Sunday 23 May 2021

It's over. Goodbye!

So it was quite predictable in the end and our team all guessed the winner and last place correctly (except Jordy. You're fired). But what a fantastic two weeks it's been.

Thank you Netherlands, participants, the EBU and coffee for making all this possible.

Thank you Ben, Roger, SamB, Sild and Jonas (on standby) for blogging in ridiculous hours of the day, and mostly to Jordy for running around between the press centre, the arena and the PCR station to keep you up to date with reports and performances.

Thank you other fansites (particularly for covering what we didn't and sometimes agreeing with us, sometimes having a completely different opinion as if we've watched different things.

And most of all, thank *you* for reading and commenting.

Until next time, Goodbye!

Saturday 22 May 2021

Predictions are getting old

But as the rest of the team are doing this, here's a ranking to either gloat on or be embarrassed by later:

1. Italy | There are many rational reasons against this winning, between lack of mass appeal for this genre and language, and a potential split with Finland. And yet, it's the only thing I've seen that felt like a winner, which is presumably why the punters are backing it.

2. Switzerland | Really stood out last night, and I suspect can attract a lot of televotes.

3. Malta | It's easy to overthink the draw and put it down to 17th or so, but it's still a fun song, it's still Destiny, and it's still Malta and their jury support. They're probably doing a lot of promotion as we speak.

Don't you ever dare to wear my Je Me Casse t-shirt

4. Ukraine | Too captivating to not get a bazillion televote points. Juries could be split on this.

5. France | This seems to have its fans who aren't bothered by the title repeated 8,537 times and the seizure in the end, so should do quite well.

6. Lithuania | It's become easy to forget, having been exactly the same since January, but it's still pretty good and let's not forget the 100+ televote points it's starting with.

7. Iceland | Assuming that sympathy votes will compensate the awkwardness of not being there, it's about where it should end up - cute and silly and rather amateurish doesn't tend to do much better.

8. Greece | Still far from the strongest song and the staging might put some off, but never underestimate a pretty girl in a stunning suit singing competently.

9. Russia | I would have wanted it higher, but have already accepted that it's too messy and too early on to do any better than this.

10. Azerbaijan | Benefits from being the last straightforward female Pop in the final, and from, well, representing Azerbaijan

11. Belgium | This stood out in the semi, but kinda gets lost here - not so much by the draw than the overall competition.

12. Bulgaria | A rather effective staging will give this its best result possible, but it's hard to believe now that she was favourite last year with an almost identical (perhaps slightly better) song.

13. Finland | I'm not sure how this went from a "shock qualifier" to a "potential top 5" even though the performance was the same as we've always seen. It's going to score what it was always going to score.

14. Sweden | Oh, they're in it?

15. Serbia | Most of its fans (like myself) will probably be happy to see this in the final, but not necessarily vote for it in the end.

16. Portugal | Did its thing in the semi and will have its fans. But not that many.

17. Netherlands | I would love it to do better, but it's not exactly instant. Thankfully the performance last night should give it some jury love.

18. San Marino | It was a fun opener and an obvious qualifier in the semi, but in this field, and especially in that draw, it feels more like the interval act has started. Plus, she looks like Alice.

19. Spain | A pleasant surprise in the rehearsal, and now the only straightforward pop ballad in the final, might not be ignored as I'd initially thought.

20. Norway | Another one that made sense to qualify, but there are mightier angels in the running tonight.

21. Moldova | History taught me that if something was a surprise qualifier, it probably won't do too well on Saturday.

22. Israel | The last 20 seconds of the song being used as recap should save this from a televote 0.

23. Albania | I cannot see anything but a similar scenario to Ktheju Tokës.

24. Cyprus | A bit of a daring guess, but I was never really impressed with this to begin with, and it came off quite weak in the lineup yesterday.

25. Germany | I can imagine one or two televote points from a few regional countries.

26. United Kingdom | I can't imagine one or two televote points from a few regional countries.

Enjoy tonight and post your own predictions on our message board!

Fishy Prediction for the Final

I was hoping new haircolour (is mix of Edsilia dress and Ukrainian fur, you will enjoy) would put my head in a sense of clarity, but nope, still as clueless! But I'll give it a go anyway!

1 Italy | Great start, medium middle, KICKASS ending, could it be enough? Or am I just getting carried away by the betting? Can it be called getting carried away when I'm not even that keen myself? I hope you didn't come here in search of answers, I clearly mainly have questions.

2 Malta | It’s been my default winner for a few months, more in lack of another than due to strong conviction, so now there is something else I suppose second makes sense. She’s nailing it though!
3 Ukraine | This feels like the buzzer from Semi 1, and rightly so. I'm expecting a mad audience reaction and a top 3 televote, but maybe some juries will be a bit more doubtful, even if there's absolutely no sensible reason they should. I think this has emerged as my personal favourite tonight, after Denmark was so rudely kicked out on Thursday!

4 Switzerland | Despite the initial reports this was looking weird, this is one of the favourites I've actually had increased faith in after rehearsals/semis, and I think I like it a bit more myself too.
5 France | Whereas this I'm getting increasingly bored of, gradually ever since January. Partly because it's been exactly the same all along, but on the other hand I wasn't even wowed the first time, so instead of going from yay to okay, it's rather gone from okay to excusez-moi, could you zip le mouth, s'il vous plaît. Still, a French victory after 44 years would be quite cool, I must admit!

6 Finland | I assumed this was a solid top 10 for ages, until it somehow just disappeared completely the last few weeks and I even vaguely played with the thought of it missing the final. But then it seems to have become a bit of a thing after the semi after all, somehow! I wanted something to split up the "obvious" top 6 with, and couldn't really find anything else, so let's consider this my little risky thing.
7 Iceland | Can't see the non-live performance hurting it, as it looks seamless, and they were always going to do exactly this anyway, but I can see various areas of Europe not fawning over this in the same way my surroundings are.

