Eurovision 2012: Will Jedward sink or swim with ‘Waterline’?

They’re back. Tonight, Jedward were selected to represent Ireland for the second year running following their respectable eighth last year.

This time they return with ‘Waterline’, which plunders a throwback sound popular at the moment with the likes of One Direction. You can watch the twins perform it in the Irish national final here. It’s the kind of song you might expect from the original ‘Footloose’ film, an 80s paean to an even earlier generation of toe-tapping teen pop.

Even if the dance moves are very reminiscent of last year, the song is a little more straightforward than ‘Lipstick’. Opinions on Eurovision forums have generally reckoned that the song is less immediate than ‘Lipstick’ and requires more vocal ability, both of which, the argument goes, may prevent ‘Waterline’ from also reaching the top ten. I’m not so convinced about either of these ideas, but then I felt uncertain about Jedward’s fortunes throughout last year’s contest.

Firstly, I think ‘Waterline’ is immediate enough. The initial line of the chorus gets stuck in your brain easily after one listen. True, there are fewer hooks than in ‘Lipstick’, but ‘Waterline’ is arguably a more coherent piece of pop. It certainly compares well with a lot of the dross that has been selected so far. This is what you’d expect from Swedish songwriter Nick Jarl, who has written for Westlife among others.

Secondly, it’s really not that difficult vocally. The range required by the song is pretty narrow, and the staccato nature of the chorus is undemanding too. The vocals we heard for Jedward’s number tonight in the poor acoustics of the RTE studio were much stronger than they were in the Irish final last year, with the obvious help of four backing vocalists. There should be no problem on this front in Baku.

This bodes well for Jedward’s hopes to qualify for the final. Just as importantly, Ireland has been drawn in the second half of the apparently weaker first semi-final. This heat doesn’t contain the wealth of voting blocs of the second semi and among these minnows, plenty have already selected songs that seem unlikely to set the scoreboard alight

Examples so far include those already mentioned in our article on the promising Danish entry: Albania, Switzerland and, Cyprus. We can now add to these Hungary (Compact Disco with ‘Sound of Our Hearts’) and Latvia (Anmary with ‘Beautiful Song’). The alleged leak of the effort from Montenegro suggests it can be added to this list, and nothing in the Finnish selection shows particular promise either. I can’t see the juries going for Austria’s selection tonight from Trackshittaz either.

Many others are yet to show their hand, but it seems likely that managing a top ten place among these 18 should be within Jedward’s compass, as long as ‘Waterline’ is not a disaster in Baku.

But without the knowledge of just how effective it will be on stage, I think it’s too early to say how well Jedward might do in the final. We can only speculate based on last year’s performance with a reasonably different song.

I’d like to see the staging look sufficiently different from last year too. In 2011, Lena returned for a second year running, and though obviously attaining an inferior result, managed to bring something new to the arena, bagging her a top ten finish.

It is true that recent Eurovision comebacks have tended not to do so well. Some still managed a respectable result, such as Sakis for Greece in 2009 and Zdob si Zdub for Moldova in 2011, though others, like Chiara for Malta in 2009 or Charlotte Perrelli for Sweden in 2008 fared much worse.

Nonetheless, the twins’ eighth place from a poor draw of six last year was pretty impressive. They scored well with the western half of the Continent, especially in Scandinavia, beating Sweden’s Eric Saade to the Danish 12, for example. Arguably it doesn’t help them that the Scandinavian countries have some decent entries this year, but then again Sweden and Denmark performed strongly last year, and that didn’t stop the twins doing well in this region.

If they want to improve upon eighth, they’ll have to hope that eastern Europe sits up and takes notice this time. Media efforts in this direction during the rehearsal period failed to reap any significant reward last year.

There are two opposing lines of argument you can choose between here: ‘Waterline’ has a very American sound that may not help it in this part of Europe; or you could say it’s a much more generic pop song than ‘Lipstick’ and may gain wider acceptance as a result.

So a perfectly good case can be made either way on whether Jedward can repeat their top ten finish this year. What does seem more predictable is the large amount of hype that will follow their efforts, and their elevated position in the market as a result.

