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Jewish News LIVE blog from Eurovision in Tel Aviv – relive a night of magic!

Arcade by Duncan Laurence wins the Eurovision in Tel Aviv, on a night of disappointment for host country Israel who finish fourth bottom and the UK, coming rock bottom.

Richard Ferrer has become a leading voice on Jewish communal issues since becoming editor of the Jewish News in 2009, writing about contemporary Jewish life for a national audience. He edited the Boston Jewish Advocate, America's oldest Jewish newspaper and created the Channel 4 series Jewish Mum of the Year.

Join the Jewish News LIVE Eurovision blog on Saturday night
Join the Jewish News LIVE Eurovision blog on Saturday night

Welcome to the Jewish News Eurovision blog – LIVE from Tel Aviv!

After Netta Barzilai’s thrilling victory last year with a quirky pop hit that featured clucking chicken noises and colourful kimonos, The Eurovision Song Contest has returned to the Holy Land! 

Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer is in Tel Aviv following every outrageous act, wacky outfit and superstar performance! Send us your pictures and let us know how you’re celebrating the occasion – richardf@thejngroup.com!

Follow our LIVE BLOG here!

Join the Jewish News LIVE Eurovision blog on Saturday night

Separated at birth?

Eurovision sponsors @MyHeritage are giving fans the chance to discover which act they most resemble. Turns out I’m a dead ringer for the frankly bewitching Jozsef Papai from Hungary.

80 mins to go…

The atmosphere in the media room at Tel Aviv Expo is really starting to build, as journalists from Sydney to Stockholm take their seats to report from the front line of the biggest event to hit Israel since Showaddywaddy played Eilat.

I’ve crunched the numbers using a second-hand flux capacitor, optimal approximation theory and my O’level maths. Here’s my top five prediction, almost unentirely based on the music.

1 Spain

2 Holland

3 Australia

4 Estonia

5 Czech Republic

Meanwhile, over at the Eurovision Village…

Time’s ticking as 8pm looms loomily on the horizon.

The atmosphere is also building up nicely over at the on the beach at Charles Clore Park as the bars empty after City’s FA Cup obliteration of poor old Watford…

Madonna on stage at 10.45pm!

Madonna is in the building! The global diva is just hours away from performing in the birthplace of her beloved kabbalah.

She’ll belt out Like A Prayer and a warble from her new album called Future at 10.45pm UK time, between the songs and voting.

Madonna is set to perform Like A Prayer at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, later this month

Oodles of doodles…

Nice touch at the media centre reception – a giant graffiti wall for visitors to scrawl their Eurovision messages. (I’ve screened it for antisemitism. Think it’s clean)..

Meet your trusty correspondent

Putting the ‘vision’ in Eurovision…

Moments away people… moments!

Some 200 million viewers worldwide are about to tune in to discover who will take Netta’s Eurovision crown…

Netta Barzilai brought victory for Israel at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest with her song, Toy

OMG! It’s the Eurovision Song Contest LIVE from Tel Aviv!

EREV TOV!

ANI RICHARD!

MA NISHMA?!

That’s my Ivrit used up (aside from AY-FOR SHERATIM?) and at it’s only 8.02pm, so I’ll stick to English and pigeon Dothraki from here on.

Welcome to wonderful Tel Aviv people… and the Jewish News’ Eurovision Song Contest live blog!

We’ve got Netta dancing with her dolls on the motha-bucka beat in Lisbon last year to thank for bringing the circus to Tel Aviv town tonight. Who’ll forget that nail-biting final-vote decider with Cyprus last May? (The UK staggered home a sterling 24th).

Well, that was then and this is very much now. For the next three hours I’ll be sat in my little cubicle in the heart of the press corps here at the swanky, neon-uplit (complimentary water but snacks costs extra) – Tel Aviv Expo.

It’s all kicking off!

Our hosts Erez Tal, Israel’s Jonathan Ross, supermodel Bar Refaeli, ravishing Arab-Israeli poet Lucy Ayoub and Israeli Big Brother host Assi Azar hit the stage ahead of tonight’s 26-song endurance test, with Netta and Dana International strutting their not inconsiderable stuff on stage.

 

The lights! It’s all so exciting!

Dana International and Netta on stage together!