8 Russia | Disappears a bit, but it's still that good and it's still Russia.
9 San Marino | I considered throwing this into the ring as my risky 6th place, as I think it will appeal to viewers as a silly and sparkly bit of fun at the end of the line-up, but I suspect the juries had limited patience for it last night.
10 Lithuania | Would've won if it wasn't for the yellow, clearly.
11 Azerbaijan | Would've won if it wasn't for the snake, clearly.
12 Bulgaria | Would've won if it wasn't for all the brown sweet soup, clearly.
13 Portugal

14 Greece | If you'd asked me a month ago I'd say this was a solid 4th place. But then something happened.

15 Albania | I suspect all hope of any televote points out of its core audience in Switzerland and Greece is gone, but that alone should secure them a nice little bundle, and if she doesn't get some jury love too I'm rioting.
16 Serbia | Not expecting much jury love here, but RAM-BA-BA-BAM SAM-SAM-SAM LOM-LOM-LOM.

17 Netherlands | Very glad this is here, even if I rarely actively listen to it or don't expect it to do much at all. But I sincerely hope it gets some jury love!
18 Cyprus | Where did Tamta end up, around here, right? 13th?!
19 Moldova | Really should end up lower tonight, but then she's with Kirkorov, she's better off with him. I want her to come back again without Kirkorov, she'd be better off without him.
20 Belgium | It's in the right place.
21 Norway | I've been thinking 22nd in the final all season, but I'm feeling risky again, can we finally manage to beat Sweden again, as if it was the 90s?!

22 Sweden | Wishful thinking, you say? Tussé.
23 Spain | Speaking of wishing, I wish there was room for this higher up, as it's really nice, Blas seems great (and frankly rather gorge), and they've really done the most of it. I guess we'll just have to be happy that with the quality of Eurovision these days, all these things may still "only" add up to a 23rd place.
24 Israel | Is it a bird?

25 Germany | I do feel hate, and I want to keep feeling it, thankyouverymuch.
26 United Kingdom | It's just a bit pointless, isn't it.

Have a glorious Eurovision, everybody!!

D-Day! Final predictions:


(Edited at 18:01 CET). This is the final one. I think. Yes. No. Yes... yes. Final.

1. France
2. Switzerland
3. Ukraine
4. Italy
5. Portugal
6. Finland
7. Lithuania
8. Azerbaijan
9. Russia
10. Malta
11. Norway
12. Iceland
13. Sweden
14. San Marino
15. Bulgaria
16. Serbia
17. Cyprus
18. Greece
19. Albania
20. Belgium
21. Moldova
22. Israel
23. Netherlands
24. Spain
25. United Kingdom
26. Germany

ESC week | Friday | Final | Jury Show

So you already know the proceedings if you've read Sild's earlier post (and if you haven't, you should), so I'll try to focus on how they played for the juries and my general 'feel'. I've even stopped a dishwasher half way (sacrilege!) to be able to hear vocal performances.

Televote reveal is done fairly professionally, although Chantal does a 2018-style mistake and reveals points before she needs to. That's what rehearsals are for, right? Norway also wins the televote and therefore will host the jury final next year. The woman who's supposed to be TIX is obviously fake because the winning speech is less than 10 minutes. Thank you for reading!

Jury voting and obviously some of the spokespersons aren't the ones who will be on tomorrow (pretty sure the Israeli "Lucy" is a guy, but not going to assume anyone's gender). The singers are no longer there. The Slovenian spokesperson taught Chantal how to say dober večer properly and she recited it, let's all hope she gets it right tomorrow. Also, note to spokespersons:


Barbara is still fabulous. Schöneberger that is. Daði at the hotel room is quite fun when he gets fake 12s. And Norway is the fake jury favourite.

Countdown wait, the votes are still open?? Ok but it's made of people and is the best countdown ever (at least since Nana Muskhuri got hit by an hourglass). Very very cool.

Pre-infection Duncan has a nice new song, unlike Sild I think it would have finished about 17th if it competed tonight.

More interval act and Måns (oh, you again) is on some roof. As are some other winners that we haven't seen in every Eurovision event ever since they won. This is quite well done. And Lordi have new masks.

More interval act and Nikkie's tips video is quite fun, although it's already starting to feel like a very long night. Also, Ruslana is hilarious.

Interval act is pretty effective DJ stuff aimed at the general population watching ESC. The producers know their audience well, like they did yesterday for a the semi viewers...

Snabbis and clips that draw my attention from the computer are Eden's whistle, Malta, Switzerland, Natalia's YeEeEeaghgh, Lithuania, Ukraine, France, Netherlands, Italy and San Marino. Make of it what you will.

San Marino that was an obvious qualifer feels a bit weak after so many strong entries. FloRida must have mistaken himself with FloRea because he tried to eat Senhit's cheek in the end.

Sweden's Tusse is still a nice kid and still pronounces very long Ns. Mostly good but missed a note in the keychange. Tix liked it (or, liked to show himself given the chance)

Italy and it's hard to type because it's just so engaging. This is the energy the night needed. They added a "put your hands up Rotterdam" which I don't think is necessary. Massive reaction.

Netherlands I missed the postcard (forgive me), but Jeangu looks ecstatic to perform and is once again vocally perfect and oozing charisma. Audience somehow managed to get some flags blocking our view. I didn't miss that.

Norway is hard to make sense of - feels a bit out of place in this grand final, and yet feels like something every Eurovision final needs to have. He sang fine and took off his shades again. Audience wasn't impressed, but Hurricane waved their flags to it.

Azerbaijan after 3 vocally perfect entries is a reminder that not everyone is. I'm having fun and so is the arena, but pretty sure jurors without dishwashers will be more critical about this.

France could just as well be live-on-tape with this intimate staging. Fans of this song will be happy to know that Barbara was perfect vocally. I still think it's too repetitive and over-the-top, but there's an applause in the end, including by Jendrik & co.

