Eurovision 2012: Can Can Bonomo get viewers to ‘Love Me Back’ for Turkey?

The Eurovision season seemed to start promisingly enough. We got decent songs from Denmark and Norway, for example. But the standard of the entries revealed over the last week have failed to inspire me to pen another pre-rehearsal analysis, which I like to do for any act considered a contender.

Whilst many fans still seem optimistic this is a strong year comparatively, the betting market tells a different story. The top three in the Betfair win market – Sweden, Russia and Serbia – haven’t even selected their songs yet.

Admittedly, it seems pretty certain Sweden will send one of two entries we’ve already seen (Loreen with ‘Euphoria’ or Danny Saucedo’s ‘Amazing’). However, the top known song in bookmakers’ lists is the aforementioned Danish one, which I initially felt was a pretty guaranteed finalist, but reliant on strong jury support to come anywhere near matching the country’s top five finishes in the last two runnings.

This may be partly why Sofabet’s shrewd panel of commenters showed some kind of consensus late last week that the Turkish entry – ‘Love Me Back’ by Can Bonomo – deserved to be taken seriously. In that spirit, here’s my assessment of its chances.

Turkey, of course, always has something going for it in the contest: it’s plethora of friendly votes from diaspora around Europe. This had been enough to see it in the Top 13 every year since 2003 – until last year. Then the uninspired ‘Live It Up’ by Yuksek Sadakat, stuck in a semi with only four voting allies, remained stuck in that semi by failing to qualify for the final.

The draw has been much kinder to Turkey this year, our number three point in an initial reaction piece to the semi-final allocation procedure. Eight allies and a song that isn’t terrible in a field where some of them are – that should be enough to see it in the final. A more difficult question is, what happens when it gets there?

Our Sofabet commenters have made a number of positive noises. Justin reckoned: ‘It has the ethnic appeal that seems likely to do well everywhere where Jedward do not and it’s just a little hypnotic.’ It is also in English, as was the case with all five of Turkey’s top five finishes since 2003. That’s not a record to be sniffed at.

Boki agreed with Justin, stating, ‘I also…have high hopes for Turkish entry….the question remains though if the western countries notice it.’ To my western ears, the song starts off very promisingly indeed, with some excellent string and wind riffs, leading into a catchy verse. It’s all very ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. The chorus feels less melodic, however, and the focus on it in a meandering final third lessens the song’s impact for me and I think others outside Turkey’s normal constituency.

However, Panos makes the following excellent point: ‘I’m not even sure if western countries need to notice it for a top 5 placing.’ He rightly points to Loucas Yiorkas managing third place for Greece in the televote last year with an ethnic song that played to that nation’s diaspora. This was part of my argument for backing Greece for a top 10 finish last year, and it can be applied to Turkey’s chances of a top 10 finish this year.

Much as Greece got a small additional boost from a final that lacked Turkey or Armenia, the distinct possibility that Armenia may still withdraw from this year’s contest would also be a net plus for Turkey, with whom they traditionally compete for the French, Dutch and Belgian televote 12.

Panos goes on to consider how the juries, who put Greece down in 14th last year, will react to ‘Love Me Back’: ‘The question is if Turkey 2012 can do better than that with the juries.’ Indeed it is. Panos thinks Can Bonomo will do better with the juries. I’m just not sure, having thought that they would treat Greece better than they ended up doing last year.

Bonomo’s performing style and vocals definitely come under the definition of ‘quirky’ and something ethnic and quirky runs the risk of going either way with the juries, who have seemed to favour more mainstream entries. The best example I can think of to illustrate my fears in this respect is Serbia’s 2010 entry, the uptempo, quirky, ethnic ‘Ovo je Balkan’ by Milan Stankovic. The juries hated it, putting it near the bottom of the pile with just 37 points in the final.

Juries did reward the uptempo quirkiness of Jedward last year, but that was with more of a mainstream pop song. We did have one uptempo, quirky, ethnic number last year too, in the shape of Bosnia’s Dino Merlin. He liked to dance around in a rather jokey, alternative manner as well. His renown, particularly within the Balkans, still only helped him to 90 points with the juries, significantly below his televote total of 151 points and rather less than I expected. It was enough for a top ten finish overall, however.

The worst case scenario for this Turkish entry is likely to be a Russia 2011-style result: seventh in the televote and last with the juries for 16th place overall. I don’t think ‘Love Me Back’ will be treated as badly as that by the juries, but my uncertainty about how they will react to Can Bonomo’s antics on stage (of which the rehearsal period will tell us more) does give me pause for thought about Turkey’s chances for a top ten finish or something higher.

