Have we really been through nearly all the entries this year without talking about the favourite to win? Yes, the favourite to WIN – I’m not 100% convinced if you ask me, and it’s certainly not from a nation I was expecting to grasp for victory quite yet.
Armenia debuted in 2006 and have had a far stronger performance record than I gave them credit for – in the seven contests they’ve participated in, five out of six entries that needed to qualify made it to the final. Not too shabby! Only sitting out the 2012 contest in neighbouring Azerbaijan due to security concerns, they have nonetheless notched up an impressive 5 top 10 finishes.
Their high watermark remains 4th place 2008 entry Qele Qele, but in order to try and bring their first victory back from Copenhagen, the national broadcaster AMPTV opted for the internal selection of popular host & comedian Aram MP3. So-nicknamed due to his reputation for comedy covers of popular songs, it was nonetheless a little surprising for him to enter Eurovision with such a weighty and dark song, apparently dealing with themes of domestic violence.
“Not Alone” has a strange pacing to it – rather than a usual verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, it opts for an extended buildup that takes up the first half of the song with an orchestral swell and tender vocals. But once the action really starts, there’s some heavy dubstep beats in there and tortured vocals from Aram.
It’s growing on me, but really I’m struggling to see this as a winner. It’s opening the first semi-final, and I suppose it looks like it’ll be a dead cert to qualify judging by the odds, but I think it might be a bit too serious and slow-starting to get serious traction in the final. It depends a lot on the draw, but from what I’ve seen of the staging it might be an uphill struggle to make this one stick in the collective memory.
Of course I’m always happy at the prospect of a country scoring their first victory, even if this is far from my favourite song in the mix this year. His alleged homophobic comments are perhaps more troubling, but I’m taking that with a grain of salt right now, we’ve had those sort of accusations debunked in the past. Still, it’s giving me pause…
For reviews of ALL the competing entries in the 2014 contest, as well as coverage of all the national finals and all sorts of other news, please visit my Copenhagen 2014 Hub by clicking the link, or the “Copenhagen 2014” menu on the top banner, or the “#Joinus” crystal on the left-hand bar.