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United Kingdom: Molly – Children of the Universe

    The BBC have officially presented Molly Smitten-Downes as the UK's representative in Copenhagen. The 26 year old Leicestershire girl will hope her song, Children of the Universe, will improve the UK's run of poor results. I like many other Eurovision fans was glued to the BBC red-button service last night.  Trouble was I was simultaneously speaking to Tobbe Ek and Tobias Larsson in our Melodifestivalen podcast. My first thought was how much Molly’s song reminded me of Hanna Sky’s Hope from the Finnish national selection, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu.  Both songs preach positive slogans and feature prominent backing vocals. …

Review Overview

Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Historical Support Strength

Rule Britannia!

This is a refreshingly encouraging move from the BBC and I wholly endorse this new unsigned, underground approach to finding their artist. With some clichéd improvements, top-10 might turn into top-5.

User Rating: 3.5 ( 58 votes)


The BBC have officially presented Molly Smitten-Downes as the UK’s representative in Copenhagen. The 26 year old Leicestershire girl will hope her song, Children of the Universe, will improve the UK’s run of poor results.

I like many other Eurovision fans was glued to the BBC red-button service last night.  Trouble was I was simultaneously speaking to Tobbe Ek and Tobias Larsson in our Melodifestivalen podcast.

My first thought was how much Molly’s song reminded me of Hanna Sky’s Hope from the Finnish national selection, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu.  Both songs preach positive slogans and feature prominent backing vocals.  It’s that last element I’d like to approach first.

I’m sure people will agree that the sudden “oh-eh-eh” and “oh-oh-oh-ohhh’s” are rather distracting and disrupt the gradual build of the introduction.  Molly does dive right in with the Power to the People exclamation, but for an introduction, I find it too overpowering and self-assured.

I’ve spent the morning considering what I’d replace the vocal stabs with and I have to admit defeat. Therefore, I decided to stick with the Power to the People hook, but seek to cool the ferocity with which the backing singers attack it, while trying to add an element of ethereal wave-like synths or strings to soften the blow.  Then, I was suddenly reminded of Cinematic Orchestra’s All That You Give, which features distinctive harp flourishes during the introduction.  If you listen, Children of the Universe opens with a small, very brief harp scale. In my opinion, the high, twinkly sound of a harp will ease the impact of Molly’s introduction. I would also add the harp during the verses and cool-down on the approach to the chorus.

I do not wish to sound negative about the UK’s song, but given the effort the BBC have put into this year’s entry, I find myself feeling more passionate about the UK’s chances. Anyway, I digress.

My next alteration would be to areas of the bridge and eventual transition to the climax.

When the drummer comes back in at 2:12, I would like him add more bass kicks on the approach to the climax.

Currently the climax starts as 2:30.  I prefer to add another layer to the bridge to leave people yearning for the climax, so an extra moment of sizzle will hopefully give the viewers a much needed goose-bump moment.  My proposal is: from 2:30 to 2:40 I would like a stripped back section where the refrain is repeated and accompanied by the drummer playing a simple 4×4 bass kick.  The backing singers would do the clichéd clapping over their heads too.  Then once the audience are well sizzled, there’s an orchestral boom, key change moment and the climax continues right through to the end of the song.

I hope you followed that!? They might need to rejig one of the verses to allow for a double-layered bridge, but in my opinion, this might be the difference between top-10 and top-5.  It might be a corny approach, but the song’s message is rather stereotypical for Eurovision.

If you watch A Friend in London’s New Tomorrow, I think you’ll appreciate the anthemic effect I’m trying to create.

From a staging approach, I’m drawn to Coldplay’s brightly coloured graffiti motifs used for Mylo Xyloto, in particular the back of Chris Martin’s piano.  I think it echoes the messages contained within the song.

With Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto as one example, the Indian festival of colour, Holi, is another influence I’d like to see added to the presentation.  The BBC have a history of creating dowdy, uninteresting stage shows, but I believe that Children of the Universe presents the perfect opportunity to be bold.


This is a refreshingly encouraging move from the BBC and I wholly endorse this new unsigned, underground approach to finding their artist. Well done!

Are the UK heading for the left-hand-side of the scoreboard?

  • Final Performance
  • Allies
  • Studio Version
The UK has finished in the top-10 once in the last ten years.

Highest score (since 2004): 173 (2009 – Jade Ewen – It’s My Time)
Lowest score (since 2004): 10 (2010 – Josh Dubovie – That Sounds Good To Me)
Average final position: 18th
Average final score: 42 points

Average Points Received

Austria – 5.2
Ireland – 4.9
Italy  – 4.7
Malta – 4.6
Portugal – 4.3
Israel – 4.1
Switzerland – 4.1

[mejsaudio src=”http://esctips.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ESC-2014-United-Kingdom-Molly-Children-of-the-Universe.mp3″]

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About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.


  1. It’s difficult to judge without having my mind clouded by the excitement generated. I would say that if this was the last song to be chosen, it would be a winner. Sanna Nielsen wouldn’t beat this. Carl Espen, hmm. I need to reserve myself until we have the other half of the competition. I have initial thoughts down, but I’ll keep them to myself for the moment.

    • Are you serious? Sanna is going to smash her

      • Stelios, this is not the typical Eurovision fan site where we all stand up for our personal favourites and argue like children. It’s where we try to intelligently debate and predict the actual outcome, (and hopefully make a bit of money in the process) and that takes a certain amount of training to separate the heart from the mind. If you’d like to passionately disagree with me, as you have been doing over on the thread for your country’s song – please at least have some good reasoning to back it up with.

  2. The best UK entry for Eurovision that I can remember. The best song chosen so far by a long way for me. If this was a Swedish or Russian entry I would be all over it betting wise, but it’s not so im holding off for a while . I might regret it like Denmark last year.

  3. Firstly i think we can all be glad the BBC have taken onboard where we were going wrong.Its a great way to select our act,at least for a few years.
    We should also congratulate Molly.Wogan and the press destroyed the ESC brand in the UK and the only way to ever change that was to find a contemporary singer to take a big risk.
    Molly is taking that risk at the start of her career and we should applaud that.

