Eurovision 2016: The UK national final, amongst others

Here comes the deluge. The storm proper arrives on Saturday, with finals in Finland, Hungary, Moldova, Norway and Slovenia. But the weekend starts early with tonight’s German final, whilst tomorrow night a U.K. national final lands in my London neighbourhood like a weird Eurovision dream come to life. Meanwhile, Sunday should see the crowning of one of the season’s most exciting songs in Latvia.

The German national final has become a byword for unpredictability over the last few years, so it’ll be interesting to see how much tonight veers from the expected script of Jamie-Lee Kriewitz repeating her win in The Voice with ‘Ghost‘, already a domestic hit song. The audience will be reminded of her preference for Japanese fashion, and the most likely alternatives will be Avantasia and Gregorian.

The consensus for the UK national final selection has coalesced around girls-with-guitars duo Darline and their country-tinged ‘Until Tomorrow’, ahead of Bianca with ‘Shine A Little Light’, co-penned by Leona Lewis. But with none of the songs standing head and shoulders above the others, it should boil down to presentation, performance and critique on the night. I’ll likely be making more noise in the venue than the betting market.

There are Betfair markets available for the Hungarian, Finnish and Norwegian national finals on Saturday. The former seem likely to pick Freddie with ‘Pioneer‘, rather than the far more interesting choice of Gergo Olah. The Finns are not the most predictable bunch, but Mikael Saari seems the most likely winner of UMK with ‘On It Goes‘.

In Norway, favourite Agnete has been handed the pimp slot with ‘Icebreaker‘, which frustratingly slows down for its chorus. Her main rivals look to be boyband Suite 16, Laila Samuels with her ‘Alvadansen’-style Norwegian ballad, and Freddy Kalas with what sounds like the fun-song-that-makes-the superfinal, whilst the wildcards are lesbian collective The Hungry Hearts, who would add some much needed variety if chosen. Four will make the superfinal.

Alongside the Slovenian and Moldovan finals on Saturday, Sweden reveals the rest of its Melodifestivalen hand in the form of Molly Sanden’s ‘Youniverse’. And that’s all before Latvia’s Justs Sirmais persuades Latvia on Sunday to take his ‘Heartbeat‘ to Stockholm.

Onto the most recent selections, the fact that Bosnia’s act is Dalal & Deen feat Ana Rucner and Jala, already tells you there are too many cooks in the kitchen. The song – ‘Ljubav Je‘ – reinforces this by unsuccessfully mixing a Zeljko-inspired Balkan ballad with rap. It will need inspired staging to achieve coherence in Stockholm.

The results in Iceland and Ukraine were bigger talking points, polarising opinion on Eurovision forums. My main take is that whilst both songs have their merits, they fail the esctracker.com test. This is the stats site that tells you where each song is charting on iTunes before and during the contest. It signified the pan-European popularity of the likes of Conchita, Mans and Loic after their semi-final performances. Right now, I can’t see Europe showing the same enthusiasm for ‘Hear Them Calling’ or ‘1944’.

We’ve already seen Greta on the Eurovision stage in 2012: looking slightly nervous with a forced rictus-grin during ‘Never Forget’. There’s far more promise in the opening minute of ‘Hear Them Calling‘. But the a-chorus – with the song title as its refrain – offers diminishing returns as it becomes the increasing focus; whilst the b-chorus, dominated by the instrumental, feels like a disappointment. And the last time a song with a false ending did well in Eurovision was 2002.

Without the charisma of Mans or Loreen, or as strong a song, I think the staging concept ultimately dominates Greta rather than the other way round. This was partly Tanja’s problem for Estonia in 2014. Poor Tanja also struggled to fill the enormous Copenhagen stage, whilst the Icelandic projection at least maintains a sense of intimacy for Greta. But I can’t see ‘Hear Them Calling’ competing for top points among most of the Nordics, let alone elsewhere, which doesn’t bode well for its top ten prospects.

If I had to sum up Jamala’s ‘1944‘ in a word, it would be “difficult”. It’s difficult to know how much will be changed before Stockholm so it’s deemed not too political. My guess is that mild changes will be made as a form of lip service. As well as the difficult subject matter (the forced deportation of Crimea’s Tartar population by Stalin), Jamala’s English diction and the switch between languages makes a difficult song even more so. Therefore, despite the song’s emotional charge, my current opinion is that it’s just too difficult for general appeal.

