Eurovision Betting Analysis: Can Kati Wolf’s Dreams come true for Hungary?

A springer in the market over the last few weeks has been the Hungarian entry, ‘What About My Dreams’ sung by Kati Wolf.

Since being revealed as the country’s internal selection, it has been at or near the top of internet opinion polls organised by Eurovision fans. This had helped its price tumble to around 22-1 on Betfair, ninth in the pecking order.

But do these polls accurately reflect the song’s chances in the contest?

This is a type of song that appeals to Eurovision fans: it’s your classic dancefloor stomper with a message of defiance – watch the official video here. The verse builds nicely into a melodic and catchy chorus. Performed well, this could capture the imagination of televoters.

Compared to other upbeat fancies, the lyrics are more palatable than Eric Saade’s ‘Popular’ for Sweden, the tune is more palatable in its conventionality than Getter Jani’s ‘Rockefeller Street’ for Estonia, and the overall package is less niche than Stella Mwangi’s ‘Haba Haba’ for Norway.

What is more, it has a good draw in the first semi, coming at number 14 in the middle of an otherwise weak run of songs, sandwiched between Iceland and Portugal.

But ‘What About My Dreams’ has flaws of its own. The decision to keep the second verse in Hungarian and sing the rest in English is a bad one.

Generally speaking, most but not all songs benefit from being wholly in English. Mixing the languages runs the danger of people not realising the switch, becoming confused, and wondering why they can’t understand the lyrics anymore, especially if the English diction is not perfect in the first place.

In bringing down the original longer version to just three minutes, they’ve also done something uncoventional with the song structure. What qualifies for the bridge – the change of pace and/or melody that usually comes after the second chorus and before the finale, is now after the first chorus instead.

So whilst the disco-hands-in-the-air final minute is the song’s strong point, the listener has been slightly messed around before getting there.

During this too-early bridge, Wolf gasps and ‘ooohhs’ her way through the beat. This doesn’t always work live on stage, especially if the singer’s vocal abilities are not strong in the first place.

Which brings me to my main fear for ‘What About My Dreams’. It’s not an easy number to sing live (especially if you’re trying some dance moves too) and what I’ve seen of Kati Wolf on YouTube does not convince me that she can manage it.

Flu was given as an excuse for a terrible rendition of the song at the press conference announcing her selection, admittedly in a cramped and unsuitable room.

I’d like to know what the excuse is for this performance of ‘When Love Takes Over’ on Hungary’s version of X-Factor, in which she could manage only sixth place.

On this evidence, she has difficulty sustaining longer notes and she can’t effectively modulate between consecutive low and high notes – something that ‘What About My Dreams’ particularly requires.

Now of course, backing singers can help out here, but if she looks as uncomfortable as she did then on the Eurovision stage, we could get a repeat of what happened to Hungary’s previous entry, back in 2009.

That was Zoli Adok’s ‘Dance With Me’. In its studio version a catchy disco number, live it was a meeting of weak vocals, bad choreography and terrible clothing, creating a car crash that failed to qualify from the semi-final.

Fan favourites can and do fail every year for reasons such as this – Kate Ryan’s ‘Je t’adore’ for Belgium in 2006 springs to mind.

Those who have been supporting or backing Kati Wolf better hope that the news from the rehearsal blogs is positive, because there is the potential for ‘What About My Dreams’ to turn into a nightmare when live on stage.

Which would be a shame if it did happen, as it’s the kind of tune that livens up the contest. Just keep your fingers crossed and your powder dry until the rehearsal reports start coming in.

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31 comments to Eurovision Betting Analysis: Can Kati Wolf’s Dreams come true for Hungary?

  • Justin

    Good call Daniel. This is a stonker of a dance track but on the face of it a tricky one to perform live even for the most talented vocalist. On the evidence of utube Kati is really going to have to pull out something very special to avoid disaster on the night(s). In the rather unlikely event that she can pull it off and with a good draw I can see televoters going for this in a big way but interested to hear how you think the juries will judge it?