If this were 2008 and the televoters still had the total say, I would most probably be punting heavily on a top 10 finish for ‘Love Me Back’, especially if we do end up without Armenia. It’s still eminently possible, but those Sofabet commenters who have wisely felt that Can Bonomo has been rather overlooked need to be wary of exclaiming, Scooby-Doo style, when the full results are revealed: “If it wasn’t for those pesky juries…”.

57 comments to Eurovision 2012: Can Can Bonomo get viewers to ‘Love Me Back’ for Turkey?

  • Rob

    I’m certainly in the optimistic camp, Dan, regarding the overall quality of songs this year. I find it amusing that every year without fail you read ESC fans’ comments on forum sites saying this is the worst contest ever. I think a good barometer to the overall quality this year, is Norway’s party tune ‘Haba, haba’ trading at about 6-1 fav around this time (shortly before the French song surfaced anyway). This year, we have songs from the likes of Ukraine and France that would fit into the same sort of genre, potentially have far more about them, and yet are both trading at over 100 on BF. It’s a strange market, far too skewed towards 3 nations we cannot bank on. Serbia’s price is founded purely on the guy’s track record, ditto with likely winner Bilan over in Russia teaming up with t.a.T.u. lady, while Sweden’s Danny winning would kill his and Tooji’s chance stone dead, and see Sweden’s price at least double or more likely treble or quadruple. Loreen would have to have the Timeform squiggle, like the French tune last year. I see many possibilities this year with over-priced perceived outsiders that can all potentially out-run their odds given ataging magic and a favourable draw.

  • Rob

    *staging – and which would include Turkey, getting to the subject of your article 🙂

    • Daniel

      Hi Rob, I’m not writing this year’s standard off by any means yet, and there are plenty still to reveal their hand. I just think it’s a typical year with plenty of dross and not that many that are obvious top 5 contenders at this stage. Which, from a punting perspective, is a good thing actually.

  • ESCbettinsanity

    Thank you for your analysis.
    I do think Bonomo will be rewarded by juries to some degree for going with a pretty risky selection that combines ethnic rhythm with his modern style without ridiculing traditional turkish music. I would put that in contrast to Serbia’s 2010 Ovo je balkan and Greece’s 2011 to some extent. Both of these must have left many jury members wondering if they are just being fooled.
    Another thing that works in Bonomo’s favor compared to Bosnia’s 2011 Dino Merlin is age. The Olsen Brothers victory is 12 years away from now and I got the impression that during those last three years from Rybak to Lena to babyface-Eldar the factor of young-kid-having-fun-on-the-stage seems to be sort of relevant.
    This is why I am also really high (or at least higher than most other people) on Slovenia’s 16-year old Eva Boto. The most reasonable argument I could find that works against her are the song’s similarities to Molitva, but how many of the general public (non-ESC-maniacs) do even remember that?
    Back to the topic though:
    If Can Bonomo shows any sort of indication during rehearsals that he actually enjoys himself on the stage I will have no worries to back a Top10 finish, mainly because of diaspora and almost-home-floor-advantage. My only fear at the moment would be that he might have a minor drug issue which could turn things badly 😉

  • Boki

    I have an impression that juries are punishing the messed-up vocals on their night really hard – Russia and UK last year are fresh examples but also Milan Stankovic who got an award later for hitting the most false notes. Bigger concern are Greece and Bosnia indeed.
    Also there seems to be a tendency that more and more countries with poor record are trying to send a vocally flawless ballad hoping to get some of the jury pie (like Lithuania, Slovenia, Austria last year) and that can cause the further shift down of the non-classical entries which is a shame.

  • Apropos messed-up vocals: here’s the Cyprus song live, with a pretty ropey vocal. Doesn’t necessarily augur well.

  • Primavera

    I think many singers who are backed up and somewhat corrected by pre-recorded vocals during the song presentations will face the same problem in the final. Singing out of tune may not always translate into a backlash though, as exemplified by Hadise (Turkey 2009) who came 4th by messing up the entire song (which was by no means a complicated ballad, one must say).

  • Boki

    The problem is that it all comes to that one night when they are performing general rehearsal on which juries base their vote on. So majority of us actually don’t know how the performance was so we have to rely on the info from bloggers who are present there, luckily/hopefully sofabet team keeps giving objective reports from the spot – going to Baku Daniel?

    • Daniel

      Hi Boki, my flight to Baku is booked, I’m just waiting to hear confirmation about my press accreditation, so fingers crossed I will be.

  • Nick D

    On the general subject of juries, and repeating a question I’ve asked in another place: with Slovenia, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Estonia, Finland, Netherlands, and almost certainly UK, Serbia and Azerbaijan already clearly playing very hard and very competently to the “loved by juries” stereotype, can you see any single one of them managing to get a really big foothold in that constituency? And will they leave any points still on the jury table for anybody else?

