Dare To Dream! Eurovision 2019 Grand Final – Review

Hello Europe, Australia and Eurovision-fans all over the world!

Yesterday, in the night of Saturday, May 18th 2019, the Grand Final of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest took place in the Israeli capital Tel-Aviv. Up to the very end the show that called for „dare to dream“ was holding highlights as well as no gos. Read a review below.

The Grand Final of Eurovision has always been a big spectacle for me – not only because of huge love towards ‘Europe’s favorite music-show’. I remember so many birthday-parties of my father that have fallen onto the night of the Grand Final while I was passionately following it towards smallest devices from everywhere hurrying up with the items of the agenda just to be on two places at one and the same time. Imagine me as one of these US-American men who have RT units with themselves in order not to miss one of their beloved football-matches.

As meanwhile our family-birthday-parties are scheduled for Sunday mid-days one might think that I can enjoy the Grand Final without any big things coming in between. Not if you are the main birthday-cake-baker in your family. The running gag: every time when there is a birthday coming my mother tells me particularly not to bake a cake (you know how mothers are, they want you to enjoy instead of working your butt off but if you do it with heart and passion it is not work). So this year a Eurovision cake came out. A debut for myself. My benefit seemingly, to have a huge television in a rather small apartment where you can watch and at least listen to the television from everywhere.

A men's chocolate cake.
The result: a men’s chocolate cake. © 2019 Fall4Me

Big Five + Host: Review

You have had my review about all participants from the first and second semi-finals already in my previous articles about the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Those who have had their one and only performance during the Grand Final are the so called Big Five (optionally called Big Six when the host country is not among the Big Five countries) as well as the host country. These are the ones which do not have to qualify for the Grand Final as they already are and have been as founding members as well as host.

According to the running order (in brackets):

  1. (4) Germany – S!sters “Sister”: The blonde and the brunette, a duo that you cannot go without in life. The girls have given their best and among the given selection they have been my preferred choice to represent Germany this year with their strong and meaningful song. Nevertheless sovereign looks a little bit different to me. The 19-year-old Carlotta Truman (the blonde) and the 26-year-old Laurita Spinelli (the brunette) looked like 12-year-old children trying to prove themselves on stage.

    S!sters Carlotta left, Laurita right performing at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest
    Source: Promiflash
  2. (14) Israel – Kobi Marimi “Home”: A very wonderful voice and singing by a doubtlessly great man. The sad point here was that his song was so weak that even his perfect performance and voice could not rescue and carry it.
  3. (16) United Kingdom – Michael Rice “Bigger Than Us”: With his whole appearance and performance Michael has brought his United Kingdom closer to Europe again – especially in times of hot-headed Brexit-discussions. A very close-to-people as well as down-to-earth act that night that caused warmth around your heart. The song alone would have not been this special.
  4. (21) France – Bilal Hassani “Roi” [Engl.: King]: After last year I was called “homophobe” by another writer here on WordPress I want to make one thing clear: I may be conservative, due to many different reasons, but I do tolerate people the way they are. That, however, does not mean that I support LGBT people. Bilal sang brilliantly and put on a great performance with a strong song! Respect to that! Many people consider the French people as very nationalistic as they always send a song sang in their native language. Personally, I think, is that not what Eurovision is for? Not only representing the nations but as well the culture and character of that country? I think that more countries should sing in their native language and that this should be appreciated more.
  5. (22) Italy – Mahmood “Soldi” [Engl.: Geld]: Not a song I would say that I have never heard at least once before but it was just so cool and despite its casualness so strong with its stage performance and message! The only thing that made laugh a little bit was his Hawaiian shirt which was somewhere misplaced but yet fitting perfectly.

    Mahmood performaning on the stage of the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest
    Source: Donna Fanpage
  6. (26) Spain – Miki “La Venda” [Engl.: The Blindfold]: The best comes last, it is said? They must very probably speak about the Spanish entry of this year’s Eurovision. A very catchy song with a lot of Spanish character not only in its language but as well in the melody and rhythm. One of the deserved winning entries.

