Back to Sweden we go for our last Day of Eurovision, and this time, the contest is held in the capital Stockholm. Måns Zelmerlöw took out the trophy in Vienna, and his Eurovision duties aren’t over yet, as he hosted the 2016 contest alongside Petra Mede, who hosted the 2013 contest solo. The contest was held in the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, and it hosted 42 nations, including Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia and Ukraine, who were all returning. We unfortunately didn’t see Portugal or Romania in 2016, but even with their absence, the show was a fantastic one. Now, let’s finish the 12 Days of Eurovision on a high!
Russia was not my favourite entry of the competition, but there’s one thing I can appreciate, and that’s the stage show. It had the beginnings of Sweden’s winning stage show from the previous year, but I feel it built on that by adding backing dancers, and the same tricks that Belarus used back in 2007, where Sergey begins climbing the vertical screen. Knowing he had fallen in rehearsals made it a bit tense but there were no such issues in the semi, or the final. If this didn’t have the stage show, I don’t think it would have made as much of an impact, so well played Russia for coming up with something so visually interesting.
Also an honourable mention to Czech Republic for such a beautiful colour scheme for their performance. The staging was simple, but the backing screens and floor with the shades of pink and purple in geometric patterns looked absolutely amazing.
It may have won the Barbara Dex award by a margin of 435 but for once, I must disagree. Croatia had one of the most intricate costumes at Eurovision 2016. At the start of the song, she has this huge, well, I don’t even know what to call it, so I’m going to just call it a thing. This thing isn’t that pretty, and it’s big and just quite strange really. But with things like this, you know it isn’t going to last for the entire song, and sure enough, there’s a costume reveal. Underneath is an absolutely stunning dress with incredible detail. It sparkles in the light, mimicking a lighthouse. There’s just so much happening on this dress but altogether it just looks stunning, and I can only imagine the hours put into making it.
Jumpsuits can be a hard thing to pull off. They have to fit right, but sometimes they don’t if you’re too short, or too tall, and to be honest, it’s all just a bit of a hassle. Sandhja hasn’t quite learned this lesson yet, as she picked a minty green/blue jumpsuit. From the top, yeah, ok, not too bad but overall I don’t think this is the most flattering piece of clothing she could have worn. She looks beautiful nonetheless, but I think this could have even looked better as a two piece rather than a one piece. I love the cut outs at the back, but just seeing the creases as she moves doesn’t do her any favours.
Best Live Vocals
It’s girl power for 2016, and my top 3 Best Live Vocals demonstrates that. First up is Serbia, who had a powerful and emotional song in Goodbye (Shelter). Sanja is an incredibly talented vocalist who has the power and the attitude to pull this song off. As the song grows, her voice is showcased more and more, especially during the choruses.
Continuing with the girl power theme, Armenia is next up with Iveta Mukuchyan and the song LoveWave. It wasn’t my favourite song of the contest, however what blew me away while watching it again was, you guessed it, her vocals. There are some crazy difficult notes in this song, and she handles them as if it’s no big deal.
Of course I can’t forget our girl Dami Im, who represented Australia with the song Sound of Silence. One of Australia’s biggest voices got to show off her talent on the stage, and that she did. What was great about her performance is that she mixed the vocals around from the studio version which created that extra interest, while also showing off her huge voice. Right before that last chorus – wow.
My first winner of Most Underrated was probably the most underrated song pre-contest, and that was Georgia. Nika Kocharov & the Young Georgian Lolitaz were always an act I supported (and voted for) but sometimes I felt like the only fan of their alternative rock song, Midnight Gold. Everyone, and even I thought that they would probably struggle to reach the final, however after seeing their stage performance, I had a feeling that they would be the surprise act of the night, and sure enough, they were. The stage show was incredible, and I think it totally deserved the spot it gained in the final, however wished it was placed higher in the final results.