Ukraine stands out a mile from everything we've seen. Their jury result is difficult to predict but televote-wise this is very, very dangerous. Roar in Ahoy, standing ovation by Manizha.

Lithuanians are competent as ever, but feels kind of tired and weak surrounded by giants. Hard to tell if it's because it's the same as it's been since January or is it because that's what it is. Still, big audience reaction. Blind Channel weren't very impressed.

Bulgaria is still very brown and very sugary. Not perfect vocally and she still says "growing hup". But this will have its audience. Eden liked it.

Break and Edsilia is up in the commentator boxes. Sadly not in the Belgian one to inspect the broken plexiglass.

Finland is a contrast to Germany in every aspect possible. Sounding the same as it always did, big in the hall. Not sure if in the end it was a thank-you or a cough.

Germany's postcard has a lot of sand. Jendrik is singing better than most of the earlier rehearsals I've seen (or did Natalia lower my standards?). The song still exhausts me after 10 seconds. Near mute audience. In the end, Jendrik adds "Thank you! Thank you for slkadlaklshfdkajdfhkhasf"

Moldova qualifying probably means that some jurors still had their dishwasher on. We're getting some Chantal after the postcard. Natalia is still nowhere near a tune, but visually does the job.

Spain's postcard has puppies in Blas's arms and that's surely worth 50 televote points alone? Spot-on and emotional performance, although with some camera angles the moon looked like it's about to hit him.

Iceland gets a very loud supportive audience reaction. The rest, you know.

Switzerland's Tears still looks like everyone's aunt and is singing brilliantly. This is really standing out in this draw after so several ordinaries.

Greece still has the best colour scheme. Stefania swallawed a few words at the start but otherwise good enough. Huge audience reaction as expected.

United Kingdom's James is once again in black leather and vertical stripes. Not fully in tune and quite breathy at times, but this does have good energy. Destiny sees herself on the screen and then decides to show an applause.

Break has short clips of fans lipsyncing to some clasic ESC songs as well as El Diablo, which already feels like it was on forever ago.

Serbia may be separated by Portugal from Malta, but is still a bit too close for comfort. Will one of these suffer? This is still competently performed glorious trash with all the hair.

Portugal still sounds like it does and and makes a perfect contrast to Malta musically and visually. Polite applause by Hooverphonic.

Malta is on and any rumours that they don't need to put an effort tonight because their jury score was guaranteed months ago are not true, or they are and nobody told Destiny, because she's fantastic. Great audience reaction too.

Russia brings back the party that Israel started, the audience is clapping along the intro. Manizha's on top form, this feels like something many viewers will enjoy but not necessarily vote for.

Belgium, just like in the semi, draws my attention off the blog editor as soon as the first notes kick in. Geike is once again great and this is hard to ignore, even if it drags on a bit.

Israel is first to get a big audience reaction when the song starts. Good vocal performance by Eden, but she still can't pronounce the letter R. General feel: Eurovision has properly started, and this is the buildup for something better.

Albania I can see why bloggers complained about the overload of red in the first two songs. At least the blue (turquoise? green? teal? mint? Linda Martin-dress?) smoke effect makes for something different visually. And once again I cannot fault Anxhela's vocals. I think she said "Thank you Eurobash" in the end 🤔

Cyprus sounds about the same as in the semi (mostly competent vocally, poor diction). General impression: rather ordinary.

Intro is a short video and straight to the flag parade which starts after less than 3 minutes. Quite efficient, so have your snacks ready. The real Senhit and Flo are here. Presenters are dress very festively Chantal's dress kina looks like this year's Eurovision logo, but in gold.

Friday 21 May 2021

ESC week | Friday | Final | First Dress Rehearsal

I've just finished watching a playlist of all the final entries in running order, and now I'm... gonna watch all the final entries in running order. We're ready for the first dress rehearsal of this year's Eurovision final! Wonder if any of the Semi 2 qualifiers will have a distinct look of bed hair or hangover breath, or if they were all good boys and girls and went straight to bed as soon as the ever-awkward press conferences were over and done with?

And we are rolling, a few minutes delayed! Introduction film features Duncan and various randomers, who all seem to "connect" via Vasil's chest light flying about across all of Europe and gathering in Rotterdam, and we're inside!

Flag parade is relatively simple and efficient, just announcement of the country, some flags on the backdrop and artists coming out on stage. Way to, instead of some of the veeeeery slow ones we've had.

Oh, I spoke too soon, the hosts are suddenly singing the lady razor ad song in the middle!

Lots of casual outfits in the parade, wonder if they'll stay like that for their performances, or just got up ten minutes to do this and heading to the wasrdrobe. Senhit didn't even get up, some randomer (may or may not have been Flo, I'm gay too) walked on stage in her place.

Not much chitchat from the hosts before we're at it with Cyprus - this really went fast! A bit too fast, even, as there's some panicked shouting after the Cypriot postcard, and Chantal literally getting thrown in front of the camera to do some filling. Hvis det er lov å si...

We know what we're getting with Cyprus, which is probably exactly why it's on first, and why so many of us predicted exactly that. It really deserves to do better than Tamta did, but I'm not sure it will. Somewhat surprisingly, I think it will come down to the juries, as I think most viewers will have forgotten it come voting time.

Maastricht Albania
I'm a little surprised they put this right after Cyprus, not that they're particularly similar [insert discussion about what constitutes as a ballad, a waltz, etc here], but because of the overall red feel. I guess this just had a massive big NUMBER TWO post-it stuck on its back if it qualified, so here we are. She's glorious, of course, even without make-up.

I had this down as 'decent but forgotten, last place' in the semi up until rehearsals, but as you might have guessed, my tarot cards clearly need a change of battery. Or maybe I'll just lay them out again for the final...? #3 isn't exactly great news for this.

She has some great HEYs here and there throughout, but other than that, this whole thing feels like a very long intro to her squeals.

Geike's hair looks less unwashed than it did on Tuesday, but very fuzzy. Makes me relate to this more than ever, I'm a fellow newly-washed-dried-but-undone-hair-just-looks-like-a-fuzzy-mop.