BTW… I nearly didn’t make it after a heated debate with my taxi driver about which year Brotherhood of Man’s Kisses For Me won. I know my Eurovision onions so told him 1976. He insisted on Googling the answer at 60mph. 

Israeli drivers. Looking at the actual road is too boring for them. They need something else to pass the time. I’m hiring one of those electric scooters for the journey home.

BTW, the taxi cost 60 shekels from Ben Yehuda Street. How did he know I was a tourist? I got ripped off, right?

Malta kick things off…

The first of the night’s 26 tunes is Michela from Malta singing Chameleon (are we sure she’s in tune?). Got to hand it to Michela’s PR team, who are currently handing out signed photographs.

Here’s tonight’s musical menu in all its infinite glory…

1. Malta

2. Albania

3. Czech Republic

4. Germany

5. Russia

6. Denmark

7. San Marino

8. North Macedonia

9. Sweden

10. Slovenia

11. Cyprus

12. Netherlands

13. Greece

14. Israel (rah-rah!)

15. Norway

16. United Kingdom (huzzah!)

17. Iceland

18. Estonia

19. Belarus

20. Azerbaijan

21. France

22. Italy

23. Serbia

24. Switzerland

25. Australia

26. Spain

Albania and dragons

We continue with Jonida Maliqi’s Ktheju tokës, a song about Albanian emigration after the Kosovo War. The stage set features loads of fire, a bit like last week’s Game Of Thrones. I do fancy getting myself a dragon. Just found this on Amazon…S/ref=sr_1_8?keywords=inflatable+dragons&qid=1558195590&s=gateway&sr=8-8

Contender alert!

Song three and the first of the night real contenders, the Czech Republic’s Friend of a Friend by Lake Malawi…

Jazzy pop art visuals…

…sort of Brit poppy. Unexpectedly intricate narrative. I feel I know too much. Czech Republic the ones to beat.

He’s loved her since she was 13…

…but now they’ve grown apart. Aw.

Germany!

Sister by S!sters. Sung in English. Starts with the prescient lyric, “I’m tired of always losing.” All the choral clout of a Frozen B side. Gets marks for indoor fireworks.

Sorry (Slicha!)! Missed song five

I was in the sheratim (toilet) for Russia’s Sergey Lazarev with Scream. (Too many Gold Star beers). But sounded v.dramatic from cubicle. From what I recall from the dress rehearsal there is water visual tricky and he looks a bit like a waiter.

Denmark

Leonora with Love Is Forever, a ploddy, jolly ballad starring billowy white clouds, lots of swaying and a step-ladder. I rather love it.

They’ve got their phones out for Denmark!

Ain’t it adorable. We could well wind upon in Copenhagen next year.

Nice to see Jean Paul Gautier. Hasn’t changed a bit since Eurotrash.

Say Na Na Na!

Ever wondered what happened to Right Said Fred?

Say Na Na Na by Serhat for San Marino. One of the shock winners of Tuesday’s first semi-final. Apparently Serhat wrote it in five minutes. He took four minutes 59 seconds too long.

We DO say nah nah nah

and nah. And nah. And also nah.

The Artist Formerly Known As Macedonia

Next up we have North Macedonia, the country formerly known as Macedonia until neighbours Greece made it change its name in February.

Tamara Todevska, separated at birth with Sarah Harding out of Girls Aloud, carries her nation’s hopes with a by-and-large dreadful drone called Proud.

I feel empowered

Big dress. She has clearly lived a life and has genuine wisdom to impart. North Macedonia. You have kahunas.

Sweden

Time for John Lundvik with Too Late For Love. This one smacks of the London Boys, who you might recall had their 15 minutes in the early 1990s.

Fav so far…

…is Czech Republic. Too many layers of friends, but still in the lead by a mile as far as the North Finchley jury is concerned.

Slovenia

Sebi by Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl. This pair put the ‘love’ in Slovenia. If disturbing, unbroken staring is your thing, peppered with a pinch of Portishead, you’re set for a terrific three minutes…

Cyprus

Prepare to experience Replay by Tamta. I’m sat next to the Cyprus media delegation who’ve been terrifically kind to your correspondent all night, pouring me shots of Zivania. I hadn’t heard of it either, but it goes down great after the first three.

