EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2017: TRIUMPH OF THE UNDERDOGS, PREVALENCE OF Y-CHROMOSOMES (PART 2)

For me, the fun part of reviewing this contest is to dissect and analyze the points that were disseminated, as the EBU graciously discloses all rankings and breakdown of the numbers.  And there are interesting stories that can be found here.  For instance, on the televote side, the Top 10 took a whopping 87.64% of all the available points to be allocated, leaving the bottom 16 to scramble for a measly 12.36%–this beats the record set in 1976 in terms of point concentration of the Top 10 vis-a-vis the rest of the entries.  The heavy concentration of points help explain how this year the televote points were the most crucial determinant for the final ranking.  I’ll of course discuss the entries that were found on the right side of the scoreboard…

To no one’s surprise, holding up the rear were Spain (Manel Navarro, “Do It for Your Lover”) and Germany (Levina, “Perfect Life”).  Besides the weak regard by the fans for these entries, both vocalists were not in great form during the finals–Manel notoriously squawked as he tried to hit the high note in the otherwise flat-leaning song’s climax, and Levina sounded ragged through most of the song.  Even though in the televote Spain was officially in a tie for 22nd thanks to five points given by Iberian neighbor Portugal, examining the full ordinals reveal that other countries ranked it in dead last, and was actually last in the televote ordinals.  Now, an interesting tale could be told about Germany’s performance with the juries as based on ordinals it actually outdid Greece, Croatia, and Ukraine on average.  It seems in this case, Germany exhibited the Ryan Dolan Conundrum with the juries.

Ukraine (O. Torvald, “Time”) garnered its worst performance in this contest ever, finishing 24th overall.  It shows the broadcaster’s gambit to shake things up by fielding a male entry backfired horribly (again), proving they should have stuck with a tried-and-tested diva.  Though officially 24th in the juries, it actually was second-to-last ahead of Spain when you examine the ordinals.  On the televote side, the ordinals are also lower than the official rank (17th place) as ordinals place this at 22nd.

Israel (IMRI, “I Feel Alive”) interestingly was third in its semifinal, but suffered a severe loss in points when the finals came in and hence ended up in a lowly 23rd overall.  One might attribute its severe drop from its semifinal performance to the fact it opened this year’s final and others may also cite that his vocals are not as strong in the Grand Final as it was in the 2nd Semifinal, but one also has to note that from that second semifinal only Bulgaria, Romania, and Norway were able to sustain their points (Romania on the sales side and Norway on the jury side) while most of the love is lavished towards Italy and the finalists from the 1st Semifinal.  I would also like to note that yes, it garnered a measly five points on the televote side, but if you examine its ordinal average, it turns out it also exhibited the Ryan Dolan Conundrum as it actually averaged in 15th place, not 22nd.  This means televoters liked his entry better than what the points would indicate.

Poland (Kasia Moś, “Flashlight”) was a rare case of showing how a grittier live voice actually improved the performance, as it unlocked a deep passion that was muted in the recording.  Many people expect that this entry would’ve made a big splash with the televote just like what happened with Michal Szpak last year.  But it seems the Polish diaspora weren’t that into this entry and were not that motivated to vote this time.  Sure it garnered enough televote points to rank 12th, but as I mentioned above, that 12th place rank only corresponds to a measly 41 points.  I suppose it’s consolation enough that the 23 points it received from the juries is a big improvement over her predecessor’s measly 7 points in that round.

 

Unlike in the 1st Semifinal, Greece (Demy, “This is Love”) was able to hit the high notes in the Grand Final.  Despite this improvement, though, Demy only ended up a mediocre 19th place.  It gets worse when you examine the ordinals as based on rodinals she would’ve ranked 23rd overall.  This means the points that shored her up to 19th place was concentrated on a few countries–well, there is the usual suspect, Cyprus, which granted it douze (12) points from both juries and televote along with dix (10) points from the Armenian jury.

Speaking of Cyprus (Hovig, “Gravity”) on the televote side it exhibited a Ryan Dolan Conundrum as the ordinals showed it actually finished 11th even if based on actual points it ranked 14th–meaning across the countries it wasn’t as polarizing as the entries that ranked above it.  Based on ordinals it would’ve ranked 17th overall instead of 21st.

If the composite system employed in 2013-2015 was employed in this year’s contest, Switzerland (Timebelle, “Apollo”) would’ve advanced instead of Denmark (Anja Nissen, “Where I Am”).  And it mirrored its semifinal outcome from the semifinals to the finals–it ranked 13th with the juries and 21st with the televote.  The televote story would’ve been worse if we use ordinals as actually it would have been 24th.

Belarus (Naviband, “Story of My Life”) was truly middle-of-the-pack by every measure, officially 17th overall, 16th with juries and 13th with the public, and slightly a notch lower in all measures using the ordinal system.  Overall, a respectable performance.  I also would like to compliment this entry for its sunny spirit, and yes, the comparison of Ksienija Zuk’s hairdo to the Japanese anime character Sailor Moon.

It’s interesting that two adversarial countries, Azerbaijan (Dihaj, “Skeletons”) and Armenia (Artsvik, “Fly with Me”) garnered heavy raves from the media for their quality performances (which I agree) but ended up with disappointing finishes, 14th and 18th respectively.  Azerbaijan earned douze (12) points from the juries in Italy and Portugal, and from the televoters in Georgia, but it’s not enough to return back to the Top 10 after last placing in that level with Farid Mammadov’s “Hold Me” back in 2013.  Armenia, meanwhile, just simply couldn’t catch a break with juries or televoters though it did fare a little better with the juries with a 15th place ranking there.  It doesn’t help that unlike the neighborly bloc-voting pattern as exhibited by the likes of Greece and Cyprus, for instance, Armenia and Azerbaijan made it a point to mark each other in last place, whether in televote or the juries.

United Kingdom (Lucie Jones, “Never Give Up on You”) had its best finish since Blue’s 11th place finish back in 2011, finishing 15th overall.  It’s a jury darling as it garnered enough points to land 10th, but well, it got a measly 12 points with the televotes and ranked 20th there.  There is a bit of a Ryan Dolan conundrum on the televote side for this entry as if we use ordinals, it ranked higher to 16th there, and the combined ordinal overall it would’ve ranked higher to 13th place.

I also like to give a shoutout at the awesome 7th Heaven remix for this song, because it actually did a more effective job as a ballad-to-dance-track than the actual entry that does this, Greece.  It made me wish that like the permission granted to San Marino last year to make the remix the official number, they should’ve done the same thing for this entry.

Though officially ranked 11th with the juries, Austria (Nathan Trent, “Running on Air) turned out to be a bigger jury darling than its ranking suggest based on ordinals.  It actually encountered the Edurne Paradox as not only did it actually rank 6th in ordinarls, but garnered votes from 24 countries, more than the number of countries giving points for , Italy (21), Moldova (19), Belgium (20), and the United Kingdom (21) and equaling the number of juries that voted for Norway, all of which ranked above this entry.  But of course it’s pulled down by the zero points it got from the televote.  Though officially this made this entry last place in televote, based on ordinals it actually wasn’t last on average, but was actually 23rd.  This means this one also exhibited the Ryan Dolan Conundrum, this time for the televote.

Another polarizing entry was Croatia (Jacques Houdek, “My Friend”), whose 13th place overall finish was buoyed mostly by its 9th place ranking with the televotes (it ranked 22nd with the juries).  Ordinals made the picture worse as it dropped to 24th with the juries and 10th in televote, with the UK taking its place in the overall ordinals.

COMING UP:  THE TOP 12

 

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