Eurovision Finals 2018

Here we are again, at the Eurovision finals for 2018! The evening opened, as is now traditional, with the parade of the Eurovision finalists. And as if Eurovision were not camp enough, the flags were presented by winking sailors (male and female).

The evening was hosted by Portuguese quadruplets, Daniela, Filomena, Silvia and Catarina.

Thankfully, there was not much talk and we jumped straight into the first contestant.

What a start to Eurovision! Melovin from the Ukraine had it all – trapped in a coffin, dressed in a black morning coat (blown away by wind machines) and flames licking at his feet – it deserved better than 17th place.


Amaia and Alfred from Spain duetted a benign love song accompanied by smiles and not much else. The lack of any choreography, coffins or fire cost them dearly – 23rd place.

( Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto)


Change of pace with Slovenia’s girl power. Lea and her friends were stomping up and down the stage under strobe lighting – the crowd was loving it, but not the voters: 22nd. The first whipping ponytails of the evening!



An exhausted Ieva from Lithuania’s had to sit down on stage amongst her floppy pink dress. Finally, she scrambled up to walk up a set of stairs where she was joined by a young man (her husband?), who had no function at all – 12th place.


Cesar (Austria), dressed in a star trek uniform, was not distracted by the off-key backing singers, and delivered a solid upbeat performance, carried into 3rd place by the jury vote.


Estonia’s Queen of the Night, Elina pierced the evening with a soprano performance that could have shattered wine glasses (and ear drums). Her magnificent dress saved the performance – 8th place.


Norway’s Alexander Rybak could not bank on his previous Eurovision win in 2009: 15th place.


The host Portugal was up next, but Claudia’s harmony with her onstage friend was off-key and she was swiftly relegated to the last place. Best pink hair of the evening!


The UK’s performance was interrupted by some clown who rushed the stage and grabbed the microphone (Kanye?). An undeserved 24th, despite the excellent recovery from SuRie who belted out what remained of her song. Another wardrobe pick from the star trek set.


Serbia’s wailing and ethno drums were swiftly punished – 19th place.


Michael from Germany was tugging the heartstrings of voters across Eurovision. Dressed in black with excellent curls, and even better visual effects – 4th place.


Albania was next with a rock band on stage and a flawless and energetic performance, despite the highly confusing wardrobe – Kiss meets the Klingons? 11th place!


Wearing Jean-Paul Gaultiers’ star trek design, France’s Madame Monsieur made heavy use of on-stage fog, but forwent all other gimmicks – a respectable 13th place.


Czech sunny boy, Mikolas brought his school satchel on stage. Some high jinx dance moves distracted from a flat vocal performance – an inexplicable 6th place.

. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)


The Klingon empire (Denmark) was next – Ramsussen let their flowing beards do all the talking, conjuring up a snow storm on stage – 9th place. Best eye-liner of the evening.


Australia’s very own, Jessica Mauboy gave it her best with a big song, some excellent hair whipping and wild dancing. The crowd love it, but no-one else…20th place.


Finland’s Saara was pulling all leavers – unsuccessfully. Not sure about the NS style uniforms- 25th place!


Keeping the wailing to a minimum, Bulgaria’s Equinox, dressed as Vulcan high priests, delivered a funky anthem and were rewarded with a respectable 14th.


Moldova’s shenanigans on stage (think Bennie Hill) were richly rewarded despite the off-key singing, tuba and primary colours! 10th pace.

(Photo by Vyacheslav ProkofyevTASS via Getty Images)


Sweden’s disco inferno was a welcome relief after Moldova. A flawless singing performance, albeit the promises of a ‘dance you off’ was not met. Still, a respectable 7th place.

(AP Photo/Armando Franca)


At least Hungary’s AWS had a good time on stage, screaming their metal anthem only slightly out of tune. I still dozed off….21st place.


Israel’s Netta was operating the console of a Romulan warbird and delivered the best chicken song and dance of the evening – to the delight of the crowd and Eurovision – 1st place! Israel, here we come!

(Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)


Another band arrived on stage –Netherland’s country & western Waylon. Or so it seemed -the guitars were fake and quickly discarded to make room for some very energetic dancing. This type of deception never goes far – 18th place.


Ryan from Ireland was accompanied by a black piano, a street lantern and snow. But it was the two affectionate backing dancers that stole the show and catapulted an otherwise boring song into 16th place.


Wearing a spray-on suit, Eleni from Cyprus whips the crowd with excellent hair and dance moves, only narrowly escaping a wardrobe malfunction. Eurovision in its purest form – 2nd place!


Italy closed the performances. I can’t quite remember, but someone did – 5th place.


The jury votes were all over the place with douze points going to Austria, France, Germany, Sweden, Albania and Cyprus and Israel, changing the lead at almost every vote. The popular votes then rearranged the leaderboard dislodging Austria from the first place to make room for Israel and Cyprus.

In a nail-biting finish, Israel beat Cyprus by 100 points – Tel-Aviv here we come!

It is over, thankfully – I need a nap!

Italy, Latvia, Spain and the UK

ItalyErmal Meta e Fabrizio Moro: Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente

One might easily conclude that Italy’s entry is a happy, toe tapping ditty, probably about summer love or gelato or both. But the upbeat tune is in fact a grim commentary on war, terrorism and displacement. The main message is well illustrated in the video, let’s see what Ermal and Fabrizio dish up on stage. Will political commentaries go anywhere at Eurovision in the 21st century? Probably not…sorry Italy!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

LatviaLaura Rizzotto: Funny Girl

The title and bio pic is deceptive – no sign of Barbara Streisand anywhere in Laura’s performance. There is some staccato singing, a modern version of voguing and a combination of jazz trumpet and cello, leaving me utterly confused. Will Europe be as confused and erroneously allocate douze points?

Review by Mariella Herberstein

SpainAmaia y Alfred: Tu Canción

Look, Spain has sent much, much worse to Eurovision and I am grateful for  young and inoffensive Amaia and Alfred. Still, this sickly sweet, and slightly nasal number will send you to sleep at around 0’21”. While effective, this is somewhat elaborate for a sedative.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

United KingdomSuRie: Storm


The UK has cloned Annie Lennox for Eurovision. Obviously, the real Annie declined politely, having seen the humiliation experienced by UK Eurovision entries (cue Engelbert Humperdinck and  Bonnie Tyler). And it almost worked: short blond hair (tick), long, angular face (tick), string riff from Walking on Broken Glass (tick). Yet, CRISPR was unsuccessful in removing the highly annoying For eh-he-he-he-he-ver  chorus. More humiliation awaits!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

France, Georgia and Greece

FranceMadame Monsieur: Mercy

Political statements are not new to Eurovision. The Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia have all had a go at Russia along the years. Why, Portugal even started a political coup to the sound of ‘E Depois Do Adeus’ by Paulo de Cavalho in 1974.

Similarly, Madam Monsieur are making an unambiguous statement about  plight of asylum seekers (the orange life jackets are a sure give away). However, unlike leather clad Ruslana, with her  thumping performance or Jamala’s ear piercing assault, France’s mercy is lost in elegant subtlety. Definitely no where near the top 10.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

GeorgiaEthno-Jazz Band Iriao: For You

Every wondered what happens to boy bands in Georgia when they mature? Wonder no more! They morph into Ethno-Jazz bands, wear grey knitted wests and bore the hell out of Eurovision. Nil points!