Having said all which, its message will see ‘1944’ garner points from its likeliest allies. It’s difficult to know how that will translate onto the scoreboard come the final, but I’d easily take Ukraine in a match bet over Iceland.

Last but not least, Cyprus offered us its ‘Alter Ego‘ from rock band Minus One. As a Swedish composition from Thomas G:son, it’s not exactly hardcore – they call this kind of thing “poodle rock” when it shows up in Melodifestivalen. But I’m more interested in melody, and ‘Alter Ego’ has plenty of that, with a chorus that echoes Britney’s ‘Till The World Ends’, and riffs from The Killers playbook.

I’d prefer the strong b-chorus to get another proper airing after the bridge, rather than merely acting as the final fade-out. But ‘Alter Ego’ sounds strong enough to qualify from what is already looking like a difficult first heat. Staging will decide how well it does once in the final. If it all comes together in May, we could see Cyprus on the left-hand side of the scoreboard for the first time since 2004.

There will be lots to comment on over the next few days. As always, I look forward to your thoughts below.

118 comments to Eurovision 2016: The UK national final, amongst others

  • In fairness, I don’t think any of the chosen songs are even available outside of their respective countries yet, it might be too early to start checking esctracker at this stage. Probably after all the songs are out in March would be best to start.

    • Absolutely Kylie. What I should have made clearer is that I don’t think either song will be setting iTunes charts alight around Europe the day before the final as a result of their exposure in the semis.

      • Arguably, the whole “staging dominates Greta” criticism could be equally applied to Mans. He was basically a blank canvas (pretty boy, good dancer, not known for his abilities in the rocket science department) for the stunning light show to work off.

        The staging at Songvakeppnin felt to me like a bit of a work in progress. There are clearly some tweaks that need doing with the lighting, and getting the timing on the hand shadows right. If they can polish these things between now and Stockholm, it should look amazing.

  • Hippo

    If there’s one final I’m avoiding from a betting perspective this weekend it’s the UK. Joe and Jake, Bianca, Darline and Karl could all win and it wouldn’t be a surprise. Add to that too many unknowns over audience makeup, ability to perform the song live, staging, how much and what way the panel will try and sway and we’ve got a really unpredictable event on our hands.

  • In MF news, Molly’s staging looks underwhelming, what you can’t see in the clip is that in the final chorus she has a giant tube of fabric being blown up by a circle of electric fans.

    • Ben Cook

      Sounds damn impressive vocally though. Jury still out on the song.

    • Black n Blue

      I agree her vocal’s great. Still sounds like the clip was taken from first chorus, there’s probably more to this. Remember that the Heroes snippet didn’t feature the stick-man, so I’ll hold back judgement for now.

  • Black n Blue

    A TV show host in France, Cyril has said that Amir Haddad is representing France, and all signs point to a shortened version of this song:
    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsH2KKInYH0&w=560&h=315%5D
    Not bad at all.

    • Hippo

      Great song. Won’t go anywhere though, being (half) in French with no allies. Probably end up bottom six -especially if France get shoved in the worst possible slot again-,which would be a shame.

  • J’ai cherché, easily beats everything I’ve heard this year to date. I wouldn’t worry about allies, how many did Germany or Austria have. Amir will appeal to the east and west, if confirmed this one is a real runner….

  • If that’s really the song, France could be a decent punt for “top Big 5 nation” if the staging/performance is good

  • If this is the song, it beats the 300 others I’ve heard to date.
    Easily

  • Hippo

    Maybe I’m overestimating the language barrier, If it was fully in English I’d be saying nailed on top 10 and a challenger.
    How much do people think the verses being in French would hurt it?

    • Not at all. Remember this is music. It’s a fluid thing that can’t be boxed up and nailed down with statistics. You have to take things on a case by case basis more often than not. This particular example flows really nicely and sounds like it was written bilingually rather than translated, which is the crucial difference. It’s a really vibrant and catchy song but it doesn’t scream winner to me. I fully agree with Kylie’s suggestion of Top Big 5 though.