My Personal Ranking

At least for the most important part of the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 I have finished my duties so that I could dedicate my whole attention to the ranking.

We continue having the jury-votes by so called “professionals” – talking at least for Germany here it is about singers that are currently “in fashion” and / or have previously  represented the country in the Eurovision Song Contest, personally I do not consider this professional. This is probably where the incomprehensible voting-results come from.
On the other hand we have the telephone-voting by the fans and enthusiasts. Taste is something subjective which is why you cannot easily criticize it. But I had to learn that my taste differs a lot from the mainstream taste.

In order to let my voice be heard have my personal ranking below:

  1. Australia
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Slovenia
  4. Spain
  5. Serbia
  6. Switzerland
  7. Belarus
  8. Cyprus
  9. Malta
  10. Denmark
  11. Estonia
  12. Sweden
  13. Italy
  14. Germany
  15. France
  16. San Marino
  17. Norway
  18. Israel
  19. Russia
  20. Albania
  21. Great Britain
  22. Azerbaijan
  23. North Macedonia
  24. Greece
  25. The Netherlands
  26. Iceland

I consider Kate Miller-Heidke as the best act of that night (since Romania was out in the semi-final already) because of her musical talent: her singing, the song written by herself and doubtlessly her unique and outstanding performance which deserves a lot of respect as not everywhere could have stood to hang on 5 m spears and put on such a great show.

After 2016 I was doubtlessly sure that nothing worse could come. Iceland proved me wrong with their totally misplaced SM-show and awful song which was rather disgusting shouting than a song with a message. Personally I cannot understand how this song could pass the semi-finals. The irony in it: the song is translated as “hate will win” – well they must have known that they will pull a lot of hate onto themselves. I must say that children and families are watching Eurovision and this cannot be.

Dare To Dream: Highlights & Shocks

+ Bar Refali as host: from the moment she has been announced as host my heart was jumping of joy. Furthermore it has been glow in my eyes every time I saw Bar Refali, one of my most favorite super models on screen. Not only she looked outstanding but also she was so adorable as sympathetic that she was the one whom you could excuse the worst messages.
+ Dance, dance, dance: Not only dare to dream but dare to dance. I as dancer as well as dance enthusiast was amazed to see so many different kinds of dances gathered together at one place. Could not be cooler.

+ A star as logo: There is not much to say apart from that I love stars.
+ Best semi-final I have ever experienced: The semi-final one.

I do not want to confirm the cliché that people only see the bad blinded to recognize the good things. Do not get me wrong! Every contest taking place is a highlight by itself but this year there are some things about which it needs to be talked:

Palestine flag in Israel: By far the worst no-go in Eurovision-history!
If you are a guest somewhere behave like a guest! This means that on the one hand, regardless from anything, you are not allowed to embarrass the country that accommodates you.
On the other hand you are not to break the rules of the competition you take part in, especially, if you have been warned by the responsible parties numerous times and furthermore get away with that.
The representatives from Iceland did exactly this: while the results of the jury-points have been announced [note: by this time the points have been firmly set] the band that took part against intolerance and hate has risen the flags and banners of Palestine as an act of solidarity and against the antisemitism by Israel because of the everlasting war since 1967 and partly annexation of the country.
Nevertheless, this competition wants to be and stay non-political and a break of rules is a break of rules which shall be punished (as much as I like Iceland in Eurovision). Therefore I myself have set up a petition to encourage the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest to give the Nordic country a disqualifying one-year-ban. If you share my point of view please support it with your signature here.

