Eurovision 2016 Final: Review, Results and Analysis

Ukraine Jamala Eurovision ABCEurope, we have a winner! Jamala from Ukraine took home the victory with the intense and emotional song ‘1944’. After an exciting results show she managed to defeat Australia who won the jury vote and Russia who received the most votes in the televoting. The result will sure be talked about a lot in the coming days and here are my two cents! A review and analysis of the performances and the results!

Let me start by saying that the Swedish broadcaster SVT has once again done a great job to produce an entertaining show. Petra Mede and Mans Zelmerlöw have been great hosts in all three shows and the interval acts were all worth watching, especially Justin Timberlake of course. The new way of presenting the results definitely worked to create a lot of excitement, but the only thing we seriously should be over with these days, is the compliments from the spokespersons to the hosts. This is meaningless and takes time. Just let the persons say: “good evening Europe”, followed by their votes. Then they would actually have time to read the top 3 out loud.

01. Belgium: Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure
The show was off to an energetic start with the performance from Belgium’s Laura Tesoro. The funky disco banger was performed with a lot of enthusiasm and on point dance moves and although Laura sounded a little better on Thursday, she absolutely deserved a place in the top 10. The juries were a little more into ‘What’s The Pressure’, but good to see her at the 10th position, while nobody gave her a chance at first.

02. Czech Republic: Gabriela Guncikova – I Stand
Poor, poor Czech Republic. They finally made it to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, but then received 0 points from the televoting. Luckily enough the song ‘I Stand’ proved to be popular enough with the juries to keep her from ending up in last place. In fact, the Czech Republic wouldn’t even have been in the final if the televoters had the power. Either way, it is a powerful ballad with some great vocal work by Gabriela. Hope the Czechs will come back next year after this 25th place.

03. The Netherlands: Douwe Bob – Slow Down
Excitement about Douwe Bob’s Eurovision participation had been growing to high heights in the past few days, so it must be quite disappointing to see he just miseed out on top 10. He once again gave a vocally great performance, but the moment of silence and the last chorus were visually a little messy. Still the song deserved a good position and the 11th spot is not bad at all, considering the starting position. Douwe can be proud!

04. Azerbaijan: Samra – Miracle
Azerbaijan’s Samra is not the best vocalist and that is what we all heard tonight. The chorus of the power pop track ‘Miracle’ sounded good mostly because of the backings who took over. It is not really surprising that this song did way better with the televoters than the juries. For the combination of this strong song and mediocre performance, a 17th position sounds about right.

05.Hungary: Freddie – Pioneer
Freddie from Hungary has a powerful but raw voice which makes the chorus of ‘Pioneer’ sound that little bit more in your face. The staging with the floor projections was nice enough and the performance overall just screams decent. In the overall list of participating songs, this did not really stand out to me, but a 19th position is about what I would have given him.

06. Italy: Francesca Michielin – No Degree of Seperation
Italy once again sends a gorgeous ballad to the Eurovision stage. Although Francesca has a great tone to her voice which suits the intimacy of her ballad, her live performance was defintely not flawless and visually it looked quite cheap for most of the time. Not the performance I would have hoped for, but based on song alone this should have placed in top 10. Italy finished in 16th position, mostly thanks to the juries.

07. Israel: Hovi Star – Made of Stars
Israel brought a traditional ballad with a progressive message to the Eurovision stage. The eye catching performer Hovi has en excellent voice and sings his ‘Made of Stars’ perfectly. The juries obviously picked up on that and awarded him with more points than the people at home. This brought him to the 14th position overall which is a nice result for that song and performance.

08. Bulgaria: Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime
Bulgaria brought one of the most catchy and contemporary tracks to the table with Poli Genova’s ‘If Love Was A Crime’. The track is infectious and actually could be a hit. It is so good to see that Europe, both juries and people at home, actually believed in that too after Poli gave an even better performance than in the semi final. She reached the 4th position, which is Bulgaria’s best result so far. Congrats Poli, we were rooting for you!

09. Sweden: Frans – If I Were Sorry
Hosting country Sweden was represented by the 17 years old Frans and his song ‘If I Were Sorry’. He is a very charming performer and this completely worked on screen as he got a lot of support from the people in the arena. The song is said to sound a lot like Matt Simons’ ‘Catch & Release’, but that didn’t stop Sweden from once again reaching top 5! Actually Frans is currently having the biggest hit out of all the participating songs on the European iTunes charts with top 10 positions in multiple countries. Well done AGAIN, Sweden!

10. Germany: Jamie Lie – Ghost
Oh Germany… Let’s start out with the good news. Jamie Lee can sing! Her mid tempo track ‘Ghost’ is not necessarily a bad song, but it just does not stand out in between 25 other performances at all. There is no climax in both the track and the performance so it is not surprising this ended up at the last position. Germany should think through their national selection though, because this is where they ended up last year as well.

11. France: Amir – J’ai Cherché
France was one of the big favourites before the rehearsals started, but then had to give in a few places. He is definitely not the best singer of the contest, but he can carry most of his infectious tune by himself. Whe it comes to the high notes though, he gets a lot of help from his backings, but as long as this prevents the performance from sounding out of key, it is alright. The song might have needed a bit more of a visually interesting performance instead of him just standing in between some planets, if they wanted to have a shot at top 3, but anyway, France did have its best result since a very long time with that 6th position, so cheers to Amir for that!

12. Poland: Michal Szpak – Color Of Your Life
The Polish entry strongly divided juries and the public as he was almost at the bottom when the juries were done giving their points, but ended up in top 3 when it comes to televoting. I honestly did not really get it. To me the song sounded a bit too old fashioned and the lyrics were a cliche. Michal is a great performer though and his success could not only be explained by the help of diaspora around Europe. He could be proud of the fact that the people at home helped him to an 8th position on the scoreboard.

