Eurovision 2012: Where do you stand on Spain’s ‘Quedate Conmigo’?

“East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet.” Back in 1892, Rudyard Kipling probably didn’t realise that he was summing up reactions on this forum to Spain’s 2012 Eurovision entry, ‘Quedate Conmigo’ by Pastora Soler which has divided opinion starkly among commenters. See her perform the song live here.

In the Spanish red (and yellow) corner, we have fiveleaves, who explained, “It’s in a different league to previous female ballads to my ears.” Tim B is in full support, stating, “The performance itself is extremely powerful and emotional.” In the aptly blue corner, I said, “She’s much better than this very dated Eurovision-y ballad,” and went on to explain why in terms that annoyed some of our Spanish readers. Panos, however, agreed with my opinion.

Since then it has at least been given a nice draw in the final at 19 of 26, and has remained steady to back at around 25 in the Betfair win market. I’m not expecting to change too many minds on this one, given that I have already made my views clear, but the best I can do is compare it to other recent Eurovision female ballads and see if that could help east meet west in any way.

The gold standard of recent female ballads has to be Yohanna’s ‘Is It True’ in 2009, which overcame Iceland’s geographical isolation to beat all bar Rybak. The benefit of hindsight and watching the performance again helps us explain its success. We have a pretty girl, singing a contemporary, radio-friendly tune in English. The presentation was brilliant, from the effective use of instrumentation on stage (remember my theory that juries fall for this kind of thing – Iceland was ultimately second with this constituency), to the flying dolphin in the background.

As more of a slow-build power ballad, ‘Quedate Conmigo’ is a different kettle of fish altogether. But it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s not as contemporary nor as radio-friendly, and of course it isn’t in English either.

A more dramatic female ballad that did even better than Yohanna was Serbia’s Marija Serifovic who won in 2007 with ‘Molitva’. This at least, like ‘Quedate Conmigo’, was a more dramatic number that was in its native language. But its vibe was one that was always going to appeal to plentiful regional and diaspora support. Spain just doesn’t have that to rely on, and nor can the song.

I think it’s more hopeful for supporters of Spain’s song that fifth in Yohanna’s year was the UK’s Jade Ewen with ‘My Time’, which was far less contemporary or radio-friendly than ‘Is It True’. As I’ve already stated, that wasn’t my cup of tea either, but the juries gave it a bronze against 24 rivals. Once again, a mixture of solo female balladeer and on-stage instrumentation (not to mention Andrew Lloyd Webber) helped with the judging panels.

It has been reported that Soler will have five singers join her on stage in Baku, so there won’t be any instruments, but she does have a better voice than Ewen and shows it with a killer note.

But even the UK’s result here wasn’t that impressive with televoters. Ewen had in many ways a perfect draw, 23 of 25, surrounded by the upbeat nonsense of Ukraine, Romania, Finland and Spain among the final five. Yet she could still only manage tenth with the European public. Soler will sing from 19 of 26, with a more contemporary ballad following hers from Germany’s Roman Lob.

Incidentally, it still seems strange that having won the right to choose, the Spanish head of delegation decided on a slot so relatively early. The line was that it mirrored the winning position from last year (which in fact contained one less song than this year’s final), but it didn’t smack of a country desperate to host the contest next year.

Panos compared ‘Quedate Conmigo’ to, amongst others, Austria last year. I think the comparison with Nadine Beiler and ‘The Secret Is Love’ is instructive. Here we had a power ballad with a timeless or old-fashioned 80s sound (depending on where you stand). Beiler’s vocals impressed all, including myself, during rehearsals. It was drawn, like Soler, eighth last in the running order and followed by a far more contemporary slow song. The public virtually ignored it, giving it just 25 points in total, second-last in this part of the equation.

On paper, there’s no reason for televoters to pick up and vote for Soler when they didn’t for Beiler. Nadine looked the part, sang in English, and got to the point more quickly. As Gavster put it in his inimitably blunt fashion, “The Spanish singer looks constipated. That won’t look good on TV. Also the song takes ages to get going.”

Fiveleaves disagrees here, and argues that it, “hooks me in from start with the repetitive piano line”. Actually in my opinion, this year’s contest has a female solo power-ballad with an opening piano line that in general terms has far more going for it, and that comes from host country Azerbaijan’s ‘When The Music Dies’.

