Error Not To Side With ‘Error’

Mar 13, 2014 by

Error Not To Side With ‘Error’

During Eurovision season it can be a fascinating, if time-consuming trawl around each of the competing nations, trying to seek out those as yet undiscovered gems that could make a big impact in the finals if they are chosen.

This year, probably more than any other since this site was founded in August 2009, and threw itself into studying Eurovision 2010 (and duly unearthed Lena’s ‘Satellite’) has seen far too numerous good songs fall by the wayside in favour of weaker efforts. Too many errors in selection, you could say. Is this trend set to continue over the next few days? Hopefully not, which brings us to tonight’s German final.

Probably the first ESC song to perk up these ears back in early January on an idle Sunday afternoon was Madeline Juno’s ‘Error’. At least, the official video version found below, which has racked up impressive YouTube hit numbers:

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With ‘Like Lovers Do’ the song of hers to be officially chosen for tonight’s German final, there was concern that ‘Error’ would not even be selected as her second song. Thankfully it has, and it looks like TPTB in Germany have clocked the fact Madeline could be their best chance of a decent result in Copenhagen, as she has been given the pimp slot.

Running order:

1. Das Gezeichnete Ich
2. Oceana
3. Santiano
4. MarieMarie
5. The Baseballs
6. Elaiza
7. Unheilig
8. Madeline Juno

The slight worry with Madeline is whether she can deliver this song well enough live. There are a few live videos out there that cast a slight doubt over her vocal prowess. But rehearsal footage coming out of Germany has been encouraging, which would have made bwin‘s price of 3-1 look value. Sadly, in the time it has taken to write this piece Madeline has been cut to 6-4. The value has well and truly disappeared.

The remaining songs in the Germany final this year can’t hold a candle to ‘Error’. Unheilig looks most likely to make the super-final with Madeline. There doesn’t seem to be much of a tune there with either of their songs and it is more about the instrumentation with them. You can check out their second song here.

A slight worry is Madeline is relying on the weaker ‘Like Lovers Do’ to get her into the final 4, when she would go on to perform ‘Error’. Then it will be a super-final between two songs, and it could even be 2 songs by the same artist competing at this last stage for the Copenhagen ticket.

We saw Cascada with ‘Glorious’ given the pimp slot last year. And back in 2010, and this site’s first soiree with Eurovision, it was joy unconfined here after the member of the German delegation, awarded the wildcard for the final, stepped up and wisely chose 22 out of 25 as Lena’s running order position with ‘Satellite’. You sense German efficiency is in full play again this year to try and ensure the best result for the nation.

There is going to be a flurry of Eurovision entries revealed over the next four days and the Outright market is still scrabbling around to try and find songs with winning potential. Over in Norway on Saturday night, Carl Espen is hot favourite to win with ‘Silent Storm’. Norway has eased in the Outright, and rightly so, as the price had got ridiculously short at such an early stage.

A song that could give Carl a run for his money is Linnea Dale’s fabulous ‘High Hopes’. Ironically, if Carl does get beaten by ‘High Hopes’ this would be a scenario in which Norway doesn’t necessarily harm its chance of Outright victory.

One of the most interesting aspects of the next few days is where the biggest challenger from the east is going to appear from. We have Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia all yet to reveal and the market really could do with a top notch contender or two emerging among these four.

The Netherlands revealed an acoustic version of The Common Linnets ‘Calm After The Storm’, which can be heard here. It is important to remember an acoustic version can be markedly different from the way the song is eventually presented on stage in Copenhagen. This seems a quietly competent entry.

Belgium’s answer to Paul Potts, Axel Hirsoux, looks most likely to win there with ‘Mother’ which can be heard here. Alex can certainly hold a note.

In Greece, Freaky Fortune feat. Riskykidd with ‘Rise Up’ won the national final and the reception to it winning has been one of disappointment among many fans. Not here. My reaction to it: TUNE!!!! You can check out the live version here. It is one of the songs I will be looking forward to seeing performed live the most in Copenhagen with a beat reminiscent of Yolanda Be Cool vs DCUP’s ‘We No Speak Americano’.