This may bring some lay opportunities. Their price certainly became incredibly unrealistic in last year’s win market, for example. It was just difficult to know how far to take one’s scepticism. I was grateful that my caution meant I stuck to betting against them in the semi and final top 3 market rather than going against a top 10 finish.

It’ll be a fine line again this year, I’ll wager, though the rehearsal period will once again be crucial for assessing Jedward’s likely finishing position. What do you think of their chances with ‘Waterline’? Do let us know in the comments box below.

46 comments to Eurovision 2012: Will Jedward sink or swim with ‘Waterline’?

  • Emma

    Jedward’s lucky they weren’t drawn in the same semi as Norway (or Sweden in case they send Danny or David)–their dancing will look amateurish by contrast. I’m feeling *very* optimistic about them qualifying and only marginally less so about a big finish for them. After all, they managed eighth with both a relatively early draw *and* performing right before another young, attractive, and exhuberant male with an similarily instant (if polarizing) pop hit.

    I like Waterline better than Lipstick; I think it feels slightly more mature while still having that high-energy Jedward feel. Staging and vocals need work, of course, and I have little doubt they will improve (the Irish final was cheaply done and small-scale). But on the other hand, they may have lost the Swedish douze they had last year to Norway (a Saade-esque contestant and a neighbor of Sweden–I’d be surprised if Norway doesn’t get high points from them this year) and should Danny Saucedo make it to Baku, he’ll no doubt sponge up more of the votes they got last year.

    It’s late and I’m starting to ramble. In short: good song, should qualify effortlessly and while some things will change in their favor(they have a good chance of a better draw, they won’t be warming up the crowd for Eric Saade, they’re more famous now), some changes will have a negative impact. My prediction: a similar result to last year. Your bets sound spot-on.

  • henna

    I feel last year they stood out and did so well partly because of their novelty factor, which rather then giving bonus points will take away this year. Especially because the song is similar, the dance routine is similar and they basically look and sound very similar it’s a bit like telling the same joke(yes, they were close to borderline joke) a second timer around, it’s for sure with less succes. i somehow feel the public will be less enthousiastic. i actually like the song, but was really hoping the staging and the styling of the boys would go in a different direction from last year. no military style clothes and maybe not the high quiff but maybe the sideways comb, still distinctive but a bit different.
    yes, they’ll surely qualify for the final, but depending on the draw and rest of competition, but most likely a weaker finish that last year.

  • Martin F.

    I have no reason to disagree with anything that Emma says above. A perfectly sound analysis, if you ask me – then again, I’m one of those people who *did* get burned when laying Jedward as a top 10 finisher in the ‘dorf, so maybe I’m being excessively cautious this time as a result, who knows…

    For what it’s worth, I think the song is considerably stronger this time, but it’s also a lot less immediately “Jedward”. If it manages to pick up some radio play in its target markets ahead of the contest, though, that might not matter in the slightest. And juries should reward it sufficiently for being a very “of the moment” pop song. So yep, I’m tipping lower top 10 again too.

  • Boki

    I also don’t think they can repeat last year success simply because there is no surprise factor anymore and the song is not so strong while people will have high expectations. But as you say, caution is required until we see them on stage.

    Btw, their result from last year was a big surprise to me in terms of televoting/jury split in the final because I expected the opposite. Did the juries buy the hype created between the semi and the final? Are they less sensitive to the running order than televoters? Or they just rewarded Jedward more than Ukraine,Serbia,Sweden,Germany,Bosnia,France,Greece,Georgia,Finland,UK etc. because they were better?

    • Boki

      Daniel/Andrew, what’s your theory why Jedward got placed higher by juries in the final ?

      • Daniel

        Hi Boki, Jedward’s better performance with juries in the final compared to the semi-final defies rational explanation, especially when you consider that the split between the points they gained from the countries that were in their semi was almost equal with the points given by countries that had been in the other heat. I don’t remember their performance being markedly different in the final either.

        So who knows why the juries felt more disposed towards the song in the final compared to the semi. It just goes to show how the jury vote can be rather unpredictable, as far as I’m concerned.

