Sunday, 11 May 2014

Austria's Conchita Wurst rises like a phoenix to win Eurovision 2014!

The musical and televisual event of the year has been and gone once again and this year the Eurovision Song Contest threw up a very unexpected set of results. Held in Copenhagen this year, Denmark put on a stellar show with fantastic presentation and staging. The hosts came across as a bit odd at times and the 'ode to joy' interval act was plain bizarre, but overall it was a well packaged show. It was not without its controversy however, with the recent political situation between Russia and Ukraine spilling over into the contest and Russia getting heavily booed whenever they got awarded points. 

This was the final scoreboard at the end of the night:

1. Austria: Conchita Wurst, Rise Like a Phoenix - 290 points
2. The Netherlands: The Common Linnets, Calm After The Storm - 238 points
3. Sweden: Sanna Nielsen, Undo - 218 points
4. Armenia: Aram MP3, Not Alone - 174 points
5. Hungary: Andras Kallay-Saunders, Running - 143 points
6. Ukraine: Mariya Yaremchuk, Tick - Tock - 113 points
7. Russia: Tolmachevy Sisters, Shine - 89 points
8. Norway: Carl Espen, Silent Storm - 88 points
9. Denmark: Basim, Cliche Love Song - 74 points
10. Spain: Ruth Lorenzo, Dancing In the Rain - 74 points
11. Finland: Softengine, Something Better - 72 points
12. Romania: Paula Seling & OVI, Miracle - 72 points
13. Switzerland: Sebalter, Hunter Of Stars - 64 points
14. Poland: Donatan & Cleo, My Slowianie - We Are Slavic - 62 points
15. Iceland: Pollaponk, No Prejudice - 58 points
16. Belarus: Teo, Cheesecake - 43 points
17. United Kingdom: Molly Smitten-Downes, Children of the Universe - 40 points
18. Germany: Elaiza, Is it Right - 39 points
19. Montenegro: Sergej Cetkovic, Moj Svijet - 37 points
20. Greece: Freaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd, Rise Up - 35 points
21. Italy: Emma, La Mia Citta - 33 points
22. Azerbaijan: Dilara Kazimova, Start a Fire - 33 points
23. Malta: Firelight, Coming Home - 32 points
24. San Marino: Valentina Monetta, Maybe (Forse) - 14 points
25. Slovenia: Tinkara Kovac, Round and Round - 9 points
26. France: TWIN TWIN, Moustache - 2 points

A deserved win for drag artist Conchita Wurst from Austria and her grand Bond theme-esque entry, which marked the first time that Austria have won since 1966! 

Fellow perennial underachievers The Netherlands finished in second place, the Dutch enjoying a recent renaissance with this being their second consecutive top ten finish! And it was a thoroughly deserved second and one of the two songs I voted for, a gorgeous, classy but very subtle country duet that had a fantastic performance and perfect presentation. It's set to become the biggest post-contest hit around Europe somewhat surprisingly and has even cracked the top five on iTunes UK.

In third place was the Swedish legend that is Sanna Nielsen. The lady has literally given her entire career, which stretches 20 years (not bad for a 29 year old!) to the contest but finally made it through Melodifestivalen victorious this year. And she didn't disappoint, belting out the stunning Undo as if her life depended on it. It's Sweden's third top three finish in the last four years after Eric Saade's Popular and Loreen's winning smash Euphoria. It was naturally the second song that I voted for last night.

Elsewhere in the top 10 were expected high finishers from Armenia, Hungary, Ukraine, Norway and Denmark and slight over achievers perhaps in Russia and Spain, the former quite surprising considering all of the hate directed that way recently, but admittedly the song, a sort of The Pierces Juniors, grew on me a lot with the performance.

Stuck in the middle of table is poor Poland who finished 5th in the televote with their 'sexually churning the butter' anthem of life 
My Slowianie - We Are Slavic! Suffering the fate of Blue three years ago, the jury vote completely killed them off with a 12 in the UK televote translating to nothing overall once the jury votes had been combined! 

And then of course onto the flops, some of which were incredibly surprising. The United Kingdom were widely expected to finish top five or top ten at the very least with Molly's pop anthem Children Of The Universe. In the end, it wasn't to be and she finished 17th. A marginal improvement on Bonnie Tyler's 19th last year but rather undeserved overall, the song was certainly far superior to the mess that finished one place above and Molly delivered a stellar performance! On the plus side it looks set to give her a UK top 20 hit and hopefully she'll have more hits to follow.

Azerbaijan, Italy and Greece have a habit of finishing in the top ten with just about anything that they send, the former finishing top five in all five previous contests. But they all failed spectacularly this year with Azerbaijan's deathly boring Start A Fire doing the complete opposite and finishing in the bottom five and Italy and Greece not doing much better! 

Malta's Mumford and Sons-esque Coming Home sounded like it had real potential, and in fact the UK gave it 10 points, but that was to be almost a third of its total and it somewhat shockingly finished 4th from last! The bottom three however are not at all surprising, with France very nearly scoring the dreaded nul points for their Stromae meets Major Lazer type entry Moustache.

Overall, a week of big surprises. Few fans would have predicted an Austria vs. Netherlands top two this time a week ago, but both gave stellar renditions of excellent songs. Next year it's off to Vienna and I can't begin to imagine what will happen, but this year proved more than ever that you definitely can't rely on friends, politics and diaspora to get you a respectable finish. It's all about the song, the quality, the performance, the gimmick, the staging and the connection to the audience. Will the UK return to sending crap or finally find a winner? Will Azerbaijan pull another smash out of the bag after this epic fail? Will The Netherlands pick a winner now that they have their mojo back? #Join Us in a year's time to find out!

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