Denmark or Norway?

Feb 13, 2013 by

Denmark or Norway?

The early ESC market has settled on Sweden’s Scandinavian neighbours, Denmark and Norway, offering the strongest songs heard so far this year heading towards Malmo in May. So where should your money be going?

Norway is a best-priced 15-2 with SportingBet; Denmark 9-1 with Boylesports. At time of writing Norway trades at a Back price of 7.6 on Betfair; Denmark at 8. The layers are ‘Running Scared’ at the moment, pardon the feeble ESC pun. Trouble is, it is still very early days. We have only heard 9 songs and one of those, Belarus, is expected to be changed. So that’s not even a quarter of the 39 competing nations.

Emmelie de Forest’s ‘Only Teardrops’ is very much a classic Eurovision tune with requisite flute playing helping give it a mystical feel. The song has followed the Loreen formula of building a compelling stage show in the hope of enhancing the overall package. It is quite effectively done with Emmelie delivering the words to the song with authenticity as she glides like a nymph, barefoot around the stage. It seems to tick a lot of boxes, the only thing holding it back, possibly the fact it does all sound rather old fashioned.

‘How many times can we win and lose?
How many times can we break the rules between us?
Only teardrops

How many times do we have to fight?
How many times till we get it right between us?
Only teardrops’

The song’s repetitious structure does its best to hammer the tune into the solar plexus, but could also leave viewers feeling bored. Emmelie partly compensates for this with her engaging stage presence. However, given the modern viewer’s ever decreasing attention span, you sense this doesn’t quite have enough about it to really grab the audience and is coming up a bit short of the usual standard required to win the ESC.

Something so familiar to the ear is not necessarily a bad thing but the overriding impression is, ‘Only Teardrops’, while very competently executed, is a shade too one-dimensional. This is a solid if unspectacular entry and as such 9-1 looks on the short side.

If handing out the bridal gifts to host Sweden, Denmark is the ‘something old’, while Norway is defiantly the ‘something new’. Lordi, Rybak, Lena and Loreen. 4 recent winners each of which, in their own way, offered something unique, quirky, different, and not seen before on the Eurovision stage. In a year offering no stand out, you can have an Azerbaijan 2011-type tune winning, but if there is a stand-out that captures the ESC zeitgeist this year, Norway is possibly it.

Margaret Berger’s ‘I Feed You My Love’ has echoes of Depeche Mode combined with a Bond theme. Compared to Denmark, it’s deeper, darker and certainly more contemporary. It has a rock edge and an anthemic chorus.

‘Now I can see
The whole world is mine
I can touch and feel
So I feed you my love’

Last year, many questioned ‘Euphoria’ for being too specialist as a trance track and thought it might prove difficult for Loreen to deliver in Baku in the same polished way it was presented during Melodifestivalen. This year, the naysayers are posing the same sort of questions regarding Margaret’s song. This time it’s the lack of a discernible hook and whether Margaret can create the same epic production, heard in the Melodi Grand Prix final, at the Malmo Arena without a backing track to aid her.

Having seen at close quarters the cunning methods countries use to ensure the best sound quality for their songs in Baku, this probably shouldn’t be that much of a concern. Backing singers will certainly help compensate.

Something else that troubles some is the minimalist staging but this seems a reaction to seeing a song win in ‘Euphoria’ that was all about the marriage between sight and sound. Lena just jigged about on the spot and it didn’t do her any harm. Less is sometimes more, and this is a different type of music art.

Is it too sophisticated for the ESC audience? You could counter that by arguing the ESC audience is more sophisticated these days, which, if correct, probably works in Margaret’s favour and against Emmelie. Songs build heat around them heading into the contest and you could imagine ‘I Feed You My Love’ receiving plenty of airplay in the lead up to the finals so many viewers will not be hearing the song for the first time. And there is little doubt ‘I Feed You My Love’ is a grower.

The other imponderable in all this is, which of Norway or Denmark might be favoured by SVT, if at all? Will it try and give one or both of its Scandi friends a leg up in the final, assuming both qualify from their respective semi-finals? Something it might already have in mind is Denmark opening semi 1, and Norway closing semi 2, but then reversing things in the final, with Denmark afforded a late slot and Norway an early-ish one.

Aside from this potential neg, if they can sound engineer the song’s epicness effectively in Malmo you could certainly imagine Margaret’s song being rewarded by juries for being bold, different and new, at least in ESC terms.

Whether Denmark and Norway are value at current prices also comes down to whether enough decent opposition emerges among the remaining 30-odd songs. It’s unlikely their prices are going to drift very much unless we get a flurry of high quality entries appearing elsewhere. Last year, Sweden opened at 6-1 and we never saw anything bigger.