There is a bucket load of girl power tonight

This woman is impossible to age. Could be 20 or 50.

Favourite time!

The Netherlands… Bookies favs. Duncan Laurence with Arcade. A man, a keyboard and moody back lighting. His chief sphere of influence is early Howard Jones.

Greece

Sorry, that Zivania drink from the Cypriot media delegation has gone right through me. Another song missed due to a sheratim (toilet) emergency. Apparently it was Better Love by Katerine Duska. Ho hum. Anyway, I needed to clear the decks in preparation for…. ISRAEL!

ISRAEL PEOPLE!

So here we go!

Will Adam Sandler lookie-likey Kobi Marimi be better than Netta?! 

Best of British Kobi!

Leather, dry ice + meaningful stares

Time for Keiino with Spirt in the Sky – lots of leather, dry ice, meaningful stares and fist pumps. Decent outsider.

Drum roll for… United Kingdom!

The verses are a fraction ploddy but it has a happy clappy chorus going for it all about how love is bigger than me and you – “I can feel the universe, when I’m feeling you breathe”. It merits points from Malta and Ireland – the only countries who vote for Blighty any more.

Art school dropout alert

 

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – MAY 14: Hatari from Iceland performs during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 14, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Guy Prives/Getty Images)

Iceland do their thing.

Pass the paracetamol for Hatari’s trash metal techo tune Hatrið mun sigra.

Plus, keep ‘em peeled for a man wielding a sledgehammer.

Shouty, indecipherable. I suddenly feel like I’m having a completely different evening. Oh Iceland.

Estonia

All I can say in Iceland’s defence is that it’s dark there for most of the year.

Onwards and upwards… Estonia. Victor Crone with Storm. Nothing to dislike here. Breezy, easy listening, a chorus as catchy as a cold. A genuine contender.

Putting the Belle into Belarus

Like It by Zena. Song ghastly. Singer gorgeous. 

Belarus = Dua Lipa with better moves

I reckon we have a winner on our hand here. Nice energy, owning it!

Belarus meets the Scissor Sisters

Truth by Chingiz. Or Chingiz by Truth. It’s unclear. Either way, it’s got a decent chance. It’s got bits of Foster The People’s Pumped Up Kicks and twangs of I Don’t Feel Like Dancing by the Scissor Sisters. Ticks boxes.

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

Roi by Bilal Hassani – a homage to Rise Like A Phoenix, Austria’s hirsute 2014 winner Conchita Wurst. Bilal shares the stage with a rather bewitching plus-sized ballerina.

Italian job

My third sharatim (toilet) break of the night meant tragically missing out on the unique rap stylings of Italy’s Mahmood with his song Soldi. I could hear jaunty clapping from the cubicle.

Serbia

Kruna by Nevena Božović. Go pop the kettle on or you’re never getting the next three minutes of your life back. This will gently drive you mad…

G’Day Europe!

Song 25 – Just two more to go people!  Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke with Zero Gravity. She’s dressed as the Statue of Liberty flying over the Earth like a Cirque Du Soleil extra, warbling like her life depends on it. PJ Harvey would download it. A contender. Would be terrific to see it win, if only to make everyone schlep to Sydney next year.

The final refrain of the night…

…served up by Spain’s Miki. The production on this thing is a tad bonkers. No wonder it’s been left until last. It’ll take all night to clear the stage. The scene is an ambitiously back-projected Brady Bunch house in which our hero pops up to spread his unique blend of finest quality pop. It’s bloody infectious and being the last song is bound to stay in your addled brainbox until bedtime. It’s got a terrific chance of winning this whole ball of wax…

Emily Thornberry tunes in….

Labour’s Shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, took to Twitter to say she has joined the Eurovision party….

….Unfortunately, many of her followers weren’t so impressed.

Of the 495 replies, many were simply anti-Israel slogans including ‘Apartheid’, ‘boycott’ and ‘free Palestine’.

That’s flown by!

What a malarky!

Separating the wheat from the chaff will be a continuing challenge for our juries. In the meantime, we’ve only got bleedin’

Mad-bleeding-donna in just t-minus 30 mins!

Madonna is set to perform Like A Prayer at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, later this month

Good luck Michael Rice!

