Eurovision 2014: Will Denmark’s ‘Cliche Love Song’ win enough hearts?

My first online Eurovision betting preview came in 2001 (alas it has disappeared off the web). Working for a website called RainbowNetwork, my tip was the 10-1 entry from the host country, Denmark, with a plum draw.

Never Ever Let You Go’ was irresistible, toe-tapping, feel-good Saturday-night entertainment. In the event, it was narrowly pipped into second – to the displeasure of the home crowd. But here we are, thirteen years later, with the host country, Denmark, 10-1 in a place, with an irresistible, toe-tapping, feel-good Saturday-night song in a plum draw. Watch it here.

To what extent will history repeat itself?

The Sofabet commenters seem very keen on the chances of Basim with ‘Cliche Love Song’. Tim B started the ball rolling, asserting that it ticked more boxes than anything else. Below him came agreement to varying degrees. Some such as Gert have it as their most likely winner, whilst eurovicious summed up the more pessimistic view that juries would drag it down to somewhere lower in the top ten.

I think Tim B and Gert stated the case for very effectively. ‘Cliche Love Song’ is as immediate as it gets – from the first drumbeat and scatted refrain. It’s a perfectly structured pop song, hitting us with that initial hook and never letting go. The verses give us cute moments such as the “boom, boom, boom” and the whistle, whilst the chorus is similarly infectious and hook-laden.

You can accuse it of being cheesy and generic, which it is, but ‘Cliche Love Song’ is knowing as well as cute. Part of that comes across in the staging of the song, where for example, the highly effective middle eight encourages the audience to be part of the fun it’s trying to bring. As does the dance move for the main refrain, and the general sense of movement on stage.

Talking of staging, what the Danes provided for Basim in the national final was every bit as effective as Emmelie de Forest’s routine for ‘Only Teardrops’, both sharing the gold lighting and ticker-tape. Producers went one step further by draping the performance with the national flag – even Simon Cowell would’ve been impressed at the blatant favouritism.

Sound engineering seemed on Basim’s side too. Before the Danish final, I had watched some YouTube performances from his X Factor days, and found him to be a highly engaging performer with adequate vocals. I worried that the latter might be a problem, given the slightly autotuned production in the studio version of ‘Cliche Love Song’.

But, lo and behold, this was replicated live thanks to a subtle phaser deployed on his voice throughout (at some points it’s more obvious, such as at the start and during the middle eight). Basim’s delivery was thus strong as well as charismatic.

The televote appeal of ‘Cliche Love Song’ is obvious, especially now we know it also has a plum draw of 23 in the final. If I had to choose a song that is most likely to finish in the overall top ten, this would be it, and I’m not surprised plenty of people jumped on board each-way prices when the draw was revealed.

Quite how high it finishes there will be down to the juries. On the negative side, the song’s generic nature and lyrical goofiness may not go down quite as well as some more original efforts. But against that, this is a very effective slice of radio-friendly, contemporary pop, and juries have shown relative kindness to this sort of package in the last few years.

In short, I’m expecting a very strong showing from Denmark, and I can’t rule out back-to-back Eurovision success for the nation, even though some punters have a psychological problem believing that it’s desirable or probable in this enlarged, modern contest.

I understand this feeling, but then I’m still haunted by what happened in 2001. What do you think? Do give us your continued thoughts below.

51 comments to Eurovision 2014: Will Denmark’s ‘Cliche Love Song’ win enough hearts?

  • Justin

    Completely with you on this one Daniel. Its hugely infectious yet safe and middle of the road, entertaining staging and cute but unthreatening singer.

    What I would add is that the North Europe/Scandi vote is there for the taking with Norway and Sweden both appearing to hit the cross-bar this year (at this stage).

  • Fully agree here. My biggest green on the outright, nearly twice as big as the second largest one. Simply the best value out there on this market, with Armenia in my opinion now far too short to offer positive EV given the uncertainty involved at this stage.

  • Panos

    If I remember correctly, the lowest the juries have placed a popular upbeat televote top5 big-hitter was Eric Saade’s 9th. And that was more clichée, ‘trashy’ and not so well performed compared to Denmark 2014. I do not expect the juries to have it lower than that.

  • PeterNL

    I believe Armenia is good enough to win, but I have Denmark as runner-up. It’s a good uptempo song, with an ideal draw, enough kind neighbours and I think the jury will appreciate the hit-potential of the song as well. Contrary to the current favorites Armenia and Sweden, I have the impression that there is still value in Denmark.

