As predicted, one entry dominated the Eurovision Song Contest this year to win it all.  The only thing is, it wasn’t the country most have expected.  Portugal (Salvador Sobral) won by the biggest landislide witnessed since Loreen’s “Euphoria” for Sweden back in 2012.  There was so much love lavished on it that it tied Loreen’s douze (12) points record of 18 on the jury side.  On the televote side, it garnered douze points from 12 countries–also a lofty total that only three other previous champions besides Loreen equaled or exceeded thus far.*1  It got a total of 758 points from both juries and televotes.

*1 Norway’s Alexander Rybak in 2009 (16), Austria’s Conchita Wurst in 2013 (13), and Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw in 2015 (12)

Proving to be a dominant 2nd placer was Bulgaria (Russian Bieber Kristian Kostov) as just like Portugal, it was a consensus choice for 2nd place by both juries and televoters.  Needless to say, it built on Poli Genova‘s 4th place breakthrough last year and he propeled his country to a new peak.  Also, its 615 point tally far exceeded the winning score of 534 delivered by Ukraine’s Jamala last year.

Delivering a surprising record third place finish was Moldova (Sunstroke Project).  The televote proved key to its success, as the public still have major residual love for Epic Sax Guy, and it is helped that the group delivered unbridled, uncomplicated genuine fun.  This is a much welcome surprise as general buzz and ratings from the Eurovision fandom was muted until this point.  I’m looking forward to wedding reception memes set to this song.

So what happened to the big favorite to win, Italy (Francesco Gabbani)?  Though a sixth place finish overall is nothing to sneeze at, it was shocking that it was pegged down by the juries (ranking 7th), and though it got a lofty boost from televotes, it was only enough for 6th place and this is where it ended overall.  I’ll provide an analysis of what happened here in my full-fledged review.

I thought I’ll improve my track record, but again I only got five of the Top Ten correct, with four bubbling under choices, which includes 3rd place Moldova above.  The one Top Ten finisher that was totally out of my radar was Norway (JOWST featuring Garth Brooks Alexander Walmann).  Little did I realize there was heavy jury love for this modern electronica number, that it outranked Italy in 6th, and its points were enough to secure an overall 10th place finish despite meager televote points.

I was surprised at the lavish jury love for Australia (Isaiah Firebrace).  I feel this entry is too overrated to be deserving of that kind of love–they should’ve lavished that love to, say, the United Kingdom (Lucie Jones) instead.  After garnering 4th in the juries, it only received a minuscule two points from the televote.  Still, the points it garnered from the juries helped it finish 9th overall.  A bit of kind consolation for the United Kingdom that Lucie’s flawless performance helped it land in 15th place, its best finish since Blue‘s 11th place showing back in 2011.

I’m very surprised Azerbaijan (Dihaj) and Armenia (Artsvik) didn’t make the Top Ten even with their eye-popping presentations and near-flawless performances that drew raves from the press–they finished a middling 14th and 18th respectively and neither even figured in the Top Ten of either the juries or televotes.  Guess besides their mutual dislike (for geopolitical reasons), the attentions of the juries and televoters were elsewhere.

Now with Sweden (Robin Bengtsson)‘s 5th place overall finish, does this mean the pattern (and backup singer Alvaro Estrella‘s 3rd place streak) was broken?  Well, one needs to note it placed 3rd with the juries, and in my full-fledged review, I’ll discuss if we analyze the overall ordinals and apply the 2013-2015 system, you’ll be piqued at where this actually ended up using those alternative analyses.

As expected by most fans and pundits, placing last was Spain (Manel Navarro).  The colorful beach-y surfboard-laden backdrop was not enough to rescue this number from the cellar.  It was saved from a nil points shut-out with a cinq (5) televote points from neighbor Portugal.  I was watching this contest via TVE on SkyCable and I noticed that normally after the contest, there will be a live post-assessment by Spanish panelists–apparently after the dismal results they eschewed that and instead aired a historical clip show of Spanish representation to this contest–I have a feeling TVE anticipated this finish so they didn’t bother with a live panel anymore.

This only means that Germany (Levina) finally avoided the last-place finish it experienced for two consecutive years.  Still, it barely avoided it as it finished second-to-last and not helping matters was Levina’s ragged voice.  I hope they can field a real strong, quality entry that can finally deliver this country further away from the bottom.

Prior to the full-fledged review of the final, I’ll do a detailed analysis of the semifinal results next, then probably take a bit of a break as there is the ongoing Mister Global pageant in Thailand and I’ll make a homestretch review on that, then the full-fledged Eurovision review with of course detailed scoring analysis–it’s fun to see if anyone exhibited the Ryan Dolan Conundrum or the Edurne Paradox.  And the biggest question is, if we apply the 2013-2015 system, would Portugal beat Alexander Rybak’s record score of 389 points?