    • Italy won the televote last year with a popera song sung entirely in Italian …. Its only the verses here which are in French, the chorus is in English and is so catchy you forget its a French entry. The language isn’t the problem, been seen once might be.

      • fused

        Yeah, clearly it’s beneficial to sing at least some of a song in English, with it being the most widely understood language, especially when it comes to pop music. But if the song has a catchy tune or even if it just has something which people are drawn to (I don’t want to say “an x factor”, but you know what I mean), then it can easily overcome a language barrier.

        • I agree with Fused.

          But before anyone does, now or another time… Referring to Molitva is, I maintain, a pretty pointless comparison. Being 100% televote was the least of the worries. It was a final where the only western countries competing were pre-qualified via Big 5 or being in 2006’s top ten and they were all pretty crappy in 2007 anyway. The western vote largely would’ve gone towards the remotely relevant Turkish and Russian songs as well as the novelty of Verka while Molitva hoovered up everything else. There was very little on offer for western tastes and that’s why Molitva won. If it was entered today it would probably still be top 5 but definitely not assured of winning.

  • The top of the market is becoming unravelled now. Russia is curiously edging out as we get closer to the reveal, Sweden’s last remaining hope of winning lies with the possibility of them hiding something special from Molly’s staging snippet, Germany hasn’t quite lived up to expectation, many people don’t expect Australia to win, and Poland is a complete joke being the current favourite. So there’s some really juicy outsiders lurking somewhere….

    • Hippo

      From current entries or those with ongoing finals, I’d say Latvia (Justs) who I think have the best east/west, jury/televote consensus are most appealing. Followed by Germany and possibly France if that is the song.

      You have to throw an eastern country in the mix, so from the unrevealed I’d offer up Armenia.
      Armenia are interesting, they’re one of the more ambitious countries in recent years and are surely one of the beneficiaries of the new voting system. Iveta seems good enough to get the job done too so with a good enough song will be right up there.

      • Iveta’s writing team includes the talented lady who composed Aram MP3’s Not Alone, so they are one to watch for the moment. I do respect Latvia’s chances, I’m just not hearing a winner at this stage. I’m looking for something with a happier feel.

      • I have to say that I’m just not getting the excitement over Justs at the moment. I’m not saying it’s a bad song, because it clearly isn’t. I’m just not seeing what makes this a standout winner.

      • I have a feeling that Latvia could have a Molitva moment if everyone else goes for super elaborate stage shows in May. A cool and credible electropop song with a cute guy standing on his own? Could stand out in that sense…

  • Black n Blue

    Well about the markets Ben, Russia have drifted, albeit from 3 to 4 on Betfair. I think the flow of money for likes of them, Poland and Germany is starting to dry up a little. The excitement has waned somewhat. My estimation is that winner as you’ve alluded to, could still be hidden somewhere mid-pack. I’ve felt for the last few weeks that it’ll be Lazarev or an outsider. And in the case of the Russian song not sounding all that great, I’ll be looking in the direction of Riga, Amsterdam, Baku and Sydney all at once!

  • So Dulcima get the death slot…

  • They’ve red and blacked Bianca!

  • Chewy Wesker

    Bianca is by far the best performance so far, maybe it’s her dress I always get pulled towards a red dress. Very classy

  • Chris Bellis

    I’m just about to vote for the first act, so as to help my bet for UK bottom five along, but I don’t think I need to worry whichever they choose. I love the audience jeering at the slightest hint of criticism of some of the worst tripe I’ve ever heard. Joe and Jake FFS – can’t we get away from these “sounds like sh**e to me” songs performed with maximum mediocrity.

  • Chris Bellis

    “Here are our six acts desperate to perform for the UK”. No, just desperate.

  • Joe and Jake won? I was not expecting that. The whole thing looked like a rigged coronation for Bianca.

    To be fair, they did sound live a lot better than I expected. I suspect though, we’re still going to struggle to reach the left hand of the scoreboard.