Of course, under the new jury scoring system this might be one to suffer, sadly. But this won’t stop some Inbetweeners style dancing to it at the EuroClub if I manage to finally make it there this year.

36 Comments

  1. Tim B

    Good morning Rob, this is Cologne calling. I’m here for the German NF and have been speaking to some of the locals regarding the show. Someone I met has watched the rehearsals and says he fully expects Unheilig to win, mostly based on his overwhelming mainstream popularity. Madeline is an interesting new prospect, but she seems to be more the choice of the eurofans at the moment. It would be a shock for anyone else to appear in the super final, but it is an unconventional format. I’ve gone for Unheilig and 7 of 8 in the running order was good enough for me, in addition to what I’ve heard here.

    • Rob

      Thanks for the ‘live’ feedback, Tim. It does appear a 2-horse race and the market is wise to that.

  2. Rob

    It’s a long wait for the decent songs this year… Georgia:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdgGlv4eTf8

  3. Gert

    Lovely article Rob. You are indeed right that the finished material can have a bigger impact on D-Day/Eurovision Night. And this especially counts for those “Little Gems”.

    Some short impressions of the Dutch entry. I personally did not favour the acoustic version so much. With good country, the emotion also needs to come from the recorded music. The bluegrass guitar echo’s, the Nashville sound, the two voices becoming one.

    Now, here I have the studio version:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwdJ5NkeyYU
    I must say, I am pleasantly surprised.

    I am Dutch. And in the past 14 years I have been very critical of the ‘my own’ entries. Luckily with Anouk that has changed completely last year. She brought a refined classy quality back to Eurovision, which I haven’t seen from my country since 1993 (!!, Ruth Jacott, ‘Vrede’).

    I was completely right in my predictions last year. A certain non-winner, but 8th to 10th is possible. So it was a rather stable TOP 15-er. And in a competition with 37 to 40 competing countries, this is quite a nice achievement for those “little gems” as well.

    I can only say that the juries actually work. And also that a certain quality has returned since the late 00’s.

    To name a few of those “little gems” and other quality-entries that the more generic Eurovision-fan was completely ignoring. And then during the rehearsal weeks journalists start saying “Ooops, we were a bit too harsh. This could do well! :-/”:

    –> Belgium 2010: Tom Dice with “Me And My Guitar”
    –> Ukraine 2010: Alyosha with “Sweet People”
    –> Georgia 2010: Sofia Nizharadze with “Shine”
    –> Italy 2011: Raphael Gualazzi with “Madness Of Love”
    –> Germany 2011: Lena Meyer-Landrut with “Taken By A Stranger”
    –> Albania 2012: Rona Nishliu with “Suus”
    –> Estonia 2012: Ott Lepland with “Kuula”
    –> Germany 2012: Roman Lob with “Standing Still”
    –> Malta 2013: Gianluca with “Tomorrow”
    –> Netherlands 2013: Anouk with “Birds”
    –> Hungary 2013: ByeAlex with “Kedvesem”

    If this year’s Dutch entry “Calm After The Storm” belongs to this category as well? I’m not that certain yet. But it has a refined and unique quality to it, that I haven’t seen from the other chosen entries so far (Perhaps only Malta?). I think when the staging is very intimate, with lots of close-ups and just a few spotlights, then qualification and TOP 15 in the final is possible.

    It is interesting to note that, when I spoke to Ilse DeLange (member of The Common Linnets), her favourite Eurovision winner is of a similar quality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2ZVKhL92bc
    Indeed, Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan with “Rock ‘n’Roll Kids”. I think “Calm After The Storm” lacks a bit of a climax/bridge that the 1994 Irish entry did have. So Netherlands this year will not win. And a TOP 5 finish I don’t see happening either. But again TOP 15 could be possible.

    • Rob

      Hi Gert. Thanks for your extensive post & great to hear from you again.

      I think it’s another classy entry from The Netherlands this year & I would expect juries to reward it as such. I can imagine them being a very endearing duo on stage in Copenhagen.

      Looking at that first semi, we have some of the eastern heavyweights in there but it is good news for The Netherlands that it has a 2nd half draw.

