Eurovision Song Contest 2017

All right, it’s this time of the year again: it’s Eurovision! The biggest and longest running

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ESC 2017 logo

song competition in the world, that claims to be unpolitical, but everyone and their grandma knows it’s not.

Granted, a few stars rose from the ESC and managed to build a career, but for the most part it’s cheesy and sparkly and gay and fun and pop songs and Eurodance and ballads all in 3 big shows. I’m not a huge Eurovision-geek, but being into it once a year is perfectly fine.

I would like to talk about 2 things about this year’s ESC: Russia and Italy.

As we all know, Russia is boycotting the ESC this year, after Ukraine forbid russian entry Julia Samoylova to enter the country. Now, this may sound mean, even more so because she’s disabled and sitting in a wheelchair, but she broke ukrainian law by performing on crimera without going through Ukraine – in other words: she flew directly from Russia to crimera to perform and that resulted in a 3 year ban to enter Ukraine. There’s another 140 artists that share the same fate.

Is Ukraine being too hard? This is very hard to answer. Russia obviously is trying to be the victim here, I mean: there’s no way Russian authorities didn’t know about Samoylovas ban to enter Ukraine before choosing her and they chose a disabled artiest on top of that – someone you’re going to feel bad for easily. This was a calculated conflict from Russia, they knew this would happen and they knew Ukraine would not make an expection, because these two countries are in war and Ukraine is still damn pissed about crimera.

However, neither country was interested in resolving this conflict, the EBU said Samoyolova could perfom in Russia and her performance could be streamed live during the show, but both countries declined and neighter offered another solution. Every single person with a brain their head should’ve known either Russia or Ukraine was going to pull one out after Jamala won last year and quite honestly, nobody really seems surprised either. It’s a little sad, because Eurovision is supposed to bring countries together and it has been used to deepen an ungoing conflict this year. Personally I think both countries should’ve acted more peaceful.

Leaving Russia and Ukraine behind, I would like to talk a bit about Italy this year. Yes, Italy, the huge favorite. Some people think the song is overrated, I personally really like it. I think it’s a catchy popsong, that’s fun to listen to and you don’t feel bad listen to it more than once. I’m also a huge fan of Francescos rough voice and hope he can deliver a great perfomance in the finale.

However, I think having a great song is not the only reason so many people support Italy this year. I often read comments about Italy being robbed 2015 and they finally deserve

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Italy: Francesco Gabbani

the win they should’ve taken two years ago. Rewind backwards to 2015 when Italy was the huge fan favorite and took an undisputed clear first place in the audience voting. That night european people decided “Grande Amore” was their winner, but a hand full of profressionals decided to make a much more radio-friendly song the winner: Sweden. Since Italy was so widley supported by fans, many felt Italy was robbed by the juries and now that Italy has another outstanding top song, the support is there once again.

Additionally, I would like to add Jamala was second place last year: she was second place in jury voting and second place in audience voting. She won, because Australia did very well with the juries, but not that good with the audience and Russia did very well with the audience, but not that good with the juries. Once again, just like the year before, we have a huge difference between the fan favorite and the jury favorite and fans felt their winner was robbed once again. Add to the fact many people believe the votes for Ukraine were out of political interest and you kind of understand why the fans finally want to see “their winner” actually win.

Italy would be a very “safe” winner this year. After all the controversy around the ukraininan win last year and their trouble with Russia this year, Italy is very safe. They already deserved it two years ago, they don’t have any major problems with other countries, or at least not of the scale that Ukraine does, and they have a good song you can play on the radio in most parts of the world. It’s a “feel good” song at a time when many people don’t feel that good and problems are rising all around us and maybe we need a song to win, that makes us feel good for 3 minutes.

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Protugal: Salvador Sobral

The other favorites to win are currently Portugal and Sweden – also two very safe options – and Bulgaria, another controversial entry, because ever since Russias announced they won’t participate this year, Bulgaria is basically Russias secret entry, because their artist has russian roots, is very well known in Russia and is expected to get many russian votes. Quite honestly, I really REALLY don’t want Bulgaria to win and it has nothing to do with their song, unfortunately, it’s 100% politics: I don’t want this mess a second time in a row. It’s been a long time since ESC was as political as it is this year and I want to have a break from that next year. Every once in a while: okay, but not every year.