    Molly is a fantastic singer and looks amazing on stage.Shes genuine and comes across just right.
    The song has some problems though.It starts all wrong to me.They should drop the backing chanting “power to the people” from the first drum beat and instead lay the ground with just the drums.The first voice we hear should me Molly and the backing should be silent until the 0.44 mark.Laying the song firmly in the mid tempo range means the song drifts far too much as well.That then makes the hooks seem forced,and adds to a plodding feeling.
    Id like to see far less “Children of the Universe” chants from the backing as it takes over the melody far too much.Molly is the star here and the audience should be focused on her.

    The good points though are with a few changes the song can have a very anthemic vibe and might even end up the best “arena” song this year.With whats going on in the Ukraine at the moment the song might really connect to Europes juries and televoters.

    Molly and the song are the best entry we have had in years thats for sure.With a few changes and a fair wind i think shes looking at 7/12 maybe.In a weak year though a polished production might see her higher,if people connect to the message.

    My main concern.The backing singers overpower the melody and ruin a great contemporary song.They need to be more in the background,at least until the business end of the song.

    • I’m not sure I entirely agree. I think the chanting helps to grab the viewer’s attention and make the song more instant. Remember what we keep saying about songs that grow on you and songs that build slowly. This has a consistency to it. The backing singers in the chorus serve to support Molly and I don’t think they overpower her at all. Without them, the chorus wouldn’t feel like it ever progresses and grows through the song. The “children of the uni-children of the uni-children of the universe” hook is a sing-along point, as is the chanting.

      • See i dont think they do support her Ben,i think they overpower the melody too much.The problem they have is the song is so mid tempo they are almost stuck with how to lift parts.I think thats why the backing are used too much.
        You have a great contemporary vocalist yet the audience is introduced to the backing singers first.Again because the song is so mid tempo they try to compensate with far too many “power to the people” chants.Mid tempo is the road to ruin for us though.Its far too safe.

        This might work far better in an arena rather than a small venue as its designed for that though.

        I do think its a good entry,and far better than anything we have sent for years but its no ESC winner to me.Its a very weak year of course so it might push into the top 10.

  4. Just a quick point I shared with a fellow Eurovision punter, which I’ll going into more detail in the review…

    I lose interest during the verses. They almost sound rushed. Maybe she needs to work on her diction? Chorus and bridge are fine, though I’d like to hear a stripped back bridge with clapping, then fire off a monster climax to end.

  5. I’ve listened to the track a dozen times in the hope that I ‘get it.’ I haven’t ‘got it.’
    I’m not going to slate this entry as it’s a brave move and a positive change to try something different and that has to be commended. That said, this song is a potential minefield. The ‘Power to the people’ mantra is extremely dated and I found it slightly cringey. Durhamborn hit the nail on the head, it needs to be polished.

    My concern is that she is going to have to be the focal point of the performance. That’s a tough gig to pull off. Her appearance for one has to change. Okay it’s the debut performance, but a cream jumper and leather trousers? Really? If you’re in a band, you have safety in numbers. If you have an instrument, a la Alexander Rybak with his violin, it adds flair and an extra dimension. Molly won’t have that. All attention will be on her vocals and her ability to entertain the audience. Any vocal wobbles on the night and she’s in big trouble.

    I decided to run a test on myself. I listened to Molly, and then I immediately listened to Jedward ‘Lipstick’. Think of Jedward what you will, but I’m sorry, even though their vocals were a ‘little’ out of tune, I remembered Jedward over Molly. And that’s the problem. If there’s an exciting/fun/flashy act straight after Molly’s performance, I fear she may become instantly forgettable.

    I hope I’m wrong and Molly prospers, but as a solo act, she has to 100% nail that song to give the UK a chance, and then you have to ask yourself whether the song itself is strong enough. I can’t see that song getting airtime on the radio. Personality of the artist goes a long way, but in that regard, I don’t know about you but she seems a bit Josh Dubovie to me.

  6. Colin is a bit harsh but i share the concerns stated in some of the posts. it’s the UK remember so the song has to be pretty spectacular to win. i too think the opening is all wrong – gotta get rid of those backing singers early on. i also think the vocal was good but not quite good enough and agree with Gav diction is a problem – i didn’t understand hardly any of the lyrics in the verses which is a shame because i think if they were performed well i’d have more interest in them than the chanty cliched chorus.

    the good news is we should do better than the last few attempts but unless there are some improvements i can’t see this doing any better than nudging into the lower reaches of the top 10. also on the bright side…. we’ll beat France!

    btw did they nick Norway’s drummer from last year?

  7. OK, here is my non-UK perspective:

    My impression is what has happened here is they took a probably good song and made some “improvements” to it with stuff that they think is necessary to do really well at Eurovision. It is the formula of Denmark’s entry of last year but way more clumsy; this will fail. It probably was a decent song but right now it’s just a mess.

    The biggest problem for me is: This song establishes absolutely no flow.
    The intro is so wrong. Let’s do some strong anthemic ‘Power to the people’, to make sure Europe pays attention!! At the 0:25 mark we suddenly realize this whole stomping rhythm isn’t going anywhere. Suddenly it’s a dramatic ballad intro because that also works at Eurovision, right? But only for 10 seconds, because we want to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. So let’s add full strings here but hurry, because 40 seconds have passed already, so we need the chorus here and make sure we hammer this chorus home, by repeating it fifty times. Because we know Eurovision viewers, they don’t know subtle, so we have to really force it down their throats.

    She’s a talented singer but it’s obvious she is not comfortable with this artificial rock anthem arrangement. BBC still need to realize, let the artists decide what they want to do. power to the people!

  8. This is weird, all the faults people are pointing out, I infact see as strengths.

  9. Okay, now that the dust has settled a little bit, I will try my best to articulate my thoughts, but please do take them with a pinch of salt because (naturally) I find it difficult to be completely objective with this one, but rest assured I am trying my best anyway.

