Jury rehearsal Final Eurovision 2018: Vocal assessment of all the songs

Tomorrow, we will learn who wins the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest and takes the trophy in Lisbon. But 50% of the results will already be decided tonight! Follow the jury rehearsal with us. In this blog you can read what we think of the vocal qualities of each country, and how we think the juries will react to their performance.

NOTE: The star ratings are our indication of how likely it is that the professional jury might vote for this performance. They do not display any personal preferences.

Please keep refreshing this blog to receive the latest updates. Timeslots are indicated in Portuguese timezone. Newest update always appears on top.

22:34 – Wrapping up as Salvador Sobral enters

Soon, the winner of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will give his interval act performance. We are done for the night. Feel free to read back our updates and ratings!

22:17 – Making our minds up

A tough year, with so many good vocalists and credible artists in the Eurovision final. We however believe that especially Germany, Norway, Lithuania, France, Sweden and Israel stood out during this Jury Final.

22:07 – Italy – Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – Non mi avete fatto niente

The semi-rap parts of this song combined with the strange build-up are slightly divisive and therefore not jury friendly. However, if the story of this song comes across for jurors, it gives a certain credibility to the performance. That combined with solid vocals and clear experience that we see on stage with these renowned singers, is a green flag for Italy. The high note in the bridge stays inside the lines this time.

22:03 – Cyprus – Eleni Foureira – Fuego

Eleni misses one note in the solo verse. The choruses make it quite obvious at times that backing vocalists are carrying her. That said, her performance looks very professional with the studied choreography combined with Sacha Jean Baptiste’s staging and camera plan. The second verse is edgy but not off-key. The openly sexual part of this performance could slightly drag it down with juries. This type of ethnopop song is not generally jury food, especially not with the current lack of build-up.

21:59 – Ireland – Ryan o’Shaugnessy – Together

Ryan has done everything throughout his aggressive promotion campaign to make it look as though his performance is “controversial”. The truth is, however, that it is not: the male dancers look friendly and the over-all performance is warm, mellow and innocent, especially when the snow kicks in towards the end. Ryan’s vocal performance is strong in the verses, with a few slight trembles in the choruses. Again I have to mention the problem that jurors usually have with male falsettos – that could hurt Ireland’s chances. Ryan was also in The Voice and in Britain’s got Talent, although he never really reached far.

21:56 – Netherlands – Waylon – Outlaw in ’em

Big discrepancy between the vocal skills itself (very strong, Waylon is one of the better vocalists in the competition) and the song & look of the performance (potentially divisive). The rough edges, the country touch, the krumping dancing which looks alienating – it all can take away from what in itself is a very jury friendly voice. Waylon is a former talent show participant, too. Like many times before during this week, he does not miss a note in the entire performance.

21:52 – Israel – Netta Barzilai – Toy

The big question has always been: Will juries see this as a serious entry, with a message of women empowerment? That usually works well with particularly female jurors. However, they could also perceive it as being messy or even a kind of joke. In terms of vocals, this performance is better than the one on Monday. Netta looks and sounds more composed, in control of her nerves, she is less distracted by the crowd. The big note at the end comes out well for bonus points.

21:48 – Hungary – AWS – Viszlát nyár

Vocals of Örs Siklósi have not weakened throughout the two weeks – he has kept it together and if anything, he has improved. Tonight is as solid a performance as Wednesday was. As much as I would like juries to reward the fact that this is great within its genre, and as much as AWS will hope that the new jury point system might work in its favor – this is a very niche genre which generally does not work with juries. The genre is offensive, the lead singer looks threatening. Strong performance tonight though, good vocals and professional and believable band look.

21:43 – Sweden – Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance you off

A big name who proves it on stage – that’s what juries like. And Benjamin, despite criticism on him relying on backing vocals a lot, gives a very worthy performance now. Vocals sound good, and he is clearly in total control of his act. Juries generally do not appreciate male falsetto’s, but I dare to say this could be an exception. Because of the slick performance, and because of the song which is contemporary but still completely non-offensive.

21:38 – Moldova – DoReDoS – My lucky day

The guy in blue has upped his game during the second week and his first lead vocals are on point. Then, however, comes the woman and she is clearly off-key. Juries will punish missed notes extra harshly because the song is so flat. Harmonies in the chorus are obviously distorted by the female vocalist as well, she is the weak part here. The second guy in the pink suit has always been the stronger vocalist and he’s solid too again today. In the semies, juries might have been lenient towards this performance because it looks slick, but in a bigger field, this comes across as more of a joke. Add to that the shoutout to the audience towards the end, and this is not a jury friendly package.

21:34 – Bulgaria – Equinox – Bones

The first solos of Trey are not perfect, but soon after that the harmonies kick in and they are a vocal masterclass. Bulgaria has managed to get the sound levels right just in time for this second Eurovision week. Song is modern and could be perceived as experimental in the good sense (like Belgium 2015 and Norway 2017). However, it could also be ranked in the “too artsy/ethnic” category that Artsvik fell into last year. That is the biggest challenge when rating this performance’s jury potential. Juries will notice that the final high note is not done by the female vocalist (but by a backing vocal). Juries punished Amir for this in 2016.