  • SirMills

    I agree with this review. I would not be surprised if Denmark would win the televote, due to all the best quality songs this year are dark and serious. Serbia 2007 springs to mind on the opposite side of the same road. I would be really surprised if it weren’t top 5 with the juries. I think it’s silly that Sweden, and Norway are rated higher than Denmark on the betting market. I personally can’t wait till the “top nordic country” market opens.

  • Nick D.

    I love the song. It’s my clear personal favourite, and there aren’t too many contenders fishing in the same pond. But what I think it’s *really* done by being drawn 23 is something quite different.

    We can probably start to build the end of the running order in outline at this stage. I reckon producer instinct will be to go Denmark-Slow-Uptempo-Slow, or far more likely Denmark-Slow-Midtempo-Big Finish. If that slot 24 goes to one of the five market leaders – and surely at least one will pull a second-half ball – then I think we might have our winner.

  • Well Daniel. Agreed :-)! Can’t say anything more hehe.

  • KaleyS

    If that isn’t “immediate”, I don’t know what is. It has you from the first second on. That being said, I don’t think it can win because it’s too bubblegum and air balloons. But top 5 seems very likely.

  • Ben Cook

    It’s the only entry I’ve had a bet on so far this year. Right now I think it’s the winner, with Armenia coming in 2nd.

  • chewy wesker

    Basim fortunes depend on what juries make of it, I feel Aram mp3 Andras and Dilara have much more to offer for juries. And as Armenia continue to shorten I feel prices of the other countries will drift, that is if I’m correct in predicting that Aram mp3 will become our shortest ever favorite at 1/2 as soon as it hits 1.80 betfair I will become a layer, it far too short already to really justify this price crash, without seeing the staging and draw placing. Basim will no doubt do well with the televote and I guarantee the racing post will tip it on the day of the final, however as I’m reminded two years ago when they tip Roman Lob I don’t feel it will help it shorten in price. Armenia will go off short and although it’s strong I will oppose Armenia as the favorite this year. Basim “cliche love song” has a great hook and plenty of energy but it’s a “textbook” produced track nothing we haven’t heard before, so I rule out the win. Top ten however is a yes and I’d even go as far and say top five.

  • Peter

    I completely agree, at this point for me its the most likely winner

  • Ben Cook

    Interesting to see this fanpoll which has almost 50% of voters saying Armenia will win, with their odds now at evens with some bookies. Less than 1% say Denmark will win.

    http://wiwibloggs.com/2014/03/21/poll-win-eurovision-2014/43728/#

    UK are winning the ESCNation fanpoll by some distance (that’s the one where you vote as part of your country’s jury, so it’s not just that it’s UK fans voting). Armenia are lower down the top 10, so does it mean fans no longer expect the fan favourite to win the contest – even though most years it seems they do!

    • Tim B

      Hi Ben, it looks very much like that poll has been manipulated by the Armenian massive. It has Azerbaijan in second (the anti-Armenian vote in a poll like this) and Romania 4th, so it really cannot be trusted. To believe that ‘Not Alone’ could genuinely win a poll of mostly gay men is pretty ludicrous imo – the UK is much more likely to be a genuine winner of this sort of poll.

      • Tim – it’s a prediction poll though, and from the forums I’ve read, a lot of fans think Armenia have got this in the bag, even if it isn’t their own favourite.

        • Tim B

          Personally, I don’t believe that 22% of fans truly believe that Azerbaijan will win, so we’ll have to agree to disagree 😉

          • OK, it was only about 3% when I posted the link. Still, from what I’ve read on fan forums, it would seem about half of them do think Armenia are going to win, despite it not being the fan favourite – that was my point.

    • Since when do we blieve fanpolls :-)? Yes, usually 4 or 5 out of TOP 10’s in fanpolls actually manage it on the eve itself to get a TOP 10 placing. But what about those 5 or 6 that are mostly polled completely wrong? Just to name one: Ms ‘Fanwanker’ herself: Valentina Monetta from San Marino. That’s 100% a case of voters who want San Marino to do well. And then in the semi final we see again that, despite an 11th place, San Marino fucks it up again :-).

      I think Armenia is hugely overrated for that sense. Yes, it’s a quality entry. But like Norway 2013, Netherlands 2013 and Norway 2014 (Carl Espen) a bit too ‘good’, a bit too ‘artistic’ to win. The funny thing is, I can see it anywhere in the TOP 10, just not the 1st position. More like 3rd.

