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Recap / Eurovision Song Contest 2019

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The 2019 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Tel Aviv, Israel from 14 May to 18 May. The slogan for this year was "Dare to Dream".

Tropes seen during this year's contest include:

  • The Ace:
    • Australia extends its perfect semi-final qualification record to 4-0.note 
    • Sweden and Italy both finish with good results. Sweden in the top 10 since 2013, and Italy winning second, continuing their top 10 streak since 2017.
  • All Issues Are Political Issues:
    • Because this edition was staged in Israel (with all the baggage that entails), Tel Aviv 2019 is certainly more politically-charged than previous editions, which is saying a lot. For starters, there is the decision of selection Tel Aviv as host city over Jerusalem, which hosted the previous three editions of the contest staged in Israel, taking into account the latter's delicate geopolitical status, as well as concerns by conservative religious groups.
    • Once again, the Russia-Ukraine rivalry rears its head. During Ukraine's national selection show Vidbir, frontrunner Anna "MARUV" Korsun, an east Ukrainian with a Russian music label, got grilled on her views by juror and 2016 winner Jamala, and upon winning was forced to sign a tough contract, leading her and her fellow finalists to protest being used by the Ukrainian government as political tools and force Ukraine to withdraw. It also didn't help that for this year Russia fielded anew Sergey Lazarev, whom Jamala narrowly beat three years ago.note 
    • While Iceland's televote score was being read in the grand final, their entrants Hatari flashed Palestinian flags. This obviously caused the camera to quickly turn its focus away, and the cheering for Iceland, erstwhile a strong fan favourite, quickly turned into loud booing. The nation, where almost everyone watches ESC and has internet access (the highest rates in the world in both cases, as a proportion of the population), and which had given plenty of points to Netta to help her win Lisbon 2018, was rocked by a viral petition, reaching equivalent to 1/15 of the population, after a day of extreme violence in Gaza as the US was opening an embassy in Jerusalem note , though they decided to partake once the comparatively less-divisive Tel Aviv was named as the venue, helped by the fact that all its Nordic neighbours had long committed to entering.
    • The UK's paltry, last-place finish was blamed on the Brexit debacle going into overtime, and the fact that the contest was held only days before EU elections that could widen the gap between the UK's pro- and anti-Brexit camps; in fact, the UK only earned six jury and three televote points (the latter, all from neighbouring Ireland). Downplayed, however, in that Ireland, which had comparatively more sympathy from the EU in the Brexit debaclenote , was also last-placing in the second semifinals (thirteen jury and three televote points, the latter all coming from the UK), and Big Five member Germany, one of the strongest supporters of the EU, scored nul points with televoters; this leads to the other implication that musical quality was still a major deciding factor, and none of the three aforementioned countries, despite their vocal fanbase, were remotely seen as competitive.
    • The Belarusian jury was dismissed ahead of the grand final for revealing their votes from the first semis before the grand final (in violation of EBU rules stating that semis results cannot be revealed until after the final). Moreover, the EBU-approved aggregate result (which was used as the Belarusian jury votes in the final) only gave Russia one point. Naturally, Viktor Drobysh, producer for Belarusian entrant Zinaida "ZENA" Kupriyanovich, threatened to sue the EBU for fear of straining relations between Belarus and Russia, long-time allies and traditional Eurovision vote-exchangers.
  • Anti-Climax: Norway winning the televote. The new system started by announcing the televote starting with the countries with the lowest Jury points. While this made a more exciting announcement by saving the announcement of the televotes of the jury winner, it was never publicly announced during the grand final that it was Norway who won the televotes.
  • Ascended Extra: Lithuania's Jurij Veklenko previously sang backup for Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila in 2015, which infamously involved him partaking in a same-sex kiss with the other male backing singer.
  • The Bus Came Back: Quite a few examples.
    • Hungary's Joci Papai previously represented the country in 2017, finishing eighth in the final.
    • Russia's Sergey Lazarev previously represented the country in 2016, finishing third in the final.
    • North Macedonia's Tamara Todevska previously represented the country in 2008 with Vrčak & Adrian.
    • San Marino's Serhat previously represented the country in 2016, improving on his non-qualification that year by making it to the final.
    • Serbia's Nevena Božović previously represented the country in 2013 as part of Moje 3, improving on their non-qualification that year by making it to the final. She also represented Serbia at Junior Eurovision in 2007.
  • Bookends: While the winner, The Netherlands didn't win in the Jury, they were third, the first and last countries to present their jury votes, Portugal and Israel, awarded their douze points to the Netherlands.
  • Creator Couple: Latvia's Carousel and Slovenia's Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl.
  • Demoted to Extra: This year features many former representatives returning as backing vocalists:
    • Mikheil Javakhishvili, who represented Georgia in 2018 as part of Iriao, returns as a backing vocalist for Oto Nemsadze. Another member, Gaga Abashidze, served as jury points presenter in the final.
    • Stig Rästa, who represented Estonia with Elina Born in 2015, returns as a backing vocalist for Victor Crone; he also co-wrote their song, "Storm".
    • Mladen Lukić, who represented Serbia in 2018 as part of Balkanika, returns as a backing vocalist for Nevena Božović.
    • Sahlene, who represented Estonia in 2002, returns as a backing vocalist for the UK's Michael Ricenote 
    • Jacques Houdek, who represented Croatia in 2017 with a Solo Duet performance, returns as a backing vocalist for this year's Croatian entrant Roko; he also co-wrote their song "The Dream".
    • Émilie Satt, who represented France in 2018 as part of Madame Monsieur, will return as a backing singer for Bilal Hassani; she also co-wrote their song "Roi".
    • Destiny Chukunyere, who won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015 for Malta, provides backing vocals for Michela.
    • Ilse DeLange, one half of The Common Linnets who were 2nd place in 2014, is part of the Dutch delegation this year.
  • Discretion Shot: This edition's postcardsnote  feature the artists, wandering around various locales in Israelnote , pressing an imaginary play button (a wireframe triangle made of light, similar to that shown in this edition's logo), leading him/her/them into a dance-off with local dancers, ending with him/her/them casting another wireframe triangle onto the screen and into the arena, where it joins an array of triangles above the arena in forming the flag of the participating nation.
  • Eliminated from the Race:
    • Montenegro, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Belgium, Georgia, and Portugal failed to proceed from the first semi. Ireland, Romania, Armenia, Moldova, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania and Austria (for the first time since before Conchita's win) from the second.
    • Portugal's failure to qualify came as a surprise for many, even if the song and performance were admittedly an acquired taste.
    • Finland was never really touted as a contender, but was at least expected to qualify due to name recognition of Darude, who became famous worldwide in the early Aughts for his hit "Sandstorm". In the end, it finished last in the semifinal.
    • Just two years after placing eighth, Joci Papai became the first Hungarian entrant to miss the final since 2009 (which was a novelty song chosen by default after the first choice was found to have been in the public domain for years and the second choice pulled out), and the first final without them since 2010 (when they didn't enter due to financial troubles), although there were some narrow qualifications (in 2012 and 2018).
  • Epic Fail: As if their 24th-place finish and their jury being dismissed (see above) wasn't bad enough, Belarus flubbed up further when it is revealed that their stated jury results, based on an aggregate result approved by the EBU, was presented in reverse order, such that supposedly last-placed Israel earned douze points and leader Malta given nul points. Days after the grand final, the results were adjusted to reflect the correct points allocation.
    • A lighter example is the host wishing Mans' son happy birthday right after Mans saying his son is 11 months old.
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Iceland used this trope to its full advantage with what can only be described as a BDSM nightmare.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • France's "Roi" is half-English, half-French.
    • Georgia's "Keep On Going" is sung entirely in Georgian, despite the English title; it was originally announced as "Sul tsin iare".
    • Poland's "Fire of Love (Pali się)" is a reworked bilingual version of that same song, originally released entirely in Polish under the title "Pali się".
    • Serbia's "Kruna" contains two lines in English.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
    • Croatia's "The Dream" is primarily in English, but contains some Croatian.
    • Georgia's "Keep On Going" contains an Abkhaz idiom, a first for the competition.
    • Norway's "Spirit in the Sky" contains lines in Northern Sami, a first for the competition.
    • San Marino's "Say Na Na Na" contains a few Turkish words (given its performer Serhat is, of course, a Turk).
    • Italy's "Soldi" is primarily in Italian, but contains a few lines in Arabic, highlighting singer Mahmood's Egyptian heritage.
    • Denmark's "Love is Forever" is roughly half-English, half-French, barring a few lines in German and Leonora's native Danish.
  • Guest Fighter: As in previous years, contestants need not necessarily be natives (or at least naturalized citizens) of the countries they are representing (unless at the national broadcasters' discretion), so it is not unusual to see countries being represented by foreigners.
    • Cyrpus is represented by Tamta Goduadze, a Georgian-Greek. Her predecessor, Eleni Foureira (who took the song "Fuego" after Tamta declined it), is also a Greek citizen born in Albania.
    • Estonia is represented by Victor Crone, a Swede.
    • San Marino is represented (for the second time) by Ahmet Serhat Hacıpaşalıoğlu, a Turk.
    • Downplayed by Greece's Katerine Duska, an ethnic Greek born in Montreal in Canada, then moved to Athens, where she lives to this day.
