I almost didn’t turn up in Kyiv this year for several personal reasons, nothing relating to the actual country for the record. After several moments of serious reconsideration, I decided to stick to my guns and fly out in the end.
Now I’ve finally returned home and battling a chest infection as a result of the sudden switch from warm Ukrainian weather to chilly British rain, I can certainly say that I am so glad I came after all.
Здравствуйте! This is it, it’s the big finale. The final jury rehearsal is done, half of the final scores are now decided. So now, it is time for the team to sit down and lay down their cards for what they think the final outcome will be…
Здравствуйте! Time for the second round. The second jury rehearsal has been done and dusted, half the scores are in, and now we have the impossible task of trying to deduct who will be getting a flight home on Friday morning.
Kylie watched the jury rehearsal on the screens in the press centre, while John was in the arena to take in the live experience. Let’s see if and how their opinions are affected…
Bonswa! That’s ‘hello’ in Maltese if you’re reading this in the afternoon, if you’re reading in the morning, then it’s “bonġu”!
The jury rehearsal for this year’s Junior Eurovision has come and gone, and most of the scores are now being decided as we speak. So, with Kylie on the ground and John back in the UK keeping an eye on the news, will they agree on the eventual result?
So I just got home last night, finally getting a decent night’s sleep and now having to sit down and articulate my thoughts on what happened the past two weeks. I’ll try my best to get everything out of my system.
Two weeks ago I came to the Swedish capital with uncertainty but a good level of hope that I would enjoy this experience. I collected my press badge, reunited with some of my friends in press (too many to mention, you all know who you are), walked through Gamla stan and had a tour of the Euroclub/Fan Cafe. I was already starting to settle down and prepare myself for the first slog of rehearsals the following day. It was great to be back in the Eurovision Bubble.
The first week of rehearsals started and day-by-day we were all excited and anticipating over what each country would bring to the table. Some produced big applause, some produced huge rants, and some produced large indifference. As you can see on the site, I made daily video updates over my opinions of the rehearsals. Some people agreed with me, others, well, didn’t appreciate my criticism over certain performances to say the least.
Wednesday morning was the most nerve-wracking for me, because my favourite’s rehearsal was first up that day. “Please don’t have messed this up, please be good”, I kept saying to myself, as I was battling the negative thoughts in my head. I was pacing up and down the room as everyone I was sat with tried to calm me down. In the end the staging turned out fantastic and I could breath a sigh of relief, knowing that the Latvian delegation had done the song justice in my eyes.
After the joy of Wednesday, Thursday was a completely different story. Norway had their first rehearsal, and as soon as I saw it I was extremely worried. “Oh no, this is now going to do badly, I can’t bare to see my beloved Norway fail in the semis” as I broke down crying in what was the first of a handful of crying fits I had during those two weeks.
What really didn’t help was me getting extremely nasty comments later that day from people taking offense to what I said about a certain country’s rehearsal the day before in my video update. I understand if people don’t agree with my views on what makes a good staging, but it’s not easy seeing people tell you to be ashamed of yourself for being honest when you’ve been battling depression for over two years now.
By the Friday once we finally saw all 42 stagings, me and the ESC Insight and Eurovision Ireland crew, who I was sat with, were still none the wiser over who was going to win. I don’t like being uncertain in these circumstances, as to my slightly broken mind, it meant the higher chance of a nasty surprise.
I managed to get a couple of interviews with Greta and Poli, both of whom were so lovely and it was an absolute pleasure to meet and talk to, and both gave me big hugs after recording. I wish I had gotten the chance to speak with more artists, but it’s not easy to do everything required in a Eurovision fansite if you’re the only member of your team on the ground. Everyone who I managed to get a photo with were really nice, and it makes me realize how much I love working on this site, because everyone I meet whether it’s press or delegations or the actual artists are such wonderful people.
