ESC 2017 Review: Denmark – In the Key of Australia, Where I Am

I do feel like Denmark saw Australia doing well and was like “I’ll have what they’re having” this year.

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: Demark
Artist: Anja Nissen
Song Title: Where I Am
My Ranking: 14th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 2nd Semi Final
Final placement prediction: 4 of 26

Denmark, riding high off their 2013 win is still using the same sound and graphics for their national final that they created for Eurovision in 2014. I just thought I’d mention that before I got in to it. Denmark has won Eurovision 3 times, two of those were in the 21st century (2000 and 2013) and somehow despite that have managed to NQ for the previous two years. Last years entry was honestly bewildering and this year their winning artist actually wrong the song for the UK entry so we’re just all over the place with Denmark actually. This song is a bit confusing come out of Denmark but again, after last year I’m pretty much open to anything.

I have to start off by saying that the first thing I thought when I heard and saw this song was that it was almost exactly what I was expecting out of Australia this year. Hot on the heels of Dami Im, Anja Nissen is a 21 year old who was born in Australia to a pair of Danish folks. She actually won The Voice Australia (I don’t believe any of our other song contest participants managed to win). She actually competed last year in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix with a song written by Denmark’s 2013 winner but didn’t quite make the cut. She’s got a pretty big career outside of the TV show circuit including work for Disney, non-profits, and a charting album. Also of note, Anja wrote “Where I Am” in part with help from a few other writers.

The song itself is the type that reminds me of something I can’t quite put my finger on. It feels like a Vanessa Williams song or maybe a Whitney song but slightly updated to sound less 90’s and a little more contemporary. I love Anja’s voice but the song actually leaves a lot to be desired. This wasn’t even my favorite from the national final and I find it doesn’t leave me as energized as some of the other ballads. Anja, in the national final, has some moments where her vocals get a little warbly and while I believe that she’ll have plenty of time to fix that before Eurovision it is a little confusing to me that they wouldn’t have a studio version available to show us how strong this song might get.

I think this song is going to be the Dami Im of this year. I think it’s another Aussie getting close to the top, this time under the moniker of Denmark. I don’t think that’s a bad thing but this pretty much hits all the buttons for the judges in terms of vocals, song timing, just the right balance of traditional ballad with modern techniques and tweaks. The staging is almost certainly going to be minimal. The lyrics have a punch to them (unlike Poland) and the beat makes it not feel like a complete old fashioned slog (in direct conflict with Portugal and Finland). I’m not a ballad hater and I feel like if you have to pick a standard ballad you could do much much worse than Denmark but also there isn’t anything here that is really blowing me away. This is one of those songs that I like during the ESC season and once it’s over I probably never want to hear it again.

I hope that Anja’s staging makes me eat those words but for now, that’s where I am.

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