The last few days have been utter madness for us Eurofans as in the space of four days, six songs were selected for Eurovision. This week is set to be another jam-packed one, with no more than SEVEN countries deciding who and/or what they’ll be sending to Copenhagen – either by National Finals or internal selections. And yet again, Saturday is set to be Super Saturday #4 or #5, so dear Lord(e), help us all!
As you should hopefully know by now, we are previewing the national finals in weekly instalments, offering our opinions on some of the songs wherever possible, and predicting the entries we think are most likely to win the ticket to Denmark. Following the results of each National Final, we’ll get a review article up for you, giving you our opinions of the show and the selected entry, and assessing its chances at Eurovision this year. And, as always, your opinions are most welcome throughout, we would love to know what you think!
This week’s calendar:
5th March: Kdam Eurovision 2014 (Israeli National Final)
8th March: Melodifestivalen 2014 (Swedish National Final)
8th March: Dansk Melodi Grand Prix (Danish National Final)
8th March: Russian Artist/Song Presentation
8th March: EMA 2014 (Slovenian National Final)
9th March: Montenegrin Song Presentation
With Mei Finegold already selected as Israel’s representative back in January (we did a ‘Rumour Has It’ article hours before Mei was confirmed to be the Israeli act), there’s only the matter of the song that needs to be settled. The song will be selected through a special edition of Kdam, the normal way that Israel would select their artist. Israel revealed the three possible candidates last week, and you can listen to the three songs here, thanks to Mei’s official Eurovision Youtube channel.
Reviews and Predictions:
Rory – When I heard the three songs that were in competition to represent Israel, I just thought “Wow.” Israel has three fantastic songs this year and actually, the fact that all of the songs are in both English and Hebrew is actually very clever, as it shows that they can still retain their language while also branching out to Europe, so that every one can understand it.
Right, the actual songs themselves. ‘Same Heart’ is a fantastic song, because it’s a perfect mixture of both pop and rock and that key change is just sublime! The music video for it is actually a visual masterpiece, but with certain bits of the song, it does sound like Eva Polna, cramming all the syllables into a few bars. I still love the song, but let’s just hope if that song goes to Denmark, she won’t run out of breath! For ‘Nisheret Iti’, which does sound a LITTLE like ‘We Share a Titty’, it’s probably the most different song of the pack and I’m not really sure what Europe would make of it if it won. I do like the song, but it’s very..’out there’, so I should like it more than I do..the music video is quite strange, but I think it compliments the song too. Finally, ‘Be Proud’ – okay, I am undoubtedly in love with this song. Like, seriously. For me, this should go to Eurovision. Normally, I’m not a fan of those military-ish sounding songs, but with ‘Be Proud’, I actually find it infectious. Probably, I think it’s amazing because of its hidden message, but also it’s more than likely due to the fact that she’s just an amazing singer.
I really do hope ‘Be Proud’ does go ahead and win in Israel, but to be honest, I think I wouldn’t mind if any of the songs won, because – like France – I love all of the songs in the selection. Plus Mei is a sassy woman in every one of the song – dayum, girl! Go on Israel!
James – When Mei Finegold was initially selected, I worried that we would end up with an Izabo situation; whereby an alternative/pop-rock artist took a gamble on the contest, came up with a really crap song, and ended up with a deserved non-qualification. For Israel, whose fortunes have been rather unfavourable over the last few years, that really wasn’t an option. Mei’s campaign had to be a successful one.
And then, she went and released her songs. One word: wow.
We’ve got the soul-rock anthem “Be Proud”, the crazy 90s-inspired dance number “Nisheret Iti”, and the fabulous “Same Heart”, which to my ears straddles both genres with unexpectedly coherent results. There isn’t actually a song among the three that I dislike, which is a rarity by Israeli standards!
