Posts tagged “Dansk Melodi Grand Prix

Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2016!

denmark_2016_poll-620x330Hello Dear Readers!

Welcome to my annual live notes for the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix! Ever since I studied in Denmark back in college (2007), I have considered it to be my second home country – and I always cheer for them in ESC. Those of you who have been following me for years know that my ESC coverage for the new year starts in earnest with my live notes from DMGP! As a reminder, live notes are my Denmarkrunning commentary; I write them as I watch the show for the first time. This year, I am fortunate enough to be able to watch the show live online (dr.dk) – which I always love doing; sharing the moment with all of Denmark!

What a great opening! First, we’re reminded that each of the last two times that Sweden hosted the Contest: Denmark has won. Perhaps 2016 will continue this pattern?

The hosts singing a rousing song about the glory of Danish music, their closeness with their neighbors to the north (Sweden), and the hope for a great show!

As a reminder, DMGP is determined from a mix of jury and televoting. The ten competing songs are all performed. We have a voting period. Then the top three songs according to a 50/50 combination of jury and televoting move through to the superfinal. These three songs are performed again. We then have another voting period. This year, the winner is determined soley by the votes of the public which are revealed in reverse-order. The public’s votes are distributed proportionately.

Our expert jury, who’s points account for one half of our final score – a songwriter from Satellite, president of the MGP fan club, Chanée (half of the duo from Denmark in 2010), the director from 2014’s Contest, and a music producer.

 

Song 1Rays of Sunlight performed by David Jay

This song is a lot of fun! The performance is great. Why the arrangement is a nice and the lyrics are swell – the song is just a bit too corny, for my taste. Maybe it will grow on me, but right now, I’m a bit lukewarm on it.

Song 2 Heart Shaped Hole performed by Simone

While this is not the song co-written by winning performer Emmelie de Forest (that is song 10), this song brings to mind Rainmaker and Hunter and Prey, two of de Forest’s post-Contest songs. Despite this, I think the song is really great! The oversized heart is also a nice touch – particularly as it raises her up a bit. I don’t quite understand the point of the dancers, as they’re barely onscreen. Very strong song!

Song 3Breakaway performed by Bracelet

Hoping that their dual Danish-Swedish heritage works to their advantage. What are they wearing?! It’s like they want to try to be loud and edgy, but they don’t take any real risks with it; overall, their look is just kind of weak. The song is rather repetitive, but not in a good way. While it may appeal to the hoards of preteen girls watching, I just don’t see this song having mass appeal.

Song 4Blue Horizon  performed by Sophia Nohr

I like this, but think that it tries too hard to be “different and unique” — this is what we would refer to a “hipster” song here in the States. It’s alright, I don’t think it will move through to the superfinal, but it’s not bad.

Song 5  – The Wrong Kind performed by Veronicas Illusion

It’s nice to have another uptempo song, but this isn’t very good. There’s a lot of flashing lights and sounds and dances. It’s just a complete mess. The song is only okay. I am not impressed and don’t anticipate this song being very popular tonight.

So, halfway through, I think songs 1 and 2 are so far the strongest; but  neither are all that stunning. Interestingly, we don’t really see the usual attempts of capturing last year’s magic of Heroes, A Million Voices, or Grande Amore. Perhaps the second half will present a few examples?

Song 6  – Soldiers of Love  performed by Lighthouse X

I don’t care for their voices; at least, not when they sing individually. Despite this, Soldiers for Love is, thus far, the most complete song we’ve seen. The performance and staging are modest, but in a good way. The song is catchy without being overly repetitive. The music is nice. It will just be a matter of whether the Danes can get past their aversion to military metaphors and vote for them.

Song 7  – Who Needs a Heart  performed by Kristel Lisberg

Again, I do not particularly like her voice. I like her outfit, but not those of her backing singers. Umm….this song is okay. It would definitely need to some beefing up and reworking if it somehow wins tonight. But since I do not see that as a major possibility, I don’t think that it will be an issue.

Song 8  – Break It Good  performed by Jessica

Hmm, a reggae-inspired song. I cannot say that I was expecting something like this. But I cannot imagine this song doing well either tonight in DMGP or on the stage in Stockholm. Also, what the heck is she wearing?

Song 9  – To Stjerner performed by Muri & Mario

Our one and only Danish language song tonight. It really is a shame the DR does not promote more Danish language stuff — it’s been almost twenty years since we’ve last heard Danish on the ESC stage. I like the sound of the song; it’s very different and stands out from the crowd. The acrobat is also a nice touch. Once again, the singer’s voice needs some work, in my opinion. But I like the song and think that it could do well in Sweden, but not so much here.

Song 10  – Never Alone performed by Anja Nissen

This is the song co-written by Emmelie de Forest; it has a bit of controversy, because de Forest had performed it at a few, smaller concerts a few years ago. After consulting with the EBU, it was determined that those public performances were not big enough to warrant eliminating the song. Oh no, it sounds like she’s sick or something, her voice just sounds off. As the winner of The Voice Australia, I was imagining a stronger performance. It’s a shame, because this sounds like a song that has a real  shot of, not only winning tonight, but challenging for the crown in Stockholm. Hopefully, the Danish public and the jury look past her rough start and vote for this song!

 

So, my thoughts on our ten songs from tonight.

