Dark Matter

May 14, 2021 by

Dark Matter

This is an enchanting ditty from Georgia, nicely staged and well sung by Tornike. A tranquil start to day 7 of rehearsals here at the Ahoy. Matched at 6, the BF ‘to qualify’ market says this, together with Poland, have the least chance to make the grand final. Poland would be far more deserving of the wooden spoon in sf2, that’s for sure, if there’s any justice in ESC land which often there isn’t.

We know Anxhela is vocally assured. She is going to need jurors to acknowledge that, along with the quality Balkan ballad USP of ‘Karma’. Being squeezed on televote side in this semi by Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. Punters are keen on its chances, Albania matched at 1.52 to Q, which feels on the skinny side.

Portugal is seeking the authentic muso vote by showcasing some artistry. Trying to pull a Belgium essentially, here in semi 2. Lead singer Pedro comes out onto the satellite stage and plays guitar towards the climax. Market has very much warmed to Portugal’s Q chance, backed down to 1.55 having been matched as big as 3.95 pre-rehearsals.

Sometimes less is more at ESC when the artist, track and staging merge together at a high level. This is what Bulgaria achieves this year.

Improved lighting effects and camera angles. Has a warm, other-worldly feel like she’s floating eternally through space creating an atmosphere perfectly in keeping with the track’s meaning and depth. She might well have won in 2020 and Victoria proves she’s in it to win it again.

‘Likе the 27 Club, headshot. We don’t wanna grow up’. Ah yes, the defiant spirit of youth, also eloquently lyricised by Neil Young’s ‘It’s better to burn out than to fade away,’ notoriously quoted in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note. And so we come full circle.

Have to give a shout out to Alphaville’s ‘Forever Young’ here, chiming with the exact same sentiment but in a lighter, synth-pop way.

Finland is big-night ready and this is excellent for its genre. It will also arrive with a bang after that slower 10-13 section of the draw. It remains in the Top 10 argument, flirting on the very edge, despite its price chart generally drifting out, now 2.66, since keen Finnish rock fans struck early as low as 1.5.

Samanta Tina comes across like an alcohol-fuelled woman on a hen night handed the mic at a karaoke joint, who transforms into another Tina – Tina Turner. Compelling in its own unique way. Some happy to grab 4.3 on this. That low qualification bar seems to be fuelling punters’ optimism.

Some small improvement for Gjon’s Tears but when he flails his arms and moves around the stage… none of it convinces really and most of the time it looks awkward and contrived. Who knows, some may consider this Turner Prize material in the context of ESC but the truth of the matter is, the performance level is under par here.

Denmark’s entry could have been plucked straight out of 1986. This is unashamed Scandi pop from that era. It is ludicrous and low quality to these ears and eyes but it’s probably endearingly retro for ESC fans of a certain vintage.

It’s going to need them to vote like crazy for it to get through and it might just be the sort of entry that ends up a surprise Q on the back of a robust semi-final fan vote.

Rehearsals will end tomorrow with 2nd run throughs for the Big 5 + the hosts. Of more significance, Italy and France will be drawing 1st half or 2nd half in their press conferences that follow.



  1. Guildo Horn Forever

    Anyone have any thoughts on how Victoria and her Growing Up is Getting Old compares with Ieva Zasimauskaitė and her When We’re Old from 2018? As I recall, Lithuania’s entry that year went from being unfancied pre-rehearsal, to highly fancied during rehearsals and after its Semi, to then somewhat disappointing in the Grand Final. I think I v ruefully remember its odds wildly expanding as soon as Grand Final draw was revealed.

    I haven’t yet seen footage of Victoria’s rehearsals, but the song title, the delicacy and intimacy of the singer’s performance, and the reports on the staging have just put me mind of Ieva and her song. How does it compare / contrast?

    • I have pondered the similarities with When We’re Old too, Guildo, and remember that market support that then evaporated. Still, it did pretty well (12th, not far off 10th) and gives something of a reference point I guess. From the clips I’ve seen Victoria is much more assured vocally and, by all accounts, the staging is excellent. This does gives me confidence that Bulgaria is very solid for top 10 at the very least.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Yeah, Paul, I think I agree.

        I’m keen as Bulgarian mustard to see the full song staging for myself, as yes: it’s an absolute triumph of staging by all accounts. For incredible ESC staging my mind tends to think back to that created for Azer’s Farid with Hold Me. Is it on a par with that?

        It’s amazing to see that Bulgaria’s odds has lengthened back to more or less it’s pre-rehearsal odds. That might be an unprecedented betting trajectory for the perceived staging “winner”. I guess that’s down to the perceived strength of Italy and of France, and the surging from Iceland and Cyprus, but still…

        I’d be super keen on Bulgaria but I’ve always found the song a very slow build. I ‘m exaggerating, but it feels like two minutes of spoken word before the final minute of sung song.

        I suppose Italy does make sense at the top of the market as a) it’s the concert experience song & performance and b) will more teenagers and twenty somethings than ever be stuck in on an Saturday evening watching Eurovision in Lockdown Europe this year?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *