Eurovision 2015: Mar 7 Update

There’s a slight lull in national finals tonight – just the Portuguese decider and the Swedish second chance round – oh, and the UK reveal on the red button service at 21.30GMT. But we’ve got plenty to mull over from the past week with the Finnish and German results creating news beyond the fan sites.

Let’s start with Finland, where punk rockers with learning disabilities Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat scored a convincing win in the televote. Initially backed down to under 7.0 on the back of mainstream media headlines, some punters have built big liabilities laying those prices, pushing it back out to 11.0.

I am one of them. I echo eurovicious’ initial comments that the Finnish entry offers neither aurally nor visually a winning experience, and doesn’t match the appeal of other headline-grabbing acts such as Conchita or the Russian grannies, for example. Meanwhile, even if not completely punished by juries, the new system introduced two years ago, whereby full rankings from first to last are taken into account, will also work against them, as it would’ve done the Babushki.

Those looking for more mainstream, contemporary, decent pop songs will have been heartened that Slovenia chose Maraaya’s ‘Here For You’ on the same night. It’s a very solid entry, well sung. It certainly deserves Slovenia’s first top ten result in a long time, and should have no trouble getting out of the semi-final.

My main criticism is the staging. For me, the headphones, outfit and mime violinist don’t sit that well together, and create a visual effect which is unnecessarily kitsch and distracting. Apparently not much will change in this respect, and I hope that with a bigger production in Vienna, it will look more impressive. Otherwise, its potential could be slightly hindered.

Still, it was by far the best thing chosen on Saturday night, because Hungary gave us the dated, let’s-give-peace-a-chance hokum of Boggie’s ‘Wars For Nothing’. Even that can count itself lucky it’s in the same semi-final as Moldova, for whom Eduard Romanyuta’s ‘I Want Your Love’ currently holds the ticket after a disputed victory. The latter song makes me nostalgic for those days dancing to Y2K RnB like Liberty X, but it’s completely wrong for Eurovision 2015 on every level.

Next we had the reveal for Spain‘s Edurne singing ‘Amancaer’. We’ve no idea of the visuals yet, and we’ve been promised some re-working of the arrangement too, so I don’t want to definitively damn it. But whilst the song is competent enough, I feel it lacks sufficiently compelling hooks and development, which after all, grab a viewer and keep them interested.

The lack of hummable melodies is becoming an issue at this year’s contest, and it wasn’t helped by Greece‘s choice of ‘One Last Breath’. Cypriot Maria Elena Kiriakou produced the only decent vocals in the national final, so it seemed fair enough that the power ballad won, but like the Spanish entry, there’s a lot of drama in the orchestration without much melodic reward. At this early stage, I can’t see it returning Greece to the top ten.

Germany‘s national final hit the headlines once Andreas Kummert declined to accept his victory, handing it to runner-up Ann Sophie with ‘Black Smoke’ instead, which reportedly only got 21% of the vote in the duel. That’s not an auspicious selection, and whilst she’s an engaging performer, it’s hard to see the song gaining significant traction with televoters across Europe.

Do keep the conversation going in the comments section below. I will endeavour to add the videos of tonight’s UK and Portuguese entries once they’ve been revealed.

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184 comments to Eurovision 2015: Mar 7 Update

  • Agree with pretty much all of these insights, especially with regards to Slovenia. In addition to the words on staging (and that invisible violin schtik really needs dropped) of the performance I’m not convinced that Marjetka being static is a good thing for the entry either – it remains to be seen what tweaks go on before the rehearsals but there doesn’t seem to be the ‘eye draw’ of other big vocalists when watching the video. The chorus, thankfully, sticks in your head and will see it get out of the semis with little trouble.

  • Tonight’s the night then. I’m DJing tonight so I’ll have to try and get it up on PFL once it’s happened. Big lesson from last year is not to get too emotionally wrapped up in this one!

    Have there been any leaks? We don’t even know if it’s another newcomer, or an established artist. Sam Bailey has been touted – whilst there’s no doubt she can sing, she’s totally wrong for the demo. Alexandra Burke has also been another name I’ve heard, and that I could just about live with. Ellie Goulding or Ella Henderson aren’t going to happen, sadly.

  • SirMills

    I always like reading your thoughts Daniel.

    The Romanian NF is also this weekend which is I think is really interesting. This is the song I expect to win:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6vrnQ08LAw

    It has the same Swedish team behind it as Norway 2012 and Lara Lee definitely has the X-factor in her. How would you rate this entry’s potential against the field already known in ESC 2015?

  • Daniel

    Thanks for the kind words SirMills, and for pointing out the Romanian final is tomorrow (Sunday). I like the Lara Lee song you’ve linked to: it wouldn’t be out of place on a Rihanna album. I hope it beats local favourites Voltaj – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uZF8jCgUQFI

  • I feel Spain is the best of the many “conventional female ballads” (ie. all the female ballads except Latvia) in this year’s contest, but still offers little relevance to a European voting public. Quedate Conmigo and Dancing In The Rain were 18th and 15th in the televoting respectively and pulled up by juries. It’s reasonable to provisionally expect Amanecer to follow the same pattern.

  • Chris Bellis

    EV – agreed. Every year I think Spain has a chance and I put money on them out of sentiment (I went to college and taught English there a long time ago) and it’s been a wasted bet. I like the song, but I’m going to go with my head this time. It might get to 12th, with a following wind. Ditto France. Slovenia however seems to have some promise.

  • chewy wesker

    UK last place this year……..OMG!

  • Jesus Christ. That’s going to go down like Michael Barrymore turning up at a pool party. Awful, awful song.

  • chewy wesker

    I would back the UK this year for £2 but betfair only goes up to odds of 1000. For the love of God………Why?

  • Alex

    It isn’t good at all, but I am weirdly fond of it. Why? Because it’s like a proper old-school UK Eurovision entry – a group or singer that will only ever be known for this one song and then be never heard of again, with a song that’s so catchy (or eccentric) that it becomes desperate – i.e. Love City Groove, Coco, etc. The BBC so painfully want us to win that the other countries can almost smell it – and that goes against us. We should be more like the French who just put what they like in because it’s normally good and don’t care if they win or not, with an effortless coolness i.e. Patricia Kaas, Sebastian Tellier, etc.

    • Chris Bellis

      If only we had put in our equivalent of Patricia Kaas (Adele?) – we might have stood a chance. These two have losers written all over them. I hope I’m wrong but I’m trying to lay at the moment, only no-one will take the bait.

  • I’d argue the BBC don’t want us to win.

    The Jungle Book wants its’ song back.

  • PurpleKylie

    I’m not sure what to make of our entry, it’s not bad but I KNOW it’s going to go down like a lead balloon, it’s just not COMPETITIVE.

    Ugh, it’s always the same with the Beeb, one year they take one step further and then the next year it’s five steps back. Being a British ESC fan is really difficult sometimes. If Norway goes for one of the songs I really like then I’m just going to pretend to be Norwegian again in Vienna.

  • It’s times like this that I wish that the contest would move to ITV so SyCo could take care of the National Final. It’d also give us another massive betting opportunity.

  • Ben Cook

    I think any UK broadcaster would put this in the national final and the public would vote for it though.

    I can’t decide whether it’s genius or a disaster but I do like it. At least it’s not a ballad!! I won’t be putting any money on it though.

  • eurovicious

    It’s Doop 2K15 and I love it and want to have its babies. It’s an outside-the-box stroke of genius and exactly what the UK should be sending from the perspective of continental Europe. It has a narrative and built-in chemistry, flirtatiousness and fun which will very easily lend itself to an engaging performance with strong visual storytelling. And I’m the first to say when I think something won’t travel due to being too specialised in genre (eg. my previous years’ comments about why I thought Eastern Europe wouldn’t go for Cliche Love Song and why Mižerja wouldn’t get a Balkan vote) but I absolutely think this will. Most of all: Europe is in a bad f*****g way right now. We’re falling apart at the seams, the dream is dying, good old Europe is dying (http://youtu.be/Jgi-RriOSFY) – Greece and ISIS to the south of us, Putin to the right, and we’re stuck in the middle with Eurovision. This song is an injection of old-time European joie de vivre that allows viewers a moment of nostalgia for a Europe past, both real and imagined. It’s roaring twenties, it’s Weimar, it lets us inhabit perceived better times and take solace in an era of charm, class and charleston, when songs had a tune, women were women, and men blew trumpets and were into scat. It’s very immediate and easily digestible, very melodic, very rhythmic, and very catchy and infectious in a year – an era, no less – when that’s exactly what’s missing from the contest. It harks back to Eurovision’s 1950s roots, but also to the more recent pre-jury era when upbeat entries dominated, yet is still incredibly jury-friendly. It has an outstandingly strong USP that’s credible and not a gimmick. It out-chemistries Estonia and Lithuania – it blows a cheery kiss goodbye to Goodbye To Yesterday and tells Vaidas it won’t be this time. It’s the one to beat – given an engaging and dynamic performance and staging, which should come readily given BBC competence (not a given): camerawork and dynamism are crucial, as are the two flirting with each other and the camera; it needs to be gesamtkunst, theatre, a skit.

