Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2013!

It’s that time of year again!  I open up my ESC coverage with live notes for the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix!  This year, DMGP takes us to Herning and gives us three lovely lady-hosts (currently in catsuits).  From my understanding, there are three big favorites thiDansk Melodi Grand Prix 2013s year. Simone, who returns to DMGP with the song Stay Awake and won the DR internet poll, leads the way.  Emmelie de Forest with Only Teardrops is ahead on the international opinion polls.  And Mohammed Ali, who achieved third place on the Danish iteration of X-Factor despite having Egyptian and Iraqi roots, with the song Unbreakable was announced as the big favorite during the DMGP pre-show.  A noticeable absence from the list, Danish representative from ESC2009 – Brinck, who performed Believe Again in Moscow for a respectable 13th place, who will be singing a song that he penned himself called Human.

Let’s see who wins!

As a reminder, the Danes have a one night national final format that they have been using since 2009 and amended last year.  Producers and executives at DR choose ten songs, six that were submitted and four “wildcards” late in the preceding year.  Those ten songs then compete in DMGP in three rounds.  In the first round, the songs are given a number (that stays with them) and perform in numerical order.  Then, using a combination of jury votes and popular votes (via SMS texts), three songs are selected to move through to the Super Final were they are performed again, this time, for al the marbles.  This is new since last year, when a song had to be removed at the last minute, DR decided to throw out the Knock-Out Round and have the top three from the first round go straight to the Super Final.  This year, the points will work a little differently.  There will be a total of 60 points available, 30 from the jury, 30 from the Danish public.  The jury reveals their votes one at a time; each juror gives the three acts either 1, 2, or 3 points.  The votes of the public are then revealed; their set of 30 points is divided proportionally to reflect the voting.  And a winner is crowned!

The Round of Ten

Song 1. Jeg Har Hele Tiden Vidst Det performed by Frederikke Vedel

The title translates to “I always knew it” and is one of only two songs in Danish this year (the other being Song 4 Rejs dig op performed by Louise Dubiel). What an awesome start to the show!!  I really like this song and the staging was very well done!  But fear that it did not make a big enough impact to stay in folks’ minds all the way through to the end of the tenth song.  Though, there’s usually one token Danish-language song in the next round, it will depend on Louise Dubiel’s performance if Vedel moves through to the next round or not.

Song 2. Human performed by Brinck

Brinck, as I said above, represented Denmark in Moscow back in 2009.  He’s ready to try again with a song he wrote himself.  I’m a little confused.  Is he singing in English and just mumbling?  Or is this a song in Danish with a few English lyrics?  Why does he sound so scared?  Is he still so scarred from his experience in 2009?  In DGMP2009 he had a strong performances, as well as in the semi-final in Russia.  It was the during the Grand Final that he started singing like he was scared, and apparently, he’s still scared.  He seems small on the big stage and his voice is lost in the music and backing singers.  It’s pleasant, but does not stand a chance of moving to the next round.

Song 3. I’m Not Alone performed by Kate Hall

Kate Hall is one of Denmark’s bigger pop stars and has some recognition internationally in Northern and Central Europe.  This song is nice, but very generic.  While the Danes do seem to like generic songs (see: any DMGP ever) I don’t see this one moving through unless the remaining songs are as uninspired as this one.  Not to mention, the Danes tend to be easily swayed by stage shows, and Hall botched a major note there.

Now, a short trip to Denmark’s ESC-ally as of late, Ireland.  With a cameo by the one and only Mr. Johnny Logan (if you’re new to ESC, Johnny Logan is the only performing artist to win twice, 1980 with What’s Another Year? and 1987 with Hold Me Now, both for Ireland, both are considered ESC classics.  He also wrote the 1992 Irish winner Why Me? performed by Linda Martin).

Now back to the show!

Song 4. Rejs dig op performed by Louise Dubiel

The song title translates to “Stand Up.”  This is a pleasant enough song and has all the making a dark horse – nice stage show, catchy tune, quirky singer, and a bit nationalistic.  I think this song might surprise a lot of folks (particularly Frederikke Vagel).