I’m least keen on “Be Proud”, which sounds a little messy to me, there isn’t much of an actual tune for me to get involved with, and the arrangement is, obviously, towards the rocky side of things. I was expecting three of these from Mei to be honest, and if that were the case, I would probably have reluctantly chosen “Be Proud” as a highlight. However, it PALES in comparison to the other two prospective entries, both of which are right up my street.
“Same Heart” is without a doubt my favourite, and I reckon it’s just the kind of song which could herald Israel’s triumphant return to the Eurovision final, as it’s catchy, modern and full of attitude. I’d guess that her live vocal would be impressive, but obviously we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if that’s true. “Nisheret Iti”, another favourite of mine, will likely be forgotten, but I know I will be getting it straight on the iPod and listening away happily to my heart’s content. Who cares if Israel leave it behind, it’s a great song and I’m glad I’ve been introduced to it.
But still, TEAM SAME HEART all the way!
Back in September of last year, I compiled a Possible Artists article for Israel in which I figured Chen Aharoni and Rona Kernan were the best choices for the country. Of course, I had no idea who Mei Finegold was when I wrote the article, so now in hindsight, Mei is probably the best artist Israel could have ever gone for. If Chen or Rona did go to Eurovision for Israel, I’d love that too, but for now – Mei is definitely the best artist we could have hoped for.
Israel has started to lose its reputation at Eurovision after a three-year streak of non-qualification, even to the point where “Big Boobs” Moran Mazor didn’t qualify on her birthday (tut tut, Europe). But seeming as the Israeli song will definitely be in Hebrew and English and sung by a really powerful singer, could this be the year Israel qualifies for the final for the first time since 2010? We’ll have to wait and see.
P.S.Whilst this was being written, ‘Same Heart’ was selected as Israel’s song for Eurovision.. expect an article soon!
Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2014 will be the 43rd outing of the national final in Denmark and as the host country this year, Denmark’s gotta pull out the big guns in order to show that Emmelie wasn’t just a lucky shot for them. Back in February, snippets of the ten songs that are taking part in the competition were released and you can listen to them by clicking this fabulous link, thanks to DMGP’s official Youtube channel.
Reviews and Predictions:
Rory – We definitely have a diverse range of songs coming from Denmark this year, ranging from EDM to anthemic pop tracks in Danish to ballads. I think it’s definitely going to be a tough choice for them!
Of course, there are some songs that I absolutely adore from the lot. ‘Vi finder hjem’ is such a choon…well, from the 30 second clip anyway. Probably because it’s the only song out of the lot that’s in Danish, but the song is so sweet and just ‘cute’, that I just love it. Of course, I’m a fan of ‘Wanna Be Loved’ and so is the majority of Eurofans. Maybe it’s because it’s a modern EDM song that would be my cup of tea or maybe because it’s probably the best of the lot, I don’t know. All I know is that I absolutely love those two particular tracks. Those who I don’t like..well the main is GlamboyP – like what, is he an emo or something? The song is okay, but it’s just his appearance and that persona he’s created is what’s not really working..and well, I’m not a fan of country music (Germany 2006 was a huge ‘No baby, no!’ moment), so I seriously don’t like ‘Your Lies’, it’s just so…blegh..for me and her accent is just stereotypical of that of a country singer..just STOP BEING FAKE REBEKKAH!!
As for who I think should/could win, I have a feeling that Bryan Rice will do well, seeming as he’s pretty popular with the Danish public, but for who would win..it would probably be ‘Wanna Be Loved’ that will take the title. I mean, as I’m writing this, I’m imagining what it’s going to look like on stage in Copenhagen and…it just works better than the others would. But maybe there’ll be an underdog..maybe ‘Vi finder hjem’ will actually win? Who knows?
James – Denmark’s selection last year was a really strong one, in my opinion, with Louise Dubiel’s “Rejs Dig Op” and Simone’s “Stay Awake” remaining in my playlist for months after Emmelie De Forest’s victory was decided… so, no pressure for 2014, then, DR! I’m expecting big things from Saturday night’s show.
