EUROVISION SONG CONTTEST 2017: RESULTS ANALYSIS, 1ST SEMI-FINAL

Immediately after the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest was concluded, the EBU posted the complete results of both the two semifinal heats and the finals, and there are a whole host of stories that can be gleaned from the results. Of course the math geek in me wanted to plumb through the points and rankings and analyze them.

I’ve noticed an imperfection in the Top 10-oriented points system they have in place, a major peeve of which is that there are occasions where a song that finishes last overall may have not been last at all if you factor the ranking of the entire lot, not just the Top 10.  I call this the Ryan Dolan Conundrum*1.  There is also the heavy skewing of high points in some countries (usually bloc mates) that would generate high points and outdo entries that may have figured in the Top 10 in a larger set of countries but didn’t amass as much points from them–this one is known as the Edurne Paradox.*2

*1 So named for the Irish 2013 entry who officially finished last in the Eurovision final despite ranking 14th with the juries and 23rd with the public.  Its lack of points was because it figured in as a bubbling under choice below the Top 10 for most of the votting countries.

*2 So named after the Spanish 2015 entry who ranked a shockingly lousy 21st place even with points from eight countries, while entries ranking 15th to 20th garnered larger points from far fewer countries.

So to salute the underdogs and to examine if there are entries tthat exhibit these two prominent symptoms, I examined the overall ordinal rankings.  Below is the table for the first semifinal:

Ordinal points used to matter when the 2013-2015 scoring system was employed as when the points from each country was compiled, it was based on the overall ordinal score.  Countries that earned the highest points on, say the jury side may be dragged down if it fared last in the televote (and vice-versa) while an entry that ranked 11th in both jury and televote may get to earn points overall when such a polarizing scenario occurs with other entries.  Anyway, here’s a comparison of how the first semifinal would’ve looked using the composite system (as I termed the 2013-2015 system) versus the current system in place.

Ranking 11th overall was Georgia (Tamara Gachechiladze).  Juries liked Tamara’s powerhouse vocals enough to make it rank 8th.  But it displayed weakness in the televote as it ended up 13th–and if you examine the average ordinal rankings, the scenario is even worse as it was actually 17th, which indicate its televote “strength” was a product of bloc support.  The low ordinal televote rank indicates that if the 2013-2015 “composite” system was employed, this entry would’ve ranked 13th overall instead.

Ranking 12th overall was Finland (Norma John).  It was the sole non-finalist who made the Top 10 in televote, at 10th place, dislodging Australia (Isaiah Firebrace) who ranked a weak 15th place.  It’s quite surprising seeing this result as many pundits thought this would be a big jury darling and may be vulnerable in the televote.  Turns out it was strong in the televote and just missed the mark with the juries by ranking 12th with them.  Interestingly if the “composite” system was used, this would’ve been in 11th place.

Also garnering significant jury love was the entry that placed 13th overall, Czech Republic (Martina Bárta).  It ranked 7th with the juries, but was dragged down with a last place finish in the televote.  I suppose this is going to be a perennial issue for this country as it doesn’t have much bloc support unlike, say, the Balkans and the Nordics.  But I also have to note that last year, Gabriela Gunčíková may have garnered nil points during the final, but during the semifinal it got enough points from the televote to rank 12th there (it qualified of course because it ranked 4th with the juries).  So with a better song this country could overcome the inherent televote deficit and see action in the finals again.

The most obvious jury darling in this semi-final was Australia (Isaiah Firebrace) as it was 2nd overall with the juries.  Reportedly he was on-key during the jury rehearsal held the day prior to the semifinal, but on the day of the semifinal he had a screechy moment that it was reflected in the weak televote score–it ranked a low 15th with the public.  That jury love helped his secure a safe 6th place overall in this round and thus advanced to the final, and the jury love continued from there–more on that in the review of the final.

The biggest televote darling was Belgium (Blanche).  There was so much love with the studio recording and Blanche’s distinctive alto that the audiences were very forgiving about her wobbly singing during this round, giving her a lofty 3rd place in the televote.  The juries, though, were less merciful and pegged her down to 13th place but her televote score was high enough that she ended up 4th overall in the semifinal–a similar story would unfold in the final, but like Australia, more on that in the review of the final.

If juries were the sole arbiter determining the 10 finalists, Poland (Kasia Moś) would’ve missed the cut as it ranked 11th.  But it earned a solid 6th place with the televote to end up 9th overall and hence advanced to the final.

