Unlike the first semi-final, with outcomes almost compatible with alternative systems/analyses, there are some contrasting outcomes that could be gleaned from the second-semifinal.  The ordinals and the composite scores would feature a different 10th placer and shut one eventual finalist out.

Officially at 11th place was Serbia (Tijana Bogićević).  It turned out she got some support from the juries as she ranked 10th there and barely missed the final cut with an 11th place televote ranking.  But it turns out televote was weaker than the rank indicates if you examine ordinals, as ordinals show it was actually 14th–this indicate that her ranking was shored up by high scores from her ex-Yugoslav bloc mates but other televoters are not that into her.  If we use the 2013-2015 composite system, she would end up in 13th place instead.

After two consecutive last place semifinal finishes, Switzerland (Timebelle) finally rose from the doldrums and finished a more respectable 12th. ranking 10th with the televote and 11th with the juries.  But the jury ordinals would’ve placed it 8th, and its overall ordinals would’ve made it qualify to the final instead of Denmark (Anja Nissen).  A similar story if we use the composite system as it would’ve been one of the 10 finalists instead of Denmark.  It turns out it suffered a case of the Ryan Dolan Conundrum with the juries.

Ireland (Brendan Murray) had a respectable finish by ranking officially 13th overall, with 12th place showings in both juries and televotes.  If we employ ordinals and the composite system, though, it could’ve knocked on Top Ten’s door and place 11th.

Surprisingly polarizing the juries and televote was Estonia (Koit Toome and Laura).  Based on jury points it was second to last, but the ordinals reveal that it suffered a case of the Ryan Dolan Conundrum as it actually was 15th based on ordinals.  Still, the juries seem to not get the “anti-chemistry” between the pair (which was actually what the song requires) and were probably turned off by Koit’s stoic faces when Laura sang some solo lines.  Well, at least it got the love from the public as it finished sixth with them.  If we base it on ordinal and the composite system, instead of ranking 14th this entry could’ve ranked 12th.

On the flip side, a surprising jury darling was Malta (Claudia Faniello).  It ranked 8th with the juries, but that is not enough to offset its horribly dead last place with the televote (nil points).  Sure, her consistently strong vocal chops deserve credit, but it’s not enough to elevate the mediocrity of the ballad, which is what is reflected by the televote results.  In fact, her last place showing in the televote would’ve cancelled out the jury points she earned if we employed the composite point system, and she would end up 17th overall using that system.

There are qualifiers who polarized the juries and televotes severely in this round.  First, let’s discuss two jury darlings, Austria (Nathan Trent) and Denmark (Anja Nissen).  Austria ranked 4th with the juries and Denmark was 5th, but with televote, the former was 14th and the latter was 16th, with a measly 5 points.  Even if we employ the ordinals and the composite score system, Austria’s place in the final remains secure as actually based on ordinals it fared a bit better in the televote in 12th place.  Unfortunately in the case of Denmark, it would’ve been eliminated and ranked 12th using the ordinals system and 14th using the composite system–just like Malta, its low televote rank would’ve siphoned off significant amount of jury points, and as mentioned above, qualifying in its stead would be Switzerland.

Now, major televote darlings that didn’t fare well with the juries were Romania (Ilinca & Alex Florea) and Croatia (Jacques Houdek).  Romania was a huge 3rd in televote and that helped offset its 15th place showing with the jury.  Croatia ranked 5th with the televote and 13th with the juries.  As demonstrated also in the final, televote points played a more crucial part in deciding placements in this year’s contest.

Now, let’s spare a thought for the entry that placed last:  San Marino (Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson).  It got nil points from the juries, and thanks to Ralph Siegel fans in Germany it at least garnered 1 measly point from the televote, helping it outrank Malta here.  Yes, no one expected this entry to qualify but to be dead last?  Lager louts from Ireland and Norway plus token points from ex-USSR countries Belarus, Estonia, and Ukraine helped shore up Lithuania (Fusedmarc)‘s fortunes a bit, but I’d rather have Valentina’s retro-disco cheese over Fusedmarc’s strident wailing.  At least I get some amusement when Danish comic artist Humon pointed out that lead singer Viktorija Ivanovskaja resembles a children’s book character called Little My (the latter pronounced “mee” with the lips rounded) from the Swedish book series Moomins.  It’s unfortunate that San Marino experienced its worst finish thus far, and now this country is threatening to quit Eurovision altogether.

Little My from Moomins



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.



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.