Eurovision 2019 – The Grand Final

These final six songs are already guaranteed to be there on the Saturday night without any further possibilities of elimination. As the performance order is not yet decided I’m going to take them in alphabetical order. As usual, each preview will have its own star rating and its average bookmaker odds courtesy of, as at 17th April. And once again, I wrote these reflections before rehearsals started, so they’re very much impressions from the videos and listening to the recordings. Stick with it, you know you want to.

France – Bilal Hassani – Roi

Bilal HassaniYou can’t fault the message of this song, nor its heritage, being written by Madame Monsieur of Mercy fame. I rather like its very natural bilingual structure, and there’s no doubt that Bilal has great presence. I just wish the tune was more interesting! To be fair, the verse builds nicely, but just when you want the chorus to soar, it teeters and totters and fails to ignite. Not a patch, sadly, on Conchita’s similarly themed That’s What I Am. Jealous of those epaulettes, though. 40-1. **

Germany – S!sters – Sister

SistersWhat’s the German for Marmite? Not for the first time, Germany sends a song that divides people. When I first heard it, I instinctively disliked it, which is not a good thing for a Eurovision song where you need that instant capture. It’s ploddy; and while parts of it are alright, at other times it ranges from sickly sweet to caterwauling. Mrs Chrisparkle, however, on first hearing, thought it was pretty good! Maybe it’s a girl thing. It’s still my bet for coming 26th on the night. Was 125-1, now drifting. *

Israel – Kobi Marimi – Home

Kobi MarimiNearly every Eurovision chucks up a big ballad that would be perfect in a huge West End show, and Home is 2019’s prime example of the genre. Kobi has a rather stylised manner of singing which puts me off slightly, but, when all’s said and done, this is a very nice song. Perfect for karaoke. We know that it will be sung in 14th position on Saturday night, which isn’t that great a draw – only three songs from the last ten years in that position have had a top ten finish, whilst two have finished last. I sense this could struggle. 200-1. ***

Italy – Mahmood – Soldi

MahmoodTime for one of the year’s big hitters, Mahmood, who won this year’s San Remo Festival despite a spat of displeasure from the far-right minister Matteo Salvini, who basically told the singer the equivalent of you ain’t no Italian, bruv. However, Mahmood is having the last laugh, riding high in both the betting and in the international OGAE vote. The song has an unpredictable structure, with three repeated parts, any one of which you might think of as its chorus, which adds to its slight air of mystery. Three minutes of (what feels like totally justified) recrimination of an absentee father who preferred money to his son. Powerful stuff, performed with style. Was 8-1, now shortening slightly. *****

Spain – Miki – La Venda

MikiAnd it just gets better and better. The infectiously entertaining Miki presents the glorious La Venda, whether in a smart, polished studio version filmed on the streets, or in a raucous, fun-filled live performance backed by a girl marching band. The internal rhythms of the Spanish lyrics (for instance,“Te vives, alto voltaje, te traje buenas noticias”) help towards creating a fiesta-feel for this rather clever song about self-awareness and what happens when the blindfold falls. Personally, I have no idea why this isn’t the evens money favourite, and for me it’s one of the top three Spanish entries of all time. Was 100-1, now around 66-1. *****

United Kingdom – Michael Rice – Bigger than Us

Michael RiceI’ll be honest, I wasn’t very impressed with the choice of songs for the UK at this year’s national final, but, on the whole, the British public probably chose the best option. Michael Rice has a very good voice, but his style is totally not my thing, and it’s been decades since I’ve felt this distanced from my own country’s entry. I can only wish him well, as I’d love the UK to host next year – but if he won it would be a travesty. 150-1 **

Have a great time watching the show on May 18th, wherever you are – at home with some crisps, at a party, or in Tel Aviv. May the best song win!