    It’s the creme brulee in Farmfoods.

    • They said the Red part of Eurovision wouldn’t go for a bearded trannie, they also said Europe wouldn’t vote for a country song. And I was convinced Molly was going to get us a Top Ten finish. I suppose I shouldn’t write it off.

      • Yeah. I said pre-contest last year in a comment on here that Eastern European televotes would support Conchita but juries less so, which is what happened. I also thought Molly would do very well mind. And when it comes to country songs, I think it can easily either travel or not travel and that that depends on a whole host of factors relating both to the type of country song as well as over and above the genre.

      • Chris Bellis

        James – “They” said some very strange things. I posted at the time that I’d been to a Country festival in Moscow and that St P and Moscow were full of gay bars, and that people who vote for Eurovision are unlikely to give a toss about what Putin thinks. I’ve actually spent time there. I’ve also said never under-rate Sweden nor over -rate UK. Advice stands.

    • Ben Cook

      Nice post. It’s getting an extremely negative response though isn’t it? Not looking forward to the next 2 months of fan fights.

      • I only just looked on Twitter after writing my comment. I cannot believe the fandom sometimes. When assessing its chances, do bear in mind the geographical (UK) and fandom nature of the backlash – Eurovision fans on social media are absolutely not reflective of ordinary Europeans voting on the night and in many cases will have the opposite opinions. Why? A lot of eurofans are regrettably obsessed with their passion being taken “seriously” and being “credible”. Whereas your average viewer watches it for entertainment and wants babushka, Lordi and Conchita – alongside good music and engaging chemistry like Common Linnets (also not beloved by the main body of fans by any means until it gained traction in contest week) and Running Scared (notoriously disliked by the main body of fans). Fans’ obsession with the contest being taken seriously is such that a few years back, an ESC Today poll (when it was the leading fansite, before Wiwibloggs) to determine the best Eurovision song of the 2000s – voted in by thousands of fans – was won by Is It True. Your average casual fan or casual viewer – vastly greater in number than the hardcore fanbase active online – likely couldn’t even name Is It True and would probably have said Verka or Lordi or Ruslana or Olsen Bros.

        The consensus of Eurovision fans has been complaining for 2 months about how bland, uninspiring, unmemorable and downbeat the bulk of songs this year are – then when something incredibly catchy, melodic and rhythmic comes along, most members of this same consensus collectively throw their teddy out of the pram because it’s supposedly not credible. Because it dares to be unashamedly fun, the way the contest used to be. I’d also like to pull in here how strongly Cezar’s entry was disparaged and hated in the fan community in 2013 before going on to win the televote in its tough semi. The almost entirely negative fan reaction towards LT United in 2006 before it scored Lithuania’s best ever result. A similar case with Alf Poier in 2003. The majority of fans seem to quite strongly and vocally dislike the type of songs that casual viewers and Eurovision party guests – who hugely outnumber them – love and expect from the contest, and vote for. Finally I’d add many of the vocal younger fans active online haven’t followed the contest or its national finals prior to 2010 (generous estimate – in many cases it’s even 2012 or 2013) so come to the contest and its NFs with entirely different expectations, having only known the post-2010 era of infinite blandness and balladry. Thus the reaction (in addition to their not having remotely broad musical palates and taking the contest too seriously when it should be fun). They need an injection of Sing Little Birdie, stat.

        • EV, I think you’ve made one or two valid points but with all due respect, they are buried under an awful lot of personal idealism. I’m not saying you’re talking rubbish at all, but in my view, I think that you have not made a case for the UK doing well or sending an appropriate entry. You have however inadvertently made an excellent case for Italy not winning.

          • Chris Bellis

            Ben My thoughts exactly and already acted upon. Italy is wildly over-rated. The UK’s entry is not far off Scooch Mark 2. If Caro Emerald performed it (after all it’s a dead steal from her act), I’d be batting for it. This act is no Caro Emerald I’m afraid.

          • If Caro Emerald were performing it you’d be batting for it – and yet this is a *song* contest, and the singers appear to be well up to the task vocally and performance-wise. Ah, but Caro Emerald is well-known and considered “credible”, no?

        • SirMills

          Yeah! Have listened and watch this 20 times in a row and I just love it. Maybe I can appreciate this cause I’m not British.

          Against this years field the potential is definitely there.
          It’s always hard to rate the chances of a song based up on a well produced video but If they manage put up a stage show anywhere near the quality of it they can go very, very far. I will remain doubtful of a good British staging though but I’m looking forward to see it and will have UK green in my book.

          Their acting is just soo good they fit their roles perfectly I would like to see their movie if there was one.

      • Commenting here because 140 characters to express yourself fully is a thankless task. I’ll admit I was waiting for the UK entry with a sense of complete dread like I usually do, but having heard the song I am in a far better mood and would go almost as far as rating it as highly as Slovenia and Lithuania.

        This entry seems almost engineered to cut through the bland dross being offered up by several countries this year – off the top of my head Greece, France and Hungary in particular. The violin hook is a very easy sell for viewers, as is the carefree attitude that the singers serve up. If the video is anything to go by, there is a strong visual and interaction-based element to Still in Love with You, this is pleasing for two reasons. The first is that while Molly’s song was perfectly fine, there was very little charisma and personality on stage in what was a static performance. Most importantly, the BBC has picked up on the visual nature of Copenhagen that elevated some songs and buried others. That’s progression, and it’s terribly disappointing that many UK fans have utterly failed to recognise this.

        Let’s be clear as to why as well. UK fans in general are notorious for wanting ready-made, insta-top-five hits to be somehow transported from (either the) UK charts and The Voice/X-Factor, and believe they’ll slot in seamlessly to the competition. This view has been created by the poor run that the UK has had in the competition, and for older fans, the success that Jessica Garlick had in 2002. It fails to recognise casual viewership (you don’t win votes simply because you’re famous) and the development of the contest in terms of staging, USPs etc (for a guide, see the article and comments on semiotics and Eurovision). Online ESC fans also have a pretty clear agenda against the BBC, some who openly advocate for ITV to take it over (or the thoughtless, catch-all “we need an open selection” of which I supported for many years). Neither guarantees success. There’s also a strong current who are regarding Electro Velvet as being a novelty act. Firstly, they’re not – there’s a big difference between novelty and kitsch – and secondly, this is barking up the wrong tree. UK novelty entries have plummeted in ESC because there’s nothing likeable about them: Daz Sampson was brash and arrogant; while anyone outside of British student union crowds saw Scooch as annoying and oddly sterile. EV are neither of these: there is some real warmth there and personality which coupled with an old-school song structure with hyper-modern bits gives it the USP and a package.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if this does serious damage in the competition this year, with the general consensus being that this year is not shaping up like the last. If the UK hits the heady heights of the top ten let’s see how these online fan opinion changes with regards to the BBC’s approach.

  • Chris Bellis

    Let’s wait for the live version shall we? After all, what could go wrong with an act comprising performers from a Rolling Stones tribute act (“Rolling Clones”) and a female singer rejected by “The Voice”? The video is live, and will reflect the actual performance, no? No. This makes last year’s selection seem inspired. I am straight onto Betfair while people are still saying positive things about it. Not to back it to win obviously.

  • Henry VIII

    Great posts Eurovicious. I love it too and am also surprised by the reaction from the supposedly ballad weary fandom.

    • Half the fandom needs a sandpaper handjob. The level of entitlement is ridiculous. And as someone just pointed out to me, the fun upbeat electro-swing song in Belarus’s NF (Muzzart) was really popular among online fans, with a lot of complaints when it didn’t win. Something very similar gets picked for the UK and there’s outrage. A couple of other people have also pointed out that the fact it’s the UK very much colours the nature of the reaction – people probably would be happy if Belarus or Slovakia or somewhere had picked this. But it’s not a song or genre that’s perceived by young British fans raised on FM radio and music TV as being British music. Everyone would probably rather have Ellie F*****g Goulding or something that “reflects the best of the British music industry”.