For me, the ten songs, so far only thirty-second snippets, seem really strong in general. A lot of modern-sounding electropop, which is exactly the kind of thing I love (especially from Denmark, as you’ll know if you read my suggestion of Medina in our Possible Artists series) I like the sound of Danni Elmo’s “She’s the One”, it’s got one of those meandering falsetto melodies – a little like Robin Stjernberg’s “You” – which get stuck in the brain almost immediately. I’m also looking forward to hearing how Sonny’s disco-infused “Feeling the You” (my inner grammar Nazi is slitting its wrists right now over that title) because DAYUM that sounds groovy.
There are a couple of others I quite like too, but for me the top two – and indeed, the two that I think/predict/hope will challenge for the title: Michael Rune’s “Wanna Be Loved” (think epic sax guy but even more epic, and with Danish-standard melodies. WOW.) and DMGP returnee Bryan Rice with “I Choose You”. Definitely not what I was expecting from Bryan, but it sounds absolutely fantastic, very current, very catchy, good enough to get Denmark a respectable placing but not necessarily to challenge for the victory which I doubt they want. Either of those two would be the ideal choice.
The bookies are apparently touting Rebbeka as a likely winner, although I seriously hope that isn’t the case. The lyrics of her entry are painfully cringey – “what if I let you buy my drink//what if you want me dressed in pink” … NO.
As James is an expert in Scandinavian pop – ‘Scandipop’, he took it upon himself to make a Possible Artists article for Denmark, naming Medina and Björnskov as his main choices. Sadly this year, none of our artists were picked to do Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, but still, from the group that we have, we’ll find a representative for Denmark in Copenhagen..the invasion of Danish flags has commenced.
Of course, because Denmark won in Malmö, they’re automatically qualified to the Grand Final on the 10th of May. This, however, doesn’t mean they’re bound to get a great placing, as the Big 6 are really putting everything they’ve got into the competition this year. So who will represent Denmark in Eurovision? Well, whoever it is, they’ve definitely got a load of support!
This year’s Melodifestivalen – recently shortened to ‘MelFest’ – has managed to grab the majority of Eurofans’ attention ever since the first semi-final when Helena Paparizou burst onto the stage and returned to the Eurovision bubble for the first time since she won for Greece in 2005. Now that all the finalists are all qualified and the Andra Chansen has come and gone (thank God, because it was clogging EVERYONE’S news and Twitter feeds), we finally have the ten songs that will be in the final of MelFest. Our good friend Thom made a recap video of the finalists, so click here to see who’s in the final this year!
Reviews and Predictions:
Rory – Over the course of nearly six weeks, my news feed has been dominated by countless statuses of “Oh Helena’s gone to the Andra Chansen” and “OMG HELENA GOT THROUGH?! HOW?!”. Now I’ve been trying to follow MelFest for as much as I can, but seriously, these statuses need to stop, so thank God the show’s almost over!
We have ten songs here and for once, Yohio is actually a little bit of a favourite of mine! I know, who knew? I mean, I despised ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ last year, so I am really happy that he came back and he has this song. I’m also a huge fan of Anton…for more reasons than his song (as would any guy with style would). But in actual terms of his song, it’s not amazing live due to the demanding dance routine, but then again, neither was ‘Begging’ – but it still turned out to be in the top 5! I think if Anton did go to Copenhagen, I think the girls (and a good few of the guys) will be more than happy to see him on the stage. For who I’m not a fan of..well Helena’s middleground – as in, she’s not my favourite, but she’s not the worst. Ace Wilder though, like, how did she get through? The song is pointless and to be honest, pretty stupid. I also kinda have to say the same about Alcazar. Normally, I’m a fan of their music, but with song…it’s just sooooo cheesy! If that went to Eurovision, it would just be fueling the stereotype that Eurovision’s filled with cheesy schlager-pop songs. So, as much as I admire the band, please don’t go to Eurovision this year.