    I have seen people, not just on ESCtips, and not just punters either, talking about the structure of this song. Particularly the transition from verse to chorus. The thoughts that I have noted down were made after the very first listen on BBC’s live broadcast, because I really value that immediate judgement as it’s going to get me closer to the audience perception in May rather than basing all my theories solely on months of listening and analysing. I’m not going to take too much issue with the structure of this song, because although there is a chance of a few tweaks here and there, I expect the song to stay largely the same come May. The BBC usually do not unveil a demo to the public – only in 2009 and 2010 have they done so, and this was inevitable due to the selection format. I feel like I should be taking the song at face value rather than talk about all the little adjustments I’d like to make.

    I will concede that during the first verse, I did find it a little bit hard to grasp exactly where the song was going, but I now believe its fluctuation between the dramatic verses, the orchestral bridge and the electro-pop (with a hint of drum n bass) chorus works to the song’s advantage. As Shell said, some people may find it jarring on close, attentive listen, and that’s up to them. The way I see it, it’s like that old line “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” If a TV commercial gets on your nerves to the point where you talk about it to others, it has done its job. Not because it’s annoyed you, but because it’s got into your head. I believe that sort of holds true here too. The song is memorable, for better or worse, and something like transition from verse to chorus is relatively trivial. If it simply did not work as a piece of music, I have faith that Molly and her professional Swedish producer would have known and done something about it, so I think it’s a matter of taste.

    Let’s also keep in mind that Molly is new to Eurovision. She hasn’t really engaged with the contest in recent years, hasn’t got much previous awareness of it, so she doesn’t really have a clear idea in her mind of the sort of Eurovision songs that we as punters and as fans are used to. Pretty much anything by Thomas G:Son, most stereotypically. Gav’s suggestion of making a few cliché adjustments to the song justifies this in my mind. You can be wise enough to acknowledge that the proposals are cliché, but nevertheless, I believe that implementing such changes to “bring it in line” with Eurovision more, would ruin Molly’s entirely fresh approach to writing specifically for the contest. Her first attempt, as a complete outsider, but still as a professional and capable singer-songwriter, I really think she’s done a great job. She’s written a song that would stand up all on its own, and like Poland’s “Slavic Girls”, or indeed Margaret Berger’s “I Feed You My Love” – “Children of the Universe” is one of those songs that is going to push the boundaries of what is expected and/or can be tolerated in the Eurovision Song Contest. So, to try and measure this song up against songs as structurally trite as Russia’s “What If” or indeed Denmark’s “New Tomorrow” is kind of pointless, isn’t it?

    Anyway, let’s not forget that a jarring, messy structure with clumsy staging didn’t stop Zlata Ognevich last year. Ultimately, it will come down to the first impression, and I think that’s going to be one of an uplifting, anthemic song with contrasting dramatic interludes. One thing that’s even more of a sign that Molly has done a good job is the comparison between the live performance on Monday and the studio version. It’s actually better live!

    As I said, objectivity is not easy for me on this one, because it’s my country, it’s potentially revolutionary, of course I’m excited about it, but I don’t want to be blindly defensive of the song in a patriotic attempt to throw you all off the scent. I am being as honest as I can about what I think of the song. Having read the general consensus amongst other knowledgeable people though, I am going to keep my expectations erring on the side of caution. I think the UK’s placing depends on similar factors to Ireland’s Kasey Smith. Namely, Molly needs a bit of coaching with her stage presence and especially playing to the cameras. She appeared quite disconnected on Monday. She could also do with a little work on her diction, especially in the verses where it is difficult even for native English speakers to understand her. It’s a bit Diana Vickers. Other visual aspects such as lighting, stage backdrop (if any) and perhaps crucially – running order, will play a big part.

    Ultimately, I think we have here a song which, for better or worse, grabs your attention right at the beginning, even if some people don’t like the chanting. If Molly can engage the audience in the first verse with some good close up shots as she interacts and emotes the lyrics right down the camera, rather than appearing vulnerable with both hands wrapped over the top of the mic stand to the point where we can barely see her mouth, this takes us through to a quieter bridge which brings things down at a good point before the verse comes off too esoteric, or worse – boring, and then builds anticipation for an uplifting, anthemic and catchy chorus which bursts into life and introduced a hook that one can easily hum after one hearing. This is all there is to the song. This structure just loops, and I think it flows rather nicely as a quality piece of songwriting. After all, what is a song that just sounds the same for 3 minutes and can’t find any other way to make itself interesting than a key change? Isn’t that part of the reason many people don’t regard Eurovision highly?

    I’m a little more optimistic about Molly’s potential than to say between 5th and 10th place. I believe it’s a very cautious and realistic prediction, but this is not a year for the history books so far. So… it does depend on what the rest of the countries pick, and whether there’s a sense that Carl Espen’s Silent Storm can beat Molly? I’m particularly interested in the Dutch entry as I think that’s going to be potentially Molly’s biggest competition in terms of quality songwriting and assured performance.

    If the other half of this year’s competition don’t come up with something that creates a consensus on this site and over at places like Sofabet of being worthy of the glass microphone trophy, then we may have a serious contender here, even if by default, as was seemingly the case with Emmelie de Forest.

    • Good stuff, Ben. Very good.
      I must say that I actually prefer the studio version though. Her voice seems much more in command there.
      I am not convinced people will connect and vote for her, as long as the backing chants are the thing driving this song forward. But that might be just my personal impression.

      • The studio version is far superior.The backing are more in the background and that means you can hear Molly far more.She then owns the song rather than being the 5th backing singer.

        This song is 100% middle tempo all the way through.The only way to lift that is like Gav says,maybe a double layered bridge and a key change to lift the finale.The opening harp is wonderful and should be used through the first 30 seconds rather than the backing.

        Molly is great and the song is better than 90% so far but those chants are jarring and cheap.
        The studio version is far closer to where they need to be than the live version presented.

        • You sure it’s better with a key change, Durham? I think it’s woeful.

          • Works for me, Ben. Would like to hear a proper non-chipmunked version though.

          • Yes without doubt.My main concern is those darned backing singers early.On the studio version they support the melody rather than ruin it.
            Gav nails it when he says “cool the ferocity with which the backing singers attack it”.

            I also like Gavs idea about letting the harp carry Molly through the first 30 seconds of the song rather than the backing.I want the audience to connect with her straight away and it really does spoil that with too much ferocity.