My Top Five

  1. Song 6 – Soldiers of Love performed by Lighthouse X
  1. Song 2 – Heart Shaped Hole performed by Simone
  1. Song 10 – Never Alone performed by Anja Nissen
  1. Song 9 – To Stjerner performed by Muri & Mario
  1. Song 1 – Rays of Sunlight performed by David Jay

Who I think will make it to the Superfinal

  1. Song 10 – Never Alone performed by Anja Nissen
  1. Song 6 – Soldiers of Love performed by Lighthouse X
  1. Song 2 – Heart Shaped Hole performed by Simone

I know what you’re thinking, “he just chose his top three songs to move through to the superfinal. That’s not very smart.” And you’re both wrong and right. I chose the three songs that I think have the best shot of moving through to the Superfinal; they just so happened to be my favorite three from the night. You’re right in that I do not have a very good history with picking successful entries at DMGP. But hey – no one’s perfect!

Our annual choir of kids.  Yadda yadda yadda. Small talk with hosts and guests. Yadda yadda yaddda.

Okay, and our three qualifiers are….

  1. Song 2 – Heart Shaped Hole performed by Simone
  1. Song 6 – Soldiers of Love performed by Lighthouse X
  1. Song 10 – Never Alone performed by Anja Nissen

 

Buahahaha! I was 3 for 3, 100% correct! That’s exciting! Now another sketch (which, by the way, these sketches are funny, to imagine that her as this tough-as-nails, Godfather-type character, is pretty cool).

Okay, and onwards to the Superfinal. This is for all the marbles. The songs need to be in full glory this time around in order to be crowned in victory.

Song 2  – Heart Shaped Hole  performed by Simone

Her voice is amazing, just as strong as the first time around. However, I don’t feel like this is any better than earlier tonight; it’s merely the same level of performance. She needs to give us more in the last third of the song. Here we go…building up to the final climax…and…meh. A very good job, no doubt, but will it be good enough to leave a massive impression and knock off the other two.

It’s about time we talk about Dansevise, one of my favorite ESC winners of all time! It’s such a haunting song, particularly the guitar rift, which is what we’re focusing on here in this video.

Song 6  – Soldiers of Love performed by Lighthouse X

They’re voices need to be stronger and clearer this time around. So far, so good. It’s good, but I just can’t keep thinking about the 3JS (Netherlands 2011) when I listen to this song. I really like this song, and think it could compete on the ESC stage, however, I just don’t think it has enough to beat either of the other two songs, even with this slightly better performance in the Superfinal.

Song 10  – Never Alone performed by Anja Nissen

So, I think this is hers to lose at this point (which is interesting, as Denmark is not known for choosing non-Danish performers, even when they have Danish heritage). You can see it in her eyes, she’s performing with this look of confidence, as if she’s already won. Listen to the crowd! That was a good performance. Again, her voice was not as strong as it could have been, but I think she gave a great performance.

After last year’s failure, Denmark is striking back with three very strong songs that all are worthy of bringing the trophy back to Denmark. I like Soldiers of Love a lot, but I just do not think that it has what it takes to outperform the other two songs in the voting. It’s not as captivating as the other two and the singers are less appealing to the general audience.  So, while I think that Heart Shaped Hole is the better song and the better-performed song, I have a feeling that Never Alone is going to easily win tonight. Which, honestly, might be the better, strategic choice for DR, as Nissen is Australian which unlocks loyalty voting from Australia, the UK, and Ireland. The song is also more uptempo and more uplifting; it’s catchy and the singer is pretty. We’ll see.

Okay, so now we’re talking about Swedish winners. Oh! A fun picture of Måns Zelmerlöw (Sweden 2015) with a pile of beer. A short interview with C​​harlotte Perelli (Sweden 1999…and 2008). And now, a performance from Loreen (Sweden 2012), who’s as pretty as ever and singing a lovely version of the ever popular Euphoria.

Danish Flag MapFinal Resutls!

So, Heart Shaped Hole gets third place…and the winner is…Soldiers of Love! Of course it is. Right when I predicted that it would come in last. Honestly, I think Denmark would be well off with any of these three songs. This is my favorite song from tonight. It will be interesting to see how the song takes shape between now and when the final version is due in mid-March. As I say above, I think that this song has a very strong chance to do well at the ESC and I look forward to supporting the song in Stockholm!

 

Like Eurovision Obsession? Help me go to Eurovision 2016! https://www.gofundme.com/andretoeurovision


Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2015

The new DMGP logo

The new DMGP logo

And thus, it begins! In what is shaping up to be one of the more unique Contest years, let’s hope the the actual shows live up to all the craziness that is happening. But, before we dive into the news , my first post of the new season, as always, focuses on Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2015!

Danish Flag MapPer usual, these are live notes.  I am writing this as I am watching this for the first time. I do go back and edit for typos, but that is it. Given that my favorite song rarely wins DMGP, I am predicting that my predictions will be way off once again!

Hmm, just from the opening, the production value seems quite a bit lower than in the recent past. DR is probably still recovering from all the expenses of hosting the Contest last year.

Here we go!

Song One: Love Me, Love Me performed by Sara Sukurani
I’m not quite sure what she is wearing; it’s rather awful. I do love the Bollywood sound to this song. The dance portion is not all that interesting – if she were to win, it would need to be spruced up tremendously. Not a bad song, nor a bad way to start off the evening. I do not, however, think we will be hearing this song again tonight.

