Aside from the historic win for Portugal—having made their début in 1964 their 53 year wait is a new record—there’s a lot to drill into regarding the numbers this year. But for the first time since 2014 the juries and public agreed on who was the best—overwhelmingly so. This year’s continuation of the split jury/televote point countback prevented what would have been a long and tedious voting sequence: Portugal’s victory would have been apparent shortly after having received half the votes.
For the 10th time since televoting was introduced, a first-time victory has happened!
The Naked Ape Dances…and Stumbles
Francesco Gabbani’s Occidentali’s Karma was one of the prohibitive favourites in the months before rehearsals began. Despite an ostensibly successful media campaign—leading to over 100 million hits for the preview video on Eurovision.tv’s YouTube channel—many following the rehearsals in Kyiv began to suspect Italy’s vulnerability.
Many still expected Italy to finish in the top three overall: instead Italy ended up 6th overall (and not in the top 5 with televoters or juries). They were the only pre-qualified entry to earn a top 10 finish, however: is it perhaps time for the EBU to make the pre-qualified entries the interval act for the semi-finals, so the public and juries get to full preview them in competition-like conditions? By the way, we have to go back to 2011 to see a greater fall from favour: Amaury Vassili’s Sognu only managed 15th on the night.
We had three teenagers performing as solo artists in the Grand Final: all of them did well. Bulgaria’s Kristian Kostov took Beautiful Mess to the runner up spot with both juries and the public. Next up Belgium’s Blanche mastered most of her nerves to bring City Lights to fourth overall. Finally, Australia’s Isaiah Firebrace managed a ninth place overall with Don’t Come Easy. However all but a handful of his points came from juries—he is arguably the Michał Szpak of 2017, except being the juries fourth favourite rescued him from ignominy.
Few years have the OGAE membership polls done as poor a job predicting Eurovision success as this year! Here’s their aggregate top 10 entries versus their Grand Final placements:
|Entry||Grand Final Points||Grand Final Rank|
|4. France||135||12th (10th with the public)|
|5. Estonia||—||Did not qualify|
|8. Macedonia||–||Did not qualify|
|10. Finland||–||Did not qualify|
In other words, half the top 10 overall, but not at all in the right placings. OGAE members also fancied three entries that didn’t make the Grand Final at all. Of these Finland was 12th in its semifinal, Estonia 14th and Macedonia 15th. Of course, Macedonia got an engagement ring on Thursday night—that’s rather awesome!
Regardless, the OGAE polls is great fun for members (including me), but it’s not a reliable predictor of much.
Portugal and Bulgaria were both rather greedy this year, in terms of how many points each hoovered up. The most any entry could have netted tonight was 984 points: 492 (12 times 41 countries, since you cannot vote for your own entry) points from juries and the public. Salvador Sobral 758 points is an amazing 77 per cent of the points available to him! Kristian Kostov should feel almost as proud: his 615 points represents 63 per cent of the votes available.
The next six entries were clustered within 100 points of one another. Sun Stroke Project achieved a best ever Moldovan result. Hey Mamma earned 374 total points to place third overall (264 televote and 110 jury points). Seventh place Romania’s 282 points was almost all—224 points—from the public vote. Most pundits expected Romania’s result would have a much smaller (58 points) jury poll. That’s a 92 point spread for third to seventh, a mere 15 points on average.
Certainly the aggregate score for Portugal is a new record…under a voting system that has been used precisely twice. But how can we compare Amar Pelos Dois’s results against songs under other versions of the douze points scoring system? If we average Salvador Sobral’s overall score against the two voting components, we get an average of 379 points from 41 countries: almost as high as Alexander Rybak’s 387 points for Fairytale in 2009. The 2009 Contest also had 42 competitors, so it’s an apples vs. apples comparison.
If we look at the jury/public vote split, Portugal still falls short. Their 382 jury and 376 public points are still behind Rybak. But an overall average score of 9.24 points out of a possible 12 is a very high average. Both specific components and the average put Amar Pelos Dois just ahead of our most recent thundering Eurovision champion: Sweden’s Loreen with Euphoria earned 372 points in a 42 country competition. In other words, a convincing victory. The public awarded a dozen douze points to Portugal; the juries gave Amar Pelos Dois 18 douze points! Remarkably nearly every voting country’s public gave Portugal at least 5 points: runners up Bulgaria blanked Salvador! “Only” 40 countries’ juries awarded Portugal points, but again the lowest score was 5 points: Montenegro’s jury is the only one to blank them.
And an historic one: here’s a few other numbers for you to consider. Portugal made its Eurovision début in 1964: their 53 year wait for a first victory now eclipses Finland’s 45 year record. They finished last thrice and earned the dreaded nul point in 1964 (granted, under a different voting system) and 1997. In 11 previous semi-final qualification attempts, Portugal succeded thrice. Their best result ever was 6th place in 1996; in recent years they’ve finished as high as 13th in 2008, when Vania Fernandes also managed second her semi-final with Senhora do mar.
Certainly an historic win. Congratulations once again to Portugal’s Salvador Sobral!