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In something completely different, I’ll repost my thoughts I wrote on my Calckey server about Eurovision 2023. I decided to put it all here rather than on the micro blog because, well, this isn’t a micro sized post!
Overall, I thought the show was fantastic. I thought the presenters were great, I loved the postcards, the intervals acts were good, and the skits in between weren’t cringy like they can be. I also thought everyone did a good job remembering this isn’t the United Kingdom’s Eurovision, and instead featured Ukraine prominently.
As someone who deliberately doesn’t hear the entries until they are performed at Eurovision, I was a tad underwhelmed at the acts. This was made even more clear when we had that amazing performance from Alyosha and Rebecca Ferguson during the interval, with the staging used to its fullest, I feel most acts didn’t best utilise what the arena had to offer.
I was also struggling to pick my top ten to go through to the final as some acts were very underwhelming, and I found myself unenthusiastically letting a couple through qualification. I was stunned watching Azerbaijan’s entry as the nation usually has a tendency to take #Eurovision very seriously and end up actually overproducing its acts, but the song and performance were incredibly forgettable, and I’m not surprised they failed to qualify. Latvia were another lowlight for me for the same reasons, though I do think it had a good moment in there somewhere? Netherlands were also equally disappointing. Malta and Ireland were a bit better, I think Malta had a good instrumental but were let down by lyrics and a performance that was too busy when zoomed in, and I think Ireland’s song is decent but the performance was missing something.
For the ten I wanted to qualify to the Eurovision final, and above Malta and Ireland, I would rank Switzerland, Czechia and Israel. Switzerland was a bit cliche but was overall fine. Czechia was a bit up and down for me in parts, but it had a charm I liked and thought it was interesting. I do not personally believe Israel should be in the contest, and did not watch Eurovision in 2019 when it was hosted in Israel. If I were to base it solely on the music, I would say Israel desevered to qualify, but the song is a hodgepodge of about five different songs mushed into one only lasting three minutes - it was a bit of a mess at times. If I exclude Israel, I think I would have Ireland qualify and hope they improve their performance.
Norway and Serbia would be my next step up. I think Norway have a good song, but her vocals got lost a bit on the stage, hopefully it’s something that can be mixed better in the final. Serbia’s entry was very strange, but I quite liked its presence and its alternative sound, not sure what it was about, but I thought it was intriguing.
Croatia and Finland were then my next favourites, in a category that became known as "weird, but enjoyable", though I’ll give Finland the edge here as I think it is a more cohesive song. Both great performances with catchy parts, and gave the essence of strange Eurovision the contest is known for. I had a big, albeit baffled, smile on my face while watching them both.
Next is the top three, though I am unsure on order. Sweden comes to mind as perhaps third place. I thought the staging was amazing and her performance was captivating, though I often struggled to hear her lyrics and thought her vocals were also overwhelmed by the music at times, so I hope the final will be mixed a bit better along with Norway. Second probably goes to Moldova, as it simply had no faults. The vocals were great, the extra performers on stage were used brilliantly, everyone’s hair and costumes were spot on, the song was catchy and interesting, and everything moved together seamlessly. I guess my favourite of the night was Portugal. I thought her vocals and stage presence were incredible and the song really good, with the extra performers blending in perfectly to elevate it all, and great styling all around.
I wouldn’t be surprised though if the winner isn’t in this semifinal. Although I like the top three a lot, I’m not sure if the special magic needed to win Eurovision is in there. Maybe Sweden if the vocals get cleared up, but I’m not sure. I’m looking forward to watching the next semifinals on Thursday to hear the other half of acts for the first time. I’ll next go and listen to the tracks of semifinal 1 rather than hear them as live performances. It’ll be interesting if any song I eliminated is better, such as Ireland, and if the vocals are clearer for Norway and Sweden. All in all, I had a blast watching it last night, bringing so much fun and joy into my life!
I thought the entries were pretty disappointing overall, with me not really wanting to bother voting for any. I will say that since listening to the studio versions of the entries, some have grown on me (including a couple I eliminated on the night), but the whole point of Eurovision is that live performance, which is why I don’t listen to the entries until they perform because it really does change things.
