Denmark, Emmelie de Forest, 1

Are Europeans too happy to vote for sad songs? The last time a dark, somber song won the contest was in 1995 with winning-wary Ireland’s—I mean Norway’s—”Nocturne” by Secret Garden. It was so dark of a song that it would induce a bloody mass suicide on Sesame Street. The introduction of televoting changed the standard of selecting Eurovision winners. Ever since then winners have been songs of inspiration and hope like “Love Shine a Light” (1997), “Molitva” (2007), and “Believe” (2008). Some songs were tongue-in-cheek, fun, and celebratory such as “Everybody” (2001), “I Wanna” (2002), “Fairytale” (2009), and “Satellite” (2010). None of the songs that won after 1997 were sad songs. It begs the question, will Europe select a sad song as its 2013 winner?

Anouk Eurovision 2013This year, the bookies put three songs with gloomy productions and melancholy lyrics as the frontrunners to win Eurovision 2013: Denmark’s “Only Teardrops,” Norway’s “I Feed You My Love,” and The Netherlands’ “Birds.” Before we start placing bets on which one of the three will win, let us reflect. Which past Eurovision winning songs had lyrics like “You put a knife against my back” or “Hopes turned into fear and with my one wing I can’t fly” or “Look at us now, we only got ourselves to blame?” In reality, Eurovision audiences are not filled with gothic, emo teenagers partaking in daily self-harm. While these favorites are actually some of the best songs in this year’s Eurovision, I fear these songs will not properly connect with the rest of Europe and may lead to a rude, surprising awakening on the night of May 17.

Marco Mengoni San Remo Eurovision 2013 ItalyAs Europe dithers in financial crises one after another for the past several years, Europeans are still selecting a mix of upbeat, happy, or overly saccharine songs as their winners. Eurovision is normally a time of celebration, having fun, and enjoying diverse cultures. When it comes to depressing songs, Sweet Brown puts its nicely, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That.” If Europeans are still feeling happy, then I would not count out countries like Sweden’s “You”, Germany’s “Glorious,” Russia’s schmaltzy “What If,” Ireland’s “Only Love Survives,” and Italy’s sentimental “L’Essenziale” – extravagantly sentimental songs so sweet that a couple listens can cause Type II diabetes. Look at their track records. Sweden has been very successful since its Melodifestivalen revamp in 2011. Germany and Russia are recent winners and do well when they put in the effort. Italy does well when we all least expects it to do well (e.g. 1990 and 2011). Ireland may be a big underdog since it’s been under the radar since 1997, but didn’t they win in Malmö 1992? Where is Eurovision this year?

Conclusively, Eurovision pundits should be very cautious calling 2013 a three-way race. 2013 may be as close as 2003 (when Turkey beat Belgium by two points) or 1998 (when Israel barely won against Malta and the UK). Frankly, this is good for Eurovision and terrible for the bookies and pundits. For the past several years, the competition became too predictable albeit with some great winning songs becoming Eurovision classics. An unpredictable contest in Malmö will definitely make incredible television. Who will win? I can definitely say it will not be Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, or Lithuania. Be very cautious betters and gamblers.

 

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Anouk4us
Guest

There’s only a few songs not instant. There’s only some songs that make you curious for more. There’s only a couple of songs that challenge’s you to investigate all what’s in it. Good singers in this contest, even excellent ones, I agree. But there’s only one excellent singer that dares to be different. Take that in mind when you vote.

Happy
Guest
Happy

The bulgarian entry this year-Samo shamponi is one happy song full of energy,dynamic and rythmic.Elitsa is great singer with very beautiful voice,and the instrumental is great!The drums are fantastic!This song is unique! very much people like it but now it is on 30th place in esc stats pre-chart.I think it deserves much more!Please if you like it vote for Elitsa and Stoyan-Samo shampioni!

yaacov
Guest
yaacov

hello friends
my name is yaacov and i am from israel
it is about time each country will sing in their language
and bring back the big band not the playback
also time for a ballad to win a ballad like two amazing singers and songs
1.moldova-amazing song in the romanian language
2.san -marino-amazing song in the italian language
i will be very happy if one of them wins,
the best songs must win
enough with politics and vote for the art of music
i would love to hear from people about my post
thanks

DEX
Guest
DEX

SERBIA,SWEDEN best choice for winning,young,super vocals,song alredy global hit in Brasili,U.s.a,evreybodu can jump and smile.