This example alone is enough to make me disagree with Marigold who reckons of ‘Quedate Conmigo’ that, “It is a much better ballad than any of the other ballads this year or indeed last years Austrian and Slovenian efforts.”

Still, perhaps both sides in the debate can just take solace in another Kipling quote: “If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you / But make allowance for their doubting too……you’ll be a man my son.” I’m not sure Marigold would want it put quite that way, but you get my drift.

My predictable take on this year’s Spanish entry is that not even a decent jury score may get it into the top ten. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

46 comments to Eurovision 2012: Where do you stand on Spain’s ‘Quedate Conmigo’?

  • Donald

    Agree with the logic of the post but the song did capture me on first listen and it is decent well performed song, still common sense says leave alone. Too risky a ballad for betting.(at this stage anyway although a $ note can be worth allot in a song)
    On another note while I think Sweden is a worthy favourite I cannot understand why France is so unconsidered. It is a real grower of a dance track. Will it take votes from Sweden in a months time?
    All momentum seems to be with Sweden and Russia but long way to go yet.

    Great posts and comments as always Daniel.

    • Donald, you answered your own question – a song that’s merely a “grower” has no chance to get a high televote. The vast majority of viewers won’t have seen or heard any of the songs before the night. Add to that: it’s in French, is tinny, dated and throwaway, has a comparatively early draw, and features a jarring musical shift early on. Personally I quite like it, but it’s going nowhere.

  • jj

    Hi daniel,was wondering whats you think about the announcement of svt stating they will change loreens performance drastically. Do you think it will still be as captivating and unique?

  • Tim B

    I absolutely adore the song but my opinions have changed somewhat. Personally I love the build up of the song but I can see many casual viewers being bored. I don’t think it can win and have no idea where it’s going to end up on the scoreboard. For that reason I just have to leave it completely alone.

  • tpfkar

    On the last thread you wrote how powerful the opening 40 seconds of the Romanian entry was, before descending into a bland pattern. I see the Spanish song as the opposite: the last minute is great but the first 2 are too dull – there’s too much build up and not enough punchline. I also think Gavster’s on to something – there’s just something slightly awkward about Soler on stage, although I can’t nail down exactly what it is.

    So when do voters make up their minds? If all the theories about it being early in the song are true, then Spain won’t be dealt any favours. I can see top 10, but not sure I can see this on the podium.

    • Ballads in Eurovision always have a slow build up. So that’s basically not a good explanation at all. Iceland 2009, Serbia 2007, to name a few, have no ‘Romanian kick-off’ duh.

      So you need to look to other aspects that make ballads score quite well in the past years. And I think it’s an audiovisual resting point that makes both televoters and jury’s sit down and relax in a concentrated way, hearing and watching this song go by, but certainly not unnoticed.

      • Call it a ‘reverse impact’ compared to songs like Romania. Ballads can have a big impact, but it’s a different kind of impact, it results in different kind of emotions.

        • tpfkar

          That’s certainly true when it’s done well, I’d highlight the Slovenian entry (as well as the Serbian one) as drawing you into the buildup, with increasing anticipation before delivering a big emotional finale the way you describe.

          But I’m not sure the Spanish song achieves this. It’s like 2 minutes in 2nd gear then a minute in 5th for me. I’m not drawn into the song the same way, so don’t feel the final part the way its fans clearly do.

          • That’s good analysis. I like the Spanish song a lot (don’t think it’s a winner though) but you make a really good point about how Verjamem and a number of previous ex-Yu ballads draw in the viewer/listener with tension and anticipation, via an understated, almost ominous buildup.

  • Let’s take the official results for granted when judging ballads, so that is the 50%/50% mixture of jury’s and televoters. And not by all means the 100% televoting results.

    To be honest Daniel, I think you underestimate the impact ballads can have. You can judge Pastora’s ballad rather ‘plastic’ and without any emotion.

    But especially with ballads, you have to take in account the emotions a song can bring to you. With happy songs, like Romania, it usually gets you off the chair, makes you happy and makes you shake your bootie to a lesser extent. They are true potential hit songs.

    In the case of ballads it’s a different kind of emotion: Both televoters and jury’s need to be dragged in the total package, gasping while seeing and hearing Pastora belting out and especially getting goosebumps from it.

