2019 - Tel Aviv

It's 2019 which means it's time for our 20 year pilgrimage to Israel. They've got some groovy triangular lights and even some hanging De Groot style elements (though we don't see them much).

Despite a novelty song winning last year, this year's novelty is thin on the ground. Iceland have given us some demonic bondage boys dressed in spiky costumes (cf. Jedward 2011), with a catchy falsetto chorus and a lot of growling. Norway have a spot of joiking in what is otherwise an illiberal reworking of 2015's now seemingly omnipresent "Hero" (it's not the only song to have more than a whiff of Måns about it). Slovenia have River Tam and her brother recreating the creepy intensity of France's entry last year, only far more disturbingly so. Other than that, it's mostly
a little bit dull.

Australia are not one of the dull ones. They've stuck three women on sticks in what from certain angles looks like some grim crucifixion scene (well, we're in the right part of the world for it). Kate Miller-Heidke is channeling what might happen if Shakespear's Sister got hold of a Mary Schneider record, but she's channeling it while jammed atop a 10-foot pole which begins to sway more and more as the song loses its moorings and drifts off in a Zero Gravity lollipop of exaggerated operatic staccato. San Marino's Sehat also looks like the sort that might give us some operatic high notes, but do not be fooled. He is not a countertenor; he is a gravel-voiced disco-Lothario who's here to charm us through his easy-to-sing chorus, like some pleasure island nightclub Kojak. To this lollipop we said not "na na na" but "yes", and gave him our 12pts.

Europe's twelve went to Duncan Laurence for the Netherlands, who gives us a moody little number while pretending to play the piano. It's a song very much like Belgium's "City Lights" from 2017, but without the relentless driving beat. Which leaves it just a bit too dangerously close to Gary Barlow territory. Also borrowing from Belgium Past are Switzerland, at least on a staging level. It's a bit like if Loïc Nottet took to doing Ricky Martin covers.

If you're wanting a bit more from your staging, Spain have built a house for their entry, Miki (not to be confused with 1977's Micky), so that he can run around it and pretend to be Moldova (Moldova themselves didn't really try this year, and hence failed to make the final cut). And then there's Greece: Katerine Duska's Jess Glynn-ing offset by some two-handed swordplay, a Rover-like weather-balloon, and backing-performers in marigolds pretending to be the Time Monster as part of some elaborate lesbian spring rite. We approve.

We approve less of the host broadcaster's use of ISO three-letter country codes instead of the more long-standing convention of IOC codes (the ones we use). But we won't make a scene.

It wasn't a vintage year. There's a sense that we might be in a new dark age of Eurovision; not quite to the point of the early '90s, but far from the highs of ten years ago. The highlight of this contest may well have been the interval. And we're not talking about Madonna's microtonal rendition of "Like a Prayer". We're talking about the now-traditional reprise of "Hallelujah" (well there was one in 1999 too) performed by Conchita, Verka,
Måns, Eleni (from last year's Cypriot entry), and Gali 'Milk & Honey' Atari, in front of a video rendering of the IBA circle device from 1979. Beautiful. Just beautiful.


For each year's songs we apply our points in the 12-10-8 style of the modern contest, irrespective of how the voting functioned at the time. In brackets is the position the song came on the night:

HERE ARE THE VOTINGS
OF THE AVIEW JURY:
12pts
(19th)

SMR
Serhat
"Say Na Na Na"
10pts
(22nd)

ESP
Miki
"La Venda"
8pts
(21st)

GRE
Katerine Duska
"Better Love"
7pts
(9th)

AUS
Kate Miller-Heidke
"Zero Gravity"
6pts
(4th)

SUI
Luca Hänni
"She Got Me"

5pts
(6th)

NOR
KEiiNO
"Spirit in the Sky"
4pts
(17th)

ALB
Jonida Maliqi
"Ktheju tokës"
3pts
(16th)

FRA
Bilal Hassani
"Roi"
2pts
(10th)

ISL
Hatari
"Hatrið mun sigra"
1pt
(7th)

MKD
Tamara Todevska
"Proud"

Europe had the Netherlands first, Italy second, Russia third, Sweden fifth, Azerbaijan eighth, the Czech Republic eleventh, Denmark twelvth, Cyprus 13th, Malta 14th, Slovenia 15th, Serbia 18th, Estonia 20th, Israel 23rd, Belarus 24th, Germany 25th, and the United Kingdom plumb last.




POLITICS & VOTING
The contest took place in Israel which led to a lot of calls to boycott. But the only countries to pull out were Bulgaria (citing money) and Ukraine (because nobody from the National Final would sign the Ukrainian broadcaster's contract.

The Belarusian jury prematurely revealed how they'd voted in the semi-final, leading to them being excluded from the final voting and replaced by an aggregate of the other countries' votes from their semi-final group. Unfortunately, somebody sorted the spreadsheet wrong, so the 12pts got awarded to the 26th placed act, 10pts to the 25th etc. This was corrected a few days after the contest. The producer of the Belarusian entry has threatened to sue the EBU over this incident, believing that it will strain Belarus–Russia relations, since Belarus were unable to award Russia any points.

