Geneva Contention No More?

May 5, 2016 by

Geneva Contention No More?

Day 4. A personal highlight will be seeing Georgia’s answer to Ride today – the Young Georgian Lolitaz. Ate at a Georgian restaurant in the Stockholm suburbs last night and the guy there turned out to be a close personal friend of Nina Sublati and has arranged for Nika Kocharov’s band to play there one night during ESC fortnight.

Slovenia’s Manuella is in a spotlight and does a yodel at song start. In the high pitched part she holds her hands in a prayer position and closes her eyes which is never a good idea when trying to connect with your audience.

She is wearing a revealing white dress. This isn’t quite Trijntje mark II but she shows some cleavage. Bare-chested male gymnast comes out and revolves on a pole beside her in a superfluous staging moment during the last minute. And giant pyro sparklers ignite at the end, circling the stage and making it impossible for the male gymnast to do his tricks for fear of catching fire.

Bulgaria’s Poli has lit strips all over her and it again looks rather cheap like so many of this year’s visual additions. She does this strange knee shuffle for a dance and she is on the stage alone when she really needs her dance troupe with her.

They only turn up towards the end and it feels like too little too late. Poli’s vocal is only ok. You might have expected it to sound better given her backing support. The Pinky & Perky sound effect is not a vocal one any more and sounds better.

Lighthouse X come out and use the satellite stage with pyros igniting behind them towards the end of their song. The three of them do not appear to be supported by backing singers and there are a few ropy notes sprinkled across the three minutes.

Ukraine has done their usual and nailed superb staging for Jamala. This is a very powerful presentation and probably the shining beacon of the first four days. Others can describe it in more detail, my main focus at the time was investing in the markets.

Agnete is very flat sounding at song start and at other parts of the song when she is unassisted. A woman dances behind her wearing a really ugly leotard doing interpretive dance.

It’s all rather incongruous like the tempo change so in that respect the dancer is very apt. No box like the Norwegian NF but nice lighting effects for this with lots of blues and whites suiting the ‘Icebreaker’ theme.

Really loving the staging of Georgia and listening and watching a credible indie rock band in action after so much generic dirge this year. Band members lit in silouette contrasting well with dark colours. Lots of strobe lighting.

Nika has a solid vocal and exactly the right sort of cool rock persona to sell this as a frontman. There are some great visual effects going on here which sees band member images split in two and appear on the screen like a mirror reflection on either side.

Eneda Tarifa is so good vocally she really deserved a much better song than this or at least a better version when they re-worked it. She stands and belts it out. Nice close-ups, nice lighting – yellows and blacks used mainly. Backing singers tucked away in a corner.

Laura Tesoro is last up. This is very Junior Eurovision. Lots of synchronised dance moves to a waifer-thin beat with four dancers joining in with the assortment of sways and shuffles.

For some this probably qualifies as cute; for this viewer it is like O.D.-ing on Haribo. They come out and use the satellite stage at the song’s climax. With what they have to work with here, they have done a good job.

That’s stumps on a hectic trading day which has seen Ukraine drop like a stone including the Outright where it is currently available to back at 9.8.


  1. Stuart

    Hi Rob

    Do you think Ukraine is looking good for a top 4 spot in the final now?

    And do you think Bulgaria will miss a top 10 result after their showing today?

    • Rob

      Hi Stuart,
      Yes, I do think Ukraine is looking very good for top 4 & could yet push for the win given the question marks over the 2 front-runners in the betting market.

      Hopefully, Bulgaria will improve in the 2nd rehearsal so would hold fire until then regarding top 10. But its position across all markets looking much more fragile after today.

      • Stuart

        Thanks Rob, I thought the 25s on Ukraine yesterday wouldn’t last long. Ukraine haven’t been doing that well in the polls up to how have they, but I suppose that is academic once rehearsals start.

  2. Cathal

    Hi, what is your opinion on Norway’s chances of qualifying? Before today I was 85-90% sure it was qualifying but with its bland pedestrian staging and the rise of Georgia and the amaze balls of Ukraine either side of it I’m starting to slither on it. I feel because Denmark is safe and inoffensive it might steal there spot in the final.

    • Rob

      Hi Cathal. Norway is a borderliner for me. I agree it is squeezed between 2 excellent, well-presented songs, and is a song with a jarring tempo change and no soul. I always thought it was a poor choice by Norway this year. It may sneak through but I wouldn’t be backing it to do so.

      • Cathal

        I agree, I get Iceland 2015 vibes from it. For me the jury rehearsal will be crucial, for me her vocal she showed in NGP at least is the only redeemable thing in the performance so if that is off than I would be very surprised to see it qualify.

  3. MGR

    Can you really believe that Ukraine will be characteristic, clear and catchy for viewers? Is this rational? Can you really believe that she stands out?

    • Rob

      It’s a very strong contender in an open looking year. Far and away the most impressive and compelling staging seen so far. Think of Russia last year. It is on that sort of level.

      • I do understand the comparisons with Russia 2015…or Netherlands 2014. But those entries IMO were a bit more accessible. Televoters and juries alike.

  4. MGR

    For me this is contest of images. Not everyone can speak english.

  5. For me Ukraine is the ‘Albania 2012’ or ‘Latvia 2015’ of this year. Artistically very relevant. And I shall be honest now, PERSONALLY I would love Ukraine to win. Like Netherlands in 2014 it would result in such a quality boost to Eurovision. I even think it can enter the TOP 3…but justtt.

    I can’t see it winning though. It lacks a certain ‘feel-good factor’ that has become more apparent since the introduction of televoting in 1998. And it’s even apparent with 50% televoting. Amir and Frans for me are still luring from Jamala’s back. The last real moody, ‘arty’ winner for me was Serbia 2007. But this year there’s still a bit too much ‘feel-good’ competition for an entry like ‘1944’.

    If people put a gun under my chin and pressed me to make a TOP 15 prediction at this stage. It would look like this:

    01. France
    02. Sweden
    03. Ukraine
    04. Australia
    05. Latvia
    06. Russia
    07. Israel
    08. Czech Republic
    09. Serbia
    10. Belgium
    11. Armenia
    12. Germany
    13. The Netherlands
    14. Cyprus
    15. Austria

    One question I have though. Which country from the Benelux will do better? Belgium or The Netherlands :-P?

  6. James

    Hi Rob. Bwin offering a couple of interesting markets for those who are not convinced by Russia.

    Will Russia finish in the top two in SF1? Yes 1.22, No 3.80

    Head-to-Head Russia/Ukraine. Russia 1.40, Ukraine 2.70

    • Rob

      A couple of good spots there James. The no and Ukr the clear value. Be interesting to see Russia today.

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