  • Meanwhile in Sweden, here’s tonight’s audience poll of Semi 4:

    Frans – ”If I were sorry”: 52% (226 röster)
    Molly Sandén – ”Youniverse”: 14% (62 röster)
    Panetoz – ”Håll om mig hårt”: 12% (53 röster)
    Eclipse – ”Runaways”: 8% (35 röster)
    Dolly Style – ”Rollercoaster”: 7% (34 röster)
    Martin Stenmarck – ”Du tar mig tillbaks”: 3% (13 röster)
    Linda Bengtzing – ”Killer Girl”: 2% (10 röster)

    Ouch…

  • Henry VIII

    Black n Blue you say that Russia have drifted from 3 to 4 on Betfair. You must be looking at BF Sportsbook as Russia have never been that low on the BF Exchange. Now, on the Exchange, Russia are 7. Best to use the Exchange, you get much better prices and can lay countries too.

    • Black n Blue

      To clarify, it was Sportsbook.

      I use exchange a lot more. Sportsbook tends not to fluctuate so much and is better just to get a clearer initial reading of country rankings.

      • Henry VIII

        I’d use the Exchange to accurately guage market sentiment. It has much more matched on ESC than any bookie including BF Sportsbook, whose prices will only be representing a small amount of bets so far plus their own large overround.

  • J and J by far the best on the night for the UK. Great choice, great looking and the only vaguely relevant song of the six and good vocals/performance. The BBC knew what they were doing putting them on last. That is all.

  • Hippo

    Well Joe and Jake eh. Wonder how close it was and how big an influence the pimp slot had. I’m assuming this was the teen girl vote. Bianca and Darline could have got a decent -by Uk standards – result. Quite frankly I think they will come last from the big five, though Spain could run it close. Last place itself looks on too, I’m sure any worse act will get left in the semis.

    • Last place for the UK?! You’re having a laugh! Also, I’m pretty sure there was no teen vote, with it being on BBC 4.

      • Hippo

        Sadly not. Are they as good as Molly? I’d say not but look where she came from a good spot. Better than Blue and Bonnie but Joe and Jake don’t have the name to give them an advantage with voters or sympathetic juries. They’re much better than Electro Velvet but last year had some weak automatic qualifiers to beat who this year have all upped their game (barring Italy).

        I don’t think it would be a fair result but there will be better songs around this genre for the public and juries to vote for.

        And I stand by the teen girl thing. I’m sure regular BBC4 viewers tuned out and a more ‘eurovisionary audience ‘ -for lack of a better word- tuned in.

  • Hippo

    Poland’s inexplicable stint at the top of the market looks to be over thanks to her poor live performance :

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e7JYlVa0MSY

    The woman’s face at 0:19 says it all.

    Shows how nervous the market is. This song came from nowhere to lead the pack (somehow), and thanks to one performance the odds have nearly doubled.

  • Mr Wolf

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7JYlVa0MSY

    Not very convincing live performance from Margaret.

    It promises to come very intriguing year.

    So far..two acts with highest potential and winning material have shown themselves completely flawed.
    Jamie-Lee with her imperfect and even repulsive outfit and staging which kills the rather very high potential song and otherwise charismatic artist (and narrows the potential audiance for “Ghost”).
    And Margaret with her live performance which certainly doesn’t fill the hopes we got from the studio version.

    Would be interesting to see in coming weeks..is there gonna be clear and strong market leader or we’re gonna have a really tight race for TOP1,2,3,4,5 spots. Few high/winning potential songs/artists with flawed performances vs strong but otherwise rather too narrow target group acts for the trophy (Ukraine, Latvia for example).

    Lets see what Russia has to offer for us.

  • fused

    I didn’t watch last night, but Joe and Jake were my least favourite of the 6 options. I think they are their song are really bland, and I really don’t get people finding them good looking, they look like high school kids trying to buy booze from a supermarket self-service checkout. Their song is an improvement from Electro Velvet’s entry, but that’s not exactly a high bar to clear.

    I thought all 6 choices sounded a bit dated, but I don’t think sounding a bit dated is a huge setback with Eurovision to be honest. The song isn’t terrible, and I actually don’t t think it will be last place, but I still can’t see it ending up anywhere near the left hand of the scoreboard.

    But, whatever. The public have spoken etc, so whatever result we get in the final is kind of on us.

