Back to the roots!

The Danish line-up reveals a contest where the song is in focus. Most of the songs have successfull songwriters behind them. Andrew Lloyd Webber is writing for the UK and it appears that Denmark also is ready for letting the Eurovision Song Contest be a songwriter competition. It is back to the roots.

When my eyes quickly scanned through the 10 songs for the 2009 Dansk Melodi Grand Prix my first reaction was that this would be a competition for the songwriters. For many years the Danish final as well as the Eurovision Song Contest seem to have forgotten what it is all about. A good looking singer with some sort of gimmick stole the spotlight over and over again. The songwriter was often irrelevant, barely mentioned and the song forgotten about before the three minutes had ended. No wonder the best songwriters decided to stay out of that circus and leave it to amateurs.

No matter who will be singing United Kingdom’s entry this year then we already know that the songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber will steal the spotlight, just like Russian songwriter Philip Kirkorov did in 2007 where only few people noticed poor Koldun who couldn’t get a word said at their press conference. Ani Lorak’s look saved her from suffering the same destiny in Belgrade where Kirkorov had written the Ukrainian entry.

The Danish singer, whoever it will be, might not exactly suffer from a world star like Andrew Lloyd Webber or an egocentric like Kirkorov, but chances are that he or she will be sharing the spotlight with a songwriter that gets the recognition for having written a song that was strong enough to beat the competitors in a Danish selection of high quality. Chances are also that this songwriter is used to the spotlight and already has lots of successes on his résumé.

When you open your national selection for foreign songwriters you know that you open up for the Swedes! It has been mentioned several times in the past by DR themselves that the closed national selection was to focus on the quality of our own songwriters and not be drowned by the Swedes. This year they opened up for the very first time and several of the songs are indeed written by Swedish songwriters. Most bizarre in this is that one of the four specially invited songs is written by Swedish Claes Andreasson and Torbjörn Wassenius, who wrote Wolves Of The Sea for Latvia last year. This is bizarre as they are foreigners and as such should not be given wildcards. And even more bizarre as they already had been selected for the contest with another song that was chosen among the ones sent in for the selection – and therefore didn’t need a wildcard! Singer and actor Jimmy Jørgensen will however be singing their wildcard song and as he is one of my personal favourites I probably shouldn’t complain too much about this fact!

Another of the songs with Swedish songwriters is written by Jonas Gladnikoff, Christina Schilling, Henrik Szabo and Daniel Nilsson. This is an example of Eurovision Song Contest fans for filling their dream to participate at a Contest. It is a bit hard for me to relate to them as songwriters as I have known them as fans like myself for many years now, but I have always enjoyed Jonas’ songs – also the many mp3’s where he tried to sing some of the Danish entries over the years. To keep up Jonas’ professional reputation I should probably keep them somewhere safe on my computer

I am looking forward to hearing many of the songs, but it is quite a new experience for me that my expectations for a lot of them is based on the songwriter. Ronan Keating is an example. I don’t know the singer Niels Brinck, but with Ronan Keating as songwriter the promise of a good song I will like is there. The same promise counts for Christina Undhjem’s Underneath My Skin. As she was lead singer in a well known Danish band and has been in the Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix twice I do know her music, but it is the songwriter Bryan Rice that steals the spotlight. He is a great singer with success and I have wanted him as a participant for years. Now it finally happens although, I would have preferred him to sing himself. 

Lise Cabble is another well known songwriter and her participating again really doesn’t come as a surprise. Her songs quite fit a Dansk Melodi Grand Prix and though only one of them has won they are always a nice addition to a show. That she is songwriter on two of the six songs selected among the 684 sent in might be a bit too much though.

In a contest full of well known songwriters it could be feared that the singers all would be unknown amateurs or given DR’s reputation of selecting participants from their previous talent show Stjerne for en aften (Star for a night) many rightfully feared to see one or two from the 2008 edition of X-Factor being chosen for the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. The singer-side is however not that weak although it is mainly being lifted by the specially invited names like Jimmy Jørgensen, Johnny Deluxe and Marie Carmen Koppel. All three being well established names and the fact that they are quite different in their style of music really adds to an interesting competition. Among the six songs that were chosen from the ones sent in there are only two whose singing qualities I know of. Trine Jepsen of course from the Eurovision Song Contest in 1999 and the 2006 Dansk Melodi Grand Prix and Christina Undhjem as mentioned before. I do know Claus Christensen who will be singing Big Bang Baby, but I know him as the songwriter who wrote Drama Queen, Denmark’s entry for the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest and his song to Kendra Lou in last year’s Danish selection, but as this will be his first time as a singer I have no clue of his singing talents. It is however quite interesting that the Danish selection is so full of great songwriters that the songwriters now starts to sing!

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