The Eurovision Song Contest is only 10 days away (the first semi final) as I write this, and tension mounts while the railway unions go out of their way to make it as hard to get to as they can. Good luck if you’re aiming to attend. Liverpool is about half way up the British mainland, on the left.
Perhaps it’s time for a reprise of an article which was posted a couple of months ago and which examined the prospects for each of the entries from the five Nordic countries.
The last Nordic country to win it was Sweden in 2016 (‘Heroes’ by Måns Zelmerlöw, who was partly responsible for a brilliant send up about how to win Eurovision , see ‘Love Love Peace Peace’ on YouTube). In total, Sweden has had six winners, Denmark three (most recent 2013), Norway three (most recent 2009), and Finland one (2006). Iceland is yet to be ‘campeones.’
I’ve deleted parts of the earlier article; those concerning the UK entry and questions on Liverpool’s suitability to stage the contest. You can still read them in the original if you like (https://www.nordicmusiccentral.com/eurovision-2023-the-nordic-countries-entries-in-the-spotlight/) but for now let’s focus on the prospects for the Nordic entries. Here we go.
Yes, that time is almost here again folks, the annual glitter & glam fest with a handful of really good songs that is the Eurovision Song Contest; this time – the 67th staging – being held in the UK on account of last year’s winner, Ukraine, not being able to host it for obvious reasons.
It is the ninth time the UK has hosted it and the fifth time it has been on behalf of another country (we don’t win that often)!
The event, located in Liverpool, embraces five days, including two semi-finals, being Tuesday May 9th – Saturday May 13th, which is the date of the final.
Last year NMC did a rundown of the Nordic country contenders just prior to the big day, including Denmark which failed to get through its semi final while all the other four did. This year we’re starting earlier, with all five songs from the semi finals (none of the Nordic countries is ‘seeded’).
Before I go through them individually, here is an ‘Executive Summary’ identifying the highest positions I expect each country can achieve.
Denmark – 10
Iceland – 5
Finland – 25 (sorry Finland but this years entry is pants)
Norway – 2
Sweden – 1
And yes, I could easily end up with egg on my face!
Reiley (Denmark) – Breaking my Heart (Second semi final)
I believe Reiley (Rani Petersen) might actually be from the Faroe Islands originally from where so many excellent musicians have featured in these pages at one time or another. There is precious little detail about him on social media other than that he is also a ‘social media influencer’. Hm. Not on Viking Facebook he isn’t.
His ambition, as declared on Facebook, is “I want to sell out arenas”. Well this one definitely will be, so here’s his chance.
He’s 25, cute and looks about 15. Wearing a couple of tears, or hearts on his cheek he will certainly break the hearts of a myriad of swooning girls and perhaps some boys, but unfortunately for him there aren’t many of those on the judging panels.
To be fair the song, which is about as Scandipop as you can get, isn’t bad. There’s a catchy hook that permeates it throughout and the early pointless vocal manipulations are soon forgotten. Speaking of manipulations it sounds like a recorded song that hasn’t fully been realised yet as a live version so it is possible there could be some changes to what you hear in this video.
Reiley offers up something that we rarely cover in NMC and probably won’t be doing any time soon but as (un)qualified as we are to pass judgment, ‘Breaking my Heart’ is possible Top 10 material.
Find him on:
Diljá (Iceland) – Power (Second semi final)
Last year Iceland’s entry was from Systur, three wholesome siblings who did it for themselves and who had gorgeous harmonies but there wasn’t enough staying power in their song.
You can’t say that about the ‘hyperactive’ Diljá (Pétursdóttir), who, it seems, is only a part-time musician, as are so many in Iceland where it’s hard to pay the bills with a market of less than 400,000 people.
Putting in multiple shifts like much of the population does obviously keeps her fit because she prances around the stage, seemingly wearing her boyfriend’s suit, from beginning to end. And she’s really up for it, she’s got a great voice, the song is as ‘Euro’ as it could be, suiting all tastes, and there’s a strong hook in it. She really turns the ‘Power’ on.
She has sung this song in both English and Icelandic and there is speculation she might combine the two languages on the night.
I hope she brings the signer along with her. Watch the video by just focusing on her. She’s spectacular.
I’ll take a wild shot at Top 5 with this one.
