Eurovision 2013 – Contender or Prentender? Episode Three
Bom Dià! Welcome back to Eurovision Obsession and welcome to the third installment of my “Contender or Pretender” series. Throughout this week I am looking at each of the ten entries with the top betting odds (courtesy of oddschecker.com) in random order. In part one, I declared both, the Netherlands and Norway, as contenders for the Eurovision crown in 2013. In part two, I dashed the hopes of Russia and Sweden, labeling both as pretenders (i.e., overrated). Today, I turn my judgment towards Azerbaijan and Italy.
Song: Hold Me Performing Artist: Farid Mammadov
Why it is a contender: Azerbaijan is a very strong ESC participant, finishing in the Top Ten in each of its five attempts, including a victory in 2011. Not to mention that the song is pleasant enough that it’s hard to imagine anyone disliking it. Azerbaijan is also very good at promoting its entries as well as staging them. Generally speaking, all of its entries have been staged in such a way to maximize their impact. Much like in 2011, Azerbaijan presents a generic ballad; much like 2011, a good staging and no Turkey to split its votes with, may result in another vicotry for the Caucasus country.
Why it is a pretender: Unlike every other Azerbaijani entry, we don’t see Mammadov being shipped all over Europe to perform and promote his entry. Additionally, we aren’t seeing the hundreds of thousands of dollars being poured into this entry that we normally see with Azerbaijan; there’s no music video, no fancy remixes, not even the reporting of an endearing backstory to endear you to the song. Perhaps, after all the expenses of last year, Azerbaijan is not too eager to host the Contest again any time soon.
Final Verdict: Pretender. Azerbaijan is phoning this entry in, and its very evident. Don’t get me wrong, Mammadov does the best he can with a decent song, but honestly, if Hold Me was coming from any country west of Russia and south of Denmark, it would not be on anyone’s radar.
Song: L’Essenziale Performing Artist: Marco Mengoni
Why it is a contender: Unlike Monaco, Luxembourg, and Poland, which were all consistently getting low marks before pulling out of the Contest, Italy was rather successful. Since returning, Italy has finished in the Top Ten both times. Altogether, among its 37 previous entries, it’s finished last once and in the Top Ten 27 times (including two victories and six other Top Three finishes). Not only that, Mengoni has already proven his ability to win this song by taking the San Remo crown with L’Essenziale.
Why it is a pretender: Despite Italy’s strong track record and the entry’s San Remo championship, it is somewhat boring, particularly when compared to Italy to previous songs (both, uptempo jazz numbers). The song has the added difficulty of having only one opportunity to impress the viewers, as it will not be performed at either Semi-Final.
Final Verdict: Pretender. This song tries to impress with its subtleness and simplicity, which will win it lots of support from the juries; however, I do not think this will translate over to the viewing public, particularly if the SVT producers sink it in the running order determination process. While its final slot in the running order will determine its odds, as of right now, I would not put money on this song to contend for the victory.
Agree? Disagree? Leave comments below!
Come back tomorrow when I will be examining Denmark and the Ukraine!
*A note, this series is based on a series on the espn.com ACC blog.