Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Cohesiveness of Package
What we have is a great stage show, but as a Eurovision package, it lacks heart and likeablity.
Iceland have just selected their challenger for Stockholm with the result going very much to form.
Greta will now take her projection staging to Stockholm and should qualify comfortably from the tricky first semi-final in May.
For a good few weeks, fans have been proclaiming their love for Greta’s song with many believing it has the ingredients of a Eurovision winner or top-5 contender. Iceland’s odds dropped to the low 20s on Betfair following the semi-final performance, but quickly drifted out to 40+. That is one of a few red flags that suggests gamblers don’t believe in Hear Them Calling.
It’s worth acknowledging that at the time of writing, Hear Them Calling is the best song selected for Eurovision 2016. But we are 13 songs into a 43-song contest and Betfair still ranks over 10 other song-less countries higher than Iceland.
During the first round of voting, Greta failed to win both the public and jury votes, and only won the selection on the back of voter-transition. That isn’t a ringing endorsement, especially when you factor in both Loreen and Måns won landslide victories in their respective national finals. Jóhanna won by 9,000 votes in 2009. If a song can’t win convincingly on home turf, how can it win Eurovision or finish top-5?
When the Icelandic songs were first published, I picked out Greta and Alda as the two entries likely to win the selection. This was the best Iceland had to offer, and to me, it confirmed they weren’t in the reckoning for Stockholm. The market agreed, as Iceland were matched as high as 170.0, which was my £4 of destiny having laid them as low as 12.0. Only when Greta’s staging was unveiled did the odds crash to 20s.
The staging is impressive and Greta’s team have pushed the projection boundaries even further. In doing so, they have produced an overly fussy gimmick with unsettling imagery at the cost of connecting with the cameras.
Let’s run through the sequence:
0:00 – Greta starts in silhouette – no eye contact
0:30 – Greta plunges to the ground and waves her arms – no eye contact
0:48 – Projection graphics start and Greta rises – no eye contact
1:03 – Mid shot of Greta – first moment of eye contact but in shadow after 5-seconds
1:12 – Projection mirrors Greta’s twirl – no eye contact
1:25 – Giant hands trying to fondle Greta. Disturbing – no eye contact
1:41 – Shadow runs through Greta and emits a cloud from body. Weird – no eye contact
1:47 – Another shadow runs through Greta, but turns into bats – no eye contact
1:57 – Mid shot of Greta – second moment of eye contact but floods out after 7-seconds
2:06 – Greta jolts from side to side. Slightly possessed – no eye contact
2:31 – Demonic shadows projected behind Greta – no eye contact
2:35 – Song builds to climax – Greta smiles
2:37 – Hands and demonic shadows combine in foggy backdrop – no eye contact
2:55 – Culminates in backdrop of bats. Nice. No eye contact
The imagery is depressing and with the lack of connection, I see no reason for people to invest in either Greta or the song.
Listening to Hear Them Calling on its own, it’s amazing how cheerful the song’s melody feels, especially with those triumphant brassy sounds during the refrain. People will shout me down for this, but Greta, or her team, have looked at Måns Zelmerlöw’s winning staging concept and decided to employ the technology regardless of its suitability to the song. What we have is a great stage show, but as a Eurovision package, it lacks heart and likeablity.
Given the lengths they’ve gone to to create this concept, it’s hard to imagine significant changes in Stockholm. If that’s the case, I would advise them to add warmer hues to the backdrop and consider adding a happier ending. In current form, I have this placing around 14th -18th.
Does Iceland have a top-5 challenger?