Friday, 21 May 2021

Eurovision Song Contest 2021 Analysis

Here are all the 26 finalists, in the order they will perform tomorrow night:
Cyprus, Albania, Israel, Belgium, Russia, Malta, Portugal, Serbia, United Kingdom, Greece, Switzerland, Iceland, Spain, Moldova, Germany, Finland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ukraine, France, Azerbaijan, Norway, The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, San Marino.

Now for the ‭13‬ countries which failed to reach the final, but which will still vote tomorrow night:‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
Australia, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Ireland, Latvia, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia.

N.B. Any use of "Tuesday" throughout this post means Tuesday 18 May 2021. Any use of "Thursday", "yesterday evening" or "last night" means Thursday 20 May 2021. Any use of "tomorrow" means Saturday 22 May 2021.

Now let's look at some country groups:

Baltic States (Ex-USSR)
IN: Lithuania. OUT: Estonia, Latvia.

Only one member of this trio made it to the final this year, that being Lithuania. I’m glad Lithuania qualified that night; because “Discoteque” is a lively catchy song; I particularly like the chorus, and it was one of the songs I most wanted to qualify Tuesday evening. On the other hand, I’m glad Estonia and Latvia failed to qualify yesterday evening as I didn’t like either of their entries. So, Estonia and Latvia will both be able to give 12 jury points and 12 televoting points to Lithuania tomorrow evening, but who will Lithuania give its 12 points to? Lithuania can’t give any points to Estonia or Latvia. Perhaps Lithuania might give its 12 jury points and 12 televoting points to Finland, as Lithuania also favours Finland.

Nordic area
IN: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden. OUT: Denmark.

The Nordic area did well this year, with four of the five Nordic countries qualifying to the final. I’m glad Norway and Sweden qualified Tuesday evening, and Iceland qualified yesterday evening; they were among the countries I most wanted to qualify on the said evenings. I would have preferred Finland’s hard rock / heavy metal entry to have not qualified yesterday evening, as I don’t like hard rock / heavy metal generally, but I appreciate many people enjoy that genre and accept that Finland is in the final (in fact even I would have been shocked if it hadn’t qualified). I’m disappointed that Denmark didn’t qualify last night as their song “Øve Os På Hinanden” is lively and catchy, and one of several songs on my “Definitely want to qualify” list yesterday evening. The upshot of all this is that Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden will all be able to give high jury points and high televote points to each other, and Denmark will be able to give their high jury points and high televote points to Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden tomorrow night.

Benelux
IN: Belgium, The Netherlands. (Luxembourg didn't enter yet again)

I was disappointed with Belgium’s song this year, which is why I put Belgium on my “Definitely don't want to qualify” list Tuesday evening. Against my wishes, Belgium qualified. The Netherlands, as this year’s host country, are automatically in the Grand Final this year. Mind you, having seen the preview video of "Birth Of A New Age", I doubt if the Netherlands would have qualified if they had to go through one of this year’s semi-finals. So, Belgium and The Netherlands are both in the Grand Final this year. The upshot of this is, Belgium and the Netherlands will be able to give each other 12 jury points and 12 televoting points tomorrow evening.

Central Europe
IN: Germany, Switzerland. OUT: Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia. (Hungary and Slovakia didn't enter this year)

This is a tricky group, it’s more difficult to spot trends here, and voting between these countries tends to be unpredictable. This group hasn’t had much success this year, because Switzerland was the only member of this group which reached the Grand Final via one of the semi-finals (Germany is automatically guaranteed a place in the final every year as a Big Five member). Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia all failed to qualify, but they will still be able to vote for Germany or Switzerland. Germany and Switzerland will be able to vote for each other, but they won’t be able to vote for Austria, Czech Republic, Poland or Slovenia. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in this group.

Greece and Cyprus
IN: Cyprus, Greece.

Cyprus was in the First Semi-Final on Tuesday evening, whereas Greece was in the Second Semi-Final yesterday evening, therefore they weren’t able to vote for each other during the semi-finals. Nonetheless, both managed to qualify without each other’s help. I had mixed opinions on “El Diablo”, and my dislikes outweighed my likes enough for me to put it on my “Prefer not to qualify” list on Tuesday evening. In contrast, Greece’s “Last Dance” was one of the songs I most wanted to qualify, and which I predicted was one of those most likely to qualify yesterday evening, so I’m glad it qualified. That now means Greece and Cyprus will be able to give each other 12 jury points and 12 televoting points tomorrow evening.

Romania and Moldova
IN: Moldova. OUT: Romania.

Another pair of countries which tend to favour each other at Eurovision, and which also happened to be in separate semi-finals (Romania on Tuesday and Moldova on Thursday), so they too were unable to vote for each other either evening. Romania failed to qualify Tuesday evening. Although Roxen has a good voice, and “Amnesia” is quite a nice song, it was one of my borderline preferences and ended up on my “Wouldn't mind qualifying” list Tuesday evening, so I don’t mind it not being in the final. Against my wishes, Moldova qualified yesterday evening; it was one of the countries on my “Definitely don't want to qualify” list, as I thought Natalia’s voice was a bit flat on the verses yesterday evening. Anyway, this means that Romania will be able to give 12 jury points and 12 televoting points to Moldova tomorrow evening, but Moldova won’t be able to give any points to Romania.

Former Yugoslavia
IN: Serbia. OUT: Croatia, North Macedonia, Slovenia. (Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro didn't enter this year).

This has been a bad year for the former Yugoslavia, with just one of the four ex-Yugoslav countries taking part this year reaching the final. This is a somewhat ironic situation, because Croatia, North Macedonia, Slovenia all had the ability to vote for each other in the First Semi-Final on Tuesday evening, yet they all failed to qualify that night. On the other hand, Serbia was the only ex-Yugoslav country taking part in the Second Semi-Final yesterday evening, and it qualified despite not being able to have any help from Croatia, North Macedonia or Slovenia. After all that, non-qualifying countries vote in the Grand Final, therefore Croatia, North Macedonia, Slovenia will all be able to give 12 jury points and 12 televoting points to Serbia tomorrow evening, but who will Serbia give its points to? Serbia won’t be able to vote for Croatia, North Macedonia, Slovenia, as they have all been eliminated.

Founding Seven
By this I mean the seven countries which appeared in the very first Eurovision Song Contest in Lugano in 1956:

IN: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands. (Luxembourg didn't enter yet again)

It’s been a good year for the seven countries which participated in the first ever Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. The only country missing this year’s final, from this group, is Luxembourg which last took part in 1993. Mind you, the only two countries from this group which needed to battle their way through the semi-finals this year were Belgium and Switzerland, and both managed to qualify. The Netherlands were automatically in the Grand Final this year as the host country and France, Germany and Italy are automatic finalists every year as Big Five members.

And Finally
Tomorrow evening's Grand Final certainly looks set to be a spectacular one, and I'm really looking forward to it. Most of the countries I wanted to qualify are in. There were just a few “Definitely don't want to qualify” countries which went through against my wishes both evenings (Russia and Belgium on Tuesday, Moldova on Thursday). I would have preferred two out of Australia, Croatia and North Macedonia to have qualified instead of Russia and Belgium on Tuesday evening, and Denmark to have qualified in place of Moldova yesterday evening. At the end of the day, different people have different musical tastes to me and I cannot expect to have all my desired countries qualify.

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Thursday, 20 May 2021

Eurovision Song Contest 2021 Second Semi-Final

Host country: Netherlands (AVROTROS, NOS, NPO)
Venue: Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Hosts: Edsilia Rombley, Chantal Janzen, Jan Smit, Nikkie de Jager
Green Room:
Date: Thursday 20 May 2021

N.B. Any use of "tonight" or "this evening" throughout this post means Thursday 20 May 2021. All times in this post are in BST.

The Opening
After the initial opening sequence, the Second Semi-Final began with "Forward Unlimited" performed by Redo and Eefje de Visser. Their routine featured an on-stage dance routine. Fireworks added to the atmosphere.

The Songs
Five minutes after the start of the show (20:05 BST) it was time for the first song. Each song was introduced by a postcard film related to the appropriate country.

Song 1: San Marino - Senhit “Adrenalina”
#SMR It’s always difficult being first to perform, but the producers have certainly picked a lively song to start the evening. In many ways the San Marinese entry is very much a Greek sounding song, the introduction, the tune and style of singing in the verses and choruses, and instrumental break between the first chorus and second verse are all somewhat Greek sounding; I think this ought to have been Greece’s entry. It’s a catchy, memorable song from start to finish, with a good beat throughout. My only dislike is the rap section; I think that spoils it. Just like the preview video, there was a spinning diamond on stage near the start. Patterns and words appeared on the background screens, including the title “Adrenalina”. Towards the end, falling and rising fireworks added to the atmosphere. I definitely want this in the Grand Final.

Song 2: Estonia - Uku Suviste “The Lucky One”
#EST I watched Eesti Laul 2021 Final on demand online from the UK, one day late. Uku Suviste, who was due to represent Estonia last year, won with the song "The Lucky One". I wasn’t all that keen on his entry then, and I’m still not. To me, some parts sound fairly similar to the chorus and bridge of his entry last year "What Love Is", whereas other parts are totally different. All in all, "The Lucky One" seems a bit of a mess to me really. That said, the sections starting “I don't need a crystal ball to show me” didn’t sound as harsh tonight as in the Eesti Laul 2021 Final. Just like the Eesti Laul 2021 Final performance, the background screens featured clouds and lightning. Even the swimming pool effect can be recreated in Rotterdam is another matter. I’d rather this stays out of the final.

Song 3: Czech Republic - Benny Cristo “omaga”
#CZE A memorable, upbeat song, with a really powerful beat in the verses. I’m not convinced the rap style singing is necessary in the first verse though. I thought Benny’s voice ought to have been stronger in the verses, but thankfully it was plenty strong enough during the choruses. I must admit, the first few times I watched the official video without looking at the lyrics I misheard the title “omaga” as “oh my God”; I bet some casual viewers who watched tonight’s semi-final having not previewed any of the songs beforehand misheard “omaga” in that manner. The background screens displayed blue and white lines early on, and kaleidoscopic patterns later, all of which enhanced the song.

