Will Sanna Come Undone?

Mar 6, 2014 by

Will Sanna Come Undone?

A big weekend for ESC 2014 ahead, and for Scandinavia in particular, with the Swedish and Danish national finals on Saturday night, and a first chance to hear Carl Espen’s ‘Silent Storm’ in the third semi-final in Norway on Sunday night.

Let’s start with the big Melodifestivalen final in Sweden. UK bookies have been reluctant to price this up this week and all we have at time of writing is the bet365 market which has Sanna Nielsen as 8-13 favourite, and Ace Wilder second favourite at 5-2.

The 11 international juries voting this year are: Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Malta, Russia, Spain, The Netherlands and United Kingdom.

It’s worthwhile looking at recent MF scoring history to get a feel of how things might pan out on Saturday night. ‘Euphoria’ in 2012, sung from the 6 slot, achieved a record televote percentage of 32.7% (154pts) with Danny Saucedo, from the pimp slot with ‘Amazing’, proving Loreen’s only significant rival on the televote that year with 22.3% (106pts).

Things were much tighter on the televote in 2010 with ‘This Is My Life’ (9/10, 20.8%, 132pts) and ‘Manboy’ (10/10, 19.1%, 110pts) leading the way. In 2011, ‘Popular’ from the pimp slot took 23.7% of the televote (112pts), significantly clear of 1st to perform and MF second-itis man Saucedo and his ‘In The Club’ with 14.9% (70pts). Last year saw pimp-slotted Yohio topping the televote with 21.1% (103pts) ahead of eventual winner ‘You’ (9/10, 15.8%, 75pts).

The clear trend here is that the pimp slot in the MF final has resulted in that song finishing in the top 2 on the televote. Based on these recent stats, the pimp-slotted Ace Wilder this year is an Evens shot to top the televote. But how juries react to ‘Busy Doin’ Nothin” will decide her ultimate fate.

In Ace’s favour is that decent uptempo songs in the MF final have performed well enough with juries. ‘Popular’ won the jury vote in 2011, as did Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ in 2012, and Robin’s ‘You’ last year.

One concern for Ace Wilder on the jury front could be that her song is something of a grower and certainly the first time this listener heard it, it didn’t impress. If jurors are turned on by something uptempo, instant and catchy you would expect Alcazar’s ‘Blame It On The Disco’, for instance, to appeal more than Ace’s song. And then there’s Anton and Oscar to potentially dilute Ace’s popularity too.

Perhaps her biggest concern is the overall composition of this year’s final as you sense there are a number of more jury worthy songs and she could find herself well down the scores on the jury front much like the pimp-slotted Yohio did last year.

Sanna Nielsen’s ‘Undo’ seems international jury-friendly enough though Nielsen herself faces some stiff competition for jury love this year. If EntertainmentOdds was offered a jury vote in Sweden this year, it would certainly rate Ellen Benediktson’s ‘Songbird’ and Helena Paparizou’s ‘Survivor’ superior to ‘Undo’, and you can easily make a case for other songs too. Yohio’s 2014 effort ‘To The End’ is certainly more jury-friendly than last year’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and maybe Linus Svenning’s ‘Broder’ will tug at international jurors’ heartstrings.

In 2008 Sanna Nielsen topped the televote but eventually lost out to Charlotte Perrelli’s ‘Hero’. Back then it was the Swedish juries that scuppered Nielsen. Could history repeat itself but this time courtesy of the international juries shunning her song? It is not inconceivable because of the strong competition for jury love this year, which makes Sanna Nielsen’s current price of 8-13 unappealing. Especially when you consider the jury scores will be revealed first and Sanna could find herself trailing by a fair margin.

It would come as no surprise to see Helena top the jury voting this year, and much like Robin last year, qualification through Andre Chansen may help to boost her public support. But the Swedish sentiment appears to be in Sanna’s favour, her televote likely to be bolstered by the view this is the perennial MF bridesmaid’s long overdue chance to represent Sweden at Eurovision.

