Final – 1st/2nd rehearsal notes

May 9, 2014 by

Final – 1st/2nd rehearsal notes

A first chance to see the final as you will be seeing it tomorrow night and to try and assess the impact of the running order.

Ukraine is a terrific opener. Hamster Man takes a tumble. It has always looked on the cards. Could Tick Tock do something of a Drip Drop? Just putting it out there and it was nice to write.

Belarus pleasant enough but a serious memory plughole scenario here. The 2 slot has the most last places in ESC history.

The Eastern European powerhouses cannot be too happy with this draw. Quality of Azerbaijan still shines through. Guessing Azerbaijan was out of the first 3 in semi 1 given this running order position. Dilara’s pronunciation may have been penalised, along with last year’s shenanigans. Ditto Ukraine in the 1 slot – ‘you f*ck with us, we f*ck you over,’ seems the EBU’s veiled statement here. Or more like a slapped hand until normal service resumes next year, maybe.

Iceland – another last place contender? Wedged between two quality ballads early on. Could Norway be one of those 1st half nations that manages a top 10 finish? Carl will need to sing well tonight as he has sounded shaky in places in some performances.

The first proper uptempo burst from Romania but it doesn’t help elevate it especially given the appalling staging. This defecates on ‘Playing With Fire’s’ grave. Has to be a serious jury drop happening with this.

Aram looks as tired as I feel. Going through the paces here. Quality following dirge is the 1st half pattern this year if, that is, there was a song performing before Ukraine that was dirge. Ukraine has the natural booster of slot 1. So the quality comes at 1, 3, 5, 7.

Montenegro might find it tough to make much impact at 8. After the lightshow of Armenia and its modernity, this feels very old fashioned and pedestrian. And then Cleo comes along and officially gets the ESC 2014 party happening.

Poland is so much fun. Will jury members react to this like televoters and warm to these ladies’ unique Slavic charms? It is an uptempo double whammy with Greece following. Greece obviously has some very reliable voting friends it can rely on in the final.

Conchita follows and she will steal some of their thunder given the hype that is building around Austria this year. It will be interesting to monitor her vocal prowess tonight. When you coldly analyze it, this song is as old-fashioned as San Marino’s.

Germany is sandwiched between Conchita and Sanna. It was a poor song to begin with, and this is not a good sandwich filling for German supporters. Elaiza and co end up coated in streamers like they have been attacked at a New Year’s Eve Party by a gang wielding cans of spray string.

Break comes after Germany. Toilet break/make a cuppa risk for Sanna? Has to be respected from the 13 slot despite rumblings Sweden not keen to host again next year. Have to think Sweden may well have won semi 1 to have earned the 13 slot, which would come as a small blow to my semi 1 book.

Sound issues before France perform and during Twin Twin’s performance. Hard to assess this as TV feed didn’t sound right.

The Russian twins seem to be getting younger looking with each performance. Come tomorrow night prepare to see a couple of toddlers having a play on a see-saw. Can Russia achieve a top 10 this year? Armenia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, you sense, come higher in the Eastern European pecking order this year, but Russia can never been under-estimated given the power of the motherland.

Sound issues appear to have persisted as Italy’s Emma sounds very ropey here. This potentially has impact as a burst of rock music at this point.

Is Slovenia a bit of a top 10 dark horse? It’s that whirlpool effect – mesmerising, like Kedvesem’s psychedelic backdrop last year, and it’s a pleasant enough ditty which could possibly thrive under the new scoring system as we know safe, inoffensive songs can prosper and slot 17 no bad thing.

Finland’s soft rock follows in section of draw featuring bands singing different brands of rock – Italy 16, Finland 18, Switzerland 20, Malta 22. Who wins the battle of the bands this year? Whichever one it is looks a good bet for top 10. Just not sure which one yet.

Ruth looks to have bagged herself a nice slot here. Striking contrast with those around her. BUT she will need to sing well tonight. She has wet-looked her hair. Very moist presentation this. Can see ESC viewers buying into this dirge.

Sensing a powerful Spain/Switzerland moment in the draw here. Could just be me. Contrasting and both with clear appeal. Feels like the final properly sparks to life.

Hungary… this could go either way but wonder if the performance art stage show is a little alienating – let’s not forget what happened to Estonia in semi 1.

Malta feeling a bit lightweight here. Always favoured Swiss song of the 2 but don’t think the later running order for Malta helps it beat Switzerland in the final.

Basim’s cheese-fest has more impact than Malta but the horrendousness of this awful song still shines through. A big flag with a red heart on it with ‘Love’ written inside it adding to the cliche element even more.

Some more technical issues. Netherlands really is the calm after the shit storm of Denmark. Shines like a diamond. Great to see Valentina finally have her moment in the final. Why is Conchita 7-2 and Valentina 300-1? Vocally of same sort of quality, aurally songs of a similar ilk, and Valentina has a better running order but perhaps crucially doesn’t sport a beard.

Molly is wearing body paint on her hands and arms adding to the earth woman look. This is a powerful closer. Let’s hope she produces a similar performance tonight. Straight after Molly performs, Graham Norton gets a shout out. The plot thickens…

On the recap, Sanna’s faux emotion really looks overkill but have been subjected to it for such a long time now. Netherlands and UK certainly memorable and strong at the end. No worries regarding viewer fatigue in my view. Molly is interviewed after phone lines have closed and says she likes The Netherlands and Malta.