Song 4: Greece - Stefania “Last Dance”
#GRE "Last Dance" is a well-structured song. I like the way the ends of each pair of lines in the verses rhyme. The pre-chorus provides a good build up to the chorus, which starts “Let's dancе”. The really catchy, has a memorable beat, and heavily themed around dancing. The graphically simulated purple clouds, and the towers, enhanced this song. However, there was no flying horse on the background screen, unlike the preview video. Altogether a lively, memorable song, and Stefania sang well tonight. This should go through, even though Cyprus cannot vote tonight.

Song 5: Austria - Vincent Bueno “Amen”
#AUT After four lively songs, this ballad provides a bit of a break. This is a rather sad song, because Vincent is singing about the end of a relationship that he didn’t want to end, and comparing it to death and a funeral. The slow first verse provides a sombre opening to this song. Unsurprisingly the lighting was very subtle at this stage. The choruses (except the penultimate one) and second verse feature a good beat, and accordingly static light beams were used during these parts of the song. On the whole, Vincent has an excellent voice; it’s amazing how differently he sings in the applicable parts of the song. He gave an impressive performance tonight, but I think one really needs to read the background information about this song to fully understand it. This could do well in the jury vote, but struggle to get points from the public.

Song 6: Poland - RAFAŁ “The Ride”
#POL Back to the lively stuff. "The Ride" is a lively, catchy, memorable disco song, with a good beat from start to finish. The beat in the chorus is noticeably different to the verses, in fact there is variation in the pitch of the beat within the chorus – the highest notes are during the fifth line. It’s good that there is this variation in the beat between the different parts of the song, otherwise the whole thing would be monotonous. Neon signs were simulated on the background screens, which was hardly surprising as the preview video featured neon signs. This was enhanced by stage level clouds during the verses, and fireworks during the choruses and bridge.

A short break followed at this point.

Song 7: Moldova - Natalia Gordienko “SUGAR”
To me, "Sugar" sounds like a country and western song. Unfortunately, I thought Natalia’s voice during the first verse was a bit flat during the verses, especially the first few lines of them. Thankfully she sang better during the choruses, which accompanied by their powerful beat, were the best part of the song. Geometric patterns on the background screens and stage floor gave the song a much-needed lift. I’d rather this stays out of the Grand Final.

Song 8: Iceland - Daði og Gagnamagnið “10 Years”
#ISL Firstly, it’s a pity Daði og Gagnamagnið had to resort to using their rehearsal performance, but at least that’s better than having to withdraw. Undeniably "10 Years" is not as instantly memorable as "Think About Things" was last year, but it’s still quite lively and catchy, with a good beat. To me this sounds like another UK pop song from the late 1970s to mid-1980s. The two verses and two choruses are a similar style to "Think About Things" last year. The instrumental break includes drums and cymbals, followed by the unusual electronic keyboards, all of which featured in "Think About Things". The group wore their green sweatshirts with the pixelated faces; presumably that’s a way of creating a 1980s look (the kind of graphics 1980s computers were capable of producing). Further 1980s style computer graphics on the background screens included game characters among the starry simulation, and a sea of faces. All in all, a lively catchy song, and well staged; I hope this goes to the Grand Final.

Song 9: Serbia - Hurricane “Loco Loco”
#SRB Hurricane’s entry is mostly in Serbian, with just a few words in English. That in itself makes it sound more it’s from Serbia; it’s good to see a country singing mostly in its native language. "Hasta la vista" is a lively, catchy, disco song, with a good beat. However, it’s quite repetitive, especially within each chorus (“sam, sam, sam”, “znam, znam, znam”, “lom, lom, lom”). Thankfully those sets of monosyllabic words fit the rhythm perfectly. I question the need to have the pause, followed by the spoken line “One, two, girls, come on!” about two thirds of the way through. This was enhanced by background screen images, including “Hurricane” at the start, “Baby” later and various coloured patterns. Another lively song, I wouldn’t mind this in the Grand Final, but won’t miss it if it’s not there.

Song 10: Georgia - Tornike Kipiani “You”
#GEO After a few lively songs, it was time for a ballad., "You" is a gentle, pleasant ballad to relax to; it’s what some would class as easy listening. A ballad like this called for subtle lighting, and unsurprisingly this had blue lighting. Tornike has a good voice, and he sang well tonight. The song became more powerful towards the end, and blue clouds on the background screens enhanced this part of the song. I wouldn’t mind seeing this on Saturday.

Song 11: Albania - Anxhela Peristeri “Karma”
#ALB Just like the preview video, this ballad was sung in Albanian. This featured amazing simulated cloud / smoke effects in red, and sometimes green, on the background screens; I also liked the red “smoke circle” Anxhela created early on. However, I don’t think the brief moments of strobe lighting about two thirds of the way through, and at the end were necessary for this kind of song. Altogether, an excellent ballad from Albania, and the instrumentation throughout the song adds to its Balkan style. Furthermore, Anxhela sang well tonight. I’d like this in the Grand Final. What more could one ask for from Albania? I’d like to see this on Saturday.

Song 12: Portugal - The Black Mamba “Love Is On My Side”
#POR I watched Festival da Canção 2021 Final online, on demand from the UK two days after it took place. "Love Is on My Side" is a slow and gentle song. To me, it sounds like something from several decades ago, 1940s or 1950s. Some may therefore see this as dated and behind the times, however I think it should be seen as timeless. Interestingly the whole song is in English, which is unusual for Portugal. Just like in the Festival da Canção 2021 Final performance, the first verse and first chorus were shown in monochrome 4:3 aspect ratio, to simulate pictures of yesteryear. The lead singer sang well tonight, I’d like to see this in the Grand Final.

A short break followed at this point.

Song 13: Bulgaria - VICTORIA “Growing Up Is Getting Old”
#BUL Bulgaria has gone for a ballad this year. Although the structure seems unusual, with no obvious chorus, it builds up to quite a powerful section near the end, before easing off for its closing section. Victoria performed this sitting on what resembled an artificial island, lit by golden orange lighting. I liked the rippling water effect around the island. About two thirds of the way through she stood up for the more powerful parts. Altogether another timeless song. Based on her entries last year and this year, Victoria has a beautiful voice, and she sang very well tonight. I definitely want this in the final.

Song 14: Finland - Blind Channel “Dark Side”
#FIN I watched the Finnish national final, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu, live online from the UK. The winner was Blind Channel - "Dark Side". It’s a hard rock / heavy metal song. Just like the UMK performance, this featured flame effects, light beams and some use of strobe lighting. I don’t like hard rock / heavy metal generally, but there are plenty of people who enjoy this genre. Finland has had both success and failure with this style of song; Lordi won the ESC 2006 with "Hard Rock Hallelujah", but PKN finished last in the ESC 2015 First Semi-Final with "Aina mun pitää". Although this is not my taste in music, this will be in the Grand Final, without a shadow of a doubt. See you Saturday Blind Channel.

Song 15: Latvia - Samanta Tīna “The Moon Is Rising”
This was one of my least liked songs among the preview videos. I didn’t think Samanta’s voice was as powerful tonight as in the preview video. The good thing I can say about this performance is Samanta had an impressive green outfit., and the graphic patterns on the background screen and stage were amazing. I’d rather not see this on Saturday.

Song 16: Switzerland - Gjon's Tears “Tout l'Univers”
#SUI “Tout l'Univers” is a ballad with gentle verses, and a comparatively powerful chorus. Furthermore, Gjon has a beautiful voice, and he sang well tonight. I think staging could have been better than the structure he stood on, and I think the strobe lighting during the choruses was totally uncalled for. This ballad needed subtle lighting throughout. I’m surprised there were no star constellations / galaxies on the background screens; considering what the title means. Nonetheless, I’d like to see this in the Grand Final on Saturday.

Song 17: Denmark - Fyr Og Flamme “Øve Os På Hinanden”
#DEN The final song already; it’s amazing how time flies! I watched Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2021, live online from the UK, and I thought "Øve os på hinanden" was the liveliest of the eight finalists. It’s a disco style pop song, with a good beat. Just like the DMGP Final performance, the staging was good, including the triangular patterns on the background screens, the light beams and the fireworks at the very end. Altogether a lively, catchy song to round off the evening. I’d like to see this in the Grand Final, but this looks set to be a borderline qualifier.

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Televoting and Recap
After the songs finished, the hosts reappeared to announce the start of the voting at 21:21 BST. A recap of the songs followed. The UK voted in tonight's semi-final, and therefore UK viewers saw the voting numbers at the bottom of the screen during the recap.

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My Preferences
Here are my preferences based solely on all of tonight's performances:
Definitely want to qualify: San Marino, Greece, Austria, Iceland, Albania, Portugal, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Denmark.
Wouldn't mind qualifying: Poland, Serbia, Georgia.
Prefer not to qualify: Estonia, Czech Republic, Finland.
Definitely don't want to qualify: Moldova. Latvia.

So these are the ones I want to see Saturday night: San Marino, Greece, Austria, Iceland, Albania, Portugal, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Denmark.

The UK voted this evening. Unfortunately, I had problems voting from my mobile and my calls were cancelled, but anyway I wanted to vote for > San Marino, Greece, Austria, Iceland, Albania and Denmark.

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Eurovision Song Contest 2021 Second Semi-Final Results

Here are the results, which were announced in a random order at 21:57 BST. Any use of "tonight" still means Thursday 20 May 2021.

My desired qualifiers: San Marino, Greece, Austria, Iceland, Albania, Portugal, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Denmark, plus one of Poland, Serbia, Georgia.

Actual qualifiers (in order of announcement): Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Portugal, Iceland, San Marino, Switzerland, Greece, Finland.

Bold entries represent the actual qualifiers that match my "Definitely want to qualify" preferences, and italic entries represent the ones that match my "Wouldn't mind qualifying" preferences.

OUT: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Poland.

I’m glad San Marino, Greece, Iceland, Albania, Portugal, Bulgaria and Switzerland all qualified. San Marino, Greece and Iceland all had lively, catchy songs, enhanced by amazing staging, whereas Albania, Portugal, Bulgaria and Switzerland all had excellent ballads. In the case of Portugal and Bulgaria, their ballads are timeless and were well sung tonight.

The one qualifier I’m most annoyed about is Moldova. To be honest, I thought Natalia’s voice was a bit flat on the verses. Although she sang the choruses better, and the staging was impressive, I didn’t think the entry was good enough for the Grand Final. I’d much rather Denmark, who gave a much better performance, accompanied impressive staging, had qualified in place of Denmark, I’m now disappointed that Denmark didn’t qualify.