    • Daniel

      Great question Nick, and there’s simply no way of knowing the answer at the moment, I think. All those that you mention have the potential for a significant boost from the jury vote, so it may be more difficult for someone to runaway with it as Italy did last year.

    • Boki

      Some might not qualify (like NL), some may vanish in the final (like Lithuania last year, 1st in semi and 20th in the final) but your list is long enough to make the trend even worse than the last year. So if among those jury friendly you can find the most televote/diaspora friendly it might be a contender but without seeing the staging and running order it’s almost an impossible task.

      • Panos

        I’m wondering if the day ill ever come when the overall winner will b the jury winner (and not th televote), or even a total compromise winner who won none of th 2. The latter almost happened last year.

        • Nick D

          It undoubtedly will sooner or later. It rather frequently happens in national finals that use a split voting – classic example is Nanne Gronvall massively winning the televote at Melodifestival 2005, but 3 out of 11 local juries gave it very low marks which leading to Martin Stenmarck’s narrow overall win.

          The ESC system skews very slightly in favour of the televotes, but a Gualazzi-esque jury winner would probably win the contest if it could get to about 8th place in televotes.

  • Johnny Roastbeef

    Guys! When do you think we can expect a TOP 10 market on Betfair? Cheers.

    • Daniel

      Soon, I hope! My guess would be after this weekend’s important set of selections.

      • Justin

        The other question is does anyone know when the actual semi final draw will take place?

        • Daniel

          Hi Justin, the semi-final draw which will also determine where the automatic finalists are drawn in the final, will take place during the Heads of Delegation meeting which is across two days – from Monday March 19 to Tuesday March 20. Last year the draw took place on the Tuesday.

    • Boki

      Johnny, you can send them an email with a request to open the top10 market.

  • tpfkar

    I’ve just listened to plenty of the selected tracks, might have missed some.

    I thought the best (and I came here to post this before reading the article) was TURKEY. Serious top 5 contender.

    But my favourite was LATVIA. A song about being desperate to win Eurovision – quirky and fun and a pleasant change from soppy love songs which we know are just about hoovering up votes.

    The worst was AUSTRIA. Given my track record, I’d pile onfor the win.

    Second worst IRELAND. I agree with Simon le chat – Jedward look like the novelty value is wearing off, they are growing up and don’t have the same aura about them. Miracles needed with Waterline to match last year.

  • henna

    i like germany’s entry. it’s a nice and current pop song, really likeable bloke. Won’t win probably, but I think and hope will have a decent result(around the top 10 mark), which is I think exactly what germany wants, I don’t think they would want to host another eurovision in the next 3-4 years.
    I also like Italy’s girl and song, have heard of the singer a few years back, I guess it’s again a bit niche-music, so -without the comeback bonus they had last year-I expect it to be middle of pack.
    Not keen on jedward this year. and austria sucks(thank god in the end it’s not the bearded lady ), but I understand why they choose a joke after last year’s pretty and seriuous trial flopped.
    Oh, and I have noooo idea what england is thinking… I guess probably nothing. 🙂

  • Daniel

    Armenia have officially withdrawn from the contest – the news broke this morning.

  • Boki

    Tonight Russia chooses (who will it be I wonder)… here’s a clip from their rehearsal, can such an obvious last year winner copy do the same?

  • fiveleaves

    I’m surprised there’s been no mention of Spain from the weekend.

    It’s gone down extremely well on the forums and youtube and strikes me as the standout ballad so far, which could easily do an Italy with the juries.

    It’s also a western european country which the juries were specifically brought in to help.

    OK it’s Spain and the perceived wisdom is they can’t win because of lack of friends, but the same was said about Germany.
    Ofc a very different song, but Spain have a very similar record to Germany since the pv was introduced, with 4 top 10 finsishes.

  • fiveleaves

    Cheers Boki.
    It has a harder feel to the Azeri song from last year and therefore likely to appeal to a younger audience.
    A definite contender and possibly a new favourite?

    • Boki

      It looks that way indeed, first they have to choose it but we probably have a favorite.

      Rg. Spain, I don’t find it striking at all because if I compare Pastora to other performers (like Nina Zilli) I find her inferior (the way she looks,moves,feels the song – don’t know how to explain it without being rude). She has the voice but (as Gary said) she’s shouting her way through. But it’s only me, what do I know 🙂

      Maybe a nice topic for the next article: Big5 comparison (with or without UK).

  • fiveleaves

    You mean she’s not as ****able 😉

    The Italian song is all over the place and doesn’t flow at all for me.

  • fiveleaves

    The Golden Russian couple underwhelming on the actual show.

  • fiveleaves

    Outshone by some singing Grans

  • fiveleaves

    Outshone and outpolled them LOL

  • fiveleaves

    I rather like it.

    I’m not sure the juries will tho.

    • Daniel

      Likewise – I think it’s great fun. The juries are going to crucify it though.

