncreative person’s idea of “daring”. Which is to say, not very.
LOSER: Eurovision 2019
As Michael Segalov notes in this superb piece that dissects his unease over Israel’s victory, Netta was quick to announce that Jerusalem would host next year. Eurovision has been hosted there twice before – 1979 and 1999 – so perhaps she just defaulted to her best guess of the location. Or perhaps she was informed it would happen there. Segalov also makes the point that the organisers will potentially use Eurovision’s gay-friendliness to distract from their human rights abuses. That said, gay marriage is still not legal in Israel, so even if they do try this, it
could will backfire on them. We are not your toy, Israel.
Toy is a female empowerment song, sure, but is really it #MeToo inspired? Or was that just cynical marketing? There are a million songs where woman complain that men treat them like a plaything. Sheena Easton was doing it long before Netta was even born. And I’m not about to tell the #MeToo movement what to do, but nothing says “women, take the wheel” less than a song written by two men.
There have been too many years where the results were foregone. Sure, the top 2 were as predicted (just in a different order), but Austria came very close to pulling a shock win. They were ranked 20th. 20th! Albania was equally severely underrated. Denmark, Moldova, Czech Republic and Italy were also, to differing degrees, surprises. For the first time in a while it felt like a contest, not a cakewalk.
|1. Cyprus||1. Israel|
|2. Israel||2. Cyprus|
|3. Germany||3. Austria|
|4. Ireland||4. Germany|
|5. Estonia||5. Italy|
|6. Sweden||6. Czech Republic|
|7. Lithuania||7. Sweden|
|8. United Kingdom||8. Estonia|
|9. Norway||9. Denmark|
|10. France||10. Moldova|
|11. Italy||11. Albania|
|12. Australia||12. Lithuania|
|13. Finland||13. France|
|14. Czech Republic||14. Bulgaria|
|15. Moldova||15. Norway|
|16. Bulgaria||16. Ireland|
|17. Denmark||17. Ukraine|
|18. Hungary||18. Netherlands|
|19. Netherlands||19. Serbia|
|20. Austria||20. Australia|
|21. Ukraine||21. Hungary|
|22. Spain||22. Slovenia|
|23. Portugal||23. Spain|
|24. Albania||24. United Kingdom|
|25. Slovenia||25. Finland|
|26. Serbia||26. Portugal|
GRAND WINNER: Sergiu Mîța
He gets a whole new legion of chaser fans. Or at least one new chaser fan.
He really is a hot bear. And a fantastic performer. And that smile!
Look, I just think he is an attractive man. Seriously, I’m not obsessed.
Thank you to everyone who made Eurovision 2018 such a memorable year. See you all in 2019. Maybe in Jerusalem. Bring a bulletproof vest.