As for who should win, I have a feeling that Ellen Benediktson would do very well in the Contest, seeming as she has a sweet song that tells a very intricate story. Other than that, I would love to see Anton win..I’m appealing to the people of Sweden to vote for either Ellen or Anton, they’re AMAYZIN! …Maybe we’ll get a visit from Lynda Woodruff this year? I hope so!
James – Sweden, ey. Much as I adore Swedish music in general (like seriously, I am a scandipop freak) , I am not a fan of Melodifestivalen as a TV show, not in the slightest. It’s extremely false and contrived, trying too hard to fabricate drama and interest. And it’s fixed as anything. Look at the final for example: no less than FOUR songs are written by the same guy – Frederik Kempe, him of “Hero” fame – and the way the running order is decided can basically guarantee a win or completely extinguish a song’s chances. Everyone involved is just a puppet on Björkman’s egotistical string, and I really don’t get the hype for it as a concept.
The songs, on the other hand, are consistently of an almost unrivalled standard, with 2014 being no exception on that front. There are only two of the ten which I’d say I categorically dislike, and from the remaining eight, I’d say four are decent, four are bloody brilliant:
I’m struggling to decide an out-and-out favourite, to be perfectly honest. Sanna Nielsen’s “Undo”, though reminiscent of the melody from Timoteij’s “Faller” is without a doubt THE power-ballad that’s conspicuously absent from Copenhagen thus far, and it both showcases her flawless vocals whilst being a bloody catchy song. Ellen Benediktson offers an alternative ballad in “Songbird”, which is quiet and unassuming, but really really magical. She too pulls off the vocal with admirable prowess, and would be a stark contrast from Sweden’s more typically bombastic contributions to Eurovision of late. Ace Wilder, however, would fit right in to this trend, with her attitude-laced Icona Pop-esque electropop anthem “Busy Doin’ Nothin'”. She’s an artist I’ve vaguely followed since her debut single “Do It” last year, and it would be really exciting were her journey to carry on to ESC itself. The fourth song I adore is of course “Natural” by Anton Ewald. In the studio version. And live, meh. Look at his face people, sod the vocals. Face.
A quick word on the others – I am one of the biggest Helena Paparizou fans in existence, yet I am dramatically underwhelmed by “Survivor” as a piece of music. Fair enough if she wanted to come to ESC with something completely different to “My Number One”, but why did it have to be a forgettably formulaic Sweden-by-numbers ballad like this? There’s just NOTHING in it for me. She has recorded so many AMAZING ballads in Greek, why couldn’t she emulate the style of “Mathe Prota N’Agapas” or “Girna Me Sto Htes”? Oscar Zia, whilst having a few decent tracks in his back catalogue, is just going to get lost with “Yes We Can”. Anton will pick up the votes for being cute, and there won’t be much left for Mr Zia. Not this time anyway, cos we can be 95% sure he’ll be back.. Panetoz. It’s summery. I kinda like it. I guess. It will get annoying after about a week. As for Alcazar: they’re ten years too late for Eurovision, Andreas is about three stone too heavy for that dance routine, and the song is just a poor man’s “Stay the Night”. Bless them for trying though. And the discoball is fab.
If I had to pick a winner, I’d go for “Undo”. But I’d be extremely happy with quite a few of the others! Just please god not Linus or Yohio.
Like Denmark, James is absolutely mad for Swedish pop, so much so that he drew up our Possible Artists article for Sweden, in which he recommended his favourite band The Sound of Arrows and Miriam Bryant as his choices for the country. Much to his disappointment, we had neither of the artists take part in MelFest, but they should definitely take part some day, as they are absolutely amazing artists and plus, James would probably be the happiest person in the world.
After the show they put on in Malmö last year, Sweden probably hasn’t got that much money so if they were to win again this year, I have a feeling we’ll be downsizing even further to this. However, they’re in the first semi-final, populated with the ‘Cake‘ that needs to be baked, so the chances of them qualifying are set to increase anyway, but will they win or not? We’ll have to wait ’til the 6th of May.
