Eurovision in Concert 2014 review

I’ve explained before that you shouldn’t read too much into reviews of Eurovision in Concert. Singing to a group of drunken eurofans in a crowded nightclub is far removed from being in a big arena, watched on television by a Saturday-night audience of millions.

With that caveat in mind, the general standard felt pretty high last night. A series of strong performances stressed that this year is looking more open than the market currently suggests. That applies to and beyond hot favourite, Aram MP3’s ‘Not Alone’.

Sorting the acts into the order we’ll see them in Eurovision week means we start with Armenia, which is just as well, as it provided the night’s biggest talking point.

First semi-final participants
Earlier in the day, Aram explained he had been misunderstood and misquoted in previous comments about Eurovision rival Conchita Wurst that spread across fansites. He was forced to do so again last night, having been booed by some sections of the audience. (By this point, rowdiness in the crowd had led to the previous act on stage – Georgia – also getting booed, presumably just for the craic.)

There was nothing wrong with the performance itself, save a tendency for Aram to keep his eyes closed early on, though he engaged far more openly with the audience as the song developed. Presentation will be vital for ‘Not Alone‘, and I need to see how it’s put across on the Copenhagen stage before I feel more confident assessing its chances.

In a field where most of the leading contenders are rather gloomy, there may be some uplifting stuff that does much better than imagined. Latvia was one of a number of bookmakers’ outsiders that induced a smile last night: ‘Cake To Bake‘ was catchy and well received. That wasn’t enough for PeR last year from another poor draw, but I won’t be rushing to lay Aarzemnieki just yet.

Albania’s Hersi has a wonderful voice which I think is entirely wasted on the meandering ‘One Night’s Anger‘. Last night’s performance only confirmed that for me. Azerbaijan’s Dilara is another dazzling vocalist and ‘Start A Fire‘ feels like it’s going to really take flight at certain points, but holds itself back a little too much. Still, neither song was suited to the context of this particular performance.

There was some busy and rather pointless choreography for Ukraine’s ‘Tick-Tock‘: it was like a gender switch of Belarus’ ‘Work Your Magic’, with two black-suited men flanking the similarly-attired Mariya. They’ll need to tone it down for Copenhagen, but Ukraine usually gets it right when it matters, and I didn’t have a problem with the vocals here.

Meanwhile, Belgium’s Axel powered impressively through his melodramatic number, ‘Mother‘, getting one of the best receptions of the night in neighbouring Netherlands. The song makes me cringe, but there’s no denying his ability to sing it.

Moldova’s Cristina is another one with an extremely powerful voice that could do with different material. Alone on stage, this was not the visual car crash of the national final, and it’ll be interesting to see if the team behind ‘Wild Soul‘ return to that distracting madness in Copenhagen. One hopes they don’t, given the clever staging that’s boosted Moldova’s most recent entries.

I’m not a fan of San Marino’s third effort penned by Ralph Siegel. He has 40 years’ experience writing Eurovision songs, and ‘Maybe‘ sounds like it was left in his drawer in 1974. Still, Valentina Monetta – now a veteran of these events – was as valiant as ever in selling it.

I had heard on the grapevine that there was a new version of Portugal’s ‘Quero Ser Tua‘. It sounded pretty similar tonight, though Suzy had a new, more flattering, straight-haired look. Like Latvia, this was a sunny, hook-laden, charmingly-performed outsider. It’s basically ‘Danca Comigo’ part dois (with the same composer), and that came ever so close to qualifying in 2007’s 28-runner semi.

The Netherlands was predictably cheered by the home crowd. ‘Calm After the Storm‘ is treading a fine line between bewitching and soporific. I’d like to see The Common Linnets interacting more with each other to keep viewers interested. Montenegro’s ‘Moj Svijet‘ could also go in either of these directions. Sergej was all alone tonight and he doesn’t have the charisma of Serbia’s Zeljko Joksimovic. He desperately needs instrumentalists with him on stage in Copenhagen.