The first semi-final finally arrived and I was very excited and nervous at the same time. I actually had a ticket for the show and had a great time watching it with an Icelandic flag in hand. But then the results came, and the second of my crying fits followed. I was just heartbroken. I couldn’t believe what just happened actually happened. If I wasn’t so unsure of whether I was going to catch the last train to my apartment, I would’ve gone straight back to bed instead of sheepishly dragging myself to Euroclub. I think my reactions video said it all…
Everyone was shocked and upset, it wasn’t just me. I lost count of how many times someone spotted my t-shirt and consoled me over Iceland. I also bumped into Iceland’s Head of Press later that night, I told him that I was disappointed but they all seemed to be handling it well. Speaking of which, I bumped into Jüri Pootsmann at the end of the night, he saw my t-shirt and expressed to me how sad he was about Iceland. I responded by saying to him “I’m also sad about you, you were brilliant tonight”, but he smiled and said to me “please don’t be sad, it’s fine” before we gave each other a big hug.
The following day everyone kept saying “well, after what happened to Iceland, anything can happen tomorrow”, so naturally I was extremely worried about what could possibly happen to Justs the next day. I kept trying to convince myself “everything will be fine”, as once again the demons in my mind came out to wreak havoc on me. But the Thursday night finally came, and I finally had something to celebrate:
What you probably couldn’t hear at the end of the video is that I had bought a gift for Justs ready to give to him should he have qualified. I couldn’t give it to him in person as security had suddenly decided to have the second semi-final press conference table cordoned off from everyone, so I had to make do with getting Latvia’s Head of Press to come and collect it instead. It’s up to him whether or not he wants to show off my gift, but I’ll say that it was golden and came with a short message on a postcard.
The next two of my crying fits came the following day at the final jury rehearsal as I realized that soon it will all be over and I will have to leave everything behind. It was as if Post Eurovision Depression was about to make an early appearance for me and I really wasn’t ready for it. Thankfully I had a few shoulders to cry on as I was being an irrational fool in front of hundreds of people.
Final night came and I was hoping and praying that we would have a winner that I wouldn’t be upset about (not mentioning names). The voting came and I was freaking out over how all-over-the-place the jury scoring was. Once Australia was announced 4th in the televote and Poland was announced 3rd, the lightbulb clicked in my head and I immediately bounced and shouted “It’s Ukraine! We’re going to Ukraine next year!” as everyone tried to shut me up saying “No! We don’t know yet!”, as I had forgotten that we were sat next to a bunch of Russian journalists, how awkward!
But I knew that I was right. Once Russia’s televote score was finally revealed, the opposite end of the press centre exploded with blue and yellow flags, and I managed to run to the other end and congratulated a couple of Ukrainians and got a big group hug from them.
At the end of the day I was happy for them, and I was happy that we got a winner that I was pleased with. I partied at Euroclub in my dark red clothing until the early hours of the morning, it meant only getting two hours sleep before my flight home but I didn’t care. As I made my way back to the apartment, I spotted Justs coming out of the exit, and the first thing I did was give him a big hug and tell him how proud I was of him. He seemed really spaced out after a long night, but he thanked me for my support.
I still can’t quite believe that it’s all over, and it might take me a while to fully recover from the madness. But thank you to everyone who followed my ramblings on Twitter and on my daily video updates on the website, thank you to all my friends (both press and non-press) for putting up with me, thank you to SVT and all the organisers for making me feel welcome and doing such a great job, thank you to all the wonderful delegations and artists that I met who put their heart and souls into those performances.
And not least of all, thank you to a certain Mr. Sirmais for making me cry when I listened to his CD when I got home, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you and I hope we see each other again one day. I wish you all the best in the future!
I’m very much looking forward to going to Kiev (or whichever Ukrainian city we go to) next year!
Hej! The jury rehearsal for the second semi-final has come and gone, Kylie was there to witness it while Nicolas and Sara had to rely on videos and blogs from home. Will that show a difference in opinions and predictions between the three of us? Let’s find out…
Before we start, let’s have some quick comments about the first semi results:
Kylie: I don’t want to talk about it. At least my friends were happy, but, yeah… At least I wasn’t the only one in that press centre who was upset.