Finland was the last country to be called out. Admittedly I don’t like hard rock / heavy metal songs generally, but I appreciate there are plenty of rock / metal who would enjoy “Dark Side”. I guessed it would qualify, and would have been shocked if it hadn’t qualified.

So, seven of my nine “Definitely want to qualify” songs went through, and one of my three “Wouldn't mind qualifying”. Quite good, I suppose. At the end of the day, I cannot expect to have all the songs I personally want in the final, and all the songs I personally don’t like eliminated.

No matter how I personally feel about which countries' songs went thorough and which ones didn't, all the artists who performed tonight deserve equal respect. Congratulations to the ten countries which qualified to the final, and commiserations to the seven which failed to reach the final. So that means all 26 finalists are now confirmed and 13 countries have been eliminated (but will still vote in the final). Roll on the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 Grand Final at 20:00 BST Saturday evening.

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Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Eurovision Song Contest 2021 First Semi-Final

Host country: Netherlands (AVROTROS, NOS, NPO)
Venue: Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Hosts: Edsilia Rombley, Chantal Janzen, Jan Smit, Nikkie de Jager
Green Room:
Date: Tuesday 18 May 2021

N.B. Any use of "tonight" or "this evening" throughout this post means Tuesday 18 May 2021. All times in this post are in BST.

The Opening
After the initial opening sequence, the first semi-final began with the 2019 winner, Duncan Laurence performing . Afterwards the four hosts appeared on stage to give their opening speeches.

The Songs
Eleven minutes after the start of the show (20:?? BST) it was time for the first song. Each song was introduced by a postcard film related to the appropriate country.

Song 1: Lithuania - The Roop “Discoteque”
#LTU It’s always difficult being first to perform, but this is a very lively, catchy song to start the night. I particularly like the chorus “Let's discoteque right at my home, It is okay to dance alone, I got the moves, it's gonna blow”. That’s a really catchy moment, the perfect hook for this song. To me it has a hidden meaning. The way I see it is this; due to lockdowns from time to time the past year, people have been unable to go to discos / nightclubs to dance with their friends, so the chorus gives the message that it’s acceptable for one to dance alone at home. Unsurprisingly, the group, who were dressed in their yellow outfits, danced along during the choruses. The visual effects were amazing too. I definitely want this in the final, and this will almost certainly be there. See you Saturday, The Roop.

Song 2: Slovenia - Ana Soklič “Amen”
#SVN First off, it’s ironic that this is titled “Amen” and not “Hallelujah”, because there are a lot more instances of “Hallelujah” than “Amen”, and furthermore the instances of “Hallelujah” are more dominant than “Amen”. A reasonable song, and Ana has quite a good voice, but her style of singing during the bridge was too over-powering; I think that spoilt the song. As far as staging goes, I like the starry effect in the background. I wouldn’t mind this in the Grand Final, but I won’t miss it if it’s not there.

Song 3: Russia - Manizha “Russian Woman”
#RUS What on Earth, in the world, is this? The only bits which resemble singing, and which I sort of like, are the bits starting “Boryut·sya, boryut·sya”. I like the way the second of those is accompanied by rows of faces on the background screens. The rest of the performance is what I call an utter mess; hardly a song. The costumes are good though, and I like the way messages appear on the background screens. Russia is certainly being adventurous sending something as unusual as this to Eurovision. This is one of the entries I least want in the final, but mark my words, it’ll almost certainly be there. See you Saturday Manizha.

Song 4: Sweden - Tusse “Voices”
#SWE I watched Melodifestivalen 2021 Final live online from the UK, Although I ranked Tusse second on My Eurovision Scoreboard that night, I’m nonetheless pleased to see this at Eurovision tonight. This is impressive right from the very beginning. The chorus is really powerful and memorable. Altogether this has everything; Tusse has a good voice, it’s a well-structured song which is powerful and memorable enough to keep people listening from start to finish. The staging, including lighting effects, in Rotterdam is even more impressive than at Melodifestivalen. I’d definitely like this in the Grand Final, and it has a strong chance of being there.

Song 5: Australia - Montaigne “Technicolour”
#AUS Australia has had to use a live-on-tape performance, due to travel restrictions, but it’s still impressive. Another lively entry, Montaigne was accompanied on stage by three dancers, and the lighting effects were amazing. My only dislike is the song structure, I think there are too many different styles of singing into the verses. Nonetheless Montaigne demonstrates her ability to sing in those styles. The chorus is catchy, I like the way she sings “Techni-technicolour” rather than just Technicolour; perhaps it’s to have a greater impact. I wouldn’t mind seeing this in the final.

Song 6: North Macedonia - Vasil “Here I Stand”
#MKD A beautiful, operatic ballad from North Macedonia. Vasil has an excellent voice, and demonstrates his amazing ability to vary his voice in the manner he does. This is well staged too, varying from near dark to amazing visual effects in the background. I’d like to see this in the Grand Final, but realistically it’s unlikely to be there.

A short break followed at this point.

Song 7: Ireland - Lesley Roy “MAPS”
#IRL I quite liked this song during the preview video, but I’m disappointed with her live performance. The staging consists of cut-outs, all of which of are off-white, which isn’t bad, but it could have been better. It’s probably best if this song stays out of Saturday’s Grand Final.

Song 8: Cyprus - Elena Tsagrinou “El Diablo”
#CYP I had mixed opinions on this whilst watching the preview video. I’m not at all keen on the verses, which seem to be a cross between singing and rap. However, I quite like the choruses, which are lively with a good beat; I like the flame effects on the background screens during the last chorus. Altogether a lively banger of an entry from Cyprus. I think I’d prefer this not to qualify, but mark my words, it’ll be in the Grand Final no problem.

Song 9: Norway - TIX “Fallen Angel”
#NOR I watched MGP Norway live online from the UK. Just like the MGP performance, TIX has his angel wings, and chains between his wrtists and the stage. I like the light beams on the background screens, the lighting effects on the stage floor, and flame effects at various points in the song. I’d like to see this in the Grand Final, but I fear this being a doubtful qualifier.

Song 10: Croatia - Albina “Tick-Tock”
#CRO A disco style song from Croatia. I like the way the chorus has a regular beat sound, presumably that’s to resemble the ticking of a clock. Interestingly, one chorus is sung in Croatian, whilst most of the song is in English. Altogether a lively, catchy song, well staged, and accompanied by dancing. I’d like to see this in the Grand Final.

Song 11: Belgium - Hooverphonic “The Wrong Place”
#BEL A ballad from Belgium. In the preview video, I thought the instances of “last night” overpowered the rest of the words within the first and second verses. The instances of “last night” seem a bit toned down by comparison, but I still think the lead singer’s voice isn’t strong enough during the verses. The choruses were better, but on the whole, I’m disappointed with this song. I’m surprised strobe lighting was used in some parts of this song; I feel they were totally inappropriate for this ballad. One unexpected surprise was seeing the upright piano and drumkit onstage, but no doubt they were only being mimed. I have my doubts as to whether this will qualify, because it’s a forgettable song, between the upbeat songs from Croatia and Israel; in any case “The Wrong Place” is a song I’d rather not see in the final.

Song 12: Israel - Eden Alene “Set Me Free”
#ISR This has a relatively slow start, but from the line “Feeling like in prison” Eden sings at a faster pace, and in a bouncy manner, which I like. This verse is accompanied by a good beat. Once this verse ends, there is an extended length chorus; however, the first four lines are the same as the four-line chorus which appeared earlier. This extended length chorus includes a few more “I'ma I'ma Ah” lines and two other Hebrew lines. The extra lines are accompanied by a good beat. Another lively, catchy song, I’d like this in the final.

A short break followed at this point.

Song 13: Romania - ROXEN “Amnesia”
#ROU Romania has gone for a ballad this year. Roxen has a good voice, and “Amnesia” is quite a nice song, but I don’t think her voice was strong enough. As far as staging goes, I liked the on-stage cloud effects early on. However, I feel the brief use of strobe lighting was unnecessary for this style of song.

Song 14: Azerbaijan - Efendi “Mata Hari”
#AZE The song opens with the title, "Mata Hari", and after some eastern style instruments, the first verse follows. The eastern style instruments can be heard during the first verse and the pre-chorus. Interestingly the pre-chorus includes the line “Just like Cleopatra”; effectively the title of last year’s song has been included in this year’s song again. The final line of the pre-chorus, which presumably is performed by the backing group, is “Yalan da men, yanan da men, yaman da men”. I like the way that’s been included, it adds to the eastern style of the song. The chorus is entirely made up of the title “Mata Hari” (some lines are preceded by Ma-Ma-Ma), and is accompanied by a good beat, and more use of eastern style instruments. Altogether the chorus is catchy and memorable.

Song 15: Ukraine - Go_A “Shum”
#UKR When I first heard the preview video for A “Shum”, it sounded to me like a Chinese / Japanese style song. I’ve since found out this is Ukranian folk, but anyway, it certainly sounds unusual. The song speeds up considerably towards the end, and just like the preview video, the final word is performed at a high pitch. The staging is excellent too, both the imitation bushes on stage, and the impressive background images. This isn’t my cup of tea, and I’d rather it didn’t qualify, but it almost certainly will.

Song 16: Malta - Destiny “Je Me Casse”
#MLT The final song of tonight’s semi-final already, it’s surprising how time flies! This was the favourite to win outright recently, but has since slipped in the odds. I prefer tonight’s live performance of this song to the preview video. Destiny was accompanied on stage by dancers, and the staging was impressive. Altogether a lively, catchy song to end on, I’d like to see this in the final, and I’d be shocked if it’s not there.

A short break followed at this point.

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Televoting and Recap
After the songs finished, the hosts reappeared to announce the start of the voting at 21:23 BST. A recap of the songs followed. The UK was unable to vote in tonight's semi-final, and therefore UK viewers saw a message "UK viewers cannot vote tonight" at the bottom of the screen during the recap.

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My Preferences
Here are my preferences based solely on all of tonight's performances:
Definitely want to qualify: Lithuania, Sweden, Australia, North Macedonia, Norway, Croatia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Malta.
Wouldn't mind qualifying: Slovenia, Romania.
Prefer not to qualify: Ireland, Cyprus, Ukraine.
Definitely don't want to qualify: Russia, Belgium.