The members of Hatari raising flags and banners of Palestine in the Green Room during the Grand Final of Eurovision 2019
The Green Room was the place where the scandal took place. No surprise it was praised with a lot of cries of boo by the audience. Source: Google

Eurovision not political? Give me a break: As politician and political scientist I must have concluded that politics are closely connected to our everyday-life.
Especially since social media platforms as well as blogs accessible for everyone have been established so that each voice can be heard all over the world everyone wants to share his or rather her opinion, participate in the world happenings as well as discussions. I firmly believe that the Eurovision Song Contest itself does not want to be political but it is hard if the participants flout the rules, for example as above described, or sing about not being political, then you are somehow political. Sadly this leaves less authenticity to the contest, especially for people who already are critical towards to show and not enthusiasts like myself. Sadly even the statement of the Cypriot candidate Tamta that there is “only love” seemed rather hypocritical than embracing. My advice: Simply do not mention it at all. Leave it out of the contest or turn it into a life-philosophy.
 Incomplete comebacks: People are dreaming of a world (or at least TV-shows) without advertising interruptions. With the Eurovision Song Contest you have it. Nevertheless in order to have little breaks where you cannot miss anything important the show has prepared some in between acts for entertainment.
For one of them the participants from the previous years have been gathered together in the front of the Green Room for a little trick. As this act took place during the Grand Final this only concerned those former participants who have passed the Grand Final. These has been everyone except from Joci Papai. However one of them had been forgotten so it seemed when Sergey Lazarev (participation 2016), Serhat (participation 2016) and Tamara Todevska (participation 2008) were involved in this act mentioned as former participants of Eurovision while Nevena Bozovic (participation 2013) was sitting in the background and could not do anything more than to keep smiling proudly. Even though she has formerly participated in Eurovision as part of the trio Moje 3 she as well counts as former participant. A big no go for that from sides of the hosts. Bozovic should have and deserved to as well be integrated.

The former participants of Eurovision
From left: Sergey Lazarev (Russia), Joci Papai (Hungary), Nevena Bozovic (Serbia), Serhat (San Marino), Tamara Todevska (North Macedonia, formerly known as F.Y.R. Macedonia). Source: Google
Tamara Todevska, Serhat and Sergey Lazarev between two of the four Israeli hosts
© Eurovision YouTube / Screenshot / Fall4Me

Zero points for Germany: “Germany, I’m sorry, zero points.” – at least the host country had chosen the only right person to deliver this horrifying message in the most sympathetic way so that it could somewhere be forgiven, the sweet Bar Refaeli. Out of 42 participating countries not a single citizen had sent a vote for the S!sters. At least the jury had honored them with some points. Something similar happened had previously happened just four years ago in Vienna, when Germany with the very sovereign Ann-Sophie (“Black Smoke”) ended up the last with zero points. Germany’s Eurovision story has been rather disappointing on the whole especially in the last years (despite from their victory in 2010 and some other exceptions). Which is the reason why this show is rather unpopular in this country. But now after this has happened people start to seriously think about what may be the reason for Germany’s lack of success. Personally I think that what Germany delivers for the contest is not even necessarily bad! As you can see it in my personal ranking. At least not worse than countries such as Iceland this year. However one of my explanations would be the lack of sympathy and openness to their fellow world.

Quit Peter Urban: An example for an unsympathetic, closed-to-the-world German. Even the German audience itself is sick, tired and fed-up with Peter Urban‘s continuous comments about the contestants, their songs and show they have put so much hard work into – cynic and condescending very close to insulting. The German spokesman for the national broadcaster – forgive my jargon but to name it by its exact name – only licks the butts of close German neighbors such as Austria and Switzerland, worships its own country only and takes the piss out of all the others. A petition that hurts people’s dignity is disallowed by the famous portals nevertheless at least here I demand to the German national broadcaster ARD to replace Urban by a younger and more world-open spokesman.

Despite some shocks and disappointments nothing can take my passionate love towards Eurovision. To give you a message on your way I want to tell you that no shock, disappointment or disagreement should take you your love towards something you like. This disappointment is just small in comparison to the love that has grown and developed inside you. I myself would never go without Eurovision no matter how bad it would be (no this shall not mean that I dare it to become worse -wink).

Congratulations to The Netherlands, Duncan Laurence and his song “Arcade” for the victory and see you all and more of you next year in Amsterdam! I very much hope that the Dutch royals are going to involve themselves at some degrees to the contest.

Love, Johanna

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