Ryder’s On The Storm

May 7, 2022 by

Ryder’s On The Storm

A big day today – 2nd rehearsals for the Big 5 – and, pre-draws, the first proper chance to see the current second (Italy), fourth (UK) and fifth (Spain) favourites to win ESC 2022 perform.

The press conference running order draws will follow, in the order of France, UK, Spain, Germany. In customary fashion, my prediction ahead of those draws is France and Germany drawn in the first half, UK and Spain drawn in the second.

That vast UK prop will require some extra setting up time so you have to think come the grand final they will place a tv ad break prior to the UK’s performance.

It’s France up first and Alvan & Ahez’s ‘Fulenn’ which has been attracting plenty of top 10 money. This is rather discordant visually with the camera cuts coming too hard and fast.

It’s trying to inject energy into the presentation but risks leaving the average viewer in a haze. All that’s missing from this is the occasional chant of ‘Ac-iiiiiid’. Instead we get wailing, which is rarely jury-friendly.

Older UK viewers may well enjoy this one because it nostalgically recalls the rave scene from the 90s, with green and black the pervading palette at this underground club.

France backers are presumably presuming that, because this is one of the year’s uptempos, it will equate to big televotes, but that might be presuming too much, France matched at 2.32 for a top 10 finish.

Mahmood & Blanco have remained a solid second favourite season-long with ‘Brividi’. The harmonies are far from smooth and individually both Mahmood’s falsetto and Blanco’s contributions are hit and miss.

Blanco sits atop a grand piano before joining Mahmood front and centre. The lighting fires up, strobe style, when Blanco goes into the rap section in the last minute, but up to that point it all feels too pedestrian. Italy drifts to 8 on the Outright following this.

It’s 25 years since the UK’s last ESC victory back in 1997 with Katrina And The Waves’ ‘Love Shine A Light’. I met a couple on my way to Turin who were in Italy to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and recalled their marriage ceremony taking place around the same time Katrina and her Waves won. Is this an omen?

Sam Ryder is inside his illuminated structure wearing a spangly astronaut’s jumpsuit. He is trying hard to accentuate his vocal gymnastics throughout but at times it comes across a little forced.

This is exacerbated at the song’s climax which now sees Sam going into an over-the-top guitar solo. This moment reminds me of the beast in Tenacious D’s ‘Tribute’ video. ‘Be you angels? We are but men, rock’.

It feels like the UK staging team has worked hard trying to maximise ways to create impact in every element but as a result it could risk losing some credibility. Sam should earn jury points for his live vocal at least and the Outright sees the UK price touch 9.6, pre-draw, but layers are also out in force.

Chanel’s ‘SloMo’ for Spain is a big fan favourite this year. Others can describe the staging. My take is, it looks and feels like an interval act. It’s very much choreo/stage show over and above actual musical content. Huge doubts have to exist on the jury side.

Like the UK, Spain continues to attract money, matched at 19. That price may go lower if it earns a second half draw. One from one as France draws first half.

There’s authenticity in the way Malik Harris perfoms ‘Rock Stars’ and also the way it is staged. To carry off a track like this is far from easy but he does a sterling job.

Gently lit and good use of close-ups, helping to build intimacy as the camera follows him around. For its genre Malik should be delighted with what he has achieved here.

Two from two – UK 2nd half. So did we see the winner today or is the Outright caught up in an ill-judged vortex of hype?

We’ll be back on Tuesday with a full preview of semi-final 1.

6 Comments

  1. Sam Ryder is the Conchita Würst of this year. And I mean that in a positive way. Sam’s charisma, relatable viking looks, his ‘hair dancing’ and unique vocals/falsettos do something that Würst did as well: totally elevating an OK song into victory territories.

    In that sense he’s the opposite of Duncan Laurence I think. With the Dutch victory in 2019 it was mostly about a super-duper good song, plus vocals, and all other aspects were slightly secondary. Here’s it’s the charisma again, plus vocals, and the song is tremendously helped by Sam.

