Friday, 7 May 2021

Getting all set up

Tonight I visited the Accreditation Centre to pick up accreditation and to get tested at the Testing Pavilion that is set-up right next to the venue. As everyone needs to be tested every 48 hours, I thought it was convenient to do it the evening before the rehearsals to avoid possible cues tomorrow morning. 

Apparently this idea was shared by other accredited press and delegation members, as I spotted the Swedish and Irish delegation in the Testing Pavilion. 

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how efficient everything seems to be organized. After receiving my accreditation card, I was guided towards the Testing Pavilion where they used a breathalyzer followed by a PCR-test to get me tested. After waiting in a rather massive waiting room I got a text message with a link to the test-results.

As I fortunately tested negative, my accreditation card was granted 48 hour access to the Press Centre. Access I will richly use to keep you all up to date tomorrow when the rehearsals are about to begin!

Monday, 3 May 2021

Rotterdam is getting ready!

As the stage construction has completed and the 65th edition of the contest is about to errupt, Rotterdam is finalizing its preparations with some last finishing touches.

Waterloo-playing traffic lights ✅

Banners with classic Eurovision lyrics ✅

 Eurovision Covid-19 Test Pavilion ✅
Looks like they're ready - and so are we! ESC Nation will be live from the Ahoy Arena this year to report on the rehearsals, starting Saturday the 8th of May at 10:00 sharp. 📢

For an overview of all rehearsals click here.

Five more days to go, people! Let's consider this contribution of local artists the opening ceremony of the upcoming rehearsal week. 

🎉 Eurovision. Is. Back! 🎉

Now let's hope I don't get tested positive.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

I'm giving in too...

Well, I say that. I actually ended up putting Netherlands top in my ESC Nation Message Board pre-rehearsals prediction, because I just couldn't see what else won. And I still feel like that now. At no point have I really felt that Arcade is a likely, or even really a deserving winner - but I don't see anything else winning either. And they can't all come 4th.

It felt quite easy to put the entries into blocks, and I actually have Netherlands and Australia above everything else, as I struggled to find entries to fill the Top 5. To be fair, I'm always like this - in the last few years I've always struggled to visualise these songs doing *well*. Which usually means there's some kind of surprise, like Sunstroke Project or Michael Schulte. If I were to call a surprise Top 5, it would perhaps be Slovenia or Norway. It might even be Spain, though I really don't think so.

So, without further ado...

1. Netherlands
2. Australia
3. Iceland
- I feel like this is the kind of thing that the build-up and the hype will really help; juries in particular really tend to follow hype, so I'm expecting that to make up for the underwhelming live performance.
4. Sweden
5. Azerbaijan
- to be honest, I was underwhelmed by this in the semi, after all the raves from the press centre, but I guess I'm probably missing something there, as I was pretty alone in that opinion. It also doesn't help that I really dislike the song!
6. Switzerland
7. Russia
- it never felt like a winner or even a Top 3 entry from the moment it came out, and I wish I'd had the courage in my convictions to bet on it earlier.
8. Slovenia - genuinely could come anywhere.
9. Malta - a little surprised they put it on first.
10. Norway
11. Czech Republic
- I'm more surprised they put this on so closely after Malta. They're visually similar, and I'm now considering getting out of my original Top 10 bet that I put on weeks ago.
12. France - which I guess makes them Top Big Five by default.
13. Italy
14. Serbia
15. Greece
16. North Macedonia
17. Estonia
18. Spain
19. Cyprus
- hugely underwhelmed by Tamta and everything about this in the semi-final, it wouldn't have shocked me if it had failed to qualify.
20. Albania
21. Denmark
22. San Marino
23. Israel
24. Germany
- 'too obvious to be last' is usually rubbish, but I'm hoping the S?sters might get a little bit of jury love to push them above a couple of other entries.
25. United Kingdom
26. Belarus

I'm finally giving in...


A bit of poolside and restaurantside Norwegian national day celebrations yesterday (mainly involving coriander, muy autentico), followed by a much more important day - IT'S EUROVISION TODAY!

My predicting skills improved greatly from semi 1 to semi 2 (7/10 and 9/10 respectively), so maybe I'm at my peak now? Here's what I think anyway! Have a great evening everyone!