            A key change when timed right from a bridge makes all the difference at ESC for mid tempo songs.Imagine Teardrops without the cooling bridge followed by the key change.It would of lost all its power.It might be cliche but the ESC audience loves a money shot.

            This is the best chance we have had to do well for years and its vital to get things right.How Molly does will affect us for a decade at ESC because if she does well and launches a career then other unsigned contemporary acts will jump at the chance,and thats vital for us going forward.

  10. Just some further thoughts that came to mind after a good night’s sleep…

    I’ve always been going on the theory that the songs closest to what would be radio-friendly, chart-worthy songs in Europe do the best. This is why I was firmly on Team Cascada last year, because the song was in another league in terms of production quality and commercial relevance, and I believed the juries would support it because of the reliable vocal. What I’ve learned from Cascada’s failure is that generic dance tracks don’t work, and the winner won’t be just any old stuff that works in the charts, it has to have a certain pedigree of quality, a level of personality and identity. Anyway, I digress. I stand by this radio-friendly, chart worthy theory, and I have to offer this insight to you all…

    Eurovision is a competition known for a certain type of music in the casual viewing public – but even they aren’t always aware how many of the songs have a Swede on the writing team, let alone how many songs –just one man– has in a grand final each year. With all the songwriting talent in the world, why is it always the same names and song structures that keep coming up? Because its a tried and tested formula?

    Some of these songs connect with the wider public, like Euphoria, In A Moment Like This and Popular, while plenty of others flop. If you would humour me for a second and imagine “the Eurovision bubble” and all the people, both fans and songwriters, inside of it, then a lot of songs that have finished in the top 5 at ESC in recent years could be seen as successful attempts by those inside the bubble to come up with a song that actually could stand up outside the contest. A meeting between the tastes of the superfans and the wider public, if you will. I believe Emmelie de Forest is one such case, if we’re talking only about winners.

    But what happens when the fan bubble, so to speak, is not even part of the equation? What happens when singers and songwriters approach the contest from the outside, with a background of writing for the wider public, or for the sake of their own artistry, instead of being accustomed to the tastes of the bubble and writing specifically with Eurovision (and nothing else) in mind… and, crucially, do a good job of it? What happens then?

    This happens:

    So, my question to you all is… Molly is a complete outsider who has written a song for the sake of her own artistry (she has made that clear in interviews) but at the same time, is approaching Eurovision. She has no idea who Thomas G:Son is, or what schlager is. This is what she’s come up with.

    Which country’s song is going to connect with the wider public more than hers? A question to be answered when we have 37 of them.

  11. What I’ve learned from Cascada’s failure is that generic dance tracks don’t work, and the winner won’t be just any old stuff that works in the charts, it has to have a certain pedigree of quality, a level of personality and identity.

    Welcome to the party.

  12. “What happens when singers and songwriters approach the contest from the outside, with a background of writing for the wider public, or for the sake of their own artistry, instead of being accustomed to the tastes of the bubble and writing specifically with Eurovision (and nothing else) in mind… and, crucially, do a good job of it? What happens then?”

    In most cases they don’t qualify for the final 🙂
    (Bulgaria 2011, Netherlands 2011, Israel 2012, Slovakia 2012, Albania 2013, Montenegro 2013)

    • Bulgaria 2011 – fair point, I agree that was an injustice, although the studio version was a big nothing.
      Netherlands 2011 – I liked it, but it didn’t come together on the night.
      Israel 2012, Albania 2013 – Too esoteric.
      Slovakia 2012 – Awesome song, terribly sung.
      Montenegro 2013 – “and I woulda gotten away with it too if weren’t fer you meddlin’ juries!”

      Maybe I wasn’t being specific enough when I said “and crucially, do a good job of it”. Sorry about that.

    • I reckon Molly should make it to the final. Just a hunch, mind.

      • Thats good Andy because big 5 country or not Bonnie looked so drunk last year she nearly didnt make it to the final.Gav also said “The Hump” the year before was nearly a no show as he took as long to get warmed up as “an old lizard”.

  13. if they can get it absolutely right i.e. staging/camera angles/delivery then the bridge could be the part that sells this song best.

  14. uk entry now officially has the best hook… at least to me… i can’t get the damn thing out of my head despite listening to numerous other over the past 3 days.

  15. This will get into the top ten, round about 7 or 8 I reckon. It’s better than a lot of recent stuff we have sent, but that “Power to the People” chant is so 1970s…..

    I reckon Norway and Hungary are going to slug it out….”Silent Storm” is a cracking song but Carl E is very weak vocally when he sings “live.” He is inexperienced at this game and that may be his downfall on the big night. Now if Johnny Logan were singing it…..

  16. It’s funny how the UK people think that every year is the year they are going to do well at last… Molly is a good singer but this song is…. naaaaaaaah, it’s not going to work (Place : 15 – 26)

  17. UK for top ten @2,4 at betfair, what do you think guys?

  18. If your backing the UK top 10 make sure to put your bets up at 2.7-2.9 to go onto the lay side.There are plenty of people laying the UK and youl get matched if you leave it up,dont take that 2.3.Everything put up between 2.5 and 2.92 today has had a layer taking it.

    • Yes, it sounds like free money to me. I think it will shorten under evens near match day when the patriotic punters kick in. I think this is mainly one guy on the laying side with a big bankroll. I saw him reload the same amount of 1225 @2 5 times in 2 weeks period. Everything over 2+ is a bargain in my opinion.

  19. Molly confirmed on Twitter today that a new music video is on the way. I predict her odds will start to gradually shorten once that drops.

  20. My top 5 in order at this stage before rehearsals etc.

    Winner of ESC = United Kingdom

    2nd Ukraine

    3rd Armenia

    4th Italy

    5th Hungary or Poland if rehearsal solid.

    I got some UK matched at 2.5,2.9 and 2.92 for top 10,insane prices.Molly is the best entry we have had since Gina G who should of won ESC.

    Wait until those douze points start flying in for Molly.
    Shes genuine jury bait and shes flying among televoters across the board.East and West.Im expecting shes going to get the best reaction from the audience and rock that old shipyard to its foundations.
    Im certain shes fighting in the top 4 to win.

