Well, another year of the Eurovision Song Contest is over. The contest is going to Ukraine after a nail biter in the voting! Being Australian, naturally I was barracking for Dami Im to take the title, but second place is a massive achievement. For a country that’s not in Europe, and has only competed in the Eurovision Song Contest since last year, we did really well. Both Dami and Guy resonated with many Europeans, and in terms of Dami’s performance, the national juries in countries like the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden gave us the coveted douze (12) points! However, it was not meant to be as Jamala’s 1944 took out the top title due to tele-voting. Congratulations to Ukraine and Jamala! The margin of 23 points was extremely slim! It reminded me of the drama when Celine Dion won the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest with a margin of 1 point from runner-up the United Kingdom. However, Australia is very proud of Dami Im’s achievement and I’m sure she will receive a hero’s welcome once she arrives back from Stockholm!
Now, I’m going to give my Top Five 2016 Eurovision songs. Of course, I’m disregarding any political connotations of the countries represented and focusing purely on the song and theatrics of the performance. You might think, but the politics is just a part of the Eurovision experience? Yes, there is actually a music contest happening despite the political situations!
Russia – Sergey Lazarev, You Are The Only One
This song came third overall, but this was the frontrunner to win this year’s contest. The video board theatrics might be ‘adapted’ from last year’s winning Eurovision entry, however the implementation is surely different. Sergey climbing the video board surely would have tripped out a few viewers, including myself! It wasn’t till later that I realised that the video board has cut outs where he can climb up, but from front-on it looks flat. Song wise, it’s a catchy little number. It’s not amazing vocally or lyrically, but the tune is catchy enough to be stuck in your head for days. In my case, for months! Easily, in terms of on-stage theatrics, this was the winner.
Azerbaijan – Samra, Miracle
I still don’t get how the flames and the gold theme relates to the song, but that’s Eurovision! I’ve mainly put this performance in due to the song. It’s a catchy post-breakup anthem that anyone could relate to, a song that you’d expect someone like Demi Lovato would sing. The recorded version is worth listening to! Theatrics wise, it’s quite stock standard for a Eurovision song however.
France – Amir, J’ai Cherché
I’m surprised this song didn’t rate higher. Earlier in the year it was tipped to be a Top 5 song. It’s a nice, positive and, of course, catchy song. Theatrics wise, they have taken the approach of focusing on the song rather than the flames, wind machine and every other cliche prop typical of Eurovision songs. It’s such a shame that it only came sixth.
Belgium – Laura Tesoro, What’s The Pressure
This is the song that Australia gave 12 points to in Jury and Tele-voting. I can see why! It’s expected in Eurovision that we get emotional ballads or anthems, but it’s nice now and then to get a really upbeat dance song. This ticks all the boxes. A groovy, disco-esque beat that might remind some people of other songs. The video board projections reflect the disco theme. You can’t help but stand up and dance!
Australia – Dami Im, Sound of Silence
This list is not complete without Australia’s entry, of course. Dami Im absolutely SLAYED that performance!!! This may be my hometown bias in me (Dami comes from a suburb not too far from where I live), but she used her powerful voice to get the emotion of the song across. ‘Sound of Silence’ is about being away from someone. The presentation was simple, just Dami sitting and standing on the stage while singing. The video board projections didn’t distract from the song, and stuck to the Minority Report-like futuristic theme. I’m so proud of Dami! It was a brilliant song, and brought back what Eurovision should be about – the song. The theatrics complimented the song, not dominated it.
Another highlight of the Grand Final was the point where Eurovision became self-aware! Hahaha. An advanced warning, the song is extra cheesy and catchy! If you’re also a regular Eurovision viewer, you’d recognise the sheer amount of references to entries from previous contests.
Hope to see you all next year in Ukraine to do this all again!