Second semi-final participants
Malta’s ‘Coming Home‘ featured just the two main protagonists of Firelight, and came across strongly, though I’m still not a huge fan of the female-led middle-eight which seems to suck some of the energy from the song. It was a difficult job for Norway’s Carl Espen to win over an increasingly noisy crowd, but he did so commandingly in the second half of ‘Silent Storm‘, and that should help his confidence.

As mentioned previously, the poor Georgians got the worst reception bar Aram. Their entry is every bit as leftfield live as it is in studio. ‘Three Minutes to Earth‘ felt like a rather hopeless case last night – the only one, in fact. On the other hand, Austria’s Conchita Wurst was among friends and received like a hero. She rewarded the crowd’s love by nailing the vocals to ‘Rise Like A Phoenix‘, and I have no doubt this entry will remain one of the contest’s main talking points.

Lithuania’s Vilija is a confident performer who clearly relishes the self-composed ‘Attention‘. The song certainly adds variety to this year’s line-up. Meanwhile, Belarus’s Teo opened proceedings with a charismatic slice of ‘Cheesecake‘. His vocals were strong, he brings a requisite tongue-in-cheek attitude to the stage and this is another wry outsider.

FYROM’s Tijana is a striking presence – tall and bespectacled – and she does her best with ‘To The Sky‘, though some of her dance moves are a bit hen night. Meanwhile, Switzerland was one of the surprises of the night. Sebalter’s diction was much improved from the national final, and having written off ‘Hunter of Stars‘ at that point, I’m no longer doing so.

The next two acts predictably worked very well in the context of this nightclub gig. Greece’s Freaky Fortune got everyone to ‘Rise Up‘ with an energetic, strong showing featuring good vocals. Romania’s Paula and Ovi also got the crowd jumping to ‘Miracle‘. Both will need shrewd staging to be as highly effective in Copenhagen.

Automatic qualifiers
That comment also applies to France’s Twin Twin, who were every bit as good, getting the party started from an early slot. I hope the end product doesn’t go all Fatal Picards on us (the country’s disastrous 2007 effort). On this evidence, the signs are hopeful for ‘Moustache‘.

With a lot of hype to live up to and home fans to please, the United Kingdom’s Molly had a lot on her plate performing for the first time since airing ‘Children of the Universe‘. Unfortunately, the first half of the song was marred by technical issues involving the huge echo on her microphone. When it was sorted, the song’s middle-eight still proved a cracker, but I’ll be waiting on the Copenhagen staging for this one.

Spain’s Ruth Lorenzo was the penultimate 2014 act to perform, and she had her many British fans in raptures with a mesmerising performance of ‘Dancing in The Rain‘. She owned the stage just as she had done during her run on X Factor. Last on was Denmark’s Basim, who was a little less impactful without the retinue of backing singers and dancers seen in the national final for ‘Cliche Love Song‘, but he’s an engaging performer nonetheless.

If there was anything learnt from last night, it confirmed the sense that this is a year not to take anything for granted. I’ve never known such uncertainty among those whose focus is betting large sums on the contest. My main advice would be: keep an open mind; reassess your entrenched favourites and dismissed also-rans.

Let us know your thoughts below, whether you attended the concert or not. Video links, most of which come from the marvellous Esckaz crew, will continue to be added as they are posted online.

52 comments to Eurovision in Concert 2014 review

  • AlexanderS

    Nice review, Daniel, but again I think the paratext is underanalyzed. The “drunken eurofans” are exactly the most active voting group come May and there are more things to learn from the reactions (however brutal they are) than one would think. Personally, I read the paratext more and more in the direction of UK.

  • Daniel

    Thanks for the kind words, Alexander. I would argue that San Marino’s failure to qualify last year when such a big fan favourite shows that their influence is overrated even in the semis.

  • Alen

    Yeah I wouldnt take these fans too serious. Lots of them have heard the songs several times and already made up their mind who they like and who they don’t. But it’s still interesting to see some hints and changes at staging so it’s a cool event. Thank you for the review 🙂

  • Justin

    Daniel thanks for this review (did you stay up all night to write it?) and the links. Taking your warnings into account I do think these concerts shed new light on what we assume hereto considered to be good betting opportunities.