Manizha gets PIZZA! I wannit.

While several others are looking like they just got up, she's as perky and adorable as ever. On paper a quite nothingy draw for this, in this deadland early on and just before a big favourite, but I think it's one of the entries whose draw will matter the least - it is what it is either way, and will get its fair share of votes no matter what. Preferrably about 700 hundred of them, but I'll settle for 600 too.

I've woken up humming LAAADIIIIEEEES pretty much every morning this week, today was no different. I think the performance takes a while to get going, and as such feels a little lost in the draw here, but once it and she gets going... holy heck.



Hahaha, the contrast, RAMBAMBAM! Glorious running order decision here. I feel like I've seen Hurricane more often without make-up than Noel Kelehan lately, that's not something I'd expected!

This is possibly the one I most misjudged before last night, as I felt it was a bit dull and uninteresting, but somehow it really clicked yesterday, and still does. Mainly thanks to them - half of them may not be singing much, but by gosh, they're performers!

We get a winner in the fan video challenge from Nikkie, as well as a greeting from Valentina. No, not that one, the little one.

United Kingdom
There used to be a myth that being on after a break was bad news, wasn't there, after Netherlands didn't qualify with Treble and such? Well, for James it's certainly good news getting separated a bit from Serbia, as those two back to back in the recap that popped up on YouTube last night was slaughtering these poor trumpets.

James is indeed back in black instead of the tinfoil wrapping, luckily. Not that that's going to help anyone with anything.

Lot's of food in the postcard, I'm getting peckish...

Hm, it sounds like she's singing double, is there a backing or tape singing the same just not quite in time? I bet OGAE Greece knows.

Most things that's to be said about this whole effect thing has already been said, I suppose. As she's lying down and floating about you get the sense that they'd probably planned all of this for Superg!rl last year, so she could get a cape on and fly or something, and then had spent so much time and effort on it that they just stuck with it. Cos surely they can't have thought it was a particularly good match for this song.

She's notnin great voice towards the end, but there was a specific growl that I somehow really liked, even if it sounded off - it just made the whole thing feel a little more natural and "vibrant" than before, which was much needed. But she didn't look particularly pleased herself!

His bed hair is disappointingly similar to his normal hair, no particular shrinkage or growage.

There's lots of odd decisions in this, but somehow none of them are bad, it all adds up nicely. The blinking backing wall for the last bit is perfection, but OUCH, his singing for that bit wasn't! He's been perfect for any other run though, so I'm sure he'll be fine when it matters.

In the aforementioned YouTube-recap I thought this felt very "thin" and ordinary when it came on in this order, but I'm not sure if that's because think it's thin and ordinary, or because it is. I don't trust my judgement on this.

<Attenborough voice> This is a rare sighting of the flat-haired Blas in the wild, approach with great caution or it might get startled </Attenborough voice>

Interesting choice to put this in this spot, it seemed like an easy one to "sacrifice" early on, but I appreciate it. There's no rushed Herewego before the howls today, and apart from some dubious notes here and there, I'd say this was pretty decent.

I was a bit surprised at some of the massive notes in this yesterday, did bloggers forget to mention them or have I just not been reading properly? She's very much just going through the motions here, and looking like she'd rather be somewhere else. Maybe she'd like to be in the wilderness looking for Blases.

There's both too much and not enough here, somehow. Too many words, to many points to make, to many "fun" things they want to get across - and yet it's just some people that aren't particularly good at what they're doing running back and forth on a big stage. I wish he'd take a nap.

Quite a surprising 'last envelope' yesterday! But I suppose it went down well in the hall, which would be a decent enough reasoning. Or maybe it was actually [gasp!] random?! There's for sure still an audience for this even in this (bigger and better) company, but will it be enough to get into the top 10s out of Estonia, Sweden and Norway? I doubt it.

Edsilia is high up in the arena, surely the highest point in Netherlands? 🏔 She's talking to Danish and Russian commentators, which is a surprising choice, but a nice change from the obvious Graham Norton!

Favourite thing about this entry is all the animals in the postcard, any chance they can switch song and postcard last minute?

This seems to have plummeted in the odds after last night, does this mean that I've been right all along in thinking this is nice and all, but not at all as special and winnery (and EMOTIONAL etc etc) as we've been led to believe? Again there's absolutely no wrongdoings here, so if this fails completely, it truly was never meant to be.

Was their shade of yellow always this pale? It looks like the kind of yellow people painted their hallways in in 1992. I can't help thinking that this whole thing is a little paler than you'd expect too, which I guess is proof of how good Eurovision has gotten. When something as bright and different and well executed as this can disappear, you know you're in for a good show!

We got the Ukrainian postcard, but then Chantal pops by to talk about opening up (that's what she said), as introduction to a video of Duncan asking us to open up (that's literally what she said).

I assume the break is meant to be before the postcard rather than in between, maybe they just got Fionnualaed as they were looking forward to Ukraine. Understandable.

There's bits of the backing action I find a bit messy and incoherent for the first half of this, with the various men in white running about to do this and that, but it's all forgotten when we get to the buildup to PLING * POW * RUN. The geese are back!

I need a wee and this is exactly like it has been since January, so enjoy or not, do as you please.

Oh, but there was a delay so Chantal had to chitchat about the app, so I didn't miss anything after all! Probably took them a while to unbump all the geese and herd them off the stage after Ukraine.

Yay, the fistbump with cameraman is still there!

Efendi looking rather lovely out of show make-up, somehow making it feel a bit less calculated and more human. Let's go! 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Qualifying always felt more or less like the ceiling of this resultwise, and there's nothing here changing my mind. He's singing it well enough, and it's as wingy as always. Sunglasses goes off before the golden NOOOO, and stays off until the end.