  • Boki

    Hi Daniel, one question about the voting system: is it confirmed that the jury ranking from first to last will remain?

  • dicksbits

    I’d be extremely extremely surprised if the UK entry makes it out of the bottom 5. Most of this is very true:

    http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/mar/07/uks-eurovision-2015-entry-we-know-we-wont-win-so-we-havent-really-bothered

    • If you’re paying attention to Stuart Heritage’s opinion on anything, you’ve already lost. Really poor man’s Charlie Brooker with 1/10th of the wit and incisiveness.

      • Chris Bellis

        As a general rule I would agree. Ditto Neil McCormick. But on this one, I think they may have a point. Let’s see how it pans out. The more sofabet regulars praise it, the better the prices I’m going to get. I was called unpatriotic last year for saying Molly’s entry was a pile of crap (on another board I hasten to say) and it turned out “Europe” agreed with me. This year I must be careful not to let my gut feeling get in the way of sensible betting.

  • Michael Jaker

    Enjoying your analysis. Although I must ask, have you considered that maybe people are heavily criticising the UK entry because they genuinely hate it as a piece of music? Maybe they were hoping for something better produced (those synths sound like a grandpa trying to get Garageband to work)? Or something more contemporary (like most of the Top 5 in recent years)? Or maybe something Brits could be proud of, showcasing a fine song and an experienced singer? Regardless of ‘warmth’ from the performers, let’s be clear, this IS a novelty entry. By any definition. Just look up DOOP and see what kind of lists it appears on.

  • Ok, I’ll try to add my own thoughts on the UK entry in a bit more detail, although I struggle to find a lot to say.

    It is very unexpected, highly unusual, camp, kitsch, theatrical, very Strictly, very BBC. It doesn’t excite or inspire the feeling that we’re properly competing. I do agree with EV’s sentiment on Twitter that fans are a little too narrow minded to complain about the ballads and then spit in the face of a bit of fun, but fun is a very subjective word. Some people find mosh pits and night clubs fun, but you can’t serve that up to the old biddies in the nursing home and judge them for not being too keen on it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting your country’s song to be credible, and I’m not going to put that word in quotation marks because it’s not a dirty word. Especially when it comes from the UK, one of the largest global music markets in the world and a hotbed of talent. To reject something like this as the UK’s entry probably is an entitled sentiment but I argue that it’s totally justified. The UK can do better and so it damn well should. With all due respect to the musical talent of Ukraine and Romania, we are not Ukraine and Romania. They can get away with sending a song like this because they need to find a creative way to stand out in a competition. They don’t have the international interest and investment to create internationally appealing pop music unless via ironic humour or simple “viral” accident. K-Pop, for example, would never have found its way into an increased niche western crowd if the ironic, outlandish humour of Gangnam Style was the best thing the country ever came up with. The West was pleasantly surprised to find tonnes more Korean pop that was current and trendy, that marketers offered to them off the back of PSY’s success. Sure, great music exists in small markets on more indie levels, Eesti Laul proves that, but nevertheless, there is a hierarchy to this world and that’s the reality.

    I feel that this song is a step backwards for Guy Freeman’s approach, it is not to my taste, and I’m not a Eurovision purist. I have a highly eclectic taste in music, most of which would be as equally unfathomable as Eurovision entries as PKN are. Despite that, though, I do look for a certain level of imagination, quality and production invested into the music I consume, and this UK entry does not have it. This is music purely for television on absolutely every level. This is not a musical act that will have any future in the UK or Europe, this is a one hit(?) wonder gimmick by every measure and is not, in my view, a worthy contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest. Even Denmark’s bland entry is far more relevant than this.

    If we end up surprised in the final and get a decent score, that’s fine, but this is not the way we should be going about doing so. We should be sending more acts who actually know who they are and what they have to offer, independent from the BBC. Alex and Bianca clearly barely know each other and will inevitably go their separate ways after Eurovision, so I think this is a misguided strategy to score some points and will do nothing to improve the contest’s reputation in this country.

    The fiddle sticks in the head, I’ll give it that.

    • No, we aren’t Ukraine and Romania. We pour out Adele and Mumfords and Ed Sheeran (I really like Adele and Ed Sheeran) and all this hand-wringing post-happiness gubbins, while the DJs, songwriters and producers of much of eastern and southeast Europe (certainly Ukraine and Romania) unabashedly put out high volumes of incredibly well-crafted pop and dance that fills clubs and garners artists hundreds of thousands of fans on a domestic and regional level.

      The difference in mentality is one touched on by Elena Gheorghe in 2009. When life is simple and you don’t have much – but you still live in a working-class society that has a real sense of community and where people know their neighbours – you want music that brings you together with other people, that makes you happy and that you can go out and party too. Hell, those parts of Europe are so *backward* that they just love a good tune set to a good beat – they haven’t realised that a song’s quality is actually determined by its branding, its pretentions to sophistication, its class-appropriateness and what their peers think of it. In atomised middle-class Western Europe, where people live in tiny nuclear units, are not gregarious or are uncomfortable with others (cf. Kate Fox’s “Watching The English”) and don’t know their neighbours because “there’s no such thing as society” anymore, they want socially approved, credible, slightly earnest, slightly melancholy music that matches their own class-image and speaks a little to the late-capitalist inner malaise they’ve learned to ignore as they drop the kids off outside primary school in their 4×4. Who needs melody and rhythm when you can listen to a nice polite song that has good table manners and drinks tea with its pinkie out?

      Something else that feeds into the reaction to the UK song: England is practically the only nation in Europe where folk/pop-folk has essentialy been wholly erased from the popular mindset. From Dutch levensliederen to German schlager, Swedish dansband, Austrian oberkrainer, Portuguese fado (featured tonight in Festival da Cancao), French chanson, Polish goral music and disco polo, Bulgarian chalga, Slovene turbopolka and Serbian turbofolk – even Irish and Scots folk and Welsh chorals – other European countries still have some level of folk culture that exists as part of popular national identity. England is truly exceptional here: folk is incredibly niche and receives almost no media time, and also doesn’t exist in a “modernised” form for younger audiences (compare Sieneke’s huge Dutch chart success, the success of Atomik Harmonik and DJ Ötzi in Slovenia and Austria respectively, and Beatrice Egli winning Pop Idol in Germany just 2 years ago with traditional German schlager, despite the show’s primarily teenage audience and voting base) – while music from the 1920s-1950s is relegated to Sunday afternoons on BBC local radio stations and the occasional slot on BBC Radio 2 & 3. Post-Beatles, we in England have entirely replaced our folk culture and heritage with pop music – our own and America’s. Being electro-swing – a genre that by virtue of its age qualifies as a folk music, a historical cultural relic, modernised for the present day – the UK song is kind of Anglo-American pop-folk. The British (as well as many suburbanised middle-class Western Europeans) don’t know how to deal with pop-folk because they either haven’t been exposed to it or they reject it as non-credible or associated with lower classes or the older generation.

      Finally, “the fiddle sticks in your head” – this is the third time tonight I’ve seen someone say the song is “catchy but not good” (direct quote from someone on Twitter). There is no difference – especially when it comes to Eurovision. “catchy but not good” means you enjoy it on an instinctive level before your cultural and class programming kicks in telling you not to like it, thereby defending your identity in the face of content that – by virtue of its sheer unsophisticatedness – threatens it by managing to briefly appeal to the vestigial you, the 9-year-old who’d love to dance to the song at a birthday party and pester your parents to buy you the single. (Patronising? Yes. I’m half-serious as usual, bear with me…)

      “We are not Ukraine and Romania. They can get away with sending a song like this” is exactly the entitlement that is a problem when the UK goes into Eurovision.

  • PurpleKylie

    After listening to it a second time and getting over the shock and bemusement it does have it’s charm, and I agree with Eurovicious that UK fans do seem to have an entitlement issue, I guess it goes with having such a big music industry. Also, my dad said it was “different”, I assume he meant it in a positive way.

    Also as someone who has been watching ESC since long before 2010, I do agree that this year has a lack of excitement, it’s like everyone is going in with a “don’t get an embarrassing result” mentality by picking all these radio-friendly songs instead of a more ambitious approach. I’ve yet to have a song this year I really love yet.

    I’ll calm down and wait for a live performance, for all we know it could turn out great live.

