ESC2014 – Contender or Pretender: Episode Three
It’s Sunday, 27 April!! You know what that means — the technical rehearsals begin tomorrow in Copenhagen!! Click the link for the official schedule. Eurovision is finally upon us!! (For those of you worried about my “Road to Denmark” series, I have not forgotten it, but it will continue post-Contest).
Alas, we have reached the final episode of Contender or Pretender. We have already deemed Sweden and Denmark true contenders in the race for Eurovision glory, while Ukraine and Armenia will most likely leave CPH disappointed. In this episode, we’ll review the UK and Norway a bit more closely.
Song: Children of the Universe Performing Artist: Molly
Why it is a contender: It’s anthematic chorus that sticks in your head. The fact that the UK is sending a young, attractive female will also turn heads, as it has not done this since 2009. Molly also does a really good job delivering the song – it’s wholly convincing and inspiring.
Why it is a pretender: It’s lyrics are not the strongest, not to mention the music video is also a bit strange. By now, you would have listened to the song three times – each time was a different experience, was it not? This indicates that it will result in a wide range of reactions, more than most, which lowers its chances as well.
Final Verdict: Pretender I still do not get the hype with this song. Despite Molly’s performance of it, I don’t think big lungs are enough to bring about a high score (nor should it be). I expect the UK to finish 11-16, better than the past few years, but still not where they want (or at least what they think they should) be.
Song: Silent Storm Performing Artist: Carl Epsen
Why it is a contender: It’s a strong male ballad, in line with Estonia 2012. Epsen has the ability to capture the vulnerability of the lyrics and sing so genuinely. It’s an honest song that is delivered honorably.
Why it is a pretender: Well, it’s delivered well in the studio version and he did a decent job at NMGP, but did you see his Eurovision in Concert performance? He was like the shy, quiet guy doing karaoke in the corner of a crowded bar. Another uninspiring performance, and Norway will easily extend its record streak of last place finishes. And for those who think that being a strong male ballad is enough, think back to 2010, where we had four strong male ballads that all flopped: Norway, Spain, Cyprus, and Israel – all of which were much stronger than Silent Storm.
Final Verdict: Pretender This song’s predicted success is even less understandable than the British one. At least Children of the Universe is a captivating song. Epsen might be able to deliver the song with the proper emotional setting, unfortunately, that setting is weak.
So to recap:
Contenders: Sweden, Denmark
Pretenders: Ukraine, Armenia, United Kingdom, Norway
We also already established that I do not have much faith in the remaining entries in the bookmakers’ top ten: Hungary, Belgium, Romania, and Azerbaijan. That’s not to say that I think they will do poorly, I just don’t think that they have a legitimate shot at winning. In short: Hungary is too serious of a topic for it to gain top marks at ESC, Belgium is too off-centre to be successful, Ovi and Paula Selig will draw comparisons to their 2010 entry Playing with Fire, which was much stronger and this song just doesn’t fit the two of them very well in general, and Azerbaijan, while pretty and moving, is a bit of a snoozer.
That’s also not to say that I think that the Sweden and Denmark will be alone in duking it out for victory. My next post will be on my new YouTube channel! Watch my first video on ESC2014 Dark Horses, where I will be looking at entries that I think are flying under the radar and could make big moves in Copenhagen.