      In that 2nd half of semi 1 there are potentially a fair few ballads so I think it would help The Netherlands if it is given a position in the last 3 slots.

      I remain less convinced by Germany’s entry this year but we shall see how it shapes up in Copenhagen.

  4. Gert

    By the way, I love the new studio version from Germany. Yes, I was quite underwhelmed by her performance. And I do think Elaiza needs to substantially rehearse on voice control. But if she manages to sing better in Copenhagen, then she could also be one of those “gems”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrhCHIiwRmc

  5. Rob

    A late run of decent entries. Carl Espen will represent Norway with ‘Silent Storm’:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYAfB1P28ec&sns=tw

  6. Rob

    And this is Moldova with some ‘interesting’ staging:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbL5Mz75APc

  7. Gert

    With my friend, who is working for http://www.esfmagazine.nl, I am now every week ranking the chosen entries in TOP 15 order.

    For me personally, the outcome of the semi-finals (qualifiers without specific ranking) has become a bit too easy. They are now truly tv-shows to separate the “quality” from the “dirt”.

    So in a very early stage, we are trying to focus on the outcome of the grand final. In the end, that’s what it’s all about. 9th or 10th placed qualifiers won’t have good results in the final.

    Having said that, this is my first TOP 15 ranking after 34 countries have been chosen (Only Russia, Azerbaijan and Austria need to show us their entries. Axel will win for Belgium 😉 ):

    01 – Denmark
    02 – Ukraine
    03 – Belgium
    04 – Hungary
    05 – Armenia
    06 – France
    07 – Malta
    08 – Norway
    09 – Estonia
    10 – The Netherlands
    ========================
    11 – Moldova
    12 – Spain
    13 – Belarus
    14 – Germany
    15 – Israël
    ========================
    Right-hand side of the scoreboard: Sweden, Montenegro, United Kingdom, Poland, Ireland
    ————————
    Already writing these entries off: Romania, Italy, Finland, Switzerland, FYR-Macedonia, Albania, Lithuania, Latvia, Iceland, Greece, Slovenia, San Marino, Georgia, Portugal
    ————————
    Still to choose: Russia, Azerbaijan & Austria

  8. Gert

    PS: I forgot to tell. We are updating our TOP 15 rankings every week. Especially since a few entries still have to be chosen.

  9. Rob

    Interesting ranking, Gert. Thanks for posting.

    Portugal’s entry. Reminds me of Adelen’s Bombo, only the chorus is not as catchy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbCe1916IJw

    • Boki

      I’m really torned about this one. He’s a likeable underdog with a outstanding voice which can get him many mum televotes and he could smash the juries too. On the other hand the song is so dated and the lyrics are bizarre…

      • Rob

        I share your views, Boki. I think massively in Axel’s favour is that he is a sympathetic performer. The song and his performance is memorable, easily accessible and unique. ‘Only Teardrops’ was a completely dated song last year & won…

  10. Rob

    Denmark drawn 23 in the ESC 2014 final.

    • matt

      That’s a great draw for Denmark. With so many ballads contending, Denmark will really stand out from that running position. Looks solid top ten material now.

    • Gert

      That will only re-inforce my prediction I think. I think it’s time for a back-to-back winner again, wouldn’t you say ;-)? But in all honesty…..I only think Denmark looks and feels like a winner right now. The stage performance in the Danish National Final was so slick, but also very pure and genuine. Not ‘fake happiness’, but heart-felt, real, pure happiness. I think this boy could do something similar like Alexander did: Charm everyone.

      Some nice back-to-back winners:

      1) Spain 1968 & Spain 1969
      2) Luxembourg 1972 & Luxembourg 1973
      3) Israël 1978 & Israël 1979
      4) Ireland 1992, Ireland 1993 & Ireland 1994
      5) Denmark 2013 & Denmark 2014 ;-)?

  11. Rob

    The new Ukraine – certainly an improvement:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdAf2EjhRiE

  12. Boki

    I see the opinions are divided about this one. I’m in the ‘this is improvement’ camp.

