Early Contenders for 2015!
Hello Dear Readers!
So, we have the forty official, final entries for the 60th addition of the Eurovision Song Contest! Already, I would say that are some definite front-runners, some potential dark horses, and some legitimate contenders for last place. I am also sure that there have been some that have risen to the top of fan circles – but I have been mostly avoiding reading fan stuff in-depthly for now. I wanted to evaluate the songs uninfluenced by outside opinion. As I said last week, I think there are six songs that, out the gate, have shown themselves to be strong and capable of taking the crown in May: Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Italy, and Australia. Now, whether or not these six stay at the top throughout the next month and a half, we’ll see.
Sweden – Heroes performed by Måns Zelmerlöw
Why I think it can win: The prime example of Swedish schlager at its best. It’s upbeat, fun, and incredibly easy to sing along to. Not only that, it has an amazing staging to go along with it (as the Swedes tend to stick to the same basic staging from Melodifestivalen at ESC). Throw in the fact that Zelmerlöw is a likeable, attractive guy and you have the makings of a strong entry that can bring Sweden into striking distance of Ireland’s record.
How it can improve its chances of taking the crown in May: A legitimate music video (right now, a lyric video exists and the national final version exists). A music video would give the fans something to latch on to, including, possibly, a “Heroes” dance.
Norway – A Monster Like Me performed by Mørland & Debrah Scarlett
Why I think it can win: Norway is building upon the model established by the Netherlands over the past two years — present a dark, emotional song with a sombre performance to accompany it. Norway’s duet takes this to a whole new level and bares the souls of the performers.
How it can improve its chances of taking the crown in May: The duo needs to work on their on-stage chemistry. It is my understanding that this was originally a Mørland solo piece that was redeveloped to add Scarlett. Which is fine; they sound lovely together; but they are still somewhat stiff on stage. The whole staging needs to be revamped, actually, to better highlight the power of the song. Right now, the staging is a bit of a distraction. Their voices are great; but they need to sell the story of the song.
Azerbaijan – Hour of the Wolf performed by Elnur Hüseynov
Why I think it can win: It’s genuine, soulful, emotional, and well-performed. The lyrics are heartfelt and the composition balances traditional tones and contemporary sound beautifully. We also know that Azerbaijan makes one heck of a stage-show. I am imagining that there will be a dancer dressed up as a wolf; how awesome would that be!
How it can improve its chance of taking the crown in May: Working the pre-show concerts. Azerbaijan needs to get the song out there and in front of fans. Make sure that it is as recognizable as some of the more distinct acts out there. Otherwise, it would be lost as just another Azerbaijani entry.
New to the Party
Italy – Grande Amore performed by Il Volo
Why I think it can win: Italy has always had strong entries since its return, even last year’s mess of a performance was a decent song. This year, though, I believe they are entering with a legitimate shot at victory. The song is powerful, the singing is incredible, and it represents everything that people across the globe think that Italian music is: sweet tenor tones of love.
How it can improve its chances of taking the crown in May: Like Azerbaijan, Italy needs to work the pre-Contest circuit. It needs to make sure that everyone is singing along to Grande Amore heading into the Grand Final; not just singing it, but crying due to it. Not only that, but the guys’ honey tones need to be pure for the Jury Final (second dress rehearsal) AND the Grand Final performances.
Lithuania – This Time performed by Monika Linkytė & Vaidas Baumila
Why I think it can win: The first real chance Lithuania has to win the Contest since its debut. The song is fun, the two of them have amazing chemistry, and the potential for an outstanding staging (could you imagine several costume changes that show their relationship progressing through time – that would be awesome!). It’s cute and plays on the fantasy of a perfect romance that so many of us have.
How it can improve its chances of taking the crown in May: While the onstage chemistry is great, the live vocals need some work. Like Norway, it was a solo song retconned into a duet, though, having two performers make more sense here. The two of them need to work on singing in unison more effectively and working with the backing singers to ensure things blend properly.
Australia – Tonight Again performed by Guy Sebastian
Why I think it can win: A soulful, R&B song performed by someone with international success already; from a country that will get a lot of votes for the sheer novelty of it competing from outside of Europe. The song is super modern and sounds like it could’ve been pulled from the charts. Not to mention, a successful run by a current star would help make the ESC stage more appealing to Western stars, which will ultimately raise the profile of the Contest in the bigger markets (i.e., the UK should dip into its musical industry). Not to mention, Australia will most likely get a sweet spot in the running order due to Sebastian’s name and the fact that it is Australia.
How it can improve its chances of taking the crown in May: It helps that there seems to be an endless stream of articles about Australia’s participation. However, there are just as many fans out there who will not vote for Australia due to the fact that it is not in Europe as those that will because of its novelty. In order to woo the middle group, Australia needs to go on a charm offensive; remind people why Guy Sebastian is already an international star. Oh, and ensure that they draw into the second half of the running order.
What do you think? Do any of these six have what it takes to lift the crystal microphone in Vienna?
Stay tuned for more articles as news develops, fan favorites arise, songs experience popularity dips, and I reconsider who could win!
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