    That’s what’s behind the success of certain ballads in recent Eurovision history. And then it doesn’t matter that much of the song itself is slightly outdated. A song being outdated is such a relative thing.

    France 2001, United Kingdom 2002, Cyprus 2004, Malta 2005, Israël 2005, Serbia 2007, Norway 2008, Iceland 2009, United Kingdom 2009, France 2009, Belgium 2010, Georgia 2010, Azerbeidzjan 2010, Ukraine 2011: They all were ballads more or less and all these songs would never had any radioplay outside Eurovision. All ballads will never become hits BECAUSE they are ballads and ballads themselves are always outdated to a certain extent, as they remind us of the good-old-Eurovision-songs. And then it doesn’t matter when a song sounds outdated.

    That’s what’s the case with Spain this year. It’s a matter of taste off course, but I just-can’t-see Spain outside the TOP 10 of the final this year. It’s Pastora herself who brings, IMO, a much more modern, slow-tempo ballad to great heights.

    One last thing, you just mentioned Austria 2011 and UK 2009. I still think Austria had a disastrous draw. Yes, draw also counts for ballads, for every kind of song IMO. But coming up right before Azerbeidzjan made Austria’s chances among televoters kill completely.

    UK 2009 had a near-perfect draw picking up just 10th among televoters if I’m not mistaken and a beautiful 4th place among jury’s. You see, here it worked. Would Austria have performed from UK 2009’s spot, then things would have been different.

    I think the only big danger for Spain could be Roman Lob from Germany coming right after her. But still, Spain 2012 is by no means an outdated ballad like Austria 2011.

    Let me make a rough prediction:
    Germany: 5th among televoters, 1st among jury’s.
    Spain: 10th among televoters, 4th among jury’s.

    See here a repeat of Iceland 2009 and UK 2009 result.

    • And please Daniel? I’m dying to do a bet with you on this one ;-). Are you in? €50,- for Spain ending up in the TOP 10 ;-)?

    • I agree with a number of your points, Gert, but it’s worth pointing out that most of the ESC ballads from the past decade you list by way of example were in English. The language will, unfortunately for music lovers but fortunately for punters, be a major factor in hampering Spain’s chances this year. Azerbaijan has a very similar song that’s stronger, more contemporary, in English and with more voting partners, although it is earlier in the draw.

      One point I can’t agree with you on is that Austria would have done better last year if it had been drawn in the same position the UK was in 2009. While neither country has many voting allies, the songs are fundamentally different. It’s My Time was deliberately written by ALW with the contest in mind to make it as accessible as possible – musically and structurally simple, repetitive and chorus-focused, very direct and with built-in dynamics. He used his musical theatre expertise to write a simple song with a low “entrance barrier” and as broad an appeal as possible. By comparison, The Secret Is Love is a more inaccessible, less direct, more abstract and musically sophisticated affair, and the stage presentation was also less accessible. Jade was West End whereas Nadine was almost jazz club, and the difference in audience response was proportionate.