13. Australia: Dami Im – Sound of Silence
Australian Dami Im did another outstanding performance of her power ballad ‘Sound of Silence’. Both visually and vocally, everything was perfect and her song actually sounds like something that could be in the charts today. The juries let her win by a mile, but then she only reached the 4th spot with the voters at home, which let her just miss out on the victory, making Australia the runner up of this year’s contest. I was rooting for her to win, but oh well!

14. Cyrpus: Minus One – Alter Ego
Cyprus once again delivered a decent performance of their rocky and catchy tune. It did not make that much of an impression in between all the others songs though. This was never expected to go very far on Saturday night and the 21st position they received is where they belong.

15. Serbia: ZAA Sanja Vucic – Goodbye (Shelter)
Serbia was represented by power ballad ‘Goodbye (Shelter)’ about ending a toxic relationship and although Sanja sang her heart out, I didn’t really feel it. The performance with the dancer who gets pushed away works, but I never really got moved by the whole thing. Europe placed them on the 18th spot which kind of shows it was not one of the most memorable performances of the night.

16. Lithuania: Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting For This Night
Donny Montell sure made a lot of hearts beat faster tonight. He served us one more powerful performance of his extremely catchy pop tune and in combination with the more than on point visuals, this was enough to bring him all the way to the 9th position. This is one of the songs I could actually see becoming a hit after the show, so congratulations on your top 10 result Donny!

17. Croatia: Nina Kraljic – Lighthouse
The nerves might have gotten the better of Nina Kraljic during the final. While her voice already sounded thin, but at least in tune on Tuesday, she missed a lot of notes during the big finale. Her voice turned out to be not strong enough to carry the big build up of her ‘Lighthouse’ and it didn’t help either that she was wearing the most destracting dresses. That’s gonna make you end up at 23rd position on the final scoreboard!

18. Russia: Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One
Russia was the one to beat tonight with a visually arresting performance that did take inspiration from last year’s winner. All the projections could not take away from the fact that the song sounds quite dated and not like 2016 at all. The juries weren’t all that impressed it showed, but from televoting, Russia still received the highest points. This wasn’t enough to to bring the victory home or to overtake Australia, so Sergey has to accept the third position.

19. Spain: Barei – Say Yay!
Barei from Spain had quite an unlucky startin position after Russia with an uptempo song. The catchy tune with a slight retro disco vibe did get the people in the arena to enthusiastically sing along and cheer for the Spanish pop star, but even a staged fall could not impress the juries and televoters enough to give Spain another top 10 position. They only got as far as 22 and both Barei and the song deserved way more than that.

20. Latvia: Justs – Heartbeat
After last year’s Eurovision revival in Latvia by Aminata, she helped her country into the final again this year by composing ‘Heartbeat’ for singer Justs. He gives it his all vocally and visually the performance is very much on point as well. The song sounds in touch with what music is hot these days which brought him to the 15th position in the overall results. Not bad after missing out on the final for years before Aminata came along.

21. Ukraine: Jamala – 1944
Ukraine took a risk this year by sending Jamala with the heavy ‘1944’ about the deportation of the Tatars out of Crimea in 1944. The EBU decided the song was not too political so Jamala was allowed to tell the story of her family in front of 200 million viewers. They seemed to be moved by her powerful performance and the pain in her vocals. Visually, the performance was just perfect. The projections added to the story and emotion, but never took away from the heartfelt performance by Jamala. She took second place both with juries and the televoters and that was enough to bring the contest back to Kiev. Although I don’t see the song becoming a hit after the show, she is a worthy winner for bringing a degree of emotion to the Eurovision stage, we don’t see often.

22. Malta: Ira Losco – Walk On Water
Malta’s Eurovision queen Ira Losco gave another pitch perfect performance of her contemporary pop banger ‘Walk On Water’. The staging wasn’t all that spectacular, but the song did not need that either. The juries were a little more enthusiastic about the whole thing than the people at home, but Ira can definitely be proud of both her performances and the 12th place it brought her.

23. Georgia: Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold
You know you are doing Britpop right when the juries of the United Kingdom give you 12 points! ‘Midnight Gold’ is a well written song and the performance is vocally perfect, but in terms of special effects and lightning it all went a bit over the top. Still a risky entrance and we should have more of those. Georgia finished in 20th position in the competition.

24. Austria: Zoë – Loin D’Ici
Austria took the responsibility on them to keep one song completely in French in the competition. The oh so charming Zoë gave another vocally perfect rendition of her ‘Loin D’ici’ and it is great to see how much the die hard Eurovision fans love this song. The juries kind of ignored Austria, but luckily the televoters put her in their top 10, making her reach the 13th position of which she can be proud.

25. United Kingdom: Joe and Jake – You’re Not Alone
The UK chose two handsome lads to represent them this year, but they obviously forgot to screen for the best vocalists as well, ast the two go out of tune too much to deliver a believable performance of their pop tune ‘You’re Not Alone’, which is rumoured to be a song turned down by boyband The Wanted. When will the UK finally understand that you are not going to do well in Eurovision with just two pretty faces and a left over song? 24th place once again.

26. Armenia: Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave
I would like to go as far as to say that Armenia had the best visual performance in the whole contest. The rhythmic editing and the unconventional shots of Iveta, it all helped to sell the unusual song that is ‘LoveWave’. It is a risky track for Eurovison, but with the voice and star quality of Iveta, nothing can go wrong really. She brought the show to a spectacular end and I would have liked to see her in top 5, but Armenia can be content with the 7th position as well.

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