Eurovision 2012: Will viewers ‘La La Love’ Cyprus’s Ivi Adamou?

In the fan poll on top Eurovision stats site Kolumbus.fi, Cyprus currently stands fifth behind only Sweden, Spain, Iceland and Serbia. So Ivi Adamou’s ‘La La Love’ is one of the favourites of Eurovision fans with a fabulous video to match. Unfortunately, it also looks like it might be a classic fanwank.

What’s a fanwank? It’s an entry that fans take to before the contest, as indicated in polls, but fails badly with the wider voting public in the event itself. We can’t say for certain which entries are a fanwank before the contest. After all, if a fan favourite ends up doing well, it shows that not just fans got excited about it.

Recent examples do offer a guide. The winner of the same fan poll in 2011 was Hungary, 22nd of 25 in last year’s final. It was followed in the poll by the UK (11th in the final), France (15th) and Estonia (24th). In 2010 the fan poll winner was Israel (14th that year). Rybak was everybody’s favourite in 2009, but in 2008, the poll leader was Sweden (18th) and in 2007 it was Cyprus, which didn’t even qualify for the final.

Actually there is some diversity among these fanwanks, but more likely than not the best examples are, as Bexley put it, high energy dance tracks like ‘La La Love’. Boki agreed enough to say: “If I had to choose which of the mentioned will fail this year I would also go for Cyprus (obviously).”

Poor Ivi. Can she escape the fate of the fanwank?

As with Iceland, I want to start by considering what fans see in it. Our very own eurovicious has done a better job than anybody: “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.” Watch the video again and you get what he means.

I’ve never doubted that it’s hooktastic, but I realised after noting this comment that there is indeed something Guetta-esque about ‘La La Love’. I’m sure it will go down a storm at the euroclub, where fans congregate in the host city during rehearsals to dance the night away. And I include myself in that number.

The worries start piling up pretty quickly, even at this point, however. Firstly, an unremitting eurodance beat doesn’t have a history of going down so well on the Eurovision stage as it does in European charts.

Secondly, ‘La La Love’ is a particularly autotuned example of the genre. So whilst it works well in the studio version, the live version will be much more difficult to pull off, which is what I said about Hungary’s ‘What About My Dreams’ last year.

And just like Kati Wolf last year, the evidence of Ivi Adamou’s live performances on X Factor suggest she doesn’t have what it takes to pull it off. Ivi seems like a wonderful person ‘n’ all, but rarely have I suffered so much for this site as when going through her back catalogue on the talent contest.

I started with the murder of ‘Just Dance’ followed by the killing in cold blood of ‘All I Want For Xmas’, then moved on to a slightly less appalling version of ‘Power of Love’ (Ivi seems more comfortable with the slower numbers), before the massacre got going again with ‘I Have Nothing’. The title of ‘Hurt’ had never seemed more apt, and after ‘Hush Hush’ I decided that was all I wanted.

Not only are her vocals way off in these examples, but she doesn’t command a presence on stage either, a feeling compounded when watching her mime ‘La La Love’ in the national final.

Ivi clearly had something that appealed to the audience because she managed sixth place in that season of Greek X Factor. As I say, I have no doubt she’s a sweetheart, but this is a singing competition and that’s how she must be judged. Kati Wolf also managed sixth place in her attempt at X Factor – the Hungarian one – and even she owned the stage in comparison.

Just like Hungary last year, ‘La La Love’ could end up crossing rather than ticking all the boxes, dooming itself to fanwank status. It’s not the kind of song juries go for and Ivi’s vocal performance and inability to look comfortable on stage will cement that, whilst also putting off televoters among whom Cyprus doesn’t have many voting allies apart from Greece. As a result, I think there’s minimal chance of a top ten finish in the final, and have been laying it in the top ten market accordingly.

So the question is: will Ivi at least manage to qualify, as Kati Wolf did last year? In her favour, she’s in the weaker, ‘zany’ first semi that at least contains Greece. But that semi also contains plenty of other upbeat numbers that are likely to be far more memorable and better performed than the Cypriot one (including the Greek entry).