  • Rob

    Hi Daniel, I’ve been expecting this damning appraisal of the Spanish song. In the spirit of your Kipling quote, I’d like to steal from Oscar Wilde:
    To write off one EntertainmentOdds selection (Iceland) may be regarded as a misfortune… to write off two (Spain) looks like carelessness’ 🙂
    For me, on first hearing any ESC song, it is about the visceral response I have to it. My initial betting interest in ESC songs comes down purely to what impacts me in a positive way combined with value. Other factors come into it further down the line.
    When I first heard this Spanish song I was blown away by it. I found it to have an authentic emotional gravitas that is invariably lacking in solo female power ballads, largely because they usually come across as trying to fabricate the emotion, and horribly overblown, in a Syco cover version, Leona Lewis-type way. In fact, I would put Jade Ewen’s ‘My Time’ firmly in that camp – that was a completely run-of-the-mill, solo female ballad by numbers, more suited to the West End stage. It didn’t move me. It didn’t interest me, and Jade’s vocal was no more than competent – though that is quite something for a UK entry! It took part in an ESC when I wasn’t paying serious attention to the competition as a trading vehicle the way I do now, but 5th seemed to be a very flattering result.
    So I would vehemently disagree with your comparison between this Spanish song and that ALW-penned dirge. Which must mean better than 5th place for Spain this year is a shoe-in!! 🙂
    I’ve been encouraged, and surprised, at the reception the Spanish song has been receiving on the ESC forums. It’s not the sort of song I’d expect ‘fans’ to be raving about, so I’ll take at least a small crumb of comfort from this (ditto Iceland btw).
    I also do not get why you rate the Spanish song as old-fashioned, and not radio-friendly. What is old-fashioned about it, and why is it not radio-friendly? Lithuania last year… now that was old-fashioned, but this song? I’d happily listen to this on the radio, though I would rapidly change channels if ‘La, la love’ came on, which maybe is considered radio-friendly in your broad ESC terms…?
    I’d go as far as to say, if this was the Italy entry, they’d be nothing but gushing praise for it among ESC aficionados. There seems to be a deep-rooted, sneering attitude to Spanish songs but given its drought over so many years maybe it is Spain’s turn among the Big 5 for the juries to get behind it. That Nadine Beiler ballad was very Disney. I can’t have that comparison either. Her and Maja Keuc were too young and their performances and vocals lacked the maturity, and the connection Pastora is able to elicit performing this song. How can you not be impressed, and moved by Pastora’s out-of-the-ballpark notes during that last minute key change?
    You also say Roman Lob is more contemporary – why? Because his song was penned by Jamie Cullum? It strikes me as a Cullum cast off, and the fact he wrote it does not make it contemporary in my book. ‘Standing Still’ is an appropriate name as it stands still as a song, and sent me to sleep the first time I heard it. I found it very bland and I’ve struggled to be roused by it on further listens. I don’t see how it will steal any of Spain’s limelight. Roman’s good looks are the biggest thing in Germany’s favour imho.
    But I digress, with regards Spain I generally despise heart-felt power ballads which indicates, at least to me, how good this Spanish song must be. Also the fact it overcomes being sung in Spanish to completely reel me in is a pretty amazing feat. I am also stunned you rate the Azerbaijan song as superior and are unwilling to at least be as damning about ‘When The Music Dies’ when it is so blatantly a rip-off of Sam Brown’s 1988 hit ‘Stop’, which surely makes it incredibly old-fashioned:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muDZD3wgoHI
    I think the choice of 19 by the head of the Spanish delegation was down to pure incompetence. It certainly left me seething he did not choose 23 or higher. But I don’t think you can read a lack of desire to win the contest from that choice of 19. If they didn’t want to win, they would have chosen the 2 slot.
    I can see juries rating Spain very highly, if they have any taste, and they loved Italy last year so they cannot be implicitly trusted – cue a Gavster seethe 🙂
    Quedate Conmigo is probably the most evocative solo female ballad I’ve heard at the ESC since Alyosha’s ‘Sweet People’ in 2010, which criminally only finished 10th. And ESC televoters have disappointed me over the last couple of years in some of the selections they have failed to get behind, so maybe for Ukraine 2010 read Spain 2012.
    Ultimately, it shows how subjective music taste is, but I’d happily argue with anyone all day long that this Spanish song is an absolute gem.
    That said, Spain is bottom of the league table by way of allies so faces an uphill struggle but I, for one, sense a certain x factor in the Spanish song lacking in most others at this year’s ESC.
    It may well bomb out, as may Iceland, but if Azerbaijan finishes higher than Spain I’ll be putting that down to its voting power, not the relative merits of the 2 songs. And it’s job done already, to a certain extent, for those who took the 40s and 50s respectively, on Spain and Iceland, as advised, given what these 2 nations are now trading at on BF.

    • Boki

      Hi Rob, regardless of how I or anybody else rate Spain or Iceland, you did a good job by recommending backing both since the odds are much lower now.