  • I’ve just watched last night’s MGP preview show on NRK (it’s not available outside of Norway, but a proxy will help). They showed some clips of dress rehearsals for tonight’s show. The Hungry Hearts have a terrible jokey staging, half of them will be in black gimps suits with disco ball hats, and the other half will be in cheap Lady Gaga fancy dress. With that sort of performance being first on will do them a lot of harm, imo they’ll alienate the audience Neuro Euro-style and not even make the superfinal.

    Freddy’s staging looks cheap as well, he’s got a harem of female dancers dressed like they’re in a cheap Hawaiian-themed hen night.

    They didn’t show any of the other contenders, but anyone punting on a shock novelty song win in Oslo tonight will be very disappointed.

  • I get the feeling that producers tried to deramp Bianca a bit, but the judges didn’t have a script or crib sheet like they do on XF. It’s almost like they came on here and decided they just needed to Red and Black her and that would be fine.

    Have to say the production of the show was dogshit. Mel didn’t work as a host and the sound was all over the shop!

  • Hippo

    Wow. What a weak year so far.
    Slovenia and Moldova must be definite non qualifiers. Finland too probably. Norway made a definite mistake with Icebreaker and will have a fight on to make it. Only Hungary have impressed tonight but a lot to work on for Freddie.

  • Boki

    Meanwhile in Sweden, Frans is 1st on itunes.

  • Keley Ann

    Moldova seem like safe qualifiers to me!

  • On a miscellaneous but sort of related note, this is how you do a song that slows down for the chorus properly. Courtesy of the country in my avatar.

  • https://twitter.com/PRSforMusic/status/703314349620908032

    Funny how the UK songwriters couldn’t bring themselves to use their real names. Siva is from The Wanted and Matt from Deepest Blue.

    • Oh I remember that one Deepest Blue song, talk about a blast from the past!

      • fused

        I loved that ‘Deepest Blue’ song when it came out! I still hear it played on the radio now and again, though I think it’s a different mix to the one that was a hit in 2003.

        In hindsight, giving the song and the act the same name might have been tempting fate a bit. Or maybe they didn’t expect it to last more than one single? They had another hit though, ‘Give It Away’, which I think made the top ten.

    • I’ll join the Deepest Blue love in! 😀

  • As expect, Latvia has just selected the eventual winner in Stockholm 😉

  • Hippo

    Latvia are head if not shoulders above the current pack. I can’t see another song yet that could challenge too much. I did think something better would come along when Heartbeat was first revealed but we’re running out of realistic challengers. Russia, Armenia and -as an outside chance -Australia could make it interesting. I struggle to make a strong case for another country, though you never know.

    • Mr Wolf

      Latvia reminds me a bit Hungary 2014. It’s gonna score very well with juries and on the left side of scoreboard with public as well, but it’s not that accessible to Saturday night avarage viewer to win the competition. It may have higher televoting appeal than Aminata last year (not too sure, because Aminata did suprisingly well in televoting finally) but not that high than Belgium had last year.
      Solid TOP10 with a good potential for TOP5, we’ll see how they will solve staging and what opponents have to offer.
      Last year we had 3 monsters who all would have won by mile in 2010 or 2011. This year we still haven’t seen yet very convincing winning package.
      In a fuzzy and even year like we may have this year, there’s gonna be a hell of a hard to predict anything with 100% accuracy before the dress rehearsals.
      I personally like “Heartbeat” very much.

  • Is no one giving Sweden a chance with Frans’ If I Were Sorry? The market is, as they have come down to single figures again. I can see this being a solid Top 10, but it’s probably not exciting enough to take the crown.

    • Henry VIII

      Let’s see how much he wins MF by first. And if he wins.

    • Hippo

      I suppose statistically one of the Scandinavian block has to finish high. 2007 is the last time none of Sweden, Denmark, Norway or Iceland were in the top 5. This is however a weak year for all those countries so if it’s going to happen again it will be this year.

      Anyway, I don’t think any entry in Melfest is quite good enough to get top five, Frans could get enough neighbourly love and jury appreciation to make it to 8th or 9th maybe, but I feel it’s a little too niche for anything higher.