    I have as alternative contenders now Spain and Ukraine. Spain because there’s nothing like it. In an era of geopolitical hardships, people want to escape from reality and have fun. UK does that, but Spain too. Had Spain competed in the 2018 or 2021 line-up, then the abundance of female sexy soloïsts with gifted dancers, would’ve had some trouble. But in this year’s line-up there’s nothing like Chanel. Vocally it’s actually very good. Hence juries will award this as well. Spot 10 to 13 in the Grand Final me thinks.

    Ukraine cóúld win if Europe’s empathy, sympathy and emotions are still present. ‘Stefania’ is emotionally the most relevant entry of 2022. Íf Europe is still ready to sympathise with Ukraine it could do wonders.

    But for now, perhaps:
    01. UNITED KINGDOM
    02. SPAIN
    03. UKRAINE

    ITALY and SWEDEN to me are not in contention anymore for the trophy. Even countries like SERBIA, PORTUGAL, GREECE, FRANCE and NETHERLANDS could compete with them.

  2. Mark Dowd

    Spain is hard to figure. Rave reception after the rehearsals, pushing 15s on BF and then after first half draw, now at 28s! I find it all moves and little music and fear that many jury members may react the same way. I appreciate there is a “Slay/Queen”market for this stuff, but I am thinking currently more 8-10th than 3rd to 5th.

  3. I don’t think so. All the shit Europe’s going through? People now need fun escapism. Juries will respect Spain more enough, like Cyprus in 2018.

    • Montell

      Remember when Australia in 2019 was the second in the odds? Its price was about @8.00. I didn’t buy it because even though the staging was 10/10, the song was 6/10 and eventually Australia finished 9th. I kind off expect similar result for Spain this year. But then again Spain is 4th with the Euro Jury, 3rd in OGAE poll and it won ESCBubble’s “The Public Reacts” so you may be right after all, Gert. I wouldn’t mind Spain winning. I just hope that Ukraine doesn’t win because that would be an unworthy victory in my opinion. It would be like it’s 2011 again.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        I think back to the Serbian girls, Hurricane, from last year. I thought they were excellent professionals, very good singers, and did a great job.

        But, as best as I recall, the juries hated them. Their provocative outfits and dancing puts me in mind a bit of Chanel.

        Still, it is true that it took Netta and Toy to deny Fuego, and also that Rusla in 2004 and Helena the following year all demonstrate that a dance-orientated group stage presentation fronted by an overtly sexy, somewhat scantily-dressed female can succeed.

        The thing that puts me off the Spanish entry is that I can’t remember how the song goes.

  4. Guildo Horn Forever

    I’m wryly amused to have found myself re-backing Czech Republic at 12s for the Top 10. My first Eurovision 2022 bet was 6 weeks ago on CR for the Top 10 @18. Then, for the first time, I intently watched the video clips from the pre-parties, causing me to cash out on all my CR exchange bets, as Dominika’s vocals were shockingly bad. Her vocal seems nearly back on point, now, and the staging is getting excellent reviews across the board, so I thought I’d hop back on the Top 10 market.

    On the flip side, I also cashed out all my Top 10 bets on Belgium, after listening to Jérémie struggle his way through the pre-party circuit. I’m thankful for that as his live vocal still sounds atrocious. He can’t seem to sing the song? A painful listen. I see one sportsbook (BV) is offering 1/4 for Belgium to qualify – which looks a horrid price.

    From the brief clips, Mahmood and Blanco looked flat and sounded a bit off; while Cornelia looked annoyed or even a bit angry. What is going on with both Italy and Sweden? Do Mahmood and Blanco need to catch up on some sleep? What’s Cornelia pissed about? They need to recapture their respective NF mojos. Sam Ryder looks in charisma overdrive (I forecast that within the year he’ll be fronting a major shampoo advertising campaign!), sounding fab, and apparently has quality staging.

    The (music video) one that emotionally hit me like a fecking sledgehammer was Amanda’s Die Together. It’s getting a host of excellent rehearsal reviews. Am confused why its odds just keep on drifting? Strange. Is it too gloomy or something? Likewise, why does Portugal keep drifting? Is it perceived as lacking dynamism and being a bit too nice?

    Disappointing that this late in the season, there’s virtually no liquidity in the Jury Vote exchange market.

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