    • I’d be careful about assessing a song’s chances based on your “visceral response”, Rob. My visceral response to Rybak and Lena was “hate”, while my visceral response to Sunstroke Project and Kejsi Tola was “OH MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING”. Good job I didn’t make any wagers based on those feelings…

      I disagree with you about Jade’s vocal (she was and is a superb vocal performer) but agree with you on the strength of Quedate Conmigo… it does have a degree of emotional authenticity that ballads all too often lack. I like it. But the negative points you raise about It’s My Time (it’s overblown and stagey, which of course it is) are precisely why it did so well. The broader voting public will go for direct, simple, bland and blatant over sophisticated, deep and nuanced every time. Look at how well Chiara’s cheesy, melodramatic cruise-ship power ballad did in 2005 despite an early draw, yet how poorly her more engaging, sophisticated, subtle song did in 2009. And although not ballads, the same applies to Satellite vs Taken By A Stranger and Popular vs Rockefeller Street. Hitting home with a broad pan-European public often requires an element of ditty. Also, It’s My Time was in English (and simple English at that), Quedate Conmigo obviously isn’t. It’s a fan favourite because it’s (pardon the generalisation) a gay power ballad of the type ESC fans lap up. Don’t get me wrong, the average viewer on the night will probably like it, but they won’t like it as much as they like many of the other entries that are more contemporary and in English. They won’t like it enough to pick up the phone. The only exception to this I’d make is if in terms of the staging and performance, they manage to deliver a Magdi Ruzsa moment.

      I don’t like Germany’s song (I agree it’s bland) but it is more contemporary. Young voters will go for it over Spain without a doubt. Your average teenager (and remember, the voting base is increasingly young) can relate to Roman Lob and his song much more than they can relate to a Spanish-language power ballad that’s arguably for more mature audiences. I am “impressed and moved” by Soler’s vocal performance, but I don’t think that’ll necessarily translate into votes. Personal preferences and emotions shouldn’t come into assessments of a song’s chances, otherwise you’ll lose all your dinars based on being moved by something! And as an ESC fan I’m the first to realise that my taste in music is significantly at odds with that of the average viewer.

      Regarding the draw, Federico the Spanish HOD always picks the winning number from the year before if he gets the chance – he did it last year too. HODs don’t study form and draw order the way we do. Maria the Polish HOD, who’s been doing ESC for over a decade, chose a starting position of 1 last year as that’s what Magdalena had asked her to do.

      I think Azerbaijan may do better than Spain for reasons I’ve outlined in another comment above, and I also don’t think it’s a plagiarism of Stop. Finally I’d add that La La Love is hook-laden and superbly structured and produced – if you asked David Guetta to write a Eurovision song he probably couldn’t do better.

      • fiveleaves

        That depends how much you trust your ‘visceral response’ to a song or a contestant in one of the many other shows.
        I’ve always trusted mine and altho often wayout with the likes of Moltiva (which I hated) and Haba Haba (which I really liked), over the years I’ve been right more than I’m wrong.
        I loved Lena and the song from the moment I heard it and really liked Azerbaijan from the 1st listen last year. I hated Popular tho.
        So a mixed bag, but my visceral response is always the starting point for me.

      • Rob

        I am with fiveleaves. I trust my visceral response to a song eurovicious while appreciating, as I alluded, that ESC voters can disappoint. It has to be the starting point. And that’s what is, a starting point. Like fiveleaves, I thought ‘Satellite’ screamed potential winner from the first moment I heard it. And Azerbaijan last year, again, was immediately a major contender for me based solely on visceral response. As I said, other factors come into down the line, but it’s an important starting point. ‘La, la love’ is a catchy pop tune of its ilk, I’ll grant you that. Let’s see how Ivi gets on singing it live. I personally have major doubts, and it looks a classic fan favourite teed up to disappoint. And the ESC is an equation of televote and jury vote, so if Lob gets a decent teen vote, I fancy Pastora to get a bigger jury vote.

  • Nick D

    I’m finding there’s a pleasing pattern and rhythm to my song-by-song assessments this year – over and over again I look at another song and just don’t have a clue what might happen to it in terms of a final result.

    The reason why I want to stay on the fence about Spain roughly summarises like this:

    Scenario A – 16. Finland, 17. Serbia, 18. Slovenia, 19. Spain, 20. Germany, 21. Belgium, 22. Russia… oh dear. Poor Spain. And what’s the weather like in Moscow in May?

    Scenario B – 16. Russia, 17. Ireland, 18. Austria, 19. Spain, 20. Germany, 21. Moldova… Ooh, now then. That is absolutely game on!

    In general though, I think the jurors will alight upon one or two of the ballads to get lots of jury love, with the rest tripping over each others’ feet and largely falling by the wayside. I’m not convinced at this stage that Spain will be one of the ones that wins that battle – others seem more likely.

