After months of build up we are now a mere seven days away from the first rehearsals for this years’ Contest. After Eugent Bushpepa won Fetstivali i Këgnës last December it took a full 80 days for us to complete the 43 song lineup with Georgia releasing ‘For You’ on March 13th. In the subsequent month and a half we’ve seen running orders, dress drama, 6 preview parties, a fascinating production blog and…a board game. So before we look ahead to the most fabulous fortnight of the year let’s look back at the talking points of the quiet spell.
Most exciting of all has to be the fact we still have no idea who’s going to win. When you look at the top ten in the betting odds there are arguments for each of them creeping up and taking the victory. Even, somewhat terrifyingly, Spain. If Running Scared can do it so can Tu Cancion. Of all those acts who’ve appeared in the preview parties none have ruled themselves out with poor vocals. Having only personally been to London I would argue that Australia, France and Czech Republic all put in match winning performances. Though based solely on LEP I’d argue Stella & Alexandra should be winning Eurovision this year.
There have been a number of acts who’ve decided for one reason or another to stay at home. Some like Greece and Cyprus have shunned the whole circuit whilst Waylon and Julia have only performed on home turf. If we take a look back 12 months ago it’s clear that foregoing the parties may actually be a fairly effective strategy. Germany’s Levina travelled to 10 different countries to promote her entry. In Kyiv she ended up with a mere 3 points from the televote. Meanwhile (for obvious reasons) our 2017 winner wasn’t able to travel pre-Contest and still picked up the trophy. So if you’re looking to continue the pattern of a male soloist who didn’t attend any previews winning there is only one option. That’s How You Win a Contest.
Another delegation that decided to give preview parties the swerve was Estonia. They have, however, remained a talking point over the last few weeks having gone full Poli Genova with a lack of dress. National broadcaster ERR reportedly don’t have the required €65,000 to hire the projectors needed for the effects we saw at Eesti Laul. With the amazing spectacle it’s easy to understand why La Forza sits high in the odds. Without it, it would be a shock non-qualifier candidate. Let’s hope for Elina’s sake that there’s a well off Estonian with a spare €65,000 stuck down the side of the sofa.
Following in the footsteps of the marvellous Lucie Jones last year Surie has been doing the UK proud on the continent. Her frequent use of social media and ‘interviews’ with Sennek & Jessica Mauboy have showed us just how much fun the class of 2018 appear to be having. Surie also arguably provided the moment of the preview concerts. After Emilie of Madame Monsieur was taken ill before Amsterdam Surie admirably stepped up to the plate. She teamed up with Jean Karl to allow Mercy’s message to continue on in a lovely ‘show must go on’ moment. At each turn Surie has shown herself to a be class act and deserves every success in Lisbon.
On top of all this fun we’ve had alleged Croatian plagiarism, a dodgy Russian live performance, an excellent ‘yer maw’ gag, Albanian passport issues and as I said before, a board game. Your guess is as good as mine on that one! We only have a few days to wait until all these minor dramas will be nothing but distant memories. Who will be wearing an overly revealing dress? Who will bring glitter cannons they can’t use? Which of the 638 different versions of Forever will Alekseev actually sing? We’re about to find out…and I can’t bloody wait!