That said, we would ideally want a double figure price before getting Denmark on side. As a potential winner of ESC 2013 we are stronger on Norway’s chance while also acknowledging the inherent risks attached.

Margaret herself sings the lyric ‘You say for cowards, there’s no reward…’ Overall, the advice would be to take the coward’s route and ultimately get them both green in your book, while looking to build up a bigger green on Norway.

There’s a lot going on in ESC land this week. The Cyprus entry, sung by Despina Olympiou, will be played for the first time tomorrow, then in the evening we have a strong Germany final. Sadly, no odds are available on this at time of writing. The running order suggests Cascada are TCO here, awarded the pimp slot with ‘Glorious’:

On Friday night, it’s the Austria final. If having a bet in this, Falco Luneau‘s MOR, rock/pop track ‘Rise Above The Night’ would be the pick, and it transpires he is the 13-8 fav with William Hill. Given he only has 4 rivals to beat in a very unremarkable heat, this seems a reasonable price. The key thing is, singing live, and this clip suggests Falco has a decent set of pipes on him:

Then on Saturday it’s the Latvia final, we should get to find who will be representing Italy as Sanremo comes to a close, and Estonia kicks off its search with Eesti Laul semi 1. Next Monday it is also the Greek final.

As for semi-final 3 of MF in Sweden, for those looking for some pre-emptive value, 8-11 Janet Leon (in the pimp slot) to finish in the top 2 with Ladbrokes looks the wisest trade. Janet has been heavily supported on the Outright and it would appear her song, ‘Heartstrings’, has all the ingredients of a quality dance tune, well elucidated by Tim B in the Comments section following last week’s ESC post.

It will be interesting to hear the snippet of Amanda Fondell’s song (4/8). It could well prove ladies’ night in Sweden with Janet and Amanda both progressing. One reviewer has described ‘Dumb’ as ‘suggestive, exciting, mid tempo with strong suction in the chorus’. While Heartstrings is described as a modern club/dance song with ‘great dynamics between verse and chorus’.

Any further betting info and details surrounding all these upcoming ESC qualifiers and finals over the next 5 days will be covered in the Comments below. Please join the conversation.


  1. Rob

    fwiw, full r.o. in Germany tomorrow night:

    1. Die Priester ft. Mojca Erdmann
    2. Finn Martin
    3. Mobilée
    4. Blitzkids mvt.
    5. Betty Dittrich
    6. Ben Ivory
    7. Saint Lu
    8. LaBrassBanda
    9. Nica & Joe
    10. Mia Diekow
    11. Söhne Mannheims
    12. Cascada

    Slovenia’s entry, sung by Hannah Mancini, will also be aired for the 1st time tomorrow.

  2. Boki

    Rob, I disagree on Falco, he has the voice and the looks indeed but his song goes nowhere. Not that the others are much better but I find those two girls more memorable.

    • Rob

      You could well be right, Boki. It is a very bland selection.

      If she can sing well live Natalia Kelly has a solid chance. Tricky to get a handle on the musical tastes of the Austrians. Nadine Beiler’s sweet ballad beat Trackshittaz in 2011; then TS beat a very pleasant ballad sung by Conchita Wurst last year.

    • Boki

      Nice result in Austria, Natalia 1st and Yela 2nd just as I predicted, ka-ching 🙂

      • Rob

        Well done Boki. Shame you couldn’t bet on the straight forecast 🙂 Took your advice & ended up dutching Falco with Natalia for a small win. Could not see beyond these 2.

        Nice Cowell-esque tactics by Austrian tv the way they pimped Natalia – 4th up, fireworks, cheerleaders in the studio. All that she was missing was a plinth – would have gone all-in on her in-running if available.

  3. Rob

    Eddie Razaz & Amanda Fondell sound more promising than Janet based on Tobbe Ek’s reviews:

    Eddie Razaz
    Uptempo dance-pop in the style of David Lindgren and Anton Ewald’s entries, but stronger than either of them.
    Features a middle-eight reminiscent of “Gangnam Style” and a slow part that is sung acapella.

    Elin Petersson
    Mid-tempo singer-songwriter ballad.
    She sounds a lot like Lisa Ekdahl and Caisastina Åkerström.

    Energic German-sounding march song that wouldn’t sound out of place in a musical.
    Lyrically, it’s similar to Markoolio and Linda Bengtzing’s “Värsta schlagern”, but much weaker.

    Amanda Fondell
    Suggestiv and cool, with a touch of melancholy combined with lots of aggressiveness.
    A lot of Eastern European countries have scored well in ESC with this type of songs.
    Sounds like the lovechild of Amy Winehouse, Björk and P!nk.

