Pre-Contest Predictions: 2010

It is my understanding that there are seven “favorites” this year, i.e., songs that have a high chance of winning the Contest: Denmark, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Israel, Germany, Croatia, and Slovakia.  Each of these countries have a more than fair shot at winning , and compelling reasons that they will fail.

Denmark: Probably the top favorite this year, the Danes are sending a middle of the road contemporary pop song in A Moment Like This performed by Chanée & N’Evergreen.  This has a wide appeal, but for every fan who likes this song or hates this song, there are two that are tepid.  That’s a whole lot of lukewarm people!  The Danes will probably get votes because people feel that they have to vote for them, not necessarily because they have the best song, not to mention N’Evergreen is a big star in Russia, meaning that bordering countries probably also love him.

Armenia: One of the more anticipated entries due to the uncommonly high interest the Armenian national selection.  Eva Rivas carried her nation’s national selection with the song Apricot Stone, with the support of Lys Assia.  The song seems to be an unoffensive ballad (in the traditional sense, in that it is a song that tells a story); however, it seems to be a call to arms for diaspora voting.  The singer, herself, said that the song is about not forgetting one’s roots and returning to one’s homeland, if just in your heart.  But maybe I am reading too much into this interpretation.

Azerbaijan: Often referred to as the most overrated act this year, the “Land of Fire” will be represented by Drip Drop performed by Safura.  All of a sudden, any female who wants to sing R&B is a Beyoncé rip-off?  What a joke!  R&B has been around long before Beyoncé was born and will survive long after she’s dead and forgotten.  People are trying to find ways of putting down the Azerbaijani entry without any real evidence of the song being poor; this should stop!  However, there is a lot of money and publicity being thrown at this entry, meaning that it is probably weaker than the bookies are letting on.  What’s the old saying, “the more something’s advertised, the less you need it.”

Israel: The Middle East nation is being represented by Milim performed by Harel Skaat.  He’s a cute boy singing one of this year’s many ballads.  Has anyone else noticed that all of Skaat’s songs sound the same, or is it just me?  I listened to the four songs that lost at K’dam, and had a hard time telling them a part from one another.  With that said, no one’s stock has dropped hotter than Israel’s.  When Milim was first selected, just about every news outlet predicted that it would be a winner; now you would be hard pressed to find this prediction outside of the Harel Skaat fan club.  However, the song remains popular on fan sites and among the bookies, and hey! I like Mr. Skaat.

Germany: Satellite performed by Lena is the German entrant this year.  From what I gathered, this is a very contemporary song without being weird, which accounts for its high popularity; is it finally time for the Teutonic colors to fly during the ESC winner reprise once again?  How can the only country with the most particpations (54 this year) have only a single victory?  Germany has a tendency to send things that are very American in sound.  From big band (2009, 2007) to girl group bubble gum pop (2008) to country (2006) to blue-eyed soul (2004), Germany seems to be searching for the right answer on this side of the Atlantic.  Just last year, they shook two half-naked Americans at their troubles, and still failed to get past 20th place.  That’s not to say that USA spells trouble at the ESC.  This year, the Germans are looking to taking advantage of the “indie” sound that has become so popular in the US over the past five years.  However, this year, the German entry has been very well received despite its American sound.  There is concern regarding whether Lena can handle the pressure of performing on the ESC stage, only time will tell.

Croatia: Feminnem returns to the Eurovision Song Contest, with a new style and a new flag.  Representing Croatia this go ’round, the three ladies have slowed things down a bit with the song Lako je Sve.  Due to a heart tht is made at the end of the performance, there are cries that the group is copying the end of the 2007 winner Marija Šerifović (SER – Molitva).  Again, this is an example of fools blowing smoke.  Whether or not Feminnem was influenced by the 2007 performance is irrelevant, what about the song?  There seems to be nothing but positive things being said about this song, however, there are far fewer comments being made than for most of the other favorites.  All positive is good, but a lack of attention is not.

Slovakia: For me, this is the most unexpected favorite this year.  Slovakia has few neighbors participating this year (Poland and Ukraine (which is a completely different diaspora for the most part)) and has not had much success with any previous entry.  Despite this, Herhronie performed by Krisitna is among the most well-received songs this year.  It is an up-tempo number that differs dramatically from the other entrants and is in the weaker (much weaker) semi-final of the two.  Not only that, voting for Slovakia would be a novelty for most people.  Though, to be a novelty, it would mean that people are not used to voting for Slovakia in the first place.  Therefore, there’s no guarantee that people will magically start voting for the country this year, despite the popularity the song is experiencing.

My predictions:

Can the "Queen of Backing Singers" Hera Bjork take her country "back" to the Top Ten?

First Semi-Final Qualifiers (in no particular order): Iceland (quickly becoming a fan favorite), Greece (it’s Greece!), Albania (up-tempo; benefactor of a weak semi-final), Moldova (up-tempo; benefactor of weak semi-final), Slovakia (a favorite to win), Belgium (nothing but positive reviews), Serbia (benefactor of a weak semi-final), Portugal (benefactor of a weak semi-final), Latvia (different enough to make it unique), Russia (it’s Russia, benefactor of weak semi-final)
Left Behind: Estonia (too eccentric for most people), Finland (maybe too folksy for most people), Bosnia & Herzegovina (poor reviews), Poland (small, yet strong fan base – key word is small), Malta (it’s Malta), Macedonia (poor reviews), Belarus (reviewed as boring, yet pleasant – key word is boring)

Does Jon Lilygreen & The Islanders have what it takes to keep the other border entries at bay?

Second Semi-Final Qualifiers (in no particular order): Armenia (it’s Armenia and a favorite to win), Israel (Harel Skaat = cute boy!; it’s a favorite to win), Denmark (wide audience appeal; Russian pop star; it’s a favorite to win), Sweden (big and strong fan base; it’s Sweden), Azerbaijan (it’s a favorite to win; too much money thrown into it to fail), Ireland (it’s a past winner; one of the more popular ballads), Croatia (it’s a favorite to win; one of the more popular ballads), Turkey (it’s Turkey), Romania (big and strong fan base), Cyprus (strong fan base; benefactor of the fact that more than half of the songs get into Final)

Will Sweden return to the Top Ten after a three year absence?

Left Behind: Lithuania (too eccentric for most people), Switzerland (small and strong fan base – key word is small), Ukraine (too much controversy; poorly received song), Netherlands (poorly received song), Slovenia (poorly received song), Bulgaria (might slip in, but most likely won’t; it’s Bulgaria), Georgia (not strong enough to displace one of the ten qualifiers)

Final Top Ten (in no particular order): Denmark (see above), Germany (see above), Armenia (see above), Azerbaijan (see above), Iceland (popularity is going uphill at just the right time), Sweden (there’s usually at least one surprise in the Top Ten each year, this is my prediction for it), Croatia (see above), Israel (see above), Greece (it’s Greece), Norway (big fan favorite; home turf bump)
Winner (Question that must be answered to secure victory): Denmark (Can the Russia-based pop star N’Evergreen secure some votes from the East?), Germany (Can Lena turn her nervous energy into star power?), or Armenia (Can Eva Rivas be as convincing to all of Europe as she was to her own country?)

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