Jury rehearsal Grand Final: Vocal assessment of all the songs

And then there was only one show left! Tonight in the press center, 26 countries perform in the second dress rehearsal of the Eurovision Final 2017. Juries from all 42 participating countries will watch the performance and decide on 50% of tomorrow’s results.

ESCDaily is at the press center and follows all the performances. In the blog below, you can find in-depth commentary from a juror’s perspective.

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

23:16 – End of the liveblog

As usual during the jury rehearsals, we are not staying around for interval acts and dummy voting. If you want to know how that is going to look, please do check out our blog from this afternoon.

For tonight, we’re done. Thank you for following and feel free to read back on all our ratings!

23:06 – France – Alma – Requiem

Up and down, was the keyword for Alma’s performances this week and unfortunately, at the big moment tonight the thumbs go down. Especially the first minute is vocally weak – not horribly off-key but definitely not confident either. Last year, France was rewarded by juries for a rather ethnically inspired modern radio song. I would therefore not rule out that Alma picks up points here and there this year as well. Especially because the last part of her song is better than the beginning. She does not look confident on stage, though.

23:02 – Bulgaria – Kristian Kostov – Beautiful mess

Kristian’s lower notes are as amazing as ever, his voice runs deep and convinces every single time. The falsetto parts are slightly more difficult for him, but he gets every single one of them this time. For a 17-year-old kid, he looks like an experienced pro on stage, going through the motions of his performance. Last but not least, this song is the perfect combination of a traditionally built-up ballad and a modern radio friendly song. It could score with both those sides of the juries.

22:58 – Sweden – Robin Bengtsson – I can’t go on

Robin’s vocals have been better during this week, however this is still a very solid and slick performance. While televoters might object to the fact that Robin does not always look believable as a “player” on stage – jurors won’t have such issues. They will rate him high on the Mans-scale. Song is radiofriendly, with a hint of scandipop. Sweden might surprisingly do better with juries than televoters.

22:54 – Belgium – Blanche – City lights

We’ve already discussed the possibility that televoters can vote for Belgium because her nerves on stage are relatable. Jurors will probably not have similar feelings and downgrade her on the “Mans-factor”; she does not look professional on stage. However, the vocals were quite strong today except for a few shivery notes in the beginning and the end. Every performance Blanche improves slightly and tonight, she might even take top 10.

22:49 – Ukraine – O.Torvald – Time

In the first verse, the lead singer slides off a few notes. Chorus is alright. Three years ago, juries rated rock song “Something better” really high, but that song had a much higher level of difficulty in its vocals and a better execution. In general, rock songs are slightly too alternative and to some jurors perhaps even offensive to do well in a jury vote. This is not particularly well-sung, especially not tonight.

22:44 – Germany – Levina – Perfect life

Compared to the first rehearsals, it’s obvious to hear that something happened to Levina’s voice. She still sings quite good, almost entirely in-key, but her voice lacks a little volume in the verses. Song will not be a top contender with juries but it’s definitely more for juries than for televoters. If Germany manages to avoid finishing last for the third year in a row, it might have happened tonight and not tomorrow.

22:40 – Romania – Alex Florea & Ilinca – Yodel it

Generally the idea in the press center is that this performance is more suitable for televoters than juries. Although I agree, I still have doubt whether Ilinca’s great vocals might be able to save its jury vote. The song has ethnic elements and stands out as a mash-up between two genres – that’s generally a jury red flag. Vocal performance tonight was good though, not just from Ilinca but also relatively from Alex who was better than during the show for semi 2. Some jurors might even consider this kitsch.

22:36 – Cyprus – Hovig – Gravity

Hovig misses one note at the start of the song and another high shoot-out note at the start of the first chorus. In between those, he sounds solid. This performance creates a high level of “Mans-factor” as Hovig manages to bring a simple yet convincing story of the song captured in a well-performed act. In a larger field of participants, he might stand out slightly less for juries, especially given the bad running order position he received after Lucie Jones.

22:32 – United Kingdom – Lucie Jones – Never give up on you

First two/three notes are slightly shrill, yet still in key. After this, Lucie finds the middle of the notes, which is her strongsuit. Facial expressions in the beginning are strong and in the second part of the song she finds the camera well. BBC found a way to make Lucie appear as if she feels comfortable on stage. Vocals are really strong towards the end and do not forget that this is exactly the type of ballad that juries could go for (=inoffensive).

22:24 – Norway – JOWST – Grab the moment

What will juries say about sampled voices? How are they going to rate this contemporary yet eccentric electropop song? I lean towards thinking that both can be perceived as offensive, especially in a larger field of participants. Some jurors might love this but others will wear it down, and love-hate-entries generally do not fare well in the total jury vote. One thing helps Norway: they stand out at the end of a weak block, and juries are not completely insensitive to running order.

22:20 – Spain – Manel – Do it for your lover

Manel’s diction and pronunciation is very, very weak. The fact that he does not go off-key often, is probably due to the fact that the degree of difficulty of this song is also rather low. The song is flat, falls flat and does not have a particular recognizable build-up either. Manel misses one high note towards the bridge and goes off-key during the last chorus.

22:16 – Greece – Demy – This is love

Demy’s backings were turned off during her semi final runthrough – that was due to technical failure. They are back on tonight and they sound okay-ish, better than during week 1 rehearsals. That does not take away from the fact that this type of song, halting between two opinions, is generally not suitable for juries. Demy’s own performance is alright, as it has been all week, but she does not have the voice that grants her extra points. Performance confident.