Slovenia is returning to their normal EMA selection process after deciding to internally select Hannah Mancini for Malmö…and realise that was the most idiotic thing to do, as they came last altogether – why, Europe!? Yesterday, we finally got to hear the seven songs that are going to take part in EMA, but they were taken down a few hours after they were uploaded, so we’re not really happy – so this time, we’ll do what we normally do in this situation – have a look at the artists of the show this year – who you can have a look at here.
Reviews and Predictions:
Rory – When the songs were revealed yesterday, I was anxious to hear them, so I decided to hold off for the time being…when I go to listen to them, I realise that they’re taken down..great…so let’s have a look at the artists.
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea who any of the artists are…well, all of them bar Oman Naber. I’m happy that he’s decided to come back into the competition, because I really liked ‘Stop’ back in Kyiv, so I’m guessing he’ll have a great song. I also see that Hannah Mancini has returned to the competition..this time as a lyricist for ‘Spet’, a song that I did spot floating around in the Eurovision groups, receiving some positive feedback. As for who I don’t particularly like to see…well, I can’t really say, because I don’t know the songs to be honest..wish I checked them earlier now!
As for who may have a chance of winning..well, Bilbi seems cool and her song ‘To Ni Blues’ sounds like a good title, so maybe we’ll see her onstage in Copenhagen? Of course, NUDE is famous in Slovenia and so I think they’ll also do really well..whether they’ll win in Ljubifshdfgesdfana (I’m sorry, but seriously why is Ljubljana called such?! It looks so interesting…and weird) or not, I don’t know..good luck Slovenia with the songs that we have yet to hear!
James – Okay, so when the songs were revealed, I got round to listening to just one of them before the videos were all taken down from YouTube… that one happened to be Tinkara’s “Spet/Round and Round”, the song lauded by many fans as the clear standout from the seven in EMA 2014. For me, it was a little underwhelming, I’ve got to say. Yes, I liked it, but it was nothing special unfortunately. Considering it was partially composed by the amazing Hannah Mancini, I was hoping for rather a lot more energy, you know?
As for the others, I’m aware that NUDE is a rock band, and Omar Naber is, of course, the very same Omar Naber who performed “Stop” in the Kiev semi-final back in 2005, just missing out on a spot in the final ten. And easily should have qualified in my opinion. But that’s beside the point. If his self-penned 2014 song “I Won’t Give Up” is anywhere near as dramatic as “Stop”, then I have a feeling he may be the one to beat. However, not having heard the other entries, my judgements can only be very very tenuous here.
Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to watching the show on Saturday, and I hope there is a hidden gem somewhere among the unknowns which will deliver Slovenia the qualification they so deserve in Copenhagen!
Even though James is in love with turbofolk, we were unable to draw up a Possible Artists article for Slovenia and due to my serious lack of knowledge of the country, I doubt I could possibly make an article. Slovenia definitely needs this qualification after failing to qualify for the final for two years in a row (seriously, Europe?! Why would you do such a thing?). So if Slovenia pick their entry well, could they manage to garner a qualification and a good placing? We’ll have to wait and see…
Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: I hope that Anton Ewald will win in Sweden. He has a great voice and a great song…I cannot wait to see him win!
Liam O’Harrington from Ireland: If ‘Same Heart’ doesn’t win in Israel, there will be an injustice. I also hope Bryan Rice will win in Denmark too..I’m definitely going to vote for them in the final if they go to it!
Ilias Kozantinos from Cyprus: I am most excited for Melodifestivalen, I want Sanna to win! But I am also really interested to see who Denmark will pick for their home contest. Good luck to everybody!
So once again, we have a great range of hopes from the fans..maybe they’ll win, maybe they won’t? We’ll have to see over the next week..So what do you think of the National Finals? Is there a particular selection you’re looking forward to? Feel free to tell us what you think by commenting below!
*Russia and Montenegro’s song presentation – more news to come!*