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Semi 1: #joinus in Denmark

Update, 7 May: 7/10 for both of us. Neither of us predicted San Marino or Iceland, although we’re more than happy to see both #joiningus. Mik dropped Montenegro, while Ann dropped Ukraine. Making up the 10: Hungary, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Sweden and yay! The Netherlands.

The semi was not sold out so we were able to move forward and had a bird’s eye view of the green room for some sweet Montenegro moments. You can also see us arriving on @drgrandprix’s timelapse, at around 24 secs:

Back on Thursday with more predictions.

We’re off to semi 1 this evening, sitting in Olsen as a tribute to the snubbed Jørgen and Noller. From Twitter and the bloggage it’s pretty easy to work out how the show will pan out, but we’ll cover that elsewhere.

The public areas have been done in the nick of time, and maybe don’t quite live up to the pre-show hype:

A big round of applause herfra for the creative use of shipping containers, which we’ve been anticipating for months, not so much for the less than subtle branding for Host City partners REDA. Danes on Facebook noted a lack of twin touchstones hygge and Danish design, plus someone commented that it looked like it had been thrown together in a couple of hours…

What about the music? Below are our predictions for semi 1, with a full ranking from ordensmenneske Mik. It’s tricky, because after you’ve heard the songs more than three times you have a love/hate relationship with them all and can’t decide if you like them or not, but we need to lose six of these lovelies. Bolded is out. Check back on Weds to see how wrong we were.

Armenia

Ann: a class act but not likeable and not enough of a story arc for the big win

Mik: Intriguing 3 minutes. If he catches the camera right and doesn’t look too stressed or serious this goes straight to the final. (1)

Latvia

Ann: charming tipping over into annoying, maybe rein Jöran in a tad to go through

Mik: Recipe for hyggelig amateurism, convincing though. And a very good draw, makes a nice contrast to Aram Superstar and his serious business. (7)

Estonia

Ann: the most complete show of the night, entertaining without resorting to gimmicks

Mik: Contemporary catchy dance and singing class. (4)

Sweden

Ann: manufactured and clinical; those ornamental flourishes grate but soars to a climax

Mik: Professional plastic sing-a-long, straight from IKEA. It will give you goosebumps. (2)

Iceland

Ann: trying too hard. LT United without the xtra factor (who was your favourite?)

Mik: LT United light, but we can’t all be Winners. And it has been 8 years. (14)

Albania

Ann: trying too hard (2), but lovely voice

Mik: Little girl with great voice, but uninspired & whining song with poor Albanese English lyrics. (15)

Russia

Ann: best use of twins, best use of mystifying props; effective if unexciting

Mik: Cutesy twin girls will do the trick, with their charming, though very calculated act on stage. (8)

Azerbaijan

Ann: Dilara doesn’t do fur – what’s not to like? Answer: the trapeze in a church gimmick.

Mik: Impressive stage show helps this classic jury jewel. Very convincing. (3)

Ukraine

Ann: ticked off – a poor effort, first ever NQ for Ukraine?

Mik: Gets on your nerves, but Crimea crisis will give this contemporary trash some sympathy vote. (10)

Belgium

Ruslana2
Ruslana shows her appreciation at the Belgian national final

Ann: should be safe enough, as long as pple remember it’s a song contest, with added interpretive dance UPDATE: Out; might have made it with a Ruslana hologram

Mik: Belgique’s got talent goes Eurovision, but the sentimental old fashioned style won’t make you pick up your iphone. (12)

Moldova

Ann: a slight led down from my fave country – borderline, needs more Pasha, plus Aliona’s smile

Mik: Fascinating and Barbu-esque. Maybe too shouty for some, but it sticks to you. And we all love her accent. (9)

San Marino

Ann: a pearl in a shell, a diamond in the rough…too many metaphors. Ave atque vale – and arrivederci! 

Mik: There is no pearl in the shell: Old fashioned boring Siegel trademark. (16)

Portugal

Ann: it’s Beautiful Song without Anmary, no #suzyshake here

Mik: Suzy-shake flying the flag for Portugal, but without charm, sparkle or cheekyness. All that’s left are her very poor vocals, but Martha does a good job! (13)

The Netherlands

Ann: unexciting but does enough for now

Mik: This years dark horse: real musicians, real emotions, real chemistry between them and it looks very good on TV. The jury will love this! (5)

Montenegro

Ann: no Zjelko ripoff – this is the real deal musically. Despite Skating Dolly goosebumps city – see you in Cetinje!

Mik: Now we understand why Montenegro once joined the Serbian Republic. Zjelko has inspired many in a good way, but he wouldn’t approve of the roller skating. Might just miss out. (11)

Hungary

Ann:  I have nothing to say. MTV fodder.

Mik: Contemporary catchy believable song with a message and a hunky Hungarian. (6)

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Party for the people in Odense

Updates: 17 March…in his #melfest review @misterjorgensen calls #drgrandprix a “humourless, rule-filled endurance test” while cool Danish online news mag Atlas thanks Birthe for the music, finds show manufactured and soulless. In the deeply serious daily Information Georg Metz makes a few rhetorical flourishes on the way to concluding that DR lacks self critique…22 March: DMGP songs in the Danish charts

In terms of viewing figures, DMGP garnered 1.8 million, the same as last year despite the win, while  #melfest on 3.3 million maintained its downward trajectory.

