Eurovision 2017 Final: Review, Results and Analysis

salvador sobral wins

The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 is done and we have a winner: Portugal! After participating 49 times and never making the top 5 of the final before this year, the contest is finally moving to Lisbon next year! Salvador Sobral’s intimate and moving ‘Amar Pelos Dois’ convincingly won both the votes of the juries and people at home after a stunning performance in the live show. A Bit of Pop Music looks back at the 26 performances and the results.

01. Israel: Imri – I Feel Alive (23rd)
After closing the second semi final, Imri opened the final with his dance tune ‘I Feel Alive’. He managed to reach the third place in the semi final, probably thanks to his place in the running order and better vocals on Thursday night. He is a seductive performer who knows how to play with the camera, but vocally he missed a few notes. The Israeli spokesperson announced during the result that this will be the last Israeli participation as the broadcaster IBA will soon stop to exist. Hopefully another broadcaster will join EBU and we will see Israel again to deliver a better result than this year’s 23rd spot.

02. Poland: Kasia Mos – Flashlight (22nd)
Poland’s Kasia Mos had the unfortunate second spot in the running order and although she once again gave a decent vocal performance, the suspenseful ballad definitely did not stand out enough to be remembered after all 26 countries performed. Just like last year, Poland did better with televoting than juries, but not nearly enough to come close to the top 10, which would not have been deserved anyway.

03. Belarus: Naviband – Story Of My Life (17th)
Belarus deservedly made it into this year’s Eurovision final, but their folk pop performed in Belarusian was clearly too light to make much of an impression in the results show. Their performance was once again decent although the waving with the hands during the chorus looked a bit infantile. ‘Story Of My Life’ gets repetitive towards the end, but the charming stage presence of the duo is endearing to watch. They can be proud of their result either way!

04. Austria: Nathan Trent – Running On Air (16th)
Austria’s 16th position with Nathan Trent’s ‘Running On Air’ was solely thanks to the juries, as the televoters did not award him a single point in the final show down. To be honest, I was a bit surprised when he even made it into the final as his radio pop song is easily forgettable and his vocals weren’t perfect. He missed the same big note in the final, but managed to at least convince the juries with his charismatic stage presence and beautiful staging.

05. Armenia: Artsvik – Fly With Me (18th)
Armenia’s 18th(!) position is potentially the biggest shocker in the result show for me. ‘Fly With Me’ is such a beautiful composition and both vocally and visually, Artsvik once again gave a stunning performance. I have to admit that the track had to grow on my slightly and possibly the European audience didn’t ‘get’ it on first listen either, which obviously is essential in Eurovision. Either way, I hope Armenia keeps on sending classy songs and performances like this for years to come!

06. The Netherlands: O’G3NE – Lights and Shadows (11th)
The O’G3NE girls delivered another vocally stunning performance of their empowering pop song ‘Lights and Shadows’. Written by their father, sung for their mother, they touched the hearts of the juries around Europe, as they were in top 5 in that part of the voting. Unfortunately the televoters weren’t as impressed, causing O’G3NE to just fall out of the top 10, but the girls sure can be proud and I hope to see them back on the Eurovision stage one day, hopefully with a slightly more contemporary song.

07. Moldova: Sunstroke Project – Hey Mamma (3rd)
I think it is safe to say that Moldova was the biggest surprise of the results of the final. Sunstroke Project delivered another faultless performance of their potential summer hit ‘Hey Mamma’ and the fun they have on stage is simply contagious to watch. The juries did appreciate them enough for their 3rd spot with the televoters to give them the 3rd place overall as well. This is Moldova’s best result in the Eurovision Song Contest to date and although I would not have placed them this high, I think ‘Hey Mamma’ has a real shot at becoming a summer hit around Europe.

08. Hungary: Joci Pápai – Origo (8th)
Hungary brought one of the most unique and authentic songs to the Eurovision stage, which gave them a spot in the top 10 this year. Although I still think the rap parts do not fit the song and the staging of the track is quite predictable, Joci Pápai has been consistently delivering good vocals and the hook of the chorus just sticks with you, even after hearing 25 other songs as well. Great to see countries who take the risk to perform in their own language doing so well!