  • lying eyes

    5 reasons jedward will get a top 5 finish:
    1. They have done a european tour picking up tnousands of fans along the way. This will result in a large televote,aroun 200 points.
    2.Jedward will capture the medias attention,over the last year,jedward won the marçel benzecon award,were on the cover of new york times,j14 magazine,and have appeared on talk shows across europe.
    3.Jedward will capture the jurys attention,and will be likely to get a high score off jury,around 160 points.
    4.jedward will drive the crowd wild with a big production,and will be the one thats remenbered after the show.
    5.jedward appeared on talkshows in the host country,Germany,capturing germanys hearts. The same will happen in Baku.

  • Tim B

    Daniel, slightly off topic but do you have any thoughts on Loreen vs Danny Saucedo in the Melodifestivalen final, and Sweden’s subsequent chances for Eurovision?

    • Daniel

      Hi Tim, I do have some thoughts but with current odds being very tight I doubt I’ll be committing any money to the Swedish final. I thought Danny’s performance last Saturday was very weak, and on that basis would oppose him. Loreen is a much more interesting performer. Trouble is, Sweden’s Eurovision win price is already very short and represents no value. What do you think?

  • Tim B

    I agree there is no value in Sweden’s win price, especially with so many songs yet to be revealed. I actually think the opposite though – I loved Danny’s performance and thought the staging/choreography was stunning. However, Loreen’s staging was very impressive too but the song seems a bit retro 90s dance. Danny’s song is also more current with the dubstep breakdown part. Not sure if the voters will go for that though. I might bet a small amount backing Danny or opposing Loreen.

  • Ron

    I think Jedward should get a very decent result again this year. Lipstick may well be a better song than Waterline, but let’s not forget it was a divisive entry last year, scoring three 12s but plenty of zeros as well.

    The team behind the twins probably reckoned there wasn’t much point in returning with Lipstick Part 2 as it would most likely get a similar result and pick up points from the same countries as last year.

    If you’re going to come back 12 months later, you may as well do so with a different style of song, just as Lena did. A melodic pop song like Waterline is an interesting departure for Jedward, as many of their original songs are similar to Lipstick ie. high energy club anthems with a thumping drumbeat.

    One thing that should work for the twins this year is their solid fanbase in the Nordic countries, plus Germany, Austria and the Baltics. There is every likelihood that their teenage fans in these countries will multiple vote for them, especially if they make the final.

  • I agree with Tim. Danny’s vocal was off in the first performance but he completely nailed it in the reprise – no problems at all. Arguably the song is better, catchier and more feel-good than Euphoria, and the staging is far more interesting. And he also has youth and looks on his side – Eurovision voters are not going to vote for a madly flailing woman in a fright wig. Sweden will be shooting itself in the foot if it doesn’t send Danny, as Amazing would get a great result and could easily win Eurovision – I don’t think Euphoria could.

    Loreen is leading in the betting at the moment because having premiered her song 3 weeks earlier than Danny, she’s gained a lot of word-of-mouth and traction. However, there are still 2 weeks to the final and I expect Danny to regain his pole position in that time and for Sweden to make the right choice. The Eurovision fan community may like Euphoria, but everything about Amazing is superior in my opinion.

    I find Jedward hard to call. Of the songs revealed so far, I can only see Norway, Sweden (assuming they send Danny), Denmark or Ireland winning it. Of course, we’ve yet to hear what Greece, Russia and Romania will be sending.

    • Emma

      As a Danny supporter, I agree and I have my own two cents to add. On paper, Danny seems infallible. In the Club was, in my opinion, much weaker and less versatile than Amazing. He sang first and was competing the perfectly-drawn Eric Saade who had a similar but superior song and performance. And yet he placed second behind Eric in both televoting and the jury. The second in the jury was closer, indicating that his brand of dance pop will be well-received by the juries again, and the second in the televoting can be attributed to both splitting the votes with Eric and his poor draw. No doubt Eric’s old supporters will turn to Danny (unless they turn to Molly) and his own supporters from last year will stick with him.