Is there likely to be a runaway televote winner? Probably not. You sense votes are going to be spread far and wide but that Sanna is most likely to be in the top 2 or 3 on the televote along with Ace Wilder. Yohio’s impressive televote total last year gives rise to hope he has a fighting chance of winning tomorrow night. The trouble for Yohio is, there was a buzz around him last year which seems to have dissipated since.

If it wasn’t for Ellen Benediktson’s poor draw in 2 she would look to have a legitimate chance too. It is worth remembering she managed to finish in the top 2 on the televote in semi 1, a semi which turned out to be highly competitive and which now boasts 4 of the finalists. In truth, it would be folly to completely write her off as the stripped back vocal excellence of ‘Songbird’ could still shine following Anton and preceding Alcazar.

At the current prices Helena‘s ‘Survivor’ at 14-1 still looks over-priced and the value to overturn ‘Undo’. It looks worth seeking a best price match of Helena for a top 3 finish on Betfair and in ‘without Sanna Nielsen‘ betting. If there is one to take on at the head of the market it looks to be Ace Wilder at anything around the 4 mark on Betfair because after the jury scores are in, it looks likely Ace will have a lot of leeway to make up and her in-running price will drift.

The Aftonbladet poll looks next to useless this year as fans have gone into overdrive seeking to manipulate it. Of more interest will be the audience poll which should turn up tomorrow night and will be posted in the Comments below.

Over in Denmark the recommendation would be only to invest after seeing and hearing the performances live. The studio-polished versions can be a far cry from what turns up on the night.

As for some of the other ESC nations, the UK has at least gone down the right road for Eurovision this year in selecting a new artist in Molly Smitten-Downes who writes her own songs and looks a capable live performer.

First impressions are, Children Of The Universe has the potential, with a late draw and improvement in staging to achieve a higher finish than Blue (11th in 2011). Israel appears to have chosen well for Mei Finegold with ‘Same Heart’.

Over in Greece, it is encouraging to see Freaky Fortune ft Riskykidd leading some of the early online polls. The choice here would be either ‘Rise Up’ or Crystallia’s song. Please Greece, not another Koza Mostra-type tune in the form of Kostas Martakis.


  1. Popking

    We share a lot of the same thoughts on MF, which hasn’t always been the case this year.

    Denmark, hard to tell just based on previews, but Basim sounded very immediate to me – the F words will have to go if it does make it.

    I don’t rate the UK entry at all and will be surprised if it is even in top 10 contention. Israel not bad at all and should qualify for first time in a while.

    • Rob

      I think the UK’s chance of a top 10 finish comes with a few provisos, pk. The main one being, they need to improve the staging compared to what we saw when the song was unveiled this week.

      Molly obviously needs the assistance of the backing singers but she needs to work on selling the song better on stage and it could do with some better visuals.

      The song has some fine ‘moments’ but is a little incoherent in parts.

  2. eurovicious

    Completely agree regarding Ellen, she’s my second favourite behind Busy Doin’ Nothing (which I did love from the first time). Songbird is head and shoulders above any of the other ballads and they’ve deliberately tried to bury it by giving her an early draw and Sanna a late draw. It’ll probably work but I’d love to see it backfire. Ace Wilder will have difficulty winning with a song that isn’t vocally led and that’s quite edgy, I suspect.

  3. Rob

    This is what ESC 2014 is crying out for: some epic sax. 9-2 for an uptempo tune like this that has the pimp slot looks over-priced to me.


  4. Rob

    Surprised by the price shortening of Ace Wilder. Still think her song is a lay. I would be surprised if the int’l juries rate it highly.

    • Henry VIII

      Rob do you know if juries are advised to look for commercial potential as one of their criteria (as in ESC)? That would go in Ace’s favour. Take a brave man to lay it imo.

      Sanna has the better voice and another big plus is that this is her 7th attempt at Melod over last 14 years, starting at age 17. I’m sure the Swedish viewers will be reminded of that. Determination and tenacity, plus she now has a good song.

      • Rob

        I don’t know if that applies, henry. I think the hype, & backing of Ace, is due to her reaching no1 in the Swedish charts & over a million Spotify downloads. But the studio version is much better than the live version. Her vocal is weak & I don’t think it’s instant enough.

    • Boki

      Ace won the audience poll and matched at evens.
      The question of juries support still remains.