Not so lucky was Montenegro, who along with Georgia, sent a song a little different to Eurovision. The band The Highway represented the nation with the song The Real Thing, and I really think this was something special. I understand it’s not to everyone’s tastes, and that certainly is what kept it in the semi-final, however I really enjoyed their overall performance. Semi-final 1 was a tough gig, so as much as I’m not surprised it didn’t qualify, I really wish it did.
For me, this has to go to the Netherlands with Douwe Bob. This was one of my favourite songs of the 2016 contest, and come Eurovision time, there were no crazy outfits or gimmicks to ruin the presentation of this great song. Douwe performs it well, is charming on camera, and the staging is just right for the type of song that it is.
Kudos for Jamala from Ukraine as well, for an absolutely chilling performance of her wining song 1944. I truly believe this song won for a reason, and it became proof that a song can win on its merits, rather than just with gimmicks.
Ivan from Belarus is a real character, and this was really demonstrated by the fact that he wanted real wolves on stage while he performed completely naked. Ivan, it’s not going to happen. Stop trying to make fetch happen. After all that commotion, Belarus somehow managed to whip out a good stage show, even if filled with gimmicks. He did manage to feature his naked side profile on the screens patting a wolf, then had a bunch of wolf holograms, which was alright, I suppose, but then Ivan in his true form turns those holograms into instrument playing versions of himself. It’s a good way to save on backing performers, although I can’t imagine Ivan wanting to share the stage with anyone other than he, himself or his own holograms. For an average song, I have to commend Belarus for making it very close to being actually quite cool.
Most Cringe worthy Moment
Jüri Pootsmann is quite an attractive young lad. We can’t deny this, and what we also can’t deny is how creepy his stage performance is in the semi-final. He has the creepy eyes, and keeps doing the ‘come here’ action with his hand in a combination of a) he doesn’t know what to do with his other hand b) he isn’t quite satisfied with how close the camera is and c) he is trying to capitalise on his good looks. As a result, it actually sends the cringe shivers down my spine and absolutely takes away from the fact that this is a good song which is definitely criminally underrated. Even when the song is finished, he does the offending hand action, and it’s like, Jüri, the song is over, loosen up a bit, stop being a mad creep.
Poland wins the luscious locks medal for 2016, with a set of hair any gal would be proud of having. Michał Szpak has longer hair than me as a 21 year old female, and to say I’m not jealous of the length, or even the wavy curls he has would be an absolute lie. To wake up with perfect loose curls like that would be a dream come true, so I don’t blame him for growing it out to the length that it is. It’s a nice change from the mullets/bowl cuts we’ve seen over the years!
Bonus Category: Best Fan Favourite Flop
Oh, Iceland. It’s the land of volcanoes, waterfalls, and Greta Salóme. Warning, this may stir up some unresolved anger, so if this applies to you, we’d advise you skip for your own sake. Iceland was definitely one of the fan favourites during the lead up to the contest, with returning artist Greta Salóme, this time as a solo. The stage show was the same as the national final, so we knew what fabulousness would hit the Stockholm stage. As expected, she performed her catchy entry Hear Them Calling well on stage, and the fans were sure this was a certain qualifier. Until it wasn’t. Iceland’s name wasn’t called out as one of the top 10 in the semi-final, and later on we saw that it came 14th in the semi-final out of 18. Fans were outraged, and probably still are and will be until the next fan favourite flop.
Fun Facts about Eurovision 2016
Czech Republic qualified for the final for the first time out of a total of five attempts, while Bosnia and Herzegovina failed to qualify for the final for the first time ever since their first participation back in 1993. It was also the first time Greece didn’t feature in the final since their debut in 1974.
The contest was broadcast live in the United States for the first time, and the show featured an interval act of internationally famous popstar Justin Timberlake
A member of the Danish jury actually voted for the countries in the wrong order, so they ranked their least favourite song first, and their favourite song 26th. The overall result wasn’t affected, however the margin between 2nd placed Australia and 1st placed Ukraine would have been reduced from 23 points to only 9 points