A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, May 12, 2018

ESC 2018: Tobson's Final Say

Fact: this is the strongest line-up we have seen in a Eurovision final for many, many years. So far Europe has done what it should and removed most of the weaker entries (somehow Denmark is still with us) and tonight's drama could end in many different ways.

This is my prediction to what will go down well and what will just go down.

Guessing the winner is very much like playing lotto, though. There are many possible scenarios - how to decide which one is the most likely?

What has to be done has to be done. Here goes.

01. UKRAINE Mélovin / Under The Ladder
Opening the ball has been anything but an advantage in later years and most probably it is reducing Pop Dracula too little more than a spectacular opening act.
My grade: 3/5

02. SPAIN Amaia & Alfred / Tu canción
Surprising to see one of the big five buried here. Not a very subtle way of saying "Thanks but no thanks" to this the sweetest of love ballads.
My grade: 3/5

03. SLOVENIA Lea Sirk / Hvala, ne!
The final result here doesn't matter as reaching the final was a victory in itself for the Slovenian beat. I have been a keen defender of it before but in this line-up it won't carry far and the ridiculous music break won't do it any favours either.
My grade: 3/5

04. LITHUANIA Ieva Zasimauskaitė / When We're Old
This one felt like a dark horse at some point during the week, but this delightful whisper will struggle to be remembered by the end of the presentation.
My grade: 3/5

05. AUSTRIA Cesár Sampson / Nobody But You
I still don't get this one at all - I don't dislike it but I don't feel anything when I hear it - and it is surprisingly poorly staged too. It will have its fans tonight but will probably meet a very similar fate to last year's Austrian effort.
My grade: 1/5

06. ESTONIA Elina Nechayeva / La forza
Something completely different at this point in the running order, it will stand out in a positive light. My guess is most people will think eurovision opera has been done a few times already and save their points for something else.
My grade: 3/5

07. NORWAY Alexander Rybak / That's How You Write A Song
Rumour has it Alexander was tired and lacklustre in the jury final last night but if this is what you like, you won't let a small thing like that stop you. And many people like Alexander Rybak. Don't discount this one just yet.
My grade: 3/5

08. PORTUGAL Cláudia Pascoal / O jardim
Soft and introverted electronica in Portuguese will get massive support in the hall and will sound very genuine and heartfelt after the Norwegian songwriting exercise. A very worthy home entry.
My grade: 4/5

09. UNITED KINGDOM SuRie / Storm
SuRie is a real personality and can possibly pick up a few jury points just by being professional enough. But why would anyone vote for a package as empty and pointless as this one in a line-up as strong as this? Last place.
My grade: 1/5

10. SERBIA Sanja Ilić & Balkanika / Nova deca
This year's biggest surprise in my book. I had discounted this want-to-be-modern-folklore-but-sort-of-fails entry completely. Is this an unexpected points magnet in the south east or is it a filler? I lean towards the latter, still.
My grade: 1/5

11. GERMANY Michael Schulte / You Let Me Walk Alone
An emotional song about losing a parent at a young age. Walks a fine line between being touching and being too much. Could stand out as honest, sincere and easily understandable after the Serbian wailfest.
My grade: 4/5

12. ALBANIA Eugent Bushpepa / Mall
The second biggest surprise after Serbia - a bombastic piece of folksy rock with a strong vocal delivery. Unlikely to pick up many more votes than Albania usually does in a final.
My grade: 2/5

13. FRANCE Madame Monsieur / Mercy
Tastefully restrained and intense in an understated way, the French entry is almost hypnotic and creeps under the skin of the listener. Possibly not direct enough to go all the way but if the juries showered France with love this smells like a potential winner.
My grade: 4/5

14. CZECH REPUBLIC Mikolas Josef / Lie To Me
It is hard to get the party started right after someone has been as serious as the French but Mikolas is sure to dance his little heart out, backpack and all. Sounds like a hit and should place somewhere in the higher regions of the result.
My grade: 4/5

15. DENMARK Rasmussen / Higher Ground
No idea what this is doing in the final. The singing sounded extremely flat in the semi and the mere idea of grown-up men dressing up as vikings is ridiculous. The song itself sounds like the 2006 Melodifestivalen reject that it possibly is. Many people like it and I just don't understand.
My grade: 0/5

