Tonight is the first Super Saturday for hardcore Eurovision fans with one final and four semis from the contest’s Northern Lights. The Danes hold their decider at 7pm GMT which is usually well produced with a reliable webstream. It’s one I usually get a little involved in based on a simple premise: the Danes love to choose something they can clap along to. Think of their 2001 or 2008 entries as classic midtempo, radio-friendly, clapalong examples.
When the songs came out, I tuned my clapometer and it settled on Anne Gadegaard’s ‘Suitcase’, specifically its A-chorus (the bit between the initial verse and the refrain), with second place going to Anti Social Media’s ‘The Way You Are’. World of Girls’ ‘Summer Without You’ was also pretty immediate but reports from last year’s Copenhagen Pride suggested the girlband’s vocals were aural shame. They’ve since ditched a member.
Both Anne and Anti Social Media attracted the early money after being given plum draws of #8 and #7 in the event – the most recent six winners have come from 8, 8, 9, 10, 6, 10. That continued after positive rehearsal reports last night and an audience poll which had them first and second of ten at 20% and 17% respectively. That’s hardly conclusive though, and it’s a relatively open field without a true standout plus any value gone. But as tonight’s only final, it will be the priority on my sofa.
Elsewhere, the first Melodifestivalen heat of four in Sweden is always keenly anticipated, although the reaction to the snippet of favourite Eric Saade was one of disappointment. It will be interesting to see if the whole song and performance holds together better than the short clip currently suggests. He can at least be relied on to put on a good show when it matters.
The first of two Finnish semis promises at least as much interest to Eurovision ante-post punters, given that it includes boyband Satin Circus, whose One Direction-esque ‘Crossroads’ is the main reason behind Finland’s high ranking in the Betfair market. They are up against punk rockers with learning disabilities, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, who have so far taken the domestic limelight. You won’t find a bigger contrast all night, and these are two live performances I’ll be watching out for.
Estonia’s first Eesti Laul heat offers a wide variety as always, although we have to wait till next week for the hyped ‘Goodbye To Yesterday’, whilst Iceland’s second semi completes tonight’s round-up. These are two charming competitions filmed on a smaller scale to their larger Northern brethren, and it’s a shame they’ll be slightly overshadowed tonight.
Since my last article, we’ve had two further songs selected for the main event itself in May, from Cyprus and Switzerland. I think it’s hard to predict at this stage how they’ll get on as I can see a wide range of outcomes. Let me explain.
The simple, quiet, Cypriot male ballad, ‘One Thing I Should Have Done‘ comes from the same pen as their 2004 fifth-placer ‘Stronger Every Minute’, and like Eurovicious, also reminded me of the 2003 fourth-placer from Norway. The likes of Tom Dice have continued to show that such a song put across with charm can go far. But they also risk dying a death on the scoreboard like Belgium’s 2012 effort from Iris.
I prefer to see a quiet song like this lift itself in the middle eight, as ‘I’m Not Afraid To Move On’ does, but at the moment, ‘One Thing I Should Have Done’ judders almost to a halt.
I’m hoping the arrangement is given a serious kick and Alex Panayi, who was on the Cypriot panel, continues his involvement in bringing it to the Eurovision stage. The former contestant-cum-backing singer-cum-vocal coach is a go-to guy who can work wonders, as he did in 2014 with Belarus’s Teo and in 2013 with Azerbaijan’s Farid.
Switzerland’s ‘Time To Shine‘ intrigues with a wide range of possibilities too. I find it hard to assess because it’s currently a melange of elements, from its contemporary beat to the less than contemporary guitar solo. I don’t think it’s particularly melodic either – especially in the verses – but the refrain does stick in the head.
French-Swiss singer Melanie Rene, has a certain je ne sais quoi that usually goes down well with juries. ‘Time To Shine’ will need to be brought out in the staging to differentiate itself from the Georgian and Maltese ‘Warrior’ entries, and to avoid the televote death of Austria’s 2013 ‘Shine’ which was also contemporary but had no life whatsoever from the coffin slot in Malmo.
A second half draw in the second semi for both these newly-selected songs gives them every opportunity to improve on their respective countries’ poor qualifying records – should the opportunity be properly taken.
Please feel free to add your thoughts about these entries and tonight’s shenanigans below.