14 May 2013
It’s that time of year again. Eurovision comes around so quickly. After the phase of experience the songs from the respective national finals and preview videos, the final sampling is from the audio CD. This traditional can affect my appreciation of certain songs immeasurably. Again, after several days of listening, a few songs really stand out.
Before my top 20:
01-10: Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Albania, Switzerland, Hungary, Netherlands, San Marino, Spain, Russia
11-20: Croatia, Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Moldova, UK, Denmark
Now I would promote San Marino to second (also because the song is just growing so much on me in general), and would relegate Spain a few spots and promote Austria to 10th.
Russia 9th then Spain 12th. Azerbaijan is the other big improver, going from 16th to 11th. I’m also beginning to really like Belgium. They get the biggest jump, 35th to 18th. I probably then switch UK and Denmark to keep Denmark just in the top 20.
New top 20:
01-10: Norway, San Marino, Estonia, Iceland, Estonia, Albania, Switzerland, Hungary, Netherlands, Russia, Austria
11-20: Croatia, Spain, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Moldova, UK, Denmark
The woes of being an Australia fan of Eurovision
Note that TV broadcasting in Australia is so backwards, I won’t see ESC live. The TV station delays the the shows to Fri, Sat and Sun night. The actual telecast would start approximately 4am Wed, Fri and Sun. Hence Mr Eurovision must analyse both semi finals in advance.
The first semi is especially a huge delay. I’ll watch the first it Wed night after work via eurovision.tv’s webtv, and watch the TV broadcast Fri and Sun.
On Sunday, I must stay away from all internet and TV news. I learnt the hard way in 2004 when visiting a band’s music forum a thread saying “Congrats Ukraine”. The next year the local TV news (normally ignores ESC totally) said Greeks in Melbourne are celebrating. I instantly knew why. Even the year after when I avoid the news, a friend rang me to tell me to avoid the news because he saw the result. My suspicion immediately was Lordi won because only because it’s monsters that the TV would have reported it. It was just a suspicion, so thankfully it didn’t ruin the contest. After all, ESC’s increasing popularity, also that it was held in Greece, might have been enough reason to report it.
My top 10 from semi final 1
This is such an even final that I can’t really split songs 7 to 13. Denmark just misses out. I almost demoted Lithuania. It was close. Even though I liked Lithuania for so long, the guy is not a great performer and the CD version is just a bit flat.
Belgium has grown on me to be almost good enough for top 10 too. Only Ireland I don’t like of this lot, while Cyprus is just too slow, and Montenegro might alienate more people than it engages. If the performance is good, it’s no surprise to be in the final. Belarus will benefit from friendly votes and potentially a slick presentation and would be the obvious one to replace any of mine not qualifying.
The top is easy to select with Estonia and Netherlands the two stand-outs for me. Netherlands should also make the final because it’s so striking. It’s just about the performance that is important. I noticed shots from the rehearsals that had so many birds (seemingly seagulls) in the background. This could be too corny. I’d have had Anouk sitting, almost darkness, only at the end it gets brighter with snow and moonlight and silhouettes of birds.
With fan-favourite Denmark almost certain to qualify, which one of my top 10 won’t? I don’t see too many not qualifying for the final. Possibly Estonia could miss being a little too cliche. Mostly I believe that the summary at the end of all performances will remind people to vote for this after nothing too much impresses after it. Croatia could be vulnerable for the same reason as Estonia, and equally could be saved. Like I said, it’s an even final.
According to the betting odds, Aut, Est, Lit and Mnt fight for the last qualifying spot. Bel, Cyp and Slo are the outsiders. Srb, Ned, Blr, Ire, Mol and Cro are comfortable. Rus, Ukr and Den are the big favourites to qualify. No real surprise here other than maybe Slovenia being ranked in the bottom three.
My top 10 from semi final 2
The top 5 are clear favourites of mine, so were easy to pick. Sixth and seventh easy as the middle songs, then tough to split 8 to 13. The clear worst are Romania and Greece, while Armenia is too pretentious and annoying register on my radar. Israel doesn’t have the instant appeal so it will be in the performance that gets votes. Bulgaria suffers from being far inferior to their 2007 effort. If you forget that, then this year is fine, especially if they manage a good performance like 2007. Finland is just too corny, especially with the wedding dress. In front of a band would have put more focus on the song and the legitimacy of the performer.
Norway is my favourite this year and will no doubt qualify. San Marino should reach their first ever final.
Unlike the first semi, I sense a few at risk failing here. Albania is the main one, especially with the rock sound and the gravel voice of the first lead singer generally don’t do well. Hungary could be too dull. After all, it took me a few listens to really like it. Latvia might struggle as these types of energetic hand waving songs often do. Iceland might be on the edge. Like Estonia in the first SF, the re-cap might save it.
Ice, Rom, Sui, Hun, Lat and FYM will miss the finals according to betting odds, with Lat and FYM the most likely to miss. Nor, Geo, Aze and Gre are certain to qualify, with Isr, San, Arm and Alb all quite comfortable. Fin and Bul are ranked 9th and 10th. The only surprise is Albania comfortable.
Betting Odds – Winner
As Han Solo from Empire Strikes Back once said: “never tell me the odds”. Still, they are out there, so let’s analyse…
Denmark are hot favourites at 6/4 and probably way over. While it’s good enough to win, it’s strength of voting is more likely because of broad-based appeal with many middle scores around 8 points, while also great support from neighbours. If it didn’t have Norway as competition in this area that support would be unequivocal. Still, 10 rather than 12 points from neighbours, it will only matter if contest is close.
Ukraine are not far behind at 7/2. Strength is based more on the performer, reputation of country and performance, and neighbourly voting. Like Denmark, the song is not that outstanding, just good enough to win.
Norway at 7/1 is reasonable. Holding it back might be it lacks true instant appeal. On the plus, it’s a unique song this year and the Margaret will no doubt be remembered in that hot white bodysuit and stunning looks.
Russia will rely on good neighbourly votes to convert its 12/1 chance to victory. The song itself is good and Dina a great performer.
The one problem with neighbourly votes is that they diminish if there’s several strong neighbours. Georgia is fifth favourite with, like Ukraine and Russia, another ballad. So Italy sharing 20/1 is a good chance to finish above them all.
Azerbaijan, UK, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden round out the next group. From this Sweden are grossly over-rated and will suffer even more with Denmark and Norway getting the Nordic votes. Netherlands is the one that could win at odds. No result would shock with this song. It’s so unique and is the most anticipated performance for me. Of course, unique does not always mean good, so its impact could range from grand acclaim to lamentable disdain. San Marino is another at reasonable odds to at least do well, with winning not a shock as 33/1 suggests and gain votes from sentimental of its underdog status that comes just from being such a small country.
Of the rank outsiders 100/1 or worse, Iceland could be underestimated. While there’s so many ballads, most are by women. Slovenia seems way under for one of the few up-tempo songs. Belgium, as previously mentioned with my personal approval improving, might do similarly with the general audience. Apparently the guy can really sing, so if he put on a charismatic performance, it’s at least the final. Switzerland is another that could surprise beyond its 150/1 rating.
Cyprus and Bulgaria are ranked worst at 200/1. Fair enough for Cyprus given its drab instant appeal, not so for Bulgaria. This team came fifth in 2007 and while the song this year is no where near as good, they can perform.
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