ESC Countdown 5 Days: Bottom of the Heap

Cheat sheet for American viewers of ESC 2017

Some Eurovision entries are just bad in a WTF-sort-of-way. Some entries are great songs with the wrong singer, or vice versa. And some are just too anonymous to find a voting audience.  Pick a few from all these  possibilities, and you have the bottom of the fan lists and betting odds for 2017.  There’s a very good chance that the home viewers won’t see any of these entries more than once, since they will either fail to qualify out of their semis, or they are automatic qualifiers you will see only in the Grand Finals before they ignominiously drop like a stone in the final voting.

Valentina-and-Jimmie

Little San Marino’s disco mess with Valentina and Jimmie

This year we have two of the Big Five automatic qualifiers that are destined to fail. Spain is recent years has been alternately VERY good or very lame.  Unfortunately  Manel and his summer beach disco reggae falls in the latter category. He is young and attractive, but the song is so repetitive and filler-ish that it is hard to see this as anything but bottom three in the Saturday night scores.

Germany, despite a recent win in 2010, has more often presented poor-quality entries that scrape the bottom of the barrel in the last decade. This year “Perfect Life” is a nice-ish little song that is okay and inoffensive, but it is hard to see who (if anyone) will pick up the phone and be moved to vote for poor Levina.

Czech Republic has struggled since it joined the ranks of Eurovision nations, only last year qualifying for the Finals (and landing with a thud in last place there). This year they tried to recreate their formula from 2016 with an attractive, competent singer and a big ballad, but this time the magic just isn’t there. Without any history of neighboring countries voting to help them, the Czechs seem destined to fail in the semi and fail to qualify.

Lithuania did well last year, even cracking the top ten with handsome and athletic Donny Montell and a Swedish-composed entry. This year their home-grown alternative rock is sinking like a stone, and there is almost no scenario that sees them getting past the semi with “Rain of Revolution”.

And tiny San Marino is the little country that could–one time only in 2014, after several failed attempts at qualification. Returning for a 4th go-round is local jazz vocal star Valentina Monnetta and her favorite composer Ralph Siegel (creator of a dozen ESC entries in the last four decades). The song this year, with duet partner Jimmie Wilson, is a disco mishmash that has camp appeal. But that alone doesn’t seem enough to save this throwback from the lowest ranks of semi non-qualification.

The Dreaded Nul Points

When an entry to Eurovision is so universally detested that not a single country ranks it highly enough for a single point, it joins the infamous court of nul points. In the past when fewer countries voted, there were statistically more chances to come out of the contest with a score of zero. Even in the past decade, three entries were so rank that nobody wanted to be seen associating with them in a public place.

In 2009 Gipsy.cz represented Czech Republic with a Romani hiphop number called “Aven Romale” with its lead singer clad in a Gypsy superhero costume. Amazingly enough, it scored zero in its semifinal and led to the Czechs leaving Eurovision completely after the contest. In 2004, the Swiss Piero and the Music Stars struck out with their lame singalong “Celebrate”. And the year before, the United Kingdom’s Jemini were utterly tone deaf through their excruciating “Cry Baby” and reached the magic nul points as well (their performance is so rotten that the youtube clip has banned all comments).

What are the chances of a nul points stinker in May’s 2012 contest? About average, though the betting pages at oddschecker.co.uk have offered up a few possibilities via the reader comments. The likeliest suspects are three joke entries (at least I hope they are meant to be jokes). In the case of Georgia, the singer owns up to being a joker in the song’s title:

Montenegro has yet to qualify for a Eurovision final since its split with Serbia, and “Euro Neuro” is pretty certain to NOT break that series of failures:

San Marino actually has a decent singer in Valentina Monetta, but she has been saddled with an inane song that was originally called “Facebook (Uh Oh Oh)” until contest organizers forced them to change it (to “The Social Network Song”, with just a few trademarked company names replaced with “oohs” and “ohs”):

With these standouts, do you think that we may have another winner of the dreaded nul points trophy?