      • Black n Blue

        Frans winning the televote and placing top 3 with jurors would be indicative to me that he will finish at least in the lower reaches of the top ten. Him winning in 12 days time, would provide a case study this year of how the “less is more” approach can be achieved and perfected.

        • Ande

          Exactly, and him winning the MF jury vote would make him an immediate contender for the ESC crown in May. I’m not convinced before I see it though.

    • Yep I agree Frans is going to win MF and be a contender in ESC as well. I’m not a fan, but it’s very “now”

    • Boki

      Don’t know about Swedish chances but any of the MF runners would beat the hyped Latvian.

      • Ande

        Not sure about the jury appeal of Frans as he is a so-so singer. I would not dare to back him before I’d seen the International jury respons to him in the national final. That said he got the live audience in immediate hypnosis according to reports from the arena.

        • There’s no obvious winner of the International Jury vote this year. If Frans isn’t quite their cup of tea then I could imagine Molly Sanden winning that. As long as Frans is in the Top 3 of the jury vote, I think he wins easily as he could well hoover up the televote with a YOHIO-type margin.

          • Ande

            I’m saying I want to see how the International jury scores him to judge his chances in Eurovision. That he is going to win Melodifestivalen with some margin is almost a given. He has three times the amounts of sales/views/plays to his nearest MF competitor, breaking all kinds of records.

            Sweden’s odds on Betfair is shortening as we speak.

  • I’m also one of those people who isn’t quite feeling the “Justs is this year’s winner” vibes. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good song that will score well and it’s clearly a fan favourite, I’m just not convinced it screams “this will win”.

    That said, if it means next year getting to hang out in Riga with the Beaver, I’ll live with being wrong on that.

    It’s definitely an unpredictable year, not least because the overall standard feels weak. My own top five so far (personal preference, rather than who I necessarily think will win) are:

    1. Iceland
    2. Ukraine
    3. Latvia
    4. Georgia
    5. Austria

  • Henry VIII

    Anybody know if the MF juries are instructed take into account social media?

    Whether instructed or not Frans’ success there will effect them I would have thought.

    • Henry VIII

      Not exactly “social media”, I was thinking of iTunes and Spotify.

    • Having social media isn’t a requirement to be a juror. In Melodifestivalen, they tend to be Heads of Delegations from Eurovision who are, more often than not, middle-aged gay men. However, I would say that they can be susceptible to hype, which is perhaps why Ace Wilder won the jury vote in 2014.

  • I’m not convinced about Frans. Knowing what the MF juries tend to go for, Frans’ song doesn’t strike me as the type of song that would be their #1 choice, it’s just a bit too low key to see them giving him a sweep of high points.

    I’m not sure who’s winning the final, but I feel if there’s a big difference between jury and televoting, we might end up with a compromise winner like Oscar or Robin or someone else.

  • Black n Blue

    Although the song disappoints a little, I don’t think Molly can be ruled out either. The staging is very Eurovisiony, somewhat effective and the vocal is on point. If she can get Saucedo to stick his nose in the camera when songwriters are introduced it might help the televote score.

    You’ve pretty much summed up my preconcern with Frans. Will likely win the televote, but I think there’s other songs and productions fishing around that’ll appeal to the Intl juries more.

    • Ande

      I’m not completely ruling out a Molly surprise here either but I still wouldn’t touch her at current odds. Doesn’t Robin and perhaps even Wiktoria offer better value as potential jury bait?

  • Serbia must come into contention if they go with Luke Black, who is a credible and popular artist with broad appeal. The Frajle, however, could be the internal choice, and whilst this would be a popular decision in Serbia, it would give them little chance of cracking the top 10

  • joni

    Well, if Spotify is any indication, the televote for Frans could be so huge that the juries might not be able to do him much harm. Over 1mil streams since Saturday. I don’t think they will punish him the same way they did with Yohio in 2013, his performance and song strike me as much more chart and jury friendly. They might not put him first, but I have a feeling his televote will be so big they would have to put him 11th or 12th to change the outright winner and I don’t see that happening. Molly is probably the closest competitor in terms of doing well with both juries and televoters (she’s doing surprisingly on Spotify and iTunes), but the reception Frans got just screamed ‘winner’ to me in a way that no other performance did. In any case, I’ll be at the MF final this year and I’m really excited to see the Swedish audience go wild when Frans comes on.