The contrast in professionalism after Norway is quite striking, and so is his face, smile and chest. The photobomber-bird-dancer completely overshadows Jeangu for the first chorus or so, but somehow it doesn't really ruin the connection, Jeangu is charismatic enough to pull you right back in when he wants to.

I can't see the average viewer going for this in any big way, but I really hope enough juries will take note and reward accordingly.

The start here is downright brilliant, with him inviting us in from the back of stage, and completely taking command from the get go, as he leads us onto the main stage. Once we get there though, I can't help feeling it gets a bit samey after a while, which underlines my main beef with this all season, that as a song it isn't quite as good as I wish it were, but rather a bit repetitive.

Then, however, the pyro starts, and this is all just a massive orgy of fire, lights, camerawork, guitars and professionalism. Geese are back.

This is quite 'good draw in theory but actually drowning', isn't it? I've always found the song quite flat and average though, so I'm not the most trustworthy judge here. You can trust me that his 'Can you here them's are quite awful though. I'd rather not hear them, please.

San Marino
Sticking Flo on at the very end felt like a very obvious thing to do, and it's probably good news for San Marino. It was great as a semi opener, with far less (and less good) competition, but I assume it would've disappeared a bit if it were to be first in the final.

Similar to Malta and Ukraine, this almost has to be judged as two separate entries, pre- and post-Rida. Not that he necessarily makes it that different, but just the whole mood and set up for the song gets so much better in the second half, and everyone seem to be enjoying themselves fra more. It better be their best result ever, Serhat being above this would be all kinds of wrong!


Interval acts
Afrojack ft. Wulf and Glennis Grace will be binding us (?) through music via a video, I'm hoping for some gauntlet-throwing.

Glennis appears without gauntlets, but she's singing Titanium, so I can forgive. She's also very Destiny-pink - maybe this is why Destiny decided to change?

After another recaptje, Nikkie's tutorial focuses on voting spokespeople, which is a fun twist. And we get Dayna falling with the trophy, which is always good!

We're then back to Nikkie in the hall, where she stubles in all her words while introducing a Making of film - these are sometimes quite fun, but this is thoroughly generic, and mainly consists of people walking through doors and smiling.

Edsilia is out driving with past winners, and they're all very huggy and kissy, which feels... like, not quite the signal you want to be sending in the current climate.

A nice segment celebrating the Eurovision audience (not specifically the Rotterdam, but all of us, every year), and then we get another recaptje. Destiny still kicks ass.

And it's time to rock the roof, with the rooftop performances of previous winners. Hope Paparizou hasn't been standing up there in the cold without thermal underwear since Tuesday...

No surprises in Måns's rendition of Heroes, it's still as average as it always was, but the balloon guy seems to fly around and above him, which looks quite cute. Teach-In is one of my least favourite winners ever, but it's actually quite sweet here, mainly because 1975 is about four hundred years ago, so these people all look like lovely grandparents.

At the other end of the scale, De troubadour is one of the best winners ever, but they seem to have processed it through a Sieneke-machine here, or via the generic-ator of one of those Swedish dansbands that record new versions of anything with a chorus.

And the endless row of interval acts just keep rolling in, with no sign of any voting countdown, so surely there's more to come after this too... We're treated with Duncan Laurance performing Arcade, before transitioning into his new song. Nice they managed to get a recording of him on stage before he had to get locked up, but the whole thing suffers a bit from clearly happening in an empty arena. Maybe it'll be better during the show tomorrow, if they can add some crowd noise and such.

His new song would not have won Eurovision, for the record, unless it was up against Rafał and only him.

The Countdown
It's finally time, and they've actually made a dance out of it! A bunch of people dressed in blue creating shapes of the "seconds" on stage, though clearly 10 seconds go by a bit faster than that? Maybe it's the timezones.

The result
So there actually doesn't seem to be any more interval acts after they closed the lines - just a brief greenroom interview by Edsilia. Can it possibly be this quick? Or are we just going to be getting a lot more Edsilia-chat once there's actual people there to talk to?

Running order for the final

01 Cyprus
02 Albania
03 Israel
04 Belgium
05 Russia
06 Malta
07 Portugal
08 Serbia
09 United Kingdom
10 Greece
11 Switzerland
12 Iceland
13 Spain
14 Moldova
15 Germany
16 Finland
17 Bulgaria
18 Lithuania
19 Ukraine
20 France
21 Azerbaijan
22 Norway
23 Netherlands
24 Italy
25 Sweden
26 San Marino

Some observations (from myself and/or posters on our Message Board)
- Albania gets a 2nd position again, after 2019
- Malta, as one of the hot bookie faves is on rather early
- The middle finger on stage from Germany is immediately followed by a song mentioning middle fingers.
- Efendi is followed by TIX ...
- The end of the first half has two high-pitched male singers rather close
- While Finland was following Bulgaria in the second semi-final, these contrasting entries will be next to each other again but in reversed order.
- Also Belgium and Israel are 'neighbours' again, and again in reverse order compared to the first semi-final.
- Eight of the ten semi-final two qualifiers are in positions 7 to 17,  with only three automatic finalists between them, and no qualifiers from semi-final one.

Thursday 20 May 2021

Our predictions for the second semi-final

After watching rehearsals for the second semi-final this is who the ESC Nation bloggers predict to qualify tonight:

















Full marks for San Marino, Greece, Iceland, Bulgaria, Finland and Switzerland. Mixed feelings about Austria, Albania, Moldova, Portugal, Serbia and Denmark. At least two of those twelve of course will definitely miss out.

We're unanimous in predicting Estonia, Czech Republic, Poland, Georgia and Latvia will not make it to the final.

Are we up for a shock though? We'll know in about six hours. Enjoy tonight's show!

Fishy Predictions for the Second Semi-Final

A last-minute, foolish decision to kick out Sweden in favour of Romania in my prediction for Tuesday's semi-final resulted in getting 9/10 right, instead of my first ever 10/10...

