ESC2012: Predictions for the Winner

Predictions for the Winner:

I know what I said before, that this is the year for a fast song to win, but as I do more listening and more reading, I am having less faith in that notion.  With that said, I will first say why I think three popular entries will not win, then provide my thoughts on who the top candidates actually are.

Why won’t Greece win?

I think people are growing weary of the Greeks and tired that they continually submit the same song.  Aside from this fact, there are better fast entries this year, particularly from Norway and Cyprus, the latter of which will syphon votes away from the Hellenic Republic.

Why won’t Serbia win?

Despite the fact that it is essentially guaranteed 12 pointers from the other five former-Yugoslav countries competing this year, this song does not seem to be gaining a lot of traction around the Internet.  There aren’t any “OMG it’s Željko!” or “Joksimović does it again!” at least, not as many as one would think there would be.  Not to mention that it just seems a little short of his usual genius.  Not to mention that he looks different, I don’t know if he lost weight or did something to minimize his wrinkles or what, but he lost some of the stage presence that he had in 2004.

Why won’t Russia win?

I can’t believe this is a question that must be asked.  It’s six old ladies that sing like old ladies singing a song with simplistic lyrics, a simplistic beat, and very little choreography (despite its lyrics imploring you to dance).  I cannot not see this song winning, not in the least.

Why Cyprus will win:

It’s an unusually strong song from a country that is more known for its voting patterns than for its entries.  I think this song is lyrically and musically stronger than it’s next closest competitor, Greece, and has a greater potential for an exciting performance.  Since Greece sends the same thing every year, there’s little it can do to surprise fans.  Cyprus on the other hand, which does not have the same history of sending club tracks, has wide-open possibilities.  Additionally, Ivi Adamou is young and pretty, which is a good combination for winning.  Its biggest obstacle will be overcoming Greece’s shadow and standing on its own.

Why Iceland will win:

This is the strongest ballad in the field of entries this year, in my opinion.  You have two singers, one who is probably still burning with anger from his last attempt in the ESC and one who plays a mean violin, both of which will provide fiery inspiration for the performance.  The song, itself, is well composed with just enough repetition to keep the song memorable but not enough to bore the listener.  The lyrics and music also lend themselves to an astounding performance if done right.  I am curious to see what the Icelandic delegation have planned for the staging of Never Forget.  It has the added benefit of being drastically different from the other for Nordic entries and will probably garner a lot of the support that is usually spread throughout the region.  Its biggest obstacle will be making a big enough mark to overcome Iceland’s status as an often forgotten about country.

Why Spain will win:

If Iceland has the best ballad, Spain has the ballad with the widest appeal.  It sounds like something out of a movie and is performed with passion!  The song is painful and heartbreaking and immediately draws in the listener.  There’s also the appeal of a simplistic performance that will probably consist of Pastora Soler with a handful of background singers (who may or may not be visible) performing on an otherwise barren stage.  Not to mention, Spain has a beautiful spot in the running order, securing the 19th slot right ahead of a much less-enthusiastic German entry.  Its biggest obstacle will be overcoming whatever might come right before it in the running order.  A strong up-tempo number might wash it out, likewise, a dull slow number might bring it down as well.

Why Sweden will win:

As I said previously, this one is the favorite amongst the bookies and many fans.  Not only that, but Loreen is probably the most dramatic performer competing this year, and over the past several years.  The simplistic performance, just her dancing on stage by herself, only further highlights the beauty of Euphoria.  The song slowly builds from beginning to end, pulling the listeners deeper and deeper into it until it just washes over them.  There’s the added bonus of it being composed by Thomas G:son, who has tried many times to win – this could finally be his year, especially since he also composed the Spanish entry.  Something that annoys me but it is what it is (I don’t think composers and lyricists should be allowed to have multiple entries, just like performers are not allowed to).  The biggest challenge will be overcoming Norway who will surely leech votes away from the Swedes.

All things considered, however, I think it comes down Iceland vs. Sweden this year.  Iceland will have to fight an uphill battle to win the popular vote against the Swedes and several others, but I think a strong performance Friday night during the second dress rehearsal will help them take the juries’ vote, which it should take easily.

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