    • Please report back here on the feel of the event and anything that the TV broadcast doesn’t pick up.

    • Ben Cook

      Yeah there’s no way the juries will hate Frans like they hated Yohio. It’s pleasing to see Molly is putting up a decent fight (despite lukewarm reaction amongst fans – I think her song is brilliant myself), but I cannot see past a Frans win now. And can definitely see them doing the double. I don’t like the song much myself but I think it’d be good for the contest to have a young marketable guy with a song that’s bang on trend win.

      • PurpleKylie

        I honestly can’t see them doing the double with that song, I think people are getting too carried away with those Spotify figures. As a host entry they’ll automatically suffer from what I like to call “Host Entry Televoting Apathy”. I remember people praising Taken By A Stranger and Cliché Love Song as contenders but at the end of the day they only sneaked into the top 10. Azerbaijan in 2012 doesn’t count as we all know they liked to “bump up” their televoting figures back then 😉

  • Mr Wolf

    Can see Frans winning Melfest, but I can’t see any reason why should international juries boost Frans on 14th May? From jury’s point of view, you really can’t compare it to Mans or any other winner in last couple of years. This really doesn’t have that kind of values to score very high with juries on final night. From televoting point of view, yes, it can score pretty well (it has sort of Justin Bieber qualities), but I really don’t believe he could be a runaway winner for international audiences (what it needs to be if we’re talking about potential winner and considering potential jury scores).
    It may score a good result, but it’s really hard to see a winner here.

  • Mr Wolf

    Like said, Swedish have a special relationship with this guy and runaway televoting win in Melfest doesn’t equate same televoting appeal on 14th May. He may warm girls hearts and do very-very well in televoting, but still the appeal wouldn’t be comparable with Swedish local scene and the meaning he has there. Considering the buzz around him I wouldn’t be surprised if international jury may even feel a bit biased to score him a little higher in Melfest than they would have done otherwise done.

    • I don’t think the int. juries care about hype in general, otherwise they wouldn’t have trashed Yohio’s song that badly.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think they’ll score Frans higher than that, I’ll honestly be shocked if they ranked him lower than 6th, but I’m just saying that there’s a certain template for what scores high with them: big catchy pop songs with a big hook, and for me Frans’ song doesn’t have much of a hook, it’s trading more on current music trends really. Ace narrowly won the jury vote in 2014 more because it fits that template regardless of how much hype she had.

    • Ande

      Mr Wolf, I believe you are overestimating the amount of hype he received beforehand as there wasn’t much talk about Frans before his 30-seconds snippet was released. He was more or less treated in SMILO-territory, a debutante singer with a cute backstory and little hope of progressing. The eye opener came with reports from inside the arena telling of immediate and energetic audience response as he performed. He later scored an almost record breaking win of the dress rehearsal poll. These polls are usually only convincingly won by famous artists singing flashy up-tempo songs. Low-key performances tends to suffer as it’s difficult to establish an emotional connection with people who cannot see the artist through on-screen close-ups. The televote appeal is explained by the instantly familiar melody and relentless “If I were sorry”-hook.

      His song is now trending in Scandinavia and are currently above “Heroes” but below “Euphoria”-levels of popularity.

      • Mr Wolf

        Yes, but his backstory connects more with Swedish and his Zlatan song had been already smash hit in Sweden (Zlatan story may connect with int audience pretty well tho). As I said it can do very-very well in televoting on the big night as well, but it’s not that kind of “epic” act as were Loreen and Mans. Usually the final winner wins the jury voting as well (or at least comes second), but it is hard to see why international juries would share so high excitement for the act. The professional quality isn’t comparable with Mans or Loreen. It may get many symphaty votes (even Russian grannies did), but for Jury TOP3 it’s doubtable to be enough. He’s not gonna score as high international televoting score than Il Volo.
        But ofc if there’s not gonna be convincing favourite (if Margaret can’t pull it off live or Russia or any other country doesn’t come out with anything great), things are gonna be left pretty open.
        It can’t be ruled out..

