So now it comes down to this: 26 songs competing to be your Song for Europe in 2016. Here our predictions:
Last place: Germany
Last place: Spain
Fairly similar picks, as it turns out, with Jen picking Austria for a top 10 finish and Chris opting instead for Serbia. As for last place, Chris thinks Spain is an absolute mess, but Jen thinks Germany’s song will be long forgotten by the time the voting window opens.
At the top of the table, we both think it is Russia’s to lose. We know that there has been a lot of anti-Russia sentiment in the hall during the past couple of Song Contests, but Russia did not finish second last year based on neighborly voting alone. We don’t think there is enough anti-Russia feeling in Western Europe to keep “You Are the Only One,” a classic schlager number staged within an inch of its life, from winning the whole shebang.
Who are Russia’s closest competitors? If the Eurovision Song Contest is becoming more political, then Ukraine could pull off the win. The thing is, does “1944” sound like a song voters are going want to hear over and over again? The subject matter doesn’t exactly scream “Europe’s having a party” and we think that could hurt its chances.
Australia has a stronger song than Russia, but that staging drags it down. While watching the second Semi, our son asked, “Is she going to sit on that box for the entire song?” If a 7-year-old who sincerely thought Belarus’ staging was awesome can spot the flaw in your staging, then you’ve got problems.
UPDATED 14 May 2016: Jen adds that she doesn’t see Australia having any support from Eastern Europe. “Sound of Silence” is charting in Russia but doesn’t seem to have any traction elsewhere. This lack of support may be Australia’s undoing.
We would have thought Armenia was a dark horse to win, but we think being picked to perform last hurts its chances. To be honest, we were surprised that “LoveWave” is what the producers think is a good way to close the show, so we’re wondering if this is part of the sanction being levied on Armenia for waving the Nagorno Karabakh flag during the first Semi.
There are a lot of good songs and/or good performances in the Final. We would not be surprised if we get a repeat of the 2011 or the 2014 Song Contests, where a song off of most people’s radar takes the crown. But we’d be crazy not to predict Russia to take the title.
On a personal note, it’s been a tough Eurovision season for us this year. We’ve had to change our format a bit because we’ve been so busy with our day jobs. The kicker to this season is that Jen is on a work trip right now, so we’re not able to watch the Final together. It’s all kind of cast a pall on our enthusiasm.
But Logo presenting the Song Contest live in the United States this year has given us a small infusion of excitement. With any luck, there are going to be thousands if not millions of Americans who are going to watch this for the first time and wonder, “What the fuck is going on here?” And we’re looking forward to seeing the reaction from a new set of fans.
We are still having our Eurovision party, just a week later than usual. But we’re going to proceed as normal with the website with our recaps and superlatives. And we recommend that either the EBU or AAPOR reconsider their tentatively scheduled dates for their 2017 events.