Ahhhh…is this social media pandering going to be happening all night? Oh look, a post about the hosts. Yay. (That’s sarcasm, by the way)

Funny video, but I would prefer for us to move through the songs as uninterrupted as possible. All the extra stuff can happen before and after.

Song Two: Mi Amore performed by Tina & René
Oh, our requisite Thomas G:son song for DMGP. A light year for the prolific Swedish  composer, only five songs throughout Europe this year. For me, this song is the definition of generic. Not all that inspiring and rather repetitive. It will not stand up to the competition in Vienna. I hope, for Denmark’s sake, it does not win. I don’t dislike the song, in terms of its musical merit, I just think it’s a weak entry competitively.

So, now we begin introducing the regional juries. This year, DR is reverting to a selection process not unlike its pre-2010 days. DR has divided the country into regions and has given each a jury in the selection process.

The audience vote is a little different.  There are 290 points available. The points are divided amongst the ten songs in accordance with the percentage of the popular vote that it yields.

DR decided to use regional juries and scrap their balance of ONE jury and several popular votes that has been in use since 2010. Interestingly enough, 2010 is when Denmark started its recent string of success. I wonder if this move is as much about avoiding winning, after bearing the expense of hosting last year, as it is about trying to increase nationwide buy-in for the winner. Perhaps DR is just trying to capitalize on the increased interest in the Contest while it can.

Song Three: Når Veje Krydses performed by Marcel & Soulman Group
I almost always like the Danish-language songs in DMGP – and this is no exception. It has a sweet melody, a catchy melody, and a strong performance. The soulful sound is also quite nice! It’s the well ahead of the previous two in my opinion.

Song Four: Hotel A performed by Cecilie Alexandra
Interesting sound…is she singing in English?  Yes.  All of a sudden, Love Me, Love Me is sounding a lot better. The refrain is well articulated and easy to sing along to. However, much like Song Two, this one is pleasant but weak. Ultimately, I cannot see it moving forward tonight. I can’t help but feel that this song was just short of being awesome; I’m not quite sure what is missing, but it just feels incomplete.

Song Five: Love is Love performed by Andy Roda
I don’t know if his voice is strong enough to pull this song off. I am thinking that he is just nervous. This is alright.  Oh! Love the glitter! Hoping it has the same effect that Only Teardrops‘ confetti did? Hmmm…I would say that this is the second strongest song thus far.

Hmmm, halfway through and I am not overly confident that Denmark will return to the Top Ten in Vienna. Let’s hope the second half has some stronger entries!

Song Six: Tæt på Mine Drømme performed by Julie Bjerre
She looks like a child, but is dressed like a middle-aged woman – at least, they are not trying to make her look overly sexy. There is something very 80s about this entry. Personally, this is my third favorite thus far behind songs three and four, but I think, thus far, it is the strongest entry. It is catchy; the singer is cute; the song is pleasant yet memorable. The eighties-style staging captures the song’s sound well and Bjerre’s voice is right on.

Song Seven: The Way You Are performed by Anti Social Media
When one pictures male Danish teenagers, I am pretty sure they are precisely the image that comes to mind. THAT is not the sound I was expecting with a name like “Anti Social Media.” There are definitely some articulation and pronunciation issues, which harkens to the question, “What’s wrong with songs in one’s own language?” Right – if you have ever read my converage on DMGP, you know that I believe that the Danes generally believe that their language, though pretty, would inhibit a song’s success. Therefore, I think Danish language entries have a disadvantage at DMGP.  Whereas the previous song had a distinct 1980s sound, this one had a distinct 1970s sounds to it. What’s next, disco? I think the song still needs some work, but I would put its chances second to song six (despite what I just said about Danish-language entries).

Song Eight: Suitcase performed by Anne Gadegaard
Despite the fact that the backing vocals are a bit too loud, I really like the staging and performance. The song is crazy catchy and tells a story. The camera work is also quite nice. By far, the strongest entry to be performed tonight. This sounds like it would fit right in on the Eurovision stage. More confetti! Though, they lose their effect if the camera is inside the confetti shower. I really like it, though! At this point, this is my choice to win.

Song Nine: Manjana performed by Babou
What language is he singing in? I can barely hear him over the music. Okay – he’s singing in Danish. It only took a verse and a half to figure that out. I do like the sound of the entry, though. It makes me want to get up and dance – which I believe is the point. This volume imbalance has been going on all night. Hmm…I think it is a strong entry. It’s making me think about how I am balancing all the entries against one another.

Song Ten: Summer Without You performed by World of Girls
They described the song as “girl power” and that is the sound – kinda of bubblegummy and very girly. It definitely harkens back to the nineties girl groups, in sound and look. The pause was interesting – as was the slow-motion at the end. Just a lot of interesting staging choices. Not my favorite, but I can understand its appeal.

Okay, so, all the songs have been performed. My predictions for the Top Three:
1. Song Eight – Suitcase
2. Song Nine – Manjana
3. Song Ten – Summer Without You

I think that Suitcase is the best song and the other two are the most infectious. Manjana is the token Danish-language song that will move through, as one (just one and never more) usually finishes in the top three.

Once again, DR seems to have saved the strongest songs for the second half of the show. Which is not fair, but whatever. I am tired of talking about my dislike for producer-decided running orders. ANYWAY, while songs 6-10 are all in the same realm of strength, I think that the three above have the best chances of success tonight and in Vienna.