So these are the ones I want to see Saturday night: Lithuania, Sweden, Australia, North Macedonia, Norway, Croatia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Malta, plus either Slovenia or Romania.

Had the UK been voting in this semi-final, I would have voted for:

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Eurovision Song Contest 2021 First Semi-Final Results

Here are the results, which were announced in a random order before 22:00 BST. Any use of "tonight" still means Tuesday 18 May 2021.

My desired qualifiers: Lithuania, Sweden, Australia, North Macedonia, Norway, Croatia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Malta, plus either Slovenia or Romania.

Actual qualifiers (in order of announcement): Norway, Israel, Russia, Azerbaijan, Malta, Lithuania, Cyprus, Sweden, Belgium, Ukraine.

Bold entries represent the actual qualifiers that match my "Definitely want to qualify" preferences, and italic entries represent the ones that match my "Wouldn't mind qualifying" preferences.

OUT: Australia, Croatia, Ireland, North Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia.

I’m overjoyed that Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, Israel, Azerbaijan and Malta all qualified, as all were impressive entries tonight, and hence why they all ended up on my “Definitely want to qualify” list. Azerbaijan’s entry had everything you could ask for from an Azerbaijani song. Lithuania, Sweden, Norway and Israel all have lively, catchy songs, and all had amazing staging tonight. As for Malta, although I was unimpressed by the preview video, I liked it far more sung live tonight.

I’m disappointed that Australia failed to qualify. Although I was unimpressed by the preview video “Technicolour”, and ranked Australia just twelfth when I viewed all the preview videos of the First Semi-Final in performance order this morning, I actually liked the “live-on-tape” performance tonight, and so I ended up putting Australia on my “Definitely want to qualify” list. Montaigne’s performance was so well created it looked as though she was performing live, when in fact her performance was pre-recorded. So that means Australia has now failed to qualify for the first time in its participation history, breaking its 100% qualification record.

Against my wishes, Russia qualified, but I guessed they would. In fact, I’d have been shocked if it had failed to qualify. Although their entry is somewhat obscure, and not my taste in music at all, evidently enough people liked this to vote for it and thus put it in the Grand Final. I wouldn’t be surprised if this scored hardly any points with the juries, but a large enough score from the public vote to put it in the combined top ten.

I’m annoyed Belgium is through as I didn’t think much of their entry this year. I thought it was a forgettable song, and being as it was sandwiched between the lively songs from Croatia and Israel, I thought it would stand no chance of qualifying, as I seriously thought Belgium’s song was the “bungalow between two towers”. That was certainly a shock qualifier, I think. If we had to have a ballad as a shock qualifier tonight, I’d rather North Macedonia had qualified instead of Belgium, as I thought Vasil deserved a slot in the Grand Final much more than Hooverphonic. Vasil really demonstrated his amazing talent to sing in such a varied operatic style, whereas the lead singer of Hooverphonic, I felt, didn’t sing strongly enough during the verses.

Although Ukraine was on my “Prefer not to qualify” list, their Ukrainian folk entry was, in my opinion, not as bad as Russia’s entry, and hence I’m not too bothered that Go_A are in the Grand Final. I guessed Go_A would qualify, whatever my views on “Shum”.

So, six of my nine “Definitely want to qualify” songs went through, and neither of my “Wouldn't mind qualifying”. Not bad I suppose. At the end of the day, I cannot expect to have all the songs I personally want in the final, and all the songs I personally don’t like eliminated.

Anyway, no matter how I personally feel about which countries' songs went thorough and which ones didn't, all the artists who performed tonight deserve equal respect. Congratulations to the ten countries which qualified to the final, and commiserations to the six which failed to reach the final. So that means sixteen finalists are now confirmed and six countries have been eliminated. Another seventeen countries will battle it out for the ten remaining places on Thursday evening.

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Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two

Host country: The Netherlands (AVROTROS, NOS, NPO)
Venue: Hilversum, The Netherlands
Host: Janouk Kelderman
Date: Thursday 14 May 2020

N.B. Any use of "tonight" or "this evening" throughout this post means Thursday 14 May 2020. All times in this post are in BST.

Introduction
The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Second Semi-Final was due to take place at Rotterdam Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands on Thursday 14 May 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, the EBU made the difficult decision to cancel the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. This is the first time the Eurovision Song Contest has been cancelled since its first ever edition in 1956. Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two was a replacement show, streamed live on the Eurovision Song Contest's YouTube channel, at the time the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Second Semi-Final would have been shown on Thursday 14 May 2020. Its purpose was to honour the 18 countries which would have participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Second Semi-Final, plus the three countries (France, United Kingdom, Spain) which would have voted but not performed live that evening, by showing the official preview videos of those countries' entries for 2020. A few extra surprises were to be included too.

The Opening
After the Eurovision ident accompanied by Charpentier's Te Deum prelude, the opening was minimal. Janouk Kelderman gave a short speech stating that the purpose of this online show, just like part one planned for two days earlier, was to honour the songs which would have competed at the Eurovision Song Celebration 2020.

The Songs
Each song video was introduced with a slide containing rays in the country's flag colours, the country name, artist name, song title, a panel containing the writers and composers and a photo of the artist. A voice-over announced the song number, artist, song title and country. Some of the videos were national final performances, whereas others were pre-recorded preview videos. The first 18 songs were from the countries that were to have performed in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Second Semi-Final, in the order they were planned to be performed in that semi-final.

Song 1: Greece - Stefania "SUPERG!RL"
This is clearly a promotional video, which features, amongst other scenes, a school and an exercise studio. I'm mystified as to the significance of those, but collectively they make a good video. As far as the song goes, this has a really catchy chorus, the filler music following each chorus is the style of Greek music which as featured in some past Greek Eurovision entries, e.g. "Aphrodisiac" in 2012, and the middle eight is good too. Stefania has a nice voice, and she sang well in the video. One can only guess how this would have looked or sounded on the Rotterdam Ahoy stage; presumably some of those who featured in the exercise studio part of the video may have done exercises, but to comply with the rules, even if Stefania had been singing alone, there could only have been a maximum of five people exercising. Altogether a lively, catchy song; just what is needed to open a semi-final. First grade rocks (or for the purposes of the classroom scene in the video, perhaps it should be twelfth grade rocks); this would almost certainly have qualified for the Grand Final, even though Cyprus would have been unable to vote for Greece (due to them being in the wrong semi-final). Put it this way, this was in the top ten of my ranking, and I'd have definitely wanted this to qualify.

Song 2: Estonia - Uku Suviste "What Love Is"
Another video which is clearly a preview video. This is a love song, which starts with a gentle first verse. The pre-chorus (starting with "But how can you know how a star looks) is also gentle, but is set to the chorus tune; the wavy effect of the lyrics to the tune here is out of this world. The chorus itself (starting "I never imagined the power") is really powerful and impactful, and you still get the wavy effect of the lyrics to the tune. After the second verse, there is another instance of the chorus. After that, a quieter, gentler instance of the chorus serves as a suitable bridge before the final powerful instance of the chorus. Uku has a good voice, and he sang well in the video. It's likely that the background and floor lighting would have featured in the live performance in Rotterdam. This is another song I included in my top ten, and going by the video I'd have definitely wanted this to qualify. Unfortunately, I think it the likelihood of this qualifying would have been questionable; it might have scraped through, but then again, I think there's a slightly higher chance it would have been eliminated.

Song 3: Austria - Vincent Bueno "Alive"
This is clearly a promotional video. Not a bad song, it's certainly got a catchy chorus. That said, the chorus sounds to me like a 1970s / 1980s disco style one. Of course, one can only speculate how this would have been staged, and how this would have sounded in Rotterdam. Going by the video alone, I'd have preferred this to have stayed out of the final.

Song 4: Moldova - Natalia Gordienko "Prison"
Another video which is clearly a preview video, so one can only speculate how this would have been staged in Rotterdam . It's got quite a bouncy introduction, the sections starting "I don't want to feel you" or "I don't want to be with you" are sung in a bouncy manner, and parts starting "I am surrounded by walls" are more intense. As one would expect, the chorus is the most intense part of the song, with the greatest emphasis on the word "Prison" within each instance of the chorus. Quite a lively song, but I ended up ranking this twelfth. Nonetheless, I'm convinced this would have had no problem qualifying for the Grand Final.

Song 5: San Marino - Senhit "Freaky!"
This is clearly a promotional video, which includes kaleidoscopic images and disco balls. This is very much a 1970s disco style song; very catchy and lively. This is the sort of song that would probably have got very few points from the juries and a quite a large score from the public. Whether or not this would have qualified is questionable; I have a feeling it perhaps would have qualified, due to it being catchy, and having a novelty / silly slant to it. Personally, I'd have preferred this not to have qualified, as I thought there were other, better semi-finalists more deserving of a place in the Grand Final.

A short break followed at this point, during which some of the artists sung parts of their songs in their native languages.

Song 6: Czech Republic - Benny Cristo "Kemama"
What on Earth, in the world, is this? This sounds to me like a cross between reggae and rap. It's obvious that the video is a promotional one, so one can only speculate what this would have sounded like sung live, and how this would have been staged, in Rotterdam. Going by the video, this is one of my least liked songs that would have been performed in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Second Semi-Final, and I'd have almost certainly disliked it equally performed live. This is a song I'd have preferred not to have qualified.

Song 7: Serbia - Hurricane "Hasta La Vista"
The video used in Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two is a promotional video. Obviously, this couldn't have been recreated in Rotterdam; in fact, certain elements of the video probably wouldn't have gone down too well if they were created on the Rotterdam stage. I've also seen the Beovizija 2020 Final performance of this song on YouTube, and that gives a much better idea of how this would have sounded, and been staged at the Rotterdam Ahoy. "Hasta la vista" is a lively, catchy entry, with a good beat; it's also quite modern. I notice that, in the Beovizija 2020 Final performance, the three ladies had outfits made up of what looked like mirror pieces, and they danced in time with the music; presumably they would have worn those for their performance in Rotterdam. As one would expect for this type of song, there were flashing lights in the Beovizija 2020 Final performance, and there were various patterns on the background screens; presumably that would have been an important part on the Eurovision 2020 stage. Altogether a lively song which some would have wanted to get up and dance along to during its semi-final performance. This song would have done well in the public vote, even if it struggled in the jury vote, and would have had no problem qualifying, even though Croatia, North Macedonia and Slovenia would have been unable to help them (as they're in the wrong semi-final). Put it this way, this is a song I would have definitely wanted to have qualified for the Grand Final.