    • Matt

      A vast improvement for me. Suddenly we get a contemporary pop song to consider, which added to sympathy, could be pretty potent…

  13. Gert

    Slight update from my side. But now with an aspect we almost enver discuss: Emotions.

    Eurovision is also about emotions. An aspect we almost never discuss in here. It has been a fact ever since the Eurovision Song Contest started in 1956. Both televoters and judges need to get goosebumps from a particular element of a ballad (Estonia 2012)….or they need to feel ‘touched’ by some sincerely and genuinely performed happiness (Basim, Dansk Melodi Grand Prix)…..or get a cuddly feeling from a guy who’s barely looking into the camera (Hungary 2013)

    And trust me, taking that part into account is still difficult for people who are placing bets. Because for placing a bet, you need to be cold-hearted, you need to take certain statistics into account. I could therefore understand that certain betters would not like to bet on Hungary entering the TOP 10 last year.

    But for me, this is a very nice ánd important aspect of Eurovision. Taking that aspect of ‘emotion’ into account, I still have the best ‘feelings’ when listening the entries from Denmark, Belgium, Malta and Netherlands. Off course, not all of them will do well. But it’s surely an indicator.

    Having said so, I have made this TOP 15 ranking (based on: chanses, statistics, type of song, its uniqueness among the field, latest available performances, stunning vocals, ánd forecasting how ‘emotions’ from the European televoter and judges could help the entry do well):

    01 – DENMARK (pure, genuine, Danish happiness)
    02 – BELGIUM (big man + angel voice + “Mother”)
    03 – UKRAINE (new version)
    04 – Norway (I don’t “feel” it yet to make victory possible)
    05 – Armenia (I don’t “feel” victory here either)
    06 – France (underestimated happiness)
    07 – Estonia (underestimated “copycat”)
    08 – Hungary (bit of a fanwank?)
    09 – Malta (heart-felt bunch country singers)
    10 – Netherlands (simplicity á-lá Ireland 1994)
    11 – Azerbaijan (finally a result outside the TOP 10?)
    12 – Spain (new version works, but tone down the voice)
    13 – Moldova (great staging, but formulaic production)
    14 – Israël (charismatic performer)
    15 – Sweden (great staging, but does it “touch” me?)
    Just missing out – United Kingdom (great song, but staging?), Poland (“Moja Stikla”, Croatia 2006) and Germany (wunderful “Amélie”-like song, but rehearsals are needed).

    We are still waiting for Russia (not for another annexation-attempt) and Austria. I am curious what you guys think .

    • Rob

      Hi Gert. I totally agree with your post regarding that intangible element in Eurovision connected with the emotions of the viewer.

      The feel good factor you touch upon can really boost entries. Certainly Malta and Hungary spring to mind from last year.

      Often the staging can increase the warmth the viewer feels towards a song – Malta last year was an extremely feel-good piece of staging – a front man with a beaming smile and happy gait who outwardly demonstrated his joy at being on the stage, singing a simple ditty about ‘a man called Jeremy working in IT’, adding to the song’s charm.

      The simple, psychedelic sound of Kedvesem created a pleasant, clap-a-long atmosphere & ByeAlex was a sympathetic busker/slacker character, an underdog, you felt sympathy for – you would pull out your wallet & give him some money for brightening up your day with his endearing tune.

      One element that maybe isn’t factored into your rankings quite so much & that could alter positions, is the new jury scoring system.

      I wrote an extensive post-ESC 2013 article here analysing the results & part of my conclusions was, songs that have any edge to them, maybe a genre that isn’t mainstream, or a song that has marmite potential – ie, either you love it or hate it, are likely to suffer.

      Last year, the UK jury ranked Norway 21st out of 25. That beggars belief & makes me ashamed to be British, but it also demonstrates the new paradigm we are dealing with in trying to predict Eurovision scoring.

      It only needs a few jurors to give a song a very low ranking to really drag down its overall jury ranking.

      Also, in the instance of, say, France, my concern would be this again could be hurt by juries who consider it cheap; a worthless novelty song.

      I personally like ‘Moustache’. It has a fun, infectious beat – even if it has drawn heavily from Stromae’s ”Papaoutai’. I think this is all shows how the ESC has gone down the wrong road with the new scoring rules.