  21. i think the top 5 in no particular order (and i don’t necessarily like all of these) will be:

    possible wild cards that can disrupt this are:

    Estonia (because of the interesting presentation)
    Azerbaijan (by finding a way to rig the result)
    Ukraine (because they may get a sympathy vote)
    Russia (because they may get a support vote)
    Poland (because of the sheer numbers of people who have seen it – 40 mill and counting)
    Austria (because the performer will stir up interest without singing a note)

    if a gun was pointed to my head to say who will win I would go for Armenia because it should score well with the juries east and west and it will be one the ex-soviet bloc can rally round.

    big shout out for the old country Malta though who i think may also finish high by cornering most of the folk vote.

  22. The Russian and Ukraine Molly fanclub have sent her a happy birthday video.You heard that right.Molly has a Russian and Ukrainian fanclub.Not expats but locals.The website http://vk.com/molly_uk on the video is the most popular music social media site in the eastern block.Its the one i use for getting the early Ukraine gossip and rehearsal vids etc.They even have photos on from her Graham Norton performance we can no doubt expect in May.The photo album has the photos last 3 in the top album.The fact shes getting fans on there shouldnt be underestimated.
    When was the last time a UK entry had genuine new fans in the eastern block?.Never in the modern age.

    The BBC need to get her on the road and promote her.


    • It’s definitely very encouraging. Jade got onto the cover of the Russian OK magazine in 2009, for whatever it’s worth, although it was the juries that got her to the top 5.

    • I totally agree, I think the broad appeal this song has should not be under estimated, if they can improve the act staging wise and production wise I see no reason why this shouldn’t be considered a contender. One more point to consider, Molly is scoring 1-2 in almost every esc poll. Does the song have any clear fanwank’s symptoms? In a similar way that Sweden and Romania obviously have?

  23. At this moment in time I have the UK winning Eurovision. It has the best hook of all songs and it grabs your attention from the very beginning. The only other contender from the bookies that starts well for me is Denmark. With the BBC seemingly taking a big interest this year. I think they will go all out staging wish. Also the EBU wouldn’t mind having the 60th Eurovision in the UK. Plus with molly having signed a record deal I think they will do their best to promote her prior to the contest. Saying all that it still needs a 2nd half draw to win. Which I think goes for any countries chance of winning especially this year with no stand out song as far as I’m concerned. The UK is my biggest green and will stay that way unless they make a right mess of things in Copenhagen .

    • Im the same Dec its my 2nd biggest green after Ukraine.The UK is probably the only western song that will score well in the east.Ukraine the only eastern song that will score well in the west.I think at this stage they are the two most likely winners.The UK top 10 bet at 2.2 on Betfair looks outstanding value.
      My one worry for Molly is im not sure the BBC know how to stage contemporary songs and artists.Im also not sure the song lends itself to memorable staging so it will need them to get the lighting,camera work and style perfect.Ukraine as well needs fantastic staging to show its style or it will come across as flimsy.So the two i expect to win at this stage could also easily fail.Its a weak year and nothing really screams winner so we can only do our best.The UK is maybe a jury top 3 song if delivered to its best.That might be enough.
      There are a handful of others who i expect to be darkhorses and/or improve a lot during rehearsals as well.
      One problem for Molly though is there are only 2 second half slots left,but 3 first half due to Denmark drawing 2nd.Thats if they split the big 5+1 like they have the last few years.I doubt wel all agree this year though and thats to be expected as its very tight.

      • I agree with both of you, but Durham about what you just said about the halves – where are you getting your information from? Last year, the qualifiers and big 5 drew halves for the final either after qualifying or during a rehearsal press conference. There is only one less second half draw available to Molly since Denmark drew 23.

        Makes me wonder though, why do they not draw the halves for the big 5 and Denmark’s exact number in January?

        • I picked it up on a Danish ESC forum Ben after Denmark drew theirs.It could of been lost in translation as i was translating with google.It was along the lines of the producers splitting 3/3 on the automatics so now 3/2.Hopefully its wrong.
          Id think the best time for the big 5 to draw would be after semi 1.
          It will be interesting to see if they help the Uk this year.
          What is the most interesting for the draw is last year they placed the two entries with the lowest scores from the semis who drew 2nd half in 25th and 26th slots.

          • You know, now that I think about it, I seem to remember that was originally the plan – to let producers have complete free reign over the final running order. They only drew halves in response to the mass protests against a producer decided draw in the first place.

            Maybe they’re hoping no-one will notice this year?

  24. My initial reaction has been pretty negative to this entry, and I must admit that my perspective hasn’t changed a lot.
    It’s not that I don’t get the hype about this entry, especially after listening to the much better balanced studio version a few times, the song’s lack of flow, lack of identity and structural undeterminedness become less of an issue. It’s full of clichés though, so I do struggle to buy into that top3 with juries prediction. On the other hand I’m looking at last year’s jury table and it makes me shrug my shoulders. The inoffensiveness certainly works in its favour.
    Children of the Universe makes use of a very similar feel like Denmark did last year and similar atmosphere, so if that’s an indicator it should do pretty well, but on the other hand, Denmark had a prettier and younger face, with a less arrogant/eccentric style of singing, a much stronger chorus and a number of effective stage gimmicks. In terms of motivating viewers to pick up their phones it’s currently not in the same league by my count.
    It’s doing well in fan polls but not as well as Denmark did either, so I’m really struggling to see a placed finish, let alone winning. That being said it’s entirely possible that it will get much shorter in the outright market, so good luck to the folks trading with this.

    • I agree shell this isnt in the same league as Teardrops but then it isnt up against the sort of quality Denmark was last year.She had Norway to chip away at her votes and strong entries from across Europe.I also dont think it smells like a winner.It isnt good enough i agree.Then again nothing is good enough this year so its a case of finding the cliche run of the mill entry that doesnt offend the juries,is safe,middle of the road and can pick up televotes everywhere and the UK seem to tick those boxes.
      I much prefer Ukraine to the UK and think with a good draw Maria is winning ESC, though i know im alone in that.There are also several like Poland.Estonia,Slovenia.Italy im expecting to do much better than their prices suggest.
      Im not trying to trade a profit on the win market,but i should/will be able to get the UK,Ukraine and a few others running for free for me i think.Il be happy with that and will then concentrate on the top 10 and match bets.This is the hardest year iv known for picking out the certain 2 or 3 contenders.The fog might clear during rehearsals.

