The announcement of the results turned out to be a big nail-biter, as the lead changed places all throughout the disclosure of the jury votes, and the new method of announcing the televotes was even more suspenseful.  There were surprises galore, but somehow,  I still got eight out of my Top 10 correct.  The two that I didn’t get I listed them in my “Bubbling Under” list.

I only placed NORWAY (“Spirit in the Sky” by KEiiNO) in my “Bubbling Under” list as I was concerned about weak buzz from the jury side that might pull down its expectedly strong televote showing.  But it turns out I underestimated its strength with the general public as it turned out they are first overall with the televote and it way offset the expectedly middling jury showing.  With the televote win, it ended up 5th overall.

On the jury side, I underestimated the lavish love the juries had for NORTH MACEDONIA (“Proud” by Tamara Todevska).  It’s so lavish that it was officially second overall on the jury side.  Televote, though, was a tad weaker, as it placed 12th.  Still, its 8th place overall showing is this country’s best showing ever in this contest.  It’s an auspicious milestone to commemorate this country’s recent renaming.

I was shocked by the weak 21st place overall finish for GREECE (“Better Love” by Katerine Duska).  It’s baffling why it didn’t connect as much with both jury and televote–most especially the latter.  I could find no fault with the performance or staging, so what gives, Europe?

Many were also expecting CYPRUS (“Replay” by Tamta) to rank higher and be a Top 10 finisher, but the “Fuego, Part 2” sentiment especially with the general public most likely hurt its standing as it was 20th in the televote.  The juries still has a good regard for this entry, as it placed 12th with them, resulting in a respectable 15th place finish overall.

Faring better than expected was CZECH REPUBLIC (“Friend of a Friend” by Lake Malawi), fueled by hefty jury love as it placed 6th with them.  However, the general public beg to differ, as it only amassed a measly 7 points in the televote, resulting in a 24th place showing there.  Still, an overall 11th place finish is nothing to sneeze at.  You might presume that this country is typically weak in televote, but one must take note that last year this country was actually stronger in the televote than with the juries, so with the right entry this country could win over the general public.

Also finishing above most people’s expectations was DENMARK (“Love is Forever” by Leonora), as respectable showings in both televote and jury (15th and 11th respectively) made it finish on the left side of the scoreboard in 12th place overall.

The big shocker was the strong finish delievered by SAN MARINO (“Say Na Na Na” by Serhat)–though he finished an expectedly lowly 23rd place with the juries, it actually finished 10th with the televote, and its overall 20th place finish is its best showing ever.

SWITZERLAND (“She Got Me” by Luca Hänni) has plenty to celebrate–not only did it make the finals after missing the cut for four years, its fourth place overall finish is its best since Annie Cotton‘s third place finish in 1993.  Similarly, AZERBAIJAN (“Truth” by Chingiz) brought this country back into Top 10 territory (it finished seventh) after languishing outside it for the past five years.  Besides sterling performances and presentations, it also helps that both of them are hunks.

Normally, placing sixth with the juries and seventh with the televote would mean a finish at those levels or even a Top Five finish, but surprisingly those high rankings still resulted in AUSTRALIA (“Zero Gravity” by Kate Miller-Heidke) finishing ninth overall.  What gives?  Well, it was basically pushed down by the winners of the televote and juries (for the latter, the Top Two), as the points amassed by the aforementioned polarizing winners were higher than the respectable points amassed by this entry.

SWEDEN (“Too Late for Love” by John Lundvik) eerily mirrors Austria‘s Cesar Sampson last year, as it’s the jury winner performed by a black man.  Its ninth place showing with the televote, albeit indeed a tad weak, is still way better than what happened last year when this country finished a shocking 23rd with the televote.  Overall, this finish a respectable sixth place.

I’m very shocked at the weak jury showing for SPAIN (“La Venda” by Miki) as I was expecting a mid-table finish at the very least.  At least the televote made it place a respectable 14th.  I’m dying to process the detailed scoring as I suspect this entry suffered the Ryan Dolan Conundrum with the jury.  Expect that analysis in a week or two.

Albeit slightly expected GERMANY (“Sister” by S!sters) and UNITED KINGDOM (“Bigger Than Us” by Michael Rice) were in the bottom of the pack, with the latter finishing dead last.  GERMANY was saved from another last-place overall finish with those 32 points from the juries (it was dead-last in the televote as it got zero points there).

It’s quite interesting that despite ranking fourth in the televote and ninth in the jury, RUSSIA (“Scream” by Sergey Lazarev) still managed to finish third overall.  It helps that the points it amassed in both categories were very strong to offset the points amassed by the polarizing entries.

In situations where the top jury choice(s) and top televote choice were polarizing, consistency turns out to be the name of the game.  ITALY (“Soldi [Money]” by Mahmood) was third in televote and fourth in the jury and this results in a second place overall finish.  Sure, it equaled its 2011 finish in terms of rank but the points amassed by this entry would give this priority.

For the second time since the decision is decided by 50-50 jury-televote, the overall winner did not win either of the categories, but a second place televote finish and third place jury finish propelled NETHERLANDS (“Arcade” by Duncan Laurence) for the win.  Some were expecting a dominant Salvador Sobral scenario for this one, but it turned out to be more of a closely fought contest than expected and we get a Jamala scenario instead..

Like any Eurovision champion, Duncan has a message after his victory and his message is short and simple: “Music First.”  In many ways, it is very similar to Salvador Sobral’s victory message, but without denouncing other forms of music.  Though there might be an implication denouncing flash and spectacle with that message, at least this message is inclusive and applicable towards all genres of music–heck, even abrasive forms delivered by the likes of Hatari.

In recent year, we’ve noticed a more significant divergence in the taste of the professional jury and the general public.  There are also some controversies about inverted voting, and it also involves the jury scores delivered by Belarus in light of the dismissal of that country’s jury due to them disclosing their choices. I can’t wait to discuss all of them in my full-fledged review in the next couple of weeks.