Don’t forget to follow my Tweets (@ferrisdayoff) during the live jury performance of the grand final, starting tonight at 8pm UK time.

Today’s recommendations:

Switzerland to finish top 10 – 9-2 Ladbrokes – 6pt win
UK to finish top 5 – 7-4 Ladbrokes – 8pt win

*Outright – UK – 15.5 (back price at time of writing on Betfair, and still room for a back to lay as have to anticipate UK price drop tomorrow). Not including in official ESC 2014 book of wagers as how much you wish to invest on the UK at that price depends on your overall book position.


  1. Ben Gray

    Hi Rob, do you not rate Hungary as a contender at all? I find Andras’ performance to be really quite exhilarating, couple that with his telegenic looks and “protect the girl” narrative, that’s quite a potent mix for both juries and televoters. He’s also drawn in a real prime position.

    Thanks for your hard work.

    • Rob

      Hungary is green for me, Ben, but I am risk averse so have greened up my book on all the possible contenders. I find more reasons to think Hungary will not win, and may get a disappointing result, than putting together a compelling case for it winning.

      I don’t think it is a very viewer-friendly 3 minutes ultimately, and I think a lot of viewers will be turned off by the strange interpretative dance taking place. Could be wrong though.

  2. Gert

    Hey Rob! Always great great GREAT to read your blogs. But I really think we should compare Austria this year with Finland in 2006. No, not from a musical point of view. Absolutely not.

    But from the point of remembering…..absolutely. Both Finland and Austria had….rather OK to good songs. Certainly not the best. But still highly competent.

    And in both cases that rather OK-song was packed in absolutely stunning stage acts. That was the case with Finland in 2006. I think it’s absolutely the case with Austria.

    I’ve watched the 2nd semi final yesterday. And I was completely blown away. Actually, not so much by Conchita’s beard (Allthough this fact alone is helping as much as Lordi’s masks did in the media in 2006). But most importantly her vocals were stunning yesterday. The lighting, dry ice and fire were 100% complementory to the stage act and helped making the total package work, instead of making it look incoherent.

    I think Austria will do a TOP 3 with both televoters and juries. And I think this could be the first time that the rule “Winner needs to be in 2nd half” will be broken.

    I placed my bets on a victory for Austria ;-). And next year I’M GONNA JOIN ALL OF YOU :-D!

    • Rob

      I have not been so impressed with Conchita’s vocal, or the song Gert. Who is voting for Austria in Eastern Europe? I don’t think juries will rate it that highly. This feels like a massive fan hype situation & I do not think it will be reflected in the views of the wider public.

    • Boki

      To beard or not to beard 🙂
      The only winning moment I felt in both semis is Conchita, at least in a classical esc sense. She’s doing great on itunes so it might be a contender I think, looks to be beyond fans only.
      Did you change your previous thinking about Sanna Rob? I still don’t get what is she doing in the betting pole position…

      • Rob

        I don’t see it with either Sanna or Conchita, Boki. Both songs are too weak, & in Conchita’s case her vocal has been shaky. Let’s see how she does tonight. Undo is very polished and it has nice r.o. so I can see that as a more likely top 3 compared to Conchita.

        • Gert

          From your reactions I’d say you have placed quite a lot of money on Netherlands doing well no Rob ;-)? One advice? Please be careful huh. Spread out your money on a larger portfolio of bets. Which you’re already doing off course.

          By the way Rob. You, Gavin and Daniel: Please have some fun too afterwards ok ;-)? I know it’s your jobs. But you three handsome boys should get drunk during the after party. I wanna know how that looks like hehe.

          • Rob

            No Gert, just giving you my honest opinions. I have an all-green book thanks to getting on Netherlands at 600 on Betfair so no worries for me tomorrow. Just about moving my profit around.

      • neomichael

        Do you still believe that Netherlands has the potential of a winner? How could be possible that any of us was counting this song as a contender before the rehearsals? I fell asleep every time i’m listening to it!

        • Rob

          Yes I do michael. It remains a dreamy oasis towards the end of the show and it resonates quality in every aspect.

  3. george

    i think conchita’s beard will alienate male voters

    it creates a sort of cognitive dissonance

    i think most men are relaxed about having sexual feelings for an attractive tranny but when you mix symbols of masculinity and femininity it becomes hard for the brain to process

  4. Ravi

    Hey Bobby my friend, long time no speak. I am one again loving this Eurovision here in hot and humid Mumbai. Wish we had an entry as some of our Bollywood babes can really sing.Now tell me my friend I am velly interested in Ukraine and that crazy fool in the tumble dryer. Vot is that all about I simply do not understand. We have such a device for drying rice in hot sun but dat is different story. Now let’s talk how you fine people say “bunce” as many weeks ago I was having a few spare rupies and listened on the interweb to a few of these tunes. My best outcome was Holland and when I checked the bookies couldn’t believe price 125 to 1 rupee. Amazing don’t tell Mrs Ravi but I put my one weeks wages on and all fingers crossed this now looking like very fine investment yes? I am thinking more new shoes maybe even some new pants if this one can be landed. I must wish you good luck and very best wishes for the final my friend. I can’t stop singing ….

    Driving in a fast lane
    Counting boundary marker signs

    The empty seat beside me
    Keeps you on my mind

    Living in a heartache
    There is something I pursue

    I can keep on chasing
    What I can be for you

    Oooo skies are black and blue
    Thinking about you
    Here in the calm after the storm

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