Analysis of the published jury voting suggests some similarly accidentally inverted voting in the semi-finals which, if true, would've seen Poland qualify instead of Belarus, and Lithuania qualifying in place of Denmark.

Serhat

Serhat says "Na na na"


Conchita Wurst, Måns Zelmerlöw, Eleni Foureira, Verka Serduchka

Conchita, Måns, Gali,
Eleni and Verka: Hallelujah!


Kate Miller-Heidke

Australia taking on the Pole vote.


Miki

Miki: Al salir de mi casa...


Katerine Duska

The women on stage number six.
I am not a number! I am a Greek fencer!


Duncan Laurence

Europe's winner, Duncan Laurence,
fending off a lightbulb.


 

Another ten years have past, so it's time to take a snapshot of how the various nations did over the course of the 2010s. For the sake of comparison, the top ten places in the final official standings for each contest are assigned 12-10-8 style points. In the case of a tie for place, the nation that received the highest individual score from a single jury takes the place, and if no resolution is forthcoming from this method then the benefit goes to that nation which our own jury scored the higher. Any ties in the final tally are broken by average performance, and where that is the same they are broken by highest annual placing.

Alongside the '10s snapshot, we'll also take a look at the running total since 1957. Change since the '00s tally is given in brackets.

2010s PERFORMANCE

1957-2019 PERFORMANCE
AVIEW JURY

EUROPE
AVIEW JURY
EUROPE
42pts
▲2

GRE

1

SWE

62pts
▲6

258pts
=

ESP
1

GBR
309pts
=
34pts
▲15

RUS

2

RUS

46pts
▼1

201pts
=

GER
2

SWE

243pts
▲2
34pts
▲17

NOR

3

ITA

45pts
RE

192pts
=

FIN
3

FRA

242pts
▼1
33pts
▲1

ESP

4

AZE

38pts
▲17

164pts
▲6

GRE

4

IRL
202pts
▼1
29pts
▲10

MDA
5

UKR

33pts
▼1

159pts
=

TUR
5

GER
193pts
=
23pts
▲22

BEL

6

DEN

29pts
▲5

156pts
▼2

SWE

6

ITA
189pts
=
22pts
RE

ITA

7

NED

24pts
▲31

149pts
▼1

GBR
7

SUI
148pts
=
20pts
NEW

SMR

8

GER

23pts
▲11

148pts
▼1

ISR

8

DEN

144pts
▲3
19pts
▼7

UKR

9

AUT

20pts
▲20

144pts
▼1

NED
9

NED

139pts
▲3
19pts
▲12

FRA

10

AUS

20pts
NEW

138pts
▼1

POR

10

ISR
134pts
=
18pts
▲8

ALB

11

BEL
20pts
▲12

136pts
▲2

BEL

11

LUX
133pts
▼3
18pts
▲20

ROU

12

NOR

19pts
▼4

134pts
▲2

NOR

12

ESP
131pts
▼3
18pts
▲20

GEO

13

BUL

17pts
▲12

131pts
▼1

AUT
13

NOR
129pts
=
17pts
▲24

IRL

14

ARM
15pts
=

113pts
▼3

DEN
14

BEL
118pts
=
17pts
▲11

AUT

15

ISR

14pts
▲9

112pts
▲2

ITA

15
RUS

97pts
▲5
16pts
▼4

LAT

16

TUR

14pts
▼13

104pts
▲3

FRA

16

AUT
95pts
=
14pts
▲7

BLR

17

POR

12pts
▲22

102pts
▼2

SUI
17

MON

89pts
▼2
14pts
=

GER

18

ROU

12pts
▼6

91pts
▼2

LUX

18

GRE

84pts
▼1
13pts
▼11

CRO
19

EST
12pts
▼13

88pts
▲2

CYP
19

UKR

69pts
▲6
13pts
▼9

CYP
20

GRE

12pts
▼18

86pts
▼2

YUG

20

TUR
62pts
▲1
12pts
=

HUN
21

CYP
10pts
▲1

76pts
▼1

MON
21

MLT
62pts
▼3
12pts
▲7

SRB
22

HUN
10pts
▲14

72pts
▲1

IRL
22

EST
57pts
=
12pts
▲7

BUL

23
MDA
9pts
▲3

72pts
▼1

CRO
23
YUG

56pts
▼4
12pts
▼11

ARM
24
SRB
9pts
▼19

68pts
=

UKR
24
AZE

49pts
▲11
11pts
▼12

SLO

25
SUI
7pts
▲10

63pts
▲2

RUS

25
CYP
48pts
▼1
10pts
▼20

TUR
26
ALB
6pts
▲6

56pts
▼1

SLO

26
FIN

42pts
▼3
10pts
▼2

ISR

27
LAT

5pts
▼18

48pts
▼1

ISL
27
SRB
40pts
=
10pts
NEW

AUS
28
CZE

5pts
NEW

44pts
▲4

MDA

28
POR

37pts
▲2
8pts
▼6

AZE
29
BIH
5pts
▼12

33pts
▲1

LAT

29
ISL

35pts
▼3
7pts
NEW

CZE
30
FRA

5pts
▼17

28pts
▲1

ARM
30
LAT
31pts
▼1
6pts
▲4

SUI

31
MKD

4pts
▲9

28pts
▼3

MLT
31
ROU
30pts
=
6pts
▼31

SWE
32
GEO
4pts
▲5

27pts
▼3

BIH
32
ARM

29pts
▲1
5pts
▲1

POL
33
POL
3pts
=

27pts
▲2

ALB

33
CRO
28pts
▼5
5pts
▲6

DEN