    • Wise, I think. I can see Estonia, Bosnia and Denmark (for instance) getting more jury love than Spain – they’re more authentic and contemporary. Among the multitude of female ballads, some of which are a little too typical or unremarkable, Ott stands out as a man with a very strong ballad, and Maya and Soluna will score due to instruments being played on-stage. A little “look at me I haz a piano” goes a long way (Romania 2010, Italy 2011).

  • justin

    I agree that the song is, in its later stages, evocative and emotional.

    But it does take a long time to get there and when it does it simply repeats itself. I also agree that it is dated – it reminds me of the power ballads of the 80’s and early 90’s and I suspect that evocative and emotional sensation could be restricted to those of us in a certain generation.

    To me the Azerbaijan entry will finish well ahead of Spain overall. Its far more contemporary – compared to Christina Aguilera on other sites – and has numerous voting allies (Spain has few). Knowing Azerbaijan I suspect the staging will be spot on too.

    As for Spain, I see it, like Austria last year, well into the bottom half in the televote. An 80’s song plus no voting allies equals low in the televote, even allowing for the good draw. It should fare better with juries – but with numerous evocative and more contemporary ballads kicking around this year its very borderline if this will be enough to drag it into the top 10 overall.

  • justin

    ps. forget to say thanks to Daniel for excellent article and to Rob for a thorough defence! Both great reads.

  • AlexS

    Lovely site! First post here, thus maybe not exactly on topic.
    To me, 2012 is a surprisingly good year, much better than the last two ones, but I’m afraid the voting sides will not make much use of the quality material presented and will eventually overlook lots of the stuff on offer.

    I’m probably among the few who believe that this year’s winner will be decided by the juries. Simply because most of the hot favourites are so obviously jury-unfriendly, that the best approach would be simply to predict a jury Top 5 and see which one of those 5 is likely to be high among the televoters as well. That would be the eventual winner. Hence why I think unfortunately (I don’t like it) Sweden has it in the bag even if they fail to win the televoting (which is very likely).

    So, let’s analyze the jury voting. First, juries tend to support West countries (unspoken part of the reasons they were reintroduced) and there hasn’t been an East country to win their vote, hence why talking about Romania, Turkey or Ukraine doing it (even with their catchiness and hit potential) is totally out of question. Serbia has the same problem of being on the wrong side of the map, and it’s not even worth talking about Russia winning the juries. That simple odding-out just diminished severely the chances of several hot favourites.
    Then, a common mistake fans tend to make is to think of the contest without the context. For good or bad reasons, Eurovision is serious business with a massive budget and painful burdens/duties. Most fans tend to idealistically overlook that aspect of the event, but it is infiltrated in there on a subconscious (or conscious) level especially among the juries. Therefore some of them might not only apply pure musical criteria when voting. Simply put, things like whether a country could be a good choice for a winner matter for the juries (if they don’t for the televoters). Juries aren’t fans, and they will not care that Azerbaijan sends their best entry because they simple don’t remember the past ones; instead juries will commonly think “ok, you got it already, now let’s go somewhere else for a change” and dismiss the host country. Absolutely the same thought would easily occur about Germany (even if it’s very jury-friendly material), Russia, Serbia, Norway – for a common viewer those are too fresh and one can’t avoid a spontaneous reaction like “huh, again?”. Another contextual aspect to be taken into consideration is whether a country looks stable enough for the “big business”. Plenty of jurors will not vote for Greece out of obvious non-Eurovision related reasons. Depending on who exactly is in those juries, that consideration might stretch also to Romania, Cyprus, Spain, Ireland. I might be wrong, but I just think that if the televoters don’t vote on music only, so do the juries.

