I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Eurovision is only a few short hours away!
I suppose the reason I can’t believe it is because it isn’t technically true – Junior Eurovision is this evening, and it’s more like 12 hours away. But you get the point. Anyway, the closeness of the event means it is well and truly time for a prediction post, and this year I’m going further than ever! Let’s just say it’s not just the winner I’m taking a (semi-educated) guess at, but a whole lot more.
Having banned myself from watching the rehearsals because I love a surprise, my guesses are based on my own thoughts, as well as what fans have been saying AND the backstage gossip from the team at ESC Insight (www.escinsight.com) who have made me very jealous with their presence in Armenia, but a little happier with their podcasts (you can access them at the site or on iTunes).
Of course, all of this may just mean more chances of me being wrong, but I hope it mainly means more chances of you enjoying (and laughing with me/at my expense at) this: EBJ’s 2011 JESC prediction special!
Who will win?
The Netherlands, Russia or Ukraine. They may be in alphabetical order, but they are also in the order that I would rank them as chances to win.
Rachel and Ik Ben Een Teenager have been my favourite from the beginning, but also the song that I heard for the first time and thought, ‘that’s The One’. Of course, with my track record of naming ‘The One’ in past years this prediction is not exactly 100% reliable…but I’m trusting my instincts. It’s one of a few Top 40-sounding entries, but it’s by far the best and it stands out. The Dutch send brilliant songs to JESC, and this is a prime example.
If anyone is going to knock Rachel from her glitzy scaffold perch it will be Katya from Russia. It’s her second attempt at the JESC crown (a.k.a. the fibreglass trophy) as we all know, and I’m betting she wants it for her display cabinet badly. A great performer back in 2009, she’s even more polished now, much like Lena ML became in the Oslo-Düsseldorf period; and from what I’ve been hearing from Yerevan she’s been putting in amazing rehearsals of a song that many, including me, are big fans of.
I think Ukraine are a more outside chance, but could still do it. Evropa has that infectious singalong quality and international-ness (great word, Jaz. Sigh.) that makes a successful entry. If Kristall can pull off a dynamic and vocally polished performance tonight, with her slap-bang-in-the-middle draw, the points could flood in on a continental scale (both an accurate and terrible pun).
If I have to pick just one winner, it’s the Netherlands for me over Russia – but not on an Alexander Rybak-type scale. As they often are in JESC, I reckon it will be a narrow victory.
Who will come last?
FYR Macedonia or Latvia. I have an appreciation of some kind for both of these songs, but I just can’t see them going anywhere. Dorijan has had a lot against him from the get-go, with his song being negatively received by the majority of fandom, and now the news that his voice is breaking as we speak, and no longer matches up to the backing track recorded for the final. I feel very sorry for him, but I think he’s destined to end up at the bottom end of the table – especially with no Serbia to support him in a neighbourly way.
Meness Suns has grown on me a great deal, but I still think it’s the type of quirky song that could not so much be disliked into last place, but forgotten there – especially since I can’t imagine too interesting a stage show going on. But perhaps I’ll be surprised. A Labrador in a sequined beret and bow tie frolicking around Amanda wouldn’t go astray (although it may breach some EBU and animal ethics laws). The song does remind me of a Christmas carol which could work in its favour, being the festive season and all.
What will happen in between?
Here’s my guess at what the final scoreboard will look like:
- FYR Macedonia
And here’s what it would look like in my dreams:
- Lithuania (=)
- Belgium (=)
- Moldova (=)
- Belarus (=)
- FYR Macedonia
Fat chance of either of these becoming reality!
Moving on, which performances are most likely to:
…be unchanged from the national finals?
Armenia, Belarus, Macedonia and the Netherlands. In some cases, why fix what isn’t broken? (I certainly hope Rachel’s scaffolding isn’t broken. A fractured collarbone would probably mar her act a bit). But with others, I wonder if some tweaks wouldn’t help them reach a bit higher for the top, because a domestic audience is vastly different to an international one. For example, is it possible to de-Scooch Armenia’s performance which at the NF was even Scoochier than Scooch themselves?
…feature ballet dancers?
Lithuania and Russia. Dancers en pointe are a staple at JESC, whether they actually complement the song or not (think last year’s entries from the Netherlands and Ukraine). I think a few girls in tutus could complement Paulina and Katya, perhaps with the more traditional for the former and some contemporary choreography going on for the latter.
…feature a costume reveal?
Bulgaria and Ukraine. Maybe this is wishful thinking because I adore costume reveals, but I can easily picture Ivan (or Alex Sparrow II as I like to call him) with a light-up jacket, or Superman costume hidden away underneath the ubiquitous leathers, and Kristall doing something similarly suitable involving European flags.
…have the artist leap out of a giant prop?
Bulgaria. Okay, so I may have heard this is actually happening – but it does seem appropriate. Let’s hope there is a cape/parachute handy to break Ivan’s fall should the prop be excessively high. He may be a superhero, but that stage is a death trap!
…win the Josefine Ridell Award for Least Movement During Song and Lack of Backing Dancers/Entertainment Leading to Most Boring Visual Performance?
Latvia. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a simple performance (and I have so much love for Miss Ridell) but what could Latvia do to create interest? Besides win us over with the ‘ahh’ brought on by the aforementioned Labrador, that is.
Which songs will work better live than on disc?
Georgia, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine. I’m not a fan of Georgia, but I can’t help thinking that is a song is determined to be all stale (I mean, retro) in sound then the singers may as well ham it up completely with a disco-tastic stage show. I love watching Katya perform because she’s such a little pro, so I think this song will be great on the final stage. Erik’s Faller will lift the roof off with any luck (not literally. It’s such a lovely venue it’d be a shame for Sweden to destroy it in less than 3 minutes) with the schlager pumping out in a way that just couldn’t be at the “national final”. And Ukraine should get everyone on their feet in the live sphere.
What about vice versa?
Armenia and Latvia. Dalita’s vocals frighten me a bit. I don’t like having to wonder whether a singer will be able to cope vocally. In addition, the highly theatrical (read: cheesy) stage show may be too much. Amanda is not one to worry about in the vocal department, however I think her song is just a nice listening song, rather than one to be watched.
Well, that’s it – my last post pre-JESC 2011. Now to spend the rest of the day preparing for the show, by which I mean napping so that I can make it to 2.30am for the live stream, and deciding which variety of snack would be better suited to which part of the show. It’s a hard life being a Eurovision fan, isn’t it? Wherever you are and whatever you may be consuming, enjoy your mini contest, ladies and gents. And in the meantime, answer me this:
What do you think will happen tonight?