        • Ande

          Reread what I just posted, if his Zlatan backstory had been an important factor for connecting with the Swedish voters there would’ve been more buzz around him in the forums and the Swedish media beforehand. There wasn’t.

  • Armenia’s song is now out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7m3wOGhEvE

    Fails the first-listen test for me, and that spoken-word intro is going to be very cringeworthy live

  • Hippo

    I think Armenia have a real chance. Yeah the song’s not for everyone and a lot will hate it. I think juries will appreciate it though and it is original and it will stand out amongst all the other lightweight entries so far. I’d say it’s more appealing to viewers than Not Alone too (certainly the performer is) which did very well from a poor running slot. The song is memorable and should work very well during the voting recap. Also there aren’t many females who are serious contenders this year (I don’t see Margaret winning). With Armenia’s diaspora under the new system and allies, I can see it coming top 5 easily, and I won’t rule out Yerevan 2017.

  • What do we all make of Dami Im?

    • PurpleKylie

      I had a listen to some of her songs, all painfully generic, definitely not a winner, won’t even beat last year’s result, this new voting system will hurt the more generic songs.

      • Her back catalogue is quite generic, but the Betfair price could so easily go either way. She could come out with an absolute belter when this year’s contest is choking for something anthemic, or it could be a misguided massive EDM song. I’m hoping she will play piano in the song as that’s a simple way to get a bit more jury love.

        One thing’s for certain, they’re going to be trying quite hard to do really well again because of their tenuous position. I don’t think they’ll be complacent enough to just send some electro-pap fluff in.

      • Ande

        Luckily she doesn’t write her own generic songs. If her singer-songwriters somehow manages to come up with something edgy I’m convinced she would perform it well.

    • Hippo

      Fairly ambitious again that’s for sure, all contenders are a little leftfield in one way or another so far, so generic may not be the worst thing ever, as long as it’s good generic. Agree with Kylie though that I really can’t see her winning or topping Guy, if the song isn’t up to scratch I wouldn’t be surprised to see them not make it to saturday. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a bit more of a drift on betfair, but I suppose the rumours were there about her.

  • Black n Blue

    Can anyone explain the shortening of the Netherlands today? They’ve been trading at around 34 for a few months and all of a sudden, just from taking a peep at oddschecker, they’ve been slashed to as low as 12’s. I heard last week that a couple of Dutch radio presenters heard his song and patriotically called it a winner? Surely there’s something the Dutch have been hiding from us?

    • I think it’s partly because some of the usual suspects like Armenia have underwhelmed by sending blatant non-winners, so punters are probably hoping that they’ll send a high-quality song that can challenge. They’ve got a young, credible artist, got Mr Pancake on board (yes I know he was in charge of last year’s mess, but let’s be real, he wasn’t the main reason they failed), so maybe they could surprise like The Common Linnets did?

    • Hippo

      Not sure, I think someone backed it heavily down to 16 on betfair yesterday and that seems to have led to people following it. It could be just speculation or maybe someone has indeed heard it and backed it heavily. Last hope for Western Europe anyway.

    • Boki

      There was a clip on his facebook page yesterday with a snippet of his song from a radio show. Actually in the beginning there were few seconds of his award nominated old song “Sweet sunshine”, after that he supposedly was playing esc snippet but it was a joke song. I guess some punters liked what they heard, wrongly thinking it’s the one from the beginning.

    • Black n Blue

      I tend to agree with both of you. I’ve always felt that Douwe carries an awful lot of potential and an ability to stir up an audience. It’s looking so far that due to the weak field awaiting us, that any beacon of quality that hits us within the next couple of weeks, could be considered a likely winner. Not saying that the Netherlands will have that entry, but I think it would be unwise to lay them if it turns out tomorrow that they do have something quite special on their hands.

      • “It’s looking so far that due to the weak field awaiting us, that any beacon of quality that hits us within the next couple of weeks, could be considered a likely winner.”

        And indeed we’ve seen that happen a couple of times already, with Iceland and Latvia being declared potential winners due to doing something interesting after a series of dross announcements. Maybe we should call it the Goodbye To Yesterday Effect.

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