Sometimes the biggest winners aren’t the ones who win, but the ones who exceed expectations. Few of our readers could honestly say they thought Hungary’s ByeAlex would crack the Top 10. And even fewer would have said that Belgium’s Roberto Bellarosa could finish in 12th position in the grand final. But the biggest surprise didn’t come from those over-achievers. After counting 1,934 votes, we’re pleased to announce that Malta’s Gianluca Bezzina has won the Raphael Gualazzi Award for being this year’s biggest—and best—surprise.
On the eve of the final the bookies had Gianluca down in 17th position on their oddstables. He ended up finishing eighth with his feel-good number “Tomorrow”. When the EBU revealed the semi-final results following the final, we learned that the singing doctor had also placed fifth in his semi—and placed first with the professional jury. Not bad for someone who admits to being painfully shy. In these tough times Europe seemed to respond to this number, which brought a healthy dose of Maltese sunshine to ESC.
This award honours Italy’s 2011 Eurovision contestant Raphael Gualazzi. Two years ago we nearly wet our pants in Düsseldorf as we watched nation after nation award their points to the scruffy jazz singer . In the days leading up to the Eurovision final the bookies had him down at 150:1 to win—that put him down in 22nd place on their oddstable. But much to our surprise, he wowed the jury and televoters to a second place finish.
This award is just one of a dozen awards we have launched as part of the inaugural Valentina Monetta Awards. Our 12 categories—from best dressed to most most wronged at ESC—identify the contestants who left the biggest impression on Eurovision fans, regardless of whether they won the contest or not. The nine categories decided by the public are now closed. But in the coming days the jury will reveal the winners of three jury prizes decided by members of Team Wiwi who were on the ground in Malmö.
Photo: Dennis Stachel (EBU)