    • So in summary, the issues which are currently (realistically) fixable are stage presentation, her on-stage personality and perhaps her style of singing? Am I right?

      It’s all well and good to compare COTU to Only Teardrops and say that the latter is a stronger package but, Only Teardrops isn’t competing this year, so I don’t really understand what the point is?

      • My point is that for Teardrops a lot of viewers felt compelled to pick up the phone, because they wanted it to win.
        If COTU is inferior in every aspect to last year’s winner chances are people will support something entirely different.

      • To be clear, my intention is not to pointlessly bash UK or Molly just for the sake of doing it. Just feeling obligated to share my thoughts as they seem a bit in contrast to what I read from the more optimistic takes.
        I promise to keep open minded until rehearsals as I usually try to do with most entries and will be more than happy to join the UK bandwagon for placed finish if the evidence supports it.
        Personally, I would love the UK to win, would be great for the contest and the betting markets. Would love if a winner lands that’s still available at 21.0+ odds four weeks prior to the contest.

        • Don’t worry Shell, I’m not taking it as UK bashing. All I’m doing is trying to understand why you think what you think, and whether or not the things you say are holding Molly back, really are.

          • For some reason I’m with Sunstantshell here. Even though it’s a solid package it somehow feels me cold. It’s not something I would pick up my phone and vote for. To me it’s a solid effort which is lacking something I cant even pinpoint too well. That’s just how it is with some songs. Israel, Poland and Estonia are my dark’ish horses to top10 which I’ve all backed already. Those dont leave me cold.

            It’s a difficult year, I’m really dont convinced Armenia will take it down, by personal favourite to take it down is actually Sweden. Norway has turned from favourite to rather long shot which I’m going to look closely when rehearsals start. IF he can pull himself together and perform it well he just might take it.

          • I put my thoughts elsewhere and am in Shell/Archi camp. Just for the record, are there people on here that fancy UK top4 and aren’t from UK?
            (bashukmode/ I think I already know the answer to this question /endbashukmode).

          • Its funny Archi because Poland and Estonia are two of my darkhorses for top 10 as well.Id add Slovenia and The Netherlands to that list.Im not expecting them all to hit top 10 but iv been getting matched on most of them around 6s-10sOne or two would be nice.Nothing on the Netherlands yet but if they qualify that will see me back them top 10 if they remain a decent price.
            Anyone who got on the UK around the 30s mark will get a good free run anyway as shes sure to trade below 20s at some point.I had her in the book at 16s to lay off but took it off and il probably take 20s rather than wait.Being heavy, 10 points of free run is good enough for me.

  25. Quick thought: I have an imaginary jury results from 5 individual of the juries, they rated two songs in the final. The first: 7-8-11-6-10 the second 1-1-17-1-25. Guess who finished higher. I have come to the conclusion that inoffensiveness is not only important to do well with the juries, it is the absolute key! This is where Hungary and Armenia fx could be in trouble, and UK in a really good shape.

    • Uk will beat both Armenia and Hungary with the juries id expect.Photos of Molly coming through with the gold headress and warrior princess look are perfect.
      She is looking like shes going to come across as some kind of Boudicca.People will relate to her.Shes an incredibly empowering young woman.Id be the first to slate the UK,but this is a superb package,.Im not sure if Molly can win but shes a very serious contender and the 2.2 on Betfair for top 10 is a steal.Id take more but im sky high.

        • Boudica (/ˈbuːdɨkə/; alternative spelling: Boudicca), also known as Boadicea,queen of the British Iceni tribe, a Celtic tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.Her name was clearly spelled Boudicca in the best manuscripts of Tacitus,the roman historian who wrote about the events.
          So a British warrior queen who took on the might of Europe.

          • imo it would be a mistake to have a performance with patriotic/nationalistic tendencies as it will be likely to alienate the rest of Europe. they already think the UK has a superiority complex (and it does) without compounding the view further.

      • I wouldn’t take 2.24 on betfair at the moment since Bwin offers 2.3.

        • Bwin have a limit of £80 though Boki,so anyone wanting a bigger bet Betfair is the place.But yes its a good price 2.3.

          • Yes I know, my limit is 60 euros (total stake+win) so I’m not bothering with them anymore but some people still have 250. More important is the fact they priced it like this, many others are priced lower than betfair but not UK, so If the price holds and others follow betfair price will drift. I personally stay away at the moment, it’s still a borderline for me and I can’t decide which side to take.

    • Do we have confirmation that this is indeed how juries are instructed to create their aggregated rankings?

  26. Im in the non believer camp for this also, comparing this to only teardrops is flattery of the highest order this is more closer to hanna sky’s hope to me, it feels like they have tried to cook up a decent eurovision entry but it still feels lacking and falls into the bland category for me.
    Lets see how it shapes up at rehearsals but for now im not even convinced it will be top from the big 5

  27. I had a few glasses of white wine and gave Molly’s song another listen.
    Someone seems to have filmed while doing it. Well what can I say…

  28. Iv started to get matched out on this now at 15s and 15.5s and there are backers taking that.I was going to wait for it to come in to maybe 10s,11s or even shorter but im so heavy on this at average 26s i thought it would be better to trade a big free run now.Im top 10 at average 2.52 and a good chance that will be odds on soon but il probably not trade a free run on that unless it came in to 1.5.

  29. Here is a highly useful piece of information in my opinion. This is a rating from music professionals all 100 % jury candidates from all over the continent. UK running away :), Malta and Finland in top 5, Latvia not in the bottom half. With maybe 2 changes, I think this is a very reasonable top 10 from the jury side.

  30. Apart from Armenia, that top-10 is very western-leaning. There will be a minimum of two Eastern nations in the top-10. Also wouldn’t be surprised to see one of either: Romania, Estonia or Greece make top-10. I think the juries will go for either Romania or Estonia. Greece will, as ever, nab the televote. In terms of who can score both sides, Romania are a great shout if they sort that staging out.

