After two weeks in France without access to the internet, it’s fair to say I’ve missed our blog and all our readers – although it’s been fun to come back and read through the awesome articles that Rory put together in my absence! (check them out here) Today, I’m going to continue the possible artists series by exploring what I think are the best options for next year’s host country Denmark, as they strive to defend the Eurovision title won by Emmelie De Forest.
When I think of Denmark’s recent Eurovision track record, their winning entry “Only Teardrops” stands out as a stark departure from what was becoming pretty rigid and formulaic approach to the contest. From 2008-2012, Denmark’s entries could all be classified into the same genre, perhaps under the umbrella of “guitar pop” or “light rock”. The country could be relied on to send a technically competent song, often catchy or anthemic, yet for me personally, these entries were always a little stagnant. Just “there”, not threatening or exciting in any degree, just… “there”.
Of course they broke the mould in 2013 with an ethnically-inspired, female-led up-tempo pop number and whilst they were still a way off being truly “original” or “experimental”, the change of strategy paid off big-time, as Emmelie’s victory in Malmö proves. So, they have a platform for change, they’re hosting the contest *somewhere* next year; for me, 2014 seems like the ideal opportunity to push the boat out and send something really special to Eurovision.
Step forward, Medina Danielle Valbak:
Medina – artistically known by a single name – has established herself as the leading lady of the Danish electropop scene since the phenomenal success of her 2008 single “Kun For Mig” which, after a six-week spell atop the Danish Singles Chart was translated into English and released internationally on the European market. Granted, the international release wasn’t received as favourably as hoped, but it proves that her record company is open to continental promotion. In addition, the flop did nothing to harm her popularity in Denmark, where her career has gone from strength to strength, comprising of two multi-platinum albums and a swarm of smash hit singles including my personal favourite, the above “Lyser I Mørke” from her 2011 album “For Alltid”.
Now I am not going into this blinkered by my prior appreciation of this lady’s music or my enthusiasm for the genre as a whole: Eurovision would be one hell of a risk for Medina, and for DR. She – and the production team behind her – have a formidable reputation within the country, and like with any national superstar, the potential for international failure at the contest is often an insurmountable obstacle in trying to get them on board.
Furthermore, Medina is very much a one-genre girl. That’s how she has become so bloody good at what she does. However, that leaves very little room for discussion. They commit to sending Medina, they commit to sending a certain style of song. It’s dark trancey electro fabulousness. I for one adore it, and would love to see it on the ESC stage, but would it lend itself well to a live performance? Would it be a crowd-pleaser? Would it show them off well in their home country?
Answer: yes it would. If it was in English.
Now, I am one of the biggest advocates for national languages at Eurovision on the planet. I love the authenticity and mystery that surrounds a foreign-language song. But I’m also being realistic, and looking at the show as a contest where every broadcaster wants to send the most universally popular song possible. Take “Lonely” up there, the English version of Medina’s Danish hit “Ensom”. More universally understandable, it ceases to be “dark, Danish and a bit cold” and becomes “a bloody good dance song” “a potential pan-European club hit” “a potential winner”, yes?
On the surface, Medina may be a bit of an unlikely and risky stab in the dark… but if it worked, boy would it work. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Alternatively, if I were to be asked for my second choice – and this is a very close-run second choice here – I would suggest Björnskov, who has released one of my absolute favourite songs of 2013 in “Vi Er Helte”:
Isn’t that just the epitome of the word “anthem”? Almost as if somebody has taken all the best tropes from Denmark’s previous ESC formula, added a killer melody and plastered it on top of a Medina-esque production to come up with an amazingly catchy pop gem. I loved it from first listen, and even more surprisingly, my sister – who is not even really bothered about the contest or any of my foreign songs – heard me playing it, and fell in love with it too. Seriously. I think she’s actually more obsessed with it than I am. This kind of thing has the power to captivate the masses, DR. Take notes. If they want a serious challenge at a back-to-back victory, Björnskov could be their man. This genre of music is credible enough to attract jury votes, catchy enough to enchant televoters, contemporary enough to be a post-contest hit… this is what Eurovision needs to progress. Please. Please.
Here are a few other Danish artists we both think would do well at Eurovision, have a listen if you have time!
Of course, that’s just what I think. What about you?
Ruben Fonseca from Portugal: Medina would be an excellent choice and I’m pretty sure that she would get a very good place in Eurovision.
Davið Pálsson from Iceland: She is too good for ESC sorry
Magnus Jensen from Denmark: Medina? Good? Hahahaha… Mads Langer would be better.
Adrian Nalitch from Australia: Rasmus Seebach is my bet
Nick Van Lith from the Netherlands: Rasmus said he’d never do it, as it was his father’s thing. Shoes For Julia sounds like a possibility.
Well… I did say Medina would be a risk; and she seems to have split the fan opinion, alongside a number of other Danish artists being suggested. What with their status as hosts, the decision of DR and the Danish public is going to be watched with renewed enthusiasm by the fan community, and hopefully they will manage to come up with an act which will shine on their home turf in May.