I took some of the 4/1 about Cyprus not to qualify when I could on Betfair. It’s shorter than that now, and in my view all will boil down to how adequately it’s performed on the night. With a superior song to many and vocals that were passable, ‘What About My Dreams’ was good enough to get through its semi last year in seventh place. Something similar may happen for Ivi. After all, backing singers and backing dancers can do a fantastic job of masking weaknesses. The rehearsals will tell us just how much this is happening.

But I think that ‘La La Love’ and its fans will be reliant on highly effective staging if they want to see it in the final, and even if it gets there, it will die a death that condemns it to fanwankdom. Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.

27 comments to Eurovision 2012: Will viewers ‘La La Love’ Cyprus’s Ivi Adamou?

  • Emma

    Hi Daniel, I did some digging of my own and I found a video of her singing La La Love la la live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tE_cL_kO9Ls

    Oh my. We can only assume her vocals will improve slightly by the time she gets to Baku but even in that performance, she was reliant on the crowd and didn’t sing the whole time. And she was barely moving. Hopefully, the Cypriot delegation isn’t going to try to make her dance. I can see her qualifying but only just–maybe ninth or tenth place. The juries will hate her vocals even if she improves them a little and I think they’ll find the song kind of cheap. It IS full of hooks, but the hooks are more Zaleilah than Euphoria, i.e., not especially sophisticated. Which I don’t think is a bad thing in itself–I love the song, I prefer it to Greece’s which to me just feels generic, boring, and tuneless–but it means I have a feeling the douze points from Greece could easily make or break Ivi’s qualification. Her draw (12) isn’t awful but could be a lot better. She comes right after San Marino, who have sent the worst, cheapest most-jury-unfriendly song, and Ivi will look great next to The Social Network Song. But following her is Denmark, which will just make her look cheap.

    I like the comparisons to Hungary, they work well. The acts are probably around the same level. Kati’s song was a lot less modern and she’s twice Ivi’s age, but her vocals were not as weak, in my opinion, once she stood still. Plus, singing in Hungarian might have helped her case with the juries. Like Kati, I see Ivi qualifying (perhaps more narrowly) and then flopping the final. Perhaps she’s this year’s Getter Jaani? Getter was something of a fan favorite as well, a young cute girl with a catchy, hook-filled song she couldn’t really sing live. Ivi could easily go the same way as her Estonian predecessor.

    One last problem: the more backing singers she gets, the less chance for a killer dance routine. Kati had two singers and her three male dancers clad in what looked like suits made of garbage bags were rather lame, especially considering the song’s dance-potential. Similar problem for Getter–choreography was and looked amateurish. I hope the Cypriot delegation knows what they’re doing…

  • Substanshell

    Finally I know with who I’ve been battling it out at the lay cyprus top10 market those last couple of weeks.

    Thanks for the x-factor videos you posted. I didn’t know she was that bad.
    To be fair, ‘Hush Hush’ can be quite an obstacle to overcome for a young non-native singer… oh wait…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiVRVRfUoNM
    😀

  • Nick D

    My hunch is that we’ll not see the required “highly effective staging” here. There are straws in the wind [citation needed!] that the Cypriot delegation is having to stretch its budget to the limit just to get the team to Baku – Ivi has been turning down promotional opportunities abroad, and (though it came to nothing) there was talk on some forums a couple of weeks ago that RIK might end up having to pull out altogether.

    I just feel, however, that Semi 1 is trying to fit a pint of good songs into a two gallon jug of qualifiers… there’s going to be room for something substandard to sneak through and then die horribly into last place on Saturday night. This could be the one that fits the bill.

  • Boki

    What can I say except it’s still available @bwin for 1.4 top10 lay.

  • Uncle Si

    Thanks Daniel for the analysis and links. It’s refreshing to hear Hungary 2011 again. It’s songs like this, that I like and that I’m sure others will like too, that remind me always to be cautious when they eventually fall short! I’d put Iceland 2008 – the wonderful Euroband – into this category. What is not to like about that song?! Inspiring song, likeable singers, flawless vocals and finding-of-cameras, and it came 8th in its semi and 14th in the final.
    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYkhR8idx8U)

    On this basis I think the more questionable La La Love will get through semi 1 and be mid-table in the final.

    • 8th is a good result considering Euroband were the first act on in what was a very strong semi and also pre-jury. Pirates Of The Sea (who I loved) were 6th, but under the 50% jury system, they probably wouldn’t have qualified and Euroband would have been a bit higher up. Similarly, finishing 14th from a first-half draw in a pre-jury final dominated by regional voting is pretty good, I think.