So can I make up for it today, I wonder? Unlike Semi 1, I've been thinking for weeks that Semi 2 has ten quite clear-cut qualifiers, and while some have improved or gotten worse during the rehearsals in Rotterdam, I don't think any of these changes have massively affected the qualification chances. Hence there are no weirdass, last-minute alterations in the list below - now watch that being the foolish decision...

I find it a bigger challenge to dig out a semi winner among this bunch than ten qualifiers, as I don't really think anyone has it in them (except Denmark, of course! 🕺). There's about four that feel like they should come 3rd, so I guess it'll just have to be one of those.

1 Bulgaria | It's not really for me, but it clearly is for many others, and I can't fault the performance, so here we are.
2 Iceland | Just to make sure I don't get disappointed when this does better than it deserves, let's just make sure I expect the worst, eh? I truly couldn't stand Think About Things last year, so it was no big surprise this was equally awful, seeing as it's pretty much the same content in the same wrapping. There was a couple of months of glorious relief when far less people seemed to take to 10 Years than to Think About Things, but then somehow people were sold again as soon as they stepped onto the Rotterdam stage and did exactly what everyone knew they would because they always do, dressed exactly like everyone knew they would because they always are. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
3 Switzerland | I never quite saw this as the winning candidate that the odds suggested a few weeks ago, but after seeing it in full in the dress rehearsal yesterday, I also don't think it's any less of a winner now than it was before, despite the somewhat controversial staging, outfit and hand-move choices. Maybe the staging somehow fits it perfectly, and finally shows off the song for what it always was? I'm not entirely sure what that is, however...
4 Greece | Great songs shine through no matter what, but there was no need for that complicated staging.

5 San Marino | I don't think Mr Rida's appearance is making much of a difference as such (whether he's famous, unknown, a has-been or what, would any of those lead to people voting en masse either way?), but it does seem to make Miss Hit very happy and cheerful that he's arrived, which I do think might make a difference.
6 Austria | It's just good, and it shows.
7 Finland | This will certainly have its audience, even if it'll probably have shrunk considerably by Saturday.

8 Albania | Unsurprisingly I've loved this for half a year already, and for once it seems I'm not completely alone in appreciating a shouty and dramatic Albanian lady. Could it be because they've included a [gasp!] tune and a [double-gasp!] structure for once?!
9 Moldova | Quite varied reports from rehearsals, but I'd say it's a strong enough song in its own right. And considering the people behind it, I'm expecting some calls to have been made.

10 Denmark | Pretty please?! 🥺

11 Serbia | I wish they'd gone a bit more overboard with this, for something as loud and chaotic, it comes across surprisingly boring on stage.
12 Portugal | Yes, it looks very good on stage. But let's not forget it's still a godawful song with a godawful voice and a godawful ponytail under a godawful hat.

13 Poland | There are some bits of the song I really like, but no no no. So amateur and average I don't even think UK would've sent it.
14 Latvia | I can easily imagine any of these last four ending dead last - it really is about time we get a four-way tie for last place like in the sixties, isn't it? This one is both awful and glorious though, so might manage to convince some freaks to vote for it. It could even be me 😳
15 Czechia | The sooner he doesn't qualify, the sooner we can elope 🥰
16 Georgia | Feels almost too obviously last to end last.
17 Estonia | Most things would seem bleak after Senhit and Flo's colour explosion, but it's as if they've arranged meetings to think of ways to make this as bleak and forgettable as humanly possible, and even forgot to attend those meetings. I challenge you all to hum this tomorrow at lunch. I'd offer a reward for those that manage, but it feels way too hypothetical to bother.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

ESC week | Wednesday | Second Semi-Final | Jury Show

This will be a rolling blog, each country in running order, so please refresh to update.

Here I am again. This is quite exciting, I don't think I've ever seen a jury show before. At least not since they were "jury shows". Most likely I have witnessed a good old second dress rehearsal back in the day.


It's starting! I see a windmill!

People are dancing. Whatevs. 

The crowd are cheering Chantal's French. A lot.

SPOILER: Edsilia said 10 great songs will qualify. 

🇸🇲 | San Marino

"Good Evening Europe! Are you ready to...[incomprehensible]?"

Hard to say anything that hasn't been said. It has everything you could possibly want and must the most perfect show opener ever. If it qualifies and draws first half...would they dare?

Miss Hit is sounding better than before and just looks *so* happy to be here. Mr Rida is, well, here. And wearing some shorts the BBC had going spare.

🇪🇪 | Estonia

I'm not saying this sounds flat coming after the Most Serene Entry. But well.

OK, let's be positive: It's not that bad.

🇨🇿 | Czech Republic

He's rather breathy. And not in a good way. Yeah, just doing his thing. Enjoyable, but not spectacular.

But the smile at the end. I'm gonna have to distract Sild with a huge bottle of rosé and then steal Benny.

🇬🇷 | Greece

Sounding good. Finds the camera. Every time.

I think the whole green screen effect looks a But it's a talking point and keeps your attention.

Senhit seen cheering wildly from the Most Serene Green Room. 

🇦🇹 | Austria

He really feels this. And you can hear every word so clearly. If this isn't sweeping up jury votes than I don't know what is.

And there's those lights. Oooh, the lights.


🇵🇱 | Poland

The opposite of emotion. 

Positive: I needed to go and fill up my glass. Yes, drinking on the job again.


It's Molly Sandén talking about appearing at Eurovision. Hmm.

🇲🇩 | Moldova

The juries won't like those opening "vocals".

Yeah, it's a good job that this isn't the kind of song that needs amazing vocals. And that makes the looooong last note even more conspicuous. Still, this still basically does what it says on the tin. Or packet.

🇮🇸 | Iceland

I can literally point you to my rehearsal blog from Thursday!

Still smiling. And there are *lots* of nicely added cheers. And a crowd shot at the end. Fits in seamlessly.

🇷🇸 | Serbia

Ok, I'm feeling it more now. Actually makes me want to bop this time. Might be the wine. Sanja managing to look happy while singing the big notes, rather than angry, and that's not easy.

