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.