Eurovision 2014: An Ace weekend?

It’s a big weekend for Eurovision fans. Tonight Sweden, Denmark and Slovenia select their entries. Tomorrow Montenegro presents its song and contest favourite Carl Espen performs in the Norwegian semi-final.

The Nordic sing-offs always get the most attention from fans and punters because they offer highly professional, competitive events with reliable webstreams. Plenty will be juggling multiple computer devices tonight.

The problem for eagle-eyed punters is that the Swedish event, Melodifestivalen, has already been pored over expertly for the last month, leaving little value left in the markets; meanwhile, the Danish event is too much of an unknown quantity, with the full songs only released yesterday and not enough sense of how each act is coming across on stage.

In Sweden, the market reckons it’s an effective duel between Sanna Nielsen and Ace Wilder. Sanna is the Melodifestivalen veteran, attempting her first win in seven attempts having just lost out in 2008 and placed fourth in 2011. Ace Wilder is the joker in the pack, whose ‘Busy Doin’ Nothing’ has taken the Swedish charts by storm.

The general feeling is that Ace’s crowd-pleasing, upbeat number will hold the advantage in the televote, Sanna’s ballad with the international juries; it’s a question of who loses out least in either category. One issue I have with this narrative is that since the international juries have participated in 2011, they’ve shown a liking for the kind of upbeat, hook-laden, song-and-dance packages that Ace offers.

In 2011, Sanna’s ‘I’m In Love’, admittedly much more dated than her song this year ‘Undo’, managed third with international juries behind ‘Popular’ and ‘In The Club’. ‘Busy Doin’ Nothing’ with its infectious chorus is a kind of hybrid of the latter two. The top two in 2012 and 2013? ‘Euphoria’, ‘Amazing’, ‘You’ and ‘Tell The World I’m Here’. This is not a constituency that have traditionally punished contemporary uplifting pop over heartfelt ballads, as Eurovision juries have a reputation for doing.

Given this, I don’t see ‘Busy Doin’ Nothing’ necessarily being so significantly disadvantaged by the juries. Arguably the song, with overtones of Icona Pop, is more relevant and palatable to an international audience than Sanna’s. It would far more likely chart around Europe than ‘Undo’. Negative blog reports of Ace from last night’s jury rehearsal should be considered, but bloggers can easily overdo their nitpicking.

For this reason, if forced to choose between the two, I’d still play the Ace, but wouldn’t be at all surprised to see long-time favourite Sanna finally lift the prize, which the domestic audience may feel she deserves. The rest seem to be fighting for bronze, with Helena Paparizou most likely to manage it. Unfortunately, the mature market has this right at 10/11 each of two, 12/1 bar. I probably won’t be getting involved.

The Danish final is much more of a mystery. I had backed Bryan Rice at 14/1 when song snippets were released, but even I have to admit that ‘I Choose U’ is inferior to his 2010 runner-up ‘Breathing’. The ten finalists all offer rather similar, middle-of-the-road stuff; only in performance will a pecking order be easier to discern. You can listen to them all here.

I followed one blog from last night’s dress rehearsal, which was most impressed by Rebekka Thornbech, Glamboy, Nadia Malm and especially Michael Rune. The author also liked Anna David, who despite a weak song, is the most famous domestic name. Basim offers the most immediate number, and Bryan Rice is proven to deliver on the big night. You see – it’s about as clear as mud!

What is clearer than mud is an exit poll of last night’s rehearsal from the same source. As this article was posted it has just published its results and the clear winner was Basim with almost a third of the total votes. Still, it’s from a tiny sample of just 100 and a much bigger sample was proved wrong last year when the act with more than twice the votes of anyone else could only manage second.

There may be opportunities in-running with this event. Some shrewdies latched onto ‘Only Teardrops’ last year which only started out as third favourite but came alive in its presentation. The rest is history. So my best advice for punters tonight is to watch the Danish event closest of all, despite the obvious attraction of the Melodifestivalen final, which I’d recommend more to curious newbies.

Good luck to all of you dipping your toes in Scandinavian waters. For all those interested, go to the usually excellent webstreams for Sweden (starts 7pm) and Denmark (also starts 7pm). Let us know your thoughts on this weekend’s big events below.

81 comments to Eurovision 2014: An Ace weekend?

