Much has been said of the musical diversity we’ve been treated to this year. Perhaps we’re going to get a Eurovision like no other in Lisbon. However, I would argue that isn’t strictly true. You only have to go back 12 months to find a lot of entries from 2017 have actually popped up again in 2018.
Last year we had a strong favourite with fans and bookmakers alike. A song that tried to convey a serious message about a topic relevant to the modern world. It also had a distracting animal element to the song that many people watching at home struggled to understand the relevance of. Much like Francesco Gabbani’s ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ Netta’s ‘Toy’ seems to be losing the ‘buzz’ at exactly the wrong time. Like last year the chasing pack are closing up during this final run in. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility to see Netta finishing 6th on the night exactly like Gabbani.
In 2017 a beautifully emotive song in a native language brought the arena to a standstill, catching the imagination of viewers and jurors alike. Millions were left more than a little emotional after Salvador’s performance of ‘Amor Pelos Dois’. The very same could happen after Madame Monsieur perform Mercy in the final. Although the crowd won’t be still as they were for Salvador the image of thousands of Europeans joining together as one with the arm motion could prove irresistible to the voters.
Another key element that we’ve found returning from last year is that we’re still 7 days away from the Contest and we genuinely have no idea who’s going to win this thing. With many dominant runaway winners from the recent past it’s nice that we now seem to be in a properly competitive era. Although 2017 had what was considered to be a clear favourite in the run up to the Contest the reality was the chasing pack were a lot closer. At the time it seemed it would take a genius to predict the winner...just sayin’. Fast forward twelve months and we’re in the same position except this time we’re in double figures for the number of countries that have their eye on the trophy. Next Saturday night is going to be utterly scintillating.
There are other repetitions as well. We have another single sex hosting partnership this year. 2017: 3 men, 2018: 4 women, 2019: 5 men…2034: 20 women hosting, calling it now. Speaking of hosts one of our number this year, Filomena Cautela was actually the Portuguese spokesperson in 2017. Macedonia are messing up a great song with bad staging again, Moldova have given us fun party numbers and Ireland have sent uninspiring ballads two years in a row. Last year it was quite clear Russia had no intent on competing to win Eurovision. This year…