    • Zig-zagged by Romania's Ester Peony, who was born in Romania but moved to Montreal as a child, and then moved back to Romania a few years later.
  • History Repeats:
    • With 2016. The 2016 final had Justin Timberlake but the final was most memorable for "Love Love Peace Peace". This time, the final had Madonna, but was most memorable for the song swap with Conchita, Mans, Eleni, and Verka. Russian entry Sergey Lazarev finished third again
    • With 2017. Both winners used minimal lights and staging
    • With 2018. Both stages have bridges on the sides to get to the audience
  • Missed Him by That Much: Poland missed the final by just 2 points in the Semi Final 1, Lithuania missed the final by just 1 point in the Semi Final 2
  • Money Song: Italy's "Soldi". Its title literally translates to "money" in English, and the song is tangentially about being overly concerned with it.
    I figured it out in one second
    That you, from me
    Only wanted money, money
    Like I've had any money, money
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Even more so than usual, 2019 could be remembered for having one of the highest hunk-per-capita counts at Eurovision ever, most notably led by Azerbaijan's Chingiz, Italy's Mahmood, Spain's Miki, Lithuania's Jurij Veklenko, Switzerland's Luca Hänni, Sweden's John Lundvik, Russia's Sergey Lazarev, The Netherlands' Duncan Laurence, and —for quite a few— San Marino's Serhat.
    • Portugal's Conan Osiris features a shirtless male dancer in his performance.
    • There's also the matter of Iceland's Hatari, whose BDSM inclinations are likely of interest to some.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Cyprus' Tamta performs in progressively less clothing during her performance, while Serbia's Nevena Božović shows some leg in hers.
  • Multinational Team: A downplayed example in KEiiNO, as all three members are Norwegian, but Tom Hugo currently resides in Germany, while Fred-René Buljo represents Norwegian people of Sami descent.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: Ukraine was originally confirmed to be participating this year, but later withdrew from the competition following controversy over their broadcaster UA:PBC meddling with their national selection. They would've sent "Siren Song" by Maruv (widely considered to be a possible winner) had Ukraine not withdrawn.
  • Not So Above It All: After sending serious entries in their first 4 years, Australia brought to Tel Aviv its gimmickiest entry to date, Kate Miller Heidke's "Zero Gravity", which featured the singer and her back-up singers were suspended on sticks a few feet in the air, swinging around during the performance, with an animated earth superimposed below them. It landed an impressive ninth place in the final.
  • Shrinking Violet: Slovenia's entry. Zala Kralj keeps hiding under their flag whenever they're shown in the green room, with Gašper hugging her.
  • Silver Fox: San Marino's Serhat combines a cool voice and is incredibly suave for a 54-year-old man.
  • Stealth Insult: Fans have picked up what while Quavo (who was performing with Madonna) was being interviewed, he said that his mom grew up listening to Madonna.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • San Marino earns only its second-ever qualification from the semifinals, and the first since Valentina Monetta in Copenhagen 2014 (on her third attempt, no less). It is also doubly redemptive for artist Serhat, who fell flat on his Stockholm 2016 debut. And while he finished a fairly paltry nineteenth, that this was their best finish so far still speaks volumes.
    • North Macedonia (until last year known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia until a late 2018 agreement with Greece) qualified for only the second time in twelve years, and the first in seven. Furthermore, their entrant, Tamara Todevska, was the first of the ten entries out of eleven during this period to fail to qualify (as part of Tamara, Vrack and Adrijan in Belgrade 2008, eliminated during a time when each semifinal sent through the top nine from the televoters and one jury choice). Moreover, she finished seventh, her country's best finish so far, having never gotten any higher than joint twelfth beforehand. She also won the jury voting (although this was only known after the final, due to the Belarusian flub mentioned above).
    • Switzerland earns their third finals appearance since Athens 2006 (and the first since Copenhagen 2014). Even better, Luca Hanni scored his country's best finish for quarter of a century with an impressive fourth-place, only one spot behind Annie Cotton's third from Millstreet 1993 (their only top 10 place in between was with an Estonian girl group in 2005).
    • After a string of non-qualifications, Iceland passes through for the first time since Copenhagen 2014.
    • 44 years after their last victory (Stockholm 1975) and being edged out by Austria's Conchita Wurst five years ago, the Netherlands finally wins the contest with a simple yet haunting ballad by Duncan Laurence. In addition, Laurence himself was a protegé of Ilse DeLange, one half of 2014 runners-up The Common Linnets, from the 2014 edition of The Voice of Holland.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Downplayed by KEiiNO's Fred, who appears throughout their song and isn't so much "rapping" than he is joiking, a form of singing in Sami languages.