      Who wants safe, mainstream, inoffensive songs winning out over anything edgy, original, or true to its national identity? I don’t because you are in danger of rewarding mediocrity over genuine creativeness.

      • Matt

        Great post Rob and UK jurors who placed Margaret 21st were/are not fit to be judges. I remember reading the make-up of the jury and was shocked at its age and demographic. Now the BBC are taking the comp seriously, does this mean the new broom has swept away these judges?

        I agree the inoffensive are rewarded which again points towards acts like Denmark. Not my favourite and obviously in debt to Bruno but it ticks many boxes – safe, staging, draw, atmosphere, chart fodder etc…

        • Rob

          Yes, let’s hope they don’t go down the Blackburn & Hatch road again, Matt. But knowing the Beeb, it’ll be jurors with a similar profile so prepare for Simon Bates & Bruno Brookes 🙂

          It’s a difficult assessment now in trying to work out what the safe, inoffensive jury winners will be.

          Is Basim’s song so generic, bland & lacking in lyrics to actually be deemed offensive by as many as who like it? I find it offensive but I also find Bruno Mars offensive.

          I think it’s a sound that certainly has some marmite quality about it; I’d say the same about Hungary, and Belgium possibly too. A difficult assessment now trying & work out what will fly with juries and what won’t.

          • Matt

            I think the juries will penalise for being so derivative but not excessively. Its one of very few Saturday night party songs, which will be joyously received in the arena, and i feel this will mask a lot of the negativity. Nailed on for top ten ‘d say – especially when you consider how well the juries marked Sweden ( a better song to my ears though) last season.

            Agree with your jury concerns over Belgium ( think the televoters might also desert this fella) and Hungary. Which if we are right, leaves a question mark over Armenia…

          • Rob

            Derivative is definitely an apt adjective, Matt, regarding Denmark. You’re right in the sense Armenia is unconventional and has a certain edge.

            I guess the pros are, it looks to have the east pretty much sewn up unless Russia produces something amazing, and while unconventional I think it is accessible and pleasing to a Western audience.

            The instrumentation for ‘Not Alone’ reminds me a lot of Imagine Dragons ‘Radioactive’ – especially the extended version from about 3 minutes in:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybirL3EtMb8

          • Matt

            Always good chatting with you Rob. I like it too – especially as you say the clever build of percussion/instrumentation – though was less confident on first listen. Never sure how much i should trust my first instinct though. I think my concern with Armenia is builds and builds but then leaves me a little unsated. I want it bigger but just as we get to the crescendo, it disappoints.

            Its nestled in my top five contenders though. Now for staging and the draw…

  14. Rob

    You can listen to Austria’s entry here:

    http://vk.com/eurovisionsongcontest

      • Gert

        Daring entry from Austria. I did make some jokes about it with my dear friend and colleague from http://www.esfmagazine.nl. But having seen the entry in HD and having heard it in full DTS Surround Sound, I think Austria will easily go the 59th Eurovision Final. There’s this great heart-felt James Bond-mystique surrounding “Rise Like A Phoenix”. A positive anthem/ballad a la Dame Bassey or David McAlmont. Some touches of RuPaul too. And because of that it will stand out among the field of 37 entries. The total package is near-perfect.

        Despite Dana International once winning for Israël, La Conchita cán actually sing and cán perform. I think in this case the televoters will have a slightly more discomforting face than the actual juries. Final. Definately . And…..let us respect her looks. You need to have guts to perform like this.

  15. Rob

    The final piece in the ESC 2014 jigsaw – Russia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60QdHa4Pkhs

  16. Gert

    Lovely anthemic Spice Girls-esque pop entry. Sounds pure. And not as overproduced as some Swedish entries. I’d say qualification. And based on performance TOP 15. Will Russian minorities in Latvia, Georgia and Ukraine suddenly support harder and more fierce for Russia? And will the juries in these countries ‘punish’ Russia?

  17. Rob

    Some interesting information regarding Armenia:

    http://esckaz.com/2014/arm.htm#en_20140319_2

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