Can Helena Do A Loreen?

Jan 31, 2014 by

Can Helena Do A Loreen?

Much the same way Doncaster’s Lincoln in March is considered the traditional start of the Flat season, the first busy weekend of Eurovision national qualifier action heralds the commencement of ESC 2014 season. The aim here will be to post a Eurovision article each week leading up to Copenhagen.

Over in Finland it’s the UMK final and it was a surprise to see heat winners Softengine drawn in trap 1 and Hanna Sky in 2. The draw appears to favour second chance qualifier Mikko Pohjola (drawn 6 of 8). It wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Clarissa ft Josh (drawn 7) punished by the juries and this looks more likely to be fought out by Coldplay clone Softengine and Mikko.

Second guessing the Finns’ music taste is a dangerous game, however, proven by last year’s UMK result and the bubblegum pop of Krista Siegfrids chosen over Mikael Saari’s exquisite ‘We Should Be Through’ which would surely have comfortably been in the top 10 in Malmo. The advice here would be to dutch Mikko, available at 5-2 with William Hill, and Softengine, 2-1 with Betsson.

There are 3 songs in contention for the final ticket in France. It wouldn’t surprise to see Twin Twin’s Moustache win the televote but will juries agree? The jury-friendly song here is Joanna’s Ma liberté. There has been a hoo-ha already over ‘Moustache’ sounding remarkably similar in parts to Stromae’s huge summer hit of last year ‘Papaoutai’ which might make TPTB in France reticent about sending it to Copenhagen.

Italy has chosen Emma Marrone with the song La Mia Citta. Initial impression of this song was that it resembles a couple of other songs at the start – Blur’s Song 2 and that first guitar riff is straight from The Cardigans ‘My Favourite Game’. It’s a tune which may come alive more when performed live though Emma might have been better off singing a ballad.

It’s heat 1 of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen 2014. The market thinks Yohio is a shoe-in to go direct to the final, best price 2-5 at time of writing. His vocal is not the strongest but he proved a vote magnet last year, comfortably winning the televote in the MF final. He has re-styled this year – more emo kid than his past incarnation as androgynous anime character – and maybe this has also taken away some of his USP.

Linus Svenning has been the subject of a qualification gamble this week with a song dedicated to his deceased brother, though first rehearsal footage yesterday saw Helena Paparizou backed in again. Linus is hoping to pull on the heartstrings with the presentation of this song. Whether Swedish televoters are as malleable as televoters here in the UK is hard to gauge.

It looks like any 2 from 3 out of Yohio (drawn 1), Linus (3) and Helena (8 of 8). Yohio’s song sounds stronger than last year’s Heartbreak Hotel, but it is maybe too generic to win the whole of MF, and is somewhat reminiscent of Ulrik Munther’s song from last year ‘Tell The World I’m Here’.

Two years ago Loreen had the pimp slot in semi 1 with ‘Euphoria’ and could history be about to repeat itself? The snippet of Helena’s ‘Survivor’ certainly sounds encouraging. It has a punchier chorus than Yohio’s song and she has the stagecraft to really sell it.

There remains a doubt whether Helena – who has ESC pedigree having won the Contest in 2005 representing Greece with ‘My Number One’ – will be embraced by Swedish televoters but she can be backed at 3.1 to qualify in the top 2 with Betsson which looks a price worth investing in. You can get 13-8 with bet365 if Betsson is off your radar.

Helena looks value on the Outright at 11-1 with Betway, or as big as 14-1 at Unibet though given Unibet are a ludicrous firm who will only lay pennies there seems little point flagging up its prices.

If she misses out on the top 2 and ends up having to get through to the final via the second chance heat her odds will very likely drift out. However, this is unlikely to diminish her winning chance. As Robin Stjernberg showed last year, it is possible to win MF via Andra Chansen.

Elisa Lindstrom (4) has excellent ‘public music vote’ form having won Sweden’s Korslaget 2013 but her song sounds very run-of-the-mill schlager. Ellen Benediktson (6) is an excellent singer and has a classy ballad. The worry here is, it could easily get lost on the night.