Nicolas: My god, for a split second I thought Malta wasn’t going to qualify, but then my heart was broken as Iceland was not announced last. But in general, I was very happy and, let’s not forget, for once I’m in the lead on ESC Pulse! I had 9 qualifiers right compared to Kylie and Sara’s 8! But.. I doubt I’ll keep that title after semi 2…
Sara: Iceland should’ve qualified! Go Austriaaaa!!!!! Just reminding people, by the way, that my predictions are based on a big load of statistics! So don’t blame me if I’m wrong!
Also, as there won’t be a podcast for predicting semi 2 (as we have quite a sick baby with us right now…) both Nicolas and I will actually try and predict the exact placing of every country on here instead!
Kylie: Yes. Talk about a jury performance! I just hope my heart doesn’t get broken again after Tuesday…
Nicolas: Yes. Though I’m not too fond of the song, there’s no denying he hits all the notes plus he’s very passionate. Should sail through! Will be 4th.
Sara: Yes. I don’t think this will do as well as people say it will. The staging is weak and boring and he’s pretty boring as a performer too… 6th.
Kylie: Yes. He kind of fluffed up the jury performance but I’ve always thought of this as more of a televote song, and I think it can get through on that basis.
Nicolas: Yes. Like Kylie said, televoting will save him, though I secretly hope he misses out. Will be 9th.
Sara: Yes. I think the juries will really like this, as long as he doesn’t make any mistakes and there are a lot of Polish people around Europe, so who knows. 4th!
Kylie: No. It’s just so weak compared to the two songs before and the one after it, and don’t get me started on her clown wig hair…
Nicolas: No. WHY did she decide to go for the curly hair? Anyway, it’s not like straight hair would’ve saved this. I think this year might have the interesting result of having the same last places in the semis as last year: Finland and Switzerland. 18th.
Sara: No. Just curling her hair is already putting her down five places. Bad decisions all around! 18th.
Kylie: Yes. Dark horse alert! I’m so sorry Nicolas for dismissing you in the review, you were right! The staging just looks so lovely and it’s very well sung, and it has THE pyro curtain of the year.
Nicolas: Yes. HAH, Kylie! At least I like that you aren’t trying to talk your way out of it. I had the feeling from the moment the final version got released that that would just wow everyone. The pyro rain will however not seem as impressive to viewers, I feel, because of Switzerland using it literally 3 minutes before. I do feel it’s one of tose that would do better in the final than in the semi, partly because of the draw. 8th.
Sara: No. I think it comes too early in the draw and too close to Poland to really have an impact. There’s nothing about this song that stands out (besides his sparkly clothes!!!). The backdrop has been done a million times before in this competition. 12th.
Kylie: No. I dunno, I just feel that between Israel and Serbia, this seems a bit trying too hard. I’m not confident about that statement though.
Nicolas: No. I really want this to qualify and I think that if someone like Mr Zelmerlöw (I don’t feel like going to copy the weird ‘a’, okay?!) had performed this with this staging, it’d be a definite top 10, but IVAN is still just as charisma-free as an overused toilet brush (or as Rykka’s hair, for that matter). Televoters will save this from the very bottom though. 13th.
Sara: No. He’s just too weird as a person and it will put people off. It’s a cool performance but I don’t see anybody voting for this. 13th
Kylie: Yes. Juries will love it and it’s not too dark or uncomfortable for the public to appreciate in my opinion.
Nicolas: Yes. If I were more daring, I’d say it’s top 5 in the final, but I need to see the performance first. But from what I’ve seen, it’s a perfect staging and her voice is outstanding. Great job, Serbia! 2nd in the semi!
Sara: Yes. I think this a really strong entry and a really good performance. She sounds spot on all the time and she’s a very likeable person. 5th.
Kylie: No. Being between two Balkan vocal powerhouses is very bad news for them. It just feels like a bit of fluff between two very substantial pieces of work. And yes, the fact that they’ve got a red backdrop for a song called freaking SUNLIGHT still makes me irrationally irritated.
Nicolas: No. I don’t think he’s chanceless just based on songs, as it’s very much in the vein of what Denmark would’ve sent between 2008 and 2011, but Nicky just can’t make it work. 15th.
Sara: No. This is just weak… Ireland doesn’t know how to stage their entries anymore. It’s so boring and the song lacks that certain je-ne-sais-quoi. 14th.