Find her on:
Käärijä (Finland) – Cha Cha Cha (First semi final)
Finland: home to the metal magnificence of Nightwish at one end of the scale and the embarrassment of Lordi at the other.
But Dave, you will say, Lordi won Eurovision while Nightwish never will. And I’d have to concur. Last year Finland threw up yet another heavy rock/metal offer by way of The Rasmus’ ‘Jezebel’.
This time it’s the turn of a rapper, believe it or not. Käärijä is 29-year old Jere Pöyhönen. His stage name comes from a joke with his friends about gambling, a recurring theme in his music. Hm.
The first job of a rapper is to rhyme and he does that straight off with the title. But that’s where traditional rapping ends. If you’re thinking along the lines of Eminem or Kendrick Lamar forget it. ‘Cha Cha Cha’is metal rap; an entirely new genre he seems to have invented.
He’s just taken over where Lordi left off and added a few rap lines. And the video suggests that one of Lordi is his ‘second’ in the ring; aided later by Brian Connolly from The Sweet.
I honestly don’t know what to say about this; it’s off my radar altogether. So much really good music comes out of Finland and they serve this up in a globally watched competition for all to see? Sometimes I think they’re taking the piss out of Eurovision.
The only thing I’ll say for sure is that it won’t win. Prediction: Below 25th. At best. Possibly last.
Why isn’t something like Stinako’s ‘Pelasta mut’ or ‘Ave Maria’ representing Finland? Lord(i) knows.
Find him (if you must) on:
Alessandra (Norway) Queen of Kings (First semi final)
Now having said that, I’m reminded that last year I panned Norway for choosing Subwoolfer and their awful ‘Give that Wolf a banana’ (“pure novelty Eurovision 1990s kitsch anachronism”) to represent them while their own Amanda Tenfjord sang for Greece (and finished higher).
But they did manage 10th or so, to my great surprise.
This is utterly different and so representative of what Norway can do when it tries. Finland pay attention.
Alessandra (Mele)’s ‘Queen of Kings’ is extraordinary. I’d never heard of her before. Apparently this is her first single. I don’t think it will be her last.
It has got everything to win Eurovision. A powerful, sustained and memorable melody, a thumping beat, a ‘look what I can do’ scream (D6 I’d guess) and playful little things; the foreign language at the start (Italian, Latin?) the sort of thing Sol Heilo might throw in randomly to her songwriting (the ‘li-li-li-li-lah’), a bridge that lets her show off her vocal range, and enough ‘heys!’ to bring the audience on board with her and keep them there.
Vocally I could imagine her standing in for the likes of Floor Jansen, Tarja Turunen and Simone Simons if asked to in the not-too-distant future.
And it doesn’t do her any harm that despite her evident youthfulness she has the physique of an at-her- peak Madonna meets Xena Warrior Princess. A Viking Queen who could put Denmark’s Reiley over her knee. Perhaps a Norwegian version of those characters is what she had in mind when she wrote this little gem.
Why not first? On any other occasion it could well win but on this one there’s an unstoppable late entrant. Read on, below.
Find her on:
Loreen (Sweden) – Tattoo (First semi final)
I’ll keep this brief. I don’t have to say much.
Loreen has let it be known she didn’t really want to take part in a Eurovision ever again. You could have fooled me. Having waltzed through the qualifying rounds and straight into the Melodifestivalen final, by-passing the semis, the 2012 Eurovision winner, the now euphoric Loreen, cake-walked that final with a song, ‘Tattoo’, co-written by at least one person responsible for ‘Euphoria’, Thomas G:son.
I don’t think Tattoo has quite the knockout impact of her 2012 winner (the best ever in my opinion) but in other ways it is Euphoria 2:0, tremendously powerful with a gripping vocal and stage performance again, and, well, downright sexy.
I can’t imagine how it can be beaten if Loreen can pull off her fabulous stage show on the night (and she will). Any song that does that is going to have to be bloody good and with staging to match. Alessandra comes closest to it but the Moroccan Swede will prevail I believe.
Find her on:
Eurovision 2022 review – https://www.nordicmusiccentral.com/eurovision-2022-dissecting-the-nordic-countries-entries/
In brief, I’ll stick my neck out for Loreen to pull it off again and win the thing but if she is going to be challenged by anyone from the Nordics I’d go for Alessandra if she can get her delivery right on the night. The only problem with Alessandra is that her song sounds a little ‘Russian’, which could count against her.
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