By Kevin Sherwin
Israel has won the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, singer Netta claimed first prize with her song “Toy”.
Runner up was the Cypriot singer Eleni with her song “Fuego”.This was the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest which this year was staged at the Altice Meo arena in Lisbon, and Portugal put on a great show!
As always there was the weird and wonder voting patterns with the obvious neighbourly voting, the Scandinavians seemed to “gang up” and vote for each other plus we had the annual 12 points from Greece to Cyprus.
The voting procedure changed a few years ago so now they announce the Jury votes from each country then the tele-votes are added to give a final score. Now after the Jury votes were announced, Austria and Sweden were well ahead of the pack but both featured very low in the public tele-vote, Italy and the Czech Republic did poorly in the jury voting but scored high with the tele-vote.
26 counties performed on stage in the Grand Final and it was nice too see that no country finished with zero points, but unfortunately the host country Portugal finished bottom with Finland surprisingly finishing second bottom and the United Kingdom making up the bottom 3.
Eurovision always throws up controversy and this year the European Broadcasting Union who oversee the whole event banned China from broadcasting the show.
Apparently during the Semi-Final they did not show the Irish song which featured 2 male dancers holding hands.
During the United Kingdom performance we had a stage intruder who grabbed the microphone from SuRie and started to shout something but he was quickly removed by security and she looked pretty shocked, but managed to carry on with her performance. She was asked if she wanted to sing again but she refused.
This was a major breach of security which I found to be very tight during my trips to the rehearsals & questions will be asked as to why he managed to get on stage.
This was not the first time Eurovision had a stage intruder, in 2010 the Spanish entry was invaded during his performance and last year in Kiev a man managed to run on stage during the interval act.
Unfortunately Romania missed out on a place in the Grand Final, they finished 11th in Semi final 2 and were only 4 points short of qualifying.
The Romanian delegation had reported problems with the voting system from countries with big Romanian communities. During the 15 minutes allocated to the voting session, numerous Romanians living abroad had complained about technical problems at the telephone system. The messages, which went viral on the social networks, were coming from countries with important Romanian communities such as Germany or Italy, where the problems of the telephone providers had taken away the possibility to vote. In Italy, three of the national networks were out of order that evening, and in Germany the subscribers of an important telephone network were not able to send the votes.
Romania, one of the competitors which along the years had positive results at the Eurovision, left the contest untimely together with other countries with consistent participations in the history of Eurovision such as Russia, Greece and Poland.
Before the Semi- Final Romania’s representatives had received messages of support from many local stars such as: Ștefan Bănică, Dan Bittman, Fuego, Iuliana Tudor, Marina Almășan, Ilinca, Dan Teodorescu, Ovi, Paula Seling, Crina Mardare, Adrian Enache, Diana Dumitrescu, Cezar Ouatu, Mihai Rădulescu, Sonia Argint Ionescu, Adrian Sîna, Caitlyn, Gabriel Cotabiță, and also from numerous fans from the country and from abroad as well.
So we move on to Eurovision 2019 and already the Israeli Prime Minister has said that Jerusalem is ready to host the show although Tel-Aviv is a hot favourite. We now wait for dates but we can be assured it will be some time in May somewhere in Israel.