    Of course, while I’m rather confident that those I listed above will not win the jury voting, any of them could come 2nd or 3rd. But then let’s try to focus on who the juries *will* vote for. I believe the UK is a safe choice for a place in their top 5; Engelbert is too big to be totally dismissed like Blue and the juries will realize that his opening slot in the draw would mean really bad televoting score so they’ll reach a helping hand. Denmark (if they qualify) is likely to receive the jury approval too – it is as close as you can get to what they voted Top 5 in the last few years. In case juries are told to personify Simon Cowell and go for X-factor type of vocal machines, Spain, Slovenia or even an outsider like Albania might sneak in there. Moving on, any other type of classy ballad like Estonia, Bosnia or Iceland has good chances to score well with the juries. Serbia should logically be there too, but I think he doesn’t have enough “young talent” appeal for the juries and they’ll only award him a respectable lower Top 10. Italy can hope for the same at very best, the buzz factor is over there and I don’t see why every classy San Remo act should be undisputed straightforward jury winner. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that anymore.
    That leaves us with one more to mention – Sweden. What we came to know about the juries since their reintroduction is that they actually follow the hypes and in cases like Germany 2010 they easily succumb to the hype as well. For them, Sweden will not be just another song in the running; they will start watching it with the “ok, now let’s see what this all is about” attitude and that’s already unequal. In the end, however, I think Sweden will do an exact copy of Germany 2010 rather than France/UK 2011, because it ticks so many jury boxes – vocally convincing, falls under the category “young talent”, not without any chart potential, stable West country which has the money and “we can’t remember if they’ve won it since ABBA”. Add to that, “it’s a bookie favourite, so people probably like it” and there goes Sweden soaring high in the jury ranking, even if not winning it.

    Out of those possible jury Top 5 countries I mentioned, obviously Sweden has the biggest potential to be in Top 5 of the televoting too. Personally, I don’t see how Sweden would win the televoting over some more probable televoting grabbers like Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Norway or Serbia, but they don’t have to as long as all the other grabbers are degraded by the juries (which will happen). That’s why I began this post saying the juries will determine the winner this time.

    Ideally, something simple and sincere like Denmark or the Netherlands could make a good balance between the contradicting jury-televoting tastes, but that’s more wishful thinking than reality.

    Wow, a long post, sorry for that! 😛

    • I agree with some of what you say, but I absolutely don’t think juries vote based on future hosting considerations. Remember, they’re not contest execs, they’re a random mix of 5 people from each country’s domestic music industry – think an even lower-calibre version of the current jury on The Voice UK. Typically a country’s jury might include a local music journalist, a past or current rock singer, a past or current pop singer, a popular music radio DJ or presenter from a popular music TV show or channel, and perhaps one past ESC artist or person in some way linked to the contest. They’re verifiably not thinking about organisational considerations or about ruling out Greece(!) because of its economic problems (look at how well Greece scored with juries last year).

      I agree that ex-USSR countries will send quite a few points the UK’s way, both from the televote and jury. He wasn’t just big there in the 1970s, he was respected – arguably something he never really was in the UK. He was a highly regarded icon in the USSR in the 1970s, and although 40 years is an eternity in pop, I think it will still count for something.

      The juries will love Albania, mark my words.

  • Boki

    I learned my lessons in the past being ‘blown away’ by some songs which affected my judgement how majority will rate them. I think that people attach to much to Spain emotionally which is fine for the fans but not for punters. I believe that all the facts point to Spain sinking in the televote (15-20) and pushed by the juries (at best 3-5) and that’s probably not enough for overall top10.

  • Bexley

    Alexs I admire your confidence in so easily categorising the jury vote.
    You state “most of the hot favourites are so obviously jury-unfriendly”. The first 5 in the betting market are Sweden, Russia, Italy, Denmark and UK so only Russia really of these can be dismissed in my view.
    Romania was 3rd in jury vote in 2010 and Azerbaijan second last year so I don’t see why a country with a solid diasporo shouldn’t make the top 3 again, which with their televote could be enough to win.
    Given Austria and Slovenia were 4th and 5th last year in jury vote then ballads can certainly achieve a good jury vote. Serbia has a ballad and a notable past Eurovision male vocalist – why can’t this make the top 5 for example?

    Another thing I take issue with is “What we came to know about the juries since their reintroduction is that they actually follow the hypes and in cases like Germany 2010 they easily succumb to the hype as well” – based on what evidence? Germany alone?
    I would say last years hype was Ireland and particularly Sweden – they finished 6th and 9th with the juries.

    So much as it was a good read and there were parts I agree with, overall the conclusion about Sweden I think is way off the mark and based on your own opinion and conjecture rather than many facts.
    I guess at this stage thats as much as anyone has 🙂

    • AlexS

      Sorry for not making that clear, I meant “hot televoting favourites”. 🙂 I think it is safe to guess that Serbia for example would be a stronger televoting favourite than Italy, Denmark and UK. The fact that they are absent from the top 5 of the market only comes to show that people do not expect them to score high among the juries.

