Eurovision 2015: Feb 14 Update

I took an afternoon nap last Tuesday and awoke to the news that Australia would be competing in this year’s Eurovision final. I had to check I hadn’t slept till April 1st, and still do a double take when I see the country towards the top of the Betfair outright market. In our comments section, James Martin asked the question: backer or layer? I’m waiting for the song – we’re promised it by early March.

This weekend is a big one for Eurovision watchers: Saturday features programmes from the other four countries making up the top five in that outright market. Topping it are Estonia, and the 1.10 shots to win Eesti Laul, Stig Rasta and Eliona Born, perform in its second heat with ‘Goodbye to Yesterday’. Thanks to Henry VIII, who posted a short clip of their performance in amongst the other prerecorded ones here.

The big market mover this week was Italy, mainly in the expectation that Il Volo would win Saturday night’s climax to the Sanremo Festival, and accept the Eurovision challenge (the winners get first refusal, so it’s not a done deal even if they take the prize). They’re the Italian equivalent of Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro: three young men in leather jackets singing popera about their ‘Grande Amore’ (which if they do accept the ticket, can be cut down or ditched altogether for another song).

That Estonian performance and the news from Sanremo will have most impact on the outright market, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on both whilst settling down to an intriguing and open Icelandic national final – which usually has a reliable webstream. Five of the seven songs switch to English tonight from Icelandic in the heats due to the ruling that the Eurovision version be performed. A 50/50 jury and televote split will determine a superfinal of two decided wholly by televote.

Among the favourites are Friorik Dor with ‘The Last Time‘ – think Ott Lepland singing Leo Sayer’s ‘When I Need You’, Elin’s ‘Tonight‘ and Maria’s ‘Unbroken‘. A personal favourite is Sunday with ‘Feathers‘ – think Margaret Berger doing Bjork. There are no odds available and I’m all at sea about who’ll win, but it should be a highly enjoyable watch.

Elsewhere, the Finnish and Swedish semi-finals throw up two particular songs of interest, both with the pimp slot – Siru in Finland and Mariette in Sweden. The former is the winner of Finland’s 2014 version of The Voice and has a lovely ballad, ‘Mustelmat‘; the latter an alumni of Swedish Idol has ‘Don’t Stop Believing‘, which reminds me of Loreen’s ‘My Heart is Refusing Me’ in the released clip.

Meanwhile Lithuania selects its song, but not yet the singer, as part of its torturous selection process. As Eurovicious brought to our attention, ‘This Time‘ holds most promise, especially if it ends up being performed in a duet with Vaidas Baumila and Monika Linkyte. Hungary also holds its first semi, though I can’t find a standout in A Dal.

On Sunday, Serbia holds its national final following a year’s absence from the competition. The three songs to feature come from Vladmir Graic, who wrote the country’s 2007 winner ‘Molitva’. Three artists are in the running: more established names Bojana Stamenov and Aleksa Jelic, up against a new talent found by RTS, Danica Krstic.

So this weekend will represent a useful acceleration of the selection process. All that was decided in the past week was the Danish entry, Anti Social Media’s ‘The Way You Are‘. Unlike many of the current entries, it’s a well-structured pop song with a coherent presentation to match its retro sound. It’s perfectly Danish in its inoffensive competence.

But it doesn’t go beyond that for me, and most likely won’t improve on what we’ve already seen, which hopefully will be the case with some of those other entries already selected. I think its final position depends much on the strength of the opposition: in a good year it would be easily overshadowed.

Let us know your thoughts on the latest developments below.

25 comments to Eurovision 2015: Feb 14 Update

  • I fear Il Volo may be unstoppable after seeing last night’s performance. And this year is turning into 2010 snoozefest. Where is the fun?

  • PurpleKylie

    Personally I don’t get the Stig and Elina hype, to me it’s like a far less interesting version of the Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell collaboration from a few years ago (or if you prefer, The Common Linnets of course). And I don’t believe that they can bring out an outstanding performance based on clips I’ve seen, it just seems like two people performing a song with no real emotion instead of a real break-up.

  • The Belarus entry is looking more promising on re-listening, but I have doubts about the live vocals. I too like the Icelandic entry Sunday with “Feathers”. Very nice. If anyone sees/hears an equivalent to Conchita Wurst, please let us know!

    • eurovicious

      I similarly thought Feathers was the only half-decent song of a bad lot, Iceland have shot themselves in the foot again.

      This Time is the Lithuanian song. They accidentally showed next week’s results on screen too; Vaidas wins. (Monika 2nd.) And he pretty much confirmed on Twitter that Monika will be singing it with him as a duet. https://mobile.twitter.com/JacobMila/status/566681993669533697?p=v

      Bojana is walking it in Serbia – she was ace tonight, Jelic was remarkably bad, and Danica good but not a star. All depends on the songs. We heard snippets of the verses but not the chorus. Aleksa’s is a big gay disco thing (there was a gif-worthy scene of camp-as-Christmas Vladimir Graic chair-dancing along to it in the studio), the other two have ballads. Bojana is getting a lot of domestic Twitter love, certainly more than Aleksa.

      I pretty much exactly echo Daniel’s thoughts on Denmark. I didn’t quite understand the pretty major backlash to the winning song on Twitter. It’s fine, accessible, telegenic, unremarkable, and it’s not like it beat anything decent.