Song 5. We Own the Universe performed by Daze

Oh. My. Goodness!  What is up with her hair?!  I like the use of the lights like a keyboard.  The song is catchy and I can see it doing some real damage to the scoreboard.  This is the first song I would confidently say could move through to the next round.

Song 6. Stay Awake performed by Simone

I see why this is a favorite, but I do not say it was the strongest tonight, perhaps she’s saving herself for the Super-Final (she was eliminated in 2010 in the now defunct knock-out round after a stunning first round performance)?  This is a high energy song with a bright stage show, and Simone was just kinda, neutral.  I think it will move through due to its popularity and mass appeal, but she has to turn it up a few notches in the next performance.

The tour of countries with more wins than Denmark continues with…the United Kingdom.  We talk with two of the members of Brotherhood of Man, the third winner from the UK back in 1976 with Save Your Kisses for Me, one of the most commercially successful ESC winners ever.

Song 7. Invincible performed by Jack Rowan feat. Sam Gray

A cute guy, a hot beat, a dj (which is a gimmick in and of itself) with a gimmick (that ugly mask), a simple song with a refrain that even the most English-phobic Dane could sing along to – a recipe for success?  Not quite.  The Danes are rather nationalistic.  Having foreign songwriters don’t lower an entries chances as I doubt many viewers will realize this.  But a foreign singer?  Oh no!  Americans have failed at DMGP.  Icelanders have failed at DMGP.  I cannot imagine a Brit faring much better.  Eurovision.tv seemed to favor this song in its coverage of Denmark until recently when it began to focus on the next entry…

Song 8. Only Teardrops performed by Emmelie de Forrest

Irish whistle!  That’s why the international crowd likes this song.  This is my favorite, by far, thus far!  I can imagine this song being widely popular in Malmö, though naysayers might say Forrest’s voice is too similar to Loreen’s.  This song has good lyrics, a simple stage show (which, admittedly, would need to be enhanced on the international stage), and a slightly Celtic feel – I predict this to move to the Super Final and do very well

Song 9. Beautiful to Me performed by Albi

Hmm…another generic song in my opinion.  Not bad, just not great.

Song 10. Unbreakable performed by Mohammed Ali

How old is Ali, 12?  I see why he did not win X-Factor, his voice is not very good (at least, not tonight).  Perhaps the studio version of this song is why it’s so popular.  Oh wait, look at this staging – cool LED work, the lights go out, choreography, flames!  Almost distracts enough to look past Ali’s horri- crazy face paint on a dancer!!  What?!  No!  The song’s over.  I remember the beat….and a young looking guy…and cool staging!  Wasn’t I saying something negative about this song?  But listen to the crowd reaction, it must be good.

So, my favorite part: the recap!  I love how the crowd is going crazy for every song (except for the first one).  Time for rankings and predictions!

My Top Three Who I think will compete in the Super Final
(Song 8) Only Teardrops Song 6. Stay Awake
(Song 6) Stay Awake Song 8. Only Teardrops
(Song 1) Jeg Har Hele Tiden Vidst Det Song 10. Unbreakable

In the end, the three favorites I mentioned at the beginning had strong enough performances to move through.

Soluna Samay!  Lookee – she’s all grown up.  Glad she ditched the awful dreads from last year.  I like this song and its staging, she should hav re-entered DMGP with this!

Our fair hostess’ travels now takes her to the most recent country to join the Five Winners’ Club and close Danish ally – Sweden.  Eww…the Herrey’s – Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley (the winner from 1984) is, in my opinion, one of the worst songs to win the Contest.

Now the promotion of junior Melodi Grand Prix.  I’m still not quite convinced it’s worth my time to watch Scandinavian fight it out on stage, especially since the three countries all submit multiple entries.  But it is a widely successful show and served as the basis for jESC.

Now, revealing the four songs to move through to the Super Final

Song 6. Stay Awake performed by Simone – of course!  Let’s see if she turns it up in the next round.  Her opponent will be…

Song 8. Only Teardrops performed by Emmelie de Forrest.  Yayayayayay!  My favorite song this year!