I’ll be rooting for Italy, I really like France and Belgium as well and hope they’ll be doing great this year. My own country? Germany? Set to lose again, no point talking about it.

Oscars 2017 Best Picture Mix Up

Okay, so it was worth staying awake the entire night after all. I mean, who would’ve though the wrong movie was going to be announced Best Picture? Quite crazy, if you ask me. One would assume they’d make sure this doesn’t happen… apparently not. That was a tiny bit embarrassing for the producers of the show.

356d2c4ab5a2c5d1b96ae8457589bfa6Okay, first things first: Warren Beatty is entirely innocent. If anyone on stage is to blame it’s Faye Dunaway. Warren was confused and obviously tried to come to terms with Faye about what to do. He obviously didn’t want to announce the winner, because it was clear there was something wong. Feye on the other hand, obviously happy for Lalaland, pushed Warren to announce the winner and eventually did it herself.

There were two sets of envelopes and unfortunately, they were given the second envelope for Best Actress in a Leading Role instead of one of the two Best Picture envelopes. How such a grave mistake could’ve happen, even though the individual envelopes are labeled, I don’t know. I just know some people watching on TV took screenshots showing that Warren indeed had the wrong envelope in his hands and didn’t notice. I can understand, I mean, I wouldn’t doublecheck myself, as I’d assume they’d give me the rigt envelope. It was their job to announce the winner, not to make sure they get the right envelope handed to them.

I still blame Faye to press forward in joy over the supposed win of Lalaland, I mean, she must’ve seen “Emma Stone, Lalaland” written in there, Warren clearly showed it to her, but instead of making sure this fishy envelope is actually right, she just went on and announced Lalaland to be the winner. Personally, I think the two of them should’ve gone backstage or asked someone from the crew to come to the stage, because there’s something wrong with the envelope. Sure, that would interrupt the award ceremony, but that would’ve been better than the mess we ended up with.

That being said, the crew from Lalaland proved to be extreamly gracious losers, even after someone on stage suggested they should just keep the Oscar (really? REALLY? That’s just disgusting). They very very nice towards the actual winners and earned a great deal of respect for their fairness. The situation was bad for both the crew of Lalaland and the Moonlight, but I think Lalaland has it even worse. I mean, imagine being told you just won the most important award for movies, only to realize shortly after it’s all a mistake – still on stage with millions of people watching. That’s really, really bad. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t nice for Moonlight to win like this either, but at least they went out of it with the Oscar in their hands.

Is Moonlight a deserving winner? I don’t know. I haven’t seen Lalaland yet, because I have absolutely zero interest in that movie. I love musicals, but I’m usually not a big fan of romance, I don’t watch romances. (funny, though, because I usuall have no problem with romance anime/manga, but in live action movies it makes my toenails roll up) I know I’m probably the least romantic female being on the planet, but Lalaland just doesn’t appeal to me at all. The next cinema is literally 10 minutes by foot from my home and Lalaland is mv5bnzqxntiyodaxmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzqymda3ote-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_showing. I could stand up and watch is right now, but something in me just doesn’t want to.

On the other hand, I also haven’t seen Moonlight, because it hasn’t even started showing in Germany yet. However, thanks to winning 3 Oscars including Best Picture, I have hopes they’ll show it at said cinema 10 minutes by foot from my home. It’s a very small cinema, so they don’t show all the movies, especially not the ones expeted to attrackt a smaller audience. Ever since I first read about Moonlight I wanted to see that movie, I hate romances, but love this stuff. I love the kind of movies that move you emotionally, that make you think, that point a finger and open your eyes to problems you haven’t really seen so far.

So, I’ll try to see Moonlight in cinema and see if it’s a worthy winner. I just read someone complaining people forget about the best picture winners after a year anyway, because it’s movies nobody watches, but I watch them and I like them.