Review by Mariella Herberstein


GreeceYianna Terzi: Oniro Mou

Not unlike the goddess Athena, who burst forth from Zeus’ forehead, Yianna ’emerged from a musical family of professional singers’. In young years, she embarked on the heroine’s journey that took Yianna to foreign lands (USA), where she faced hideous beasts (mostly Celine Dion) to reluctantly return home (Cyprus Music Awards). And just like Odysseus’ return to Ithaca, no one really recognises Yianna but for the housekeeper. The song? A tragedy!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Estonia, Lithuania and Russia

EstoniaElina Nechayeva: La Forza

Call me Ishmael. A good review is a narrative, and a good narrative has 5 elements:

1. A great first sentence (why mess around? I just went with the best!)

2. A journey. Amongst other things, my first sentence was supposed to simply an allegorical search for the meaning of life, and subtly suggest certain flattering characteristics about myself, all of which have been ruined because I realised it is a cultural reference whose meaning may not be apparent to everyone, and explaining it has negated any beneficial effects. Anyway, we are going one better than a search for the meaning of life – we are on a quest to discover the meaning of Eurovision, one of the greatest mysteries in the universe! Yay!

3. Elegant, lucid, succinct prose.

Two other elements which will hopefully come to me soon, otherwise I’ll have to explain why I said “5 elements” and only listed three.

On to the business at hand. Elina from Estonia can sing! She sings like the Diva from 5th Element (see what I did? It’s called foreshadowing in case you are interested), but the real star of the act is the dress, inside of which Elina is propped. I don’t know why this wasn’t mentioned in the official notes, but her dress is so big that it covers 2.4 hectares, and is encrusted in 3 million individally thought-controlled, coloured LEDs. Yes, Elina was singing and controlling the lights on her dress at the same time. She and her dress are a flowing fiesta of colour and light. Darwin would have maintained it was sexual selection at work, and who am I to question the great man? Rumour has it that Elina will be part of Sydney’s Vivid festival this year.

Did I mention that she can sing? Her final note shattered the wine glass in my hand. My prediction? Next year, Eurovision will be held in Tallinn, and by next spring, everyone will be wearing those dresses.

It seems I’ve allowed myself to be carried away by all the excitement of the event, and unintentionally created a metaphor for THE DRESS, whose maker also got carried away, and we both ended up with something way too big to be fit-for-purpose. Sorry.

Review by Jim McLean


LithuaniaIeva Zasimauskaitė: When We’re Old

When I see pop singers “playing” the piano I am often sceptical about who actually pressed the keys, but there is absolutely no doubt that Ieva played the whole song. It’s just a special piano, and pressing one key produces all the chords I reckon. Well, around the 40-45 seconds mark you see she got some assistance, but it was mostly he work, surely. The short bio states that she took lessons until she was fifteen, so there you go. Her voice is nice to listen to, and the song itself is very original, it’s about a topic no other song I can remember ever touched — eternal love. More specifically though, it seems to describe how love is powerful and can last forever when you live in a snowy country. Maybe it wears off more slowly due to the low temperatures?

Review by Bruno Buzzato


RussiaJulia Samoylova: I Won’t Break

When I was watching this video I had trouble focusing on anything other than the fact that Julia’s right eye sits so much higher on her face than her left eye! But thankfully only about 70% of the video is entirely about on her face. Well, that’s not entirely true, sometimes you see landscapes IN her face, which is, ugh, interesting? And then in the end you see her face in the landscape — on the top of a mountain, more specifically. With a waterfall. And a rainbow. And the moon too. In any case, Julia is not just a pretty face. The song? Sorry I didn’t pay much attention, and honestly, I’m not watching that again, am I?

Review by Bruno Buzzato

Azerbaijan and Croatia

AzerbaijanAisel: X My Heart

Before I begin, I’ll say this review comes from a genuine Eurovision newbie. I didn’t know what it was, didn’t understand the purpose, or the fuzz around it, now I know … people are singing.

So Azerbaijan has a song that does mention the word “nation”, so I guess that’s good for an international contest, no? This way they might be able to recycle the song if they host an international sports event. The songs for those things are never the greatest, but a couple of lines can stick to your mind … “I’ll never sto o o o op, luna moon me up”

I think that’s my way of saying that there was a bit of “catchy” in the song but nothing more. On second thought,  I think it might be because it sort of resembles a mixture of all Kapy Terry (avoiding any copyright infringements here) songs.

From the video, I enjoy the park or maybe botanical garden where it was filmed. Something to be careful about is that even though the dancers seem to be improvising most of their movements -no very impressively- the jump on minute 2:14 was a real hazard to my physical integrity when I tried to test its apparent low complexity.