On the night, I thought the poorer acts were Romania, San Marino, Georgia, Denmark, Greece and Iceland. Romania was disjointed, unappealing on the stage, and I couldn’t really hear the vocals and lyrics clearly. Georgia struggled in her vocal performance, I thought it was too pitchy and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Greece was uninteresting and I thought the staging was poor. I again struggled to make out what Denmark was saying, thought the whole thing was a bit flat, and didn’t like the layered vocals in the chorus which were autotuned. I have nothing against autotune in music, but for a live performance, it felt off putting.
I didn’t like San Marino or Iceland at all on the night. San Marino felt all over the place and didn’t connect through the TV. Iceland had bad staging too, I don’t think her choreography worked whatsoever on that giant stage. I think she tried to compensate with high energy, but it came across as too much and over the top to me, I found it a bit cringy to watch. However, listening to these two back, based on the studio version alone, I quite like them and would have them qualify to the finals. On the night though on that #Eurovision stage, both were near bottom.
In a step above them, and thus qualifying through to the finals for me were Albania and Armenia. Albania the better song of the two, but both improved as the performance went on. There was nothing too wrong with Albania, and I liked its staging, but not very memorable. Armenia was too slow to get going, but had one of the best stage settings of the night with the changing light effects. Cyprus, Estonia and Lithuania had a collection of ballads, with Lithuania my favourite of the three. All were fine, but nothing special. Cyprus had a decent performance. Estonia improved as she went on. Lithuania would probably be better if more had been invested into utilising the stage better and given better outfits to improve the performance.
Austria is interesting because while I liked how it brought something different to the semifinal, as well as liking its staging and musical structure of the song, it came across a bit strangely to me, like it was a bit like that meme with the girl putting a bag of frozen peas on its head, I guess maybe trying too hard to be kooky? It’s a shame, because listening to the song back, I appreciate more the lyrics in the second half of the song about how badly musical artists are paid. Maybe I’m just taking it too seriously and need to lighten up!
Next is Poland, one of the few songs of the night that sounded "normal". It’s fine again and nothing special, but I appreciated how she and her backup dancers performed on the stage, and I had a good beat to it. Belgium was my third favourite, I liked the throwbacks to nineties dance club music, and loved the performance on stage with the dynamic graphics and great dancers, but I didn’t feel too excited about it. However, he really could sing and I could make out what he was saying! Australia is my second, I loved the energy throughout and thought how they did the staging was pretty good. Where they go a bit nu-metal is a tad disjointed to the rest of the song, but the overall structure was great and it’s pretty catchy. Enjoyed his vocals and lyrics. Slovenia were my favourite of the night because I thought they performed it well live and I liked the song. I will say that they probably could have used the stage better, as it felt like that performance could be on any stage in the world, it didn’t best utilise what Eurovision had to offer.
I enjoyed both of the Eurovision musical interval acts, and again think the three presenters did a great job, perhaps better than on Tuesday night. I am really curious about the six entries I haven’t seen or heard from yet, hoping they may have that magical song that wows me to want to win Eurovision. However, looking at the set list for the final, it actually has a nice mix of songs and so should be a good night of fun! I’m really looking forward to it again, though slightly saddened that it’ll all be over by Sunday! It’s been a fun week obsessed with Eurovision and I’ll miss it!
I thought the overall production was done incredibly well, though I would have liked one of the musical intervals acts to have been more Ukrainian centred - I get we’re in Liverpool and it’s a great city, but the UK didn’t win Eurovision. I also thought someone who lost out on the night was Graham, who wasn’t needed on stage with the three excellent preexisting hosts, and wasn’t missed in the commentary box either with Mel being really funny doing his job. Don’t get me wrong, Graham wasn’t bad at all, he did nothing wrong, but I think was outshined by others last night.
I scored all the acts during last night’s #Eurovision final, and then ranked them in order from 1st to 26th:
- United Kingdom
In hindsight, I would change my Eurovision rankings slightly, and did find it difficult to decide some placements.
What was not difficult was Spain. I was initially optimistic as they had really interesting staging as the song began, but something went wrong as it kept going. I found it unpleasant to listen to and didn’t like the structure. I wouldn’t want to listen to that again. I tried listening to the studio version but turned it off halfway, it’s really not for me. Israel had a significantly worse performance than on semifinal 1. She went off-key a couple times, she seemed less confident, and had a lot less polish. Germany had a decent chorus that I liked, and they gave plenty of energy, but I thought the song was too disjointed and I didn’t personally like the screaming parts.