Song 8: Poland - Alicja "Empires"
One could be forgiven for thinking this is a James Bond movie opening sequence song. After a gentle first verse, the pace builds up during the pre-chorus. This is followed by a lively chorus. After a gentle second verse, and another build-up, there is another lively chorus. Altogether a well-structured song. Furthermore, Alicja has a beautiful voice, and she sang well in the video, which is clearly a promotional one. One can only speculate how this would have sounded or been staged at the Rotterdam Ahoy. The video includes plenty of fire, so presumably there would have been flame effects in Rotterdam, either through video effects on the background screens, or actual flames under controlled conditions on stage. Going by the video, I'd have definitely wanted this to have qualified for the Grand Final. I'm convinced this would have had a good chance of qualifying.

Song 9: Iceland - Daði og Gagnamagnið "Think About Things"
I watched Söngvakeppnin 2020 Grand Final online live from the UK on Saturday 29 February 2020, and that evening, I ranked Daði og Gagnamagnið just fourth out of five finalists. The video used in Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two is the Söngvakeppnin 2020 Grand Final performance, so that gives a good idea of how this would have been staged at the Rotterdam Ahoy. I still think, just like I did at the time of Söngvakeppnin 2020, that this sounds like a UK pop song from the late 1970s to mid-1980s, and therefore some could consider this kind of song to be behind the times. Initially I wondered what was the significance of the faces on the background screens, and on the outfits, but it quickly occurred to me during the Söngvakeppnin 2020 Grand Final they resemble the kind of computer graphics that 1980s technology was capable of; chunky and low resolution by today's standards, the group's way of completing the 1980s look. If the group members wanted to create a proper 1980s look, I think they ought to have worn oversized white T-shirts bearing slogans in black capital letters (as long as they were slogans which did not contravene Eurovision rules), and leg warmers. This was one of the favourites to win the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. When this song won Söngvakeppnin 2020, I had my doubts as to whether or not this would even qualify for the final, but now I've seen the videos of all 18 songs which would have been competing in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Second Semi-Final, I'm convinced this would have had no problem qualifying. By the time of Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two, this was in the top three of my ranking, and going by the video, I'd have definitely wanted this in the Grand Final.

Song 10: Switzerland - Gjon's Tears "Répondez-moi"
This video is clearly a promotional one, so one can only speculate how this would have been staged in Rotterdam. According to the odds at the time of the cancellation, this was among the countries tipped to win the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. This is quite a good ballad, and the singer has a good voice, but this song just missed out on the top ten of my ranking. I wouldn't have minded if this had qualified, but I wouldn't have missed it if it hadn't been there.

A short break followed at this point. This break featured Eurovision artists performing Eurovision songs in their homes, followed by Eurovision artists giving home tours.

Song 11: Denmark - Ben & Tan "YES"
A country song, and a lively, catchy one at that. The video used in Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two is the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2020 performance. I like the way the camera crew focused on Ben & Tan early on. In the video, the song was well sung, and the staging was very good, I liked the way the word "Yes" was flashed on the background screens, and the use of light beams, during the choruses, which themselves are really powerful. The use of fireworks near the end added to the impact. Presumably this would have been staged in a similar manner in Rotterdam. This song ended up top of my ranking whilst watching Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two. Going by the video, I'd have definitely wanted this to have qualified, and I'm convinced there is a high likelihood this would have been in the Grand Final.

Song 12: Albania - Arilena Ara "Fall From The Sky"
A power ballad, the verses are quite gentle and the chorus is somewhat powerful. Arilena has a beautiful voice, and she sang well in the video, is clearly a promotional one. One can only speculate how this would have been staged in Rotterdam. This is one which I would have liked to have seen in the Grand Final, and it probably would have qualified.

Song 13: Finland - Aksel "Looking Back"
A ballad, containing rather gentle verses and pre-choruses, and more powerful choruses. The second verse has more beat to it than the first verse. The video used in Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two is the UMK 2020 Final performance of this song, which included background images and side to side strips of white and red light. Presumably, similar imagery would have been used for the live performance in Rotterdam. Altogether a very good ballad, and Aksel has a good voice. I liked this song enough to rank it in my top five during Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two and, going by the video, I'd have definitely wanted this in the final. Realistically though, I very much doubt if this would have qualified.

Song 14: Armenia - Athena Manoukian "Chains On You"
The video is clearly a promotional one, featuring the Athena atop a giant diamond whilst singing. Therefore, it's quite likely she would have performed atop a giant diamond at the Rotterdam Ahoy, and strobe lighting would have been used (just like in the video). Interestingly this song seems to have two different choruses, both of which are sung more than once. All in all, not my cup of tea; this is one I wouldn't have wanted in the Grand Final. Nonetheless, there are undoubtedly plenty of people who love this style of music, and without a shadow of a doubt this would have qualified.

Song 15: Portugal - Elisa "Medo De Sentir"
The video used in Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two is the Festival da Canção 2020 performance, and it's likely that the staging would have been similar in Rotterdam. I first saw the Festival da Canção 2020 performance, on YouTube, the day after this won Festival da Canção 2020. At the time I wasn't particularly impressed by this ballad; although Elisa has a beautiful voice, I felt "Medo De Sentir" is a bit dull and forgettable overall. This grew on me a bit as watched this again multiple times prior to Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two; I think "Medo de sentir" is better than Portugal's host entry "O jardim" in 2018 (which was directly qualified to the final that year), but "Medo de sentir" is definitely not one of Portugal's best efforts. I've known Portugal send better songs than this over the years, including "Dança comigo" in 2007 and "Vida minha" in 2012, both of which failed to qualify for the final against my wishes. I wouldn't have minded seeing "Medo de sentir" in the final, but I wouldn't have missed it if it wasn't there. Realistically this would have almost certainly failed to qualify.

A break followed at this point, during which YouTube creators from all over Europe commented the songs from Moldova, Denmark, Armenia, Poland, Serbia, Georgia, Iceland, United Kingdom

Song 16: Georgia - Tornike Kipiani "Take Me As I Am"
The video is clearly a promotional one, and interestingly it's in monochrome. One can only speculate how this would have been staged in Rotterdam. The song itself is a heavy rock song; on a general note I don't like this style of song, so it's hardly surprising that this was bottom of my ranking, and I would have definitely not wanted this in the final. Still, there are plenty of rock / metal fans out there, and such fans would have voted for this, so this may well have qualified against my wishes.

Song 17: Bulgaria - VICTORIA "Tears Getting Sober"
Is this a ballad, or is this a lullaby? Either way, it's a really sweet song, very much a Disney style song. Victoria has a beautiful song, and she sang well in the video, which is clearly a promotional one. It's hardly surprising this was the favourite to win by the time the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 was cancelled. My only dislike is the flashing lights towards the end of the video; no doubt they would have been replicated using strobe lighting during the live performance in Rotterdam. Quite frankly, I think flashing lights are unnecessary in this kind of song. This is one I definitely would have liked to have seen in the final.

Song 18: Latvia - Samanta Tīna "Still Breathing"
The last semi-finalist already; it's amazing how time flies! What on Earth, in the world, is this? To me, this seems like a load of nauseating, irritating trash. I've noticed several instances of the lines "I will keep on running. Running till I reach the end" Even though I achieved my best ever times and absolute placing in the Bath Half Family Fun Run in March this year, that's not enough to sway me towards liking the song. The video used in Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two is clearly a promotional one. I've also seen the Supernova 2020 Final performance of this on YouTube, and although that gives a better clue as to how this would have looked in Rotterdam, the song still sounds just as bad. Regarding the Supernova 2020 Final performance, there is an instance of red and white flashing lights, which is hardly surprising for this style of song; presumably they would have been included in the staging in Rotterdam. However, I'm mystified as to the backing singers holding and squirting the detergent bottles in the Supernova 2020 Final performance. All in all, a song I definitely wouldn't have wanted in the Grand Final.

Direct Qualifiers
At this point there was a seamless transition into the three countries that were directly qualified for the final, but which would have voted tonight.

Song 19: France - Tom Leeb "Mon Alliée (The Best In Me)"
France have gone for a ballad this year. It's quite a beautiful ballad; the verses and most of the choruses are quite gentle. The final chorus, towards the end, is more powerful, giving the song a much-needed lift. Tom has a nice voice, and he sang well in the video, which is clearly promotional. One can only guess how this would have been staged, and how this would have sounded, in Rotterdam.

Song 20: United Kingdom - James Newman "My Last Breath"
As a UK resident it's difficult giving an unbiased opinion of this entry. This is a ballad with a really powerful chorus; but I'm mystified as to the need for a pause between "last" and "breath". The video used in Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two is a promotional one, filmed in a snowy coniferous forest. One can only guess how this would have been staged in Rotterdam; presumably the snowy forest scenes could have appeared on the background screens. James has a good voice in the video, but one can only guess how he would have sounded whilst performing live in Rotterdam on the night of the Grand Final. If this was well sung, and well staged, this could have done reasonably well in the Grand Final. Obviously, this song's place in the running order, and which twenty songs qualified from the two semi-finals, would have had their effect on how "My Last Breath" would have fared.

Song 21: Spain - Blas Cantó "Universo"
Last year Spain went for what I'd call a summer party song, and this year they went for a ballad. "Universo" is a well-structured ballad, with powerful choruses, but perhaps there's a little too much use of "Uni-universo" Blas has a nice voice, and he sang well in the video, which is clearly a promotional one. Of course, no-one will ever know how this would have been staged, or how well Blas would have sung, live in Rotterdam during the Grand Final.

Fan Recap
After the last song ended, there was a recap of all 21 songs, in the order they were shown. This recap was unusual on two counts. Firstly, it featured Eurovision fans enjoying themselves, whilst audio of clips of the songs was played in the background. Secondly, for obvious reasons, there were no phone numbers as would have appeared during a proper recap containing clips of live stage performances.

Finally, Janouk Kelderman gave a brief closing speech. This was followed by the closing credits and the Eurovision ident. The show ended around 21:30 BST.

