Long before the drawn-out voting reveal was finished in Malmö, Sweden, Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest had relegated the rest of the vote count to a decision on the runners-up, Ukrainian artist Zlata Ognevich and Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov, thanks to a buoyant performance of “Only Teardrops,” her upbeat and catchy winning song, which we’ve moved into our top rotation. It was perhaps given an unfair advantage by the luck of the draw—it fell in the midst of a long stretch of ballads, making it sparkle all the more—but the song really didn’t need the help. Without the usual bloc voting by the Eastern Europeans, it would have been a rout.
This year’s Eurovision performances ranged from high production-value numbers like Emmelie’s, to the stage-business masterpiece of runner-up Farid Mammadov’s ‘man-in-a-box’ echo, to the simple elegance of Italy’s Marco Mengoni, onstage alone in the perfect blue Italian suit, perfectly lit, riveting the entire crowd with a spot-on performance of a great song.
It’s always interesting to see how the winners in pop song competitions do in the “real world” and Eurovision is no different. There’s no magic bullet in it, and winning doesn’t change national music tastes enough to make the winner a sure Euro-wide hit.
That said, Emmelie’s “Only Teardrops” has Major Hit written all over it, coming as it does from the same musical vein as other hot worldwide hits like Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men, and it certainly doesn’t hurt being the winner of Europe’s favorite television event.
Eurovision has always been a showcase for the latest lighting, video and staging technology, and the Swedish production had all the dazzle you could want, plus the bonus of a winner that even the runners-up found it hard to fault.
If you follow the image link to the Eurovision site, you can still watch the video streams of the three nights of competition. If nothing else, take a moment to watch the beginning of Semi-Final 2 to see what the stage at Malmö Arena was capable of doing.