      Unfortunately, David Lindgren has a distressingly similar song. We can disregard him as a winner, but he and Danny might split some votes. And as Daniel says, the draw counts for a lot. If David and Loreen are drawn early on and Danny gets the plum spot, he could very well be headed to Baku.

      I guess we’re just disregarding everyone else at this point?

    • Boki

      Danny blamed his earpiece for the bad vocal but still I had the impression that the verses are too low for him. I also find ‘Amazing’ more uplifting and catchier than somewhat dark ‘Euphoria’ but he needs to perform better in the final if he wants to win. Though he is favored by the producers and Loreen has to pass the hurdle of winning from semi1 (that has never happened, right?). So I expect him to sing last in the final unless his voting numbers from the semi were unexpectedly bad. The one who can profit from both the juries and teenage split vote is Lisa imo.

  • justin

    Great article on Jedward Daniel. Just had a look back on their performance on the big night last year and it really was well executed and offered something new and different. This may well be their achilles this year as it will be neither of those. However I do not see ‘Waterline’ as any less immediate or effective than ‘lipstick’.

    The main concern for Jedward is that they didn’t just have a slight bias in points from Northern and Western Europe last year – virtually all their points came form this area. The Balkan countries and non Baltic ex-USSR blocs almost completely blanked them.

    Jedward are happily in what looks like the weaker semi and have avoided the Balkan and ex USSR blocs in the other semi which is very helpful for their qualification hopes but with the limitation of the voting patterns, beating their final position of last year may be a tough one.

    My attention in the last week or so has been focused on the interesting Turkish entry. To me its not the most immediate song but it does make you want to hear it again…and again. It has the ethnic appeal which seems likely to go down well everywhere where Jedward do not and its just a little hypnotic. I dont see any reason for Turkey’s numerous voting allies to look elsewhere and see this one doing very well. In fact with nearly half the songs now released I have this one as the one likely to do best in the final.

  • David

    A few words on the Swedish finals:

    Loreen really has a MASSIVE internet following atm, with easily the most likes of videos and most comments on formus (also the most frenzied ones). Unsure how much will translate into votes, as her typical fan isn’t the typical MF viewer. She also leads iTunes (before Danny), but also this is uncertain how much it means: last year she hovered around 4-5th, indicating she would crush Second Chance opposition. She did not, in fact she didn’t even win round 1.

    That being said, she’s obviously got more hype than Danny. His weak singing didn’t help. Like Boki, I’m also worried the song doesn’t really fit him. A shame, since he’s really a good singer (watch some of his other stuff and you’ll see). Also, the dance routine obviously makes it all harder. I still expect him to sing better at the finals, though.

    As for voter groups, Loreen might have stolen a traditional Danny/Saade voter group: teen girls. Or at least a lot of them, it seems. However, I do think Danny retains an arguably even stronger group: middle aged women.
    Speaking of votes, what do you guys make of the fact that Heat 4 had by far the least amount of viewers, but the most votes? In theory, this should be a very promising sign for Danny – provided it wasn’t just the result of a generally stronger field (or a Lisa runaway).

    Thoughts? Daniel, I’d love an article on this 🙂 for the first time, we even seem to have a decent Betfair market for MF!

  • Daniel

    Hi David, there will be an MF Final analysis on Sofabet just before the event. One crucial moment in the run-up will be the announcement of the running order. This will tell us who SVT favour. The fact that Danny was last on in the last heat suggests they had him in mind before the event, but the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Loreen may have changed that. We will see. Danny is the bigger name, though.

    • David

      That’s good news!

      Agree that running order will be important – last year Danny had to go first, whereas Saade went last. This year, it’s not only a question on when Loreen & Danny will perform, but also Björn Ranelid (due to the disruptive and controversial nature of his entry). But surely he won’t get the support from the non-swedish juries?

    • Tim B

      Danny has drifted to 6 on Betfair. There is massive online hype about Loreen as far as I can tell, but does anyone think there is some value in Danny’s price right now?

      • Boki

        Not sure, lot of hyped favorites failed this year so we should be prepared for another surprise. Having said that, poll on Aftonbladet gives Loreen scary big lead but I’m sure Danny is so low because of bad vocal in the semi. The key could be international jury but also the method of calculating the points, last year it was proportional to voting percentage and if that remains and Loreen makes a big difference on a televote only a miracle can stop her.