09. Italy: Francesco Gabbani – Occidentali’s Karma (6th)
Although the 6th place in the final of Eurovision is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, the Italian delegation must be quite disappointed with the result. After being the favourite to win the whole competition for months, Francesco Gabbani did not convince Europe enough with his ‘Occidentali’s Karma’. His performance was vocally decent and there is no denying that the track is very well written and irresistibly catchy, even if you do not understand a word of Italian. The staging however was quite messy with a huge colour expolosion and of course the dancing ape. I think the message of the song in combination with the performance just did not really reach the people at home. It turns out, still a lot depends on the performance and we (luckily) just can’t predict the outcome before the actual night.

10. Denmark: Anja Nissen – Where I am (20th)
Poor Anja Nissen had to perform before and after the main favourites to win the show, which obviously made her performance a bit less memorable. As it turns out, she wasn’t even close to qualifying for the final if it was up to the televoters (she only received 5 points), but luckily the juries saved her and they did the same in the final. With another stunning vocal performance of her powerful pop tune ‘Where I Am’ she managed to give Denmark a position in the top 20 of this year’s contest.

11. Portugal: Salvador Sobral – Amar Pelos Dois (1st)
Everything about Salvador’s performance on Saturday night screamed winner to me. As always he managed to tell the story of the song beautifully. Vocally it was spot on and all together moving, even if you do not speak Portuguese at all. The reprise where he performed with his sister, who wrote the song, was an absolutely gorgeous moment. It is not often that I feel emotional after a Eurovision performance, but Salvador did that! And I am sure that Artsvik from Armenia wasn’t the only one crying after watching ‘Amar Pelos Dois’ live on stage. A worthy winner and Portugal deserved it after all those years!

12. Azerbaijan: Dihaj – Skeletons (14th)
Dihaj from Azerbaijan had to take the stage next with her somewhat confusing performance of ‘Skeletons’. Vocally everything was in order and ‘Skeletons’ is a well written and contemporary composition with a compelling chorus, but the whole act with the horse, the blackboard and the writing, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. I’d say this mid table result for Azerbaijan was about right.

13. Croatia: Jacques Houdek – My Friend (13th)
Croatia delivers one of my least favourite performances in the Eurovision final this year. Yes, Jacques Houdek has a powerful and versatile voice, but the kitsch song ‘My Friend’ is definitely not the best way to show this to Europe. The duet with himself does not work for me in the slighthest, but at least the people at home in Europe seemed to have enjoyed it. I have to admit I’m glad he did not make it into the top 10.

14. Australia: Isaiah – Don’t Come Easy (9th)
This year Australia is the country that divided the juries and televoters the most. While he surprisingly was voted into the top 5 by the juries, the televoters only handed him two points. Admitted, his vocals were a lot stronger than during the semi final, but the act with the treadmill still looked as silly and cartoonish. I think ‘Don’t Come Easy’ is a beautiful composition, but definitely not one of the five best of this year and a place in the top 10 thanks to the juries, was a bit more than what this performance deserved. Well done to the young Isaiah though, who took his chance to show Europe how good his voice actually is!

15. Greece: Demy – This Is Love (19th)
Both lyrically and in terms of the production, ‘This Is Love’ is one of my least favourite songs of the whole competition. It is cliche, it sounds dated and the performance isn’t all that either. Sure, Demy has got some star quality, but her vocals aren’t strong enough to impress with the big notes. She seemed to be more out of tune on Saturday night than during her semi final. Visually it was on point, but a place higher than 19 would not have been deserved. Oh, and can Cyprus and Greece please for once stop handing each other the 12, no matter what song they send? Thanks!

16. Spain: Manel Navarro – Do It For Your Lover (26th)
Spain’s Eurovision entry for this year was doomed to be a failure before the actual contest even started. During the national final Manel sure wasn’t the favourite of the televoting, but the juries pushed him through to Kiev, causing a massive outcry. ‘Do It For Your Lover’ is a painfully simple song with childish lyrics and the repetition of the title over and over again. Vocally, there were quite a few missed notes and visually they tried their best with the surfboards and summer colors, but it was not nearly enough to make this performance appealing in any way.

17. Norway: JOWST feat. Alexander Hallman – Grab The Moment (10th)
Norway brought one of the most contemporary and radiofriendly songs to the stage. Alexander’s vocals are flawless and the visuals do work for the song, although I have to admit, in an evening with 26 performances, this one did not stand out as much. Apparently that was just me though, as the song reached a respectable 10th place!