  • eurovicious

    Do we know who sits on the MF international juries? It’s not just the spokespeople, right?

    • Daniel

      I’ve been looking into this eurovicious and I’m still waiting to hear back from a contact of mine. Otherwise, all I have been able to find out is that the jury “groups” are “confidential”. Nothing on how many in each jury, but the implication is more than one.

      • eurovicious

        Cool. I suspect they’re even more suspect than the ESC juries. The spokespeople the past couple of years have been a mix of former/current HODs and various eurogays (and Chiara). Last year the Cyprus jury (Klitou Klitou) gave Sean Banan its 12, while the UK gave it 10 and Italy 8. I have trouble taking votes like that seriously. Similarly 4 juries gave Anton Ewald (who can’t sing) 8 or 10. Certainly the faces we see hardly suggests the juries are representative or mixed, and the votes confirm that impression. Hence I’m inclined to think the juries will turn their nose up at Busy Doing Nowt, not just because of the vocals.

  • eurovicious

    I only liked 2 songs in MF this year (one less than last year), JEM and Ace, so needless to say I’m supporting Ace tonight (though I’ll be watching EMA). It’s the perfect antidote to songs like “Work, Bitch” and a much-needed counterpoint in a culture that fetishises “work” as an unqualified virtue.

    Re: stream quality, that was definitely true a few years ago, but the past 2-3 years I can’t recall having streaming problems with any country’s selection apart from Malta and occasionally Azerbaijan.

    • AlexanderS

      I can argue long about the message behind Ace’s song, as I have a different view. This type of songs, especially with the “in-your-face” aggressiveness that they are performed with, make Adorno look fresh and modern nearly 70 years later.

  • squall

    Making a play laying Helena for top-3, I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts around her being most likely to take the bronze.

    In my opinion, last year was very much an exception to the rule that AC qualifiers do relatively poorly in the finals, having already been beaten by two songs (in Helena’s case, from the pump slot). In addition to this, I’d argue that Helena falls squarely in the fan fave category, boosting her poll numbers but this not translating to votes. She’s a consummate pro which might render her jury live, but with the arguably dated schlager-esque genre also this is far from certain.

    I’m guessing 40-65 jury points and 20-35 televoter points, for a mid-table finish. My problem is, I can’t really name another good candidate for 3rd. Could Yohio retain enough televotes topull it off?

    • Daniel

      Hi squall, great to hear from you. Helena in third is a default position for me. Beyond Sanna and Ace, I think it’s a toss-up between lots of them. Certainly wouldn’t be backing Helena for top three. My problem is, if not Helena, then whom? Big question marks against all of them, with Yohio seemingly having little momentum this year. Still, someone’s going to manage it.

      • Ben Cook

        Linus has really taken off on Spotify this week so maybe him? Though I suppose he might suffer in the international vote.

      • Thanks, Daniel. Great to see your Eurovision coverage kicking off, too! I’m taking one-and-a-half months off work this year to focus purely on Eurovision, and will therefore be reading and posting here with even more interest than before.

        Looks like we’re having the same troubles finding the third top-3 finisher. I’ll simply be trying to find several lays/backs (likely ending up with top-3 positions on most entries), where I find that the odds are in mismatch with the actual potential.

    • Boki

      Helena 3rd is based on the strong jury support, without it she’s doomed imo. So if you are right about 40-65 from juries…
      I believe Yohio should take at least 3rd but would like better odds.

      • Yeah, let’s see about that jury score – might very well be that I’m too pessimistic. In any case, I’m ready to adjust my position in-running. Just hope there will be liquidity also on the top3 market

  • Daniel, my issue is visualising Ace top2 with the juries. In 2011 and 2012, i realise eric/danny and loreen/danny were top2 with the juries. But, those songs were hands down the best of the bunch with no close competition, so it would be really WTF if they were not rewarded by juries to some extend too. Plus, there was no real jury fodder threatening those songs’ obvious superiority. Just s simple scroll down the list of the songs in the MF final in 2011 and 2012 makes that fact quite striking to me.

    • Ben Cook

      A lot of people would argue that Ace clearly has the best pop song in this year’s competition though. I’m not keen on the performance but I don’t think she’s going to be shafted by the juries because it is a good song. It could even win Eurovision.

