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.