Comparison with Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Second Semi-Final
The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Second Semi-Final would have differed in many ways from what was broadcast online this evening.
1) The show would have been presented by Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley and Jan Smit.
2) The breakdancer Redo (Redouan Aiit Chit) would have opened the show, and the hosts would have given opening speeches.
3) Only the 18 semi-finalists would have performed live on the Rotterdam Ahoy stage this evening. The running order would have been the same as the first 18 songs in Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part Two this evening. Each song would have been preceded by a postcard.
4) Once all 18 semi-final songs had been performed, the voting lines would have opened, and there would have been a recap of the 18 songs; this would have been a recorded clip of each of live stage performance. The UK was drawn to vote in this semi-final, so UK viewers would have seen the voting numbers at the bottom of the screen during the recap.
5) After the recap, there would have been some sort of interval act. There would, almost certainly, have been a second recap after that, and a countdown to when the lines closed. Since the UK was drawn to vote in this semi-final, the BBC would have been required to show this.
6) Before the ten qualifiers were announced, France, United Kingdom and Spain, which were due to vote but not perform in this semi-final, would have been honoured. For each of these countries, one of the hosts would have spoken to the applicable artist, and about one minute of a rehearsal performance would have been shown.
7) The ten qualifiers would have been announced, in a random order.
8) Once the ten qualifiers had been announced, there would have been a recap, consisting of clips of the ten countries which had qualified for the Grand Final.
9) The semi-final would have ended around 22:10 BST.

My Second Semi-Final Ranking
I used My Eurovision Scoreboard to rank the songs. Since that only contained the 18 songs that were to have performed live in the semi-final that was due to take place this evening, I was only able to rank the 18 semi-finalists. In fact, that's what I wanted to do, to mimic the semi-final as closely as, some of which appeared to be national final performances and the rest were promotional videos. My opinions and ranking might have differed considerably had the artists been performing live at the Rotterdam Ahoy. possible. That's why the three direct qualifiers (France, United Kingdom, Spain), which were only due to vote but not perform tonight, were omitted from my ranking. Of course, I was only able to judge the songs on the videos in this online show

Here is my top ten:

{ Insert scoreboard images }

Here is my ranking of the remaining seven semi-finalists:

{ Insert scoreboard images }

The UK was drawn to vote in this semi-final anyway, so I would have voted for: (top 6 of my scoreboard).

Outro
Altogether, a good substitute show for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Second Semi-Final. It's the best that could be done given the circumstances; basically a compilation of preview videos of the 18 countries that would have performed live in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Second Semi-Final, the three direct qualifiers (France, United Kingdom, Spain) which would have voted but not participated this evening, and a few extras. During the show, I noticed that some of the song videos appeared to be national final performances, (e.g. Söngvakeppnin, Dansk Melodi Grand Prix), whereas others were clearly pre-recorded promotional videos. Obviously national final performances would have given a better idea of how they would have sounded / looked live if the ESC 2020 Second Semi Final had taken place as planned in Rotterdam this evening. Even so, they may have sounded better or worse live at the Rotterdam Ahoy than at the national final venues when the national finals took place.

So, the sad thing is no-one will evequalified wouldn't and which ones, which is somewhat depressing to say the least. The upshot of this is, I cannot write my opinions on which songs which I wanted or didn't want in the final qualified or were eliminated. Furthr know which ten songs would have ermore, it seemed strange for this show to finish around 21:30, instead of around 22:10 as would have been the case if the semi-final had taken place as planned.

Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part One

Host country: The Netherlands (AVROTROS, NOS, NPO)
Venue: Hilversum, The Netherlands
Host: Janouk Kelderman
Date: Tuesday 12 May 2020

N.B. Any use of "tonight" or "this evening" throughout this post means Tuesday 12 May 2020. All times in this post are in BST.

Introduction
The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final was due to take place at Rotterdam Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands on Tuesday 12 May 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, the EBU made the difficult decision to cancel the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. This is the first time the Eurovision Song Contest has been cancelled since its first ever edition in 1956. Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part One was a replacement show, streamed live on the Eurovision Song Contest's YouTube channel, at the time the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final would have been shown on Tuesday 12 May 2020. Its purpose was to honour the 17 countries which would have participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final, plus the three countries (Italy, Germany, The Netherlands) which would have voted but not performed live that evening, by showing the official preview videos of those countries' entries for 2020. A few extra surprises were to be included too.

The Opening
After the Eurovision ident accompanied by Charpentier's Te Deum prelude, the opening was minimal. Janouk Kelderman gave a short speech stating that the purpose of this online show, and part two planned for two days later, was to honour the songs which would have competed at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.

The Songs
Each song video was introduced with a slide containing rays in the country's flag colours, the country name, artist name, song title, a panel containing the writers and composers and a photo of the artist. A voice-over announced the song number, artist, song title and country. Some of the videos were national final performances, whereas others were pre-recorded preview videos. The first 17 songs were from the countries that were to have performed in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final, in the order they were planned to be performed in that semi-final.

Song 1: Sweden - The Mamas "Move"
It's always difficult for the first country to perform in the first semi-final. I watched Melodifestivalen 2020 Final live online from the UK in March. The Mamas were three ladies, performing what sounds to me like a Motown-esque gospel song. During Melodifestivalen 2020 Final I was unimpressed by this song, and ranked it just 10th out of 12. The song isn't bad, it was certainly a bouncy one to open a semi-final, and there was good use of light beams during various parts of the song video. Apart from that, it's nothing particularly special really. This reminds me of Austria's entry in the year 2000, that being The Rounder Girls - "All to You", which finished 14th out of 24 songs. Personally, I think "Move" is somewhat tame compared to "All to You". Although I liked this a little more whilst watching the video online in the preceding couple of days, and during this celebration show, this still ended up being towards the middle of my ranking of the semi-finalists. I'm convinced this would have be a top ten contender (enough to qualify), but I think it could then have struggled in the Grand Final.

Song 2: Belarus - VAL "Da Vidna"
Quite a varied song, the verses are mid-tempo, the choruses are very lively and a bit over-powering. The video for this song appears to be a national final performance, with good use of arm movements and impressive graphics on the background screens. Pyrotechnics at the end provided the icing on the cake. Presumably the song would have been staged in a similar way in Rotterdam. This was one of my least-liked semi-finalists in this show.

Song 3: Australia - Montaigne "Don't Break Me"
Say what you like about Australia being allowed to continue entering the ESC, but they are back again for 2020. Australia has gone for a lively entry again this year. The video is clearly a national final performance. This song has powerful choruses, but I think the verses could have been stronger. The singer dances around and interacts with the backing group, and the lighting effects enhance the song. On the whole, quite a reasonable entry, but I don't think it's as good as Australia's 2019 entry.

Song 4: North Macedonia - Vasil "YOU"
This is clearly a promotional video, featuring a couple dancing in a pub, and several others sitting at tables. The dancing couple were on the floor near the end. Once can only speculate about how this would have been staged in Rotterdam. The maximum of six performers rule would have meant there couldn't have been as many sitting down as in the video. The song itself was very much a middle of the road song, which I think would have struggled to have qualified.

Song 5: Slovenia - Ana Soklič "Voda"
I watched the Slovenian national final, EMA 2020, live online from the UK on Saturday 22 February 2020. This looks like the original EMA 2020 Final performance. Presumably the light beams and background images would have been recreated in a similar manner in Rotterdam. Probably the best so far, the verses are fairly gentle, the choruses are powerful and Ana has a beautiful voice. If this performance is anything to go by, I would have liked this to have qualified for the Grand Final.

A break followed at this point, during which some of the artists performed their songs in alternative genres.

Song 6 Lithuania - The Roop "On Fire"
Back in March, this song was among the favourites to win the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. The video is clearly a promotional video, which for some mysterious reason is in monochrome. No doubt the dancers in the video would have performed their dance routine on stage. The song itself is quite reasonable, and the singer has a good voice.

Song 7: Ireland - Lesley Roy "Story Of My Life"
Another video which is clearly a promotional video. This year Ireland have gone for a pop song, which has a catchy chorus. Nonetheless, I think this would have been very much borderline as to whether it would have qualified or not.

Song 8: Russia - Little Big "Uno"
What on Earth, in the world, is this? Some sort of pop song I presume, but this sounds to me as though it belongs more in the 1950s than in 2020. This video is clearly a promotional one. The two singers and the backing group move their knees towards and away from each other; presumably they would have all done the same in Rotterdam. One can only guess what lighting effects, etc would have been used on the Rotterdam Ahoy stage. This was my least-liked of the 17 preview videos of the countries drawn to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final in the days before Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part One. It's hardly surprising that, whilst watching Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part One, this ended up bottom of my ranking of the 17 First Semi-Final contenders. If this video is anything to go by, this is the one song I would have most wanted to have not qualified for the final. However, this would have almost certainly have qualified against my wishes.

Song 9: Belgium - Hooverphonic "Release Me"
A ballad, which would be suitable as a James Bond film opening sequence song. The lead singer has a pleasant voice, and the song is well structured. This is clearly a promotional video and one can only guess how she would have sounded performing this live at the Rotterdam Ahoy.

Song 10: Malta - Destiny "All Of My Love"
Destiny Chukunyere represented Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015, and was a backing singer for Malta in last year's Eurovision Song Contest. This year she was back to represent Malta as the lead singer. Obviously, the spoken bit at the start of the video (which is clearly a promotional one) would have been omitted during a live performance in Rotterdam. This was among my most-liked of the 17 contenders that would have been in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final. The chorus is really catchy, and there's a good bridge too. Going by the video, I would have definitely wanted this in the Grand Final.

A break followed at this point, during which some of the artists stated (and sang bits of) their top three Eurovision songs of all time.

Song 11: Croatia - Damir Kedžo "Divlji Vjetre"
A well-structured song, with a powerful chorus. Damir has a good voice, and he performed this well in the video, which is clearly a national final performance. I liked the light beams, and the images on the background screen; presumably this would have been staged in a similar manner in Rotterdam. One of the better songs among the 17 semi-finalists in this show. Going by the video, I would have definitely wanted this in the Grand Final.

Song 12: Azerbaijan - Efendi "Cleopatra"
This is clearly a promotional video, so one can only guess how this would have been staged in Rotterdam. Going by the introduction and first verse, this seems quite a good song. Unfortunately, the line "And it sounds like this..." is spoken rather than sung, which I feel is an abrupt pause in the song. This is followed by the line "Nan Wu Miao Fa Lian Hua Jing", which I find somewhat irritating. The chorus which follows is, in my opinion, not bad, but that's it. After another verse (which is quite good), the bridge (if it can be called that) is a tad annoying. On the whole, a song consisting of good verses, not so good choruses and some rather irritating extras. If the video is anything to go by, this is one I'd have preferred not to have seen in the Grand Final. However, this would have almost certainly qualified.