        Vem är din favorit i finalen?
        Loreen 40.84%
        Dead by April 6.4%
        Ulrik Munther 2.17%
        David Lindgren 4.31%
        Molly Sandén 4.74%
        Björn Ranelid feat. Sara Li 7.19%
        Lisa Miskovsky 8.15%
        Danny Saucedo 9.71%
        Top Cats 4.91%
        Thorsten Flinck 11.58%
        Totalt antal röster: 125,575

  • Simon "le chat"

    I must be the only disenter here but the song is poor and the vocals are atrocious. The key is too low for the boys who cannot sing particularly well at the best of times and certainly not when they dance.
    It’s three years since they clowned around on X factor and they no more look a serious act than they did then – they only look older and if they are seriously going to perform this garbage in the final, then subject to the running order I will most certainly be backking them to finish outside the top ten.

    • Ron

      You’re basing this on the Eurosong performance though Simon but the sound in the RTE studios is always atrocious.

      Check out their performance of Lipstick in Eurosong 2011. It actually sounded much, much worse than their performance of Waterline, to the point where the twins were being slated and marked down as a non qualifier by most fans.

      The “Lipstick is a far better song than Waterline” talk strikes me as odd too, as most fans had no time for Lipstick this time last year…’s as if history has been been rewritten.

  • Daniel

    The BBC will announce the UK Eurovision artist at 2230 today. For what it’s worth, my guess is that it’s Cliff Richard. It’s been hinted that it’s a very mature male performer with a legendary name.

    • Boki

      Thanks for the info Dan, now I see also Tom Jones mentioned here and there (same age as Cliff).

      • simon "le chat"

        It’s been hinted that it’s a very mature male performer with a legendary name?
        Jimmy Young?
        Bruce Forsyth?
        Sir Cliff indeed- perhaps?
        Leo Sayer?
        Gilbert O ‘Sullivan?
        Frank Ifield?
        Marty Wilde?
        Brian Poole?
        Rory Storm?
        The mind boggles.
        Cliff must be in the mix.

  • Simon, I agree on Jedward (personally cannae stick them), but they’re popular among kids (tween girls) because they represent that classic archetype of “non-threatening boy”. They can’t sing well and rely on charisma and shtick, but the same could be said of Lena and look how far it got her… they may not be my cuppa but I can’t rule them out as a contender. They’re memorable and a lot of people just find them entertaining, full stop, regardless of how good their singing is. If Eurovision was a proper vocal and singing contest, Albania would get through ever year, but alas.

    However, while kids in Western Europe may love the Jeds, Eastern Europe thinks they’re shite. Which is one of the myriad reasons why Eastern Europe is fabulous.

    On to the UK: whoever they’re sending, what do they think they’re doing entering someone with no chance of winning the contest? Without wanting to sound ageist which isn’t my intent at all, they need to send a relevant, contemporary, progressive artist, and whoever it is – Cliff, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Rick Astley, Shirley Bassey etc etc. – they’re not going to do well. The rest of Europe will go “Huh?”

  • Richard Betsfactor

    Its Engelbert Humperdinck!

    This time they’re going tactical…!

  • Might get some jury votes. Won’t get many public votes. Depends on song. Are they trying to do a Gualazzi?

  • Rob

    ‘Humpy’ could go very well with juries if they find him a decent tune, and the writing team is impressive:
    The song he will be performing (to be announced) will be recorded in London, Los Angeles and Nashville. produced by Grammy award-winning Martin Terefe (James Morrison, KT Tunstall, Mary J Blige) and written by Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello winning Sacha Skarbek (Adele, James Blunt co-writer ‘You’re Beautiful’, Lana Del Rey).

  • Boki

    Few random thoughts:

    It’s ‘amazing’ how different punters are ‘euphorically’ divided about Loreen’s or Danny’s tune. Each group thinks that Sweden will make a terrible mistake by sending ‘the other one’ because only ‘this one’ can win ESC. I wonder which of the two is reflected in current odds and what will happen if ‘the right tune’ is not chosen. For me the both are good choices but if Danny can pull it out live than I prefer him for the ESC because Loreen is just a little bit too dark to win the whole thing.

