It’s here: The Period Of The Year. The semis and national finals have arrived and yours truly is ready to have his say. December was a tad too early really so I passed on the Swiss and Albanian selection – I’ve even heard their entries only once or twice (and the Albanian one won’t climb any higher in my iTunes playlist due to the risk of permanent ear damage). It seems I’m not too keen on all the Eurovision fuss this year because I haven’t heard any of the Icelandic songs either and running up to the Danish final yesterday I decided to jump into it with a clean slate as well.
Because I’m not bothered with all the speculation and the media circus surrounding the selection procedure. Participants that are hyped or degraded? I feel the semis are becoming increasingly irrelevant as they’re just an excuse for the media to have their influence and focus more on the (private life of the) performers than anything else. If I’m not mistaken it’s all about the song and the performance during those 3 minutes at the Eurovision Song Contest itself as well, no? So there I was in front of my tv yesterday evening, no knowledge of what was about to come and no expectations at all. And I enjoyed it. I’m happy with the selection procedure the Danish television is using: no semis, simply one final with a handful of contestants. Everything decided in one evening, not too much redundant fuss – exactly what the doctor ordered.
Which goes as well for the entire set-up of the final the Danes gave us. The last couple of years they’ve made a habit out of making the national final a national party, much like neighbor Sweden does with MF. The stage was very impressive and could be used in any edition of the real Contest without worries and the selection of songs was great. Everything sounded as if it could be played on the radio or climb up the charts tomorrow which is what it should be all about – no dreary ballads, no cliché schlagers. The focus in the introduction movie for each song was not only put on the artists but mostly on the composers of the song and it was remarkable and great to see so many young, hip people with much love for the art of creating. The duo presenting the entire show was an example as well of how much DR is trying to get rid of the dusty image Eurovision is carrying with itself by giving everything a more contemporary and young feel. Mission accomplished as far as I’m concerned – the tone was fresh and bubbly and I loved it!
On a musical level I was interested as well – there was something for everyone and the entire set-up looked more like a showcase for the Danish music scene than a mission to find the representative for Baku – that seemed more like a bonus, even though DR gave a lot of attention to the four last winning countries and their secret recipe to achieve that goal. We got treated to a lovely lullaby (that was sadly badly sung by Phillip Hallou and to a lesser extent Emilia), a modern pop-dance track à la September (even though Ditte Marie with her basic performance doesn’t even come near her), underground dance (with some very fragile vocals by Suriya who’d do well to listen to British colleague Katie B.), retro pop (with a specific colour of voice by Aya who reminded me of Duffy in in a Snowwhite outfit), a copy of Running Scared (even though Karen Viuff needs a bit of vocal training if she wants to conquer Europe) and a handful of those typical Danish guitar pop songs of which only Kenneth Potempa didn’t manage to reach the super final – although I can imagine it was a tight race judging by the reactions in the Gigantium (what’s in a name?).
But the selection of the superfinalists was quite obvious really. Preschooler Jesper Norshtedt got to open the show with his piano based dance song and he raised the bar for everyone that followed. Vocally he was very strong, especially in the high notes – which isn’t all that surprising if your balls haven’t dropped (call it the Justin Bieber syndrome). I wouldn’t have minded to see this in Baku. Something I didn’t think with the closing song of the evening, the typical guitar based schlager we’ve heard gazillion times in MF which wasn’t a coincidence with Swede Patrik Isaksson behind the entry. He was clever enough to team up with Danish singer Chris Brons, who wasn’t vocally on par with Isaksson, and they described themselves as the new Olsen Brothers – shivers down my spine, and not the good kind.Victory for the girl-with-guitar-pop by Soluna Samaay, who’s already being compared with KT Tunstall (I can think of worse references) and Anna Bergendahl. Don’t really agree on the last one as Should have known better sounds less pretentious and anthemy. Samaay has got a great voice and plays well with the camera – I’m gladly putting this on my playlist. Needs a bit of work on the styling though before it’s entirely Baku ready.
But I had fun. Thanks Denmark and I could only wish for more networks to follow DR’s example.
So here’s the winner – enjoy!