      Agree on Cyprus – I think it will qualify if competently performed and staged (and by the sounds of things, unfortunately that’s a big “if”, I need to watch those X Factor videos) and yes, finish mid-table in the final (but again, only if competently performed and staged, which seems to be the big question mark). A song this good deserves a great, credible, contemporary performance (less Evridiki/Ven A Bailar Conmigo, more Tooji/Gaga/Guetta).

  • Daniel, I have to say I’m shocked at your language in this piece! Wank this, wank that, wankdom the other… wash your mouth out with sodium bicarbonate, dear boy!

    Anri Jokhadze is a cunt though.

    (“Sensible” comment coming later…)

  • I think it’s fairer to compare Cyprus with Greece this year. Why? Both Eleftheria and Ivi performed in the same 2009/2010 edition of X-Factor. Having seen both performances, I must say that Eleftheria is the weaker link and that Ivi deservedly went on to stay in the competition much longer.

    Moreover, I am not so worried about Ivi performing badly in Bakoe. Seeing how much Roman Lob improved during the past weeks, similar developments can happen with Ivi. I also think the Cypriotic delegation is aware of their past top favourite-statuses in 1999 and 2007.

    The last couple of years the videoclips from Eurovision participants have evolved in expensive, MTV-worthy videoclips. And these videoclips are usually a starting point, a set of ideas that form the base of the evntual Eurovision performance.

    I have heard rumours from the Cypriotic delegation that the final act in Bakoe will be devoid of any busy complicated dancing and choreography and will instead be like the videoclip.

    Having said all this I’d rather call Greece (see our prediction at http://www.esfmagazine.nl/?p=8385 ) this years ‘fanwank’ and not Cyprus (prediction here http://www.esfmagazine.nl/?p=8617 ).

    • Boki

      Comparison with Greece this year is very simple to me. Greece has a strong match between the song and the performer plus a strong voting base. Cyprus doesn’t have any of those two. H2H 1.62 available @stanjames.

    • Emma

      By the video clip, you mean the Snow White-esque music video? Because I’ve seen it several times and IIRC, Ivi spends the video a, running around being chased by dogs, b, posing for the camera, or c, acting out what appears to be Snow White. IMO, it doesn’t really match the song and there’s going to be some awkward dissonance if they bring an old-fashioned fairytale-themed act to Baku. La La Love is a dance number and Cyrpus needs to realize its potential. It’ll be really sad if budget issues get in the way of a decent staging like they did for Estonia last year.

      (of course, they needed an elaborate expensive music video [Ell & Nikki may have had one, but Lena’s just looked like a camera set up in the studio and Alexander Rybak didn’t have any] so I suppose it’s their own fault)

      • Couldn’t agree more, Emma – that mirrors my thoughts exactly on both the video (could barely be more unsuited to the song and is obviously a belated, misguided attempt to cash in on Twilight-mania, much like the Slovenian vid last year) and how they need to stage it. It needs a credible, friendly dancefloor presentation – not kitschy or schlagery but modern, light and young, and she needs to interact if not outright flirt with the camera, dance/move about the stage a lot, and convey the fun of the upbeat, infectious song in her performance in a way that includes the audience and makes them feel like they’re having a good time. Not with some dull, confusing Legenda-style sub-Twilight balls.

  • Bexley

    Gert its possible Greece will fail to match its current betting market position but as Boki stated Greece has the trusted, and thus far reliable, voting base.
    I have also been impressed by Greece’s ability to get the staging and presentation of the song right for Eurovision.
    Even if Ivi does get the vocal right I believe it will be hard pressed to justify its current odds.
    The other thing I have to add is the prospective jury performance of Cyprus. I noticed last year how nations with song titles like Haba Haba, Boom Boom, Ding Dong were marked particularly poorly by the juries.
    I think the title and lyrics of La la Love are too simplistic and will be badly punished again this year.
    Just a theory but we will see.

    • Well, the demographically rooted voting base didn’t help Armenia, Russia and Turkey last year. Their staging was impressive.

      Off course results from the past are by no means a warranty for success in Baku. But in the end I think the very aspect of ‘fanwank’ can never be explained that black and white. Afterwards it’s much easier to call a failed entry a ‘fanwank’ than before the contest.