  • Daniel

    Here is the winner in Iceland as it was performed tonight:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ-buMRXXKM

  • I fear that Australia can win this by virtue of simply turning up, and there are few countries left that can realistically block their open goal. IMO these are Spain, the UK, Belgium, Poland and whenever Malta’s revamp comes out

    Tonight showed Estonia become unseated as the market favourite, only to be quickly replaced by Italy, but I can’t say I’m convinced of a win for something so overly Italian. They’ll need the not-so-subtle subliminal staging clues to take it. Lithuania should be good if it’s Vaidas and Monika together, but I think This Time’s chorus is a bit underwritten to win ESC. Armenia have a cool idea behind their entry, regardless of the context, but I think it’s a bit too self-centred. Europe won’t relate to it. I feel like it’ll turn out like Switzerland 2006, except more eastern and contemporary.

    I do see Iceland and Switzerland as (very) dark horses too, but both of them need a lot of work.

    Apart from all this, it looks like Australia have the strongest narrative going right now, (being Australia,) and if the presenters start spotlighting them during the three shows then it would be a very unfair victory. Their song only needs to be decent radio pop and well sung on the night, I would think.

    • PurpleKylie

      It depends on what kind of song Australia pick, if they pick a ballad like everyone else seems to be picking then no chance.

    • eurovicious

      I don’t think the bulk of continental Europe (televoters and juries) will support Australia just for the novelty factor whatever they send, the way I imagine the UK will. I think Australia faces an uphill struggle to get enough continent-wide support to win, even if they send something worthy of it.

      Don’t Deny is clearly against the rules IMO. But as Phil pointed out, Israel’s Push The Button in 2007 was political too (and Ukraine 2005 for that matter). The EBU is clueless and inconsistent when it comes to this.

      Point taken about the chorus of This Time Ben, I can see what you mean a little bit.

      Nowt good in Latvia. And the only song I like in A Dal is Kati Wolf’s (despite not being one of her fanboys or liking her 2011 entry), but it’s not the type of song that does well in today’s contest.

      • You say that, but I completely wrote Conchita Wurst off as a gimmick last year, confident that either the Common Linnetts or Molly would run away with it.

        Yes, Rise Like A Pheonix was a cracking song but I still stand by what I said last year, it won because it was sung by a bearded lady, ergo, it was different.

        Had the Austrian equivalent of Adele belted it out, it wouldn’t have won. Don’t underestimate the Novelty Factor vote.

  • Montell

    Hi, Daniel. You are from UK, aren’t you? I’m interested how does UK select their song. Are there some sort of contest where people get to vote, etc?

  • Norwegian songs are leaking here!
    http://vk.com/melodigrandprix

    “A Monster Like Me” is incredible. Just put a small bet on Norway at 16/1.

    • Henry VIII

      Great find Ben. I love that song too.

      I see there’s been a plunge in price on the leak, seems rather overdone, matched at 46 yesterday, 9.2 today.

    • Tim B

      I don’t think it’s any better or more suitable than Karin Park’s song #TeamKarin

      • Both songs are fantastic in their own way, and I do believe it will be between these two. I feel like A Monster Like Me is more of a song for listening than a song for television. That said, there’s every chance they’ll have some cool staging. The somewhat Victorian looking single artwork is intruiging, but I feel like a more modern, foresty scene would suit the folk elements better. It reminds me a bit of the Twilight movies. Could go top 5 if it’s well executed.

        Karin’s just got a pretty straightforward but highly competent pop song that’s totally ready to go in terms of Eurovision. The structure has a good consistent flow, it’s not too hard on the ears like some of her other songs, and it sounds a lot like other current Norwegian pop. Staging will determine whether it can match the more impactful I Feed You My Love, though.

  • David

    Thanks for that, I really liked A Monster Like Me, beautiful song. Another duo to rival Estonia, though perhaps that could end up vote splitting. At the moment I think that Il Volo – Grande Amore is the song to beat, on first listen it stopped me in my tracks, it has that impact. Whether or not this type of sound will appeal to the Eurovision voting community is where the doubt lies. The members have a bit of quirk about them which takes the edge off the stereotypical opera image. That could work well for them.

  • “Monster Like Me” from Norway is heads and tails above anything I have heard in the first 14 or so confirmed songs…but no use us all getting excited only for Norwegian televote to place is 2nd on March 14th…..worth a gamble or not??

    • I sincerely wish I placed a bet on them before the full songs came out, because I had a feeling this was going to be something special just from the snippet.

      If the staging and performance is really outstanding, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see it reach #1 in the outright. And tbh it would be a much more worthy winner than that pretentious Italian nonsense.

      • I know, but that Italian “nonsense” could do very well if staged imaginatively and not too statically like an opera chorus. It’ll definitely be a top tenner from what I have heard so far…the Norwegian “Monster” has shades of Hungary’s “Running” (which did well at 5th in 2014, but I tipped to win), so am being cautious….but it is real quality!

  • Serbia is almost certainly gonna be in English; the English version is called Beauty Never Lies and its lyrics are by Charlie Mason (lyricist of Rise Like A Phoenix). Source: Bojana to novosti.rs. They obviously want to do a body image/empowerment theme, which I think improves their chances a lot and potentially takes us out of fanwank territory if they can deliver an effective message, which I strongly suspect they can.

  • On the subject of Italy’s 3 minute structure, I believe I might have cracked it. You cut the first chorus and just have the Grande Amore. That brings it to 3 minutes exactly. Does this make the song fail the one minute test?

    It’s debatable IMO. I invite you to listen for yourself. Bear in mind this a rough edit that I’ve done, so the transition into the second verse WILL sound jarring. Professionals will do better.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3010319/grandeamore-3mins.mp3

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