The highest-ranked entry in the Eurovision 2011 betting market I have yet to deal with in this set of articles is the Bosnian song, currently just over 15-1 on Betfair and seventh in the pecking order with High Street bookmakers.
‘Love In Rewind’ is sung by Dino Merlin, a veteran of the music scene in the Balkans. He wrote the first national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He has also done Eurovision before, singing ‘Putnici’ with Beatrice in 1999 for a seventh place finish.
Are bookmakers correct in thinking that he will repeat that feat?
‘Love in Rewind’ is a bouncy midtempo number sung mainly in English with ethnic elements. It starts very strongly with a good introduction and an excellent first verse that is full of promise.
There are plenty of hooks in the chorus too, including the main refrain, and moments when listening to the song that suggest this is a contender in an open year.
Bosnia is not without allies and Merlin’s fame in that part of the world should mean plenty of points from neighbours and diaspora.
For example, the likes of Slovenia, Macedonia and Austria should help ensure ‘Love In Rewind’ qualifies with ease from the number one spot in the second semi-final.
Once in the final, however, it may need a good draw to make a universal impact beyond its friends and neighbours.
What we saw at the official unveiling of the song on Bosnian TV gives us our best clue as to what to expect in May, and I had a few problems with it.
First of all, the song tends to meander in the final third, and somehow becomes less than the sum of its parts as a result.
But that could be thanks to the rather over-the-top staging, with Merlin dancing around like the embarrassing Uncle at a family wedding in a completely off-putting routine. A repeat of that in Dusseldorf will damage his chances.
The whole effect is old-fashioned, and whilst that didn’t hinder ‘Fairytale’, it’s not half as cute or memorable as that. However, without a stand-out entry in 2011, it may not have to be.
Perhaps it’s a combination of these things that mean I yet to be convinced that this song will appeal beyond its natural constituency in the Balkans.
A toned down performance in Dusseldorf may help to overcome this, and as I’m fond of saying, rehearsals in early May will tell us so much more.
I’m certainly not going to write off ‘Love In Rewind’ at this stage. Plenty of commentators have it in with a good shout, I just happen to remain on the fence for now.