    The concert appears to expose Armenia’a weaknesses. It takes an awful long time to get going and the lyrics are repetitive in the extreme. Without the dramatic staging and good draw the market is anticipating it could struggle.

    Molly sounded and looked great. The softened image is a step in the right direction. Looking forward to seeing her live in London next Sunday.

    The concert also confirmed my fears for Belgium – it’s not right for Eurovision and its blown away by far superior ballads – Noway, Azerbaijan (and Sweden).

  • Daniel

    High-quality videos from EiC now being uploaded on Eurovision.tv – first up:

  • Alexandros

    I believe that Armenia’s song is kind of extremely overrated..!it’s studio version is wonderful with all these computers and music effects..but in live performances and in a competition like eurovision you just..”go to the toilet” or buy some chips,as the first two minutes is a repetition of “you are not alone” in the same music tone..too boring…plus the big mistake that aram made seems that will cost him so so so much..!
    On the other hand,i think that uk in prices of 20-24 at betfair,is the ultimate “value for money” bet..i am sure that by May,uk will be valued around 6-7 ,as second-third favourite to win the whole thing..!so,tou can easily make profit by selling it then..
    She looked so fresh and bright last night and even with those serious technical problems,she managed to deliver a beautiful performance..!
    To conclude,i believe that if this amazing song is delivered with a fine staging,has a “clear path” to win and give the EBU the pleasure to see the 60th anniversary eurovision at “safe hands”..!

    P.S i am terribly sorry for my english,but i am sure you can make sense.!

    • Chris Bellis

      Alexandros Don’t worry about your English. I’m sure it’s better than my whatever your language is (Greek?) Nice to hear your views on the UK entry. I must re-appraise it. Agree about Armenia.

      • Alexandros

        Yes,i am from greece.!!
        You should seriously think of uk’s chances..even if you don’t believe that they can go all the way,you could easily sell it by May with a respectable profit..!

        • Peter

          I wasn’t convinced so far neither by Molly nor her song, but I have to admit, after having seen the video of her performance in Amsterdam, she is indefinitely Top 5, possibly more, competing with Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Azerbaijan.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Combined with their choice of Molly as the UK representative (instead of regenerating corpses), this pimp-slot QF staging and costuming for Christina from the season’s Voice is highly suggestive of the BBC finally demonstrating that they’ve learnt the savvy of how to showcase a young, female vocalist.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXscfM_zUXQ

      Of course, it also strongly suggests that the BBC have finally learnt a few tricks from countries with a track record of success at the ESC.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzT7O3Fnwpk

      The BEEB deciding to weave in a Duduk player into Molly’s performance might prove a bit of an obvious step too far (!), but perhaps Roger Whittaker stage right and playing a penny whistle could enrich the UK staging? Lol.

  • Thanks for this Daniel. Great crowd reaction to Molly, and a great performance despite the sound issues. I hope there’s a bit more put into the staging when it gets to Copenhagen mind you.

    Was I the only one thinking “Emellie De Forrest with shoes” when I saw her costume though?