Italy – the Winner of Hearts / Eurovision Song Contest – the Grand Final

So… I guess if you loose, you’ve got to do it right and walk out of it with 0 points together with the host. On a brigther note, the german and austrian contestants are planning on making music together now, because they came to like each other so much. That’s… good news, I guess?

I’m super happy for Belgium and Latvia for walking out of the contest with two very modern and unique songs so successfully. I mean: 4rth place and 6th place? Can’t complain about that. =D

So, let’s talk a bit about the voting. I took a quick look and here’s what I noticed: In case of Germany, the jury-voting seemed to be better than the televoting. However, if it had been only televoting, we would’ve still walked away with at least 5 points and a 25th place, so I guess we do have some friends in Europe left after all. And the host? Still last with 0 points. Ouch.

Now, here’s another interesing piece of information: If the contest would’ve been 100% televoting, the clear winner would’ve been… Italy with a full 80 points ahead of second place Russia. That’s right, the oh-so-loved Sweden, would’ve been thrid. So basically the juries made Sweden win. In the full split result chart you’ll notice the jury-votes for Italy are shockingly low compared to the televoting results. Nice and bitter taste, isn’t it?

Yeah, I’m not really happy with the overall winner, even more so since it’s a jury winner on top of that. I really liked the russian entry, because I think it’s a very well performed awesome power-ballad, but I wouldn’t have wanted Russia to hold the next contest considering the more recent law changes and overall anti-tolerant direction the country is taking. This is not the artists fault and I still love her singing, I just don’t want Eurovision in Russia right now. A few years ago it was all right and maybe in a few years it’ll be all right again, but not right now. Please don’t take this the wrong way.

Either way, why is it I’m not that happy with the overall winner Sweden? Well, for once Sweden already won 2012 and that was just 3 years ago and now we’re already going back there. Sweden has as many wins as Ireland now and I think a contest is boring if one contestant is dominating too much, like Ireland was 30-20 years ago.

The other thing is… I think Måns Zelmerlöw is too perfect. The song, the performance, the guy himself – everything is calculated to win, like a cardboard cutout, and it was successfull. Sure, if Sweden wants to win the ESC so bad, they can pour that much enery in it to produce the picture perfect Eurovision song/singer/performane, they are free to do so, but I don’t have to like that. I like the quirky entries more, the unusual ones. I still like Seriba best! I totally overlooked Italy, though, and they blew me away in the final, awesome surprise.

About the voting system: I think it’s problematic the way it’s done right now. I mean, it’s a good idea to have a jury to counter the inevitable blockvoting, but the juries themselves are usually just random musicians. I mean, how about you have “real” juries with people who actually really know their stuff about music, who seriously studied music or something.The juries should vote for the music, the performance, the package and not against televoting, something that is happening on purpose. I’m actually not quite sure if I wouldn’t like to try an ESC on televoting alone – since Italy would’ve won, you can’t really argue the eastern European countries would dominate too much, would you?

And about Blockvoting: Sweden got 12 points from all scandinavian countries – Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Sure, to win you need 12 points from other countries as well, but if that’s not a prime example of block voting, then what is? And when the easter european countries do this, people are so enraged they favor their neighbors, but when scandinavia does it, nobody bats an eye. Double standart at it’s finest.

And Australia? They did great, walked away with a 5th place and a nice song. To win the song was too… soft I guess. It’s a great mainstream pop-song, but it’s too clean and flat I guess. For winning, it would’ve needed a few more high points I guess? This is a song that does well in charts and on the radio, but that doesn’t mean it’ll win the ESC. Still a great song, though and I think it’s a bit sad Australia has to leave the Eurovision-circus already. Awesome guest entry, though. Keep the good mood up, Kiwis! =)

And lastly, the contest was so serious this year it was way close to actually resembling a cultural event, too close for my taste. Israel with their “Golden Boy” rescued the Grand Final. So, for 2016 how about we go back to our fun and crazy ESC that we love, instead of falling asleep after the 20th ballad?