I've been busy writing stories about the runners-up through Eurovision history and am yet, I think, to write a single word about the 2015 edition. Time to kick start things, good people out there. This Saturday, Denmark will select their song for Vienna and I decided to have a listen to the songs they have to choose from.
In all fairness, the Danish final and I have had a somewhat strained relationship lately. I often found the songs too formulaic, too tailor-made for competition with no decent chance of a life outside the bubble. Disappointing for a country with as lively a music scene as Denmark.
So - what do I find this year? Pretty good songs, I must say. And a wider variety than in recent years. This is my verdict based on the studio versions found on the official Grand Prix page.
01. Sara Sukurani / Love Me, Love Me
A pleasant opener with a touch of Bollywood and a whiff of the style that above all Greece mastered to perfection at the ESC in the past. Lacks a bit of the intensity it would have needed to stay in the viewers' minds and stand out as a real contender - slightly too tame for its own good - but not bad.
02. Tina & René / Mi amore
Gosh, have we heard this one before? Five years ago it represented Denmark in Oslo, twelve years ago it would have been a Friends album track, twenty-five years ago it would have been recorded by any slightly modern-sounding Swedish dance band. It is still good, it is still efficient, but isn't the audience out there ever going to grow tired of this style? If not, a potential winner.
03. Marcel & Soulman Group - Når vejer krydses
An attempt to bring a funky feel into the competition and normally I would applaud that ambition. Unfortunately this is more than anything else a genre that was annoyingly popular in Melodifestivalen some ten years ago: an exercise in style that is competent but nothing more than that. Soul without soul. Rapidly forgotten.
04. Cecilie Alexandra - Hotel A
A breath of fresh air in this quirky and perky little pop song that echoes "Joe le taxi" as well as "Somebody That I Used To Know". My personal favourite in its studio version but I fear it could be a bit too feather-weight to break through to the audience listening for the first time. Will need a very strong and driven performance to work on a live stage - can this young singer deliver?
05. Andy Roda - Love Is Love
Like so often when people attempt to make dance songs in the ESC, this one starts out as an elegant and interesting verse that builds into a pretty disappointing lack of chorus. Had it been the other way around - an anonymous verse builds up to a firework of a chorus - this could have been a contender. If Andy Roda is as charming live as he seems in the video presentation he could possibly make it work. I just wish he had more to work with.
06. Julie Bjerre - Tæt på mine drømme
I must admit it right up: as I'm no big fan of neither "New Tomorrow" nor "Only Teardrops" it makes me happy to hear Lise Cabble come up with something that sounds more interesting in my old ears. Catchy and easily retainable - and it would be nice to hear some Danish on the ESC stage again - but perhaps not dynamic enough to stand out in the crowd.
07. Anti Social Media - The Way You Are
Another exercise in style: this time a pseudo-Beatles feel that again leads up to a disappointingly square and flat chorus. The boys are good, however, and just as I'm about to give up on the song it starts growing on me and morphing into something more infectious and attractive. That last minute could possibly be enough to catapult it into quite a high ranking in the end.
08. Anne Gadegaard - Suitcase
Pretty similar to song 04 in style - laid back and relaxed girly pop that is light but at the same time has a certain bite and substance. Possibly encumbered by the fact it is up against the slightly similar (and arguably stronger) "Hotel A" and the question mark that is whether it's possible to make this sound as appealing live as in its studio version.
09. Babou - Manjana
This is a genre the Danes never grow tired of: the pretty generic song dressed up to look and sound slightly exotic. Catchy with a happy party vibe to it but at the same time oh, so trivial. That means nothing as an even more trivial ditty won the Danish final last year. A potential winner with slim chances of heavy rotation in my headphones.
10. World of Girls - Summer Without You
If these girls are meant to be the Danish Spice Girls - why do they remind me more of Suntribe (Estonia 2005)? The song is good but ordinary and sounds more like an album track or possibly the third or fourth single more than the big hit it would want to be. Not bad but hardly instant enough.
My prediction, then? My prediction is that Denmark will stick to their tradition of ignoring the songs I like and fall head over heels in love with something I don't think much of. That would be good news for Babou who could start packing his bags at once.
But I'm staying positive. My hope is that Cecilie Alexandra will unleash her inner stage beast, eat that camera like it was breakfast cereal and deliver her excellent little song with all the cool and confidence it takes to convince juries and tv-viewers all over the country.
1. Cecilie Alexandra, 2. Babou, 3. Anti Social Media