  • Durhamborn

    Im strong on Ukraine this year and was trying to work out why they dropped the ethnic vibe rather than expand it.Last night answered me that they made the right choice.Tick Tock is now super chic.Iv liked Maria for a few years and its obvious her vocal has matured.The vocals,image and her delivery lift the song into the contemporary range.I like the idea of the staging but it needs to be less busy in Copenhagen and more stylish in keeping with Maria.Incredible hooks,good vocal and fantastic looks are a powerful mix.
    Belgium confirmed to me thats its complete rot,end of.
    Molly was great but the backing tape sound mix was way too heavy.The BBC need to get a world class sound engineer to get the mix dead right for ESC.She cant afford to mumble the first minute drowned out.The Netherlands were another with the sound mix wrong.Waylons mic was far too loud and they need to make sure they get that right.They need to look like lovers much more as well.They need to smoulder like the song.They look like divorcees at the moment.
    Hersi is an incredible singer,Sanremo quality and i hope the delegation know how to stage a singer/song like her.The lighting and camera needs to be all about her.The viewer needs to focus on the vocals,emotion and delivery,nothing else.Its ridiculous that a singer of her quality might not make the final.
    Armenia was terrible.It has served a very nice purpose though.Its made many of the challengers ridiculous prices on Betfair.Anyone who has been building positions early on there should easily be able to run everything for free as Armenia drifts.Its likely the market will shorten in the scandi songs as Armenia lengthens,but thats only an initial reaction.Id expect Sweden to drift itself from around 5s as we move to rehearsals and thats when others will shorten in.I expect some really big springers will emerge.
    Time to build value,hold the nerve and focus on experience of how this market will build.
    Hardest year iv know for a long time,but that makes for some interesting trading.

    • I agree with your strategy going forward. While I recognise that Scandinavia are having a strong year (in comparison to a lot of others) I can’t help but scoff and roll my eyes when I see Sweden, Norway and Denmark occupying the top 5 of the outright market. Sanna’s current odds of around 5, or even 8 are just as ludicrous as Armenia going under evens. She should be up with Hungary in the high teens.

      However, Durham I say this with the best intention because I don’t want you to put yourself into any danger, but I think you really need to let this apparent fixation on class and artistry go. This isn’t The Voice or Must Be The Music and no group large enough to make any difference is voting for those aspects. Albania remains a structurally monotonous and fairly inaccessible ballad regardless of who’s fronting it and telling people she went to a singing academy in Rome doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. The same goes for Tinkara Kovac, I think her song has a nice-ish chorus but there is still a very odd and cheap feel to it. I will be surprised indeed if either of these qualify and I don’t think it’s in any way an injustice because if they really are that good as artists, then they should be singing much better songs than this cack.

      • Durhamborn

        Class and artistry matter to me Ben and always will.I agree Hersi probably wont qualify this year but that doesnt change the fact shes the best singer in the competition.If there had been more Balkan entries in her semi that class might of got her over the line.What i consider the best artistry doesnt push my betting though,but i do always consider it and always tend to see a positive return ranging from small to very large indeed.
        I consider Tinkara to have a great song and given i consider her one of the best talents in the Balkans then yes im backing her to qualify on that.Of course it will be hard work for her with very few allies but i base that against song quality and price.There is the other side of the trade for people who think the opposite.I can assure you though me having fifteen quid on her at 500s on the outright wont leave me in any terminal danger.Its all just part of the win book and one of my longshots that have springer potential.

  • Have to re-inforce the point about Spain… you can’t rule them out at all. There is no doubt that Ruth Lorenzo can sing although I appreciate there was a huge UK crowd there who of course already know her.

    • JoR

      I’m not too sure she’ll get much support from the juries though. The song (as nice as it is) doesn’t really go anywhere, and her voice is far too powerful for such as song. You can hear in the live performances that her interjections of “the rain, the rain, the rain” sound so forced and not suited to her at all. She’ll have to rely on her fanbase mostly, I think.

  • Daniel,

    Having Denmark and Azerbaijan as my biggest greens in the outright market, I’m curious to hear you elaborate on their vocal performances (hard to judge on videos). For example, was it your impression that Basim used the phaser, and how did his vocals come across? Azerbaijan I feel is very dependent on strong vocals, hence my question there also.

    Thanks a lot for all the work put in!

  • joni

    My first post here, woohoo!
    Great analysis, thanks! 🙂
    I read somewhere that since the first EiC, the respective winning songs of that year have never been part of the line-up. Do you guys think that it could be the same this year?
    I’m struggling to see Armenia as THE runaway favourite of the year. All recent winners you could sing along to and you just can’t with Not alone. I’m getting a growing sense we could face a situation like 2011 with most of the favourites failing and a default winner with barely more than 200 points. On the other hand, I’m feeling Ukraine is being severly underestimated at the moment, but that’s just a guess

    • Daniel

      Welcome to Sofabet Joni, and thanks for the kind words. IF Armenia fails to fly then I think we have a very open contest, as you say. I think one of the reasons why Armenia is a heavy favourite is that the best alternative is not immediately apparent, at least not to me. That could make for a very exciting scoreboard on the big night.