      Also…..fans were hugely spoiled in the past three, four years with winners that could do nothing but loose. Norway 2009, Sweden 2012. To a lesser extend Germany 2010 and Denmark 2013. It’s kind of easy to predict that such an entry will win if I may say so. The huge grand slam victories of some of those speak for themselves. Just to translate it to the nineties: These would have been comparable with the grand slam victory of the UK in 1997.

      This year though, you have to search better for a winner. This means that analyzing the available performances has become more important has become more important than previous years. Or at least…it becomes important to anticipate what kind of act certain entries will have in Copenhagen (Remember Azerbaijan 2011).

      Most voters in prediction polls don’t do that. They are kind of ‘nerdy’ themselves and listen to the studio versions, in playlists, over and over again. Hence the results in the fanpolls :-).

  • Just saw and heard the first live performance of Austria, Conchita Wurst: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBpgIrI9cDQ#t=190

    I must say, that I’m pleasantly impressed. This could do much better than many other people think. Perfect, intimate, Shirley Bassey-esque staging. Just the spotlights on Conchita and nothing more. And then some ‘glitter-snow’ in the end like Denmark.

    I’m also impressed by Conchita’s vocals. I say that Austria will now easily qualify and will do TOP 15 in the final.

  • Sander

    How big is the chance that people will vote for Denmark again? I see the potential of this song and it ticks a lot of boxes, but I always have the feeling that people vote for a total package. They think that a song, performer and the country deserve to get their vote. Because Denmark won last year and is the host this year, I can imagine people voting for them because they like the whole show and the performance of the song etc. but the song this year does not scream winner to me. It even sounds like a copy of other mainstream pop songs we have heard on the radio the last couple of years. I think it will definitely be a top 10.. even Germany were top 10 in 2011 with a somewhat niche song, but I really don’t think this song will win.

    As I don’t feel like Armenia will win this year, I honestly have no idea who will win. It’s very exciting like 2011. I did not expect Azerbaijan to win but looking at it now, it was an obvious choice. A competent radio friendly song and not trashy like the simple pop song from Sweden.

    How about a country that was put on the map the year before? I had that feeling with Norway in 2008 that they had a surprising score and could do well in 2009 and they won. In 2011 Sweden almost won and they won in 2012, while Azerbaijan really wanted to win in 2009 and 2010, they did in 2011. Do you guys think there is a big chance that the winner this year will be a country that was in the top 10 last year? Or will it be an outsider like Germany in 2010, so there might be a good chance for a song like from Armenia this year?

    • I can understand your response. But I think that’s not how the game works. I think every year we start “clean sheet”. With that I mean that jurors and especially televoters have already forgotten the events from last year. I don’t believe that out of sympathy reasons for other countries jurors and televoters are less likely to vote for Denmark.

      Did the jurors in 1993 and 1994 care about another victory for Ireland? And what about the almost back-to-back victory for Denmark in 2001? Or what about Ukraine’s 2nd places in 2007 and 2008?

      No, my rule is as simple and as basic: New year, new chances.

    • SirMills

      Actually a back to back win has happened 5 times out of 58. That makes 1 win for the host country for every 11 contests, when it should be 1 for every 20 (If average count of nations is 20). If it is a disadvantage to be the winning country, history has certainly failed to prove it.

  • Sander

    I see your point. But what I in general mean by putting the country on the map is that they really want to win and come close in one year so they try to make it work the next year to come close to victory or to win the contest. Other countries are just happy when they end up in the final. Others are determined to win because it has a lot of status in their country. That’s why I think that countries like Ukraine and Azerbaijan have had good results the last couple of years. If 2007 put Ukraine on the map and they send a good song the year after, I think people really are eager to back it, not only because of the song. When you check out comments of people on blogs is that they often say that it’s sad that a particular country did not go to the final last year and that they will back it this year. Same with countries that just missed out winning the contest the year before, so they want to back it. I am not sure it has a big influence but I do think that a lot of people vote this way. They either vote because they really like the song or because they think a country really will need their vote to be able to barely make it to the final or just because they want to back their home country. That’s why I wonder for example if there will more backer of San Marino this year because they want her to go to the final and if a country from last year’s top 10 will win this year.

    • Montell

      Well, Denmark was in top 10 last year so this doesn’t contradict your rule 😀 By the way, what do you think about country’s (Denmark in this case) intentions to win ESC two years in a row? I mean I’ve heard opinions that some countries like Sweden last year wouldn’t want to win two years in a row because of financial reasons or something. Would it be somehow bad for Denmark to win Eurovision this year so that they try to ruin their performance in some way. I think Sweden did so last year at some extent. What are you opinions about this, sofabet readers?