I thought Armenia actually improved on their semifinal performance with better vocals, but compared to other acts tonight it struggled. I just wish it was a better song getting to the latter parts sooner. Albania had a very similar performance to their semifinal. Nothing wrong with them, just better acts out there. Same with Czechia and Switzerland really, though I think they had slightly better performances.
And this is where I reach the point I would have changed my Eurovision rankings a bit. I think I ranked Serbia too low and the United Kingdom too high. Maybe swapping them around, or even lowering the United Kingdom beneath Czechia and Switzerland. Serbia’s semifinal and final performances seemed similar to me, but I think the song and performance were better than the United Kingdom now I think about it again today. The United Kingdom struggled with weak vocals, particularly at the start where I couldn’t hear her properly, and I was disappointed in the lack of dancing for a dance song. I get she’s singing, but Poland had a good balance of the right amount of dancing while not affecting her vocals, for example. Australia were a bit disappointing as he also struggled with weak vocals at the start, though he improved as he went on, and I do like the song, it’s grown on me a lot since the semifinals. If he had started stronger, Australia would be higher ranked.
Ukraine were next in my rankings. It was perfectly fine, maybe a tad bland? It sounded better in the studio version than it did live, but I think it is hard for a song like that to get a huge stage presence to carry it. Cyprus sounded the same compared to the semifinals. It’s also fine, but nothing special. I thought Austria did much better in the final, and I scored them higher as a result. The vocals were stronger and clearer so I could understand them better. I also think they were more confident on the stage.
It was a bit difficult trying to separate Lithuania and Estonia, and I eventually ended up wedging Croatia in between! Lithuania and Estonia could easily swap positions, as I thought both had improved performances and are somewhat similar. Croatia sadly weren’t as good as before. It felt like they’ve had a bit too much fun in between shows, and weren’t able to give the same energy and level of performance.
Italy gave a solid performance with interesting staging, good vocals, and a nice song. I don’t actually remember too much about it this morning, but I liked it last night! I thought Norway had an improved performance by having improved vocals, and I could understand her better. Poland and Belgium both had very similar performances to the semifinals, so I still liked them a lot.
Portugal was a disappointment, I thought she had less energy and took longer for her vocals to reach their best. As such, she slipped down my rankings. Maybe I was a tad biased at ranking Slovenia so high as I had drawn them in the #Mastovision sweepstakes draw by @Kitty@metalhead.club as the song on its own isn’t anything amazing as I listen to the studio version, but I thought the actual performance on the #Eurovision stage was really good fun and better than what they did in the semifinals, they gave such great energy. I really enjoyed France, I loved the staging and structure of the song, and also thought her vocals were superb. After the disappointment of Portugal, France gave me what I wanted!
I’m going to skip Sweden here and discuss them next alongside Finland as these two were the major talking points of #Eurovision.
I placed Moldova second because it still really delivered and was just as engaging as before, with the backup singers even better in the final. I’m not sure why others didn’t rank Moldova highly as they gave great vocals, energy, staging and song. I loved it.
So, Sweden and Finland. I ranked Sweden third because although I thought her vocal performance had improved and I could hear her better compared to the semifinals, it just wasn’t as good as Moldova for me which was a more complete perfect package. It certainly wasn’t as good as Finland. I didn’t see much wrong with Finland in the semifinals, but wow! They had somehow significantly improved for the final and I loved it so much more. Plus, I got goosebumps from the fantastic crowd chanting cha cha cha, I could feel how electric the atmosphere was in the arena. I had a giant smile on my face throughout and it instantly became my favourite with the magic I was looking for in my winner.
In my opinion, no one else came close to the excitement created by Finland, which I think is why many people are disappointed that Sweden won. In comparison, Sweden just didn’t have that magical presence that Finland had, nor the immense love from the crowd you could feel through the screen. I think the fact Sweden won the vast majority of jury votes and Finland winning the vast majority of public votes is a concern, and not only shows a significant divide of opinion between the two, but also causes drama as there are now accusations of rigging, bias and snobbery from the juries who have "robbed the people’s choice". Something probably has to change or else fans may become very resentful.
Nonetheless, I significantly enjoyed my week of Eurovision! Not just the three shows, but also loving the accompanying content put out by the BBC, and the general involvement from the British public. It’s felt so special, I’ve been a huge fan of Eurovision for many many years now, and it’s been the best one yet as a fan, and I am gutted it’s over for another year.