In terms of my favorite three:
1. Song Three – Når Veje Krydses
2. Song Eight – Suitcase
3. Song Six – Tæt på Mine Drømme

And now, the results of the five juries:
First region (Zealand) in: Hotel A takes the initial lead
Second region (Middle Jutland) puts The Way You Are in a tie with Hotel A
Third region (Southern Jutland & Fyn) has technical difficulties!
Fourth region (Copenhagen) breaks the tie and puts The Way You Are in first.
Back Region Three (Southern Jutland & Fyn) – and more top points for boys with the 70s sound.
Fifth Region (Northern Jutland) extends the lead for The Way You Are.

It is strange to me that they would show the juries’ points BEFORE closing the voting lines. Wouldn’t that influence the audience’s votes?

Now, last year’s winner Basim sings an unexpectedly serious song (when compared to Cliché Love Song) that actually sounds pretty cool. Oh, I should have known that annoying song was going to be performed.

And now, our annual commercial for MGP (the junior song contest that inspired JESC). Every year, the entrants from MGP come and perform their group song to raise awareness and interest for their competition in just a few weeks time.

And now, the results of the audience’s vote read in the order of their eventual final placing
Song 1, only 13 points
Song 5, only 8 points
Song 9 – 35 points (guess I was way off in my prediction!)
Song 10 – 34 points (see above)
Song 2 – 20 points
Song 3 – 18 points
Song 4 is out of the running with only 18 points from the audience
Song 6 gets 38 big points, but it is not enough to stay alive

And now, the winner! I am either really right (for only the second time for DMGP – 2013 being the first) or really wrong

Song 7 gets a whopping 48 points. Not being quick with math, I am not sure if the remaining points are enough for my favorite, Song 8, to catch up.  It needs 65 to win. Let’s see!

D’oh! it gets only 58 points, falling a mere seven points short of victory.
The quintessential Danes and their 70s song win Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2015!

While I do not think that the boys are ready, the juries, and a good portion of the audience, think that they are.

Okay, so, as I listen to their Winner’s Reprise, I think the following things are necessary for them to be successful in Vienna (be mindful, I am much better at predicting ESC success than success at DMGP)
Denmark1. They need to work on their enunciation of English – this is a common ailment amongst non-native speakers, but winners of the modern era have had pretty good diction. There’s no advantage to singing in English if people cannot understand you.
2. There outfits need to coordinate. They need to dive into their seventies sound – where matching suits and put the backing vocalists in coordinated dresses. Think Armenia’s entry from the 2012. The boys of Compass Band were dressed for the era.
3. They need to play up to the fact that they are young, likeable guys. Everyone likes cute young people with catchy songs. They need to avoid negative press and just present themselves as ordinary, European guys.

With a little work, this song could reach the Top Ten. If you think that tween girls are one of the primary ESC demographics, Anti Social Media should have them on lock. I don’t mention gay men, as that demographic is more associated with dance tunes, divas, and hot men (as opposed to younger guys). Ultimately, I think this song is a shoo-in for the Grand Final but will find itself outside the Top Ten. While I think they will achieve a respectful finish, I just don’t see them improving their performance and staging enough to compete seriously on a pan-European level.

Want to support me and the site? Support me on FundRazr!


Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2013!

It’s that time of year again!  I open up my ESC coverage with live notes for the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix!  This year, DMGP takes us to Herning and gives us three lovely lady-hosts (currently in catsuits).  From my understanding, there are three big favorites thiDansk Melodi Grand Prix 2013s year. Simone, who returns to DMGP with the song Stay Awake and won the DR internet poll, leads the way.  Emmelie de Forest with Only Teardrops is ahead on the international opinion polls.  And Mohammed Ali, who achieved third place on the Danish iteration of X-Factor despite having Egyptian and Iraqi roots, with the song Unbreakable was announced as the big favorite during the DMGP pre-show.  A noticeable absence from the list, Danish representative from ESC2009 – Brinck, who performed Believe Again in Moscow for a respectable 13th place, who will be singing a song that he penned himself called Human.

Let’s see who wins!

As a reminder, the Danes have a one night national final format that they have been using since 2009 and amended last year.  Producers and executives at DR choose ten songs, six that were submitted and four “wildcards” late in the preceding year.  Those ten songs then compete in DMGP in three rounds.  In the first round, the songs are given a number (that stays with them) and perform in numerical order.  Then, using a combination of jury votes and popular votes (via SMS texts), three songs are selected to move through to the Super Final were they are performed again, this time, for al the marbles.  This is new since last year, when a song had to be removed at the last minute, DR decided to throw out the Knock-Out Round and have the top three from the first round go straight to the Super Final.  This year, the points will work a little differently.  There will be a total of 60 points available, 30 from the jury, 30 from the Danish public.  The jury reveals their votes one at a time; each juror gives the three acts either 1, 2, or 3 points.  The votes of the public are then revealed; their set of 30 points is divided proportionally to reflect the voting.  And a winner is crowned!