  • Boki

    Regarding Denmark, after listening the audio I thought it won’t win the MGP since it’s a little cheap but after seeing it live I realized I made a big mistake. It’s really immediate on a first watch (I use word ‘watch’ on purpose instead of ‘listen’) and I think singing only once in the final is an advantage for such an entry. As i said before, it might do great on the televote but I still don’t think it will win because there will be more jury friendly songs in the final. It might become close so, given the prizes, it would be stupid not to have it very green in the OR. I have no idea yet if they want to win again but the clues might emerge (much) later. So who else can win in my opinion:

    Hungary would be the most worthy winner to me since it offers great song and package, nice staging and engaging theme. However his song is too sad and serious which is not good sign for ESC.

    Ukraine has a nicely produced pop song, beautiful girl, lot of default support and it’s always underrated in the market. If they come up with some great staging (as they usually try to do) and if they get extra support due to political climate (again a big if) she might just go over the line.

    Still the most expected winner in my mind is Armenia. Yesterday a guy I know (who knows my involvement in ESC) said to me that he read Armenia is a favorite to win. He doesn’t care about ESC, didn’t bother to go to YT and look up the song, I’m not sure he even watches ESC on the night but he read the news somewhere already. There is a hype created about favorites and I think Armenia will not miss the chance and use the hype just like previous winners did. Ok, the Frenchman didn’t but it was his nervous performance together with a very specific song genre. This horse is ahead the others because the second one didn’t emerge, anything can still happen but it’s deservedly on top of betting. It is indeed far to short but people thought the same when the odds dropped to 6,5,4 etc…

    • AlexanderS

      Very good observation about your friend. Sadly this is how Eurovision winners are produced nowadays. I clearly remember the case in 2010 when Lena was promoted by media, same in 2012 with Sweden. Not to mention on the night of the show commentators in many countries directly tell the viewers: “And here is the big favourite”. This is how the winners are now produced before the actual show, with rare exceptions. I also believe that Daniel would do a great job if he offers some articles about this “paratext” aspect surrounding the contest, rather than just analyzing the objective potential of the songs and their singers.

      • Boki

        It’s much more easier when there is one front runner like at the moment. I remember there was also a big campaign from Azerbaijan in 2010 and Safura was actually the favorite slightly before Lena until she got 2nd slot in the final when Lena took over. I’m not sure if west is going to unite this year and try to push someone…

      • eurovicious

        I don’t think people actually vote for a song just cos they’re told it’s the favourite (or a favourite) though. We only have to go back to 2011 to see that – big favourites France, Norway and Estonia got nowhere at all. And that was before the combined ranking system too, so the televote really counted. It’s one thing supporting a football team because they’re successful (Manchester United syndrome), but it’s another thing paying money to vote for something just because you’ve been told it’s the most likely winner. People are dumb but not that dumb.

        • annie

          They dont necessarily vote cause they are told to do so, they vote because being told that it is the favorite they pay attention to it and are likely to remember it when it comes to deciding whoom to vote for.

          • AlexanderS

            Exactly. You can’t underestimate the power of media. Also proven this year in Belgian NF, when people were told to vote for this “possible ESC winner” and they blindly followed. Not to mention all the “Inför” preview shows in the Scandinavian countries.

  • I personally think the impact from being host nation (regardless of whether the case is made for this helping or working against an entry) is being way, way, waaay exaggerated. I can’t see many televoters (or juries for that matter) caring when deciding what to vote for, tbh. And producers intentionally wrecking stagings to avoid some perceived financial disaster I’m also very skeptical to. Weighed against the impact of the actual song quality (and factors like running order), I just feel these theoretical factors are negligible.

    • eurovicious

      I agree squall, “I just feel these theoretical factors are negligible” sums it up perfectly. One could equally well argue a negative effect – people and jurors thinking “well, I would vote for Denmark because I liked it, but they already won last year, so I’ll support [country X] instead, which I also really liked.” The whole point is largely academic.

  • I think a back-to-back victory comes at the perfect moment. Remember, next year’s contest is a jubilee edition (the 60th already). I would like to see this jubilee interwoven in the theme of next year’s contest. And as DR is already responsible for this year’s edition, they could come up with a more inspired theme for next year’s edition: ’60 years of Eurovision’.

