My Recap of the ESC 2018 Grand Final

Netta (Israel) Winner of Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon | Photo: Andres Putting

Netta (Israel) Winner of Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon | Photo: Andres Putting

Wow – what a night! Have you’ve been able to recover yet? I’m not sure I have if I’m honest. What the hosts and interval acts lacked in excitement – don’t get me wrong, it was all nice, just not the party and glamour we’ve come to associate with the phenomenon that is the Eurovision Song Contest – was totally made up for by the high quality of the competing acts.

As could be witnessed during the presenting of the jury votes, there were many entries worthy of winning; the 12-points flew all over the place, rewarded to no less than 14 different entries (more than half of the competing songs!). Looking at the detailed stats today, it’s noticeable the televotes’ spread was even wider, encompassing 15 entries getting at least one of the highly sought after 12-points. This indicates an unusually strong year, quality-wise.

Another fact that was made abundantly clear yesterday was the disagreement between the juries and the viewers. You might think, when all points are summarized by the end it shouldn’t matter which points came from which votes – and maybe that’s right. It’s still fascinating, at least to me, to look at the statistics and try to analyze them. I know plenty of others have more knowledge, experience and capability to do so in much greater detail, but I still have a few pointers I’d like to vent.

Looking at the split-up scoreboard below, the most interesting thing to note is where the biggest differences are. In one end of the spectrum there are the ones appreciated by the juries but abandoned by the viewers; such as Sweden (placed 2nd by the juries but only 23rd by the viewers); Australia (placed 12th by the juries but last by the viewers); and Austria (the winner according to the juries, but only ranked 13th by the viewers). On the other end are the ones appreciated by the viewers but neglected by the juries; such as Ukraine (placed 7th by the viewers but last by the juries); Denmark (placed 5th by the viewers, 20th by the juries); and Italy (placed 3rd by the viewers, 17th by the juries).

Cesár Sampson (Austria) Jury Winner of the Grand Final | Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon

These differences may well have been there ever since the televoting started in 1997, but it wasn’t until the new way of presenting the votes – with the jury votes given out first, and the televotes afterwards – this has been brought to the light for scrutiny. These differences are probably the result of many things, but my initial thought looking at this year’s result is the ESC fans’ long-lasting appreciation of the genuinely national, cultural and ethnic traditional influences Eurovision continues to offer its viewers. Sweden’s and Austria’s entries this year was by far the most American influenced songs this year (and maybe Australia’s can fit in this description as well), is this why they didn’t get any appreciation from the viewers? Looking at the other end of the difference spectrum, neither Ukraine’s, Denmark’s nor Italy’s entries can be considered remotely Americanized.

Whatever the reason for these differences though, it’s once again perfectly clear you need the support from both the juries and the viewers to win the trophy at the end of the night. Israel’s Netta arrived in Lisbon two weeks ago with the pressure of being the predicted winner. During her stay many contestants challenged her – especially Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira who took the lead in the odds after the first semi-final – but she fought back splendidly and brought home the victory in the end after a stunning performance when it mattered the most. And so, almost exactly 20 years after Israel’s latest victory – with Dana International’s Diva in Birmingham 1998 – we can say it again; Next year in Jerusalem! Who’s coming with me?

Also, big congratulations to Germany, who did their best competition since Lena won in 2010 and came to Lisbon with a row of disastrous results over the last three years.

Michael Schulte (Germany) Grand Final | Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon

Place Jury votes Televotes TOTAL
1 Austria Israel Israel
2 Sweden Cyprus Cyprus
3 Israel Italy Austria
4 Germany Czech Republic Germany
5 Cyprus Denmark Italy
6 Estonia Germany Czech Republic
7 Albania Ukraine Sweden
8 France Moldova Estonia
9 Bulgaria Estonia Denmark
10 Moldova Lithuania Moldova
11 Lithuania Norway Albania
12 Australia Serbia Lithuania
13 The Netherlands Austria France
14 Ireland Bulgaria Bulgaria
15 Czech Republic Hungary Norway
16 Norway Ireland Ireland
17 Italy France Ukraine
18 Spain Albania The Netherlands
19 Slovenia The Netherlands Serbia
20 Denmark United Kingdom Australia
21 Serbia Slovenia Hungary
22 Hungary Finland Slovenia
23 United Kingdom Sweden Spain
24 Finland Spain United Kingdom
25 Portugal Portugal Finland
26 Ukraine Australia Portugal
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