ESC2014 – Contender or Pretender: Episode Two
Hello Readers! If you are just joining us, I am reviewing the top six entries according to the bookmakers and determining whether they are legitimately in the running for the crown (contenders) or merely overrated (pretenders). I previously anointed Sweden as a contender and Ukraine as a pretender. Today, we’re looking at Denmark and Armenia. I had to think long and hard about both of these entries and have actually reversed my original thoughts on both.
Song: Cliché Love Song Performing Artist: Basim
Why it is a contender: Basim has a million-dollar smile and delivers the song well. He also capitalizes on the Bruno Mars style music (I like to call it “Pop & B”) that is quite popular right now. The song also has a trademark big note that allows it to really quite stick in the viewers’ and judges’ minds (for better or for worse). Not to mention that this entry will be running in the 23rd spot, a prime location and DR has plenty of time to strategize how to best pad it with weaker entries on either side.
Why it is a pretender: The song, while catchy, can be rather annoying. The lyrics are not that strong, either. Plus, that big note can come back to bite Denmark in the butt if Basim botches it (think Israel 2010).
Final Verdict: Contender While the song gets continually less likeable with each listen, the stars are aligned for Basim to lead the Danes to the ever-so-rare back-to-back victory. This will hold doubly true if predicted favorite Norway stumbles in the second semi-final (but more on Norway in the next C.or.P episode).
Song: Not Alone Performing Artist: Aram MP3
Why it is a contender: This song just sticks out. In a year full of ballads, country/folk, and dance, Armenia sticks out as a modern piece of music. In that regard, it needs to draw comparisons to Sweden 2012 – an entry that stood out from the field for being so unique and ear- (and eye) catching.
Why it is a pretender: There was another modern piece of music that year in Baku – Montenegro’s entry Euro Neuro. While Montenegro surely did not have the same expectations as this year’s Armenian entry, it, too, drew attention for the same reasons: off-centre song that pushed the limits of how music is defined. Not Alone does not follow typical melodic patterns, lyrical traditions, and is much darker in its performance interpretation than most ESC entries.
Final Verdict: Pretender This is probably the hardest one to call. Every strength that this song has could be equally argued as a weakness – at least as far as ESC success is concerned. With the added news that it will be Aram MP3 alone on stage for the performance; it makes me think that this song will go over the heads of most who are viewing and voting. I still love this song, though.