      • fiveleaves

        Yep, if there’s one thing the juries don’t do it’s fun.

        • Panos

          ditto. wouldnt be surprised for a similar televote/jury spread to last year, tho prolly higher on the jury side…cant really get lower than 2011.

          • Boki

            Wow, amazing result, it seems the Russian jury didn’t crucify it but I have no idea how the voting was split (was there a jury involved?).

            Anyway, funny little song and another unexpected result – Austrian bearded lady, Plumbo, Dima – all favorites who failed. I wonder who will surprise Loreen…

          • Tim B

            @David, perhaps someone forgot there were 50% juries in Eurovision LOL!

  • The Spanish singer looks constipated. That won’t look good on TV. Also the song takes ages to get going. Should get a decent haul from the juries though.
    As for Russia… Well the juries will rightly crucify it, but I reckon the televote will be huge for it. It’ll touch people’s hearts and push their fun buttons. If this comes later than one of the more serious much fancied dance entries in the running order, I believe it’ll steal quite a few votes. In a year that’s overflowing with dance, a more traditional sound could steal the show.

  • Daniel

    A couple of people have asked me about Spain, so it’s time for me to fess up and admit I really don’t like it. She’s much better than this very dated Eurovision-y ballad. But she has to sing in a low register she doesn’t look comfortable with before switching rather quickly to overblown melodrama in the final third with that tiresome refrain.

    Having said all which, I’m not ruling out a half-decent finish. I felt the same way about Jade and ‘It’s My Time’ for the UK in 2009, and that managed fifth with the help of the juries. Much as I don’t like ‘Quedate Conmigo’, I’m inclined not to make a point of laying it for fear of something similar happening.

    • Panos

      I agree daniel, tho I sense it’s more in austria/slovenia 2011 territory rather than uk 2009. But u never know! Value could potentially lie in back-to-lay for victory if managed to get those 40’s and her odds continue to fall as fans continue to exaggerate about it.

    • I think Jade’s finished was heavily assisted by the presence of Lloyd-Webber. Having said that, the song was sublimely sung.
      Spain’s lack of voting buddies worries me and I won’t be considering Spain until the 20th. If they get a late slot, they could be backable.

  • fiveleaves

    I think you’re way off guys.
    I’ve not seen a response to a female ballad like this since I’ve been watching ESC seriously.
    That’s only a couple of years TBF, but a quarter of a million hits on youtube within days, 10th in the kolumbus poll and probably heading for top spot and extremely popular on the ESCforum.
    It’s in a different league to previous female ballads to my ears and this response backs that up.
    It has a touch of Leona Lewis’s cover of Run to it.
    Also unlike say the slovenian woman last years, this response isn’t driven by the attractiveness of the singer, but her performance and the song.

    It’s already proving hugely popular and likely to prove even more popular when the rehearsals come around.

    Basically I’m with Rob and his latest Entertainment odds article.

    • Tim B

      I agree with fiveleaves – I think the Spainish song is absolutely incredible and I’d bet on a top 10 finish for it now if I could. I am a sucker for big ballads and think with Rob from entertaintmentodds has it right with the analysis in his article. It has a touch of Celine Dion ‘All By Myself’. The performance itself is extremely powerful and emotional. However, I did think similar about Austria’s entry last year. But I do prefer Spain this year.

  • Marigold

    I like the Babushka’s too but I agree that the juries will slaughter it.

    I don’t really know what I think about that. I really like the odd novelty act but I wouldn’t want them to take over and I suppose if the juries rewarded fun/novelty the contest overall might deteriorate again

  • Marigold

    Spain is certainly a very catchy and well crafted song. It is a much better ballad than any of the other ballads this year or indeed last years Austrian and Slovenian efforts. I could see it doing well with the juries.

  • SED

    Hi everyone, I’ve been a silent reader since last year and enjoy both blog and comments a lot. I also like Can Bonomo’s song and can imagine that it will do well (3m youtube hits), but I was wondering about the unpleasant controversy surrounding his Jewish background. I read that he had to defend himself at the press conference because of that. As I say: quite unpleasant and racist. But the question from a punter’s perspective is: Is this going to affect the televote?

  • David

    “The worst case scenario for this Turkish entry is likely to be a Russia 2011-style result: seventh in the televote and last with the juries for 16th place overall.”

    Daniel, am I correctly interpreting this as you finding it highly unlikely with a semi final exit? If so, I’d tend to agree. Last year they weren’t very far from qualifying, and this year the song is better (I’m sure many people dislike Can Bonomo more than the “meh” of last year, but polarization in a game where you just cast your vote for the winner isn’t necessarily a bad thing), there are 7 allies as opposed to 4, and the slot is 13th instead of 5th. Should push it into green territory.

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