    And btw, as 3urovisionSam brought it up, as much as I have a problem with the BBC’s approach sometimes, I absolutely do NOT want ITV to take over, you only need to look at their treatment of Junior ESC back when we participated, although I may be biased as I’m a big ITV-hater.

  • Does a song have to follow certain normative rules to be ‘credible’, however? This point needs expanding. Eurovision is not a competition where the best, most credible song wins – but the song which motivates people to pick up the phones and juries from waking up every once in a while. A song can be credible, a song can also win Eurovision – there is no direct correlation. That’s before even making the argument that what is credible for British music sensibilities is not a view that dominates, as you say, the Ukrainian and Romanian music markets. The fact that these countries *have* made appealing songs in the contest without any ‘accidents’ or online moves – Ukraine’s impressive pop record – says a lot here.

    I can’t think of a more ‘credible’ act than one that has sold millions upon millions of records, but Blue were met with a lukewarm reaction in Germany whereas artists from countries which don’t feed into this hierarchy – Mika Newton, Dino Merlin, Loukas Giorcas, even Ell & Nikki – all were able to beat. Swaying your warchest around for Eurovision is all well and good, but the proof in the pudding is in the voting and in the song: Electro Velvet have marked themselves away from the pact in a field dominated by ballads. The success of leftfield artists in such a melee is clear to see by looking back at the 2006 contest. Lordi and LT United did very well, and they did very well in a televised music contest with songs “purely for television”. There’s an inconsistency here: do you want the UK to send your ‘credible’ songs with no hope of winning (for instance, like the first two years of Czech entries where these artists were revered in the country, and which didn’t travel to an international audience); or do you want a song that is “purely for television on absolutely every level” that brings serious points in?

    If there’s a hierarchy to this world then it appears that Eurovision is the great equaliser.

    • I agree that Eurovision is the great equaliser. That is something that the mass British public absolutely fails to recognise, but look at how many countries enlist Swedish help nowadays. The UK should be bold, but we should be sending something that will continue its life beyond the competition and do well on its own merits. I’m not asking for Ellie Goulding, Olly Murs, Adele or One Direction. I don’t really care for any of these artists. I just want us to get a good score without desperately pandering to the shit for brains light entertainment crowd.

      • And thus you reveal the class basis underlying your reaction. The song is too common for you. Amazing.

        • Did you not react similarly to Jon Henrik Fjallgren’s song?

          • My concern with it is its inauthenticity.

          • The UK entry is no different, in my opinion. I know what a guilty pleasure is and I have many of them. I like folk and world music. I don’t like this. That doesn’t make me an entitled classist, and I would rather not have other people’s gripes with society at large be projected onto me.

          • Fine, I’ll project a maroon Serbian folk pattern onto you instead – then two beefcakes can rip it off…

            Going from “desperately pandering to the shit for brains light entertainment crowd” to “I don’t like this. That doesn’t make me an entitled classist” is quite the achievement…

          • I stand by that statement. If I want to listen to roaring 20’s, I’ll listen to George Formby. If I want to go dancing with fun traditional music, I’ll be quite happy with Thomai Apergi’s entry into this year’s Greek NF. If it pleases the jury, you can even go on YouTube and watch me dancing like an idiot to Right Said Fred with my dear fellow Sonic the Hedgehog fans,
            http://youtu.be/mERQ_F5aRxA?t=12m56s
            But this UK entry is, in my opinion, complete tosh, and I believe that it’s aimed at a crowd who want a cheap laugh. Doesn’t mean I’m going to actively go around trolling and hating on it. Live and let live.

      • george

        I think the snobbery is with the people at the BBC who chose the song. We send novelty cheesy shite because apparently that’s what eurovision is about – those crazy wacky foreigners who don’t understand “proper “pop” music”. That’s the mentality the BBC still pushes with it’s sneering knowing commentary from Wogan or Norton. Other countries send incredibly accomplished, original and innovative artists.

        Our entry this year is aimed at middle england strictly come dancing viewers who want a good laugh at eurovision – they are the snobs. And it’s snobbery to suggest working class people like shit music.

        • Chris Bellis

          george – apposite comment. And to EV who said that my comment re Caro Emerald ignored the fact that this is a “song” contest – it has never been just a song contest. If I see this concocted act perform live one half as well as Caro Emerald (I’ve seen her act a couple of times) then I will eat my words. We’re judging this on an over-produced video. It will be a very different story on the night. I repeat, a performance from a Voice reject and a Rolling Stones tribute act – what could go wrong?

          • There’s a lot of snobbery towards musicians who work on cruise ships or in tribute bands – not everyone can be a star or have indie cred when there’s bills to pay, and it’s a privilege to be able to make a living out of your music when the majority of musicians and even people who’ve studied music and have qualifications in it can’t. Someone in a tribute band or singing on a cruise ship has succeeded in their career. Stardom is not the reality of working in music.

            The Voice in its UK incarnation is an irrelevant format – all the winners have sunk without trace. I doubt the UK Voice judges would have turned round for Ell and Nikki, Lena or Rybak. They didn’t turn around for Kerry Ellis. I agree it’s not just a song contest, though the song still counts for a tremendous amount (Conchita wouldn’t have won with That’s What I Am) and yeah, the video is busy and overproduced, we haven’t seen a live performance yet – and the guy’s voice sounds a little weak and rough in the studio version. If he can make his vocals more rounded and perform his sections as humorous, peppy sprechgesang on the night, we’re there.

            Our entry isn’t “for people who want a good laugh at Eurovision”. It’s entertainment. It’s class. And if it were for people who want a laugh, what would be the problem? Electro Velvet may be a million miles from Alf Poier or LT United or Wadde hadde dudde da, but I’d welcome a British entry along the lines of those. What’s wrong with poking a bit of fun at Eurovision? Eurovision IS fun – and if it’s so fragile that it can’t be gently and good-naturedly ribbed, and that its supposed fans react with churlish vitriol to entries with the merest hint of jokiness or larks (as touched on here by Paul Jordan: http://www.dreurovision.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/some-thoughts-on-uk-entry-for-2015.html) – it’s in even worse shape than I thought. I’m ashamed of the reaction to the UK song. Memorable fun entries are part of what make this contest what it is, what give it its unique tone and character – from Volare, Sing Little Birdie, Schmetterlinge and Telex to Lordi, Verka, Wolves Of The Sea and Pollapönk. (I’ve written before about fans in Athens booing LT United and Silvia Night so loudly it was audible on television.) Yet many of today’s fans seem to resent the presence of even one of these types of lighthearted songs that take the contest a little less seriously. Which is why we now have more blandly competent yet entirely forgettable entries than I have digits. Lighthearted, fun or satirical entries give Eurovision its diversity – diversity that, despite Conchita’s victory last year, we’ve lost greatly in the contest since 2010 and are in real danger of losing altogether.

          • george

            sure, if we’re gonna do a 20’s style entry why not send someone good like Caro Emerald, other countries would. It would be great exposure for Caro, millions of people would see her for the first time and she’d probably sell a ton of records.

            it doesn’t matter if we win or not or even how many points we get let’s respect the other artists and make a good effort.

            I thought last year was great, ok we didn’t do very well on the night but it was a good effort by someone who wanted to be there.

          • george

            eurovicious, i am neither as verbose or articulate as you but I will try to present my argument as clearly as I can.

            our entry this year is BBC middle england wanker cunt shit 🙂

  • The term ‘guilty pleasure’ is almost always used to convey something you like which is open to judgement and ridicule – and often refers to mass-appeal novelty pop and the like. The idea of calling it this and not just ‘pleasure’ is heavily based on upbringing, dominant societal narratives, and yes, class. So it’s kind of proved the point here.

  • I’m in the camp that says credible isn’t a dirty word. Just over a week ago, we had the Brit awards. They’re always a big deal because British music is supposedly so great. Yet, we don’t send out big stars to compete on the world stage. The BBC attitude to Eurovision is analogous to Roy Hodgson sending a team of Sunday League players to the World Cup. To not send Ellie Goulding or Ed Sheeran is like leaving Danny Welbeck or Theo Walcott at home. Also, if someone who Heart play at least 3 times an hour got sent, the likes of Heart would, er, play it at least 3 times an hour. And that would help create the shift in attitude to the ESC that we desperately need in the UK.