      Personally I’d like to see Sanna sneak through but I think after so many times of trying it’s really difficult to imagine her finally winning MF!

      Amazing fact: Sanna is two years YOUNGER than Ace.

    • Daniel

      Hi Panos, you make some very valid points. It is questionable whether Ace can be top 2 with juries tonight, I was just making the point that the kind of package she offers is not something juries necessarily punish in this competition.

      Of course, the likes of Danny and Loreen offered something far superior to the rest of the 2012 field, though there was some supposed jury bait that flopped entirely with these panels (Lisa M, for example).

      The Swedish chart, with Ace at #1, suggests at least some correlation in popularity with recent winners, though. Ace is by far the most memorable upbeat package of the night. Whether that’s enough we’ll have to wait and see.

    • Tim B

      Furthermore, the elephant in the room is that the chorus of Busy Doin’ Nothin’ isn’t sung live, and Ace’s voice is relatively weak during the verses. With so much jury bait this year (it’s a very strong final IMO) I’d therefore be very surprised if Ace made Top 3 with the juries.

      • Which acts do you consider to be jury bait? I can see arguments being made for Ellen, Helena and Sanna (discounting Ace), but no others really. Surely Anton and/or Oscar can’t be on the list, given the reasoning on Ace’s vocals?

        • Tim B

          Helena, Sanna, YOHIO (who has an excellent USP), Ellen and Linus (although Swedish language is a worry). Personally I would also rate Anton higher than Ace but many will disagree with me on that. The song has more to it, his vocal is slightly stronger than hers and it’s the kind of David Lindgren-type song which is usually liked by the juries.

      • Maybe I’m too pessimistic about Yohio’s jury chances, but I have a feeling he will still be considered too much novelty to qualify as “bait”, at least.

  • Henry VIII

    So many national competitions have neglected the best tunes for ones that are now languishing at very high odds, I hope MF is more sensible, but juries can be unpredictable. Therefore at these odds I’m also staying out. I’ve got the top two modestly green at least.

    Here’s a surprise for you, if you’ve seen the performances: Ace is older than Sanna.

  • chewy wesker

    I’d love to see YOHIO win, but looks like it’s come down to a shootout with sanna v ace……
    I think ace will take it. A lay of sanna is not the worst bet in the world. good luck everyone tonight.

  • Ben Cook

    Also worth watching tonight is the Portuguese semi-final, which starts at 10.30pm UK time. 100% televoting to pick 5 from 10. There are a few decent songs in the mix by the sound of the rehearsals on YouTube. I have my fingers crossed for Catarina Pereira, who won the televote in 2010 with the very catchy “Canta por mim”, but ended up getting shafted by juries. No juries in next week’s final. It’s reminiscent of Antique’s “Die For You”…

    • Ben Cook

      9.10pm in fact

    • eurovicious

      Just seen her song – template fanwank, right down to the choreo, regulation key change and ending! Exactly like something from an NF a decade ago – they must have had it in a locker…

      • Ben Cook

        Yes, it is definitely 10 years out of date and I wouldn’t tip it to do amazingly well. But I like it.

        Meanwhile, Denmark could make it two in a row with “Cliché Love Song”. It’s had a very negative reaction from the fans but it’s one of the most instant entries we’ve heard so far and I can see it having mass televoter appeal. Very Bruno Mars.

        • eurovicious

          Not sufficiently impactful, there’s not enough to it. Carl Espen has more chance but I can’t see him winning Eurovision either (anywhere near, in fact).

          Funny story, I once listened to the (first) Bruno Mars album 3 times in one day. Why? Because they were playing it in the effing hairdresser’s and I had a long wait. My lawsuit was later rejected.

  • Boki

    Daniel, what’s your first impression of Carl’s performance? It’s failing in visual impact for me, can’t justify the odds at the moment.

    • I felt really nervous watching him. The song requires a certain amount of vulnerability but at the same time he needs to sing with more conviction. It needs a lot of work but hopefully it can improve.

    • eurovicious

      Yeah, it really needs a belly-dancer to pull a ribbon out of his nether regions at the 2-minute mark.

    • Daniel

      Agreed, Boki. Vocals are good but he’s very diffident as a performer. It’s a classy song but I’m not diving in at those odds just at the moment.