The Round of Ten

Song 1. Jeg Har Hele Tiden Vidst Det performed by Frederikke Vedel

The title translates to “I always knew it” and is one of only two songs in Danish this year (the other being Song 4 Rejs dig op performed by Louise Dubiel). What an awesome start to the show!!  I really like this song and the staging was very well done!  But fear that it did not make a big enough impact to stay in folks’ minds all the way through to the end of the tenth song.  Though, there’s usually one token Danish-language song in the next round, it will depend on Louise Dubiel’s performance if Vedel moves through to the next round or not.

Song 2. Human performed by Brinck

Brinck, as I said above, represented Denmark in Moscow back in 2009.  He’s ready to try again with a song he wrote himself.  I’m a little confused.  Is he singing in English and just mumbling?  Or is this a song in Danish with a few English lyrics?  Why does he sound so scared?  Is he still so scarred from his experience in 2009?  In DGMP2009 he had a strong performances, as well as in the semi-final in Russia.  It was the during the Grand Final that he started singing like he was scared, and apparently, he’s still scared.  He seems small on the big stage and his voice is lost in the music and backing singers.  It’s pleasant, but does not stand a chance of moving to the next round.

Song 3. I’m Not Alone performed by Kate Hall

Kate Hall is one of Denmark’s bigger pop stars and has some recognition internationally in Northern and Central Europe.  This song is nice, but very generic.  While the Danes do seem to like generic songs (see: any DMGP ever) I don’t see this one moving through unless the remaining songs are as uninspired as this one.  Not to mention, the Danes tend to be easily swayed by stage shows, and Hall botched a major note there.

Now, a short trip to Denmark’s ESC-ally as of late, Ireland.  With a cameo by the one and only Mr. Johnny Logan (if you’re new to ESC, Johnny Logan is the only performing artist to win twice, 1980 with What’s Another Year? and 1987 with Hold Me Now, both for Ireland, both are considered ESC classics.  He also wrote the 1992 Irish winner Why Me? performed by Linda Martin).

Now back to the show!

Song 4. Rejs dig op performed by Louise Dubiel

The song title translates to “Stand Up.”  This is a pleasant enough song and has all the making a dark horse – nice stage show, catchy tune, quirky singer, and a bit nationalistic.  I think this song might surprise a lot of folks (particularly Frederikke Vagel).

Song 5. We Own the Universe performed by Daze

Oh. My. Goodness!  What is up with her hair?!  I like the use of the lights like a keyboard.  The song is catchy and I can see it doing some real damage to the scoreboard.  This is the first song I would confidently say could move through to the next round.

Song 6. Stay Awake performed by Simone

I see why this is a favorite, but I do not say it was the strongest tonight, perhaps she’s saving herself for the Super-Final (she was eliminated in 2010 in the now defunct knock-out round after a stunning first round performance)?  This is a high energy song with a bright stage show, and Simone was just kinda, neutral.  I think it will move through due to its popularity and mass appeal, but she has to turn it up a few notches in the next performance.

The tour of countries with more wins than Denmark continues with…the United Kingdom.  We talk with two of the members of Brotherhood of Man, the third winner from the UK back in 1976 with Save Your Kisses for Me, one of the most commercially successful ESC winners ever.

Song 7. Invincible performed by Jack Rowan feat. Sam Gray

A cute guy, a hot beat, a dj (which is a gimmick in and of itself) with a gimmick (that ugly mask), a simple song with a refrain that even the most English-phobic Dane could sing along to – a recipe for success?  Not quite.  The Danes are rather nationalistic.  Having foreign songwriters don’t lower an entries chances as I doubt many viewers will realize this.  But a foreign singer?  Oh no!  Americans have failed at DMGP.  Icelanders have failed at DMGP.  I cannot imagine a Brit faring much better.  Eurovision.tv seemed to favor this song in its coverage of Denmark until recently when it began to focus on the next entry…

Song 8. Only Teardrops performed by Emmelie de Forrest

Irish whistle!  That’s why the international crowd likes this song.  This is my favorite, by far, thus far!  I can imagine this song being widely popular in Malmö, though naysayers might say Forrest’s voice is too similar to Loreen’s.  This song has good lyrics, a simple stage show (which, admittedly, would need to be enhanced on the international stage), and a slightly Celtic feel – I predict this to move to the Super Final and do very well

Song 9. Beautiful to Me performed by Albi

Hmm…another generic song in my opinion.  Not bad, just not great.

Song 10. Unbreakable performed by Mohammed Ali

How old is Ali, 12?  I see why he did not win X-Factor, his voice is not very good (at least, not tonight).  Perhaps the studio version of this song is why it’s so popular.  Oh wait, look at this staging – cool LED work, the lights go out, choreography, flames!  Almost distracts enough to look past Ali’s horri- crazy face paint on a dancer!!  What?!  No!  The song’s over.  I remember the beat….and a young looking guy…and cool staging!  Wasn’t I saying something negative about this song?  But listen to the crowd reaction, it must be good.

So, my favorite part: the recap!  I love how the crowd is going crazy for every song (except for the first one).  Time for rankings and predictions!

My Top Three Who I think will compete in the Super Final
(Song 8) Only Teardrops Song 6. Stay Awake
(Song 6) Stay Awake Song 8. Only Teardrops
(Song 1) Jeg Har Hele Tiden Vidst Det Song 10. Unbreakable

In the end, the three favorites I mentioned at the beginning had strong enough performances to move through.

Soluna Samay!  Lookee – she’s all grown up.  Glad she ditched the awful dreads from last year.  I like this song and its staging, she should hav re-entered DMGP with this!