Song 13: Cyprus - Sandro "Running"
Another video which is clearly a promotional one. I noticed flames and waves in various parts of the preview video; presumably those would have featured in the background screen images in Rotterdam. A power ballad which is not bad, and Sandro has a good voice, but this ended up in the bottom five of this ranking.

Song 14: Norway - Ulrikke "Attention"
I watched Norway - Melodi Grand Prix, live online from the UK on Saturday 15 February 2020. That evening, I thought "Attention" was one of the better ballads. The national final performance was used again for Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part One, and that gives a good clue as to how this song might have been staged in Rotterdam. It's a good song, and Ulrikke sang well, with a powerful voice. Just as one thinks the song is nearly over, there is one final, powerful chorus, appropriately accompanied by pyrotechnics. This is one I would definitely have wanted in the Grand Final.

Song 15: Israel - Eden Alene "Feker Libi"
Israel have gone for a lively, catchy song this year. This is very much a summer disco song. The video is evidently the national final performance, featuring amazing images on the background screen and stage floor. Presumably this would have been staged in a similar manner in Rotterdam. Interestingly Idan Raichel was involved in writing and composing this song; he performed one of the interval acts in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 Grand Final. Altogether an amazing song, well sung, and appropriately accompanied by a good dance routine from the backing group. This was among my most liked of the 17 semi-finalists; if the video is anything to go by, I'd have definitely wanted this to qualify.

A break followed at this point, during which YouTube creators from all over Europe commented on the songs from Sweden, Belgium, Malta, Lithuania, Italy, The Netherlands, Russia, Israel

Song 16: Romania - ROXEN "Alcohol You"
Romania have gone for a ballad this year. The video is clearly a promotional video, which includes good background images, and plenty of blue. Sometimes the lyrics wrap around the singer, and sometimes they appear in the background. I question the need for flashing lights during the second verse, and near the end though. One can wonder how this would have been staged in Rotterdam. The singer has a beautiful voice, and she sang well. Altogether a deeply immersive song, which was among my most liked of the 17 semi-finalists. Going by the video, I'd have definitely wanted this to qualify.

Song 17: Ukraine - Go_A "Solovey"
The last semi-finalist already; it's amazing how time flies! What on Earth, in the world, is this song meant to be? To me it sounds like a Chinese / Japanese style song. Put it this way, it's not the sort of song style I would expect from Ukraine. The video appears to be from the Ukrainian national final, Vidbir 2020 (which I didn't try to watch online from the UK). There are impressive images on the background screen, in red and white; in addition, red lights feature in this video. Presumably the same background screen images and beams of red light would have been used in Rotterdam. I question the need for flashing lights towards the end of the song. This was one of my least-liked songs among the 17 semi-finalists in this show, and I would have wanted this eliminated in the semi-final, but I guess this would have had no problem qualifying against my wishes.

Direct Qualifiers
At this point there was a seamless transition into the three countries that were directly qualified for the final, but which would have voted tonight. These songs were shown in the following order, and numbered 18, 19 and 20.

Song 18 Italy - Diodato "Fai Rumore"
Italy has gone for a ballad this year. The chorus is powerful, and there is a good instrumental break which serves as a bridge. Antonio Diodato has a very good voice, and he sings this song well in the video, which appears to be a promotional one. In my opinion, this is better than most of the 17 semi-finalists in this show, and would almost certainly have done well in the Grand Final.

Song 19: Germany - Ben Dolic "Violent Thing"
A modern disco song. I think it would be more suited to discotheques and nightclubs rather than the Eurovision Song Contest. Anyway, it's what Germany wanted this year. I guess this would have scored very few points with the juries, and a massive score from the public. The video is clearly promotional, so one can only guess how this would have been staged in Rotterdam. Obviously, there could have only been a maximum of five dancers accompanying Ben on stage.

Song 20: The Netherlands - Jeangu Macrooy "Grow"
Oh dear, the curse of being the host country; you want a respectable song, and you wouldn't mind winning again, but the country's broadcaster doesn't want to foot the bill for hosting again. Jeangu has a good voice, but the song "Grow" is, in my opinion, somewhat dull. This is clearly a promotional video, and one can speculate how this would have been staged in Rotterdam, but anyway it's just as well this would have been guaranteed a place in the Grand Final as I don't think it would have qualified.

Fan Recap
After the last song ended, there was a recap of all 20 songs, in the order they were shown. This recap was unusual on two counts. Firstly, it featured Eurovision fans enjoying themselves, whilst audio of clips of the songs was played in the background. Secondly, for obvious reasons, there were no phone numbers as would have appeared during a proper recap containing clips of live stage performances.

Finally, Janouk Kelderman gave a brief closing speech. This was followed by the closing credits and the Eurovision ident. The show ended around 21:30 BST.

Comparison with Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final
The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final would have differed in many ways from what was broadcast online this evening.
1) The show would have been presented by Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley and Jan Smit.
2) There would, almost certainly, have been some sort of opening act, and the hosts would have given opening speeches.
3) Only the 17 semi-finalists would have performed live on the Rotterdam Ahoy stage this evening. The running order would have been the same as the first 17 songs in Eurovision Song Celebration 2020 Part One this evening. Each song would have been preceded by a postcard.
4) Once all 17 semi-final songs had been performed, the voting lines would have opened, and there would have been a recap of the 17 songs; this would have been a recorded clip of each of live stage performance. Since the UK was not drawn to vote in this semi-final, the BBC would have shown the message "UK viewers cannot vote tonight" at the bottom of the screen during the recap.
5) After the recap, there would have been some sort of interval act. There would, almost certainly, have been a second recap after that, and a countdown to when the lines closed. Since the UK was not drawn to vote in this semi-final, the BBC would have probably shown their own material during this time.
6) Before the ten qualifiers were announced, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands, which were due to vote but not perform in this semi-final, would have been honoured. For each of these countries, one of the hosts would have spoken to the applicable artist, and about one minute of a rehearsal performance would have been shown.
7) The ten qualifiers would have been announced, in a random order.
8) Once the ten qualifiers had been announced, there would have been a recap, consisting of clips of the ten countries which had qualified for the Grand Final.
9) The semi-final would have ended around 22:10 BST.

My First Semi-Final Ranking
I used My Eurovision Scoreboard to rank the songs. Since that only contained the 17 songs that were to have performed live in the semi-final that was due to take place this evening, I was only able to rank the 17 semi-finalists. In fact, that's what I wanted to do, to mimic the semi-final as closely as possible. That's why the three direct qualifiers (Italy, Germany, The Netherlands), which were only due to vote but not perform tonight, were omitted from my ranking. Of course, I was only able to judge the songs on the videos in this online show, some of which appeared to be national final performances and the rest were promotional videos. My opinions and ranking might have differed considerably had the artists been performing live at the Rotterdam Ahoy.

Here is my top ten:





































Here is my ranking of the remaining seven semi-finalists:




































The UK wasn't going to be voting in this semi-final anyway, but had the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final taken place, I would have wished I could have voted for: (top 6 of my scoreboard).

Outro
Altogether, a good substitute show for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final. It's the best that could be done given the circumstances; basically, a compilation of preview videos of the 17 countries that would have performed live in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 First Semi-Final, the three direct qualifiers (Italy, Germany, The Netherlands) which would have voted but not participated this evening, and a few extras. During the show, I noticed that some of the song videos appeared to be national final performances, (e.g. EMA, MGP Norway), whereas others were clearly pre-recorded promotional videos. Obviously national final performances would have given a better idea of how they would have sounded / looked live if the ESC 2020 First Semi Final had taken place as planned in Rotterdam this evening. Even so, they may have sounded better or worse live at the Rotterdam Ahoy than at the national final venues when the national finals took place.

So, the sad thing is no-one will ever know which ten songs would have qualified and which ones wouldn't, which is somewhat depressing to say the least. The upshot of this is, I cannot write my opinions on which songs which I wanted or didn't want in the final qualified or were eliminated. Furthermore, it seemed strange for this show to finish around 21:30, instead of around 22:10 as would have been the case if the semi-final had taken place as planned.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Eurovision Song Contest League Tables 2019

Most Top Ten Places
I've compiled a league table of all the countries that have ever participated in the Eurovision Song Contest one or more times at some point from 1956 to 2019. The way it works is simple.

If a country wins a particular year (like The Netherlands did this year), it scores 12 points for that year. Other top ten countries in a particular year receive the following number of points for that year: 2nd = 10 points, 3rd = 8 points, 4th = 7 points, 5th = 6 points, 6th = 5 points, 7th = 4 points, 8th = 3 points, 9th = 2 points, 10th = 1 point. Any country placed 11th or below receives zero points for that year! N.B. For my analysis, in 1956 Switzerland has been given 12 points for winning, but the other 6 unplaced countries were flagged as Unplaced, and thus awarded no league table points for that year.

Where multiple countries have tied for a particular total, I have taken their best ever places into consideration. For example, Russia and Monaco both have 97 points. Russia and Monaco have both won once each, but Russia has finished second four times, whereas Monaco has finished second once, hence Russia is ranked higher than Monaco. Where necessary, third, fourth and subsequent places down to 27th are also considered.

Countries that have appeared in a grand final but have never had a top ten grand final placing (and hence have a league table total of 0) are ranked on their best final placing below 10th. Countries which debuted 2004 onwards and never reached the final (and hence have a league table total of 0) are ranked on their best ever semi-final placing (currently the only such country is Andorra).

N.B. From 1956 to 2003 inclusive there was only one show. There was one semi-final plus a grand final from 2004 to 2007 inclusive, and two semi-finals plus a grand final from 2008 onwards. For the purposes of this post, the term "final" or "grand final" includes the single shows from 1956 to 2003 inclusive and grand finals from 2004 to present.

The above is done for each year a country has participated, and all their scores added up. As you can see, despite the UK's poor performance since 1999, it still tops the league table with 313 points.

