The fifty-ninth Eurovision Song Contest is literally weeks away (at the time of writing the first semi-final is twenty-three days away). This years contest is to be held in Copenhagen, and will happen in an old shipyard that may be an arena by the semi-final happens. Unlike the last few years (with the exception of 2011), there is no clear winner. Wins for Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Norway were all predicted months before the finals that they won. Naturally, this makes it harder to predict. Nonetheless, here’s what I think could happen on the 10th May.
The first potential winner is Hungary’s Kállay-Saunders, whose song ‘Running’ has odds of 14/1 with William Hill. It’s definitely the most 2014 sounding song in the competition (it’s not too far away from ‘Not Giving In’ by Rudimental), and has the benefit of closing the first semi-final. The potential downside though is that it’s almost too contemporary – given the prominence of dubstep again this year, Europe may not ‘get it’.
On the other hand, you can’t really go wrong with a good ballad. Azerbaijan’s ‘Start A Fire’ by Dilara Kazimova is a good ballad. It’s not the most conventional ballad (take note Sweden), but it’s their best entrant in a while. This has odds of 20/1 with William Hill, and does have slight ‘Italy 2011’ vibes about it (ie jury fodder). Equally, there does seem to be a general discontent with Azerbaijan winning, especially after the fix claims last year, which may hurt their chances even more. The rehearsal looks really good too, managing to match subtlety with a gimmick (let’s be completely honest though, given Azerbaijan’s love of the gimmick, it’s a shock that the whole stage isn’t set on fire here).
Another very good ballad in the running comes from Norway’s Carl Espen. The song, ‘Silent Storm’ sounds like a Tom O’Dell song, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. It is a lot more conventional than Azerbaijan’s entry, which could work in its favour in the televote. It’s going to benefit from being in the second semi-final too because that one is full of shit. It’s the sixth favourite with odds of 14/1 with William Hill, although it’s odds are drifting. Perhaps the only downfall is that it comes and goes very politely, unlike previous ballad winners ‘Believe’ and ‘Running Scared’.
Don’t rule it out completely but the United Kingdom’s Molly may be in with a chance. There is a habit in the UK of hyping up whatever shit we send year on year (Engelbert had ridiculously short odds in 2012), but there does seem to be increasing momentum with this song. She performed the song at a preview party a couple of weeks ago, and the reaction was great. Equally, we do seem to do well when we enter something good (see Blue and Jade Ewen). The odds are at 14/1 with William Hill at present, and are shortening. The main problem though is that it may a bit too similar to ‘Only Teardrops’ and there hasn’t been much of a cross-over between winners.
Sweden always send good entries. In fact, Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ is probably the greatest Eurovision song of the last ten years. This years entry, ‘Undo’ by Sanna Nielsen is a very good ballad. It is a little pedestrian though, and I can’t see any casual viewers voting for it. If Anna Bergendahl couldn’t even qualify in 2010 with ‘This Is My Life’, then this shouldn’t win (although the general standard is much shittier this year). With a good draw this will undoubtedly be in the Top 10, it just doesn’t scream ‘winner’. I can see this losing votes too because it’s very similar to Spain’s ‘Dancing In The Rain’.
The hot favourite this year is Armenia, who are sending an average ballad that turns into a minute of dubstep. ‘Not Alone’ by Aram MP3 aims for a ‘Crying For No Reason’-style crescendo, but at a 3/10 kind of level. It would be wrong to say that this is going to flop because the juries will love it, and the bookies had it at even odds months before the contest. However, there are rumours that most of the bets are from Armenians, which may have distorted the odds. He also made homophobic remarks during the promotional tour before the show, which will hurt him somewhat given that demographics.
Even without politics, some songs just shouldn’t do well because they are shit. Russia have decided to troll Europe by entering a song about world peace. Even the Tolmachevy Twins don’t seem totally convinced with ‘Shine’, and in the process make Cheryl Cole’s vocal performance on ‘Call My Name’ seem passionate. They probably won’t care though, seeing as a sort-of protest against the anti-homosexual propaganda law will take place during Eurovision week.
Some songs need to be seen to be believed (or heard but whatever – but ‘you have to see it for yourself so you know’). Step forward Poland, who are entering a song called ‘We Are Slavic’. Imagine ‘My Humps’ sung by an Eastern European Gwen Stefani. I want this to win (well somewhere behind Molly honestly – fuck objective journalism), but it won’t. Odds have this at 100/1, but it’s incredible. Also if you think it’s a bit sexist, I present the entry from Belarus.
It wouldn’t be Eurovision with some eurodance. Portugal tried and failed, but the entry from Greece does the job. ‘Rise Up’ by Freaky Fortune feat. Risky Kidd (may or may not be related to Jodie and Jemma) is annoying, throwaway and a bit crap, but is all the better for it. Despite long odds of 66/1, I think this is a definite Top 10 in the final. Plus ‘Risky Kidd’ is not exactly terrible looking, is he?
The final song in this ‘presentation’ is from The Netherlands. The Anouk entry from last year was one of the highlights, and as is The Common Linnets ‘Calm After The Storm’. Country at Eurovision isn’t going to win, plus this song is too much of a grower. The reason why I’m writing about it in this post though is that it’s really good. It does scream 25th in the final, but it’s good to have a nice bubble bath to.
And just because it’s Eurovision time again:
And just cos