      • Rob

        Saw that Boki. It would appear Ace has all the momentum. Regardless of her song being considered ‘modern’, I still don’t rate it that highly personally, & I’m hoping the int’l juries perform their job wisely & draw to the same conclusion.

  5. Rob

    Amazed this didn’t win the first semi in Norway last night. I would consider it quality enough to pose a threat to Silent Storm:


    • Boki

      I feel the same about Linnea Rob, had ‘high hopes’ for her and strangely the bookies also agree since Mo’s price is still twice of Linnea’s.

      I have to admit Ace is growing on me, it will be an interesting MF final for sure.

      In Denmark I fancy Anna David to be in top3, only typical uninspiring MOR stuff that always does good there.

      • Rob

        I gather Basim won the audience poll, Boki (though tiny sample), hence the price shortening on that. His song would be the one I would be looking to lay among the front-runners. I think it is a lousy song.

        Michael Rune and Nadia were my early picks & I would stick with those. If there is one that could surprise it could be Emily Moldow – it stands out as a classy effort among so much generic dross.

        • Boki

          I don’t get what you see in Nadia but fully agree on Basim, it’s too cheap to win in Denmark (especially when they are hosting).
          Omg you are completely right about Emilie, forgot about her, she can also take top3 easily. The only one I don’t know what to think of is Rebekka.

          • Rob

            Yes. I, too, struggle with Rebekka’s effort. Not keen on it but could see it having some fans. I think you are probably right about Nadia. Michael Rune has better r.o. & catchier song imo. 19-1 Emilie with b365 looks huge to me. Bryan Rice’s song isn’t very strong either.

          • Boki

            Unibet has top3 but I’m heavily limited there…

          • Popking

            Not betting on the Danish final, but from what I have heard (some in full, some snippets), Bryan Rice looks a contender to me, and Basim is certainly the most instant.

  6. Rob

    Well done pk on picking Basim in Denmark.

    Hugely in its favour on the night was that Basim was given the ‘winner’s clothes’ in Denmark in a piece of staging that recalled ‘Only Teardrops’ in last year’s final. Still think it is an abysmal, poor man’s Bruno Mars. Michael Rune’s epic sax was not helped by Natasha’s ropey live vocal, & outfit.

    Surprised to see Ace Wilder do that well with the juries. Well done to Germany for giving it a big fat zero & maintaining this site’s excellent track record for laying short-priced market leaders in the big tv betting events – Jahmene Douglas (2nd , XF 2012), Buranovskiye Babushki (2nd, ESC 2012), Yohio (2nd, MF 2013) and now Ace wilder (2nd, MF 2014).

    The whole thing seemed deeply suspicious. That Sanna conveniently overhauled Ace Wilder by a meagre 2pts just didn’t sit right; nor did the trading activity on Betfair.

    Many shared the view expressed here that Ace would fail due to a jury shortfall. After she topped the jury vote I expected to see her trading around 1.2 on BF; instead she was being offered at 1.8 & bigger.

    And there were some big sums being offered up at seemingly over the odds prices. It would appear from this that some people ‘knew’.

    Over in Slovenia, this was the best song on the night: a shame it was the interval act. Choosing Maja Keuc with this would have been a better idea.


  7. Boki

    Rob, what do you think about Carl’s performance? My first impression is that it fails visually and I expected a drift (the market disagrees though).

    • Rob

      I think this is going to be the ongoing debate if Carl goes to Copenhagen, Boki. It’s a good thing (in theory) because it should create strong differences of opinion & I am guessing there will be plenty of Norway layers out in force once we get more liquidity in the market.

      He looks like a bit of a bruiser/a truck driver which, in one way, makes it more spellbinding when he sings such a fragile ballad so tenderly.

      I personally think they should ramp up the orchestration behind him with violins playing on stage, and he needs to give ‘better camera’. They also need to give him an outfit more befitting of the song.

      So, yes, I agree there are visual shortfalls atm but his vocal & the song are very good, though he will be a newcomer to such a big stage as ESC & will have to keep his nerves in check. It remains a very weak filed atm so I think Norway is a worthy favourite.

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