    • None of the past 5 years’ winners were established successful artists. They were all either complete newcomes (Lena, Ell/Nikki, Emmelie de Forest) or relative newcomers on the outside edge of success for whom Eurovision was their big breakthrough (Loreen and Conchita, both with an Idol participation under their belt several years previously but having failed to break the music market since). The only brand that counts is the brand you present in those 3 minutes. The BBC could easily send Ellie Goulding and her barely scrape the top 10. Look at what happened when Germany sent its biggest contemporary girlband who’d sold millions of records across German-speaking and Central and Eastern Europe. They disappeared. It’s a contest for newcomers – it makes stars.

  • Henry VIII

    3urovisionSam has got you there Ben 😉 You see the song isn’t “desperately pandering to the shit for brains light entertainment crowd” – it’s original and has great musicality. Whatever crowd it is Electro Velvet serves them better than some tired Ellie Goulding or Sam Smith pretentiousness would.

    I think the video put many people off the whole thing. I like the video but it may have created associations of Scooch type bubblegum, hence all the comments “we’re [UK] not trying”. It’s very chaotic but the stage show will have to be less chaotic and may change perceptions. Imagine if last year all people knew of “Hunter of Stars” was a chaotic video. It would give a different impression. And then imagine an Electro Velvet “Still In Love With You” stage presentation with decent emphasis on the instruments and more of the one to one fun couple in love interaction.

  • Keley Ann

    Regardless of what you think of the song itself, the main problem I can see with the UK entry is that the guy seems to have no charisma at all, he seems very awkward and unsure of what to do with himself in the video.

    • Chris Bellis

      I’ve listened to it a few times now and I rate it as mediocre at best. They’ll have to perform very well live to bring it into the top ten. Look back over the years at all the positive comments on here and other sites re the UK entries, and all the negative comments about the Swedish entries. I’m not OCD enough to do the count, but sensible betters will get my drift. But by all means talk up the UK entry, and put plenty of money on it, but please do it on Betfair exchange. I’m struggling at the moment. My mother-in-law likes the UK entry, and she’s usually a reliable indicator of what isn’t going to win.

  • Boki

    I think that you guys from UK are often going to the extreme, either ‘omg we have a winner’ or ‘omg this shit ends up last’. This entry looks neither to me, it might stand out positively in a see of ballads but the retro vibe isn’t usually too appreciated while the guy just irritates me. Stage presentation will be the key but I don’t expect a major result.

  • Daniel,

    Very interesting to read about your lays of Finland. I have a general question on the strategy of laying single (or a couple of) entries perceived as overrated: what do you do if the market never comes around to your view, before the night?

    I’ve had similar lays before, that I’ve either having had to let run (with mediocre ROI as these outright lays tie up plenty of capital over both semis and the final), or buy them back at a loss to be able to invest in more lucrative prospects. Even if the end result for the song is the expected one, it’s of little help. How do you act in scenarios like these?

  • Curtis

    Regardless of stance on like/dislike of song surely it’s pretty clear that the UK will continue to not win this year. Where they do finish depends on how far you think a catchy fiddle hook can take you.

    • OK, point made. And I guess you have to accept that thanks to Conchita Wurst, novelty is back in. As for going to extremes, that’s unfortunately the case. Jessica Garlick to Jemini. Jade Ewen to Josh Dubrovie. Molly to Electro Velvet.

      • Conchita isn’t novelty – it was a Skyfall-esque ballad seriously performed by a highly able singer with classy presentation, with lyrics touching on confidence, exclusion and empowerment. If her song and presentation *had* been camp novelty like DQ or Verka she wouldn’t have won ESC or been able to win the jury vote.

        • Ben Cook

          I doubt it would’ve won had Nadine Beiler been singing it though (even though it is undeniably a good song).

          • That’s my point. It won because it was sung by a bearded drag queen.

            However, I watched that back this afternoon after playing Electro Velvet to my mother (who thinks it’s our best effort since Jade) and I can see how Wurst resonated with the LGBT audience, which is a huge proportion of the diehard fan base at the ESC. Particularly in those less-liberal “red” areas.

            Also, daft as it sounds, having seen someone I massively admire in the radio industry become a woman and how they have spoken so openly about now being the “real” them the lyrics now make total sense. I’m going to blog about all of this later.

  • Ron

    I truly don’t understand the Brits. Over the last couple of years you chose songs that were clearly not good enough and higly overrated it. Now you have a catchy charming tune which in fact might do quite well, but most seem dissapionted. Why? Does Eurovision ask for something special? If so, what’s makes a song special for ESC, apart from many people liking it?
    BBC obviously learned from acts like Common Linnets and finaly selected a song that stands on its own. This act won’t drown in the sea of powerbalads that overflowes ESC every year. Be happy with it, work on a spectacular staging, and wait what will happen in may.

  • Daniel

    Hi squall, and good question. I always make these lays in the expectation that I will let them run all the way. I bear that in mind when deciding how much of my capital to tie up in them.

    I used to worry more that this would affect my ROI. But in the last few years, I’ve had the opposite issue – getting all of my betting bank involved. Poorer liquidity on Betfair – particularly in the semis – means that I’ve had plenty to spare.

    In the circumstances, I figure a 15% return is better than a decent part of my pot ending up dormant throughout as it has in 2013-2014.

  • Because now is as good a time for this as any – 5 fab 1920s-1940s-style tracks from recent NFs:

    Herr Tischbein – Sympathie (Austria 2011)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5g7LdWUhmo

    Olya Polyakova – Lepestok (Ukraine 2012)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju0T7wlQFUI

    Feminnem – Navika (Croatia 2007)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky20M2_qWGk

    Chicas del Coro – Men Men Men (Norway 2009)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6MEGXnMFTc

    Swing Mamas – Trio Tulipan (Croatia 2010)

  • Ron

    BTW George please don’t forget Caro Emerald is Dutch and has sold tons of records all over Europe allready. In the Dutch press she gets mentioned as a suitable Eurovision entrant every single year.

    • Chris Bellis

      George didn’t mention Caro Emerald – it was I. If this act can be one half as good with their pastiche of a Caro Emerald song as The lady herself, good luck to you. Only it ain’t gonna happen….

      • Ron

        Chris, I did refer to George. He wrote: if we’re gonna do a 20′s style entry why not send someone good like Caro Emerald, other countries would. It would be great exposure for Caro, millions of people would see her for the first time and she’d probably sell a ton of records.

        • george

          i’d never heard her before today

        • Chris Bellis

          Ron – some confusion here – must be a different George/george. No matter – the point stands that the UK is derivative and could only do well with a top performer like Caro Emerald or Paloma Faith.

          • This is exactly the revisionist attitude I wrote about earlier, and a complete fantasy. “Top performers” transplanted from domestic charts into Eurovision based on one market taste, does not win contests. Viewers in Yerevan and Minsk do not care one jot about a name that is big in Britain and a ‘credible’ ‘top performer’ in the eyes of middle class British people. This ‘we need Paloma Faith’ argument is hashed and re-hashed every year. Can it finally be put to rest?

  • Seronie

    The UK entry is a duo/duet who so far have presented the music video version of their song and the vocals already sound dubious. Especially Alex’s. This isn’t a good sign.

    The singers’ credentials have been called into question (re; The Voice and ‘The Rolling Clones), and AGAIN for a UK entry it’s all very old-fashioned and not representative of a thriving, diverse musical scene.

    It’s relative cheapness compared to the efforts of other nations and the wacky, glib delivery also give the impression of a National Selection that isn’t really taking it seriously. A bit of fun.

    Going by all this, the UK fans’ reaction is understandable.

    For me – it lacks a memorable chorus and the singer’s vocals are as yet unproven. It’s very wordy and quick and I fear these noobs won’t be able to project and enunciate and so on.

    However the red button reveal is always going to cause a grumble as it makes an entry seem even more rushed and apologetic. A strong vocal and a fun, immediate staging is not impossible.

    With that we’re looking at a high teen finish, but that’s at best.

    • Never liked the RB launches. A launch on tonight’s One Show would have worked a lot better… but they’d almost certainly have to lip-sync and ultimately that wouldn’t have gone down much better.

  • Emre

    Guys, anyone loaded on MelFest? Picked Mans to win for 2k. Expecting Sweden odds to drop in Eurovision also.

  • PurpleKylie

    The running order for Norway has been released: http://www.nrk.no/mgp/se-hvilket-startnummer-din-mgp-favoritt-har-1.12245201

    Happy that two of my favourites got #9 and #11

    • Chris Bellis

      Nice one James. It’s amazing how people on this site who generally talk sense appear to like this car crash, even before they’ve heard them sing it live. That’s contravening the first law of sensible gambling – know what you’re betting on, unless the price is unmissable. Which it isn’t by the way.