18. United Kingdom: Lucie Jones – Never Give Up On You (15th)
Lucie Jones performed the ballad ‘Never Give Up On You’, co-written by former winner Emmelie De Forest and she did so with a whole lot of passion. Vocally, she easily gave one of the most impressive performances of the night and visually, the UK finally gave it their best shot as well. Jones stands on a golden stage surrounded by mirrors and the light show is well thought out. It all looked pretty impressive, but while the juries awarded her with a spot in the top 10, the televoters placed her in the bottom five, resulting in a 15th spot overall. I hoped for a bit more, but the United Kingdom seems to finally be on the right track!

19. Cyprus: Hovig – Gravity (21st)
Cyprus rightfully won a spot in the final with their strong semi final performance, but Hovig’s ‘Gravity’ was for sure one of the more forgettable entries of the night. His vocals were decent and the choreography in combination with the visuals on the screen and floor was once again executed well, but this simply did not stand out enough to make more of an impact.

20. Romania: Ilinca feat. Alex Florea – Yodel It (7th)
Romania’s Ilinca and Alex Florea had easily one of the most catchy and happy tunes of the night and they once again performed it with a whole lot of charisma. This fun and upbeat yodel performance was always going to connect better with the televoters than the juries, but I actually expected them to hit top 5. Still a great result this duo can be more than proud of!

21. Germany: Levina – Perfect Life (25th)
The good news for Germany is that they did not finish in the last position for the third year in a row. They only did by literally one point though… Levina gave it her all in a visually attractive performance, but vocally she wasn’t her best on Saturday night. To be fair, she could have given the performance of her life and still would have ended up where she did, as ‘Perfect Life’ was doomed to end up at the bottom of the scoreboard. The production sounds way too similar to David Guetta and Sia’s ‘Titanium’, but melodically it misses the same power. Up your game next year please Germany, we know you guys can do it!

22. Ukraine: O.Torvald – Time (24th)
Ukraine went from host country to bottom 5 country in one evening. O.Torvald brought the only rock song in the competition, with a decent performance, but nothing about it really stood out. The giant head behind them did not change anything about that. ‘Time’ is not a bad song, but it was clear from the beginning that Ukraine wasn’t willing to host the contest two years in a row. I thought it would end up higher than the 24th position, but a spot within the best 20 would not have been deserved I’d say.

23. Belgium: Blanche – City Lights (4th)
Blanche from Belgium was the artist who improved the most from her semi final performance to the final. Although she still looked very nervous, she sounded a lot less shaky. Vocally she seemed to own the song more and even the last chorus where she belts out a bit more, was on point. Visually, the light show still looked great and although there still wasn’t much expression in her face, the timid way she performed kind of fits the electronic vibe of this contemporary and hit worthy entry. I’m very pleased Europe appreciated ‘City Lights’ this much and the song absolutely deserved a top 5 finish.

Sweden: Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On (5th)
Not a year goes by without Sweden in the top 5 of the Eurovision Song Contest. In the past seven years they only missed the top 10 once and that truly is an impressive record. The Swedes know how to produce contemporary pop and how to put on a appealing show and that is what Robin did with his dancers as well. It was all very slick, just like the song, maybe a bit too produced even, but Europe showed its appreciation with a top 10 spot with both the juries and televoters.

25. Bulgaria: Kristian Kostov – Beautiful Mess (2nd)
Bulgaria was one of the favourites for the win this year and the incredibly talented 17-year-old Kristian Kostov did not let that mess with his head. As if he never did anything else, he completely owned the stage with spot on vocals and beautiful visuals. ‘Beautiful Mess’ was a winner worthy song, although it turned out Portugal’s entry was too strong to beat. A second spot with both juries and televoters is an impressive result and Bulgaria’s best so far! They are well on their way to win the contest soon if they are able to continue what they started in 2016 and 2017.

26. France: Alma – Requiem (12th)
Alma had to take the stage after this string of favourites that all ended up in top 5, but she did so gracefully. She is a stunning woman with a beautiful voice and her ‘Requiem’ was definitely one of my favourite compositions in this year’s contest. The visuals for her performance, taken from the music video, worked perfectly and although the stage at times looked a bit empty, it was hard to take your eyes of Alma. I hoped the juries would award her some more points, but she can be proud of ending up in top 10 with the televoters. I will sure be playing ‘Requiem’ until long after the contest!

And so Eurovision 2017 came to an end. It sure was a diverse competition with highs and lows, but ultimately a deserving winner and I for one can’t wait for Lisbon 2018!

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