    • eurovicious

      Seriously though, I can’t remotely justify the odds either. I saw a few people commenting that they were nervous for him, don’t really understand why but I don’t know his back story – something about him being a taxi driver? No way is a hairy older guy (with slicked-back hair, ew) gonna win Eurovision, even if the song was Kuula-level good, which it isn’t. Silent Storm is competent and he sings it very well, authentically and with a lack of artifice and vocal showing-off, but it’s not spectacular. If Anouk could only manage 9th with Birds, which had so much more emotion and gravitas and a more charismatic singer, I really can’t see this winning(!). I think people are just jumping on it because of the story(?) and because we’re coming right up to the end of NF season and almost everything so far has been shit. And because it’s a Nordic. If Moldova had just picked it you wouldn’t be hearing a peep.

      Right now it’s still between Hungary, the UK, and – if Stefan Örn can pull another decent song out of his bounteous codpiece – Azerbaijan. Though I have a feeling the EBU might want to send a message to Azerbaijan this year. If Ace had won, Sweden would have had a chance too. Having “only” started following NFs in 2007/8 I didn’t know who Sanna was (apart from Empty Room which made no impact on me) and while she’s a strong singer, I don’t get all the love. Musically she’s hugely dated for her age, someone like Molly Sanden is a lot better. And she’s certainly no Sarah-Dawn Finer. I think Undo will do pretty well though because it has broad televote and jury appeal and the staging will be good. On no account a winner though. I’m suspicious of the MF result but also happy that Ace has reaped the benefits of exposure without the tarnishing brush of having won the thing. It’s a loss for MF and ESC but ideal in terms of her credibility.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Hi eurovicious, I agree with you.

        Watched the UK’s Children of the Universe the other week and liked it a lot. Not crazy about it but enthusiastic enough. Very catchy.

        Have just watched Sanna’s Undo a couple of times and still can’t remember how it goes. Halfway through the first watch I felt a bit bored and opened a new tap to check the tennis betting! She’s an engaging enough performer, powerful singer, but I felt she was overcooking it all a bit to compensate for what is a yawn of a tune.

        Have now listened to Carl Epsen’s Silent Storm. This is worse! Dreary and the singer moans his way through it. Sounds like a rejected and poor Icelandic tune. I think my favourite Scandinavian tune that I’ve heard recently is this:

        Astonishing to see this guy…

        is 6/4 with one firm to win Eurovision. Wtf?!

        From listening to Silent Storm it appears he is as bored-looking off-stage as he is on-stage. And Lord almighty: I hope he wears something long sleeved to cover the tatted-up forearms.

        The Hungarian entry. Start listening and prepare for more maudlin boredom. But no! It soon breaks out into a pumping bit of base-and-drum tinged excitement that wouldn’t be out of place in the upper reaches of the US Billboard singles chart.

        Romania’s Miracle: terrific stage visuals, though the chinless male singer needs a makeover. Feel off the sofa listening to the female singer hit that endless, crazy escalator of rising notes. But the song is generic garbage.

        Ukraine’s Tick-Tock: Crap. Puts the horror in horologist. Needs to be fun, should be fun, but just sounds weak.

        Last year’s contest was miles superior in quality to what I’ve heard from this one.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Whereas Carl Epsen looks like a guy you would find playing pool down at your local biker pub, this chap has a touch of a young Mario Van Peebles…

          Am sure this a is a very worthy topic for a song but I couldn’t help but chuckle at a girl dressed in white playing the piano under the watch of her sad head-bowed teddy.

          But as the white-masked (identity-lessness) dancers entered, the seriousness of the song hit home a bit more.

          What with the Danger-Danger red and black staging and the singer’s seriousness, I felt a bit unsettled afterwards.

          Certainly memorable.

          On reflection, this song performance is bound to be unsettling. My feet wanted to get up and dance; but my mind was dwelling on slowly interpreting the unsettling stage mood, imagery and symbolism (while trying to connect it to the song lyrics).


        • eurovicious

          “she was overcooking it all a bit to compensate for what is a yawn of a tune” = exactly.

          “Last year’s contest was miles superior in quality” = again sadly true, which is shocking in itself given how weak last year’s was. We’re circling the drain.

          Also notice how few songs not in English have been chosen so far. All the countries are just getting their NF songs out of a generic pool of largely Scandinavia-written production-line songs. It renders the whole thing pointless.

