In the Danish final Thomas N’evergreen basically promised the Danish TV viewers a lot of extra points from the Russian speaking countries. They never came and he is now accusing them of cheating. Many Danes are satisfied with the fourth position, but for Thomas it is a missed victory. EuroVisionary has analysed the Danish situation.
The problem already started in the Danish final, the Dansk Melodi Grand prix. It was several times pointed out that by choosing Chanée & N’evergreen we would get a lot of points from countries that normally don’t vote for Denmark. With Swedish songwriters we could also count on 12 points from our neighbour that gave us no points at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. The Danish TV viewers could do the math and calculated that with these guaranteed points we didn’t need an unrealistic high amount of votes from the rest of the countries in order to pull home the victory. If they voted based on that in the Danish final that we don’t know, but it might have had some influence, which gave the duo a better chance of winning than any of the others.
Chanée & N’evergreen only promoted themselves in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia. In Georgia Chanée made the mistake of talking warmly about the Armenian entry, something that wasn’t well seen. In Oslo things went wrong right from the beginning. The first Danish rehearsal was a disaster with many technical problems and at the following press conference Thomas demonstrated a total lack of diplomacy when he was asked why he did so badly in the Russian final last year if he was such a big star over there, which he constantly talked about. Thomas replied that Russia isn’t a democratic country and that televoting really doesn’t work there. He explained how he had been told already before the Russian national final that he wouldn’t do well as the result was already arranged. I don’t know enough about the Russian system to know if he is right or wrong about this, but it is probably not the wisest thing to say at a press conference where journalist from all over the world are gathered.
Many of us Danes were happy that the press conference was shortened by 10 minutes. Then at least Thomas couldn’t do more harm. That happiness didn’t last long though as it quite quickly became clear that Thomas had more to say. He showed his anger to several journalists when complaining about not being able to get dry Ice on stage. The entire Europe quickly learned that Denmark have had that since he was in 4th grade, but that it apparently hadn’t made its way over the water to Norway yet! The fact that NRK had made the Danish delegation aware of this not being possible to use due to the stage several months ago was overlooked – or maybe it just wasn’t communicated to Thomas.
At the first press conference a misunderstanding happened as they were asked if they were in love. They answered yes, but didn’t mean with each other. That however was taken differently by the foreign journalists who thought that for a couple in love they have very little chemistry and Thomas only wanting to give Chanée an awkward kiss on the cheek was seen as them having problems in their love life!
The technical problems were less at the second semi-final and the chemistry between them a bit better. Now they looked more at each other, but the smoke instead of the dry ice was still a problem for Thomas. He was frustrated and unfortunately that came out at the following press conference which made Eurovision history when it was cancelled after only 4 and a half minute! I didn’t time it, but that was what I heard afterwards. They were asked about the chemistry and though Chanée tried with a totally valid explanation about that the technical problems made it impossible to focus so much on that yet, Thomas cut her off and in an aggressive style made it clear that he didn’t want to hear more about these things from someone who probably hadn’t even seen them rehearse. The host of the press conference got scared of Thomas and as he at that time also had scared most of the journalists present it was simply cancelled and the problems in the Danish delegation made totally visible to everyone. Denmark dropped from being a favourite to win to a country people doubted would now qualify. Up until that time I had spent an awful lot of time defending Chanée & N’evergreen and the Danish entry, but after that press conference appearance even I started being quite embarrassed. It looked like Thomas was well on the well to throw it all away for us.
At the very last moment Denmark changed their stage performance and dropped all the things about dry ice versus smoke – and it worked. We qualified for the final and even got starting position 25! Things were looking good again although Thomas already there started talking about that what everyone else saw as a good position was actually quite bad as most of the viewers in the Russian speaking countries would have gone to bed before Denmark was on! If Thomas really was such a big name over there that they all would give us high points surely they would know that they could just vote for song number 25 as soon as the voting started. No need to wait until they had performed.
After ending fourth with almost no points from these countries Thomas however didn’t use that excuse anymore. Now he went back to saying that we lost as in those countries you can’t trust the voting. He said there is no organisation or company to check the voting is done correctly, but he is clearly forgetting that it is the German company Digame who collects the televoting in all participating countries. They have quite an experience with these things and have been used for the Eurovision Song Contest since 2004. Have they suddenly been bought by countries like Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine just to be against Thomas this one evening? The juries all sign a contract with EBU about being neutral and objective. Of course they could all have talked together and arranged being anti Danish, but as Thomas, in the Danish final, made a big deal out of these countries not liking each other anymore, but all seeing him as their very own star it appears unlikely that there suddenly is a big conspiracy against Denmark and him both with juries and televoting. Although it would make a good story if it was indeed found to be the case.
But no, there appear to be no conspiracy in this. Already in the Danish final several had our doubts about whether or not he was actually that big in the countries he pointed out. A simply Google search showed one song on the Russian chart. That was there for two weeks, but several years ago. It was even a duet with a Russian singer, Thomas ‘Russian ex-wife. Of course it might have affected not being able to speak Russian, but we did find out his name spelled in Russian and still only found a few hits on him; nothing about big concerts with more than 50.000 people and nothing about big record sales. Now it can be believed that the internet isn’t completely free in Russia, but still, it does appear a bit strange that it is so hard to find information about him. Why wouldn’t there be Russian fan sites for him if he is one of their biggest names? Thomas has probably exaggerated his popularity a bit and DR went along with it for the Danish final as they had so high ambitions and really wanted a victory and here came a guy who practically could guarantee it. We Danish fans wanted a victory just as much so we gave him the benefit of the doubt. At the press conferences we really just wanted him to shut up and got more and more nervous the more he spoke up. We were surprised that this “superstar” didn’t know what to say – and in particular what not to say to the press. At the end we agreed on that Thomas had been living too much in Russia as he appeared weirder and weirder.
I believe that Thomas is very dedicated to the things he does – and very much perfectionist about his work. He wanted everything to be perfect and got frustrated over the technical problems. This let to him not thinking clearly when talking to the press – and that is apparently still going on. I can understand that he is frustrated, but all this talk about conspiracy is simply too much, just as it was too much to accuse the Russians of not being democratic and cheating with their voting. Maybe he is right, but it is simply not something you talk about in front of foreign media, including Russian ones if you are trying to get their votes. Left is one question though; if Thomas dislikes the Russians so much why does he still live there? Why didn’t he move back to Denmark after his divorce? Maybe it was due to his big career over there…