Another Under 23 contestant, Fie Winther, left last week after finding herself in the B2 with the other remaining contestant of the category, Henriette. Tonight, the remaining finalists will take on Eurovision songs, given that Denmark was the latest country to win said contest with Emmelie de Forest's "Only Teardrops". Who'll prove worthy of representing their country? ... It's time to face the music!

Recap after the jump ...

Last week there were some disputes between Blachman and Remee.

Remee: While Blachman's critique is so strategic and unfounded I will only relate myself to what we are doing.
Lina: It takes all my will power to get back from that (i.e. having to choose between her own contestants two weeks in a row).
Today the contestants are singing songs from the entire catalog of international and national Eurovision Song Contests (ESC), all the way back to 1957. So how do the judges feel about that institution?

Remee: As a songwriter I have won the German and the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. So I have some kind of relation to the contest.
Blachman: I wrote a song for the Danish contest. It was not particularly good.
Lina: The biggest challenge is to find a song that is not too yucky!

Lina is clearly the one who has the biggest problem with ESC songs. It is often looked down upon. Harlou comes out making a mock Eurovision introduction: “Good evening, Denmark. Bon soir, Danemark.” We cut to Louise and Jacob who are test running tomorrow’s Dansk MGP. Then back to the show.

Harlou: Blachman, you are no Eurovision novice? What characterizes a great Eurovision song?
Blachman: Well, it has changed over the years. It used to be something very fine. Today it’s difficult to tell them apart. It is variation upon variation. But there lies the challenge, how to remodel the cliches so that we feel something by it. It’s an important job. My own contribution was 15 years ago when I won seven grammies, so I thought I would do something else.
Lina: Actually it’s helps when we have a limited selection. We have to redefine something, a song which might be a bit sticky …
Harlou: Remee, you won Dansk MGP in 2012 with the song "Should've Known Better", sung by Soluna Samay.
Remee: There was never any doubt that Lucy was a special talent. But that she has so many facets, so much greatness, passion, protest songs, so much character and discipline, that surprised me. It’s a great pleasure to present Lucy Mardou.

Lucy Mardou

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Lucy: XF is hectic, there is always something happening. I seek calm within myself. And when I am calm within, I can just let go on stage.
Remee: She is the calm of the show. When I am stressed I can just look at her, sitting in a corner on the ground, completely calm, with a thoughtful comment to what is going on. Where does that calm come from, do you bottle it at Thy?
Lucy: (laughing) Yes, they sell it there. No, it comes from within.
Remee: Have you always had it?
Lucy: Not at all. I used to be more hectic. I had to experience everything, right now. - Tonight’s song starts where people might expect me to be, and then it changes pace, and explodes into a party. I am looking very much forward to it, because I have been serious, grandiose etc., and now I can just be happy, have a party, and dance. It will be so much fun.

"Satellite" (Lena)/"Nocturne" (Secret Garden) - 8/10 - Lucy got the best song. Lena won the contest in 2010 with this amazing tune, then represented her country once again with "Taken By A Stranger", another great song that finished 10th. Her win was Germany's second, the first in almost 20 years. The song that it's mashed up with was Norway's 1995 winning entry. To say the least, this was simply a weird performance. Lucy was rocking a weird do, crazy dress and hat included. The vocals were outstanding, even the hectic arrangement, which made the whole performance that much more fascinating. Props to Remee and even bigger props to Lucy for pulling this insanity off.

Lucy comes out with a very special creation, the gown she is wearing. The song starts with a very original sound but quickly turns into an Eurovision-sounding song. Three acrobats appear from underneath Lucy’s gown. I would say it’s more spoken than sung; not that I have a problem with that, but that’s how I hear it.

Harlou: What a show! What a dress! How was that?
Lucy: It was a party!
Lina: It was very lovely. No blue crosses, I was in a different world. There were references to Alice in Wonderland, and it worked very well. I had to remind myself that I have to notice how you are singing. And you sang very well. There were many words in that song, and we don’t have so much time to rehearse them but you survived. Well done.
Blachman: Nice vocals, the accent, a bit of lightness which is good, in contrast with the more theatrical you have had before. Humour is a good thing, but I have to say, I had big expectations to your cooperation. The pop genius and a great singer. It hasn’t come, but you sing very well. And it’s a party, but it’s also a night for evaluation where we see your previous performances in a series. And I don’t really know which direction you are pointing now. Excuse me.
Lucy: You don’t have to excuse yourself. It’s just your opinion.
Remee: How lucky that you are in my category, because I can see you pointing upwards in every way. You lift this show to a level where it has never been before. There has never been one who was so willing to take a chance, who never loses her integrity, and your singing voice is so wild. I can’t imagine anyone else who could have done that.