  • eurovicious

    Last thought of the day, before I hang myself up on my peg for the night: Montenegro is lovely but without points from, oh, I dunno, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Macedonia, Austria or Germany, they’re beyond screwed.

  • Chris Bellis

    Yes, the Ace song had a very good chance, if only she could have got the tuning right. That’s not a problem with Sanna, so I’ve had a punt at 7/1. But not a huge amount. The lyrics are banal, but it’s Eurovision so I don’t think that’s important. The Ace song was much more interesting and generally catchy. I’ve got the same gut feeling as I had about Wigan beating Man City yesterday, so here’s hoping.

  • AlexanderS

    There is no way Carl Espen would win the jury votes in Eurovision. I thought with 5 years of juries now this would be rather obvious. How do you even see juries prefering him over someone like Molly, for example? It is definitely not about the song only; he simply isn’t and will never be a jury winning material in current Eurovision. Thus Norway is absolutely not the top contender.

  • eurovicious

    BTW, why is there practically no betting market this year? Just because of NF season being late, or something else? The unpredictability of last year’s results?

    I’ve just put my money where my mouth is and put a small-medium sum that I’m comfortable with on the UK to win at 15/1, while I can get the odds.

    I wrote a piece last year about how the market was off, and the piece itself turned out to be off, but I feel I could whip it out again this year with minor tweaks and be more likely to be correct this time. I mean, look at the top 6 – Norway is favourite based on the assumption Silent Storm will win (when has anything like that ever won Eurovision? Eurovision is not BGT), bloody Sanna – the 29-year-old styled as a 45-year-old singing a dated schlager ballad, who barely scraped victory at home – is 2nd-favourite(!), Romania is 4th (the song is generic and they’re too old), then there’s Azerbaijan which hasn’t chosen yet, Hungary which is ace but probably too edgy to win, and the UK. I honestly don’t understand why the UK isn’t a much bigger favourite – if not at Rybak/Loreen level then certainly at Emmelie level – other than the UK’s very poor recent track record. I really think it will get points from everywhere. She fits the look and personality profile to win too, which Espen, Sanna, Ovi & Paula and to a lesser extent Andras and Dilara don’t. I’m really wary of being too sure of myself because I have a tendency of that, but right now, to me it’s crystal. Obviously a handful of countries are still to choose but none of them having anything that could win. None of “Aram MP3”, Conchita, Valentina or Georgia (or, I sincerely hope, the Tolmachevy Twins) are going to unveil a winning song, and there’s nothing good enough in Belgium, Portugal, Greece or Germany (which is liable pick an Unheilig song that will stay in German). The UK song is a missile. It’s a missile.

    • I’m afraid of being too sure of myself as well, and Carl has begun to slowly drift back out again on Betfair since last night. I do believe the UK is in with a very real shot, but what I’m wondering is, are we only seeing a work in progress with Molly, and can Carl up his game in a bigger arena? Perhaps I’ve started to get over the initial excitement with Molly’s song, but I am starting to question if it really is universally appealing enough and pleasant to watch/listen to? There is an aggressive quality to it which I took note of when it was first unveiled, and I can now see why some people want the intro to be softened a bit (which it very easily can, since it’s driven by the backing vox.)

      I watched this video about 2 weeks ago, and found that it ends with some extremely poigniant advice which I think we can all find relevant. Real food for thought.

    • Daniel

      To answer your initial question, I think it’s a mixture of a late NF season (unusually so for Denmark and Norway, who often help frame the early market), and the fact that one or two bookies got burnt last year offering an early 20/1 on Denmark.

      If I was a bookmaker, I’d be cautious pricing up an event two months in advance with half the field unknown. Also, bear in mind many of them lack expertise on Eurovision and will just wait to take their cue from the Betfair market instead.

  • Alexandros

    It’s kind of surprise that nobody talks about Italy’s chances…I believe that Emma Marrone is an extraordinary performer,with very strong vocals,good fame and has a song that can easily ”make some noise” among so many ballands…The jury always like Italian participants and their native language songs,so does a lot of people around the world who just love the italian…Furthermore,Italy is among the BIG 4,and i believe that ESC,wouldn’t have any problem if the next year’s Eurovision(anniversary 60 years) take place in Rome…I don’t believe that Russia and Ukraine can win due to their political situtation,i don’t believe that any Scandinavic nation can win again,there is no other serious European contender,except for the Hungary…and the UK who really has a big chance this year..I can’t understand why is Emma Marrone such a big outsider(almost 50/1!!!!!!!) and not even in your consideration…I would love to find out your thoughts or even better see an article about…
    P.S I apologize for my poor English..