      • It’s obviously the reverse of what happened last year when the live version was the premiere and I had a nightmare trying to get hold of a studio version to play on the expat radio station I remote voice-track afternoons for, which obviously hasn’t been an issue this time round!

        Now the studio version has grown on me after multiple listens – it’s not that different to the stuff Mika was putting out in the late 00’s and commercial radio loved his records – but until I’ve heard it live I can’t pass a true judgement. Also, someobody’s took the time to do the above mashup (quite literally a “mash” up!) – so they must have liked it enough to do that!

  • Emre

    Guys, what you think about Italy? Overrated like hell. I keep laying it.

  • One issue I will raise regarding the UK song – which works for or against it, depending on your perspective – is the lack of an “overcoming darkness”/”triumph over adversity” theme in the lyrics or music (or even any darkness at all), something arguably present in every winner since Molitva with the exception of Satellite. (Even “Running Scared” and “Only Teardrops” had this, as the titles betray; while Fairytale was about unrequited love) The UK song is relentlessly upbeat and I don’t think there’s a minor chord in the thing (this applies to Lithuania too); while there’s plenty of interaction and flirtatiousness built in, the tone is comedy not drama, which I guess is why people are perceiving it as novelty.

  • Boki

    Guys, forget about UK and the rest for a moment, tomorrow will finally bring us the 2015 winner. No it’s not Czech entry but the other one presented at 10:30 with current odds of 80.

  • Emre

    Boki, you say Belgium? Hmmm, we’ll see about that 😀

    By the way, anyone noticed the dramatical odd drop in Australia? It dropped from 30 to 15. Interesting. But Sebastian’s song is not declared yet. What’s the reason of line movement? Interesting. Pinnacle also added Australia as 15/1.

  • Emre

    Guys, do you know when Guy Sebastian’s song will be declared?

    • Henry VIII

      No date given yet.

      Apparently an Australian radio station (Joy 94.9 that had previously announced the press conference date before SBS themselves) have said that ‘Alive’ is the chosen song. Also apparently there is a version of Alive that has been professionally cut to 3 mins but it may just be a fan.

      • Sagand

        There’s also footage of Alive being performed last April making it ineligible.

        • Henry VIII

          It was released 18 November 2014 making it eligible.

          It’s not much cop anyway.

          Sebastian says he wants to do a ballad because ESC will be full of upbeat numbers [head in hands].

        • Tom Ato

          Alive hasn’t been relased as a single so it is eligible for selection.Going off his interview where he said it could be an ‘epic ballad’ off his album I think The Pause would be the stand out choice.
          Alive has the “overcoming darkness”/”triumph over adversity” factor mentioned by Eurovicious but it’s too vanilla.

          • Henry VIII

            You could buy Alive, on its own as a single track, from 18 November 2014 though. Like with all the tracks on Madness.

            I accept it wasn’t “officially released” as a single. So how does a song qualify as such?

          • Sagand

            Yeah, my mistake I thought the rule was it couldn’t be publicly available before September when in fact it can’t be commercially available. Alive would have to be approved by the Executive Supervisor but that wouldn’t be much of a hurdle.

  • Here’s Beauty Never Lies, the English version of Serbia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W37MnBEcuSU

    Lyrics: http://eurosong.hr/predstavljena-engleska-verzija-pjesme-srpske-predstavnice/

    Great blog post by Phil Dore this evening about whether Eurovision 2015 could do for disability what 2014 did for gender identity: https://notsobigsociety.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/on-the-eurovision-song-contest-and-disability/ Right now we have PKN with the protest song about how learning-disabled people are treated, Eurovision’s first ever singer in a wheelchair (to my knowledge) for Poland, the UK sending a singer with cystic fibrosis, and Serbia’s fat empowerment anthem (morbid obesity is a disability according to the European Court of Justice), another contest first as far as I’m aware. Issues and tissues folks!

    • Added to which we have Don’t Deny and Wars For Nothing. Plus the Czech song about my love life, Hope Never Dies. It’s Issuevision y’all. Assuming both qualify, they’re gonna have to be careful with the running order in the final so that Trijntje isn’t straight after Poland (joke stolen from @euro_pete). At least the genocide song is Armenia not Israel though, or would be totes awks if Ann-Sophie then had to sing Black Smoke straight after it.

    • Oh, and this just in, accompanying Romania’s video on the official Eurovision Youtube channel:

      “Voltaj is a very popular band in their home country, with millions of fans, and their song De la capăt has a serious theme: The loneliness of children. ‘The Eurovision Song Contest has an extremely big visibility, which of course helps the theme of our song and the campaign behind it’, frontman Călin Goia explains. “Last year’s contest has shown that songs with a serious social message have done extremely well – Conchita Wurst won for Austria, and the Hungarian song also reached the fourth place [sic]’, he adds.”

  • Having put sufficient distance between myself and Latvia again, I don’t think it’ll do that well. The chorus and middle-eight/breakdown/climax have their strengths but I don’t think it quite works as a package and I think people will find the sense of discordance and the stridency offputting.

  • PurpleKylie

    Revamped version of Malta here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wevxW3l_tkg

    The new version is a complete mess, if it wasn’t Malta with their obvious jury help I’d have it down as a NQ

    • I dunno, listening to this for the first time since the night it won, it sounds so much better than most if not all of the female ballads that have been picked since. Spain is my favourite female ballad and Poland has more sophistication and sincerity than most of the rest, but this is the most accessible in my view and the one I think will travel best. Just needs good staging & performance. The chorus is soaring, memorable and empowering, and that’s the one area that a lot of the songs this year fail in – the chorus.

  • Belgium released snippet. Impressed? No. It doesnt sound very special.

  • With a stronger chorus the Czech song could have hit it out of the park. So much of it is so good – the tone, production, instrumentation, voices, composition etc – I really felt it was building somewhere, then what I thought was the pre-chorus turned out to have been the chorus. It needed to take things a notch higher; the chorus doesn’t deliver and the final minute doesn’t either. Still good though, certainly by this year’s standards.

  • Belgium is the male Latvia, structually and sonically – but busier and less sparse (and less emotive), which I’m not sure helps it. It’s a weird one; very much sounds/feels like a “studio” piece of music, not one that easily lends itself to live performance. I don’t think audiences or juries will get it, I’m not sure I do.

  • Boki

    Those radio rips of Belgium song have poor quality, there is no bass at all, this one is little better but still not perfect.
    https://mega.co.nz/#!zMtRzQhI!Wfh9LTBIwRhuszWbKijtHokFivtGgOvPGdNML6Yu1jQ

  • Winner will be one of those: Finland (PKN), Sweden (Mans Zelmerlow), Estonia (Goodbye to yesterday), Slovenia (Maraaya)

  • Gert

    Hello Daniel. A pretty relevant question for you regarding staging:

    Last year my article about “Influence of delegations on staging” was published: http://12points.tv/all-news/item/2593-netherlands-take-staging-seriously# . It was published on April 18th, one month before the actual contest. It helped me with my betting strategy ;-).

    How much do you take into consideration the knowledge you have about staging concepts from several delegations (before the contest starts) into your betting strategy? Because the earlier you start betting, the more money you can make, by taking staging concepts into consideration.

    For instance, I know that staging director Hans Pannecoucke, who did the cinematography/staging for last year’s Dutch entry, has been confirmed for Trijntje Oosterhuis’ entry “Walk Along”. Though I don’t think we’ll have a TOP 3 in our hands this time, it is certainly relevant information for your predictions :-).

  • Gert

    I don’t think Finland will win because it’s a gimmick in which mentally disabled guys are singing. It’s too simple.

    Not every gimmick doesn’t work. And allthough we like to address Finland 2006, Ukraine 2007, Russia 2012 and Austria 2014 as “gimmicks”, you need to have more elements to do very well on the scoreboard (TOP 3). And here again a very simple cliché argument becomes vital again: Having a good song. Not the best song, but “good enough” song.

    All of the above “gimmicks” had that, or were at least entries that had something catchy in their compositions/melodies. Finland 2015 doesn’t have that for me. I can’t see Finland going higher than 8th place in the final.