Song 10. Unbreakable performed by Mohammed Ali.  The only surprise here: that a Muslim can be popular in Denmark.  Good for him!

Super-Final

Song 6. Stay Awake performed by Simone

So, this song is definitely sexier and edgier than How Will I Know.  And ends much more awkwardly, I wonder if the song is actually longer and had to be shortened.  This was definitely a better performance than in round one, but I don’t know if it was enough to win.  She just doesn’t really have a strong enough voice for this kind of song.

Song 8. Only Teardrops performed by Emmelie de Forrest

Let’s see if Forrest can replicate (or even outdo) her first performance.  I wonder if the older Danes will think she’s too young…never mind, I’m reminded of my earlier comment regarding the popularity of Junior Melodi Grand Prix in the country.  Listen to that crowd reaction!  Folks were up and dancing!  I think we just saw a winning performance everyone.

Song 10. Unbreakable performed by Mohammed Ali

He’s almost guaranteed to carry the votes of the Denmark’s Muslim population.  Not just due to his heritage, but because of the nature of his song.  Denmark is an incredibly homogenous society (everyone looks the same and holds similar beliefs) and people of Eastern European and Arab descent who immigrate there often find themselves the victims of bullying and discrimination.  With that said, there are not enough immigrants, I think, to help him win.  I smell another third place finish for Mr. Ali.  Though, I will admit, his voice sounded much better this time around.

Oooh!  Brotherhood of Man is performing!!  I really do like this song a lot!  Wow – they look so different now, but still good for the age.  Now the Herreys, doing a lot o the original choreography from their winning performance – still don’t like the Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley, but at least they sound good – better than they did back in the 80s.  Johnny Logan!!!  Performing Hold Me Now – good stuff!  I love the ode to Eurovision history, Denmark!  Three of the most popular winners of all time (The Herreys are generally disliked except for in Scandinavia – Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, where they and their song are incredibly popular) all on one stage.  Lovely!

Now the jury votes –

Only Teardrops is the favorite of the jury receiving three “3 points” from the five jurors (two gave the song only 1 point).  Unbreakable leaves the jury round tied for first after receiving two 2 points and two 3 points.

Now the popular vote –

SevenDanish Flag Map points to Stay Awake.  Once again, Simone will go home without the DMGP trophy.  The winner isONLY TEARDROPS!!!  Good stuff.  The final scoreboard:

1. Only Teardrops – 26 points (11 from the jury, 15 from the public)

2. Unbreakable – 19 points (11 from the jury, 8 from the public)

3. Stay Awake – 15 points (8 from the jury, 7 from the public)

And, for the first time since 2008, there’s a Winner’s Reprise – lovely!!

Final Thoughts

For the first time since I have been watching DMGP (since 2007), I can honestly say that I liked all 10 songs that competed.  Don’t get me wrong, Human, Invincible, and Beautiful to Me aren’t great, but, in the end, I did like them.  And, for the first time since I’ve been watching DMGP, I fully, 100% agree with the winner.  It’s about time, too!!  Only Teardrops is the quintessential ESC song of the current era – young performer, hip beat, nice lyrics, lots of potential in its staging.

From here, as Emmelie de Forrest continues to perfect her vocal performance of the song, her producers have to make a decision about the staging of Only Teardrops.  What they had on stage tonight was nice for DMGP, but would be too underwhelming on the ESC stage.  If they want a toned down, simple staging, they need to tone down the LED work and give her a bit more room on stage so it seems less crowded.  On the other hand, I think this song, especially given its arrangement and the existing camera-angles, would benefit from a bit of a bigger staging, with more movement from the backing singers and dancers to and more sophisticated light work to maximize the camera angles that are already in place (as those are already pretty well done).

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed DMGP this year.  I thought the three Super-Finalists were well deserved and that the best song did, indeed, win this year.  Congratulations to Emmelie de Forrest and the entire stage and songwriter team.  I look forward to seeing Denmark return to the Top Ten with this sure hit in Malmö.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Eurovision 2013 – First Half of the First Semi-Final | Eurovision Obsession

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