    • Daniel

      Hi Alexandros, many thanks for your comments. I love Emma Marrone as a singer and performer, I’m just not so impressed with the song. It’s all a bit 80s soft rock. Still, she’ll be one of the best on stage come May, so it’s worth waiting till rehearsals to see how much she lifts the song.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      But Is Russia’s chances diminished or increased by the political situation?

      Better not p**s off Putin with low marks for the Russian Eurovision entrant; or he might launch an invasion of your country.

      Azerbaijan must be fearing that they’re overdue and next on the list for a Russian occupation…

      “Russia’s foreign minister has called Azerbaijan’s failure to award any points to Russia’s entry in the Eurovision song contest “outrageous.

      Sergei Lavrov said the points had been “stolen” from Russia’s Dina Garipova and “this outrageous action will not remain without a response”.

      I do like the Russian’s style. They are the masters of Doublespeak.

      From the pretend lesbians T.A.T.U putting a tolerant sheen on “gay-friendly” Russia at the Sochi opening ceremony last month to the aforementioned Dina Garipova’s sugar-coated wonderfulness of a United Colours of Benneton song from last years Eurovision:

      Would have enjoyed that as this year’s Russian entry.

      I believe Ukraine are considering adopting it as their new National Anthem.

    • eurovicious

      Europe isn’t going to vote for a song in Italian that I can’t remember after one listen.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Does anyone know approximately when the total span of songs for this year’s contest can be listened to?

    I’ve an idea of my main EW bet and a top 10 bet but I’ve only listened to just over half the songs.

  • Ben Cook

    eurovicious – I don’t think anybody knew anything about Carl Espen’s story. Its popularity is purely down to the song. I played it to a music industry friend who said it was the best Eurovision ballad he’d ever heard, because it doesn’t sound like a Eurovision entry. It stands up on its own as a great song. I agree it’s not a winner how it was performed on Sunday night.

    I do think people are losing the plot thinking Hungary is a contender though!

    • eurovicious

      I find it unremarkable. Pedestrian, even. It’s a “credible” indie ballad in the Antony & The Johnsons vein, but is that really the target group for Eurovision? Is the audience not gonna prefer something with a hook that isn’t a massive downer? Last year I said Birds had less immediate emotional pull than Suus, and Silent Storm has less immediate emotional pull than Birds (let alone Suus/Kuula). It doesn’t offer the catharsis or musical narrative of any of those, it just sounds like a mope – it doesn’t grow and develop, no transcendent climax, it just stays the same throughout. I love my dark ballads and anything with real raw emotion in – sadness, regret, anger, loss, overcoming pain etc – but the primary emotion that comes through in Silent Storm is self-pity. It’s not about overcoming or expressing pain, it’s about wallowing in it. There’s no catharsis and I can’t empathise – it’s a self-aggrandising “I’m dead sad, me” in ballad form.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi Ben,

      I really like the Hungary song. I have some misgivings -maybe- about certain performance aspects but am I really barmy to consider it a contender, at this albeit early stage?

      I’d mention my other favourite…but everyone would laugh!

      Re-listened to Silent Storm. I think I maybe was a little dismissive and sniffy about it.The note structure must remind me of a Rihanna song ’cause I keep expecting her whiny voice to intrude. And the rising and falling of Carl’s voice is neatly suggestive of the movement of waves. But I agree with eurovicious when he says the song isn’t a patch on Birds.

      It sounds underdeveloped. That’s its problem. Just when you feel and expect it to emerge with walls / waves of sound, there is a sonic absence and a tailing off, a falling off and then nothing. I keep on saying, ‘Was that it?’ after its finished.

      If it were a short story, I would feedback that it features a strong authorial voice and beautifully and subtly created strong atmosphere and mood; but suffers from lack of plot development, of character development, of tension, of variation and of an abrupt finish that while -admittedly- poetically spot on, short-changes the reader.

      It’s all very well to craft a song about the silent storm inside, and to do it well, but I’m annoyed that just when the rising action of the song promises the eruption of the storm the brakes are applied.