16. AUSTRALIA Jessica Mauboy / We Got Love
The Australians have been surprisingly bad at staging their entries and here comes a master class example of how to ruin your own chances. The dress and the choreography are totally wrong and make Jessica awkward and eager to over-compensate. The juries like voting for Australia but this is likely to bomb in the televote.
My grade: 2/5

17. FINLAND Saara Aalto / Monsters
Coming right after Australia was the best gift Saara - also famous for being too much and not quite being able to keep her lid on - could get. She will come across as composed and controlled and with a bit of luck, she could get Finland's first top ten since Lordi.
My grade: 4/5

18. BULGARIA Equinox / Bones
A really nice chorus is going on here while the group members fight it out for everyone's attention without establishing any proper contact with the viewers. Competent but not as good as it could have been.
My grade: 3/5

19. MOLDOVA DoReDoS / My Lucky Day
If you do the maths, you realise we could be looking at our winner here. This is Russia's real entry of the year, likely to pick up the points Russia usually gets. It is also likely to pick up quite a lot of the points usually reserved for Romania. Add the most entertaining stage act of the year and it is easy imagining this trio standing there with flowers and a trophy.
My grade: 4/5

20. SWEDEN Benjamin Ingrosso / Dance You Off
Visually appealing and a pleasant song. Could be too cold to pick up serious votes but could also be the tasteful oasis people long for at this point. Hardly a winner but any place between 4th and 15th seems reasonable.
My grade: 4/5

21. HUNGARY AWS / Viszlát nyár
Lordi part two? Unlike the Finnish horror rockers, AWS don't do anything to make themselves easily accessible but that is part of the charm. Could some brutal rock finally pick up serious votes? I would not rule that out just yet.
My grade: 3/5

22. ISRAEL Netta / Toy
This running order gives Netta a huge benefit - she will come across as more familiar and more accessible right after Hungary despite being pretty avantgarde and cutting edge. People have been ruling Israel out during the week. Most people tonight will see and hear it for the first time and possibly have the reaction we all had way back when the song was first revealed. Potential winner.
My grade: 4/5

23. NETHERLANDS Waylon / Outlaw in 'em
Unlike Netta, Waylon has everything to lose from coming after Hungary. His song will seem tame and pale in comparison - quite right since it is - and this common linnet will be quite some way from repeating his success.
My grade: 1/5

24. IRELAND Ryan O'Shaughnessy / Together
In the 1990's, Irish ballads used to win. Every year. So we didn't like them much for a while after that. Until now. This sweet and understated little breakup ballad - and the genius to let it be about a same-sex couple - could touch a nerve and possibly be a bit of a Netherlands 2014 phenomenon. One of my personal favourites.
My grade: 5/5

25. CYPRUS Eleni Foureira / Fuego
Where I hear a pretty dated Helena Paparizou reject, other people hear gold. If Cyprus would win tonight, I promise not to be angry or disappointed. Not my personal choice but if it promises to conquer the charts, it has my blessing.
My grade: 3/5

26. ITALY Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro / Non mi avete fatto niente
The best song in the running. The strongest message saved for last. If the points are all over the place and nobody runs away with the victory, consistent scoring and a few high points could lead to victory.  Meta and Moro have distracting graphics but hopefully the emotion will break through regardless.
My grade: 5/5

Like every year, I will also guess the final placings of every song. This is my vain attempt this year. Having changed the top ten around several times and nothing looks right. Let's run with this. Our winner is Israel.

01. Israel, 02. Cyprus, 03. Moldova, 04. France, 05. Ireland, 06. Czech republic, 07. Italy, 08. Sweden, 09. Hungary, 10. Norway, 11. Ukraine, 12. Finland, 13. Bulgaria, 14. Germany, 15. Portugal, 16. Estonia, 17. Australia, 18. Albania, 19. Spain, 20. Lithuania, 21. Serbia, 22. Netherlands, 23. Denmark, 24. Austria, 25. Slovenia, 26. United Kingdom.

If you want to throw mud at me for getting it all wrong, I will be on Twitter as always. Please have a look over there and throw me a tweet or two. Have a pleasant flight!

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