      At this stage (a few weeks before the rehearsals), judging the videoclips, looking to all available live performances, I think Cyprus still is in a better position to qualify than Greece.

  • Keley

    Would love to hear your take on Austria, any chance of this being the subject of a future article?

    • Daniel

      Hi Keley and thanks for your interest. I only intend to cover a few more countries – Greece and Azerbaijan – sticking to those entries at double-digit prices or less on Betfair.

      I rather enjoy the Austrian entry and think it will do better with televoters than some assume, but I also reckon that juries will crucify it. On top of being the opposite of ‘earnest’, they’ll perceive it to be less than family-friendly too.

  • Bexley

    Gert my explanation of those that you mention with the voting base is simple.

    Turkey had no allies in its semi final by pure luck of the draw;
    Armenia had allies but chose to send a song called ‘Boom Boom’ which the juries rated 15th in the semi
    and finally Russia’s jury rehearsal was a complete mess which cost it dearly, finishing last with the juries in the final – but it wasn’t a very good song anyway.

    This year, Greece in my ranking is placed first in reliable voting allies so even a fairly poor jury score will see it through.
    Cyprus on the other hand has probably a similar chance with the juries but is only my #7 in reliable voting allies.

    Both may make it through but if one is going to fail it will most certainly be Cyprus in my estimation.

  • Just watched those Youtube clips – shit. She obviously has major control, breathing, diction and even timing issues when singing anything with a rhythm – not just upbeat songs but even the slower rhythm of I Have Nowt. Just not a reliable performer, or at least she wasn’t when on X Factor in 2009. And her voice is extremely unrounded when singing anything dancy. In the midst of this, what leapt out at me is she actually pretty much mastered the a capella opening of All I Want For Christmas, which isn’t easy to sing at all – I was really positively surprised and impressed – then as soon as the rhythm kicked in, she went back to looking and sounding like a girl singing in her bedroom, and lost all vocal control and discipline from one moment to the next. Never seen anything quite like it. She has the talent but needs a lot of polishing and training. Out of all those X Factor clips, the only point at which she was 100% comfortable and in control was when she had zero backing and could take her own time. Other than that, her voice was severely uncontrolled and all over the place – like a blunt, unrefined instrument instead of the precision tool it needs to be. If she’s still like that, that’s a huge problem. She hasn’t mastered her instrument and they’re sending her to Eurovision? She needs rigorous lessons and practice practice practice! Jesus. (I also noticed her tendency to clip the ends of words and lines due to lack of breath control. Just not professional. I almost feel bad for her, I really hope for her sake that she’s improved and worked on her voice since X Factor.)

    Her performances of The Voice Within and Hurt are comparatively good (she can hit the notes with the odd exception and do difficult harmonies) but it’s in Hurt that her breathing issues become the most apparent – you can hear her loudly gasping for air after each line at the end of the song. Her control’s worse in her higher register, and as La La Love is in this register (and dancy in the extreme), it doesn’t bode well :/.

  • David

    I do think she’s improved in the last three years though… in this piano version, she’s by no means great (and those timing issues seem still to be there), but horrible? Nah.

    • That video is SO pitchy – breathing, timing, pitch, timbre… makes me even more worried. This song deserves a better performer! Makes me even more worried about what it’s gonna be like on the night!

      Maybe this will all turn out to be some Disney meta-narrative mockumentary in which Anne Hathaway plays a ditzy Greek-American girl who accidentally becomes a popstar in Europe despite not being able to sing. Coming to a shit cinema near you this summer.

  • Boki

    Kati Wolf pulled it off vocally at the end but the price/consequence was that she had to stand still and that didn’t look good. Otherwise it wouldn’t sound good, it was a lose-lose situation. I wonder what’s Ivy going to do about it.

  • Putting the quality of the vocals and performance to one side, I see a difference between La La Love and many of the fan favourites from recent years that Daniel has picked out above. I love a great upbeat number and I love ABBA, but I belong to the minority of ESC fans who don’t enjoy Swedish/Scandinavian “schlager”, finding it by and large derivative, tinny and the very opposite of progressive. As such, What About My Dreams left me cold (I just couldn’t see why people were going crackers over it), I found Je Ne Said Quoi dull and dated in 2010 (as much as I love Hera, who is an icon and is amazing live, the song was a poor self-plagiarism of the vastly superior This Is My Life by the same songwriter) and I though Hero was positively terrible. I didn’t expect any of them to do well. Of the others, I like (not love) Comme Ci Comme Ca but never considered it a contender, and found Israel 2010 totally boring.

