Market Less Hungary For The Wolf

May 3, 2011 by

We’ve now heard the 1st rehearsals for semi-final 1 at the ESC and what are we to take from these performances? Firstly, it’s probably wise not to over-react, as there’s still time to iron things out.
As much as it pains us to say it, we may have misjudged Armenia in believing it was a decent bet ‘not to qualify’. We still think it is a very poor song but ESC aficionados reckon it’s a fun tune with clever staging and Emmy delivers a good lead vocal.
Now onto the big talking point of semi 1, Hungary. Kati Wolf’s vocal was, inevitably, under the greatest scrutiny yesterday because of the unconvincing Hungarian X Factor performances seen online. We thought she sang the song very well, but she was let down by her backing singers, and dancers.
It’s clear the Hungarian delegation do not have the same finances as other ESC nations in putting together their stage show. The dancers were out of synch, the main one underwhelmingly outfitted in terrible hoodie style gear.
Kati is understandably not shaking her booty during this song so it is up to them to create some excitement in their dance routine but they are not dynamic or visually impressive enough. More worrying, Kati’s backing singers sounded very flat throughout and at the end of the tune failed to produce that euphoric chorus heard in the polished studio version.

This song was bound to be difficult to reproduce live. All is not lost, however, and if the Hungarian crew take note of the constructive criticism flying around online on blogs and forum sites, the staging will hopefully improve. We still think Hungary will qualify comfortably but it needs to take a leaf out of Greece’s book by way of backing dancers and staging, if it is to challenge for top spot.
We are also concerned by an aspect of the Georgia staging – namely, the terrible traditional outfits Eldrine have been asked to wear. It may seem a tiny point but for us, these clothes really spoil the visuals of an otherwise excellent presentation. It makes the song come across as far too hard and thrashy. Sophio should look more like an authentic, sexy rock chick. This would still be in keeping with the song but make the overall effect that much softer and viewer-friendly. As it is, those strange Matrix-style cloaks make the Georgian song come across darker and harsher, and we are now slightly concerned about Georgia even qualifying unless these outfits are re-styled.
Azerbaijan came in for a fair amount of criticism after its 1st rehearsal but we disagree vehemently. The staging was fine, the song sounded good, their chemistry is very believable, and we don’t see that much that needs to change. We think this is an even stronger favourite to win semi-final 1 as of now.
Its biggest challenger will likely be Russia. We flagged up this song in an earlier post as one we thought was over-priced. Alex Sparrow has a great live vocal and while we thought the staging was very good, the Russian delegation were unhappy and think it can be a lot better. This all bodes well and 8-1 Russia e/w with sportingbet has to be the stand-out bet in semi-final 1 currently.
Greece at 5-1 to finish in the top 3 with bwin is also good value. The staging of this song looked superb, the lead singer has a good vocal and while you can criticise the rap part of the tune, the overall effect is very powerful. With the advantage of being last up in semi 1 and with its big circle of friends to rely on, Greece must stand a great chance of getting into the 3.
We are a little concerned about Poland’s qualification chances after the 1st rehearsal but the vocal is superb and we think the staging is going to improve markedly. We still think it’s Norway, Serbia and even Turkey who are most vulnerable among the early starters and are happy to take these 3 on, laying them all on Betfair’s ‘To Qualify’ market. Norway would appear to be vying for the same sort of fun, sing-a-long vote as Armenia and at the moment Stella appears to be losing to Emmy.
Split between them, we still like Albania’s qualification chances a lot. Aurela Gace has an outstanding vocal, as expected, and Albania’s friends should see this classy ballad safely through.
Rob Furber

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