Rank
Country
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
Total
1
United Kingdom
5
15
3
5
1
2
5
1
1
3
313
2
France
5
4
7
7
2
1
2
5
0
3
248
3
Sweden
6
1
6
2
10
1
4
4
2
5
246
4
Ireland
7
4
1
3
3
3
2
2
2
4
208
5
Germany
2
4
5
4
2
3
2
8
3
2
199
6
Italy
2
3
5
2
5
5
4
2
3
1
192
7
Switzerland
2
3
3
6
2
3
0
5
1
2
166
8
Denmark
3
1
3
2
5
2
1
3
4
2
147
9
The Netherlands
5
1
1
2
2
2
3
1
6
2
143
10
Spain
2
4
1
2
1
4
2
1
4
7
138
11
Luxembourg
5
0
2
5
1
1
1
1
2
2
135
12
Israel
4
2
1
2
2
2
3
2
2
0
134
13
Norway
3
1
1
3
3
2
2
4
3
2
131
14
Belgium
1
2
0
4
2
4
4
3
1
3
122
15
Austria
2
0
1
1
4
2
2
2
3
5
98
16
Russia
1
4
4
0
1
0
1
0
1
1
97
17
Monaco
1
1
3
3
2
1
1
2
1
1
97
18
Greece
1
0
3
0
2
1
3
4
3
1
84
19
Ukraine
2
2
1
1
0
1
1
0
0
1
69
20
Turkey
1
1
1
3
0
0
2
0
1
1
62
21
Malta
0
2
2
0
1
1
0
3
2
2
62
22
Estonia
1
0
1
1
1
3
1
2
0
0
58
23
Yugoslavia
1
0
0
3
0
1
3
2
1
0
58
24
Azerbaijan
1
1
1
1
1
0
0
2
0
0
49
25
Cyprus
0
1
0
0
3
2
1
0
3
0
48
26
Finland
1
0
0
0
0
1
4
1
2
3
43
27
Portugal
1
0
0
0
0
1
2
2
2
2
37
28
Iceland
0
2
0
1
0
0
1
1
0
1
35
29
Latvia
1
0
1
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
31
30
Romania
0
0
2
1
0
0
1
0
1
1
30
31
Armenia
0
0
0
2
0
0
2
2
0
1
29
32
Croatia
0
0
0
2
1
1
0
0
1
1
28
33
Serbia
1
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
1
26
34
Bulgaria
0
1
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
23
35
Bosnia & Herzegovina
0
0
1
0
0
1
1
0
2
1
22
36
Australia
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
2
0
20
37
Hungary
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
1
1
1
19
38
Poland
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
17
39
Moldova
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
2
15
40
Serbia & Montenegro
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
14
41
Albania
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
10
42
Slovenia
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
1
9
43
Lithuania
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
7
44
Czech Republic
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
5
45
Belarus
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
5
46
North Macedonia
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
4
47
Georgia
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
4
48
Montenegro
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
49
Slovakia
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
50
Morocco
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
51
San Marino
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
52
Andorra
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

The above is highly deceptive, because the UK first entered in 1957, followed by every year from 1959 to present (62 entries to-date); and in that time clocked up 313 points, thereby topping the leader board. Azerbaijan first entered in 2008 and has had an excellent track record since, achieving 49 points in 12 appearances, but still only appears 24th out of 52 on the above table. Clearly that puts countries which debuted since 2000 at a disadvantage as they inevitably have had far fewer entries to-date than countries that first entered in the 1950s and 1960s.

Back to the top

Average By Grand Final Appearance
By dividing each country's total by the number of times it has appeared in the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, you get a much more accurate representation. Dividing the UK's total of 313 points by its number of grand final appearances (62) gives an average of 5.048 points per grand final appearance, putting it into 3rd place. Dividing Azerbaijan's total of 49 points by 11 (its number of grand final appearances to-date) gives it an average of 4.455 points; i.e. 8th place.

Where two or more countries tie for a particular average, the same tie-break rule used in the previous table is applied here. Countries whose totals are zero, and hence whose averages are zero, have been dealt with in the same manner and thus ranked in the same order as in the previous table.

Rank
Country
Years in Final
Total
Average
1
Serbia & Montenegro
2
14
7.000
2
Bulgaria
4
23
5.750
3
United Kingdom
62
313
5.048
4
Ireland
45
208
4.622
5
Russia
21
97
4.619
6
Monaco
21
97
4.619
7
Ukraine
15
69
4.600
8
Azerbaijan
11
49
4.455
9
Italy
45
192
4.267
10
Sweden
58
246
4.241
11
France
62
248
4.000
12
Australia
5
20
4.000
13
Israel
36
134
3.722
14
Luxembourg
37
135
3.649
15
Estonia
16
58
3.625
16
Switzerland
49
166
3.388
17
Denmark
44
147
3.341
18
Germany
63
199
3.159
19
Latvia
10
31
3.100
20
Armenia
10
29
2.900
21
Serbia
9
26
2.889
22
The Netherlands
51
143
2.804
23
Malta
25
62
2.480
24
Belgium
51
122
2.392
25
Norway
55
131
2.382
26
Spain
59
138
2.339
27
Greece
38
84
2.211
28
Yugoslavia
27
58
2.148
29
Austria
47
98
2.085
30
Turkey
33
62
1.879
31
Romania
18
30
1.667
32
Czech Republic
3
5
1.667
33
Cyprus
30
48
1.600
34
Croatia
18
28
1.556
35
Moldova
10
15
1.500
36
Iceland
25
35
1.400
37
Hungary
14
19
1.357
38
Bosnia & Herzegovina
18
22
1.222
39
Poland
14
17
1.214
40
Albania
9
10
1.111
41
Finland
45
43
0.956
42
Portugal
42
37
0.881
43
Belarus
6
5
0.833
44
Slovenia
15
9
0.600
45
Georgia
7
4
0.571
46
Lithuania
13
7
0.538
47
North Macedonia
9
4
0.444
48
Montenegro
2
0
0.000
49
Slovakia
3
0
0.000
50
Morocco
1
0
0.000
51
San Marino
2
0
0.000
52
Andorra
0
0
0.000

This is still deceptive, because it ignores years from 2004 onwards in which a country entered the Eurovision Song Contest but failed to reach the final. Bulgaria has actually had 12 entries from 2005 to 2019 inclusive, but has only reached the final 4 times so far. Under the above scheme of things, its total of 23 points divided by 4 gives it an average of 5.750 points per grand final appearance (second place on the leader board). The Netherlands has had 51 appearances in the final, the last being 2019, but failed to get past the semi-finals from 2005 to 2012 inclusive, and again in 2015. Dividing its total of 143 points by 51 gives an average of 2.804 points per grand final appearance, putting it at 22nd place on the leader board.

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Average By Years Entered
To get an even more accurate representation, one should include the years from 2004 onwards in which a country entered the Eurovision Song Contest but failed to reach the final. Obviously, a country which fails to reach the final scores no league table points for that year, just like finalists that finish below 10th. Dividing the UK's total of 313 points by its number of entries (62) gives it an average of 5.048 points per year it entered, which is currently top of the table. Dividing Azerbaijan's total of 49 points by 12 (its total number of entries to-date) gives it an average of 4.083; i.e. 7th place.

N.B. Serbia & Montenegro entered in 2006 but withdrew at the last minute. Nonetheless they voted in the Grand Final but didn't participate in either the Semi-final or Grand Final that year. Thus, they have been regarded as having finished last with zero points in the official Semi-Final 2006 results, despite not actually performing in that semi-final. Consequently, their total number of years entered has been taken as being 3 here; dividing their 14 points by 3 gives an average of 4.667 per year, putting them 2nd on the leader board.

Once again, the same tie-breaker rules apply where two or more countries tie for a particular average. Countries whose totals are zero, and hence whose averages are zero, have been dealt with in the same manner and thus ranked in the same order as in the previous two tables.

Rank
Country
Years Entered
Total
Average
1
United Kingdom
62
313
5.048
2
Serbia & Montenegro
3
14
4.667
3
Ukraine
15
69
4.600
4
Russia
22
97
4.409
5
Italy
45
192
4.267
6
Sweden
59
246
4.169
7
Azerbaijan
12
49
4.083
8
Monaco
24
97
4.042
9
France
62
248
4.000
10
Australia
5
20
4.000
11
Ireland
53
208
3.925
12
Luxembourg
37
135
3.649
13
Israel
42
134
3.190
14
Germany
63
199
3.159
15
Denmark
48
147
3.063
16
Switzerland
60
166
2.767
17
The Netherlands
60
143
2.383
18
Spain
59
138
2.339
19
Estonia
25
58
2.320
20
Norway
58
131
2.259
21
Armenia
13
29
2.231
22
Serbia
12
26
2.167
23
Yugoslavia
27
58
2.148
24
Greece
40
84
2.100
25
Belgium
61
122
2.000
26
Malta
32
62
1.938
27
Bulgaria
12
23
1.917
28
Austria
52
98
1.885
29
Turkey
34
62
1.824
30
Latvia
20
31
1.550
31
Romania
20
30
1.500
32
Cyprus
36
48
1.333
33
Bosnia & Herzegovina
19
22
1.158
34
Croatia
25
28
1.120
35
Hungary
17
19
1.118
36
Iceland
32
35
1.094
37
Moldova
15
15
1.000
38
Finland
53
43
0.811
39
Poland
22
17
0.773
40
Portugal
51
37
0.725
41
Albania
16
10
0.625
42
Czech Republic
8
5
0.625
43
Slovenia
25
9
0.360
44
Lithuania
20
7
0.350
45
Georgia
12
4
0.333
46
Belarus
16
5
0.313
47
North Macedonia
19
4
0.211
48
Montenegro
11
0
0.000
49
Slovakia
7
0
0.000
50
Morocco
1
0
0.000
51
San Marino
10
0
0.000
52
Andorra
6
0
0.000

Now all of Bulgaria's 12 entries from 2005 to 2019 inclusive are being taken into consideration, dividing its total of 23 points by 12 gives it an average of just 1.917 points per year it entered, pushing it way down the leader board to 27th out of 52. From 2005 to 2012 inclusive, and again in 2015, The Netherlands entered but failed to qualify, giving it a total of 60 entries to-date. Dividing its total of 143 points by 60 gives it an average of 2.383 points per year it entered, thereby putting it in 17th place (which ironically is a higher rank than when its total is divided by its number of grand final appearances (51).

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