    Songs that IMO are very “instant”, have catchy repetition in the chorus (so you won’t forget it) and are unique enough are (after we’know 30 entries):
    –> Belgium (potential winner)
    –> Slovenia (potential winner without the headphones)
    –> Latvia (unique, already simple and effective staging)
    –> Estonia (“sleepy” song/staging that “awakes” us because of that)
    –> Netherlands (Azerbaijan 2011/Natalie Imbruglia)

    Also songs that could do well:
    –> Italy (perhaps tiny bit too much “pathos”)
    –> Cyprus (very cute and a moment of tranquillity)
    –> Denmark (instant and very catchy)
    –> Czech Republic (for sure first time final, charismatic couple/duet)

    What do you think Daniel?

  • I left more money on Sweden and Slovenia then Finland. Well, Finland can get a very unpredictable result. Good idea to cover it, you can never know how Europe will react to this band. Remember Lordi case.

    You’re not serious about Belgium, don’t you? It’s 55/1!
    Slovenia, I like it. Headphones and Air Violin Dancer is an important factor. They’re wearing those headphones for a reason. It’s like Conchita’s beard or like Ice Skater in Dima Bilan’s Believe. It lets you remind the song. When show is over, nobody remember the names. They say, we liked the box (Azerbaijan) or we liked the grannies. We forget names, we never forget visuals. Headphones and Air Violin Dancer are visuals but I hope they change the scene a little bit. It looks kitsch like Daniel said.
    Estonia: Nice song but Estonia’s televoting power is limited. It will end up like Netherlands Common Linnets imo.
    Italy: Overrated like hell. Won’t win. I’m laying it.
    Denmark: Very standart and common. No winning chance and Denmark win just 2 years ago.
    Czech: Boring ballad.

    What you think about laying Italy Daniel?

    • Boki

      As stated several times, Lordi won because there was no jury in that time. I find Slovenia overrated and air violin looks like disaster imo. So the one that remains on your short list…

      • Seronie

        Lordi had a ‘live’ band, strong staging, a catchy song and a well performed act. I don’t think the juries would have been harsh enough to scupper them.

  • Daniel

    Hi Gert and Emre. Gert, among your five, the one I really wouldn’t have on my possible winners’ list is the Netherlands, which I find uninspired and dull. It feels like the song has given us its meagre offerings by 1m30s and the second half is a case of waiting for it to finish.

    I’d be surprised to see Denmark and Czech Republic do particularly well too, but respect the other two songs you mention. As for Italy, the time for backing the country was when it was at double figures. I don’t have any interest in betting on it at current odds but would want it to go shorter, and wait for the 3m version, before considering laying.

    • Seductive Barry

      Hi Daniel, what do you think of comparisons between Italy 2015 and France 2011? At the time they drifted from favouritism in running after a surprisingly poor performance in the live final, but looking at the breakdown they only came 12th with the juries, and as far as I recall there was no suggestion at the time from you or anyone else that saw the dress rehearsal that Amaury gave a poor performance on the Friday. So perhaps it was a lack of appetite for opera amongst the audience and the juries rather than a poor performance that explained its disappointing placing?

    • Gert

      Hey Daniel. It wasn’t really a list of “potential winners” eh ;-).

  • Ron

    Hi Daniel and Gert, although I do realize my Nationality may very well blur my judgement, I do agree with Gert. I expect Walk Along to be staged by Hans Pannecouke like a video clip instead of a stage performance. This would make it far more interesting to watch. Also hope and expect the backing vocals to be far more present during the second half of the song in Vienna.

    The video of The Voice of Holland is not appealing at all, but was very well received, despite the annoying hand movements. The song gets good scores in various internet polls.
    I do expect the odds on Betfair to drop when rehearsals start. Since it was a very good bargain over the last weeks, I put a decent amount of my money on it. I am very urious to see if this turns out to be wishfull thinking or a wise decision.
    My main concern remains the fact the song is staged in the first half of the first semi. This semi has several countries which normaly do not vote for the Netherlands. Bless Australias participation, as they have quite a large population of Dutch decent.

    • eurovicious

      The song’s awful though. Calm After The Storm was a staging triumph but the song was good to begin with, certainly it was in my personal top 10 in advance of the contest last year. Anouk and Linnets had great entries and stood out musically and visually – Walk Along sounds like something that’d otherwise have come 6th in the Latvian NF in 2005 behind a man playing the Livonian nose flute.

      • Gert

        Hmmm, I slightly disagree. I find the song as original or unoriginal and good or bland as following entries:
        — Azerbaijan 2011
        — Azerbaijan 2013
        — Ukraine 2013
        — Netherlands 2014

        All these entries were either quite repetitive or a song from the “old Eurovision bible”.

        Azerbaijan 2011 never truly gained traction among fans. People disliked the repetitive “Oooh-ooh-ooh”. Even the vocalists were pretty lacklustre.

        Azerbaijan 2013 IMO was pretty much a Johnny Logan-ballad-by-numbers. Certainly not an artistic ballad of any sort. Also Ukraine 2013 really didn’t have a true “climax” within the song.

        And we know how Netherlands 2014 was completely ignored by fans on forums, polls and even on Sofabet.

        They key to success with the above acts were: Staging. With a capital “S”. I personally think repetitiveness of a song isn’t that much of a problem. As long as the -unoriginal- melody is uplifting enough to stick it in your head. Hence why I won quite a bit of money on betting for Netherlands last year.

        And since Hans Pannecoucke will again do the staging for Netherlands, no one should underestimate it now.

        I agree it won’t do another TOP 3 spot. But qualification is highly likely from what I know at this stage about “Walk Along”. And in the final? Probably not higher than 8th place. Perhaps 14th?

        • Yeah, I don’t think anyone’s ruling out qualification for the Netherlands, but I don’t see it troubling the top 10 in the final.

          • Gert

            And don’t worry. Now I’ve heard Russia and Belgium in full, I think it’s safe to assume that these countries all will top Netherlands at this stage:

            01 –> Sweden (doesn’t matter if Jon Henrik or Mans wins)
            02 –> Belgium
            03 –> Estonia
            04 –> Russia
            05 –> Slovenia
            06 –> Latvia
            07 –> Cyprus
            08 –> Italy
            09 –> Denmark
            And only then…perhaps:
            10 –> Netherlands

            I even think more highly of Georgia and Malta, now their final versions have been revealed.

  • Gert

    By the way, the clip of The Netherlands has just been released: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG0QoSpwvpQ . Stage director Hans Pannecoucke has worked on this clip as well. Expect a lot of copy-paste work from this clip to the actual final staging concept. Including the camera angles. The guy that’s with Trijntje also goes with her to Vienna :-).

  • Netherlands cant win fellas. Armenia also realased song. Eurgh! Awful 😀 Was expecting something better, shame on you Armenia.

  • Shai

    and here is the Israeli entry.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQNNtbdZ4Zg

    I think it’s something Turkey would have sent around 10 years ago.But the coruse is very catchy..

    • Agree. Opening great, verse great, from the chorus it’s all downhill. Devolves from Israeli Timberlake to bad mid-2000s ethnopop. Feels like a Frankenstein of two different songs, both of which would be alright on their own but not spliced as here.

    • george

      i think the Israel song is really strong but would be the first to admit I’m no expert on judging what will do well

  • Montell

    Hello, everyone. Nice to see everyone discussing about Eurovision. I recently listened to almost every contender and what I really liked is that countries who usually doesn’t do good at Eurovision picked very good songs. I like songs from Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Switzerland. I looked at bookies’ favorites and I was a little bit shocked seeing such low odds for Italy and Estonia. IMO these songs are very overrated knowing that Italy’s song is not in English, will be heard only in the final, and its shorter version is still not released. Also I doubt that operatic pop is popular enough genre to win Eurovision, Estonians song can be easily forgotten. It doesn’t have a big moment. These kind of songs need good staging if they want to achieve something. So there’s a big question if Estonians manage to do that. Third favorite in bookies list is Sweden. I saw that Måns Zelmerlöw is absolute favorite to win Melodifestivalen. I watched his performance and I said to myself – THIS IS IT. The song is very memorable and upliftig. No need to say its radio-friendly. Visuals are very nice and original. The whole performance is very thought through. This is simply the best package at Melodifestivalen and Eurovision. If Måns win (and I think he will) then Sweden should be the right favorite to win Eurovision and not Italy or Estonia. The odds for Sweden should go down.

    • george

      hard to disagree Montell

    • I don’t get why Bjorkman and SVT would want to win again so soon. It’s just not in their interests from a financial standpoint. I have faith that this will be very tightly controlled to make sure it does well but not win.