  • eurovicious

    My prediction as of this moment:

    SF1 NQs: San Marino, Iceland, Albania, Russia, Latvia, Montenegro.
    SF2 NQs: Georgia, Belarus, Lithuania, Slovenia, Poland

    • Boki

      Curious to hear why did you include Slovenia to NQ and not Macedonia (I would switch the two at the moment) ?

      • eurovicious

        I think Macedonia’s song and performer are more accessible, credible and memorable, Macedonia gets more of a televote than Slovenia at the best of times (though neither have allies in this semi), and while they’re both “older women” (by ESC standards), Tijana is way cooler than Tinkara and a super-experienced performer. Macedonia comes over as a pretty strong Pink-style song with EDM touches, Slovenia’s affair is more dated filler. Theoretically the flute should attract some jury, but it’s not exactly gonna be in the jury top 5 (at least I doubt very much)…

  • I must tell you Eurovicious, I think semi final 1 is full of high-quality entries this year. There’s almost no “weirdo act” in it. Quite good music if I may say so…..for Eurovision standards.

    Having said so……..I also tried to look at the non-qualifiers. Perhaps it would make it easier for me. It doesn’t

    I have as certain qualifiers:
    – Armenia
    – Estonia
    – Sweden
    – Russia
    – Azerbaijan
    – Ukraine
    – Belgium
    – Hungary

    I have as certain non-qualifiers:
    – Iceland
    – Albania
    – San Marino

    Which leaves following five countries battling for the last two grand final tickets:
    – Latvia
    – Moldova
    – Portugal
    – Netherlands
    – Montenegro

    • eurovicious

      Those last 6 in SF1 are a lot harder to predict than the last 6 in SF2. Portuguese qualification is far from impossible – it’s upbeat, “fun” (personally I find it about as much fun as a yakult enema but you know what I mean), stands out, and Danca Comigo by the same author (which was a lot better) came 11th out of 28 in that epic semi in 2007.

    • CommanderKeen

      I don’t think Estonia is a certain qualifier. It’s closer to last year’s Slovenia and Germany in quality then it is to, say, Euphoria. I would put it in the undecided category. It will probably slip in the top 10 based on regional voting and the fact that it’s the only song in its genre in this semi, but if the vocal performance is off, it could get low marks from the jury and slip out of the top 10.

      I think Latvia might also slip into the top 10. It’s a quirky, fun tune, and I think these guys can make it a fun performance that will do well in the televoting like Hungary or Switzerland last year.

      It will be a real battle for the last few places in the top 10. A lot will depend on staging and vocal delivery on the night.

  • And the other 4 Eurovicious? Why will they qualify and why not?
    – Latvia
    – Moldova
    – Netherlands
    – Montenegro

    • Dash Berlin

      The Netherlands have always struggled to qualify and the critically excellent “Birds” last year got them in. They need something that good to get in, as they don’t have any allies to rely on, its all on the song 100%. So I see them NQ
      I’d rather back Latvia than lay it purely as its a song everyone I know thats heard it that is not a eurovision fan has been singing along with it by the end and professed it as “the winner”

      • PeterNL

        I think the Netherlands will get a nice score from the jury, as these artists should be good enough to do a decent performance and this type of middle-of-the-road songs tend to be rewarded. I’m just worried about the televoting, especially after Austria didn’t make it last year, after being 5th in the jury-score. The only certain televotes should come from Belgium, although the Belgian 12 points could already be for Armenia.

      • Gert

        “The Netherlands have always struggled to qualify”. One lesson for everyone: Results from the past are by no means an indicator for future Eurovision results.