Good luck Azerbaijan, thanks for being my first Eurovision experience and “never sto o o op, Luna moon me up” … I guess?

Review by Alfonso Aveces-Aparicio

CroatiaFranka: Crazy

Not even 11 seconds into the video and all of the classic clichés have been shown!! Underwater scene, backlit smoke and sand drawing! Oh, wait there’s more on second 13, there appears a bunch of humans as stairs!

Well, that was it, after those first exciting clichés, the song goes flat. After reading the lyrics, I could find the chorus; I believe Ga Ga would be a bit disappointed. Around 2010 I started to think that all pop songs sounded the same, then I took it back when 2-years ago all radio hits seriously begun to sound the same. But now c’mon I’m pretty sure I heard this before somewhere.

I might be doing this thing wrong, I read comments about the video, and everyone seems so excited, I couldn’t even watch it more than three times. After all, this is just my second review ever for Eurovision. So I will add that: Franka does seem to have a nice voice. So good luck Croatia, maybe one day I’ll understand what this is really about.

Review by Alfonso Aveces-Aparicio

Germany, Montenegro and Norway

GermanyMichael Schulte: You Let Me Walk Alone

Germanys entrant Michael Schulte started his career playing covers on youtube, and he possibly should have stayed there. He has a pleasing, clear voice, and the piano accompaniment gives the performance heart, but I feel like he doesn’t have the oompf to win this competition. Then again, Eurovision does have a long running obsession with lustrous hair, so Schultes thick curly locks may give him the edge he needs.


Review by Lizzy Lowe


MontenegroVanja Radovanović: Inje

Well, the odd’s aren’t in Montenegros favour. In fact they come in right about last alongside San Marino and Slovenia. But that doesn’t mean that this year’s entrant Vanja Radovanović doesn’t have a lot to offer. His entry has an eery overtone and tells a story of love and loss in a snow swept landscape. The natural vistas and accompanying ballroom string orchestra (not to mention the giant chess set) give the entry a sense of drama and suspense. I look forward to the full length movie feature.

Review by Lizzy Lowe


NorwayAlexander Rybak: That’s How You Write A Song

Call me a pushover, but I was instantly charmed by Alexander Rybak’s profile photo, where he wears a plain t-shirt and an earnest smile. His entry “that’s how you write a song” is just as sweet, and follows the story of a young boy who writes to ask Alexander advice on how to write a song (surprisingly enough). The catchy beat will definitely appeal to the tweens in the audience and his open, friendly demeanour is hard not to like. The video is simple but includes people from all walks of like, so I give him extra points for community spirit.

Review by Lizzy Lowe

Hungary, Israel and Malta

HungaryAWS: Viszlát Nyár

AWS will be shouting at us in Hungarian to the background of heavy metal music. The performance contains all the endearing metal characteristics:  brutal guitar riffs, relentless drumming and mid-pitch screaming. Whist true to the genre, AWS manages to squeeze in a Eurovision-style keychange – impressive. I think the bio description says it all: “The band wrote their Eurovision entry, Viszlát Nyár, themselves”

Review by Mariella Herberstein

IsraelNetta: TOY

‘Pam pam pa hoo, Turram pam pa hoo’ – no truer words have been sung at Eurovision. Admittedly, the lyrics are senseless (even Wonder Women can’t rescue them), but the song is catchy, poppy,  quirky and could be, dare I say it,  a winner! Not since Dana International (in 1998) was Israel the favourite for Eurovision, so I have high hopes for Netta – douze points from me!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Malta Christabelle: Taboo

Christabelle’s song is set in a dystopian future, where ruthless tyrants stage brutal fights and go ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha (in that tyrannical fashion). Despite being savagely oppressed, Christabelle keeps her soul intact and travels to Lisbon for Eurovision. Sadly she does not make it through the Semi-finals, which will probably not bode well for her upon returning to Malta. End of story.