1 Netherlands | I'm finally giving in... Still don't quite 'get' it, but it managed to win others over in the semi, so there clearly is something there that maybe just isn't for me. A bit like Denmark in 2013, basically. And a Dutch win after all these hundreds of years would be fantastictje!
2 Australia | The kind of thing that I'd imagine juries could ignore a bit, but then it's Australia, so here we are...
3 Switzerland | Great draw, great face, great arms, great energy.
4 Sweden | I've supported it all season (and it's still up there with North Macedonia as my absolute favourite!), but I'm caving in for the pressure.
5 Russia
6 Italy | Seems a bit disappointing in clips, but he was meant to be sick and stuff, wasn't he?
7 France | Erk, I promised I wouldn't get sucked in on the hype, didn't I?! It was probably this "exactly"-moment that clinched it. Still not at all convinced by the song, but I'm expecting both juries and televoters to get on board with the message, or maybe most of all with Bilal himself.
8 Greece | *does fingery handmove to reach high notes*
9 Iceland | This seems surprisingly forgotten considering what they're clearly aiming for.
10 Azerbaijan | I'm not at all impressed, but people seem to be, so...
11 Norway | My original thought about this was 'decently safe qualifier, lost in the final', but I'm starting to think it could get a decent amount of televotes from viewers looking for something cheerful and typically Eurovision-y with a hint of "local flavour" (even if that's as fake as can be). Hope it beats Rybak's result last year, at least!
12 Slovenia | I was a bit nervous this would be boring in the semi, but thought it was absolutely magical - monotonous, but sucks you in with the very initimate staging, which they're really nailing with the minimal interactions between them. A shy smile here, a gentle brush on the arm there... #swoon
13 Spain | Have disliked this ever since it was chosen, but his arms and the cheerful performance on last should secure a decent televote result, even if  I'm expecting the juries not to care.
14 Malta | Thought this looked really promising in rehearsal clips, only to look messy and average in the semi. With that early draw too, I can see it going down the Ira Losco route re: jury/televote split, i.e. opposite of Spain.
15 North Macedonia | YAY
16 Serbia
17 Cyprus | Unlike many, I think this works reasonably well (that wet-look-hairgel à la 1992 aside! WHY), but I always thought the song had a limited appeal anyway, so 17th seems about right.
18 Czechia
19 Belarus
20 Albania | Positively surprised at this qualification, but I assume it's without a chance apart from the Swiss televote and such.
21 United Kingdom | Can't see the televoters caring, but could get some random jury votes here and there.
22 Israel | I'm starting to appreciate it more after we did Kobi versions of various other entries at breakfast today. Malta works particularly well.
23 San Marino | This might have gotten some random cheerful televoters going on Tuesday, but I can't see anyone caring now it's buried at #7.
24 Denmark
25 Estonia | A handful of Swedish and Finnish televotes, and that's it? It bloody better be.
26 Germany | Oh dear.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Predicting Semi 2 - trusting my instincts

7/10 for my Semi 1 prediction, which is quite poor, frankly. And my mistake? I allowed myself to be swayed by the words of those in the press centre, and the enthusiasm of those watching the clips we got, and went against my original instincts and included Poland and Georgia among my qualifiers, and took out San Marino. It says a lot that my original, pre-rehearsal prediction, was better, with 9/10.

So tonight, I think I'm going to stick to my guns, and go with my original impressions as far as possible.

There's a lot here that I'd be delighted to be wrong about - my personal Top 10 in this semi contains at least four of the songs I'm predicting to be out after tonight. Unlike Serhat on Tuesday though, I don't think there's any chance my personal last place (and 41/41 overall), Latvia, comes close to qualifying.

1. Netherlands
2. Sweden
3. Russia
4. Azerbaijan
5. Switzerland
- these obvious top 5 have only solidified their positions in rehearsals)
6. Malta - the YouTube ads and the staging variations, different in every rehearsal, only demonstrate how much Malta are trying. And when Malta are trying in ways we can see, you can be sure they're also trying in ways that we're not seeing.
7. Denmark - total semi-final song, especially coming after a bunch of dark, moody songs
8. North Macedonia - surely even Macedonia can't stuff this up now? If they did, it would be...

9. Romania - I think it's only me who believes in this, and I might be blinded by my love of it, but I think it's strong enough to get through, especially with the professional performance it looks like they're delivering
10. Armenia - despite everything, I think they just scrape through, but I debated this one a lot, and considered swapping it with the two below multiple times.

11. Croatia
12. Austria
13. Norway - this is where I'm really sticking to my guns. I love the song, but when it won the Norwegian final, I said to myself 'this is Verona'. I just don't see who votes for this, outside Eurovision fandom.
14. Lithuania - whereas here I'm going against my original instincts, but Lithuania have done none of their normal staging wizardry that lifted their mediocre mid-tempo males into finals past.
15. Albania - again, I just don't see where the audience is for this
16. Moldova
17. Ireland
18. Latvia