Our fair hostess’ travels now takes her to the most recent country to join the Five Winners’ Club and close Danish ally – Sweden.  Eww…the Herrey’s – Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley (the winner from 1984) is, in my opinion, one of the worst songs to win the Contest.

Now the promotion of junior Melodi Grand Prix.  I’m still not quite convinced it’s worth my time to watch Scandinavian fight it out on stage, especially since the three countries all submit multiple entries.  But it is a widely successful show and served as the basis for jESC.

Now, revealing the four songs to move through to the Super Final

Song 6. Stay Awake performed by Simone – of course!  Let’s see if she turns it up in the next round.  Her opponent will be…

Song 8. Only Teardrops performed by Emmelie de Forrest.  Yayayayayay!  My favorite song this year!

Song 10. Unbreakable performed by Mohammed Ali.  The only surprise here: that a Muslim can be popular in Denmark.  Good for him!

Super-Final

Song 6. Stay Awake performed by Simone

So, this song is definitely sexier and edgier than How Will I Know.  And ends much more awkwardly, I wonder if the song is actually longer and had to be shortened.  This was definitely a better performance than in round one, but I don’t know if it was enough to win.  She just doesn’t really have a strong enough voice for this kind of song.

Song 8. Only Teardrops performed by Emmelie de Forrest

Let’s see if Forrest can replicate (or even outdo) her first performance.  I wonder if the older Danes will think she’s too young…never mind, I’m reminded of my earlier comment regarding the popularity of Junior Melodi Grand Prix in the country.  Listen to that crowd reaction!  Folks were up and dancing!  I think we just saw a winning performance everyone.

Song 10. Unbreakable performed by Mohammed Ali

He’s almost guaranteed to carry the votes of the Denmark’s Muslim population.  Not just due to his heritage, but because of the nature of his song.  Denmark is an incredibly homogenous society (everyone looks the same and holds similar beliefs) and people of Eastern European and Arab descent who immigrate there often find themselves the victims of bullying and discrimination.  With that said, there are not enough immigrants, I think, to help him win.  I smell another third place finish for Mr. Ali.  Though, I will admit, his voice sounded much better this time around.

Oooh!  Brotherhood of Man is performing!!  I really do like this song a lot!  Wow – they look so different now, but still good for the age.  Now the Herreys, doing a lot o the original choreography from their winning performance – still don’t like the Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley, but at least they sound good – better than they did back in the 80s.  Johnny Logan!!!  Performing Hold Me Now – good stuff!  I love the ode to Eurovision history, Denmark!  Three of the most popular winners of all time (The Herreys are generally disliked except for in Scandinavia – Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, where they and their song are incredibly popular) all on one stage.  Lovely!

Now the jury votes –

Only Teardrops is the favorite of the jury receiving three “3 points” from the five jurors (two gave the song only 1 point).  Unbreakable leaves the jury round tied for first after receiving two 2 points and two 3 points.

Now the popular vote –

SevenDanish Flag Map points to Stay Awake.  Once again, Simone will go home without the DMGP trophy.  The winner isONLY TEARDROPS!!!  Good stuff.  The final scoreboard:

1. Only Teardrops – 26 points (11 from the jury, 15 from the public)

2. Unbreakable – 19 points (11 from the jury, 8 from the public)

3. Stay Awake – 15 points (8 from the jury, 7 from the public)

And, for the first time since 2008, there’s a Winner’s Reprise – lovely!!

Final Thoughts

For the first time since I have been watching DMGP (since 2007), I can honestly say that I liked all 10 songs that competed.  Don’t get me wrong, Human, Invincible, and Beautiful to Me aren’t great, but, in the end, I did like them.  And, for the first time since I’ve been watching DMGP, I fully, 100% agree with the winner.  It’s about time, too!!  Only Teardrops is the quintessential ESC song of the current era – young performer, hip beat, nice lyrics, lots of potential in its staging.

From here, as Emmelie de Forrest continues to perfect her vocal performance of the song, her producers have to make a decision about the staging of Only Teardrops.  What they had on stage tonight was nice for DMGP, but would be too underwhelming on the ESC stage.  If they want a toned down, simple staging, they need to tone down the LED work and give her a bit more room on stage so it seems less crowded.  On the other hand, I think this song, especially given its arrangement and the existing camera-angles, would benefit from a bit of a bigger staging, with more movement from the backing singers and dancers to and more sophisticated light work to maximize the camera angles that are already in place (as those are already pretty well done).

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed DMGP this year.  I thought the three Super-Finalists were well deserved and that the best song did, indeed, win this year.  Congratulations to Emmelie de Forrest and the entire stage and songwriter team.  I look forward to seeing Denmark return to the Top Ten with this sure hit in Malmö.


Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2012

Howdy Folks!  Eurovision season has once again kicked off.  This year, I’ve decided to post my thoughts on Denmark first, followed by weekly updates on the other participants (starting with a recap of those chosen prior to Dk).  As a reminded, these notes are written live as i am watching the contest for the first time.

And we’re off!