Now, let’s spare a thought for the entry that placed last overall, Latvia (Triana Park).  It hurt that it was dead last with the juries (garnering a measly 1 point) and a tie for 16th with the televote isn’t enough to save it from the doldrums.  Though yes clearly the performance was flawed, I felt this doesn’t deserve the low placement it received–some theorized the juries were a tad frightened by aggressive ladies like this band’s lead singer, Agnese Rakovska, hence it was penalized for it.  It’s unfair and unjust that this band was treated as such, as it wasn’t an amateurish hot mess unlike, say, Montenegro (Slavko Kalezić) who ranked one notch above Latvia with the juries but its campy appeal helped it shore up an 11th place ranking with the televote, ending up 16th overall.

COMING UP:  THE 2ND SEMI-FINAL

RESULTS REACTION: MISTER GLOBAL 2017

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Winners and special award recipients, from L-R: Korea (Mr. Congeniality), Philippines (Mr. Charming Smile), Chile (3rd RU), South Africa (1st RU and Best in Physique), Brazil (Mister Global 2017), England (2nd RU), Vietnam (4th RU and Best in Talent), Sri Lanka (Best in National Cotume), China (Mr. Photogenic), and Spain (Mr. Model)

The ultimate outcome of Mister Global 2017 is what I and most people expected, as the big favorites were the ones placed highest.  Still there was room for quite a few surprises.  For instance I got 11 out of 16 correct, with two in my “Blubbling Under” list and one in my “Striking Distance” list.

The biggest headscratcher for me was Indonesia (Reynaldi Rifaldo), who not only made it to teh Top 16 but went all the way to the Top Ten.  But then, witnessing the Top Ten swimsuit round, perhaps there is an edge he had as he displayed a sense of derring-do–more on that when I post my full fledged Mister Global review (which will mostly come after I complete all my Eurovision pieces).

During the preliminary interview: Indonesia (Reynaldi Rifaldo)

Similarly surprising for me was the inclusion of Panama (Arturo Lugo) as I found him a tad raw, and his choice of suit in the Top 16 formal wear round reflected that.  But perhaps to the eyes of the judges he’s polished and makes an impact enough when it counts.

 

Panama (Arturo Lugo)

I was expecting Sri Lanka (Menuka Alwis) to make the cut as he exudes oodles of charisma and sex appeal and an enviable physique.  But sizing him up compared to his peers his disadvantage is that he’s on the short side.  At least he had the consolation of winning Best National Costume,  He’s a runner-up behind two co-winners of this edition’s Lucas Malvacini award.

Lucas Malvacini Award runner-up: Sri Lanka (Manuka Alwis)

The two co-winners of the Lucas Malvacini award coincidentally come from countries that were the Top Two last year–Czech Republic (Tomáš Dvořák) and Thailand (Nontakorn Amput).  It’s ironic that in the preliminary and final judging panel were the reigning Mister Global and his runner-up so what made these two strong contenders miss the cut?  Were their interviews disastrous?  Did Thailand somehow clashed with the organizers somehow that led to his exclusion?

 

Lucas Malvacini Award co-winner: Thailand (Nontakorn Amput)
Lucas Malvacini Award co-winner: Czech Republic (Tomáš Dvořák))
Last year’s Top Two in the judging panel: Thailand’s Thawatchai Jaikhan and Mister Global 2016 Tomáš Martinek from Czech Republic

I got three of the five finalists right–the judges may not seem to like India (Srikant Dwivedi) as much as I did but a Top Ten finish for him is totally satisfactory, and having Chile (Fabián Esteban Vera Abello) and Vietnam (Thuận Nguyễn) in this lofty group is fully justified.  For many pageant fans and pundits, ti was always a battle among Brazil (Pedro Henrique Gicca), England (Christopher Joseph Bramell) and South Africa (Gerrie Havenga) and Brazil’s win was definitely deemed ideal.  This set of winners is clearly unquestionable.

4th RU Vietnma, 1st RU South Africa, Mister Blobal 2017 Brazil, 2nd RU England and 3rd RU Chile

Now did this year’s pageant format live up to the well-received 2016 production?  I’ll answer that question in my full-fledged review coming up in a couple of weeks.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

 

MISTER GLOBAL 2017: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

MALAYSIA – Nazirul Mubin.  He, India, and Sri Lanka could be deemed the darkest complexioned contestants in his year’s contest.  I know most Asians tend to favor fairer complexions, but I hope the Thai judges here may be open enough to appreciate brown, dusky types like this guy.  He’s not conventionally handsome, bu he exudes charisma and sex appeal in my eyes.

MYANMAR – Paing Soe Htun.  He has a buffed bod and a boyish appeal to be among the likeliest to advance to the Top 15.