      As eurovicious says, there’s ‘no catharsis’.

      It’s an inner-life prick tease of a song-story.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Is Silent Storm an emo classic?

      • eurovicious

        “If it were a short story, I would feedback that it features a strong authorial voice and beautifully and subtly created strong atmosphere and mood; but suffers from lack of plot development, of character development, of tension, of variation and of an abrupt finish that while -admittedly- poetically spot on, short-changes the reader.”

        Guildo, this is why I love you. Let’s have babies.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          I’d happily have a bag of jelly babies with you, eurovicious.

          So long as you let me bite the heads off them and listened to my wrenches of guilt about decapitating those little sweeties.

          My words could form the lyrics for a song. You could provide the soundscape that swaddles my words?

          We could entitle our creation -oh! I don’t know- something like, ‘Silent Screams of the Fruit Flavoured Innocents’.

          What d’ya reckon?

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        In fairness to Carl:

        a) his voice sounds great enunciating in the English language; many Eurovision singers sound hokey when they are forced to sing in the English language. His English enunciation is strong and easy, and retains the emotion and storytelling efficacy. It all translates.

        b) this is the Eurovision Song Contest; not the Eurovision Song Writing contest.

        c) I’ve just listened to Songbird (a very nice song) and in comparison Silent Storm.makes a stronger impact.

  • AlexanderS

    I agree with eurovicious that the odds are unreal this time. I don’t get how UK can be that low, I don’t get how people expect the juries to prefer Norway or Sanna over Molly. It simply isn’t going to happen. Now, the televoting is a different story, but even then there is no logical reason for UK not to be higher in the market.
    Also another important consideration when betting (and I assume Daniel will agree with me here) is that the names and the votes of the juries will be public this time, meaning they are far more likely to support fan favourites than before.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      ‘Also another important consideration when betting (and I assume Daniel will agree with me here) is that the names and the votes of the juries will be public this time.’

      Yes. That must, in some respect, have some bearing on the choices they make.

  • Ben Cook

    I think it builds really nicely in the second verse and chorus, in the production and in the way he sings it. What do you want, a dubstep breakdown, a key change and a cheesy high note finish? The whole point is that it’s not meant to sound like a cookie-cutter Eurovision ballad. That’s what people like about it.

    However, I agree that the televoters may well find it too much of a downer to vote it as the winner. I think the odds are too short. But the juries are going to love it.

    • eurovicious

      No, I don’t want any of those things, and none of the examples I list had those either.

      I think men will be more inclined to vote for it than Birds/Kuula/Suus/whatever, to the extent (straight, non-fan) men vote in Eurovision at all, which is an open question. It’s a bloke ballad. Women also like the whole “I’m a guy but I’m vulnerable” thing.

    • eurovicious

      To draw a more direct parallel, I don’t get why Songbird (in Sweden) didn’t get the fuss Silent Storm has.

      • In my opinion, they’re not even close to being in the same league. Ellen’s song was well sung but quite frankly pretty dull (doomed from 2nd position of course), whereas Silent Storm is a lot more emotional and moving. I also think Silent Storm is considerably better than Birds last year – although the latter was lifted by first class performance and staging (I went from top10 layer to being a backer when I saw it). Very uncertain whether Carl Espen can pull that off.

      • Ben Cook

        Because Silent Storm is a much, much better song.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi Ben,

      I’m a bit of a fan of the Hungarian entry. Before I wade in and back it I’d be very happy to hear your thoughts as to its deficiencies and why it won’t be a contender.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I think Carl Espen needs a makeover of proportionate to the level of Sam Bailey intervention. He could be transformed to this?…

    It’s possible.

  • Justin

    Hi Daniel. Any new articles to look forward to this week – particularly Sweden and Denmark? Or are you waiting for the Eastern big guns to play their hands in the next few days?

    My immediate thoughts are that the Danish entry ticks plenty of boxes. I fear sanna’s pretty but slightly dated slow-builder may be the victim of a Norwegian/Danish domination of the North European vote (assuming Norway pick the one they are expected to).

  • I think the main problem with Silent Storm is Carl Espen;s singing…he is seriously out of tune in the latter part of the song and on the quieter notes he has little vocal support. It’s a fine song, but one sung quite badly.

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