    Martin Rolinski
    Uptempo 80s-sounding song, which sounds like a mix of all Modern Talking songs, with a modern production in the style of BWO or Alcazar.
    Sounds like it might as well have been a BWO song.

    Caroline af Ugglas
    If you liked “Snälla snälla”, you’ll like this, too.
    This is how Janis Joplin would have sounded in Swedish.

    State of Drama
    Classic mid-tempo rock ballad, with lots of distorted guitars in the mix and a very catchy chorus.
    It isn’t bad, but doesn’t really stand out either.

    Janet Leon
    Modern uptempo song in the style of early Love Generation.
    Lots of 80s-sounding synths in the mix, like a slightly more Americanized version of Agnes.
    It’s catchy, but female-sung entries in the style of this aren’t known for scoring particularly well in MF.

    • Boki

      These guys are usually very subjective and I trust my eyes/ears only. However, story goes about Janet that she’s an over confident performer (read bitch :)) and Swedish public doesn’t like those types they say (just like Love Generation didn’t pass). Based on these reviews I guess she’s already above evens at Lads.

      This seems to be enigmatic semi and I would suggest to wait and see the development. Caroline is a possible upset if the young public vote gets split between Eddie, Amanda and Janet. She never went straight to final but almost won the final coming from 2nd chance with Snälla snälla, if people remember that she might be the value. The downside is we non-swedes are not able to judge if this song is something or not (just like the previous one :)).

      For what it’s worth:
      Poplight on the songs

      Eddie Razaz
      Starts with a piano-driven intro in the style of Alcazar.
      The rest of the songs is very clubby, combining the best elements from any major club hit you can think of.
      Calls for a spectacular stage performance. May well go straight to the final.

      Elin Petersson
      A nice song. The intro is reminiscent of “Nocturne”.
      However, in this line-up, it risks passing by unnoticed.

      Sounds like Irish pub-rock in Swedish.
      Not completely chanceless, but don’t expect any artistic brilliance.

      Amanda Fondell
      A slightly melancholic song, which calls for an emotional performance.
      The song doesn’t sound like anything heard in MF 2013 so far. May well go to the final.

      Martin Rolinski
      Similar in style to BWO’s entries from 2005, 2006 and 2008 – in particular “Temple of Love”.
      Fans of BWO will like this. It’s chances of making the top 4 are 50/50.

      Caroline af Ugglas
      A melancholic song, in which the lyrics are in focus.
      If the people who voted for “Snälla snälla” are watching, this may go straight to the final.

      State of Drama
      Very radio-friendly feel-good pop/rock song, which might as well have been released 10-15 years ago.
      Like a more melodic pop-version of Bryan McFadden’s “Real to Me”.
      It’s chances of making the top 4 are 50/50, but sounding unlike anything heard in MF 2013 so far is a clear advantage.

      Janet Leon
      Might just make it to the final with a spectacular stage act, but the song is nowhere near as strong as expected.
      Sounds rather anonymous until halfway into the first chorus.
      Janet will be targeting the same voters as Eddie and Martin, and she is probably the least likely finalist between them.

  4. Rob

    Eesti Laul semi 1 (Estonia) markets up with NordicBet.

    You can listen to the songs in the order they will perform here:

  5. TIm B

    Heard all the Melodifestivalen semi final 3 clips now, and I must say I was quite blown away by Amanda’s clip. Her song sounds so cool and distinctive, and very different to anything we’ve seen thus far. I think she’s a certain finalist, and saw some value in the 6.0 with Bet355 for her in the outright. The potential downside for her is, I checked the MF results back to 2005 and only once (in 2010) was there a winner who didn’t have a pimp slot in their semi final. She therefore isn’t the chosen one but I can see her pulling in a big vote. I’m also very impressed with Janet Leon. ‘Heartstrings’ sounds very catchy and contemporary and it looks like she might have a decent stage show. I think she’ll definitely be through, but not sure if she’ll be in one of the top 2 slots. Eddie Razaz is also quite impressive and seems a strong opener, very much in the style of Ewald and Lindgren but with a twist, according to reports. think his Andra Chansen chances are solid and I saw value here at 3.25. Caroline and Martin are both Melodifestivalen veterans, and whilst they have done well before I can’t help but think the viewers would prefer acts more fresh and contemporary. The latter’s song in particular is so dated and cheesy. I can’t bring myself to back them as I feel one, if not both could well miss out on the top 4. The other act I fancy for Andra Chansen is State of Drama. They seem MOR and inoffensive enough to attract a good televote, sound different to what’s come before and have a favourable slot in the running order. So if asked to call it I would say;

  6. Tim B

    Sorry iPad plays up when I try to type in here sometimes.