Kylie: Yes. I’m not 100% confident about this, but I’ve got a feeling that she might’ve done just enough to make it.
Nicolas: No. Though like Kylie said, not 100% sure either. I feel like this will narrowly miss out. In 2012 they only barely qualified with a much stronger song, so I feel like they might just miss out this time around. 11th.
Sara: No. It doesn’t appeal to juries nor televoting. Just too old-fashioned and her voice is something that you need to get used to and first time listeners won’t get the chance to do that and won’t enjoy it. But since they have a few friends in this semi they will get 11th anyway!
Kylie: No. I don’t know why, but today I got a hunch that this is going to fall short. I know they’ve got plenty of support in this semi, but something just doesn’t feel right here.
Nicolas: Yes. It won’t be as high as I first thought as I think the staging really fails to grab people’s attention. But Lithuania literally has all of its friends so I think it’ll manage to make it, though very narrowly! 10th.
Sara: Yes. I think this is the only song of its kind in this semi: a single male singing a real uptempo dance track. He’s a seasoned performer and I think if the camera shots are right he could impress quite a few viewers. 8th.
Kylie: Yes. Unfortunately…
Nicolas: Yes. No reason why this wouldn’t qualify. 3rd
Sara: Yes. She’s obviously one of the best singers in the competition this year and I feel like her performance will look really cool on screen (even though I haven’t seen it yet). 2nd.
Kylie: No. I don’t get the random acrobat and its running order position doesn’t really help.
Nicolas: No. This is the ultimate pee break material. 17th.
Sara: No. This song is too weak. Europeans don’t usually like country/pop songs like this. There’s a reason why Taylor Swift only really became popular in Europe after her change of style. And coming between Australia and Bulgaria will make her forgettable. 17th.
Kylie: Yes. It’s a really good pop song and people will appreciate that, it’s really enjoyable in my opinion
Nicolas: Yes. It should make it easily, but somehow I’m scared that if we have an Iceland 2.0 in this semi, it might be this… But loyal listeners will know that that’s just the pessimist in me talking, though I won’t let that part of me overrule the reasonable side of me! 5th.
Sara: Yes. I think a lot of the casual viewers will really like this song and relate to it. It’s extremely catchy and everybody will be singing it all night whether they know Bulgarian or not. 3rd.
Kylie: No. If they couldn’t qualify with the same schtick last year, what reason is there for them to do it this year?
Nicolas: No. Middle of the road things used to make it in Eurovision, but what statistics about this new voting system taught me is that the middle of the road songs are the ones that suffer the most from this. Juries might have this as qualifying, but televoters will forget about this completely. 14th
Sara: Yes. Just because I have faith in my Danish men, just like I had faith in them in DMGP! You’ll all see! 10th.
Kylie: Yes. It stands out in its semi and will be well-liked enough on both sides of the coin that they will be safely through.
Nicolas: Yes. I know that back in February I said this might be the shock failure of this year, but no way that this is going to happen. I’m even thinking this will win the semi. 1st!
Sara: Yes. It’s Ukraine. 1st.
Kylie: No. You have no idea how much it pains me to say it about my beloved Norway, so I’m just going to leave it at that and go cry…
Nicolas: Yes. I think people are being too harsh here. The song was seen as a definite qualifier at first and just because the box went away people now think this won’t qualify? Show a bit more faith in the actual song! She sings it really well and I think she’ll still sail through! 6th
Sara: Yes. I think the song appeals to teenage girls (I’m.. sorry, Kylie?) and you either love it or hate it. 9th.
Kylie: Yes. Another one that I’m not 100% confident on, but I’ve got a hunch that this might be exciting enough for people to appreciate and it MIGHT just sneak through, although I’m not entirely sure how much of that is my own personal wish…
Nicolas: No. As much as I want this to qualify, I can’t see the niche that this song appeals to pick up the phone to vote enough for this to qualify. And juries will sink it, I feel. 12th.
Sara: No. I think this song only appeals to a very small group of people and those people wouldn’t vote in Eurovision anyway. 16th.