6 thoughts on “Eurovision 2019 – The Grand Final

  1. None of these six will challenge my provisional Top Five, and the British entry (for which I did NOT vote, out of an indifferent selection) sounds even more unexceptional against some of the prospective winners. Still, in next couple of days will play all of them again and decide on the order of my choices, and only after that read what you said about each..
    Btw: Although I did manage to skip over your comments it was only towards the end of Instal. 2 that I realised you were giving the bookies’ odds for each. Don’t think it influenced me though.

      • So here we are. After much careful, and sometimes painful, deliberation, my verdict on listening to all 41 songs for a second time is:-
        1) Denmark – yes, twee certainly, but imaginative with strong non-derivative melody, and, importantly, a brave arrangement and presentation too. my A stand out, just as is my Number Two choice:-
        2) San Marino – unlike you who hated it on first hearing, it grabbed me immediately. Pity about the banal lyrics, though, but who cares about that in Eurovision? A surefire mover to get every foot tapping and more, though as you say, it’ll be a job to emulate the same bouncy, infectious energy with that mass dancing on video when he’ll have only a handful of dancers on stage. But if either this or Denmark tops the polls (though neither will) I’ll be right chuffed.
        3) Estonia
        4) Latvia
        5) Ireland

        These placings were decided before I read any of your comments on individual entries – and my second hearings resulted in just a handful of entries shifting by one rating downwards (except for Switzerland which I pushed up to 3 out of 5).
        I awarded all but one of the ‘Big Six’ just 2/5 – though if I was pressed to give the U.K. a score it would be a lowly ‘1’.
        You say you hated Australia’s song, to which I gave a ‘3’..
        My big surprise was to read that at the time of your writing, Netherlands was bookies’ favourite. It was yet another of my nineteen 1/5s! (After hearing it twice still can’t recall it!)
        You identified Portugal as being the worst in Part 1. I think I’d agree, or very near it along with a couple more contenders.
        You also said your favourite in that part was Finland – yet another of my 1/5s I’m afraid!
        Unless I’ve missed it you didn’t pick out your one overall choice, though you did say at end of Part 2 that the best was still to come. Did you mean it was one of the final six, in which case was it Spain? (a 2/5 from me)

        This is the first year when I’ve listened to all entries before the actual contest. I can’t see my preferences changing much now. However I’m fully expecting to be down in the dumps after Saturday’s razzmatazz when they’ll be cheering to the rafters a song coming out triumphant, it being an entry to which I gave a rating of 1/5. It’s happened so many times before so I shouldn’t take it to heart yet it always baffles, leaving me feeling cheated on behalf of, what is sure to be this year’s unfair rejects, Denmark and/or San Marino.

        (Btw: Does Mrs C. take any interest in all this silliness? If so who’ll she be rooting for?)

      • Thanks for sharing all those observations and I’m glad if I’ve prompted you to give the old contest the attention it demands (this is probably where I should write a winky emoticon). Very interesting that I only like three of your top 5 (San Marino, Estonia and Latvia) although none of them has the remotest chance of winning. I’ve actually put a sneaky bet on San Marino to qualify for the final.

        One very interesting aspect, from having seen some rehearsal clips, is that all my favourites (except Switzerland) have staged their songs in a really lousy manner, so I think that could be a great leveller on the night… we shall see.

        Yes indeed Spain is my favourite, and has been from the moment it was selected.

        And as for Mrs C… I kind of indoctrinated her into the whole thing when we first started going out… she does enjoy it but not to the extent that I do. However she very much enjoys the social side of fandom, and we’ve both made dozens of good friends through meeting at conventions and parties. She’s a good sort 😉

  2. Well, we at least have some degree of overlap in tastes, not that it would matter anyway. There’s going to be no doubt who I’ll vote for in both Semi 2 and Final, subject to my top choice(s) getting through – and there’ll be the same certainty with your vote, I presume. I’ll watch with rapt attention to see how many votes your fave gets, not being at all surprised if it beats all my five choices. I’ll probably do my own posting of the main event on Sunday, likely to have been written in downhearted mood – but getting used to it. ‘See’ you then.

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