ESC2014 – Contender or Pretender: Episode One
Thanks for joining us for this year’s rendition of Contender or Pretender. I did this last year and really enjoyed it, so I thought I would bring it back! Last year, the betting odds had ten entries all grouped together. This year, I think the top ten currently in the betting odds are not all realistic. I guess I am naming four of them as pretenders right off the bat! So, I will only look at the top six: Armenia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom, and Ukraine. I will randomly pair them and look at each entry’s chances of winning. I am leaving Hungary, Azerbaijan, Romania, and Belgium out as I do not think any of those four have a realistic chance of winning and time is of the essence!
The pairings will be:
Sweden & Ukraine
Denmark & Armenia
United Kingdom & Norway
Song: Undo Performing Artist: Sanna
Why it is a contender: This is Fredrik Kempe songwriting at its best – a powerful ballad that pulls the heart and draws the ear. Sanna is a marvelous singer and perfectly captures the song’s emotions. The staging and performance from Melodifestivalen were both flawless – if they are reproduced in Copenhagen, perhaps on a heightened scale, then we could easily find ourselves back in Sweden next year.
Why it is a pretender: The lyrics leave something to be desired, “Undo my sad/Undo why I feel so bad,” not exactly the deepest of emotions being expressed here. The new video, which also debuts a new version of the song, tames it quite a bit, taking away most of its punch.
Final Verdict: Contender If you have read anything I have written here or elsewhere online for this year’s Contest, you know that I deeply believe in this entry’s ability to go far. While the new version is rather lame, I have no doubt that they will revert to the original composition once the rehearsals begin next week. For better or for worse, Sweden could very seriously be hosting the Contest again next year.
Song: Tick-Tock Performing Artist: Maria Yaremchuk
Why it is a contender: Aside from the fact that Ukraine is currently benefitting from a rare surge of interest from the West, it has a strong track record in the Contest, particularly when relying on an entry’s staging. Not to mention the fact that divas tend to equal success for the country. This is one of the few, true foot-stompers this years and has a lot of potential for an amazing stage show.
Why it is a pretender: The lyrics are weak, the singing is sometimes weak as well. Not to mention that, as a heard on ESCInsight, “Ukraine has other things to worry about than a pop song competition at the moment.” This is a fun song, but lacks any real depth in composition or lyrics.
Final Verdict: Pretender Quite honestly, I do not know why this song is so high in the betting odds. In fact, I think this song will be another mid-table finisher for Ukraine – something that is still atypical, but is becoming more and more common. While this song will benefit from being different from the others, it doesn’t stand a chance again the much stronger entries.