        The problem for Austria last year was its bad starting grid. Here you can see: It has no influence on juries, but it can be killing for televoting results.

        Netherlands don’t have that disadvantage. They have a late running order slot, which could in essence be an advantage for the “drunk” minds of televoters.

        Secondly, I think Netherlands will actually do slightly better with televoters than with juries. Why? The vocals of both Ilse & Waylon are very good, but it’s not a song to belt. It’s not a song in which this duet is going to “destroy” their vocal chords like Ruth from Spain. And it’s fairly obvious that juries tend to go for the “goosebumpy” vocals.

        I think Netherlands should be compared slightly more with Hungary last year: Good draw, was a smashing “hit” among televoters, but juries were a tiny bit more underwhelmed. Hence the 8th place overall. If Hungary would have a draw like Latvia this year in semi final 1, then it would most likely get around 53 points instead of the 66 points it eventually got. Hence a more difficult chance of qualification.

        Also, don’t underestimate the power of the DR-producers. Songs like….those of Netherlands and Montenegro will be slightly helped in their final running order draw if they make it to the final, making it slightly easier for televoters to “remember” these low-key entries…..

        Ahhh well, I could be wrong also :-). It’ll be an exciting envelope ceremony. TV moments that have become way more exciting than those boring, predictable voting procedures. In the end, with 37 countries, there’s always a country walking away with the victory after 25/30 countries have voted. Even in 2011 Azerbaijan eventually walked away with it…

  • George

    I’m in two minds when it comes to COTU. The song has everything to be a winner:

    – It grabs your attention from the beginning
    – It’s catchy and anthemic
    – Molly is beautiful without being alienating and she has a lot of charisma on stage
    – It has a proper climax
    – It’s topping most fan polls

    Obviously though a lot of people see different for it to have odds as high as 20/1. I was thinking that Molly’s styling in the preview video made the song feel more forceful, but she looked much better at Eurovision in Concert and if she’s going for a look similar to her single cover in Copenhagen (same stylist) it won’t be a problem at all. I also agree with the people who say the song changes between sections too abruptly, but on stage it does give the song more punch in the last chorus.

    Of course being a Brit and a huge fan of Molly as well as the song my main fear is that personal bias is clouding my judgement, but I’m still surprised to see many writing it off already. It will all depend on how it’s staged and the final draw of course so I’m looking forward to rehearsals.

    • I’m with you. Great performance of the song in Amsterdam.

      Odds are between 14 and 21/1 depending on which bookmaker you look at. That’s quite a spread.

      There’s a huge amount of pressure on Molly to come home with at least a Top 5 finish to vindicate the BBC’s decision to go down the BBC Introducing road. The key thing there is to try and reposition the general British perception of Eurovision, and Molly comes across in interviews as willing to be part of the solution, so to speak.

    • JoR

      I completely agree with you George. I’ve also been trying not to let my personal bias towards here cloud my judgement, but it’s hard to ignore her popularity with the fanbase when she’s topping so many polls (especially the ESC Nation poll, which has accurately predicted 5/7 of the last winners). I’ve almost been tempted to put a tenner on her winning, but I thought it’s best to just let it be for the moment. As you say, a lot depends on the running order and stage performance.

      • George

        I agree with you. I’m beginning to get more comfortable with my thoughts though given that the vast majority of love for the UK entry is coming from Europe rather than our own country (in fact we seem to be talking it down the most from what I’ve seen!). It’s a stark contrast from Armenia – which I’m going to label as a false favourite for now. All that will count in May is how other countries respond to your entry – Armenians can’t vote for themselves.

        It’s also worth noting that the UK is currently leading the Eurojury poll (http://eurovoix.com/2014/04/08/eurojury-spain-calling/) which is made up of previous Eurovision contestants/Eurovision affilated artists, some of whom have been on a Eurovision jury in the past. Good omen?

        • JoR

          I think possibly! Though before Spain’s jury today we were not on top of that. Nevertheless, I think the real juries will probably score the UK very highly.

          • George

            Good thing though is that Daniel Diges was on Spain’s jury in 2012 so he’d know typically what they look for in a song.

