Eurovision 2018: The Big Five + Host Videos
In between the semi-finals, let’s take a gander at those who are privileged enough to not have to compete.
Eurovision has 43 competitors coming into the competition and 26 performance slots for the Grand Final. The Top Ten from the first semi-final has already been selected and this time tomorrow, ten more will be selected from the second semi-final, making twenty competitors in all. So where do those last six come from?
Well, Eurovision may be a great equalizer among countries, but some countries are more equal than others, as they say. The “Big Five” as they are known, are the countries who pay the bulk of Eurovision’s expenses. In return they don’t have to dirty themselves in the semifinal rounds, going straight to the Grand Final without passing Go or collecting €200.
These countries are the UK, Spain, France, Germany, and newcomer Italy. Though this might seem like a cushy way to go directly to the finish line, it actually rarely works in their favor. By not performing in the semis, they lack the screen time other competitors get the week before the final vote. And the optics are terrible. Who are you going to vote for, that underdog Ireland, who just squeaked into the Grand Final after years of failure, or the UK, who is sitting pretty and privileged, not needed to compete with its neighbors?
Also with the Big Five, the Host Country also gets a pass directly to the finale. But that’s okay because considering the cost no one wants to win twice anymore.
01 France Madame Monsieur “Mercy”
A very moving song with a pro-refugee message. I also love that it’s in French.
02 Spain Amaia y Alfred “Tu Canción”
A lovely duet that has all the hallmarks of a Eurovision winning number and none of the spirit.
03 Italy Ermal Meta e Fabrizio Moro “Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente”
A song inspired by the Paris bombings, and also sung in Italian. There’s a reason this is favored, but chances are it will wind up a runner-up like last year.
04 Germany Michael Schulte “You Let Me Walk Alone”
The only of the Big Five that isn’t in its native language. Wake up Germany, that’s not the way the trend is leaning.
05 The UK SuRie “Storm”
It’s not totally rubbish, but it is cliched enough to have a line about chasing rainbows.
06 Portugal Cláudia Pascoal “O Jardim” (Host Country)
Too bad Portugal probably won’t win twice. I really like this one, and this is the type of Eurovision cliche song I’m not usually fond of.
The semifinals continue tomorrow, May 10th, 2018 at 9 p.m. local time in Lisbon.