Kylie: No. She really belts it out but it just does nothing and you will forget it by the time Belgium’s postcard comes on.
Nicolas: No. Again, if I were braver, I’d predict this as a shock qualifier, but I’m going to go safe and say that it’ll be completely forgotten between crazy Georgia and fun Belgium. 16th.
Sara: No. The song is lacklustre, lacks any type of real melody. People will be impressed by her voice but will forget her 30 seconds after the song’s over.
Kylie: Yes. Not much to say other than that it’s the semi-final closer that we all needed.
Nicolas: Yes. For once I’ll show faith in Belgium! I just feel like there’s too many things going for it to go really wrong in the semi. It’ll fail to do that well in the final, but the fact that it’s the only real fun song in this semi, with good choreography, making people want to dance, makes me quietly confident. 7th.
Sara: Yes. This is a funky song that people will enjoy. She’s really cute and super likeable. 7th.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy the show, and if you agree/disagree with us, or want to make fun of us after the show for our incorrect predictions, hit us with a comment!
Hej! The jury rehearsal for the first semi-final has come and gone, Kylie was there to witness it while Nicolas and Sara had to rely on videos and blogs from home. Will that show a difference in opinions and predictions between the three of us? Let’s find out as we give a simple yes/no answer over whether each of the songs will qualify or not…
Kylie: First of all, I have to say that the production of this year’s show is so well produced, amazing graphics, I’m very impressed! I already can’t wait to see the other two shows now!
Nicolas: Our loyal listeners out there know that Sara and I have already made very detailed predictions, but following the jury rehearsal made me change one qualifier. In general though, wow (NOT secret advertising for Malta… although they did offer), what an amazing show it will be!
Sara: It all seems pretty good. Just a pity that so many countries almost screwed up their chances with bad staging decisions. But, as you might know, I always stick by my trusty statistics to predict the qualifiers! So I’ll probably fail again…
Kylie: No. It’s just an underwhelming start to the semi and it’s easily forgotten.
Nicolas: No. It’s not just underwhelming, it’s a completely wrong approach as well. When staging a fun uptempo song, going for an aggressive look and aggressive moves just doesn’t work. And the backing singers come across like five older mums wanting to do something cool (and inevitably cringeworthy) at some children’s party.
Sara: No. And if the song wasn’t enough to convince you that it won’t qualify, just look at that outfit.
Kylie: No. I thought it might just do it a week ago, but after the jury rehearsal, I just got a pretty good hunch that this might just get dragged down in the end. I’m very much open to being wrong on this one though.
Nicolas: No. This is the one I’m changing my mind on. Maybe the other Eurovision fans have made me more (too?) optimistic, but I’ll say this one will fail in favour of a country I’d much rather see in the final…
Sara: No. In a Utopian Land, songs like this should end last in Eurovision semis.
Kylie: No. I just think the astronaut is pretty silly, there’s no real reason for people to vote for it in my opinion.
Nicolas: No. Kylie said it all. It’s pleasant enough, but why would anyone want to vote for it? The only people I can imagine voting for it is your average Moldovan housewife. And that might be a bummer for Lidia.
Sara: No. This song simply failed to catch anyone’s attention during the entire season, as shown by my statistics, so there’s no reason to believe people will suddenly notice it now.
Kylie: Yes. There’s not much remarkable about this, but I just feel that there’s enough for it to sneak through in around 8-10th position.
Nicolas: Yes. After the first three songs, I have to begrudgingly admit that this feels like the real start of the semi. Sailing through.
Sara: Yes. The song is good enough, and even though I really don’t like his voice, I can see why some people would like this.
Kylie: No. That outfit just destroyed every single chance it had, which is a massive shame because I really like the song. Oh well…
Nicolas: Yes. I think the outfit turned it from a top 10 position to a 20th in the final. But yes, that means I do think it will still qualify, even just on song merit alone.
Sara: Yes. This is where my statistics might fail me, as this was so highly regarded before the rehearsals. Thanks, Nina. -_-
Kylie: Yes. The big pause in the jury rehearsal started off awkward but then the crowd gave a big cheer, so it KINDA worked out in the end. This is very much a jury song and that factor will push them over the line in my opinion.
