Czech entry comes in sixth at Eurovision

Mikolas Josef had the best result ever for the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic can finally hold its head high in the Eurovision Song Contest, after finally making it into the top 10 and almost cracking the top five.

Mikolas Josef scored 281 points from viewers and judges across Europe and other participating countries with his funky dance song “Lie to Me.” This was good enough for sixth place out of the 26 finalists.

People voting over phone or the internet cannot vote for their own country. The winner of each country's vote gets a maximum of 12 points, and then the next nine most popular acts get between 10 and one point. Austria and Israel gave the Czech entry the maximum 12 points, while Ukraine, San Marino and Iceland gave 10 points each. In total, 215 points came from televoting and 66 points came from juries.

The winner, Israeli entry Netta with the pop song “Toy,” had 529 points. The host country Portugal, which was automatically given a spot in the finals without having to compete in the semis, was last in the finals with 39 points. Some 43 countries entered the contest, but 17 were eliminated before the final round.

Mikolas Josef's “Lie to Me” was only the second Czech entry to even make it into the finals, after Gabriela Gunčíková came in next to last in 2016 with “I Stand.” In 2007–09 and 2015 and '17, the country failed in the semifinals. The country did not compete in the 2010–14 contests due to lack of interest.

Plzeň-born pop singer Karel Gott sang in the 1968 edition of Eurovision. He represented Austria, though. His song “Tausend Fenster” came in 13th out of 17 countries. Scoring was under a different system.

The Eurovision Song Contest started in 1956, but, with the exception of Yugoslavia, Eastern bloc countries did not participate until after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Josef had to scale back the choreography of his song due to a back injury during rehearsal. He did, however, do a backflip at the end of his performance. Doctors had advised against this, but after making it into the finals he promised to try if he had recovered sufficiently.

As in the semifinals, he performed with two break dancers and wore a schoolboy outfit with a leather knapsack.

The song caused a bit of a splash on the internet, mostly for its lyrics. Buzzfeed pointed out lines like “Set my camel in the mood” and “all you greedies wanna eat my spaghetti,” The bizarre lyrics did not go unnoticed on Twitter either, but he also got praise for his costume and doing the backflip. Other people pointed out the similarity of his looks and costume to other celebrities such as Taron Egerton of the Kingman films.

Another surprise of the evening was the high showing for Austria. Cesár Sampson came in third place with the song “Nobody But You.” He has been performing since he was a teenager and recently has been concentrating more on songwriting and producing. Austria won twice, in 1966 and 201, and holds the record for longest gap between wins.

On the other hand, Australia, which had been expected to do well, came in 20th. Australia has been in Eurovision since 2015. France, which does not have to compete in the semis, did worse than expected also, coming in only at 13.

The theme this year was “All Aboard.” All of the participants made a short film showing them exiting from a magic doorway into some part of Portugal and participating in the culture. Mikolas Josef's film showed him wandering into a traditional masked celebration and wearing one of the costumes.

Overall, the evening was not uneventful. A publicity seeker ran on stage and took the microphone from UK entry SuRie during her performance of the song “Storm.” SuRie was offered the chance to do the whole song over but declined as she had made a good recovery from the event once she got a new mic.

The publicity seeker, who shouted an unclear message about censorship, had tried similar stunts at other high-profile events. In the end, SuRie came in 24th place.

The organizers of Eurovision said they regretted the incident and the person had been turned over to the Portuguese police.

The next edition of Eurovision should take place in Israel, the home of this year's winning entry. Israel first participated in the contest in 1973. It won in 1978, 1979 and 1998. Dana International, who won in 1998, was the first trans winner. She used the opportunity to advocate for trans rights in Israel.

Related articles:
Czech singer Mikolas Josef makes Eurovision final | Prague TV 09.05.2018
Czech Eurovision entry announced | Prague.TV 31.01.2018

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