Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Grand Final

May 19, 2016
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By Francesca Mann
Photo by Rolf Klatt

Unless you were living under a rock this weekend, you’ve probably heard about the winner of Eurovision. But for those that managed to avoid hearing anything about the contest here’s a recap.

The grand final of Europe’s biggest singing contest took place Saturday night, which for us, unfortunate Aussie fans, meant getting up at 3 am on the Sunday. With the chance to vote for our favourite entries and witness Australia possibly winning for the first time, it was too tempting an offer to sleep through.

The contest kicked off with a bizarre fashion show revealing the country order. The odds of Russia or Australia winning were close. Russia’s song was quintessentially Eurovision, campy enough for everyone to enjoy; while Australia’s entry was a beautiful power ballad that only Dami Im could belt out.

It’s always tough to be the first country of the night, but Belgium’s Lara Tesoro set the bar high with her Jamiriqui inspired dance number. Sporting sequined shorts and jacket, What’s the Pressure definitely woke the sleepy Australian viewers.

This year’s show was full of attractive contestants. We were treated to the best looking people from The Netherlands, Azerbaijan and Hungary. Beautiful people poured onto the stage throughout the night, including the man who won the contest last year for Sweden, Måns Zelmerlöw.

There was a real smorgasbord of songs, ranging from powerful ballads like Israel’s Made of Stars, to dance numbers like Bulgaria’s If Love Was a Crime and, not one, but two rock songs.

It wouldn’t be Eurovision without questionable entries though, mostly from the Big Five. The United Kingdom once again performed terribly, with One Direction wannabe’s, Joe and Jake, living up to their couple name of Joke. Surprisingly, Germany came in last scoring a pathetic 11 points. This was better than their entry last year where they scored no points for the third time.

So how did the favourites hold up? Australia’s song blew everyone out of the water with the arena exploding in screams as soon as Dami Im was perched perfectly on a giant, glittery box. A similar reaction was expected for Russia’s Sergey Lazarev, with his use of mind-blowing visual effects that saw him climb invisible steps. It was impressive, but many believe it was a gimmick to cover the below average lyrics in his song You Are the Only One.

While people were furiously voting away on their phones, the host country put on a bizarre and incredibly long interval performance. The Swedish presenters, Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw, had proven their ability as hilarious and charming hosts and had performed an incredible opening number for the second semi final. The grand final performance was the best many Eurovision fans had ever seen, with the duo performing an original Love Love Peace Peace, which poked fun at how to write a winning Eurovision song. It featured past winners and losers from Finnish metal band Lordi, to Norway’s 2009 winner and even one of Russia’s 2012 entrants. It was hilarious, cheeky and proved the Swedes know how to put on an incredible show.

Australia blitzed the jury vote, leading the race by over 100 points. Flying through the first 15 countries, Australia was also miles ahead in the televotes, and it seemed victory was in the bag. When only four countries remained it was clear Australia was not as safe as thought to be. Unfortunately, we came third in the televotes; which was still an amazing spot considering many Europeans were upset with Australia competing.

Ukraine was hot on our tail, needing over 300 points to win. Their song, 1944, discussed the deportation of Crimean Tatars in the 1940s. It was quite clearly a jab at Russia and was heavily political, which is discouraged in the contest. Ukraine managed to secure enough points to come first, despite Russia winning the televotes with 361 points.

Considering this was Australia’s first proper try at Eurovision (as we automatically got through to the final last year), we did extremely well, with Dami Im proving her worth in the contest. Were we robbed of a win? Perhaps, considering we lost by just 23 points.

But what would have happened if Australia won? No one really knows, as it was never discussed. Australia wouldn’t have been able to host the contest here, as Eurovision rules specifically state it has to be held in Europe. Many speculated one of the big five countries would have helped host, as they donate so much money to the European Broadcasting Union. Others believed it would have been held in the country that came second.

Will we even be invited back next year with our own Eurovision approved for the Asian Pacific? Who knows!

If you’re sad that Eurovision is over, don’t worry; it’s only 369 days until the 2017 contest!

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