Edre
Guest
Edre

Honestly, I think actually Europe is too sad for sad songs. The financial crisis is really hard for some European countries, so I suppose people want to listen to happy songs for forget, for a moment, about problems. But, finally, the result is the same: sad songs aren’t loved as upbeat and dance song, and it’s a waste. I disagree about Denmark, it seems to me it’s not a dark or a sad song, despite its meaning. And I think this time Italy won’t reach high places. Marco’s new CD had really amazing upbeat songs that were able to show… Read more »

John
Guest
John

This article raises an interesting point – are Europeans more likely to vote for upbeat songs given the bleak state of affairs at the moment?

I wouldn’t exactly call Denmark dark (it’s essentially a break-up song, and they have done well in Eurovision in the past) or Norway (it’s more edgy than sad), but the Netherlands is definitely a melancholic song, and might not score spectacularly well with the televoters (I’m convinced that the juries will be a different matter though).

Anthony Ko
Editor

@Gert Waterink,
I agree with songs being less cheesy and camp nowadays.
The Eurovision Song Contest is still sometimes regarded (especially the UK in particular) as a cheesy, camp, Euro-kitsch contest. However, judging by the standards of songs this year, it pretty much throws the stereotype straight out of the window.

chris
Guest

Ummm… if Europe doesn’t vote for a song because it isn’t happy, then they are living in a bubble.

Hungary won’t win because the guy basically nasal breathes the entire song.

Gert Waterink
Guest

@Dan:

I think you are talking about the era 1999-2006 no? That was the 100% televoting era. Actually, as of today, 2013, I think it’s more jury-minded again. Moreover, the songs are less cheesy, less camp as 10 years ago. What do you think?

Dan
Guest
Dan

IMHO this is a phenomenon of the “televoting era”. It was different back then in the 90’s when juries ruled supreme. Incidentally the winners of ’95 and ’96 are amongst the most magnificent songs I’ve ever heard in my whole life. Nowadays cheap thrash like “Bombo” (thank God Adelen can’t sing) and Zaleilah are people’s favorites…

Gert Waterink
Guest

Well, I do think Eurovision is a refelection of the (political) times we live in really. As you might have known, Europe is facing the biggest economic/financial crisis since….since the 1930’s? Anyway, in Netherlands for instance we are facing the highest unemployment rate in decades. And allthough 8% doesn’t sound that serious, for Dutch standards it is. I think if you look to this year’s field of songs, then one thing strikes me: There are a lot of low-tempo songs and ballads. That doesn’t necessarily mean whole Europe is crying and dying, but it does mean that Europe is coming… Read more »

Joyces
Guest
Joyces

Well its just what people want! Quality or Copy I think:))

Alexander Green
Guest

I don’t really agree that Denmark is a “melancholic” song. It’s reflective and brings up the problems it’s addressing in a gracious way.

I agree that most Eurovision winners have been too “happy-go-lucky”, and a change would be nice. Then again, most Eurovision entries (especially before the last few years) have been too happy-go-lucky!

Tom
Guest
Tom

Interesting statement. And I think you’re right.

Europe is too happy to let sad songs win, I think. But if you look at the good score for a controversial song like Suus, Albania’s 2012 entry, I think it’s safe to conclude you can have a succes in Eurovision with a melancholic waltz like ‘Birds’.

However: I don’t think it’s gonna win.

Wouter
Guest
Wouter

Oh well, i’m really happy if the writer is right… Making it to the final would be a great success for Anouk already. And if she end up high it would be massive. I don’t think she will get in the top 5, even the bookies say so. I even don’t mind if Anouk gets 26th in the final. We just need to break the curse this year, maybe then other great artists from The Netherlands will participate too (like Esmee Denters, Eva Simons, Sharon Doorson). ps. Kati Wolf was a terrible singer in 2011, wasn’t really a surprise she… Read more »

Fikri
Guest
Fikri

The writer is right… “Hungry” won’t win Eurovision, but Hungary probably will.