  • Bexley

    And back on topic I like Spain as a song but it doesn’t have anything ‘magical’ for me to propel it high enough in the televote to be top 5 even.

    I would be surprised if the majority of the Eurovision audience haven’t mentally ‘switched off’ after the first 30 seconds -that was certainly my reaction.

    I’m expecting Spain to grow on people and for the rehearsal performance to have the press and ESC pundits in love with this song. I’m expecting it to trade at a much lower price tah even the prsent one but to flop in the final standings, pretty much this year’s Austria in fact.

  • fiveleaves

    Rob has said it all, so not much to add 🙂

    Your “East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet.” is an interesting quote, as I feel in the case of ‘Quedate Conmigo’ the authentic emotion and drama that Pastora creates will appeal in the west and more importantly in the east too.

    I always go on my 1st impression and like Rob, altho I generally hate power ballads, this grabbed me from the 1st listen and unlike many on here, like Bex 🙂 from the 1st few bars.

    As for Azers woeful effort, you’re more likely to find genuine designer goods in a Turkish Bazaar than genuine emotion in the Azer song and performance.

    • Boki

      But the bottom line is: both Spanish and Azeri songs come from the same Swedish kitchen 🙂

      • fiveleaves

        That may well be the case, but one sounds like some awful american generic power ballad, devoid of emotion and the other one is packed full of passion, drama and hooks.

        I hated Moltiva, but Quédate conmigo has much more in common with that song than Nadine’s disney type ballad (even tho it was impressively sung and I grew to really like it) ‘Grew’ being the most important word. As most viewers will be listening to these songs for the 1st time.

        • It’s in Spanish. In Eastern Europe it won’t get a significant response other than from Romania. Azerbaijan will certainly beat it in this half of Europe, if not in both halves.

          • fiveleaves

            You could well be right, but at the price it’s the only one in the top 10 of the market (along with maybe Germany) that I feel offers any value.
            Polls and forums can be wayout at times, but they’re also an important part of the jigsaw and since I’ve been following the kolombus poll, no song has won that wasn’t in the top 7.
            We shall see if that ‘rule’ holds this year.

          • That’s good information (about the ESC Stats site), thanks, interesting – I only found out about it recently…

          • Nick D

            ESC Stats (and most polls) are having a great run of having the eventual winners on their shortlists, but then we’ve not had a real curveball result for ages. 2000 to 2002 all saw an unexpected winner near the bottom on most poll sites – no reason to assume that we’re about to return to those days, but sooner or later the voters around Europe are going to slap us all in the face again!

          • fiveleaves

            True Nick.
            Rules are there to be broken and I’m by nature a contrarian, so this could be a year when a song comes from nowhere to win.
            It does look an open year in many ways. ofc depending on your view of Sweden, as none of the ‘big guns’ have particularly good songs imo.

        • Nick D

          Ah well… why go for Spain’s “Sort Of A Bit Like Molitva” credentials when we have Slovenia’s “Molitva 2 – The Official Sequel” on the menu?

  • fiveleaves

    The last comment under the main video adds a little credence (admittedly very little 😉 ) to my belief that the song and performance may well strike a chord in the east.

    LOVE THIS SONG.  12p from SERBIA <3

    Zeg181 16 hours ago 3

    🙂

  • Ben Cook

    I love the song and I was blown away by her vocal in the NF (particularly the reprise), and I think the juries will love it.

    However, ballads in English do badly enough in televoting, so I can’t see why a Spanish one would do any better. I think it will do about the same as Austria last year. Top 10 with jury maybe even top 5, but lower down with televoters, so I agree I can’t see it making the top 10 overall.

  • Sarah

    Spain’s ballas is for the the best song of Eurovision 2012, technically speaking and also subjetively.

    Her voice is so brilliant, tuned and powerful… If you see Sweden’s song you’ll notice her singer uses a lot of reverb while Pastora not… that’s because her voice is SOOO amazing that simply does not need eny effect to sound PERFECT.

    The song is very nice too as their raindrop background.

    It’s a clear winner for me.

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