    I prefer that than another worthless ‘extra’ contest. Remember, that rather lacklustre “Congratulations” event from 2005? I always saw it as a cheap way to make extra money out of the Eurovision-brand. As for this I found the 50th edition in Kiev lacklustre and a contest ‘by numbers’.

    So let Denmark win a 2nd time in a row please :-). I’m sure Danish broadcaster DR will come up with something wunderful to commemorate 60 years of Eurovision. And, for the youngsters among us, it will be a unique occasion to compare both the 59th and 60th edition with each other.

  • Tim B

    The Danish flag, do we reckon it will be kept or ditched for their staging in the final? *Should* it be kept? And is that kind of giant flag even allowed as staging at Eurovision?

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi Tim,

      Imo, the Danish production team should get rid of the GIANT flag. Combined with the overwhelming golden backdrop, (and last year’s win) It smacks a bit of triumphalism and could run the risk of lending a smug sub-text to what otherwise is a charming and winning performance from Basim.

      The brand and thus vote identification idea, though, does have its merits.

    • Daniel

      Hi Tim, I can remember at least one act with its nation’s flags on stage – when the drum kit is wheeled on during the bridge of Ukraine 2009. So it’s not against any rules as far as I know. I’m not sure whether it’s a good idea though.

  • My argument against a second Danish win is fairly simple. If you weren’t immediately a favourite in your national final, your song isn’t good enough. Golden staging and giant flags is just visual turd polishing. Denmark will do very well, though.

    • Err…except Basim was the favourite. If you remember correctly, the songs were released on the Friday morning and by lunchtime, Cliché Love Song had been backed into the short-priced favourite across the board. All there was to go on beforehand were very short clips of all the songs, so you can’t really blame him that the market was initially priced up incorrectly by odds compilers. And then of course he ended up winning easily anyway.

      • Fair point – but first impression means an awful lot to me, whatever form it comes in. At this stage of the season, everyone is second-guessing their instincts and parts of them are subconsciously trying to deny a winner they don’t really have a taste for.

        Cliché Love Song being as instant as it is kinda backs me up in this particular case… if a short clip didn’t tell you all you needed to know about that song (namely, will it win? – The first question I always ask myself,) then I’ll concede to being a bit quick to judge.

    • I don’t think this has held true before, though. E.g. Euphoria was available at odds 7.00 after she qualified from her heat, longer than Danny that had not yet qualified. And that was after it qualified – when the snippets (2 minutes) had been released, it was still 20+ to win.

      • Hmm, fair enough, though I suppose you could say Melodifestivalen is a different creature altogether. I certainly found that to be true when betting on the heats. It was also perceived to be really close between Danny and Loreen as well, so that would’ve affected it.

  • Does nobody think Malta has any contending prospects? I get the feeling it’s massively underrated as a warm, authentic, uplifting song, especially with the selfies as a backdrop and the whole family affair.

    • Oops, I thought I posted this in the latest article.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Just had a proper watch and listen. See what you mean, Ben. It’s both toe tapping, lovely, layered and straight-forward, with a bit of a Mama’s And The Papa’s do Country Rock vibe about it. Enjoyable and fulfilling and nice to hear different voices take turns on lead vocal. Quality track, quality performers. Unlike the majority of entries, it seems to have no obvious chinks in its package.

  • Tim B

    I hope the woman is kept as one of the backing singers/dancers, makes the group a bit less of a boyband. I also think they should ditch the giant flag, as it’s served its purpose now 😉

  • Can’t see how they could possibly keep the flag, would be really strange imo.

  • Interesting comment just passed on to me from a Serbian friend who says that regardless of the popularity of this kind of music, it’s not at all emotional, and some regions of Europe will be more likely to vote for something with more soul and emotion. That sounds really valid to me. What do you guys think?

    • Montell

      Satellite is a very similar song and it managed to win so I’m not sure. I think songs like Satellite and Cliche Love Song are meant to be fun and make people dance. There are many these type of songs that won Eurovision in the past. Although I have to agree that most of the songs that win Eurovision are very emotional.

    • eurovicious

      I think that sounds really valid and it’s why I think that Denmark is a value bet to come last. How many people predicted Norway in 2012 and Ireland in 2013? Basim is quite camp (which doesn’t come over so much in the DMGP clip) and the song is throwaway upbeat Western pap – it’s not the straight-up europop of Stay or Only Love Survives, but it’s as insubstantial (more so from my perspective). And while Basim can sing, he has the same thin, nasal, high voice as Ryan Dolan (who was fine on the night last year and I believe competent in the jury final). I remain unconvinced that it’ll be well-received.

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