If you missed the British entry for Eurovision in Tel Aviv, catch it again here!

Earlier this week, pupils at King David Primary School in Liverpool, Sinai Jewish Primary School, Naima Jewish Preparatory School nursery and Clore Tikva School wished him all the best.

Watch to them sing classic Eurovision songs and give their support to Michael here:

Remember when Jordan done Eurovision…

We’ve got a few minutes to kill before Madonna, so…

Katie Price’s stab at winning the 2005 Song For Europe…

 

Bardo baby!

Bardo’s One Step Closer in 1982, the year after the Fizz triumphed…

Ruffelle reunion…

…And the frankly exquisite Frances Ruffelle (Eliza Doolittle’s mum) whose showstopper Lonely Simphony finished 10th for the UK back in 1994…

Here’s how to vote!

If you’re watching in the UK, you CANNOT vote for the British entry…

In order to vote, you can do so from a landline on 09015 22 52 + the extension of the entry you want to win. Or from a mobile, call 6 22 52 + the extension of the entry you want to win.

You may have already made up your mind… but Israel’s entry is number 14! 

Spain wins the Eurovision Song Contest!

I’ve crunch the numbers harnessing a second-hand flux capacitor, optimal approximation theory and my O’level maths. Here’s my top five. Almost unentirely based on the music.

1 Spain

2 Holland

3 Australia

4 Estonia

5 Czech Republic

Madonna to come, then voting!

Who’ll be the first jury spokesperson to sing their country’s points?

Gal Gadot’s three minute tour of Tel Aviv…

Coming up after this frankly gorgeous Hallelujah walk down memory lane, Wonder Woman Gal Gadot’s three minute tour of Israel’s greatest city…

Conchita Wurst performs – but not for the first time in Israel!

Previous winner of Eurovision Conchita Wurst performed at this year’s Eurovision in Tel Aviv!

It’s not however her first time in the Jewish state!

She attended the Tel Aviv Pride festival in 2015, and loved it!

Patchy Madge!

“Everyone here is from all over the world. From countries I have been privileged to visit. And the thing that brings us all here tonight is music. So let’s not underestimate the power of music to bring us together. Music makes the people come together!

Mental moments to come…

Lior Suchard, a good Uri Geller,  is considered to be the world’s greatest mentalist. He’s about to deliver a mind blowing show to kill a bit of time before the voting…
Please note, I will not be blogging during Madonna’s performance out of respect for a legend…

Madonna in moments…

with or without the Moshe Dayan eye-patch, it’s bound to be epic. She’s got a 50-strong choir lined up for Like A Prayer, followed up by a tune from her new album…

Madonna speaking at Aretha Frankling’s memorial

The votes are in…

Time for Eurovision’s unique contribution to continental discourse.

There are 67 stages of voting. 67!

First all 41 countries who took part in the semi finals and tonight’s final will deliver the verdict of their expert panels. Then the public votes of the 26 finalist will be added, leaving us with an overall winner.

BTW, Cyprus won this afternoon’s dress rehearsal and are heavily fancied tonight.,

We start with last year’s host country Portugal…

There’s something about the former Yugoslavian Republic of North Macedonia

Also, slogan t-shirts seem big with the juries this year.

Bless you Belarus!

Israel is currently third bottom with 12 points – entirely courtesy of Belarus. Kobi Marimi’s pop opera hasn’t taken Europe by storm.

The UK is fairing even worse, on 11 points.

After the jury votes are counted, it’s all down to the public vote, which will decide the winner…

The Netherlands wins Eurovision in Israel – UK last

Arcade by Duncan Laurence wins the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, on a night of disappointment for host country Israel that finished fourth bottom and the UK, finishing rock bottom.

Top 5:

1 Netherlands 492 points

2 Italy 465 points

3 Russia 369 points

4 Switzerland 360 points

5 Norway 338

  • Israel 47 points (23rd)
  • UK 26 points (26th)
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Bless you Belarus!

Israel is currently third bottom with 12 points – entirely courtesy of Belarus. Kobi Marimi’s pop opera hasn’t taken Europe by storm.

The UK is fairing even worse, on 11 points.

After the jury votes are counted, it’s all down to the public vote, which will decide the winner…