30 December 2018
As another Eurovision year is about to end, it’s time for the final retrospective, and that is to put Lisbon 2018 in a direct battle against current champion, Kyiv 2017. In a fixture that started last year, and with the intention that older years will participate, the idea is to find the greatest Eurovision year ever. For those reading for the first time, Stockholm 2016, a year regarded my most as one of the better ones, lost to Kyiv 2017, 372 to 370. It was more a triumph of consistency as Kyiv was always an even year in terms of quality, and those above average songs were able to trample all over 2016’s weaker songs.
The rules are simple, as it follows the scoring system in boxing. It’s country vs country and the superior song gets 10 points, with the losing song at least 9 points. If there’s a big difference in superiority, then the losing song gets 8 points, or even less. For example with Greece last year, Demy’s This Is Love trounced Argo’s dreadful Utopian Land of 2016, so that was a 10-7 win. Most importantly, there must be a winner too, which makes for some difficult deliberations. If a country is missing in one year, they get +1 or -1 depending on the quality of their entry.
Songs are presented in alphabetical sequence by country, with key rounds shown.
2017 Blanche – City Lights
2018 Sennek – A Matter Of Time
In the opening six rounds, Lisbon 2018 won three 10-8 (Albania, Australia and Austria) to Kyiv 2017’s three 10-9 wins (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus) to lead by 3 points. As we hit Belgium, we reach two songs I really loved, so it came down to presentation. In that area, there was no contest. While Blanche wasn’t that great, Sennek was a disaster. It’s 10-8 to Kyiv and they now trail by 1 point.
Score: 64 – 65
2017 Koit Toome & Laura – Verona
2018 Elina Nechayeva – La Forza
After Denmark’s (and Australia’s!) Anja Nissen swamps Rasmussen for a 10-8 win to conclude a winning run of 7 out of 8 rounds for Kyiv 2017 and take a four point lead, Lisbon 2018 badly needs to create a winning sequence of its own. Estonia is a pivotal match-up and becomes a choice between a song I’ll more likely listen to longer term against one that was performed so brilliantly on stage. Ultimately, it is about the complete Eurovision package, so it’s a win to La Forza and Lisbon 2018 and they narrow the gap to 3 points.
Score: 122 – 119
2017 Ilinca ft Alex Florea – Yodel It!
2018 The Humans – Goodbye
Lisbon 2018 would squeak another with Finland, only for Kyiv 2017 to steamroll through the middle phase with wins to France, Georgia, Germany (tough call!), Greece, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and (ta-dah!) Romania. That was a super tough call, as Goodbye is far more my type of music than Yodel It. Again it was stage presentation that decided the outcome, this time for Kyiv 2017, with Yodel It clearly superior to Goodbye. Also notable through this phase is the size of wins, with Georgia winning 10-6 for Kyiv 2017 thanks to Tamara Gachechiladze with Keep The Faith against that ultra forgettable Ethno Jazz Band Iriao with For You. Let’s not forget WTF Macedonia one final time, when 2018’s Eye Clueless should have demolished 2017’s Jana Burceska. While I gave Eye Cue the win, it was a tough decision, and only that Jana was quite bad in 2017 that swung it back to Eye Cue.
Score: 318 – 308
2017 Timebelle – Apollo
2018 Zibbz – Stones
It’s all over. While Lisbon 2018 snatched some big 10-7 wins thanks to Lithuania, San Marino and Spain, and Zibbz won a close one against Timebelle, the consistency of Kyiv 2017 sees it through for an easy win to retain their championship.
Final score: 390 – 382
The only real surprise for Kyiv 2017 was that the win was this superior. Kyiv 2017 is proving to be a formidable champion, with their only weakness being their two severely diabolical entries of San Marino and Spain, and the poor one of Lithuania. Even then, with a combined nine point win for Lisbon 2018 from just those three songs, it wasn’t anywhere near enough. In future years it could make the difference.
In comparison to last year’s battle where each year won 20 rounds and split the single contender rounds, this year Kyiv 2017 won 24 rounds compared to 18 for Lisbon 2018. The only single contender round was Russia for Lisbon 2018, which was a -1.
Happy New Year!