Likely qualifier, and then just watch it sweep up the Balkan votes in the final.

🇬🇪 | Georgia

Talking of wine.

Mountain, I wanna feel you. #ThatsWhatSheSaid

This is very dark. And I don't think the juries will appreciate some of those notes.

OK, he recovered. It is quite soothing after the Serbian tempest. So props to the running order peeps.

 🇦🇱 | Albania
Albania in red-and-black staging shocker.

Not her best vocals in places. This song will have its rosé-drinking audience. But that's not me.

🇵🇹 | Portugal

We already know I am the anti-Sild. So yes, I really like this.

Masterful staging, which you've probably all seen from clips. legal and otherwise. He sounds like he sounds. This is what this is.

Like Albania really, this is either your thing or it's not.

*finally another break* I'm quite exhausted.

Oh, yay, It's La Paparizou. Now, laugh!

🇧🇬 | Bulgaria

Hmm, postcard and then Chantal talking and then a weird video with Duncan Laurence talking about music.

And then to Victoria.

The sand thing doesn't really work. She looked scared to touch it. And then you could see the bucket being hoisted away.

She is a very engaging performer though. And even smiles at the end. Yay!

🇫🇮 | Finland

Straight from postcard to performance. Hooray!

This evening's theme is songs which have their audience. And this got a very loud cheer.

🇱🇻 | Latvia

*turns down volume*

Hmm, not sure that was the right key, Samanta?

Goodness, it pains me to say this, as I love Samanta and rather like this song, but this could see Latvia back to its golden days of last place in the semi.

🇨🇭 | Switzerland

This is nothing like as busy as I was expecting from reports and previous clips.

It is a bit like a supersized version of Paul Rey's staging from this year's MF though.

Sings well, obvi. And manages some smiles too, which really help.

🇩🇰 | Denmark

To quote someone from the online press centre chat: "As if the stage has been made exclusively for them."

Jesper singing better than in the Danish final.

*clap clap*

So that went quickly. Everyone except Latvia is qualifying.

Aww, Iceland in the hotel lobby for their green room shot in the reprise. ❤️

Interval: It's a bit like Ola & Barbro from Eurovision 63 (only Ola & Ola). And one of the Olas is shirtless.

They have food in the green room. 

Edsilia: Have you spoken to Katrina?
James: No.
Edsilia: Oh...Embers..I've never used that word
James: It means the bit of the fire that's still burning
Edsilia: Oh.

Having just had the chat and clips of the finalists, they will now get to perform in full.

🇫🇷 | France

Nothing new to report from this performance, apart from a slight giggle in between all the Voilàs.

🇬🇧 | United Kingdom

A minute's delay before this to do some "flame checks".

He's swapped the gold outfit for plain black. Other than that, he's doing his best, bless.

🇪🇸 | Spain

"Our stage hands are working hard."  I don't think they'll be putting the UK and Spain next to each other on Saturday.

The vocal/music mix here feels a bit off.

Hahaha. He offers us a "here we go" before the big notes (which he hits perfectly).

I doubt you want to know about the announcement of the fake qualifiers, so I shall bid you a good night. Enjoy tomorrow!

ESC week | Wednesday | Second Semi-Final | First Dress Rehearsal

While celebrations and speculations after the first semi-final last night are still very much alive, we're ready to dive into another dress rehearsal, and finally see how the next batch of entries look and sound when they're all nicely tied together!

After the intro video consisting of polders and such, we're treated with a performance on stage by some moody lady and a dancer, soon exploding in a full-on dance performance with pyro and all. And in come the hosts!

Chantal is in a teal dress, clearly in sympathy of Iceland. But it's all about Edsilia and her very very yellow/lime green outfit! 😍

San Marino
A colour explosion! The start with her massive golden headpiece thing is both ridiculous and glorious, but my main take is that I'm very impressed how good (or, well, big) her hair looks when they take it off her. Flo (I assume?) joins in, and it really adds to it all, and you can tell it's more of a pro than Jenny B.

Racecars in the postcards really isn't the way to seem more likeable or interesting, is it... Yet it's probably the most interesting thing here. It's all quite nicely done and decently sung, but zzzzz.

I mainly noticed pics saying Asian in Benny's "house" in the postcard, what's that about?

Omaga he so cute! I'm defs stealing, but he can leave that golden, glittery jacket in Rotterdam. He performs it decently well, but as people have described before, it mainly feels like some people bouncing about on a big stage, I'm struggling to find much of a coherent concept here. Favourite bit is when he suddenly crouches down and clearly hadn't mentioned this to the camera people, as he just disappears. Adorbz in the end when they all gather in front of the camera and giggle!

Looks great at the start, with her alone in all the purple, but sounds a bit ropey... Then the effect kicks in, and she sounds better, but I'm not entirely sold on this concept. Particularly since all of the green clearly reflects in her hair, eyes and sparkly outfit, so she ends up being quite grey. The stairs and leaning back is possibly a bit better, but all in all, I'm left with this being a better version of Ireland, but still with a lingering why?

The word die is a bit overly clear at the beginning here, but it's quickly forgotten when the chorus kicks in and the stage shows all its lightning glory, creating a very nice, narrow "hallway" in which he performs. It feels like a much easier, and yet more striking, way of standing out than what Greece did.

Stage bathed in a golden light for the last chorus, and all in all a very solid effort, this should sail through.

I literally LOLed as this started, the contrast in quality was striking after Austria, both in how it looks and how he sounds. He's singing weirdly deep all the way through, and sounds out of breath already in the second verse, and the 'uncle at karaoke' look that other bloggers have mentioned is spot on.

Oh Christ Almighty and all his eternal serene rappers, it just keeps getting worse!

Nikkie's giving us some fan videos, before moving over to a little Fire Saga segment, including a message from Molly Sandén (whose name Nikkie pronounced as Sændn, rather than Sandén), and a bit of Jeangu's pwetty face.