Steffen Gilmartin

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Remee: Everybody has told me, put some spunk in Steffen. And we did last week; to the extent that a former jazzer was on the verge of joining him on stage as a dancer … meaning you, Blachman…
Blachman: What? Sorry, I wasn’t listening?
Remee: Now he is completely bobbed-down. I cannot take anything more away, it’s just a man and his incredibly soulful voice. No gimmicks, no tricks. This is the raw Steffen.

Steffen: I live with my son, my daughter is here during the weekends.
Son: It’s crazy that you are still in the XF.
Steffen: You mean, I’m too old?
Son: No, but it is unexpected. Dad does what he wants to do, personally. And that’s what you should do.
Steffen: My family is a base for me that allows me to create music. The kids support me a lot, coming to the live shows, and are very proud and happy. It makes me calm, gives me joy, and I want to do well because they are there.
Son: We hope he advances. And of course one is proud, that is obvious.
Steffen: It’s the fourth live show…
Son: Yes, let’s hope the next song choice work just as well. Otherwise, boost the charm.
Steffen: I have not had so much time to be with my family, but when we are together, we have a lot to discuss.
Son: We are also happy for you. You have invested many years on this.
Steffen: Tonight I want to give something back with this song to show them that they are an important part of this.

"What's Another Year" (Johnny Logan) - 7,5/10 - This song gave Ireland their second win in 1980. So you can see how dated this tune actually is. That said, it sounds great on Steffen's voice, I think his unique sound totally modernized it. His voice is so expressive, I could feel all his emotion. The problem may be the arrangement isn't really suitable for a singing competition, Johnny's original has a faster tempo, while Steffen's is so slow. I loved how it felt but it may be more appropriate for a more intimate setting.

It really is a stripped down version, just Steffen and his piano. The song is about losing someone, and I do feel a little empty when the song ends.

Lina: You have a lot of music in you, you are very safe. And as calm as Lucy; almost more calm. But I also see why you haven’t had a breakthrough yet. I am waiting for an explosion, for something to happen. But nothing happens. I also noticed during the presentation that you have a sadness about you: Well, soon it will be over, it has to end, tomorrow we may die.
Blachman: I understand where you are in life, it’s all not a party. That was the best of your performances, where you were most present. You should continue this line. Excellent. Congratulations.
Remee: I know your melancholic side and your embracing side. Your biggest strength: We can feel you when you sing. The most fantastic thing about this show is that we can find someone like you, at age 50, and we have never heard this voice before.
Blachman: But one thing: It’s like a one-stringed guitar, we need to hear the other five strings.
Remee: It takes four minutes to get a comeback. Steffen, be proud of yourself.

Henriette Haubjerg

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Lina: Henriette is quite the opposite of Steffen. A very young girl with a fine and naive expression. We too have peeled something off. For the song we found something really fine and redefined it.
Henriette: I was very sorry to be in the bottom two.
Blachman: There is a bit of a rebel in Henriette.
Henriette: I told myself I had to pull myself together and fight for it.
Blachman: Not going back to the super market this time. She made sure of that.
Father: You are so tough. To go out there before the crowd, and with a million and a half viewers.
Lina: I thought a lot. Should I change the direction? But no!
Henriette: I trust Lina. If she tells me to do something on stage, I will do it.

"Danse i Måneskin" (Trine Dyrholm) - 7,5/10 - While Trine didn't win with this song (she finished third in 1987 MGP), it still made her a star since she was only 14 y/o at the time. Massive improvement over last week's fiasco. It seems she's just focusing on the vocals tonight, which she should. She sounds pretty great on this, it had some issues towards the end, but this is definitely something I could hear on the radio right now. 

Henriette is certainly not bobbed-down. The first night she stood as nailed to the floor, the second night only one foot was nailed so that she could turn in 90 degree angles, and the third night she moved more, although not quite the wrecking ball. Tonight, she's back in one spot. And you know what, I don’t think it matters anymore. She is able to get across the screen. Towards the end the song modulates, rises three half-tones, which is so ESC. I am annoyed by the audience clapping.