The one to invest in to go to the Andra Chansen heat is Alvaro Estrella with his very catchy pop tune ‘Bedroom’, available at 4-1 with b365. Alvaro to finish higher than Sylvester Schlegel at 10-13 with b365 also looks a value bet.

In the Outright, Alcazar have come in for strong support. Svenska Spel leads the way with the MF markets and at time of writing it has Alcazar priced at 2.75. Does someone there have the inside track on the song? Only when we get to hear Alcazar’s song ahead of heat 4 will we know more.


  1. Tim B

    Hi Rob, I agree with almost everything here and I have a couple of points to add re: Sweden. Looking at the running order, I think it’s extremely unlikely that both YOHIO and Linus would qualify from slots 1 and 3. The Helena clip is very promising and so I think it’s going to be her plus one of the above two. The few songs preceding her all sound like total no-hopers to me and so I’d argue she has an open goal – as I remember you saying about Cascada in the Germany final last year. At this stage I’m favouring Linus over YOHIO. The genre, the emotive lyrics, backdrop and Linus’s powerful voice should see it go down very well with the Swedish televoters. Not to mention his rippling muscles and impressive tattoos. Plus, of course, he is something new and cool. I was a huge fan of YOHIO’s catchy rock number last year but the clip of this song leaves me cold. With three of the four qualifying places all nailed on, I think the other Andra Chansen place is a bit of a lottery, although I am discounting Mahan’s song, both because of slot two in the running order and because it is dire. Throughout the week I have been taking on YOHIO by backing both Helena and Linus, so hopefully it’s a strategy that will pay off.

    It’s great to have Betfair markets for qualification this year. Hopefully it will provide great opportunities in-play throughout the competition.

  2. Boki

    Unfortunately I can see any combination out of those 3 to qualify. Yohio has the fanbase from last year which will put him through imo, if not as semi winner than as second.

  3. Rob

    Interesting audience poll for MF semi 1:

    Audience poll

    Alvaro Estrella 25% 210

    YOHIO 17% 140

    Helena Paparizou 15% 126

    Ellen Benediktsson 12% 98

    Mahan Moin 10% 86

    Linus Svenning 10% 83

    Elisa Lindström 10% 80

    Sylvester Schlegel 2% 16

    Suggests Alvaro could even be pushing for top 2, but would still tend to favour Yohio/Helena top 2.

  4. Rob

    2 bets landed – Softengine winning in Finland & Alvaro beating Schlegel at MF.

    Any chance Alvaro had of top 4 disappeared in the 1st minute of his song – badly out of tune. Not surprised by the result – loved Ellen’s song & she performed it well. Reckon it was probably quite close between top 4.

    In terms of Outright, Helena’s chance far from gone, & think Ellen might have a chance. Be interesting to hear what Sanna Nielson has up her sleeve next week.

    • Substantshell

      Hey Rob,
      I wanted to thank you for pointing out the Alvaro over Schlegel bet at 365. It won, but it also helped me beyond that, because I discovered Benediktson over Lindström matchbet at their site as well then, which turned out to be my biggest bet of the night. Sadly I didn’t have the balls to go Benediktson top2 myself. But still a very good night.

      Considering you haven’t been the biggest fan of YOHIO in the past 🙂 what did you think of his performance last night?

      • Rob

        Good to hear from you Subs & well done on those match bets. I also managed a little bit of Ellen B to beat Lindstrom action. I rated Ellen’s song highly, and felt it would push for a top 4 spot but was concerned it wouldn’t be appreciated by MF voters enough. Now, I see no reason why it can’t go close to winning. We will have to see what Sanna Nielson has to offer next week.

        The Yohio song I think is much better than ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ from last year. The problem I have with it, is that it’s all too generic – reminds me a lot of Ulrik Munther last year. Also, I still don’t think he can sing very well live. But I guess you have to respect his chance again this year given the huge televote he landed last year.

        Helena’s not out of it either – I could see her going through from the 2nd chance heat.

  5. Rob

    ESC 2014 semi-final ‘to qualify’ & ‘top 3’ markets now available on Betfair.

  6. Rob

    Ireland, Denmark & Norway ESC national final markets all available now on Betfair.

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