Battle Of The Solo Female Ballads In ESC Semi 2

Apr 5, 2011 by

The market has concluded that semi-final 2 at this year’s ESC is a 4-horse race – Estonia vs Bosnia vs Denmark vs Sweden – but in what looks a more open semi-final, there are definite grounds for looking for value e/w alternatives elsewhere.
Estonia continues to vie for outright favouritism, and it’s hard not to see viewers liking Getter Jaani’s pop song unless she makes a complete mess of it live.
It also has a great draw in 15 but for us, the song loses its way towards the end and is surely too generic to impress juries.
A tune that is arguably equally crowd-pleasing is Denmark and it has an even better draw of 19 to amass a good televote. The downside is that, again, the song is a little too obvious; an indie-lite tune by numbers that is so bland we find it hard to imagine juries putting this top of their list.
Sweden doesn’t have such a good draw at 8 but if Eric Saade performs ‘Popular’ with the same sort of gusto witnessed in his national final, young female televoters are sure to lap this up. Staging will not be as impressive, and as a repetitive pop tune of zero substance we doubt juries supporting it.
Bosnia has (in theory) the worst of the draw, kicking off this semi from trap 1. But it’s the sort of tune that has an impact wherever it is placed. We can see juries liking this song a lot whereas you might expect it to perform less well on the televote.
Overall, we see no value angle backing any of the top 4 in the market pre-rehearsal and are more captivated by the possibility of at least one of the two stand-out ballads in this semi-final finding a place in the top 3.
Firstly comes Austria, drawn 2, and Nadine Beiler singing ‘The Secret Is Love’. This lady has an outstanding voice and this ballad is pleasant enough to register with televoters. We can also see jury members being seriously impressed by Nadine’s glass-shattering vocal range:

Maja Keuc sings ‘No One’ for Slovenia from the 13 slot and this power ballad is certainly more contemporary compared to Austria with a hint of R&B about it. Maja, like Nadine, is also capable of a powerful and impactful live vocal performance:

A look back at the 2010 semi-final results gives us an indication of the potential of Austria and Slovenia to produce a good result. Georgia’s ballad ‘Shine’ managed third place in the second semi, ahead of the uptempo Romania and Denmark, which ended up 3rd and 4th respectively in the final. Georgia was aided by a great draw (16 of 17), so to that extent Slovenia possibly has the edge over Austria this year by being drawn later in 13. Georgia was 5th on the televote but 1st with juries lifting it to 3rd overall.
In the weaker first semi last year, another decent ballad, Portugal, managed 4th place from a draw of 14. This song rated only 9th with televoters but 2nd with juries, and in our view was an inferior song to both Austria and Slovenia this year, and certainly wasn’t aided by being sung in its native tongue. Austria and Slovenia this year will both be sung in English.
The one danger is Austria and Slovenia possibly cutting into each other’s vote as they both vie for stand-out ballad status. But hopefully there’s room for both in the hearts and minds of televoters and jury members alike. At current prices it would appear wisest to back both of these entries e/w at the best available odds.
So we suggest taking the 20-1 e/w Austria on offer with Victor Chandler, and the 10-1 e/w Slovenia available with Skybet, Victor Chandler and William Hill.
Rob Furber

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