    • Daniel

      Hi Justin, I don’t know if you saw my recent article analysing what data we have from the jury votes over the last two years. It really is down to performance. If she nails it, and televoters like it, I see no reason why juries shouldn’t, even if it’s not a ballad of the kind they have seemed to favour so far.

  • Martin F.

    As well as her vocal performance, there’s the question of how they present it visually – one of the reasons Kate Ryan failed is because they threw the kitchen sink at it, when a simpler presentation would have sufficed. Considering how well-favoured Hungary is in the “to qualify” markets, this is definitely one where I’m holding off until the first rehearsals.

  • Daniel

    Indeed Martin, all those little flicks that Kate felt the need to include, not to mention the greater importance she attached to showing off her legs rather than a smiling face. And the best moment has to be at 2.13-2.20 on the video, as the dancers shuffle along the floor to present her with those long, neon microphones to sing from…when she already has a microphone in hand. Priceless.

  • Shai

    I have a question:
    Let say I won’t to bet on a country which I think won’t qualify, though a lot think this country will qualify.How do I do that?

    • Andrew

      Hi Shai, in such an instance you would want to “lay” the country on a betting exchange such as Betfair – in effect, you would be accepting the bets of other punters who are betting that the country will qualify, so that if the country fails to qualify, they lose their bets and you keep their money (minus the exchange’s commission). There’s more about how betting exchanges work here.

  • Shai

    Hi Andrew,

    thanks for your quick reply. At this moment the bet offers on betfair are winner or loser, there are no specific bet for those you u think qualify or not.

  • Sándor

    Daniel

    please hear these live, unplugged, performances by Kati..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Wz4Yq-S98U

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_2sDSaC_Ps

    Do you still hold your opinion about her skill? (about singing)

    Sándor (Hun)

    • Daniel

      Hi Sandor, thanks for your response and welcome to Sofabet. I remain unconvinced about her ability to sing ‘What About My Dreams’ at Eurovision based on these clips. She is better here than on ‘When Love Takes Over’, although I am not that impressed.

      What this suggests is that Kati is more suited to stripped-down slow songs, rather than belting out a disco stomper as she dances around a larger stage. I hope I am proved wrong, but we will know one way or another on May 10th.

  • Sándor

    You are right, I understand you. Here are a lot of good or either better singer than Kati in Hungary… It’snt secret. But she has got a special nice tone what pry her ouf of the others.. and as you know, this competition is not for the singer rather for the song. I guess…

    Have a nice day, S.

  • Steo

    I was thinking of putting a huge bet on hungary to win the show outright.

    your post about hungary hasnt encourged me that much and im having second thoughts

    do you think hungary have no chance of winning the show and is been over rated in various polls

    btw daniel who do you think will go onto win the show or is it to early to say ?

    ive only recently come across your blog and you seem to give good advice about various tv shows

    i regret not finding before the x factor came on as i did rebecca ferguson to win for weeks and weeks and to come 2nd was really harsh as i thought she was the best out of all of them but u sounded pretty sure that matt was going win.

  • Daniel

    Hi Steo, my personal opinion is that you should wait until we see how well ‘What About My Dreams’ is being performed in rehearsals. I don’t think the price will change much in the meantime, and if that is the case there’s no need to place your huge bet now. Clearly it’s very popular among fans, hence its position in the polls, but this bears little resemblance to what happens in the event itself.

    In an open year, I find it is too early to say who I think will win. We need to see how well the songs are performed on stage, especially the unknown quantities such as Azerbaijan. The draw will also play an important part, and we won’t know the full running order for the final until after the second semi-final.

  • fiveleaves

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0_Hd5YaHBo&feature=player_embedded

    All her XF performances in one video.

    Her audition is very decent as is her judges house performnce.
    It’s downhill from there though.
    She also appears to get progressively older looking and her nose becomes more and more prominent

    I suspect there will be plenty of disappointed fans of the song when they hear the live version on the night.