14 songs and just over a week still to go in national final season. Last night both Sweden and Denmark eschewed New Folk, going for a seventh time lucky schlager ballad sung by a Viking and a catchy 1980s Eurovision ditty from an X Factor reject respectively.

SVT’s slick show had a good flow, kicking off with the ultimate Wonderful Copenhagen from Charlotte Perelli on a rock, now being talked up as host for 2015. Nordic noir reference? Check. The votes from the Danish jury (what?) were read out by Saga from The Bridge

DR gave some of its shiny new ideas a run out on the locals, but you would have to be a real fan to be energised by the prospect of seeing Danni Elmo’s Instagram pics. They also pushed a branded hashtag for the night – having tried #arvingerneDR for the latest Sunday night drama to little avail.

According to Danish Twitter counter Overskrift #drgrandprix has garnered a stonking 12K + tweets in the last 24 hours, and not all of them by Grand Prix DR aka @escdk14 (oh stop it) either – the Danish Twitterati were out in force. Last year’s final garnered just over 14K tweets. Amidst the veritable tsunami of coverage – 144 new photos on Facebook, anyone – was a whoops fingers! #selfie:

The show itself left me with a few questions:

  • why did our winner Basim (4th in X Factor DK 2008) perform in front of a Dannebrog (Danish flag), obscuring the giant #joinus diamond which otherwise dominated proceedings? Bryan Rice would also like to know…update, 17 March: this ran and ran, reaching the satire stage of the news cycle by Tuesday; see Eurovisionary for the full story – at the mo it seems no Dannebrog for Basim
  • nice to see Marcel (2nd in X Factor DK 2009 as part of Alien Beat Club) again – whatever happened the other ABCers?
  • X Factor DK had a Eurovision evening on Friday, how about that! judge Remee, who discovered Basim back in 2008, doesn’t have a great Eurovision record (No Angels, Soluna), could that be an omen?
  • Jakob Riising, why? educational interludes made for a choppy change of tone

Amid rumours of backstage armtwisting, in the end no one rained on Emmelie’s parade. Let’s finish by looking at the two national finals through the medium of the interval act.

Stockholm basked in the joy which is an Abba medley – although maybe not so much in the extended version of Chiquitita. Nice touch with our hosts Anders and Nour, who we’ve taken to our hearts for having personalities, redoing Robin. Shame Robin didn’t redo Robin. Meanwhile over in Odense we had a buckets of folkelig cheer – and more community singing – with Queen Birthe Kjær et al all piling on stage to celebrate the joy of second (and third) place. Olsen Bros doublebooked, or saving themselves for May? It all went down swimmingly with the home crowd. We give you, Sweden a sleek global mastodon:

Denmark strictly a homegrown affair:

They’ll need to step things up a gear in May.

“Where words fail…”: spring in Odense

Update, 8pm: another dansk only output from DR on the event. Here’s the gist: it’s gonna be great.

With October come the first signs of the dreaded Danish winter – think grey skies, grey clothes, grey people – but here’s a welcome reminder of spring in the shape of the Danish national final, aka Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, to be held in Odense on 8 March. Hosting duties were officially handed over today, an occasion attended by some old friends:

Yay! See too the video of the boys in action and answering some tricky questions. Despite our encouragement on Twitter, apparently they are “too busy” to enter #dmgp this time around, but we’re sure there will still be sightings in May.

Anyway, back to Odense. All this has never really been news – they kinda booked their spot by not bidding for the big one, and it’s been an open secret since July, but hey! now it’s official. Basically muggins turn, says DR’s Rasmus Ladefoged (great name that), part of a Eurovision spring in Denmark, totally coincidentally taking place on the same day as International Women’s Day and something called Melodifestivalen.

Odense, on the drive through island of Fyn (Funen if you must), is your classic fairy tale Danish town. There’s more to do there than in Herning (there’s more to do anywhere than in Herning), although most of it revolves round Hans Christian Andersen – even the pedestrian crossings get in on the act:

walk
Odense’s Andersen Ampelmann (credit: Kate goes some places)

Anker Boye, the local Boris Johnson and a big cheese in Danish local politics, says Odense is no ploughed field and it won’t all be about Hans Christian – do we believe him? With Eurovision itself going urban it’s hard to imagine being able to avoid marzipan and ducklings.

As both Hans Christian and Abba said let’s let the music speak…1993, the last time #dmgp was held in Odense, marked Tommy Seebach‘s last hurrah. This mashup with son Rasmus doesn’t quite work but is still rather touching:

22nd out of 25, and for singing in the round too.

A night to remember at Danish prices?

Thanks to a great spot by Eurovisionary we bring you second hand news about a once in a lifetime experience coming your way just one week before the Big Night – a Danish Eurovision tribute concert!

It’s hard to know where to start, so I won’t. It looks…so Danish. I’ll just highlight:

  • all-in price: DK 998 + booking fee (only joking?)
  • free shuttle bus into town (no transport from venue)

The hot eyed will have noticed it’s being held at the B&W Grand Ballroom, one of the possible venues for #escdk. Research was undertaken at this very spot only a week ago – and while we could actually see it working, and rather more than the concrete wasteland of DR Byen or those other two off the map places, they may have to rethink the marketing for non-Danes:

ogling the Little Mermaid from afar
ogling the Little Mermaid from afar
venue for your luxury buffet
venue for your luxury buffet
how much to sit in a shed?
how much?