  31. Yes it’s western leaning for sure, but the votes are coming from all over the continent. Last year the jury result were also pretty western leaned with Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Malta, Italy and Netherlands all in there and Belgium pushing for a spot. I doubt Romania, Greece or Estonia will be troubling the juries top ten this year though they all might have a decent chance to be top 10 in the televote. But one thing is for sure, this is great news for the UK isn’t it?

  32. no worries for the vocal. even though i backed at 17s i’m not getting overly excited. it still has the eastern bloc to overcome and the Nordic bloc. and that is still a pretty tall order imo.

    • I don’t think it is, the UK has gotten points from the east even in bad years. I believe Azerbaijan gave 1 point to Josh Dubovie, and a 5th place for Blue in the televote is pretty good going too. At this stage, I would advise focusing on a bit of an ultimatum. If this isn’t the winner (and I’m not saying 100% it is) then who is the winner? Don’t overthink it and trust your instincts.

      • First when I heard the UK song, I thought “this is the winner”, but I must admit when I saw the market’s disbelieve it clouded my judgement and I started doubting my first instincts. Now I am getting more and more confident UK is the most likely winner. It’s winning the fan polls without having any obvious fanwank’s symptoms, it’s winning the euro jury by a margin, It’s ranked highest of the foreign entries in the German I tunes chart, Molly is getting fan clubs in Eastern Europe, People will connect to the lyrics due to the political situation in the world, EBU most likely want’s UK to win it. Though it might lack the quality compared to previous winners, so does the over all field this year. UK has probably the broadest appeal of all the songs this year, likely to take points from every country (Denmark didn’t exactly have any Balkan “friends” last year but still got their highest average point’s from there) . My first instincts told me and so does the reasoning. If anyone could threaten UK this year it would be Denmark.

  33. Iv always thought the two that ticked the most boxes as Ukraine first and UK second.Iv now got them both running free for high four figure wins.Ukraine nearly a free 5 figure win.

    I also fear a few others in the contest including Romania,.Those last few im trying to get free runs on now and although they wont be huge greens they will be low 4 figures.A couple i might not be able to trade out of (Italy/Poland) unless they shorten a lot (75s/141s).If not il let them run.If i have to let them run il trade out 15% of the profit from Ukraine/UK to turn the whole book slightly green and cover those two stakes.I think Italy will shorten but Poland is looking like it wont.

    There are also a few real darkhorses that might/will look amazing in that “box” look stage with the masses of LED screens.Gavs eyes and ears will be crucial in rehearsals for those.So possible il sell a bit more profit and buy a few others.

    I expect Ukraine to win ESC or the UK at this stage but very open to other challengers based on staging.

    Obviously Slovenia should win for having the best artist,best song,best produced and best video but thats dreamland (I still couldnt help backing her though at 360 in solidarity, its my money and il do what i want with it ha)).However il settle for her winning the jury vote in the semi to send her to the final).

  34. Just another day at esctips comments section

    • Oh come on, Shell, I’m starting to think Molly not being the favourite is because so many of us are British/Irish and we’re being cautious or just sort of in denial that we really could do it this year. In the last few days it seems that every time Molly nearly becomes 3rd favourite, someone else crashes in price! I’m honestly trying not to be patriotic or biased about this at all, I don’t seem to feel overly excited about Molly winning, but I look down the list on Betfair and I can immediately think of a very succinct reason why all the main competition won’t win.

      • 🙂 Don’t worry. I don’t think you are being irresponsibly patriotic, it’s just the easiest way for me to interfere a little bit and offer a platform for skepticism.

        Your theory of the British punters being extra cautious is interesting, but it would be the first time something like that is actually happening. As far as I can remember the UK never outperformed its betting odds. Even in the years 2009&2011 when UK did relatively well on the Saturday night, the finishing position still reflected the price in 2009 and again underperformed in 2011… And in 2012 British punters were more than happy pumping money on Engelbert, already drawn at #1, with odds around 9/1.
        In such a betting climate registered over several years, I think it’s imperative to be especially skeptic towards a country like the UK, because of the market’s bias and the huge opportunity it presents if things turn ugly.
        What we can observe already is that no other country has seen the same amount of action on betfair’s top10 market than the UK. Not even close.
        If we are collectively focusing on the positives and point out reasons why other entries can’t win, there is a danger of missing out on a potential lay opportunity because the belief in Molly already developed a life of its own.

  35. Serious question does any of the commenters apart from the the english ones think this is seriously in with a chance? I cant believe so many people are rating this as a contender.
    My problems with it: molly comes accross snooty and not the most likeable. The power to the people chants seem desparate and contrived, the chorus is pretty rubbish in all honesty and is just repeating three words before completing the sentence properly, the song is pretty bland anyway and last but not least this is uk with no friendly support.

    • See our Icelandic friend, SirMills post above. 🙂

      • Cheers Ben! Yes Pimpin I seriously think this is with in a big chance without having any patriotic feeling towards UK what so ever, and this song isn’t even one of my personal favorites. The arguments against other contenders winning are too solid compared to the arguments against this one in my opinion. The irony behind the UK entry is that the most pessimistic views are coming from Brittish people and it’s my educated guess is that so does the beautiful odds in offer at betfair. The English “mantra” I heard so often in my recent visit to London “UK will never win Eurovision” as long with the fact the song is not really western leaning is clearly affecting those odds.

    • I agree pimp and I dont think it will win.I think Ukraine will win at the moment or something that really works on that LED stage that will show itself in rehearsals.I do though think its right in the sort of safe zone that the new modern voting system seems to favour and its ticking a lot of boxes.Its dangerous.
      I feared the UK might do well for those reasons and im glad iv traded it free as i want it on side.Would i use my own money backing it?,no,not to win.Iv got my own money down on the top 10 at 2.5 and i think thats the best way to play the UK,back the top 10 heavily and trade a free run once it comes in to 1.5ish.If it doesnt run the bet.
      So although i dont think the UK will win,i do think its a challenger that could win and a great top 10 bet.