Natalia has a candy train in her postcard-house!! I want one.

A surprisingly simple staging from Moldova (particularly considering the video!), but it works quite well. Oddly, I think particularly the instrumental "chorus" is quite neat, with their syncronised moves - I was expecting that to potentially look a bit empty. There's a veeeeeeeeeeeery long note in the end, was that always there?! And is she actually singing it live, or just faking it? Sounds good!

I'm assuming this is a pretty safe qualifier, but also not doing much on Saturday.

As much as I despise this, I feel really sorry for them not being able to have the time of their life on stage tomorrow and Saturday. The intro looks very neat, with just their silhouettes over a purple background, before it all goes into the usual Daoi-mððd, with their moves and all the colours of the world. I like the second screen with all the colourful faces, but other than that, I'm a bit baffled at the reactions this has got for the rehearsals, as I think it's pretty much exactly how it was always going to be.

Well something is clearly sung live in that first verse... They're gloriously undone in hair and make-up, which makes for an amusing contrast to their usual looks. There's not much to say about the staging here, apart from maybe mildly disappointing. There's just not much happening, while I think they should've probably jazzed it up a few notches to win over some people out of its core audience. As it is, I think said core audience is too limited to tip this over.

Quite the contrast here, which could theoretically work for Tornike, but it... doesn't. It mainly comes across as the slightly hopeless, slow thing it is, plus he disappears completely in the dark about half the time.

We're postcarding in Maastricht, seems a decent compromise for not getting to host it.

Once we're back in Rotterdam, we meet Anxhela in red (shocker) lights and fog, a suitably dramatic entrance. All alone on stage just like Tornike, but unlike him, she has the presence to own it all, while also looking deep into the cameras. I'm obviously biased, but surely deserves to go through.

Well, speaking of biased... Let's see if they can manage to win me over during these three minutes.

The black and white filter until the first chorus ends fits it quite well, makes it seem a bit like something from an old film. Probably a classic I've never seen. There's a nice shot of the lead singer walking out to the satellite stage alongside the second screen, where the stage gets a much warmer feel that fits the atmosphere. Good job.

Am I won over? Heck no, it's ghastly.

We cut to Paparizou to talk about her underwear, and have a look at her winning entry from, hmm, about eight years ago, right?

I think I quite like her boat/cliff, except the fact she's sitting right at a giant crack in it, which is very visible when we zoom in on the photo of her and her dad, underlining that it's just cardboard or so. The shoes, however, I'm quite sure I don't like. But then I'm getting old.

All in all this is a decent and complete package that stands out and will for sure have an audience. I'm not really it, but it's all quite nicely done.

This is in my top 10 of all the entries, and yet I somehow always forget it exists. Is that a sign it will be forgotten by everyone else too, or is it just that it's so obviously doing exactly what it was always going to do, so not much point in bothering my little head with it?

It's red, flashy and pyro-y, and makes me feel like it's 2004 all over again, but I do wish we got to connect with the singers a little more. I have no clue what they look like, and they're right in front of me.

This one is a little harder to ignore, somehow. All the green should be right up my alley, but the shade of green is somehow just a little off - it's as if it's a mix of kitchen-green and Daoi-grððn.

The singing is mainly loud. Sometimes she sounds really off, but I'm not entirely sure if it's just me being used to the studio version and it slightly diverting from that, or if it's actually properly off. Not that I think it matters much anyway, if this was ever going to qualify, it would with or without that vocal performance. (Hint: It won't)

A refreshing draw for this, even with a brief host-break as buffer between THE QUEEN and Gjon. The performance starts off quite intimately, before getting bigger and more dramatic. He sings well throughout, and I really like how it all looks towards the end with the blinking lights on the backdrop. Quite far from a winner, but not really due to any choices they've made here.

Et dansetrin - and ta-dah! 🕺

Actually seeing the backing singers lined up for everyone to see was very striking, gave it a nicely nostalgic feel. Otherwise it's all very similar to the Danish final - purple and joyous. I don't think this is winning over anyone that wasn't already won over, but hey, I'm overwonneded enough for everyone!

Mainly sensible choices for which bit of song, except San Marino's that felt a bit... song-less. But it's a bit with both Mrs Hit and Mr Rida, so that's probably why.

Interval acts
Close Encounters of a Special Kind, apparently, and the first close enounter we see is that of Chingiz and some other person?? No, can't be, this guy looks likeable.

Another snabbreprijstje before countdown, and then it's time for part two of looking back at winners, this time with Duncan in Johnny Logan's slippers (and someone else's unflattering suit).

Nikkie's tutorial is focusing on teaming up today, about finding your right backings and helpers. Like Loboda's dancers, for instance. "Get a muppet DJ!". It's a sock, Nikkie.

For greenroom interviews Edsilia is talking to a fake Stefania, which makes sense. And then Benny, jeej! She probably should've talked to him for a bit longer, as we're now treated with some stage-mopping.

In a shocking twist, this looks and sounds exactly like it always did and was always going to. Favourite part is still that brief close-up of her hand just before the turning point of the song.

Oh, new favourite part - a fistbump with the cameraman as she's finished!

United Kingdom
James has set up a tent right next to his little postcard house, which feels... a bit pointless, when there's, well, a little postcard-house right there? #staycation

He's on stage dressed about as subtly as Tix today, with a full golden suit under the horrible jacket. Not sure if this is to underline it or draw attention from it, but it does neither. There's some added pyro flashes here and there, but it doesn't really add much.

Blas is watching a little clip of himself singing Sentir from the JESC NF in his postcard-house, any chance we can have a last minute replacement of song? I won't tell anyone it's been out a while...

There's some bits of worse singing today than the previous rehearsal I saw of this, both in some unimportant verses early on and for some big howls, but overall this is still solid for what it's doing. And his hair is higher again - phew!

And with that, over and out, time to let the moon back out into traffic!

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Our final predictions!

 Your predictors: Jordy, Sild, BenNL, Sam and Yami