Sunday, 15 May 2016

Eurovision Song Contest 2016

Yes. I love this shit. Be surprised.

So now that that's out of the way, here are my thoughts of this year's show.

I only watched the semis half-heartedly, just to get a hum of what was going on, what the countries were doing and who would qualify for the final. And also to see the hosts and the usually funny opening and interval acts :) I was a little sad to see that no other Nordic countries qualified (that must be a first, right?), but then I thought that hopefully that would mean we'd get 12s from all of them since now they couldn't vote on each other :3

Yesterday I was ready in front of the TV with a big bowl of popcorn and Coca-Cola, and with my phone and all the social media (Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for me). I had been on a buzz all day waiting for the show :3

This year soon turned into the most boring one, though. Where were my aluminum foil aliens, sexy sax guys, vampires, monsters, baking grandmas, burning pianos, men in hamster-wheels, flamboyantly gay people, bearded women, and blonde ladies sexually churning butter on stage? At least there was a Pokémon, a girl giving us a potato, and some men in cages :P Most of the songs were generic pop songs or ballads (seriously, no more ballads please?) So at the end, of course, my favourites were none of the generic ones. I liked Belgium's funk number, I loved the Netherlands' acoustic style, I've grown to like Sweden's simple yet pretty song, I liked Germany's song but more because of the cute girl and cool stage, France's song was ok, and Georgia's song was one of the best of the year.

I couldn't understand why the world was so hung up on Russia and Poland and Australia. Fair enough, Australia had the most polished number of the bunch and it somehow came off as the most professional one. Russia had the coolest stage show but the song was seriously boring - totally flat voice fromt he singer imo. And Poland had... a good-looking guy dressed in something inspired by British military uniforms from the 18th century? If you're looking for stage shows, though, along with Russia, Germany and Italy were the most memorable. (And honestly, Italy's song is growing on me.)

I wasn't expecting Sweden to win again. Winning two years in a row seems implausible no matter how good the song is, and this year (imo) we had a song that takes a few listens before you actually really enjoy it. The first time you hear it it's kind of bland. So I didn't expect Europe to get it on their first try. We did well, though, a fifth place! (And apparantly If I Were Sorry is now the most downloaded song of all of them all over the world - so take that!)

Justin Timberlake was invited to perform a song during the voting period, because for the first time the show was being broadcast in the US. I had a hilarious time on Twitter reading Jesse Cox's (an American let's player on youtube) tweets. He was watching it for the first time and didn't understand squat.
Justin didn't go over great though. He mostly looked like "where tf am I?" and people on Twitter called him Justin Timberlame and Justin Toiletbreak. And while I thought most songs this night was boring by Eurovision standards, Justin's performance was so generic that it made all the boring Eurovision songs seem good.

The real stars of the night were the hosts. I loved the opening act of semi 2 (a Eurovision themed version of My Favourite Things) and the interval act of the final was just as amazing. How do you get the ultimate Eurovision song? The Swedish hosts are here to show you! This interval number included basically everything I missed in this year's show - including previous winners Alexander Rybak and Lordi :D (Just look to the neighbours for prominent Eurovision guests to invite for the number).

Then there was the voting, which was all messed up this year. Well, messed up in Eurovision. The system they have converted ESC into is the same system we've used for the Swedish selection competition for years. But it screwed up ESC! Sitting through the results was always one of the highlights of the show. Now we get a quick view of the points and a member of the jury handing out a 12. It was over before it hardly even begun. And since it was jurys handing out the 12s and they're supposed to be unbiased, there was no longer any bittersweet joy in guessing which country would give a 12 to which. And then the people's votes were delivered in bunched points so there's no way to know how many 12s they got. The 12s are sacred! I want to watch them being delivered and being bitter about Finland giving their 12 to Russia instead of Sweden. All of that was taken away by the new system. Everyone hates when the neighbours vote on each other, but it's become a tradition. I want it. And then the results were all messed up. The jurys gave the most points to Australia - so according to the jurys Australia was the winner of ESC16. The people gave the most points to Russia - so according to the people Russia was the winner of ESC16. And then Ukraine ended up winning?! What the actual fuck?! O_o

I didn't like Ukraine's song. I know that it won because of the message. A song about her grandmother having to leave her country during WWII works well in today's Europe, where so many refugees now live having been forced away from their countries because of war. And some older generations may connect with that too because of older wars. It works. I get it. But the song wasn't good. Maybe I would've liked it better if I could actually hear her. (Actually, listening to the video on Youtube I could hear her better than on my TV - probably because the sound is closer to my ears in my headphones. I could grow to like it tbh.)

But for the second time in the last three years I've been living in Eurovision town. In 2013, when it was in Malmö I lived there. This year it was in Stockholm, and while I don't live there exactly I work there so I got to live Eurovision town again :D It's been great! Can we win again next year? The rest of Europe seems to think the same way judging by the comments section on YouTube:
And also, BuzzFeed agrees.

All in all, a pretty good year where the hosts were more Eurovision than the competitiors. And it also had a wtf ending which is a nice change from most years where the favourite of the polls always seems to win. That I didn't like the winning song is beside the point. It made good TV.

And now the ESC nerd in me will go to sleep until May 2017.

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