Last night the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals—downloaded a lot of Greek pop music and then headed to Sweden to review Helena Paparizou’s Melodifestivalen entry “Survivor.” Did she transcend borders with her song about perseverance? Or did we need to persevere to get through this song? Read on to find out.
Franceska: Ah, yes, the queen has arrived, and with Melodifestivalen’s best song. She dominates the vocals, and the chorus is amazing. Her anthem of personal victory is beyond compare. The song contains some inspirational rhetoric about overcoming difficulties, which Helena has definitely done. All hail Helena!
Angus: For me ‘Survivor’ shows off the worst aspects of pre-recorded backing vocals. Helena has a powerful voice but it’s shrouded beneath the thumping background effect. Sanna has exactly the same thing but you can at least hear Sanna singing at some points. That being said ‘Survivor’ is a much stronger song than ‘Undo’. It’s more powerful and more deliberate. It’d also be sure to make it out of the Semi-Final, whereas ‘Undo’ will suffer from similarities to songs that the Ex-Soviets are sure to outsource from Sweden. With Helena being handed Loreen’s old spot I think we might be in for a late upset for Sanna…
Padraig: I’ve had an epiphany to equal that one in the bible where yer man realised the thing about, err, the other thing… ah you know what I mean. I have despised Helena for many years, solely due to her 2005 victory with the absolutely awful “My Number One” (yuck). So when I heard she was taking part in Melfest I wasn’t overly hopeful. But then Ms Paparizou pulled out “Survivor”. She’s put me back in my box and danced atop the lid, ensuring I stay there. Needless to say, if she wins Eurovision 2014, I won’t object.
Zach: I’ll admit, when I saw Helena would be competing in Melodifestivalen I immediately wanted her to do well. But I can honestly say, she deserves to do well, bias or no bias. The song is catchy, probably the catchiest in the whole final. Her vocals are strong, the song leaves an impact, and frankly, I like it more than her Eurovision songs. She has style, she has sass, it shows that she knows how to command a stage. I wish she moved around a bit more, but that’s not a make or break thing really. And above all else, it will have mass appeal in Europe, whether you think Sweden will like it or not. The international juries will prove this point I feel. It might even give her enough leeway to win even if she doesn’t win the televote.
Deban: Back in 2001 as one half of Antique, Helena Paparizou came third in Eurovision with “Die For You”. She made a second appearance as a solo star in 2005, and won the contest with “My Number One”. Later that year, she was congratulated in Copenhagen for having one of the most memorable performances in the history of the contest. Great accolades to build on. But what does my girl do next? She switches her national flag, and makes a desperate comeback, with one of the most auto-tuned performances in Melodifestivalen. Even her hand gestures are trying too hard! Flashback: Dana International remains a laughing stock for not advancing to the finals in Dusseldorf. However, people forget to credit Dana for her landslide 2011 Kdam victory. Helena won’t even come close to that. Mark my words, this isn’t going through.
Anthony: A “Survivor” of this year’s Andra Chansen and one step away from representing her country (yes, she was born and raised in Sweden and not Greece). Fans of Helena will know that she’s capable of pulling off live performances superbly. The power ballad entry is a far cry from the “My Number One” entry that secured Greece’s first (and only) Eurovision victory in 2005. However, I have mixed feelings about Helena’s possible return. While it’d be great to see her back, part of me fears the high expectations could get the better of her in 2014.
James: I oddly like this one, though of course it is a mainstream favourite and I am known for liking a lot of the alternatives in any national final. Helena has got a lot going for her – prior Eurovision experience, general singing experience, a fantastic voice and enough money to publicise herself. Overall, the song is pretty typical in that there is general attitude that she radiates effortlessly – an instant vote winner for Eurovision viewers who like a queen. But I think if you listen to the music and the melodies, it’s actually not that bad. It’s rather well written and scored. I am just not offended by this and, like with a few others, I would not be offended whatsoever if it wins. Why not? Though, the Greeks may wish that she’d have represented them again … or maybe not, financially speaking.
Patrick: There it is – my favourite song of Melodifestivalen 2014. Y’all know she is the girl from 2001 & 2005 but now she is the Diva of Sweden. Before Melodifestivalen Sweden didn’t know her name and now she’s really popular there. “My number one” was amazing but “Survivor” is way better. Look at Helena. I mean you have only look to her face and you will fall in love. The mystical Greek look, her wavy hair and her strong voice… I’m really in love with her and her song. I totally feel the heart and soul, the story and the strength. When I heard it the first time I knew it was a winning song and now I hope my prediction will come true. Kali tihi Helena!
Ramadan: The song is amazing. Smash hit! Love it, love it, love it! The more I listen to it the more I love it, and the more I believe it would do really well at Eurovision. Although this is the best song in Melodifestivalen 2014, Sweden doesn’t always pick the best song. I’m predicting second or third place for Helena, the woman who deserves to win it all.
Sami: As much as I love Helena, “My Number One” and “Die for you”, I was a little dissapointed when I heard “Survivor” for the first time. But at Andra Chansen everything changed. I love the new, mature style of Helena—and what a voice she has. Sadly, I think that Swedes will vote more for Sanna, but Helena has a song that is a thousand times better. The performance is so beautiful and powerful. I also love the lyrics. Helena is true survivor.
Wiwi Jury Verdict: 8.48/10