Editorials & Opinion

My ups and downs of ESC2017; Part 1 – the highlights

So, it’s been almost three months since Salvador Sobral secured Portugal’s first ever Eurovision Song Contest victory, and I am finally ready to have a look back at what really happened. Which songs and artists did as well (or not) as I expected, what results am I happy with, what were the highlights and which ups and downs did I experience during the season?

My top 10 highlights

There were soooo many ups and downs during this year’s Eurovision, and picking ten of each has most definitely been a challenge. However, I can’t include everything. So after careful consideration, and without further ado; here are the ten things that made me the happiest during the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. And please remember; these are my own, very personal top ten highlights!! To others, these precise things may be the most horrible disasters of the season! Please leave me a comment, whether you agree with me or not. Especially if you don’t!! So; here we go!

10. Russia

The fact that Russia didn’t come to Eurovision this year is a massive highlight for me. Not that I don’t like Russia or Russian entries or artists in general, cuz I very much do! (Their 2001 entry is, after all, my favorite ever Eurovision entry!) It’s just that I have 0 respect for any country that would behave the way they did this year. (More on this in Wiv’s 10 most horrible disasters…to be published soon’ish…) I also don’t think Julia is a very good singer, and her proposed entry, “Flame is Burning” is one of the most pathetically bad songs I have ever heard. (Sorry; that was #thedarkside forcing her way out…)

As there is nothing that could possibly compel me to share *that song*,
I’ll rather just use this as an excuse to play this one again!

9. Sweden/Italy not winning

Every year there will be at least one song that I, for various reasons, am terrified might win. This year there were several. Two of them were among the biggest pre-contest favorites, both within the fan community and with the bookmakers. They were Robin Bengtzon with “I Can’t Go On” for Sweden and Francesco Gabbani with “Occidentali’s Karma” for Italy. To me, ”I Can’t Go On” is the ultimate “Eurovision by numbers” entry, and I swear it must take longer to perform than it did to write… It annoys me no end when songs like that do well, as it keeps the prejudice against Eurovision alive among many of the good songwriters who might otherwise consider participating. And don’t get me started on Italy! Yeah, I guess he’s kinda charming (though I found him more creepy), loads of people mught find the song both fun and cute (I just think it’s annoying and desperately wannabe happy), the gorilla was probably a deep and meaningful symbol of something (to me it was just another cheap gimmick)…the list goes on and on…but I can’t ;P

I’m just ever so grateful *this* is the 2018 logo!
(Yay, we’re not heading to Gothenburg/Turin!)

8. The top 4

I just love the fact that both the winner and the first, second and third runners-up are fairly small countries, at least at Eurovision. They don’t have a lot of friends and neighbours, and there is NO WAY anyone can claim “political voting”, “diaspora voting”, “neighbour voting” or anything like that. Two of the countries have a long history at Eurovision, while the other two are fairly new. The fact that they all have had quite a difficult time getting good results, with only two victories among them, only adds to my joy! This goes to show that any country can do well in Eurovision Song Contest if they just send a good song, performed by a good singer (or singers) with a good stage performance.

A million thanks to Luke for working his magic!!
(i.e.making this pic for me; I’m useless at that stuff…for now!)

7. Blanche

Belgium’s entry was among my favorites before we all headed to Kyiv. As a result I was completely devastated after the first (and second) rounds of rehearsals! The entire act looked and sounded ALL WRONG! Then, during her semi-final dress rehearsal, all of a sudden she was back on top of her game. That horrendous white dress was gone, the backdrop was darker and sort of sinister-y and Blanche managed to make us all share her feeling of being all alone and afraid. I am delighted that a modern, radio friendly song like this made it all the way into the top 5.

6. Kyiv

This year’s host city was absolutely gorgeous! Not that I didn’t expect it to be, cuz I did; I just never expected it to be “that” gorgeous! I think it’s in third place of all my host cities, only beaten by Vienna and Baku. All the streets lined with huge chestnut trees, and they were all in bloom just when we were there. Lovely little (or not so little) squares and parks around almost every corner. Amazingly beautiful architecture. And the fountains! And the CHURCHES!!! I think I need to go back as a tourist at some point, to just do touristy stuff. We never have enough time to actually go out and just feel the city. So yes; I’ll be back! Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the food. THE FOOD!!!!

Just look at this!

5. Languages

I love the fact that a non-English song won! And that another two of the songs that finished top 10 also weren’t in English; Italy and Hungary. Only seven out of this year’s 42 entries were performed entirely or in part in another language than English. Considering that only four of the participating countries have English as one of their official languages, seven is a way too low number! This could easily have been one of my “not so highlights”, like last year, but instead I decided to celebrate Portugal, Italy and Hungary all making it into the top 10 in their national language! More languages at Eurovision, please!

4. Six songs

I just have to include the fact that there are six (SIX!!) songs this year that I really like! This doesnt really happen very often. I can find quite a few songs I’m fine with, that I’ll very happily sing along to/dance to/listen to, but in an average year I’m happy if there are two or three songs I really like. And this year there are SIX! (Yeah; I’m gonna tell you which ones they are…don’t worry!) No one who followed the livestream can possibly have missed the fact that I love “Skeletons”, but I also really like (in random order) “City Lights”, “My Turn”, “Grab the Moment”, “Beautiful Mess” and “Requiem” too.

3. The escXtra livestream

As quite a few of you know; I don’t go to Eurovision for the shows. I don’t even go to the shows! Baku was the last time it happened, and I don’t imagine I will again any time soon. I go to Eurovision to work; follow the rehearsale, write articles, do interviews and most of all; to host the escXtra livestream. This way of communicating with the fans out there (or the (actually my) children, as I call them…eh…you…), of getting them (you!) involved in interviewing the artists, hearing what they (YOU!) think and feel about all things Eurovision; I just love it!! And so do the artists! Coming on the livestream, interacting with the fans in realtime instead of answering the exact same questions while looking into a camera…they love it too!

2. My children

How these wonderful people can stand listening to me for up to 10 hours a day is beyond me! It makes sense that they want to hang out with us when we have artists and other guests over, but seriously; watching me eat (brie), drink (and spill…) cider and knit, listening to me rattle on about how horrible some performances are (that horse’s head, you guys…), complain about the lack of certain drinks (PEPSIMAX!!!) and my hair (seriously, though; WHY can’t it ever do what I want it to?!) And their behavior this year was exemplary! I love you guys! #politely

1. My tribe

One thing that will forever and always be included in my top 10 highlights is my tribe. The people who are my Eurovision family, who I love and adore to the moon and back! They are the best thing about going to Eurovision, and the main reason why I keep coming back year after year. Yes, I love rehearsals, interviews, blogging…these things are important and heaps of fun. Without my people, though, I think it would all get old fairly quickly. This wonderfully mad bunch of people, from all over the world, who get together once a year, just because we have this fantastic interest in common. Eurovision is a passion that brings people together, no matter our nationality, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, taste in music…nothing divides us, everything unite us. I’m already desperately and uncontrollably looking forward to seeing everybody in Lisbon next year! And some I will see way before that!!

3/4 of the Kyiv Xtra team chilling at the Chillout café; me, Rodrigo and Ryan
(Brent was probably off doing important stuff…)

So, there you have it; my top 10 highlights from Eurovision Song Contest 2017. Which were yours?
And I’ll just stick the links here, in case you’d like to check out my highlights and “not so highlights” from last year.

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