The Morning After

Well, it’s now well past morning, but it’s the day after Eurovision 2019 has ended.

I’ve been treating the day as a proper sickie, with long naps and pizza and all the elements of a good Post-Eurovision Depression wallow, before picking up with some of the stuff I’ve missed during Eurovision craziness (a new SuRie album! New Maruv music! More Tracey de Sa stuff!)

My takeaways from the year are the following:

1. Thirstiness will prevail

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Yes, I get that Duncan Laurence’s song was an emotional piano ballad that connected with the audience, but the butt helped. You can’t deny that the butt helped in giving it early momentum and providing a hook upon which people would watch the video.

But Duncan’s butt wasn’t the only example of thirstiness topping the charts. There were several songs that fell into the Diet Fuego category, but only the one sung by the hunky man who exposed his arms managed to sneak into the top 5.

And look at the rest of the top ten – John Lundvik. Chingiz. Sergey. All people with songs of varying degrees of quality, but uniformly built physiques.

Even the EBU was in on the thirst, releasing this video before the competition:

There are, of course, exceptions to this hypothesis – the biggest being Miki, Spain’s #1 Party Bro, who placed a dismal 22nd with a crowd that didn’t have the chance to appreciate his bops.

2. Eurovision’s staying weird.

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I did despair somewhat this year about the lack of weirdness in the competition. During the National Final slog, our favourite weird acts (Potato Monks! Mazule! Catlin Magi!) were all shunted aside in favour of safer, more radio-friendly acts. I thought that the experience of Eurovision 2018 – where an unconventional feminist banger won the top prize – would be forgotten in a storm of Cesar Sampson ballads and Diet Fuego bangers.

But weirdness proved popular on finals night. Although Poland and Portugal fell by the wayside in the Semis, Norway, Australia, and Iceland all had a top 10 finish last night. Norway even won the televote with their joik-inflected banger whose video gave me nightmares for weeks.

3. Authenticity doesn’t mean heartfelt acoustic ballads.

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I’m sure that for some, the takeaway of Eurovision 2019 will be that radio-friendly ballads from attractive men will win the evening. But looking at the wider results, what resonated with both juries and televoters were songs in which the performers were involved in writing and crafting the songs. Nine of the top 10 songs on the evening had the artists listed as co-writers – the exception being Sergey Lazarev’s Scream.

Indeed, the deep personal experiences of Kate Miller-Heidtke (postpartum depression), Tamara Todevksa (parenting a daughter), and Duncan Laurence (ghoulishly mining the story of a dead female friend) all resonated with juries. Even the goofiness of Lake Malawi was rewarded because their heart was clearly in that song, even if no one could figure out whom was doing what to whom in the course of it.

Conversely, the songs at the bottom of the scoreboard were ones which were performed really well, but by artists who had the song given to them by producers or their national broadcasters.

Thanks to everyone for reading this blog during this season. It will keep going with fresh off-season content, covering the new releases coming from our old favourites, as well as highlighting bands that should be entering Eurovision. Please keep checking in over the next few months, if only to help me stave off my PED.

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