    1st Amanda
    2nd Janet
    3rd State of Drama
    4th Eddie Razaz

  7. Boki

    I can’t call the finalists, unimpressed by almost all.
    Eddie is a copy of a copy of a copy, 2nd chance at most.
    Elin shouldn’t go anywhere.
    Ravalliacz have so much fun that they could sneak to 2nd chance.
    Amanda comes neurotic in that clip, weird english but not in a cute Lena way, must hear the whole song.
    Martin very convincing with outdated song.
    Caroline same old stuff but also convincing and standing out with so many up-tempos. People might finally reward her with straight to final but she could also do Anna from the 1st heat.
    State of MOR also 2nd chance candidate.
    Janet is the only one that didn’t unimpress me, sounds very good actually, but I’m not sure how it will be received.

    I believe there will be again a youth vote split like in 2nd heat but will wait for a poll to confirm it…

  8. Rob

    Definitely need to hear the MF semi 3 songs in their entirety. Wasn’t overly impressed by any of them based on today’s snippets. Placed bets on Amanda Fondell on Outright last night at 14s/16s on back of promising early review, so hoping Tim’s enthusiasm for her track proves well founded.

  9. Boki

    MF odds gone completely mad, I’m not aware of the audience poll yet but nevertheless. As far as I know, the odds are dictated by the local bookie Svenska spel, everybody else more or less copies it. So that means that punters in Sweden don’t like Janet’s chances and Ravalliacz are in the race, weird.

  10. Rob

    Thanks Boki. Price movements have been somewhat baffling each week so far in MF but then proved generally accurate, so must assume the same situation again & Janet up against it to qualify in top 2.

  11. Boki

    The results of the dress rehearsal audience poll, which was narrowly won by Eddie Razaz.

    1. Eddie Razaz (21.13%
    2. Amanda Fondell (20.44%)
    3. Ravaillacz (15.47%)
    4. Martin Rolinski (12.82%)
    4. Janet Leon (12.82%)
    6. State of Drama (10.85%)
    7. Caroline af Ugglas (3.35%)
    8. Elin Petersson (3.12%)

    This could be complete nonsense as usual, can’t see Eddie so high but I guess the odds will move again.

    • Boki

      Correct, Eddie is now 2nd favorite to Amanda and Caroline went from almost evens to 5 @Unibet. Keep the trigger ready tomorrow when poll comes out, there could be a lot of value like last week.

  12. Tim B

    google translated this article

    Martin Rolinski is this week’s favorite, according to a unique study.
    Nöjesbladet has exclusive read the figures showing that BWO singer takes the direct route to the final.
    Every week Swedish Gambling and research company Norstat produce statistics along with their web panel. Last week it was the first study that pointed out Louise Hoffsten as the clear-cut favorite.
    This week, it is still a bang. Rolinski Martin has not been touted favorite during the week, but now it is he who according to the survey the frontrunner to take home a finalist on Saturday.
    Both favorites – and last
    392 people in a nationally representative sample were asked about their favorites after having to listen to pre-listening of the contributions on the SVT site.
    The participants think that Martin Rolinski is best, followed by Tommy Körbergs supergroup Ravaillacz . According to Swedish Spel survey also tipped Rolinski be the winner on Saturday.
    Körbergs super group shares the respondents. Although the voted as the second most popular song this week is also “A real fucking popular song” which is tipped to come last in the semi final.”

    • Tim B

      Boki, has this poll been accurate pre-show in the last couple of weeks. I find it very hard to believe that Martin’s dire song ‘In And Out Of Love’ would be the public’s favourite.

      • Boki

        No Tim I don’t trust them, last week there was a similar article about few hundred representative people who were asked, here is a part of it translated:

        “Nöjesbladet have benefited from the unique statistics produced by the Swedish Games and Norstat. Overall, a nationally representative sample of 405 people who listened to the preview clips on the SVT site interviewed.

        They have appointed Louise Hoff Stens “Only the dead fish follow the stream” to this week’s best song, followed by Swedish House Wives “On top of the world.”
        But respondents do not believe that Hoffsten get to the final. Instead, Swedish House Wives joined by Erik Segerstedt and Tone Damli to Friends Arena.
        Hoffsten tipped not even go to the second chance of the respondents in the survey.”

        Also important is that the survey is based on the snippets only and I don’t believe the group was representative, there was no sign of Sean and Anton, just wrong like rehearsal crowd who could see only Sean an Anton.

