Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Historical Support Strength
Who da Måns
Heroes is a modern, commercial pop song worthy of clocking up a solid Eurovision score, but there's just something missing, in addition to a number of what ifs
As widely predicted, Måns Zelmerlöw won Melodifestivalen and will now represent Sweden at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.
Just 24 hours after winning Melodifestivalen, Måns now tops the outright market and carries the heavy burden of being called the favourite. Just a few days earlier, Sweden could be backed at over 10/1, even though it was obvious Måns would win selection to Vienna.
At the time of writing, Sweden are just under 4/1 having been much lower throughout much of Saturday night. That price seems far too short for a song many were describing as a great stage show, but shame about the song. Social media and other betting sites have been overflowing with hyperbolic praise with vastly overstated predictions based on Måns’ Melodifestivalen winning margin:
“Mans did better than Loreen and Eric, so will therefore win Eurovision etc…”
“Måns even beat ABBA!”
Those bright sparks who’s minds are well shielded from the mass hysteria that follows big selections will know that Melodifestivalen 2015 was a weak year. Måns’ closest competitors, Jon Henrik Fjällgren & Mariette had noticeably inferior songs and struggled to garner support from both sides of the vote. The televote had Guld och gröna skogar as it’s 3rd best song, just 4% short of Jag är fri, which had six lines of lyrics. It’s hardly surprising Måns won by 149 points.
When Loreen won Melodifestivalen in 2012, she had Danny Saucedo’s equally strong entry, Amazing, to compete with. Her 60-point Melodifestivalen advantage didn’t match her 133-point Eurovision landslide, so those investing in Måns on the back of his wining margin should exercise caution.
Similarly, in 2011, Eric Saade won Melodifestivalen with a 44-point advantage to Danny Saucedo. Eric came 3rd at Eurovision despite having one of the lowest, recent Melodifestivalen winning totals.
Accomplished Eurovision gamblers and experienced fans & bloggers should be treating Melodifestivalen and Eurovision as totally separate events.
Heroes was first described by friend of ESCtips, Tobbe EK, as a great radio song, who on first listen, wasn’t at all confident about it winning Melodifestivalen. This is the same song that won by 149 points on Saturday night. When I first heard Måns’ song, I was pleased it improved on his dated 2007 entry, Cara Mia, which then prompted me to visit a few high street bookmakers to back Måns to win Melodifestivalen; not on the strength of the song, but because his price should have been much shorter based on what we had heard to date. At that point, people were still telling me they were backing Mariette and Fjällgren, or were unsure what to do next. To me, this isn’t the certainty of a Eurovision winner.
The Avicii influences and obvious similarity to David Guetta’s Lovers on the Sun shouldn’t be overlooked, as originality is part of the Eurovision jury’s marking criteria, however, that never stood in the way of Chanee and N’evergreen, so its implementation appears lax and inconsistent.
I can’t deny that Heroes is a modern, commercial pop song worthy of clocking up a solid Eurovision score, but there’s just something missing for me, in addition to a number of what ifs. Eurovicious shared some solid reasoning on Sofabet, and assigned Måns the delightful soubriquet, Måndroid the pop-bot, adding: “there’s nothing human to hold or grab onto, no relatability or crack of vulnerability.
Eurovicious is correct in highlighting a certain Germanic coolness in the production. We labelled last year’s Swedish artist, Sanitary Sanna, due to her robotic, choreographed-to-within-an-inch-of-her-life production. The same criticism can be levelled at Måns; there is a lack of warmth and he does have that vacant, psychopathic stare that seems incapable of projecting any emotion.
The projection staging is highly effective and it does ensure Sweden stands out from the pack. Whether that will work in a 27-song final is debatable, especially against several more likeable males and a barrage of other staging gimmicks yet to be unveiled.
As I mentioned in the comments section on Sunday, Heroes has a fair few vocal layers throughout the song – more so at the end. This isn’t a problem at Melodifestivalen, as SVT don’t enforce the 100% live vocals rule required for Eurovision. Måns’ song has a child choir during the refrain, bridge and climax, and subject to a large consignment of helium being made available, this can’t be recreated in Vienna. So how do they tackle this? It’s likely Sweden will deploy five secret-singers to a far corner of the stage, well out of sight of the cameras. One singer will have to perform the vocoder-part during the bridge and song close. Four others will deliver the chorus in place of the pre-pubescent boys. Four or five backing singers is a lot to rely on, and although Sanna had the same level of support, the complexity of their task wasn’t as great.
It’s also worth comparing Måns’ vocal to that in Cara Mia. There are differences in the low register, and given Melodifestivalen’s penchant for playback assistance, it’s another component to be wary of. There is an acoustic performance that supports Måns nailing his live vocal, but this is outside of the Eurovision pressure cooker that has claimed the likes of Blue’s Lee Ryan.
Those of you who studied the full jury points last year will have noticed the seemingly coordinated under-marking of Sweden from certain national juries. With a resurgent Azerbaijan and Russia, a similar plan might already be in the making for Vienna.
Will Måns be Sweden’s hero in Vienna?
- Qualification History
- Final Performance
Highest semi-final score: 214 (2006: Carola – Invincible)
Lowest semi-final score: 54 (2008: Charlotte Perrelli – Hero)
Average semi-final finishing position: 5th
Average semi-final score: 114 points
Highest score (since 2008): 372 (2012: Loreen – Euphoria)
Lowest score (since 2008): 30 (2005: Martin Stenmarck – Las Vegas)
Average final position: 11th
Average final score: 124 points
Denmark – 8.4
Norway – 7.4
Estonia – 7.0
Iceland – 6.2
Finland – 5.4
United Kingdom – 4.5
Malta – 4.2
Slovenia – 4.1