Stockholm 2016 – Awards, TV Ratings & Australia 2017

22 June 2016

No!

If San Marino can start their 2015 song with “no”, why can’t I for a post?

It is with some minor sadness Eurovision 2016 will officially close with this post. While the impending DVD will provide another reason to watch the shows again, there’ll be nothing on those discs that hasn’t been seen before. So it’s onto the awards…

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Goodbye Globen!

Mr Eurovision Awards

For those curious, each award is named after the best ever or inspiration of that category – similar to the official Barbara Dex award for Worst Dressed. This naming right is updated if a superior winner emerges. Check the “About” section for full details.

The Cool Vibes Award for Best Song

This is simply the favourite song of the entire contest – combining song, presentation and vocals. It’s already mentioned in the TV Review, and most likely in the relevant semi final review and even the Fab Five preview! Therefore it’s no secret. Congratulations ManuElla from Slovenia with Blue And Red! Filling the top 5 is Bulgaria, Australia, Poland and Italy.

The Goodbye To Yesterday Award for Best Presentation

You had the spectacle with Russia and Belarus, the energy of Georgia and Montenegro, and the beauty of Germany. This is about the presentation bringing the best out of a song. Arguably Georgia did that the most, transforming an average song to a top 10 favourite in the Grand Final. Russia took interactive graphics to a phenomenal new level, while Belarus brought out all the tricks, including holograms. Australia also used holograms. Note that holograms are achieved with a screen in front of the artist, meaning Belarus had quite the cluttered stage for those in the arena. Call me cheap and easy, those holograms did the trick, and Help You Fly was the biggest “wow” moment of the contest. Congratulations Ivan from Belarus!

Ivan from Belarus - Eurovision 2016

Ivan from Belarus (source: eurovision.tv)

The Tornero Award for Best Artistry

This award is more about expression and engagement with the artist than gratuitous effects and dance moves. Among the challengers were Croatia, Armenia, Australia, Israel and Ukraine. Then there’s Michal Szpak from Poland, who said “my eyes want to touch you” in his endeavour to always try share his feelings with the audience. It worked. There was always something mystical about Michal, as he did manage to touch a great many people, even to the bemusement of others that were never touched. It happened when Color Of Your Life surprisingly won Poland’s national selection, and then made the grand final at Eurovision, and then finished eighth overall, including third on televote. Congratulations Michal!

The Open Your Heart Award for Best Pure Song

Congratulations ManuElla from Slovenia with Blue And Red! Obviously no surprise. The only other songs to even remotely capture my attention were Italy and Poland. These are the only three songs I’ll always hit back when they come on my audio device.

The Lenna Kuurmaa Award for Best Voice

Another no contest. Congratulations ManuElla from Slovenia! In all fairness, there were some really pleasant voices this year, including – unusually for me – some guys, like Michal from Poland, Donny from Lithuania and Hovi from Israel. Among the girls, Barei from Spain I always liked, and Francesca from Italy also was pleasant, especially in Italian. She lost a little subtlety in English, sounding a bit higher in pitch, probably due to the harder vowel sounds.

The Dami Im Award for Best Vocals

Less about tone and more about technical ability, this is a new category because Dami Im was so brilliant. Even without Sound Of Silence, Iveta from Armenia with LoveWave was almost as good, and would have inspired this category. She was equal with Dami live in the venue, and only through the TV did she lose a little power. Barei from Spain was also brilliant, and confirmed by her set at the Eurovision Village. I also could listen to Sanja from Serbia.

The Igranka Award for Biggest Surprise

Congratulations Iveta from Armenia with LoveWave! This song rose 23 places from 32nd before Eurovision to ninth afterwards. It’s a song in which I never saw a hint of potential, unlike, say, Georgia and Australia, which were the other two that substantially improved. It wasn’t only Iveta’s brilliant vocals; the staging was superb, particularly the flames and lighting. Then when I saw it onto the TV, the editing and camera effects with the silhouettes, sensational.

The La Mia Citta Award for Biggest Disappointment

Azerbaijan! For a song that was my sixth favourite heading into Eurovision and a “5 Star” song in my Fab Five, Samra with Miracle drops to barely top 20. She didn’t get anything right. Even if I forgive the lame synchronised graphics and poor outfit, I can’t give the flat vocals. You’d expect much better from a finalist on The Voice – Azerbaijan.

The Piret Järvis Award for Hottest Girl

Samra from Azerbiajan, Laura from Belgium and ManuElla from Slovenia were the main three. Then Agnete from Norway, Gabriela from Czech Republic and Francesca from Italy. I even had a small crush on Petra Mede! Samra was always so sexy, while Laura always so cute and was the big “wow” at the Red Carpet. At ESC, ManuElla was the “wow”. Wow! It’s so difficult to split them, so I’ll use logic. Since this is a ESC award, logic dictates the ESC stage should be the decisive factor. Therefore, logically, congratulations ManuElla!

Michal Szpak Award for Hunkiest Guy

From the new name for the category, displacing Mr Lordi from Finland (hey, he was horny), obviously it’s congratulations for Poland! Michal’s dreamy eyes, mischievous smile, glorious hair and engaging persona made him the easy winner. Ivan from Belarus would be next best, then Freddie from Hungary.