21:30 – Finland – Saara Aalto – Monsters

This is typically the kind of performance that scores better with juries than televoters, despite what many people think. Saara Aalto showcases vocal skills when she goes upside down the wheel, and while televoters might rightfully wonder what that has to do with the song or the story, juries will most likely reward the technical difficulty of it. Saara was not always on point in the first week, but she was on Monday, and she is tonight. High notes come out solid. Her talent show stories (The Voice Finland and X-factor UK) are well-known and will give her extra points tonight as well.

21:23 – Australia – Jessica Mauboy – We got love

The first verse with low notes has always been the most difficult part of the song for Jessica and tonight is not different. When the higher ranks come, she starts interacting with the crowd. This gives her energy, and the high notes sound good most of all. She’s obviously enjoying herself on stage, which makes her appearance more jury friendly. The strength of the song is that, like many Australian songs, it seems to be written for juries: middle-of-the-road, western, radiofriendly, non offensive.

21:19 – Denmark – Rasmussen – Higher ground

Despite better vocals than during the Danish national final, this entry is at the moment more likely to be a televote entry. While televoters will appreciate the over-all feeling of this act, which fits the story of the song and the music, juries might simply be appalled by the aggressive looks of it all. The genre, too, is divisive and despite the new jury voting system, that will hurt the Danish score tonight. In the bridge, the lead singer shouts “Come on Europe, walk with us!” Shouting to the audience is a red flag for juries.

21:15 – Czech Republic – Mikolas Josef – Lie to me

For a guy suffering from back problems, Mikolas seems to be in control of the stage. The shoutout “What’s up Eurovision?” is usually a no-go for juries. The type of song that, despite what everyone thinks, could end up doing better with juries than televoters. Remember Robin Bengtson last year. Despite what the lyrics say, Mikolas looks friendly and amicable, a so-called “non threatening boy”. It must be noted, however, that his vocal performance was not his strongest of the week. At the end, Mikolas did an acrobatic jump, although not the much discussed backflip.

21:11 – France – Madame Monsieur – Mercy

Shaky first low note. Strong recovery with solid vocals all throughout. A well-known green flag for juries is when a song/performance comes accross credible, like true and believable musicians. This entry is the prototype of that. The appearance of Madame is also very likeable and relatble, “girl next door”. French pop music in this genre has a sense of actuality to it without being divisive. Very jury friendly entry.

21:08 – Albania – Eugent Bushpepa – Mall

Bushpepa won Topstar in Albania (a talent show). As often with the Albanian songs, this entry does not have a solid build-up after they revamp it (after their national final). Juries could end up finding it messy. However, the performance definitely does look serious. And Eugent Bushpepa shows impeccable vocal skills. He does not miss a single note, makes it look & sound easy and he even displays a few extra feats towards the end. In the semi finals, juries clearly let the voice prevail over the song, but it is difficult to say whether they will still do so in the strong final field we have today.

21:04 – Germany – Michael Schulte – You Let Me Walk Alone

After the Serbian ethnic mess, comes something totally different: a prototype jury song in the form of Ed Sheeran styled song “You let me walk alone”. Michael Schulte has always had a slight twirl in his voice that can hit the edges of a note at times, especially when he’s nervous. Thankfully, it happens only once in the first verse, and once in the chorus. Again once in the second verse, and then the ad-lib at the end of the verse is flawless! Second chorus also solid and Michael brings it home without anymore mistakes. Tears in his eyes add to the emotional connection of this song – although that is generally more important for televoters. Jurors will not care about the psychedelic visuals, they will notice the sincerity of the lyrics that could only have been written by someone who has actually lived through this. Credible performance in which everything fits together.

21:00 – Serbia – Sanja Ilic & Balkanika – Nova deca

This song, has never really been jury friendly: the difference in styles, the messy build up (which is also clearly portrayed on stage). Juries have turned their back on ethnic stuff that is too out there. The heavily studied choreography also does not seem to come natural to the performers and that makes it look amateuristic. It must be noted that the vocal performance tonight is on point, much stronger than during the jury show on Wednesday. Still, I reckon that this qualified on televote yesterday and not on jury vote.

20:56 – United Kingdom – SuRie – Storms

“Even juries do not like being bored,” Daniel Gould once told us. Still, it must leave no doubt that this type of song is more suitable for jurors than for televoters as it is middle of the road and non offensive. SuRie has impressed throughout the week as a confident performer and a good vocalist, but tonight is not her strongest performance. The start is solid, but the bridge is off-key in the low parts and after that, a few more mistakes follow. Still it might be that juries will save her from the last place like they did with Levina from Germany last year (the entries are quite similar to each other).

20:50 – Elina Nechayeva shines

She gets a moment to showcase her great vocals when the host comes to her in the green room.