      The truth is its wide open this year and for the first time i can remember im not sure of anyone who is certain to get top 4 never mind win.Its a year to get as many as possible on side for free and try to limit liabilities.I wouldnt be shocked for the ones iv got on the outright winning or being outside the top 5.It telling that nobody is really sticking their necks out and calling a winner.Nobody is confident id expect.

  36. If the OGAE polls are correct then its a one horse race, Sweden. I notice a lot of negative comments here regarding Sannas chances and I wouldn’t be too sure. The song will appeal to a broad range of people and could become a default winner in an uncertain year. A case can be made for/against 6 countries but make no mistake the UK can most certainly do it. As everybody here knows the draw position could prove critical. I also agree with the assertion that London 2015 would be a preferred host location for the 60th Anniversary. I wish Molly well.

  37. I still think sanna is the hardest act to take apart for me anyway.
    Destroys molly in every way possible that i look for in a entry not saying she will win but i just find it the entry with the least downside

  38. Thank you Gavster and congratulations on what I consider to be the best website for Eurovision information. Every year I try and pick the winner and that means taking all views, polls and historic voting patterns into consideration. I have to admit to personally liking Swedens entry but I can see others challenge too….have pretty much covered whats in the running except Armenia, not because I don’t like it, because I just can’t see a broad appeal. I know many will disagree with that assertion!!

  39. Molly is currently promoting in Malta. Can she beat Azerbaijan to their 12 points?

  40. Tim, she most assuredly will. Malta is responsible for 14.37% of the total votes the UK received 2000-2013, second only to Irelands 27.32 %.

  41. I re-read Eurovicious’ semiotics article over at Sofabet earlier this evening, and this video came to mind. (Warning, NSFW language.)


    I’ve posted this in the UK article for a reason. 😛

  42. I think that’s more due to the fact that UK has sent a lot of camp crap, than to the special nation bond 🙂

    Also, as much as I’ve come to respect this song’s chances to place well – does anyone really believe ESC promotion tours make a dent in the voting figures outcome? Although I guess if any country to do it in, it would be Malta (voting totals can’t be that high).

    • I guess it depends on the countries you visit, and the channels through which you promote yourself. If you have a guest slot on a big prime time show then great, it worked a lot for Isis Gee who got 10 points from Ireland most likely because she performed on the Late Late Show. Then again, Anggun turned up all over the place for France, but mostly on Eurovision-related events, and went on to get a big fat zero in the public vote.

      I hope whatever Molly is doing will secure her some decent votes from Malta. Would be nice if she went to an Eastern country or two as well, but I don’t think she’s got any time left. Does anyone know what she’s doing in Berlin?

      • The Irish televote (was 100% televote in 2008) to Poland is one of the most biased relationships in the contest (almost on par with Cypern-Greece), so I hesitate to attribute the 10 points to her appearance on the Late Late Show…but of course you’re right, the level of exposure is key. I remember Sweden 2008 that despite being a fanwank extraordinaire, never managed to get any big gigs at all (not for lack of touring effort). And finished like 15-20th in the finals.

  43. Over 120,000 Poles reside in Ireland and this figure was much higher in 2008. This probably explains the bias!

  44. The 120,000 is an actual census figure from 2011. It was estimated that double that number lived here in 2008 before we went bankrupt! 45,000 Lithuanians live here today and the voting patterns have been knocked a little out of kilter as a result. Eurovision is a little connect to their homelands and they vote accordingly.
    I’m actually hoping our 12 points will go to Molly this year. It took me a while to ‘get’ this song but I have to say it has really grown on me. I’m struck by the number of people from UK who don’t believe it can win.

  45. Has anyone found UK vs Ireland H2H odds so far this year? I haven’t been able to (not even at Paddy or WillHill), and this confuses me considering that it’s usually one of “the” H2Hs with so many bookies being from there.

  46. UK top big-5 country – 2.88 @ Boyles

  47. Anyone knows when the big5 will draw their first/second half allotments?

    • Sunday May 4th.

      • Will they get same chance as others (13 first half slots 12 second half slots) or will they draw what’s left for big 5 + Denmark (3 first half slots 2 second)?

      • Sorry, I forgot that Big5 drew last year after their 2nd dress rehearsal, not the first dress rehearsal. So that would mean the draw taking place on the Tuesday the 6th.
        The only confirmation we got though is that nothing will be changed about the procedure, whatever that means.
        So I believe they will once again let them draw 3 first half and 2 second half ballots, to avoid all big5 ending up in the same half.

  48. A bit of fun on BBC Radio today, hopefully this works for people outside the UK.


  49. Just watched molly on graham Norton. BBC please keep those 2 drummers in Copenhagen. They looked the part in my opinion. Just get rid of the hippy look on molly and it’s on to a winner.

    • jeez i just saw it too. it’s going to have to be a lot better than this in Copenhagen. rabbit in the headlights or what? its probably nerves but she is not selling the song very well. but if she is nervous on the GN show what is she going to be like on the big night? there were glimpses of Molly enjoying herself… but too few! this is not winning at the moment and I fear the BBC think they can just turn up with a good song and win it… very naive! i agree Dec that the image is not good either… she looks uncomfortable.

      • Rob you have to keep in mind that was one of her 1st performances since the official release of the UK song, if not her very 1st. As it was recorded well before it’s airing tonight . I saw no nerves at Eurovision in concert or the London Eurovision event. I think /hope she has grown into the role at this stage with all the promotion.

    • There won’t be enough room for 2 drummers on stage, it’s 4 backing vocalists and one drummer as we’ve seen, I think they might be planning something special that will be expressed another way than with someone on stage, but we’ll see. Molly did look nervous but come on let’s give her a chance. She’s got time to get comfortable on the Danish stage and even if she looked a bit scared, her vocal was quite robust I think. The backing vocals sound better now than they did in March. Aurally, it was a very good performance compared to the studio version. Sunday will tell us more.

  50. Power to the pupils

    • Thanks for posting.

      She definitely looks nervous, which is a worry – more smiles would do wonders. Didn’t think the vocals were too much affected though.

      Would like them to tone down the hippie-theme. Did love the two drummers, but I guess both won’t fit on the Eurovision stage?

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