22:10 – Australia – Isaiah – Don’t Come Easy

The song is definitely jury friendly as it is both non-offensive as well as suitable for radio. But whether this brings Isaiah to the same height as in the semi final remains to be seen. The vocals remain somewhat on the borderline. Not that Isaiah goes off-key, but it is not totally convincing as well. A decent performance.

22:06 – Croatia – Jacques Houdek – My Friend

Is it kitsch? Or is it just very well sung? Fact is that Jacques went for this format, and the implementation of the act is flawless. Due to cultural taste, I expect that especially Eastern European jurors should go for this. Vocals are strong throughout the entire song, except for the ending when Jacques has ran out of air. Still, the vocals will help Croatia even more due to the high level of difficulty of the song.

22:02 – Azerbaijan – DiHaj – Skeletons

DiHaj is in total control for every aspect of her act. Some jurors might vote the Azeri down, since they might rate this as a ‘circus act’. Others may value is artistic values. Same goes for the Swedish produced mysterious song. Vocals are decent, but DiHaj is not the best singer of the evening. Might fare not so well with the jury in a grand final, when compared to a smaller semi final field.

21:55 – Portugal – Salvador Sobral – Amar pelos dois

Salvador sounds like a clock every performance he has given in Kiev. Tonight again. There are one or two notes that he does not keep as long as he may have wanted to, but that’s in the details. This song is so unique that it remains very difficult to judge how jurors will rate it. But he has certainly nailed the vocal performance.

21:51 – Denmark – Anja Nissen – Where I am

Anja has managed to at least equal her strong showing from the jury semi show. The high notes are the unique selling point of this performance and they are all in key today. Lower notes not perfect but slightly better than before. This song is the classic example of jury food. Anja should do well tonight.

21:48 – Italy – Francesco Gabbani – Occidentali’s Karma

Amazing performance by Francesco tonight. After two weeks of rehearsals, I think many people had forgotten that he is capable of singing this song fully in tune from start to finish. Yes, his voice is slightly hoarse and yes, he is not sounding equally confident in every note, but this was a strong enough performance. The song is food not just for televoters but for (western) juries as well. Might not win the jury vote but he will keep contact with his competitors tonight.

21:45 – Hungary – Joci Pápai – Origo

This song has three very big red flags going against it: 1. the ethnic original component, 2. the rap part and 3. the link to the Roma community which, sadly enough, can all be red flags for certain people in certain juries. The other side of the coin is that Joci Pápai is a very strong performer, who looks more and more confident each time he is on stage. Vocals flawless. Act is classy and he sings and dances at the same time.

21:40 – Moldova – Sunstroke Project – Hey Mama

There is a structucal issue with the build-up of this song that certain jurors will certainly object to. While televoters can be overruled by the infectious fun on stage, jurors will be less proned to this. In 2010, Sunstroke Project finished third last in the jury vote despite great vocals back then. Vocals are good again tonight, however the lead singer shouts to the audience several times.

21:36 – Netherlands – OG3NE – Lights & Shadows

This package has everything that juries are looking for (and televoters are not). Vocals were there from the beginning, have been there all two weeks long and were strong again tonight. Song is non-offensive to all juries and will therefore never finish on the bottom of someone’s list. Performance looks very professional as well. During yesterday’s show there were too many wideshots but tonight this was not the case. Maximum performance.

21:32 – Armenia – Artsvik – Fly with me

Artsvik was slightly struggling with the lower notes in the first two verses. Nothing off-key though, but a slight lack of volume. High notes are exceptionally good and, as mentioned before, the degree of difficulty is high especially for the wobbly notes in the chorus. Juries will reward this. I have never been too sure if this type of original and eccentric song is food for juries.

21:28 – Austria – Nathan Trent – Running on air

In the previous blog I have called this song “the jury friendly version of a singer-songwriter song” and I stand by that. Nathan was vocally not as his best in the jury show of semi 2. Today he sounds much better, although he is certainly not flawless towards the end. Stage performance looks confident, which will give him some “Mans-factor” points for commanding the stage.

21:23 – Belarus – NAVI band – The story of my life

The problem in the sound of this song has always been that the female voice can be too high in the balance during the male solo’s. Tonight, this problem is sometimes still slightly there but not as much as during the previous jury show. This type of song is always going to be a televote hit (indie, original, not mainstream) and not for juries.

21:19 – Poland – Kasia Mos – Flashlight

The first few edgy notes we’ve heard from Kasia all week, come tonight in the lower sections of the verses. The high notes are still strong. The song is not the traditional type of ballad that juries generally like. It has a negative atmosphere to it, which can become a point of offense for some jurors, wearing it down in the vote. High notes towards the end are very well-sung.

21:12 – Israel – Imri Ziv – I feel alive

Imri has saved the best for last in his performances. His vocals were really shaky at times during rehearsal week, but he has brought out the best of himself ever since the jury show for his semi final. Tonight, again, he is not flawless but definitely acceptable. The first minute is strong, after that he misses half a note every here and there. With televoters, he’ll even get away with this. Juries might object to this style of song – they certainly have done so in the past. The fact that the lyrics of the first two verses are the same, won’t help him.

21:09 – Long intro, bad jokes

We see pictures from the presenters from 2005, when Eurovision was held in Kiev as well.

21:01 – We are underway

Intro clip started, let’s go! 26 performances, 26 jury ratings. Thank you all for joining in.