  • Sándor

    Daniel, Do you think the final position will be decided at just the show?! i dont think so.. I guess, the voters will be decided before the show… everyone will vote for their own favourite who heard long before… the live performance of the song will be add one to five percent plus or minus in the voters view, but no more.. they will appraise the song at all, not only the singer in the live performance…

    fiveleaves, did you understand anything of that video what you linekd here?! i dont think so.. therefore you have false conception and opinion about her.. you have known so little about her, i guess…

    Sándor (Hun)

  • Daniel

    Hi Sandor, I actually think the vast majority of the TV audience have not heard the songs before, so they will make up their minds during the live show, the performance during which remains the most crucial factor.

  • fiveleaves

    Hi Sandor,
    I understood enough to hear she isn’t a very good singer of powerful uptempo songs.

    As for her appearance, I apologise as that was rather uncalled for. I do believe though that the stylists on these shows often do the contestants no favours.
    She struck me as a much more attractive woman before they got their hands on her.

    As for when most voters decide. I’d agree with Daniel. Most will decide on the night and even if you have a favourite before the show if they sing poorly on the night then people may switch to another song.

  • fiveleaves

    I’d just add finally. Based purely on the recorded version it’s the best song in the contest.
    It’s a live show though and a very difficult song to reproduce live. I’ve not heard anything to suggest Kati is capable of doing so.

  • Sándor

    Should we delegate to the show Takács Nicolas instead of Kati?! 🙂 hmmm. maybe…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzwCVd5LEVU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fELGWiMYNHo&playnext=1&list=PLCD8E39E91DC5BDE7

    but without joking.. he hasnt got new song… therefore he will be stayed here.. also Kati is good singer, she has good enough for the show..

    fivel, i heard Kati many times in live… i geuss, you didnt.. i heard some uptempo song by her while she has dancing, without any mistake….. She has sung for many many years in some local teams.. she sings also jazz.
    I guess, the jazz is very hard and high style in the music..

    But im observant of your opinions… we will see..

  • justin

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vYjLWL1Dd0

    Looks like Kati has been getting some practice but I think she has got a long way to go.

  • fiveleaves

    She needs a new vocal coach 🙂

  • justin

    Its a shame as this is a cracking dance track. From what I’ve seen of Kati singing live I am concerned about her making the final. There are at least 6 big block vote countries in her semi plus very respectable entries from Poland, Finland and Norway. Not much room for a karoake performance on the night.

  • David

    Let’s just say that’s not good enough… most likely, we have this year’s failing fan favourite (possibly together with Sweden).

  • jiannis

    ..nahhh..a pop uninteresting song,while wolf is also uninteresting ..one of those big traps with leaves on…avoid…a favorite??? huh not 4 me thanks…

  • Daniel

    A shout out to Roger from the ESCNation messageboard, who has done an alternative edit to the Hungarian song that puts the bridge where it should be – after the second verse – and gives us the latter segment in English too. This is NOT the version you will hear in Dusseldorf, but you can listen to it here:

  • Sándor

    cannt she sing?! 🙂 Sure?! 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfSTorbmrxQ&feature=player_embedded#at=102

    Kati Wolf’s first rehearsal .. 🙂

    Sándor (H)

    • Daniel

      Today’s article is coming soon, but what you have to bear in mind when watching the Eurovision.tv impressions is that they take the best parts from each run-through and put them together – it is not a single take from one run-through. The worst moments are left on the cutting room floor. This is the best of Kati Wolf today, with none of the worst bits included.

  • Rob

    Be interesting to see what Dan makes of it Sandor but I tend to agree with you – thought her vocal was more than adequate on this first rehearsal. I think where the Hungarian delegation need to work more is making the staging more dynamic behind Kati, and a lot more in synch. Kati cannot be expected to dance around singing this difficult song so they need to work out a way of making the staging more exciting visually among her backing crew. The backing singers also need to work harder at the end of the song in achieving that epic chorus.

  • Rob

    I was assessing the esctoday feed which is one take only – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMk-vMbsV-8&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL – and thought she sang it well but the staging needs a lot of work imho.

  • Sándor

    Rob, I agree with you. The choreography and a backround vocal is very weak and shit at the first rehearsal. its need more correction.. it hasnt given back the feeling of the videoclip. the rules of the eurovision dont allow above 6 people on the stage, therefore we wont see huge disco feeling, as we have excepted. i hope the performance will be better at the night..

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