    I’ll be really pissed at Russia if they choose Dima again and I hope he fails. I mean he was 2nd, then 1st and now the king is back – don’t know if they are desperate to win again but if that’s the case the televoters/juries will hopefully punish them just enough. Or maybe they are also pissed by the jury treatment last year so this is kind of revenge? 🙂

    I also (like justin) have high hopes for Turkish entry, I hope they will have a nice staging to it since the whole orchestra (like in the clip) is out of question. What I don’t understand is why is it doing relatively bad on the winner market, it’s still Turkey – the question remains though if the western countries would notice it.

    • Panos

      I think Turkey is brilliant too and I am also perplexed by its relatively high odds for the win. I’m not even sure if western countries really need to notice it for a top 5 placing. Loucas Yiorkas came 3rd in the televoting last year (similarly relying mostly on diaspora) and only placed 8th overall because of the 14th place with the juries. The question is if Turkey 2012 can do better than that with the juries (I think yes!).

  • I agree Boki (any relation to Boki 13?) – it has to be Danny.

  • lying eyes

    I wouldn’t rule out an irish win though…….

  • David

    MF final draw out now, and it’s evident Mr Björkman believes in Danny for ESC – he got a near perfect draw. Going last, after a slow ballad and with max distance to the similar entry from David Lindgren.

    Only slight downside for him is that Loreen got an ok draw, going 6th.

    • Panos

      6th is one of the least successful singing slots, maybe loreen has so much momentum now that she is unstoppable and they r pulling all the stops to stop her.

      • Panos

        (least successful in terms of reaching top4)

      • David

        Well, I can’t see any logical explanation why 6th would be worse than for example 5th. Any statistic showing that I’d seriously question as noise. Also, it seems quite arbitrary to measure top-4 finishes – why not top-3 or top-5?

        If they wanted to stop her, they could have let her sing 2nd.

    • Emma

      Danny’s chances are looking better now–the draw hasn’t been kind to most everyone else. The two country-tinged numbers, Lisa and Topcats are side-by-side, as are the rock abnormal-for-MF, Thorsten Flinck and Dead By April. Lisa and Ulrik, the more mitempo calm acts are too close for comfort, both buried in the middle next to at least one more dramatic number. David will no doubt be forgotten about after Danny (although singing first doesn’t always prove to be killer–Danny got second that way last year). Molly and Bjorn/Sara lucked out, though, and Loreen will definitely stand out next to Topcats and Ulrik. She’s clearly not a producer’s favorite though–making her sing sixth seems like a pointed statement.

  • olivia

    I heard them in the studio and they really cant sing in tune. They have to be good on the night. The song is very catchy/ I think Ireland should have given the chance to singing artist as Jedward are millionaires and on everything here in Ireland. They will never be fully seen as singers but funny comedians and great entertainers for the pre teen. I cringe as an Irish person that our country sent two entertainers into a singing contest

  • olivia

    jedward have been out of xfactor three years. the two of them work hard to get where they are,No friends, No holidays and relentless work. They have just over 500,000 twitter followers thats 250,000 between them. Nial Horan of One Direction has been out of xfactor one year and has close to two million and he can sing. I think Jedward have to promote themselves as they are not as big as they want to be. they wont win Eurovision. All the votes in Ireland were their tweenie and young girls fan base

  • olivia

    P.S. I hope they get into the top ten because they have given up everything to be in show business

  • olivia

    I feel sad that jedward got tatoos on their body to bring attention to themselves to win eurovision. i think that talent wins and not tatoos. Many fans are very sad that they destroyed their body and they have cut off their modelling career cause their singing career is sinking

    • Oh, who gives a shit? If I’d have been the tattooist I’d have surreptitiously inked the word “COCK” onto both of them instead of the Eurovision logo.

      Seriously though, I don’t see how getting Eurovision heart tattoos is a problem. As a contest fan I think it’s pretty cool!

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