Eurovision 2013 – Contender or Pretender? Episode One

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Hej alle!

This week I will be doing another series!  This time, I will be doing a “Contender or Pretender” series looking at the ten entries that the bookmakers say have the best chances of winning ESC2013.  I am using oddschecker.com, as they do a decent job of combining the odds across the various major betting sites.  Those ten entries are:

Denmark
Norway
Ukraine
Russia
Sweden
The Netherlands
Georgia
Italy
Germany
Azerbaijan
(right outside of these ten: United Kingdom, San Marino, Ireland, Belarus)

I will be doing two entries a day, in random order, throughout the week.  Today, the Netherlands and Norway are up at bat!

The NetherlandsDutch Flag Country

Song: Birds                              Performing Artist: Anouk

Why it is a contender: Anouk is well known throughout Belgium, France, and Denmark – all of whom are voting in the First Semi-Final.  Not only that, while many of the songs are mid-tempo, modern, or pop ballad, Birds remains truly unique, harking back to the sounds of the sixties or seventies.  This helps it leave a mark and completely separate itself from the other songs in this year’s Contest.  Additionally, Anouk is known for being a strong performer, which should win her votes from the jury and fans alike.  Not only that, we’ve seen that the juries tend to prefer ballads and tasteful entries to louder, more flashy entries.  Not only is Birds understated and tasteful, the Dutch are known for their simple performances.  If nothing else, we do not have to worry about a stage performance getting out of hand.

Why it is a pretender: The biggest thing that Birds has going for it (that it is a late 1960’s era ballad) is also its biggest drawback.  For every fan that remarks about how nice and subtle it is, there is another that calls the song boring and undynamic.  Furthermore, the lyrics take some getting used to.  Without interpreting them, they seem a bit disjointed – she goes from singing about isolation to birds that are falling out of the sky to wishing for flowers and trees; how strange!

Final Verdict: Contender. The song is unique enough to stand out from the pack and be recognized.  Yes, the lyrics are a bit wonky, but they’re poetic.  Anouk is well-known and is a strong performer.  The Netherlands is due for a turn in their luck at some point and this just might be the year!

Norwegian Flag MapNorway

Song: Feed You My Love         Performing Artist: Margaret Berger

Why it is a contender: Like the Netherlands, there are no other entries that sound like Feed You My Love.  It is a very modern, electric song that appeals beyond just those who normally go for the electronic stuff.  Furthermore, the song is composed in such a way to give it a quality of epicness that sets it apart from the others.  The song has a bit of a cult following that is ever increasing; not to mention, with a very high number of Norwegians expected to attend, this song will benefit from a pseudo-home field advantage.

Why it is a pretender: It is simply not very accessible.  While Feed You My Love is adding to its hoards of fans, I’m not sure if its style will appeal to the average ESC viewer.  The staging from Norsk Melodi Grand Prix was a bit too simple and was quite underwhelming, without adding something a dynamic (say, some strobe lighting, fireworks, extensive background LED work) this song could suffer from not making an impact.

Final Verdict: Contender.  This song is too unique and too popular to fail.  Oft compared to Euphoria, I would argue it’s pushed beyond that mark.  It’s edgier, it’s darker, and its composition takes the listener on a journey.  Not only do I think it is in the running for the victors’ trophy, but I think it could also win a Marcel Bezaçon Award for best composition.

Agree?  Disagree?  Leave comments below!

Come back tomorrow when I will be examining Russia and Sweden!

*A note, this series is based on a series on the espn.com ACC blog.

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4 responses

  1. Pingback: Eurovision 2013 – Contender or Prentender? Episode Three | Eurovision Obsession

  2. Pingback: Eurovision 2013 – Contender or Pretender? Episode Two | Eurovision Obsession

  3. Pingback: Eurovision 2013 – Contender or Pretender? Episode Four | Eurovision Obsession

  4. Pingback: Eurovision 2013 – Contender or Pretender? Episode Five | Eurovision Obsession

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