Michal Szpak from Poland - Eurovision 2016

Michal Szpak from Poland

The Nina Sublatti Award for Best Outfit

There weren’t too many outfits that stood out. Nina from Croatia, Sanja from Serbia and Poli from Bulgaria. I’ve gone with Agnete from Norway for beautifully capturing the Norwegian landscape with her snowflake dress and because of that exposed sexy midriff. Congratulations Agnete!

The Francesca Michielin Award for Worst Outfit

A new category and probably a bit undeserving for Francesca to get the naming rights because those ugly, brown overalls weren’t that bad. I’m sure there will be far worse in years to come. Next was Sandhja from Finland with that terrible blue jumpsuit. The official Barbara Dex award went to Nina from Croatia. Come on! I loved it! Ivan from Belarus gets a mention for those ridiculous lines painted on his face, while Kaliopi from FYR Macedonia could not have picked a more unflattering dress. Rykka from Switzerland was a bit of a disaster with that blue hair and smoking dress.

The Petr Elfimov Award for Best Interview

Petre Mede! Not only was she great doing interviews, she was a great interview subject herself. Check “eurovision hosts press conference” on youtube. Michal from Poland was also funny and interesting, and obviously Dami Im was so charming with her “lemonade” answer in the green room at the Grand Final.

The Stacked Shipping Containers Award for Best Postcard

The postcards lacked inspiration this year, presenting artists in their home countries, so I’ve gone on vistas. Congratulations Czech Republic! Prague is such a lovely city, and credit that they were able to clear Charles Bridge of all people for Gabriela to stand by herself at the end. Even early morning, I’m sure there’d always be someone around. Next best was Austria and Estonia – again, showcasing their beautiful capital cities. I’ve only ever seen Tallinn’s Old Town from that viewing platform in broad daylight, so it looks like I might need another visit!

TV Ratings

The live Grand Final, starting at 5am Sunday morning, averaged 302,000 viewers, with 527,000 watching the final few minutes of Ukraine’s win. Last year’s average was 253,000. Belgium was Australia’s favourite, which belies my theory that live Eurovision in Australia would really favour later songs because few people would be awake at 5am for the start. Or did the public vote on the recap?

The Grand Final replay at 7.30pm attracted only 407,000 viewers – well down on the 592,000 last year. Combined with the live show the total was 705,000 compared to 855,000 last year. One note: the live show ran late so the 527,000 recorded against the text based Weatherwatch program was actually for the announcement of the Eurovision winner. How much that affected the average viewership we don’t know. Another note is that most Australians would have known the result before the evening replay, so would have switched off before the votes read.

Considering SBS actually puts all their energy into the replays, which includes interviews and many advertising breaks, you can only conclude they would be disappointed by losing 185,000 viewers from last year. They want the Eurovision final to attract 1 million viewers, so even if we take that 527,000 morning peak for Weatherwatch with the 407,000 evening average, the total is 934,000.

In terms of overall ratings for Sunday, Weatherwatch (Eurovision winner announced) ranked 10th with 527,000 and the evening replay at 16th with 407,000. The leading show was The Voice with 1.361m and then two news bulletins at 1.3m.

The Friday night replay of semi final 1 ranked 16th with 474,000 average viewers, while the semi final 2 replay on Saturday night, as is often the case with less competition for viewers, was the highest rating ESC show with 599,000 viewers and sixth on the night. Both were slightly down from last year of 500,000 and 640,000 respectively. I couldn’t find any figures for the live semi finals. Last year they rated 75,000 and 61,000 respectively.

SBS went to an ad break for the funny taxi segments during the live broadcasts. On the replays they showed them as part of the interval. The green room interviews were also cut for ad breaks, with replays only seeing the interval green room. The one exception was Dami Im during the live Grand Final. SBS, coming back from an ad break, inserted it during the live footage, which overran the postcard for Ukraine! Replays skipped all interval acts except Justin Timberlake. No problem with any of this because the interval acts are often boring and can be seen online by if anyone is so inclined, and SBS needs to earn its small amount of commercial revenue somehow.

Australia 2017?

All the reasons that Australia were at Eurovision in 2016 will apply for 2017. Even more so, thanks to the incredible second spot by Dami Im. If everything aligns, we’ll be in Ukraine. The only impediment is if Ukraine don’t want us there. That’s our problem right now, that we’ve been competing as invited guests. Ideally the European Broadcasting Union should formalise some rules, allowing one or two associate members as a wildcard each year, or even take the winner or top 2 from the proposed Eurovision Asia. There is resentment against Australia involved in Eurovision, particularly from fans, and potentially from countries upset that a rich country like Australia takes a spot in the final from a small, poorer country. That sentiment would subside if the process was transparent and fair.

That’s it! Eurovision 2016 is over. It’s been interesting reading about all the “post Eurovision depression” from fans, and some artists like Poli Genova. My strategy was to give myself a reality check: Eurovision can’t last forever. If it did, it would become boring. Even with this year being my first ever in attendance, I reconciled the sudden halt from an unbelievable 10 days as being a natural and inevitable termination. I left Stockholm completely satisfied and with unforgettable memories. There’s no reason to be depressed. Instead, I now decompress, and wait for the 2017 national final season to start later in the year. Zbogom!

 

Photos
Semi Final 1 Semi Final 2 Grand Final

Stockholm 2016 – TV Review & Voting Controversy

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