 

PANAMA – Arturo Lugo.  He has handsomeness and a lean, sinewy physique going for him, bu he registers a a tad raw and not quite reaching his potential.  He could’ve been a semifinals-worthy contender, but as he is, he’s just simply worthwhile.

PHILIPPINES – James Alfred Ventura.  He may not have got what it takes to top the likes of Brazil, India, South Africa and several others, but he does have a boyish appeal that he can secure us a Top 15/16 finish.  I hope the Thais and Vietnamese are confident enough with their representatives (they ought to be–read below) hat they would allow us Filipino fans to flood the internet voting to give him a slot in the semifinals.

PUERTO RICO – Joshua Rojas Rivera.  He does have good looks and a rippled physique, but his charisma seems a tad inconsistent.  Still, I deem him a possibility for the Top 15 and beyond.

RUSSIA – Roman Odinets.  Many Asians would dig his boyish features and twink-ish frame.   But I think with such a formidable group, he is clearly overshadowed.  Besides the presence of England would shut him out of chances of making further inroads.

SINGAPORE – Kasper Neo.  See INDONESIA.  We usually tend to expect Singapore to field guys with beefy frames, but this guy is more the slim, sinewy type.

SOUTH AFRICA – Gerrie Havenga.  He has a chiseled jaw and the best physique amongst this year’s contestants.  Knowing that most South African pageant contestants tend to also fare well in interview, he could be he possible winner in this year’s pageant–but of course Brazil and India would provide formidable opposition and I have a feeling Thailand and Vietnam would likewise join the fray.  If he doesn’t win this contest, I would recommend he go for Manhunt International–his is the sort of features that would be highly prized in that realm.

SPAIN – Daniel Sampedro.  He stands out as the long-haired contestant in this group.  Underneath that mane, though, is a classically handsome face hat can pull the look off well.  Wonder if the Thai judging panel appreciate swarthy long-haired types?

SRI LANKA – Menuka Alwis.  He somehow reminds me of the reigning Mister World from India, Rohit Khandelwal.  Rohit’s charisma is known to be off-the-charts, bu this guy is no slouch in the charisma department so he looks poised ot have an inside rack to the finals.

SWEDEN – John Sempill.  He is handsome and he has a fit physique, but i’s not as defined as the standouts out there.  Still, he can parlay his classic handsomeness tto a Top 15/16 finish.

TAJIKISTAN –  Azizdzhon Mirzoev.  He and India share approximately tthe same height, so they share the honors of being the tallest contestants in this year’s pageant.  He does have enough appeal to make a great impression, but his physique, albeit buffed, is not as defined as the front-runners out there.

THAILAND – Nontakorn Amput.  Unlike in Mister International, the host country fielded a representative that ticks all the boxes.  He has handsomeness, buffness, and charisma in spades.  So I wouldn’t be shocked or surprised if he ends up in the Top Five.

VIETNAM – Thuận Nguyễn.  See THAILAND, albeit there are some detractors in a popular yet controversial website that are downplaying his chances.  Me, I like what I’m seeing.

With the 28 remaining conttestants now assessed, here is my leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  BRAZIL, INDIA, SOUTH AFRICA

SHOO-INS:  ENGLAND, THAILAND, VIETNAM

LIKELIEST:  BANGLADESH, CHILE, CHINA, CZECH REPUBLIC, KOREA, LATVIA, MALAYSIA, MYANMAR, PHILIPPINES, PUERTO RICO, SPAIN, SRI LANKA, SWEDEN,

EXCELLENT:  IRAQ, KAZAKHSTAN, TAJIKISTAN

VERY STRONG:  CANADA, PANAMA

STRONG:  INDONESIA, JAPAN, RUSSIA, SINGAPORE

Now, my “Fearful” Forecast:

TOP FIVE:  BRAZIL, ENGLAND, INDIA, SOUTH AFRICA, THAILAND

TOP TEN:  CHILE, CZECH REPUBLIC, KOREA, LATVIA, VIETNAM

TOP 15:  MYANMAR, PUERTO RICO, SPAIN, SRI LANKA, SWEDEN

POPULAR VOTE:  PHILIPPINES

BUBBLING UNDER:  BANGLADESH, CHINA, MALAYSIA

STRIKING DISTANCE:  IRAQ, KAZAKHSTAN, TAJIKISTAN

I foresee the Mister Glboal title to be a three-way battle among Brazil (Pedro Henrique Gicca), India (Srikant Dwivedi), and South Africa (Gerrie Havenga) with England (Christopher Joseph Brammell) a possible usurper.  Let’s see if this year’s production equal or exceed’s last year’s successful outing.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

Will the Mister Global winner be any of these three? Brazil, India, and South Africa