Tel Aviv 2019

  64º Eurovision Song Contest
 Arcade (Duncan Laurence) - The Netherlands

Highlight of the Evening:
Switch Song (Conchita Wurst, Måns Zelmerlöw, Eleni Foureira, Verka Serduchka and Gali Atari)

The 64th Eurovision Song Contest was held at the Tel Aviv Convention Center, capital of Israel or not depending who you are talking to, on May 14, 16 and 18, 2019 after the victory in 2018 of the song "Toy" performed by Netta. This was the third time that Israel hosted the festival after the 1979 and 1999 editions organized in Jerusalem. In spite of its victory in house in 1979, Israel declined to organize the edition in 1980 that took place in Holland in the end. The venue of the festival had a capacity for 10,000 people, exceeding the minimum required by the EBU which is 8,000, but much lower than that of the venues where the event took place in the last decade.

The Netherlands was the winner after one of the most tight and exciting votes in many years leaving Italy in second place by a difference of only 27 points. In this way The Netherlands returned to win Eurovision after 44 years, his last triumph had been in Stockholm in 1975 with the song Dinge-Dong of Teach-In, and added his fifth victory joining the group of France, Luxembourg and United Kingdom who had won the contest on the same number of occasions, surpassed only by Sweden with six wins and Ireland with seven.

After the political peace of the Portuguese edition in 2018 the designation of Israel as host in 2019 was not exempt from controversy. And this was stoked when the Israeli prime minister said that the event would be held in Jerusalem. Many countries disagreed with this election and threatened a boycott concerned about the possible complications with the observation of Shabbat by ultra-Orthodox Jews and the delicate situation and fragile security of the Holy City. Portugal and Austria came to offer themselves as possible organizers in case of lack of agreement. And the agreement was not easy and it took time to reach it, negotiations between the EBU, the government of Israel and the Israeli television channel Kan that was to organize the event were plagued by tensions and threats. Finally on September 13, 2018 the EBU announced that Tel Aviv would host the event with the participation of 42 countries and the absence of Bulgaria. However, in February 2019, Ukraine announced that it would not participate after a series of controversies in its national team, which reduced the final number of participants to 41.

The Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Italy and Switzerland were among the favorites to win the contest even before the two semifinals. The first of them with clear advantage over the others in all the betting houses. The sad truth is that probably none of them would have achieved much more than an intermediate place in the classification in previous editions, but this one in Israel has had one of the worst musical levels in a long time. Almost everything presented was vulgar, with many singers lacking tuning and voice and many with more than questionable choreography. Really, at times, it seemed more like we were watching an edition of Got Talen instead of the final of the most famous musical contest in the world. So the winner may well be said that it is not so much for its own merits as for the demerit of all others.

After weeks of rumors, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) officially confirmed just a few minutes before the second semifinal that Madonna would participate in the grand final. The confirmation of his performance was delayed several days because, according to the EBU, although the economic agreement between Madonna and billionaire Jewish philanthropist Sylvan Adams who paid her high price ticket was already closed, the contract with the organization of the contest was still pending. Without this contract, the EBU would not have allowed the diva's performance since the EBU is the sole and exclusive owner of all rights for the broadcasting and commercialization of everything that happens in the event.

Finally, the American singer played two songs during her performance. One was her great success from 1989, "Like a prayer", which she sang accompanied by 35 backup singers and the other one, the song "Future" from the album Madame X, scheduled to be released on June 14, 2019, which she performed alongside American rapper Quavo and that the eurofans could enjoy exclusively one month before its premiere. However, pop queen Madonna was blasted for being "out of tune" during her incredibly controversial performance on Eurovision (including a Palestinian flag on the back of one dancer) and her much-anticipated appearance, which had not been seen by commentators, was met with bemusement as she failed to hit the right note.

So, with Madonna's permission, it has to be said that the best of the evening and, perhaps one of the most emotional moments and a highlight already in the history of the contest was the Mix and Switch Song game played by five Eurovision icons: Conchita Wurst, Mans Zelmerlöw, Eleni Foureira, Verka Serduchka and Gali Atari, performing five covers of Eurovision famous songs. It definitely was a touching and very exciting Eurovision moment that will undoubtedly be part of the history of the contest.

I would have loved to see you all in Rotterdam in 2020 but...