        The only thing you could call accurate to some degree was the public poll that appears in the afternoon/evening on the site, I usually look for it by searching the word “RESULTAT”.

    • Boki

      After listening to full versions I realized I still can’t call anything, was never so puzzled like this time.

  13. Boki


    Vem är din favorit i kväll?
    Amanda Fondell 28.17%

    Caroline af Ugglas 19.8%

    Martin Rolinski 15.5%

    Ravaillacz 11.86%

    Eddie Razaz 8.8%

    State of Drama 6.71%

    Janet Leon 5.9%

    Elin Petersson 3%

    Totalt antal röster: 1,864
    Gå tillbaka till frågan

  14. Rob

    Thanks Boki. Looking like Janet is facing an uphill struggle, regardless of pimp slot.

    • Boki

      It looks good for Amanda but also Caroline dutch for top4. I’m going to play these two…

  15. Boki

    So after 4k votes the ratio is more-less preserved, the problem is that those figures can change significantly after the performances (like last week) so there is no guarantee for anything. Good luck to all.

    Vem är din favorit i kväll?
    Amanda Fondell 28.44%

    Caroline af Ugglas 18.39%

    Martin Rolinski 16.14%

    Ravaillacz 11.3%

    Eddie Razaz 9.44%

    State of Drama 6.61%

    Janet Leon 6.5%

    Elin Petersson 3.18%

    Totalt antal röster: 4,311

  16. Boki

    Well this is really embarrassing, Amanda was still first on the poll before results were announced but finished 7th. I think I will not write a word about Sweden anymore.

  17. Rob

    No need to feel embarrassed, Boki. This MF semi had the makings of a surprise or 3. That said, thought Amanda’s song sounded really good tonight.

  18. Rob

    Having properly caught up with semi 3 of MF just now, how all 3 of Eddie, Amanda and Janet failed to make top 4 is remarkable. The 2 automatics are 2 of the weakest finalists so far imho. At this rate, the second chance heat is shaping up to be stronger than the final, but that’s not saying much.

    Army Of Lovers look a huge price still on the Outright – 16s with Ladbrokes’ – given the paucity of opposition so far. Would expect either them or Munther to have a very decent tune, possibly both.

  19. Rob

    Army Of Lovers 25-1 with b365 – that is simply too big a price to resist.

  20. Tim B

    Sorry guys, still reeling from the shock of Saturday night’s Melodifestivalen! It was one of my biggest losses ever (I don’t lose very often), second only to a Big Brother eviction from last summer. Even with a poor performance I still expected Amanda to be in the top 4 – her pre-show polls made it seem like she was unbeatable. I thought Janet was excellent and that her song was the best in 3 weeks of heats so surprised that she missed out also. Oh well, onto this week it seems Ulrik Munther is likely to be the most certain qualifier yet.

    Pleased with the result in Greece last night. Rob, it was a great call!

    Do we know if the Russia song is expected very soon now that the artist and title have been announced?

    • Rob

      Bad luck, Tim. Losses are an inevitable part of trading – it is being able to manage them, & keeping them to a minimum, to ensure you turn a profit in the long run.

      Koza Mostra did look something of a good thing given the song’s impact & the fact it notched up a million views on YT.

      MF really needs some decent songs to emerge from the 4th semi – Ulrik Munther in the pimp slot must have something good. Famous last words!

      Haven’t found anything regarding when the Russia song will be premiered. Just a bit more info on Dina courtesy of this excellent esc site:

  21. Tim B

    In Sweden, Ralf’s song is said to be very good and he has dropped below evens to qualify. Army of Lovers’ is supposedly terrible and they’ve drifted a lot, but are probably still in with a shot at Andra Chansen. The other two acts of interest seem to be Robin Stjernberg and Behrang Miri. It is also reported that Ulrik’s song is solid and sounds like it was written to be the Melodifestivalen winner, as we had previously expected.

    There is the Ireland final tomorrow night, but I’m guessing there aren’t any markets for anything else this weekend?

  22. Rob

    Hi Tim. Yes, have been reading the MF reviewers’ comments. It’s disappointing news having hoped Army Of Lovers had something decent up their sleeve & placing a speculative wager on them for the Outright win.

    Ralf is a far from telegenic bloke so his song is going to have to be an absolute gem. Think it does still point to Munther, but MF voting seems rather unreliable.

  23. Anonymous

    I completely agree with your Denmark-Norway comparison btw and have no idea why the flip flop occured and why is Denmark so bloody short at the moment.

  24. funky

    I very much like Norway and feel it is far better than Denmark…Russia will be in the money and Ukraine whilst being a strange kinda song has a fantastic vocal…Serbia will also do well, far too sexy not to.

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