The State of Our 2018 Predictions

Remember in our predictions post when we said, “The journey we take during each Eurovision season is a lot more significant to us then getting 9 out of 10?” Boy, are we glad we have that attitude!

Jen:

  1. Israel
  2. France
  3. Cyprus
  4. Moldova
  5. Bulgaria
  6. Sweden
  7. Norway
  8. Australia
  9. Ukraine
  10. Ireland

Last Place: Spain

Chris:

  1. France
  2. Israel
  3. Cyprus
  4. Moldova
  5. Bulgaria
  6. Ukraine
  7. Sweden
  8. Germany
  9. Hungary
  10. Norway

Last Place: Spain

Europe:

  1. Israel
  2. Cyprus
  3. Austria
  4. Germany
  5. Italy
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Sweden
  8. Estonia
  9. Denmark
  10. Moldova

Last Place: Portugal

Jen got 4 out of 10, but picked the winner, and I picked 5 out of 10 and got Sweden right. Moral victory?

Sheesh.

So we have a few regrets. For example: we definitely regret not picking Czech Republic for a top 10 finish. We knew why Mikolas Josef gave a more reserved performance in the first Semi, yet somehow forgot that he would pull out all the stops in the Final.

Jen and I had a debate about how Norway would do. That early draw was bad, even for a Eurovision legend. And, cute staging aside, the song was not up to the caliber of the other numbers on offer. We thought to ourselves, “Hey, it’s Rybak” without reminding ourselves that Eurovision voters are not that sentimental. (See also: Charlotte Perrelli, Niamh Kavanagh, and Dana International.)

We also should have reminded ourselves that Ukraine picked a song by an artist who only has fan appeal. Melovin consistently did better with the public than with the juries in the past two Ukrainian national finals.

Jen’s Ireland pick was based on perceived momentum. “Together” seemed to have the buzz from the bubble and the bookies shortened its odds after it qualified for the Final. We probably should know better than to pick a song from Ireland and United Kingdom when we know the betting markets we follow are based in Ireland and United Kingdom.

So sometimes, our predictions went awry because we didn’t pay enough attention to all the information we had gathered through the national final season. But other times, we let our own personal biases seep in. For example, despite our personal distaste for pop opera,”La Forza” had shown consistent public appeal. We weren’t surprised to see Estonia finish eighth, but we could have seen the result coming if we hadn’t been holding our noses.

Similarly, we both thought France’s message ballad was going to outshine Italy’s, mostly because we liked France’s song better. We thought “Mercy” was served a spoonful of sugar, while “Non mi avete fatto niente” was served with a swig of Campari. As it turns out, the public responded to the harder hitting, more defiant entry.

Germany also benefited from spelling out its message. We thought the staging for “You Let Me Walk Alone” was very much on the nose, but there was no doubt Michael Schulte and his team did what they needed to do to tell his story. Both Italy and Germany needed to get their messages through to a broad, multilingual audience, and they were able to convey those messages loud and clear.

We’re really not sure why our Bulgaria picks went awry. There was nothing wrong with the song or the staging, per se, but at the end of the night “Bones” just didn’t stand out compared to other entries. Eurovision is a crapshoot, and sometimes good performances get left behind.

Lastly, I didn’t really care if my Hungary pick was right or not. We put a lot of work and a lot of thought into making our predictions, but sometimes, I say, “What the heck,” and just pick a song I like. “Viszlát nyár” turned out to be my quiet favorite this year, so I ran with it. OK, maybe “quiet” is not the right word…