34
IRL

3pts
▼7

23pts
▼1

HUN

34
BUL

23pts
▲4
5pts
▼19

ISL
35
MLT

3pts
▼25

23pts
▲6

ROU
35
BIH
22pts
▼3
4pts
▼26

FIN
36
LTU
2pts
▼6

21pts
▲1

BLR

36
AUS

20pts
NEW
4pts
▼27

NED

37
ESP
2pts
▼17

20pts
NEW

SMR
37
HUN

19pts
▼1
3pts
▼1

POR
38
ISL
1pt
▼22

18pts
▲8

GEO

38
POL

17pts
▼4
2pts
▼30

BIH

39
MNE
0pts
NEW

16pts
▼3

AZE

39
MDA
15pts
=
2pts
▼1

MKD
40
CRO
0pts
▼6

15pts
▼6

POL

40
ALB

10pts
▲2
1pt
▼34

GBR
41
SMR
0pts
NEW

14pts
▲2

SRB
41
SLO

9pts
▼4
0pts
NEW

MNE
42
FIN
0pts
▼24

13pts
▲2

BUL

42
LTU
7pts
▼1
0pts
▼29

MLT
43
BLR
0pts
▼15

10pts
NEW

AUS
43
CZE

5pts
NEW
0pts
▼13

EST
44
SLO
0pts
▼13

8pts
▼5

MKD
44
BLR

5pts
▼4
0pts
▼18

LTU
45
GBR
0pts
▼20

7pts
NEW

CZE

45
MKD

4pts
▲1






7pts
▼8

SVK
46
GEO
4pts
▼2






6pts
▼7

EST
47
MNE
0pts
NEW






4pts
▼6

LTU
48
MAR
0pts
▼5






1pt
▼4

MAR
49
SVK
0pts
▼4






0pts
NEW

MNE
50
SMR
0pts
NEW

Our highest new entry this decade is San Marino, with an impressive 20 points and a fresh win under their belt. But they're pipped by the re-entry of Italy who take 7th place to San Marino's 8th. Greece take our hotspot for the 2010s thanks to their wins in 2010 and 2013. Our highest climbers are Ireland (thanks to Jedward) and Belgium (thanks to the Belgian renaissance). Europe's highest climber was the ever-bland Netherlands. They were also impressed by the return of Italy, but gave San Marino nothing. Their favourite newcomer was Australia. Sweden was Europe's favourite nation overall, with their wins in 2012 and 2015. We don't see what the fuss is about: Sweden, for years our one point of agreement with Europe, were one of our biggest fallers, making them our biggest discrepancy with Europe overall. Other, more traditional disagreements came in our favouring of Spain and Greece, while they liked Azerbaijan a lot more than we did.

One area where we're more in agreement is the state of the UK. In our chart they took a massive dive from their top-10 placing in the 2000s. Europe were even less impressed with them than we were, placing them plumb last. But their biggest fallers were Finland and Malta, who proved to be utterly uninspiring (they saw a similar drop in our rankings).

The biggest change this decade has, of course, been the resurgence of Old Europe, with only two victories for the ex-Eastern Bloc. The number of East European countries in the Europe top 10 has halved since the 2000s. Is that a consequence of voting reform? Or changing participation (<cough>Turkey and Italy</cough>)? Or, is it just a question of taste? There's a similar resurgence of Old Europe in our own top 10, albeit less marked. We'd've gone east four times this decade to Europe's two.

The all-time top 50 (yes, there's no exactly fifty countries in the list) is starting to become pretty stable. There's no change at the top of either our chart or Europe's, and even the UK's desolate showing this decade can't undo the solid effort of all those second places down the years. In our all-time chart, the highest climber is Georgia, followed closely by Greece who move into the top five. For Europe, the biggest mover is Azerbaijan's massive climb of 11 places.

We may have agreed about the UK in the 2010s, but that's the country we're most at odds about over all (with a massive 160 point difference between our placings and Europe's). Europe continues to misunderstand Finland, though again we've been in more agreement about that topic over the last ten years. To explore our disagreements in more detail, take a look at our new 'Skew' table in our score-cards section.

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