Review by Mariella Herberstein


Ukraine and Sweden

UkraineMelovin: Under the Ladder

The live-rehearsal version of Melovin’s “Under the Ladder” is the story of man’s desperate search for a key, which doesn’t bode well for this X-Factor Ukraine alumnus come crunch time. The moody (and shaky) verse builds to a punchy chorus that admittedly has some pick-up and an appropriate number of “woah oh oh uh”s, but it’s too little too late for my money.

Review by Tom White

SwedenBenjamin Ingrosso: Dance You Off

The pressures of Eurovision are well known to select for mimetic extremes, yet the fidelity of Benjamin Ingrosso still took me by surprise. In a direct channelling of Justin Bieber & The Weekend, with a dash of Daft Punk underneath, the 20 year old Swedish national delivers the electro-pop banger “Dance You Off” (a threat? a promise?). The vocal style isn’t for everyone, such as me, but the rolling funk-bass is worth the price of admission, and there’s no denying the piece is on trend. I predict another strong finish for Sweden this year, but not enough to really stand out from the crowd.

Review by Tom White

FYR Macedonia and Portugal

FYR Macedonia

Well where should I start? The video amazed me: well studied dance moves, a guitarist who definitly had some kind of model career (how else would he manage to be that natural in front of a camera) and a beautiful pink latex dress worn by the lead singer lying on a yellow bed showing us impressivly why one should never ever use those coulors for a powerpoint presentation.

The song caught me with his energetic reggae beat right from the beginning. The lyrics tell the story of a deep, emotional relationship with her soulmate…obviously in other, slightly sexualised words. The end of the song (we’ll be lost and we’ll be..) leaves the audience full of questions how this sentence and the love story might end and keeps you thinking about the song for much longer.

It has all it needs, now lets see how far they make it.

Review by Macelo Christian


The position of the host is always a difficult one. The expectations are high and everybody keeps an eye on you… Well, at least if you are not song writer and composer Isaura, who wrote this song. If you saw the video you might have noticed the person in the background that is literally hiding by turning here back to the audience and has like 20 seconds to sing, before she turns her back again. Even in the picture she is in the background, like it is part of the contract, that she has to appear on the profile photo, so at least keep her blurry.

I mean its understandable if you’re on stage with superstar Claudia Pascoal, who has participated (!) at two national music contest and plays guitar since she turned 15.

Well despite these equality issues we’ll see if a very emotional song combined with advanced gardening skills will be enough for Portugal in their home game.

Review Marcelo Christian

Netherlands, Serbia and Romania

NetherlandsWaylon: Outlaw In ‘Em

Waylon seem to be a proper band. Solid vocals, tight playing, this puts them at an immediate disadvantage at Eurovision. Their brand of Dutch-Americana might not be too bad with a couple of pints of NEIPA down at your local on Friday night. Eurovision, however, demands more of performers than competent musicianship (this is hardly required!). No soaring key changes and all the wind machine will do is blow away the atmospheric stage smoke. Sorry lowlanders, another year in the second division for you, I’m off for a pint.

Review by Matt Bruce

SerbiaSanja Ilić & Balkanika: Nova Deca

Bald guy with a long beard, women in matching outfits with an appropriate amount of hair for wind machine awesomeness, a drummer with lots of chains and Einstein playing (smoking?) some sortof pipe. Looks promising….…. Nope, boring song.

Review by Matt Bruce

RomaniaThe Humans: Goodbye

Adi, Alin, Alex, Alex, Corina and Cristina (must be confusing at band practice) could be the Romanian Brady Bunch, but they aren’t, they’re The Humans (not sure what that implies about the rest of us). “Goodbye” is a pretty standard Eurovision power ballad, likely to get lost in a lukewarm porridge of mediocrity. There is however one hope, that the creepy horror movie mask people from the video make it onto the stage. At least then we can imagine that it might turn into some sort of horror movie version of the Brady Bunch (Un Foarte Brady Halloween?). Otherwise this one isn’t going anywhere near the final.

Review by Matt Bruce