 

I like the ode to the ever-improving placements for the Danish entries over the years.  DR has said they are in it to win it this year, and that little compilation sets the scene for this goal.  I like the dancers.  I don’t care for the stage at all; it’s like we’ve fallen back into the 1980s.  Judging by the crowd reactions as the performing artists are announced, 8 and 10 are the favorites.  I know that Valen:tine was a big favorite before being disqualified, so it should be interesting to see who wins. It’s good to know that things are pushing forward with full steam even though the top favorite is out.  I just hope the too much wind hasn’t been taken out of my beloved Denmark’s sails.  Introducing the jury…some of these artists actually sound good and might be worth investigating

 

Onwards to the songs!

1 – Take Our Hearts – Jesper Nohrstedt

Oh, the piano is still playing even though he stood up!  Well, if there’s one good thing about going back to the 80s is that we’ll get a decent laser light show.  And it’s always nice to get audience participation.  So, this song has radio appeal, I could even imagine one of my favorite artists, Greyson Chance, singing this.  The problem is, Chance is 13.  This song would be great for Junior Eurovision if Dk ever decides to return to it.

 

2 – Nowhere – Valen:tine

This song was a heavy favorite, but was disqualified because it was publically available before the September 1st cutoff date.  How sad, it’s a strong song and would have had a good chance in Baku, given that it would have been paired with a strong performance, of course.

 

3 – The Best Thing That I Got – Aya

This is the entry from the songwriting duo behind Germany’s 2010 winner Satellite.  First thing I notice, that hideous dress!  That alone is enough to derail a good entry.  Combined with the singer’s unintelligible singing, this entry has about as much chance of passing through to the next round as I do, and I am not even competing!  Which is a shame, it’s a nice song.  It had zero chance of even winning DMGP, let alone ESC, but it’s a nice song.

 

My Danish is too rusty to follow why they’re having this little non sequitor concerning German music.

 

4 – Reach for the Sky – Kenneth Potempa

Another uplifting song, somewhat forgettable.  Why does the singer sound like he’s out of breath?  This song definitely gets better as it goes along; it just takes too long to get there.  As if the composers meant for it to be four minutes long instead of three.

 

5 – Overflow – Ditte Marie

If this singer looks familiar to you, it’s because she competed last year as a part of Le Freak with the song 25 Hours.  Good to know she hasn’t lost any energy; though, this sounds a lot like her previous energy.  Let’s see if this will get her past her previous finish in the second round.  I like this song!  Am I the only one who thinks she sounds like Olivia Newton John?  The lyrics are a little questionable, but it’s a good song that would get Europe dancing.

 

And now a word from our traveling journalist.  Oh look, Maroon 5 and an assortment of nice pop and dance tunes.  Oh, I see Russian songs…TaTu, one would think they would show their entry from 2003.  And Dima Bilan.

I love this tune! It’s the Second Movement from Shostakovich’s Second Jazz Suite.

 

6 – Baby Love Me – Emilia & Philip

I guess the songwriters are Danish, as both of this couple is speaking English (I can’t place their accents, though).  I liked the effect of having two new, identically dressed piano players come out to continue the illusion of the music being played live.  It’s a pleasant song, but cannot win in the energy-addicted Denmark.  A true ballad, like this one, stands zero chance of winning DMGP.  Not to mention that, while nice, it’s a fairly average song.

 

7 – Forever I B Young – Suriya

This song is awful!  How and why did DR choose to have this compete?  This song = bad.

 

8 – Universe – Karen Viuff

What is she wearing?  How sad, this song has a real fighting chance.  Aside from the horrendous outfit, you can tell that Viuff is very nervous.  Her voice is wavering and she is not singing with much confidence.  I think this is as good a time as any to point out that it sounds like the Danes have followed the Swedes in having the backing vocalists recorded and piped in with the music; that, or they backing singers are well hid.  Either way, it’s a sad development.

 

And now, our journalist is in Norway.  Yay Nocturne!  Yeah, yeah, pander to the crowd NRK.  The Danes need to remember that, despite its records for sucking, Norway has more victory than Denmark for the time being, so we must keep the trash talking to a minimum.

 

9 – Should’ve Known Better – Soluna Samay

ACK!  What is she wearing?!  It seems bad outfits is the disease of the year at DGMP.  It’s a nice song, definitely one of the stronger entries on the night.  And, so far, the only one not involving the audience or bathing the entire arena in colored light.  Oh!  A glockenspiel!  Confetti?  So, is it safe to say that this group is confident?  Am I the only one singing Seal’s Crazy after hearing this entry?  Yikes, I hope there’s not more cries of plagiarism this year.

 

10 – Venter – Christian Brøns & Patrick Isaksson

Wait, this is the only song in Danish this year, isn’t it.  I don’t know if that’s a strength or not, unfortunately.  My experience with the Danes, they generally view an entry in a niche language (of which they consider their’s to be the utmost) to be a weakness.  So, the Netherlands demonstrated last two years that Europe doesn’t like adult contemporary done by men, particularly when it’s faux-rock.  So why did DR choose this song?  Oh, I think the audience reaction just gave me my answer.

 

My picks to move through to the final round:

4 – Reach for the Sky – Kenneth Potempa

9 – Should’ve Known Better – Soluna Samay

10 – Venter – Christian Brøns & Patrick Isaksson

 

Talking to the judges.  Lots of love for song three (The Best Thing That I Got).  Now we have out annual children’s contribution to DMGP, I believe these are all the competitors for the DMGPjunior.  Why are there always kids who try to rap?  Though, I always love these sort of things when they have competitors all sing together, particularly when those performers are children.  I am assuming that army of folks behind them that never seemed to get any close-ups were the back-up singers for all the entries.