      • Boki

        If Conchita wasn’t bearded and Linnets didn’t come up with that staging Sweden would probably won last year, despite what I and many thought of Sanna’s song.
        This year’s entry looks to me as strong as Euphoria (comparing the whole package), while market is blinded with Estonian couple just as a consequence of last year’s NL success. Don’t see a financial issue for a country like Sweden, everyone likes to win but they can afford it too.

        • Yes, but Bjorkman openly stated in an interview to camera last year (I need to track this down) that he works on a trajectory. It helps maintain the Melodifestivalen brand if there’s something to work towards. It can’t be allowed to maintain this state of perfection, if you will. Bjorkman’s exact words were “you need to go down, in order to go up again.” Bjorkman deliberately serves up weaker packages gradually so that Sweden appear to enter a lull at Eurovision, in order to maintain a good TV show in Melodifestivalen.

          It might sound crazy but it’s the reality, otherwise Sweden gets complacent and bored with the whole thing. It’s probably why X Factor is starting to flop, because it’s literally the same bloody thing every year.

          Heroes is a strong package, so I can only theorise that Bjorkman is letting the veteran triers like Sanna and Mans have their moment to shine before he eventually hits the reset button, or maybe even steps down. Or maybe he’ll do a subtle hatchet job on it for Vienna.

          • Boki

            He could try to push JHF (who would flop on ESC imo) but he’s not doing it. They already went down in 2013 so I’m not buying that trajectory thing, unless maybe the trajectory is periodic like 3,1,14,3,? 🙂

      • Uhm…..sorry….but I don’t believe in such nonsense really :-). I had the opportunity to talk to Mr Björkmann myself. He comes across as someone who is very passionate about Eurovision. The man, with help of the steering group, changed the Eurovision format IMO for the better. And mind you….some more changes are to come to make the voting procedure more interesting.

        Regarding “not winning because of finances”. In ALL my life I’ve never seen such an approach at Eurovision, especially not among the creative forces behind an act. And you forget one important element why countries actually want to win: Passionate pride for your country and Competitive spirit.

    • Henry VIII

      Great prediction Montell, the odds are plunging already. In fact it maybe your post that started it.

  • Tom Ato

    I think the UK will stand out amoungst the acts this year and get in the top 10.

    Also does anyone think that Spain are overpriced, they are 130-1 right now on Betfair. They have a strong, epic song and a very good looking and likeable artist in Edurne. I’ve been curious to know how well she can sing this song live and I’ve just found a small clip that suggests she can pull off a strong vocal performance.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlGSHo9nadg

    This song has bags of potential for staging, and if the production is right I think it can be a contender.

  • Tom Ato

    Guy Sebastian hinting earlier today at a new song for Eurovision?

    https://instagram.com/p/0KYV6EBA3y/

    I sure hope so, none of the songs on his Madness album are potential Eurovision winners.

  • Let’s go Sweden! I got some risk on Slovenia, Estonia and Finland too but majority of my risk is on Sweden. The animation show is great, song is catchy, televoting power is great. What you need else for a winner?

  • My thoughts on Mans… compared to other songs with very memorable staging gimmicks (Azerbaijan 2013, Ukraine 2011), it lacks the live performance element – it’s a too-polished, too-perfect guy performing over-rehearsed dance moves in front of a pre-recorded video backdrop. That’s not even addressing the question of whether it’ll be reproducible in Vienna. The song is B-rate country-EDM, a genre that peaked 2 years ago (Avicii’s Hey Brother and Wake Me Up, and Kesha’s Timber, were all 2013 – and all better, catchier, more emotive and less generic than Heroes.) And while Mans’s entry may be stronger than Eric Saade’s Melodifestivalen song this year (“Sting”), I think it compares less favourably to Popular – Saade’s entry in Düsseldorf had genuine boyish charm and verve and there was a sense of fun and energy to the whole thing. Heroes and its performer just feel too calculated, too cynical – and while I may have said that about Undo, I think it was Undo’s relative simplicity and minimalism both musically and visually, combined with Sanna’s excellent voice, that helped it do so well. As to Hold Me in 2013, the elegance and artful, non-technological nature of Farid’s staging stood out in a way that I don’t think “dancing in leather trousers in front of a bunch of cartoons” will – plus Farid’s visible nerves and youthful inexperience in 2013 made him relatable and got you on side; by contrast, Måndroid the pop-bot is just too teflon. There’s nothing human to hold or grab onto, no relatability or crack of vulnerability. Every Eurovision song is a product, but I think Heroes is too visibly and cynically a product to notch up another Swedish victory – and the song not strong enough (if it were stronger, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be writing this.)

    • george

      you laying then ev?

    • george

      sweden’s 6/1 at the moment, what do you think a fair price would be?

    • SirMills

      Though it might be equally impressive for the casual televoter, Azerbaijan 2012 and Ukraine 2011 had much more artistical value than Mans this year. Man made gimmicks with a ton of human emotions vs really nice computer graphics I know what the juries would prefer. Mans song is pure style over substance and he somehow lacks the humbleness as a performer which in most cases is an absolute key to win esc.

      I’m curious to see how the international juries will rate his entry, though it’s pretty much a given he will win this.

    • I couldn’t agree more eurovicious, on every level. Song is average, performance is fan-overrated and nowhere near farid/mika-wow. Simples! I am shocked people think this can win.

  • Audience poll from tonight’s Melodifestivalen jury rehearsal.

    1. Måns Zelmerlöw (261 votes, 42.9%)
    2. Eric Saade (75 votes, 12.3%)
    3. Samir & Viktor (72 votes, 11.8%)
    4. Jon Henrik Fjällgren (70 votes, 11.5%)
    5. Hasse Andersson (48 votes, 7.9%)
    6. Mariette (34 votes, 5.6%)
    7. Isa (24 votes, 3.9%)
    8. Magnus Carlsson (21 votes, 3.5%)
    9. Jessica Andersson (17 votes, 2.8%)
    10. Linus Svenning (13 votes, 2.1%)
    11. Dinah Nah (11 votes, 1.9%)
    12. JTR (10 votes, 1.8%)

    Wow, just wow! I think we’ll be seeing Sweden challenge for outright favourite on Betfair tomorrow night, especially if Måns takes the international jury vote. This is also going to be right up there at the top of the OGAYs’ rankings, so I expect Sweden to remain in single figures now. Flip flop with Estonia is very likely.

  • Uhm, I am completely astonished by Austria! Paul McCartney & Wings meets Eurovision! The looks of Jonathan Jeremiah. Nice bit of 70’s soul vibe. I frikkin’ love it! I think Austria can do it again! This is a marvellous entry. Goosebumps. After Italy 2011, Netherlands 2014, THIS is similar kind of top-notch-quality music that Eurovision needs. And this is a dangerous frontrunner now for a TOP 3 spot in Vienna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-93NUU9MUY

    • george

      austria very good but will it make an impact on the night?
      slowburner, grower?

      • No. Netherlands 2014-esque, Italy 2011-esque emotion. Televoters and juries will be drawn into the leadsinger from this band. It will make an impact. Sadly “emotion” and “goosebumps” are always underestimated by the professional betters. I guarantee you: This will do very well.

        • It’s a shoulder-shrug from me.

        • george

          can get Austria for 100 on betfair

        • Boki

          Your guarantee last year included Belgium.

          • That was a huge mistake last year. But to compare Belgium last year with Austria this year? Hmm….

            But how many were young about Netherlands last year at this stage…..

          • Boki

            I’m not comparing B/A but just pointing to same “emotion” and “goosebumps” lectures to betters from last year.

          • eurovicious

            Yeah, none of us can/should guarantee anything…

          • I think that lecture still holds though ;-). It’s the hardest and most difficult aspect of music to predict. I agree. But it’s there. In the end, the songs that are in the TOP 3 “grabbed Europe by the balls”, televoters and juries alike. These songs need to “touch” people, they need to bring about emotions like sincere happiness or a “Wow” that creates goosebumps.

            It’s the most subjective element of music, but it’s always there. Regarding Belgium last year. It really “worked” during the Eurosong final. Even international juries loved it. But that similar “feeling” could not be recreated in Copenhagen.

            I’m also aware why professional betters never look to that aspect of “emotion”. It’s risky.

          • I think most professional bettors weigh in emotional impact of songs, actually. It’s just that it’s debatable exactly what emotional impact Austria 2015 has.

          • It’s alright Gert, we all have different ways of going about this. Some of us are thinkers, but you’re a feeler.

            😀

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