20:48 – Portugal – Claudia Pascoal – O Jardim

Claudia misses two lower notes in the first verse. Nerves? She is in front of a fully packed arena for the first time. First chorus and second verse are solid. In the second chorus, there is again one off-key note in the harmony with the backing vocalist, and one more from Claudia in the final notes. All that does not take away from the fact that this is a very sympathetic, non offensive and credible performance. Juries know what they are tagging along too. Claudia also won X-factor in 2013 which is a green flag for jurors.

20:44 – Norway – Alexander Rybak – That’s how you write a song

This song is simple, but also friendly, non-offensive, middle of the road and competent. The “scoobydoo-baba” part is not particularly jury friendly. The ease with which Rybak plays with the projections on the screen will come across very professionally – kind of like the “Mans-Factor” in 2015. He also looks like a winner (and not just because he actually is one). The high note towards the second chorus has always been shaky, but tonight it is on point as well. Rybak’s vocally strongest performance thus far. He looks relaxed, in control, and will convince not only Eastern but also Western European jurors.

20:40 – Estonia – Elina Nechayeva – La forza

Always extremely difficult to judge entries which are from a very niche genre and therefore require exceptional vocal skills. Juries did not reward Ilinca from Romania accordingly last year, and they did not vote for Il Volo’s opera song either. They might leave Elina alone as well, despite the fact that this is probably her best performance since Monday. She has the attitude of a superstar, and she makes no vocal mistakes. Elina is a former talent show candidate. This could help her win some extra points.

20:36 – Austria – Cesár Sampson – Nobody but you

It is such a shame that one of the most professional performers of this contest (Cesár) cannot seem to give a 100% performance on the jury night. As if he is overthinking things – during the semi jury show Cesár (otherwise vocally flawless) missed one note out of nowhere, and tonight, he forgets the lyrics to his own song after shouting out to the audience at the start of the second verse. In a fierce final field like tonight, this will cost him some points, which is a shame, because this is one of the most jury friendly entries in the entire show. Song is written for juries and Cesár is on point apart from his one mistake.

20:31 – Lithuania – Ieva Zasimauskaite – When we’re old

Ieva is less nervous than she was on Monday, but she’s still a little shaky in some of the lower ranks of the first verse. As soon as she gets to the chorus, the level of the vocals goes up. Many have speculated whether Lithuania could have won the jury vote in semi 1, and if that’s the case, she has upped her game vocally tonight. Small question marks: the early running order draw (juries are more sensitive to running order than people think) and the niche type of the song. However, harmonies in the echo of the chorus sound perfect and Ieva was a former finalist on The Voice. Potential top 10 or even top 5 in the jury show tonight.

20:28 – Slovenia – Lea Sirk – Hvala ne

The difficulty with a song as flat as this one, is that every note has to be on point for juries to even start to appreciate it. Any mistake is deadly, and thankfully, Lea does not make many. However, then comes the fake technical breakdown – and that’s where juries will definitely lose their interest. Not only because of fake acting, but also because it is offensive in the sense that they can end up feeling tricked. Lea’s vocals also go down after the crowd interaction part: she’s out of breath a couple of times towards the end. As much as Lea looks confident in her choreography, this song is too flat to pick up jury points.

20:24 – Spain – Alfred & Amaia – Tu Cancion

While Amaia sounds very clear in the first verse, Alfred is shaky and he makes one big mistake right before the chorus. The disbalance between the two remains throughout the second verse and chorus: she’s stronger than he is. The big note towards the end is solid, but the last two notes of Alfred are off-key. The fact that the duet met in a talent show might help them, while the song is quite jury friendly as a non-offensive ballad. Their performance is a little kitsch but non offensive.

20:20 – Ukraine – Mélovin – Under the ladder

People coming into Lisbon with doubts about Mélovin’s vocal abilities can rest assured: he has improved greatly compared to the national final. There do, however, remain several problems with the Ukranian entry when it comes to the jury vote. Juries like a confident performer, but Mélovin’s arrogant appearance might be pushing it a little bit. The vampire staging also says quite the opposite of “non-threatening boy”, and then there’s the lingering issue with his English pronunciation as well. As said before, this is an entry that could have a split outcome between different regions with juries. Mélovin won X-factor 2015 in Ukraine and this might help him, especially with Eastern European jurors.

20:14 – Eurovision running order

The performances tonight will be in the same running order as tomorrow. You can find the full order HERE.

20:09 – The visual aspects of the Eurovision final

You can find more information on the over-all look of the show in our blog from this afternoon.

20:03 – Fado start to the show

The opening act is on stage, we hear traditional Portuguese fado sounds.

19:56 – 4 minutes left

The jury show is almost already starting! Where does the day go?

19:47 – Our previous vocal assessments

If you want a frame of reference, please do read back on our vocal assessments of both semi finals:

Jury Show Semi Final 1

Jury Show Semi Final 2

19:40 – Getting ready

We have our notes ready in the press center and we are right in front of the screen. Who is going to win the jury vote tonight? We are confident that we can make a close prediction. Stay tuned for updates & ratings on all performances!

1 Comment

  1. Italy will do better than the three stars you gave. all know that the jury let win only songs with a sense the proof the last songs that won made sense.

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