 

Oh, and now is the moment!  The three finalists!  Oh, he played Dansevise!  One of my favorite winners, and by far, the best Danish entry to date, including whichever one of these nine win.  Oh, a note for those who may not know, in lieu of the two semi-final battles and a final (the format of the previous three DMGPs), there will be just a final of three songs.

 

And the final will be…

1. Take Our Hearts (I predicted this song originally, then thought better of it and put down #4 instead, grrr!  This is why one should go with one’s instincts)

vs.

10. Venter (the crowd seemed to love it)

vs.

9. Should’ve Known Better

 

Now an introduction of the international jury: Rybak, Alex Sparrow, Ell & Nikki, AySel, and a slew of pop artists with whom I am unfamiliar.

 

Pictures of the hosts doing things that could never be shown on American television, particularly family shows like this one.

 

1. Take Our Hearts

The weakest of the three, in my opinion.  So Nohrstedt better step up his game.  Aside from being a bit too excited, he seems to be doing better.  And then he botches a big note.  Actually, that wasn’t too bad.  He definitely sung his little heart out.  But will it be enough?  I’m not sure.

 

And now the host is playing Ding Dong on the marimba.

And now we’re in Azerbaijan, presumably to answer the question of whether all Azerbaijan is American in sound as their ESC entries.  Let’s see…Running Scared, Lady Gaga, an Azerbaijania Lady Gaga, something that actually sounds ethnic, and now some Azerbaijani dancing (which looks a lot like the oro dances from the Balkans).

 

9. Should’ve Known Better

I think it was better than the first time, but I still wouldn’t call that a winning performance.  And that outfit!  If I had to judge against the prior song, I would say it was a draw. This one might get an edge because I think it had a better performance and is different enough from the previous three entries to sound as if it were different.

 

So, we went from hearing some of the better winners (Dansevise, Nocturne, Fairytale) and must suffer through a rendition of one of the worst winners – Diggiloo Diggiley.

 

10. Venter

They need a good performance to pull off a win.  It’s only so much populist support will do.  Some of the harmonies that they missed the first time around are better this time and the one did not try to hit the big note he botched the first time, but playing it safe won’t get you victory.  I think that this song appeals to older Danes (as evidenced by the dancing ladies) and may get their support, and the win if the young people are split over the first two.  Not that I think it should win, I would now rank it third among these three.

 

Hmm…who to pick, who to pick?  Despite my comments, I think Venter is out of the running, so it comes down to the song 1 and song 9.  The former of the two, I think, pumped up the crowd more, but the latter had a longer lasting impression and was better sung.  The recap is important – for song #1, they showed him botching two huge notes.  For song #9, they showed a truly exceptional clip from the performance.  Hmm…I’m split.  I’m going to flip a coin….I’m going to guess song #9 – Should’ve Known Better.

 

And now the host is screeching through Fairytale.  Save us Alexander Rybak!  Oh look an, electronic violin!  No broken strings here!  Aww, how sweet, he’s singing Fly on the Wings of LoveHold Me Now!  I wonder if he’s hinting that he will come back and try to win again.  Satellite!  hmmm…I can’t place that one, but it’s awesome.  Did we really need this adaptation of Hard Rock Hallelujah?  And now we’re back to Fairytale!

 

And now the results:  First the international juries

Norway:

song 10, 8 points

song 9, 10 points

song 1, 12 points

hmm…no nul points this year.

 

Russia: proving again that English language education in Russia is not that great

10 – 8pts

9 – 10pts

1 – 12pts

 

Germany:

10 – 8pts

9 – 10pts

1 – 12pts

 

I’m noticing a pattern.

 

Azerbaijan:

10 – 8pts

1 – 10pts

9 – 12pts

We should’ve known that the Azerbaijani’s were going to vote unpredictably.

 

Now, song #1, Take Our Hearts, has a four point advantage over song #9.

 

The Danish jury:

10 – 8pts

1 – 10pts

9 – 12pts

Looks like the Azerbaijanis and the Danes were on the same wavelength.

 

So, that’s:

1. Take Our Hearts – 56 points

9. Should’ve Known Better – 54 points

10. Venter – 40 points

 

 

Yay!  More Dansevise!  I think choir-arranged ESC songs are good things.  And now we have A Friend in London.  What!  The Backstreet Boys?  No, no, just one of them, Howie I think his name is.

 

The juries account for 50% of the voting, the Danish public account for the other 50%.  So, we are about to learn who the winner is!

 

10 – 48pts

and they get third place.

 

And the winner is…

#9 – Should’ve Known Better!  Hey, I do believe I predicted that one to win.

With a total score of 110 points, Should’ve Known Better takes the DMGP2012 crown by a margin of eight points.  How exciting.  These two songs were so close in quality to one another; it was quite an evenly matched battle.

 

Unfortunately, a hotly contested battle does not necessarily mean that the winner is amazing, for even two mediocre competitors will battle each other closely.  Not that these songs are mediocre, but neither one has what it takes, at least not in their current forms, to win the ESC.  I think Should’ve Known Better will qualify for the final, but it will fall short of DR’s goal of winning the Contest.  Even with a new costume, a more confident performance, and some fine tuning of the arrangement, I don’t if this song has what it takes to overcome the competition in Baku.  We will see.