Nicolas: Yes. Oozes class, charisma and performs effortlessly. This will do pretty well!
Sara: No. I disagree with Kylie, I think juries will have been bored with this. But I guess this is one that you need to see on screen, so if I fail on this one, I blame it on not being there!
Kylie: Yes. It just stands out in its semi because it’s so striking and intense, but in a good way.
Nicolas: Yes. I mean, who wouldn’t vote for those legs?
Sara: Yes. Obviously.
Kylie: Yes. Well, duh. I don’t need to explain why.
Nicolas: Yes. Outstanding staging with a mediocre song. Definitely enough to qualify.
Sara: Yes. Best performance of this semi! ❤
Kylie: Yes. Juries will love it and it’s a very well-done performance, I know what’s coming in the comments below mine though…
Nicolas: Yes. Hehe, Kylie will be surprised when she reads this… I’ve finally come to accept that she will qualify, as the song has all the merits to do so and she’s got some of the odds well in favour of her (only ballad, one of the best voices, simplicity after Russian complexity,…). Now watch them not qualify. -_-
Sara: Yes. I guess Kylie will also be surprised by my prediction, but I think this will even come 5th.
Kylie: Yes. It’s a classic Eurovision rock performance and comes across as very exciting. They should be very confident in a second successive qualificiation!
Nicolas: Yes. But I don’t think they should be VERY confident. It’ll be borderline, mostly because of François’ thin vocals.
Sara: Yes. This is how you do rock music, Montenegro! 😛
Kylie: No. It’s just too kitsch and fanwanky. Sorry guys (but I’m not sorry, no).
Sara: No. I’d be so sad if it doesn’t qualify, but I really think this is a borderline one… I don’t think it will, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did qualify. And Kylie, this is not a fanwank, not nearly enough people like this to call it that! 😛
Kylie: No. As much as it pains me to say this, but I just don’t think there’s much to engage the people at home here, and that gives me a sad face. 😦
Nicolas: No. I just don’t feel the connection between the song, the staging and the audience. I think the juries might like it, but for the televoters this might even be a bottom 3 placing.
Sara: Yes. For some reason, people seem to like serial killers.
Kylie: Yes. Even though she royally butchered the song in the jury rehearsal, I just feel that there’s certain factors that will enable this to 10th place in the semi yet again. I hope I’m wrong though.
Nicolas: Yes. Samra might struggle a lot, but it’s a popular genre with no real female competition, performed (yet not sung) professionally.
Sara: Yes. It’s Azerbaijan.
Kylie: No. It’s just messy, I’ve always said that this is the most likely last place in the semi and I stick with that now.
Nicolas: No. Chanceless, I fear.
Sara: No. This is just terrible.
Kylie: Yes. They took the NF staging and improved it, it looks great and should sail through.
Nicolas: Yes. I still think this will complete the top 3 in the semi after Russia and Armenia! Gorgeous performance (WITH a beautiful narrative, Russia!) and sung well enough. Let’s just hope Greta will catch her cues unlike in Söngvakeppnin..
Sara: Yes. Deserves to qualify both on song and performance!
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Kylie: Yes. With Croatia messing up with their Barbara Dex contender, this will mop up all the ex-Yu and Balkan diaspora votes. The very good running order slot also helps.
Nicolas: No. For me this is probably the hardest one to predict in this semi. I think it deserves to qualify, but this song’s main problem is that on first listening, it’s very very messy. And then there’s all the people seeing Deen for the first time…
Sara: No. This is just too much of a messy bunch of people and people won’t know what they’re watching.
Kylie: Yes. Well, duh, pimp slot and a good performance, this should have hardly any problem getting to the final here. Not sure how it will do if/when it gets there though.
Nicolas: Yes. Won’t get as high in the final as they want, but this is a no-brainer for the final.
Sara: Yes. Although I do really think that the staging is now very boring, with nothing happening and Ira just walking around aimlessly.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy the show, and if you agree/disagree with us, or want to make fun of us after the show for our incorrect predictions, hit us with a comment!