  • My comedy review series, Eurovision Wipe is back for its second year! Hope you all enjoy this, it takes ages to put together. I appreciate your comments and support by sharing it around.

  • Dash Berlin

    I was checking over the odds on BF for a top 10 finish and noticed a price difference that didn’t quite look right.

    UK is 1.91 for a top 10 finish, with odds of around 20-22 to win the contest.
    3 countries who’s odds are greater to win the contest (and have to navigate through a semi-final) are Ukraine 25, Hungary 25 and Azerbijan 38.
    Those 3 countries prices for top 10 are Ukraine 1.51, Hungary 1.5, Azerbijan 1.38

    I understand the Azerbijan and Ukraine point, that with all their allies (should they make the final) that they should be in the top 10. But when you factor in the Semi Final qualification odds of around 1.05-1.08, then the UKs price seems extremely large at this point to finish top 10.

    Can anyone offer an explanation – as the maths don’t add up for me.

    • Daniel

      Hi Dash, you have a point about the discrepancy. You partly answer your own question though. What happens to an Azeri entry that is badly drawn or not so well staged? 5th-8th. Under similar circumstances, a UK song is not in the top ten.

      • Dash Berlin

        I know I know, but shouldn’t prices be reflected by mathematics rather than that?
        The other point is Hungary, you can’t bank on an average Hungarian song to be top 10….and will Azer be affected by not being able to “get votes in their usual way”

  • chewy wesker

    Very droll Ben, Estonia farting.

  • Justin

    Hi Daniel, I see that conchitta is now 10th in the betfair outright market. Do you think that’s a realistic position for her to achieve?

    From my perspective being the Austrian entry she will really struggle in the televote with an old style classic sounding ballad. Juries may reward the vocal if it holds up but I’m not convinced it’s exactly what they are looking for either nowadays. I think overall top 10 is rather unlikely. Do you have any thoughts at this stage?

    • Daniel

      Hi Justin, good question. I find the song rather derivative but it does shrewdly tap into the narrative of Conchita’s life. On song quality and traditional voting strength alone, I don’t think it’s a top ten entry at all.

      However, as my latest article points out, this is a situation where it’s not just about the song. The whole package has a USP and will be a talking point. That makes it more difficult to predict a finishing position.

  • Gert

    Hey Justin. If I were you, I’d place a bet now. Because IMO Austria could surprise many of us. For me it’s a matter of judging the “audiovisual total package”. And the total package from Austria for me is: Striking, in a positive sense.

    It has a power that many other ballads slightly lack. I think the reason for that is Conchita herself. She’s slightly the “Marija Šerifović” of this year, albeit a bit more extreme. Still, I think especially juries, but televoters appreciate that too.

    The ballad, yes, could be labelled as slightly “boring”. But remember, this is not a radio contest, but a Eurovision Song Contest. Belgium has the same disadvantage. But ballads like these still work, if belted out perfectly, if heart-felt and if the actual performer is striking enough that you won’t forget him/her.

    But that’s not all. I simply think every aspect of Austria is near-perfect within this total package. Remember, such uplifting Bassey-esque anthems are popular stuff for transvestites in the gay scene. Seen purely as a transvestite-act (I usually don’t like labelling), this is top-notch. Best ever we saw in Eurovision.

    And remember, if this was sung by -let’s say- Valentina Monetta, Ruth Lorenzo or Dilara Kazimova, the impact would take a huge downfall….and the actual total package would look kinda weird and “not-meant”.

    So far, I have Austria as a contender for TOP 3 and as a more serious challenger of Denmark. I don’t believe televoters and juries will get disgusted that much by her beard. Eurovision is Eurovision……and Europe has seen weirder stuff (Finland 2006, Ukraine 2007).

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Bless any choreography that features a “dance” group wearing bright yellow inflatable duck swim rings!

      Admit to being disturbed at the sight of the groin level ducks’ faces pushing in toward the solo female singer’s bikini bottoms!

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