    To me, La La Love is too credible to fall into the Kati Wolf/Hero/Je Ne Sais Quoi category. It’s dance, not schlager. It’s my personal second favourite behind Norway this year (I love a really good banger) and fun, perfect for the dancefloor and everything I look for in an ESC song. However, my tastes aren’t most people’s tastes and if she delivers a poor vocal and visual performance (as it increasingly appears there’s a high likelihood of, unfortunately for the song’s sake), its days may be numbered. Cyprus has a remarkably poor SF qualification record, having only qualified in 2010 (when it only just snook in by coming 10th) and in 2004 (with “Stronger Every Minute”, an emotive, simple, repetitive ballad which had a second-half draw and came 5th in the semi).

    Recent songs I am inclined to draw parallels with Cyprus to are Run Away and Carry Me In Your Dreams – both modern dance songs that were (to pretentiously quote from myself) hook-laden and superbly structured. The juries hated them and televoters, while kinder, weren’t mad about them either. And they were both better vocally performed than La La Love is likely to be. Certainly it’s a song that fans will enjoy more than the average viewer or jury member, and as such, it’s pretty much certain to do (significantly) less well in the contest than it’s doing in fan polls. I think it’s great – if I was going to Baku I could see myself bopping away in the Euroclub and spilling a garish cocktail down myself to it. I’m hoping against hope that she doesn’t murder it, and I’d love to see it qualify. But after seeing so many other dance songs crash and burn in recent years (exempting the “boy power” of Saade and Jedward last year), it doesn’t look good. So all in all I agree with Daniel – qualification is unpredictable at present and will depend on staging and performance, but if it does get through, I can’t see it going top 10 in the final. The upbeat/dance vote will go to Tooji, who’s a reliable stage presence, has the look and the moves needed to stand out and get people voting, and whose song is better, more credible, contemporary and intense with a driving bassline, and is certain to boast a knockout performance and staging. I’m extremely skeptical of Greece’s entry this year, but while Cyprus may have a better song, it lacks their strong support and has a terrible contest history. Our survey says: *irritating buzzer*

  • Boki

    I read once a theory that amount of votes in the final is bigger than in the semis. If we assume the ‘escfan votes’ are more of less constant that would lead to conclusion that they have more weight in the semis than in the final where ‘casual viewers’ start spending money. Daniel and rest, what’s your view on this and do we have a harder evidence of voting percentages?

    • That’s probably factually correct, Boki, but still a drop in the ocean overall I think. Fans are more likely to watch the semis than non-fans and also more likely to vote, but the fan community is still tiny compared to the overall number of viewers so I don’t think it can have any significant impact on the outcome. Another reason to believe this is that the status accorded to the semifinals also varies massively from country to country. A number of larger countries have taken to hiding the semis away on niche channels – such as BBC3 in the UK, and even more obscure channels in Germany, which is once again broadcasting the second semi on a channel normally used to broadcast live parliamentary debates this year. And we remember the debacle about Spain being pulled up for not broadcasting them at all. However, I believe many smaller countries and eastern European countries broadcast the semis on their main national channel. Having tighter budgets and not so many entertainment shows themselves, national broadcasters of poorer and smaller countries seize on the semis as a way to attain great primetime viewing figures for a week at comparatively low expense. And it’s countries like these that populate the semis. So while in Germany, it arguably will just be fans watching, that’s very much the exception.

  • Dear Daniel. This LIVE version of Cyprus is awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSPcVIQ6JNE . And my initial thoughts about Ivi are still unchanged: Fantastic singer, great stage presence, fantastic voice and perfect ‘camera catching’. Cyprus is SO going to the final.

    Also, this is what I meant with a choreography that is much better suitable for Ivi. Pundits saying that this song needs one hell of an act? Please, think twice.

  • eurovicious

    More details on Cyprus’s backing vocalists, dancers and choreo, staging etc:

    http://www.escdaily.com/cyprus-ivi-adamous-team-for-baku-revealed

 Leave a reply...