With less than a week left until the Eurovision final, there is no clear Eurovision favourite in my opinion. I expect the race for the trophy to be the tightest for 11 years.
This year’s Eurovision has very few bad entries, and a lot of OK ones. But there are also not any outstanding ones – none that stand out as obvious winners. In my reviews I’ve given 4 entries score 1 (same as last year), 5 entries score 2 (6 less than last year less), 16 entries score 3 (same), 10 entries score 4 (6 more than last year), and 2 the maximum score of 5 (2 less than last year). But I would consider the best three melodies of 2013, Netherlands, France and Norway, all better than any of the ones this year. (scores has been given based on musical quality, not Eurovision potential)
But even though the winner of 2013, Denmark’s “Only Teardrops”, was not the best melody from a musical perspective, it managed to keep up with it’s favourite position and have a runaway victory. The biggest favourite of this year, Armenia’s “Not alone” will not do the same.
The Armenian entry does not have the same visual edge as last year’s Danish winning entry, and I believe that it has got the favourite position due to a well made music video – none of the live performances I’ve seen of the song has been able to match it.
For the second big favourite, Sweden’s “Undo”: I think this one has been hyped a lot by Eurovision fans, who for many years have been giving the Swedish entries more credit than the rest of the Eurovision audience have done. Swedish entries have won the fan polls several times, and then failed when it comes to Eurovision. Among the fans, the Swedish preselection TV programme, “Melodifestivalen” is the most beloved national preselection show in Europe, and the Swedish performer Sanna Nielsen has been a huge star there for years. She has had better entries in Melodifestivalen before, and is by many being judged by that.
But that doesn’t mean that Sweden will not do well. But I don’t think that the voting will be a one- or two-horse race as the bookmakers suggest.
Apart from Armenia, I have declared 9 entries as potential top-5 material. In a hypothetical situation, all of these could have a chance for the trophy: Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and (Armenia).
In a way, I think that this year’s Eurovision reminds me a lot of 2011. That was a year with no major favourite. France and the United Kingdom who topped the odds before the final, was never predicted as runaway victors, and in the final, the result was very much decided by the running order: Among the 6-7 countries that could possibly win that year, Azerbaijan was drawn for starting position 19 out of 25. None of the last 7 countries were expected to reach very high. Azerbaijan was last of all the potential winners, and thereby had the extra edge that gave them the needed points to take the victory home. With the lowest winning score since the introduction of the semi finals.
I think that this year might turn out the same way. With no clear favourite, the highest scores will be spread out, and small details might have a big impact. Denmark has been drawn to starting number 23. After the semi finals, the Danish producers will decide the running order of the other 24 entries. If they don’t put any of the other favourites among the last five entries, I would say Denmark will have their second victory in a row.
To challenge them, other countries will have to be allocated to the second half of the final, and then have the producers’ good will to place them among the last five entries. That’s where the winner will be on a year like this. All the countries mentioned above are possible winners in the tightest Eurovision race in years. But for the moment, Denmark has got the edge.