Dansk Melodi Grand Prix was a good show. From what I saw of it. Given that DR made such a big deal about the fact that it could be seen outside Denmark this year (tusind tak før det, DR, it’s not like the whole point of the contest is for anything like a European song competition or anything…), the streaming quality was a stunning mess. Relying on Flash technology is annoying enough, but with no provision for using mobile devices, there were a lot of hot computers out there by the time the event was over. I had to watch on the lowest possible setting to avoid lag.
It’s 2012 – try harder.
In further ridiculousness, two of the performances are subject to a copyright claim, so they’re not on YouTube. If you want to see them, click here to go to the full show. You can click the little white lines to get to each song.
So, besides that, show was good, presenters didn’t outstay their welcome, everything was tight (if a bit flat at points) and even Alexander bloody Rybak didn’t spoil it (too much).
We started off well with fantastic Jesper Norstedt, who opened the show with absolute confidence in Take Our Hearts. As I said before, he’s appeared before a huge live audience at Parken stadium in X Factor, so he knows how to work a crowd, and it showed. The song itself isn’t actually up to much – there’s nothing really to hang it all off. Jesper worked it really well, though, and it was great.
Jesper, and everyone else, had their intro clips soundtracked with the studio versions of their songs. I’m not sure this was a great idea, and it did show up a lot of issues with some of the acts.
Aya’s Best Thing I Got was interesting. She’s got an unusual voice that seemed to get a bit lost in the large arena. And when the song itself is fairly flimsy, there’s not much you can do. Having Aya perform alone on such a big stage was also a mistake – she could have done with the support of a couple of back-up singers, at the very least.
It was fun listening to my friend Ole Tøpholm doing the voiceovers for the intros. I was mesmerised by the red shirt.
Kenneth Potempa’s Reach For The Sky should have been performance that was right up a Danish crowd’s street – full on pop-rock. He even descended from the stage and into the crowd. In fact, all of the performers displayed a confidence not too often seen in other competitions elsewhere. But it all just fell a bit flat. It wasn’t his singing, that was absolutely fine. I can’t pinpoint a reason. It was just a bit forgettable.
As “a typical schlagerfan”, as I was ‘dubbed’ this week (I’ll give him typical), Ditte Marie was always going to be my favourite. Overflow is everything I want – fun, fast, killer chorus, slightly unhinged woman in an ill-judged frock (or even a leotard with tassles – yes!), and Swedish. Unfortunately, this was the moment that DR’s stream decided to fail. Nice timing. Really nice. Watching the performance on playback, Ditte Marie was great. Managing to use the full length of the stage, she pulled off the key change with aplomb (even if her shout to the crowd almost made her miss a line from the song!). Shame she had to put up with that terrible acoustic-style ending. She deserved a top-three placing.
Remember when I raved about Philip Halloun and Emilia’s Baby Love Me? I was wrong. It’s amazing how a terrible performance can destroy something in minutes. It also demonstrates the perils of reviewing studio versions of songs that can sound very different on stage. This was a perfect example of that. Awful, awful, awful. Flat, sharp, all over the place. Hugely disappointing.
Oh, Suriya. You looked absolutely amazing. Leather frock, so much lippy on that your mouth was the 3D element of the show. You’ve said that Forever I B Young maybe wasn’t understood by the audience. You might have helped it along with your performance if you wanted. Barely audible vocals, retreating to the back of the stage for the dance break, and a look of utter boredom with the whole affair. Even your songwriters looked a bit perplexed at the end. Not the way to do it.
Interesting outfit on Karen Viuff – puff sleeves that appeared to be channeling the Michelin man. That was by far the most memorable moment of Universe, which was a very reluctant performance. The song itself is quite nice, but was never going to go anywhere, not for me, anyway.
Aye, aye, cap’n, schlagerfiasko right ahead? Who would’ve predicted that when Soluna Samay came on in her naval cap to do her lovely Should’ve Known Better that she’d walk away with first prize? She certainly wasn’t my winner of the evening (out of the top three, I’d have preferred Jesper), but looking back, it was actually one of the more thoughtful performances, making use of the huge stage space with musicians and back-up singers (sitting on a sofa…). Soluna’s vocal was also strong, and she was confident. Will this song get past the semi-finals of Eurovision when it’s up against some of the most ridiculous efforts Europe has to offer? Who knows, stranger things have happened, but I hope she makes it. It’s sad that some people are comparing her to Sweden’s Anna Bergendahl, who caused her own schlagerfiasko by not getting to the Eurovision final a couple of years back. Anna certainly deserved to be there, and it was not from lack of effort. Chin up, Soluna, I’m supporting you.
Finally, we had Danish-singing Christian Brøns teaming up with Swedish-singing Melodifestivalen veteran Patrik Isaksson. The song itself is pure boy-Eurovision. Singalong, strong chorus, arms in the air. Christian and Patrik Olsen. But then they started with their live vocal. Oops. Especially Christian, whose voice broke at the worst moment on his big note. It still came in third in the end – but maybe it would have done better if the performance had been sharper. They should’ve known better.