Blachman: Let me put it like this: It’s the best version I have heard of this song. And a dramatic arrangement and a potent band. Your sound, you are a natural singer. The last 12 bars or so are superfluous. But a fun person, a young nutcase.
Remee: You are more present. Super arrangement. It has a ESC-like feel. But a likable voice. I feel for you. I still find it hard to see a solid artist.
Lina: That’s the difference between the two of us, I am such a cry baby. I am not sorry, you did exactly what we wanted. This raw, naive song reflects who you are. And today you no longer had that, “What am I doing here, what happened”-look. It’s fantastic that we managed that in a week, because it was only now that we figured out that was the task.
Harlou: How is it to see Lina so touched?
Henriette: I didn’t calculate that at all.

Anthony Jasmin

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Blachman: I love this category because it is possible to create something unexpected. To me this show is about making good music. It may not have won the first place back then, but it became an evergreen that outlived all the others. When you take something old and see it through brand new coloured glasses, miracles can happen. Here is a brilliant stroke. Anthony Jasmin.
Jasmin: My mother is from The Faroe Islands, and I live with her.
Anthony: My father is from Chile and my mother from Cuba, but my parents divorced, and now she lives in the USA with my siblings. I did too, but I moved to Denmark to live with my father.
Jasmin (to the camera): Anthony misses his mother, so I have arranged for her to be here tonight.

"To Lys På Et Bord" (Otto Brandenburgs) - 6,5/10 - The song originally competed in 1960's Melodi Grand Prix, finishing in last place, then becoming one of the most popular songs in Danish music. Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed with what they did and it's the song's fault. A beautiful song yet so unexciting. The singing was wonderful but the performance was kinda boring if I'm being honest. I bet I'd have liked this more if I understood the language but as an outsider, I wasn't feeling it.

The song was a Danish contestant in 1960, sung by Otto Brandenburg. It’s a great song. I think even the haters would agree, especially if they don’t know it’s from a Dansk MGP. The title means: Two candles on a table, and it’s about a romantic dinner. For some reason I feel nervous initially that Anthony might go off key. And later Jasmin. I like the harmonies and the arrangement. They really are a lot better together than apart. An elderly couple is dancing in the background.

Harlou: Believe it or not, it ended last in 1960. (Actually it didn’t get any votes at all from the Danish jury, same as some other songs. There were no viewer votes back then.)
Remee: I almost got a last place once. Calling it “a brilliant stroke”, Blachman, that must mean you really like yourself. And I have always admired how much … you admire yourself. (to Anthony Jasmin) One likes you so much. You are a very fine pop duo. You may not have any more edge than a beach ball. You sing very well. The best part may have been the older couple dancing. Last week was stunning, and you will be again, I know it.
Lina: (to Blachman) You wore the hard-core jazz hat today. The tonality was sliding a bit, but this is difficult, and you survived fine. Jasmin, I liked the new sound of your voice. (Lina is using a technical term which I cannot translate right now.) But I had to adjust my perception, because it was not the round jazz I expected.
Blachman: The brilliant stroke is using the youth to illustrate the song. You are the only contestants who never had a single fucked up song choice. This was unthinkable, but you did it.

Pernille Nordtorp

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Remee: I got a call from Chief 1. We have to take chances, and we did, because I didn’t even know this one. Here is the most unpredictable and hyper intellectual and charming contestant.
Pernille: I am not so structured in my life, the way I live it. I like the mess, the spontaneity.
Remee: Pernille is the most funny, unpredictable, intelligent, edgy, crazy person I have ever met.
Pernille: When I am taken up with something, I can get completely lost. Many times I burnt the dinner when I forgot it in the oven. Maybe it’s a form of escapism, maybe I will grow up. (…) Oh, sorry, I just got caught up with the seagulls over there… But seriously what are they doing?
Remee: Pernille is the most edgy personality ever on this show. A real rock star.

"Divine" (Sébastien Tellier) - 7/10 - Due to the controversy surrounding this song (it was sang almost entirely in English) it only managed to get France 47 points in the 2008 contest, finishing 19th out of 25. Or at least that's what they like to think cause the song is atrocious. This is such a disservice to the wonderful Pernille. She completely sold what she was doing cause she's awesome but it didn't feel like something she'd naturally do. She was definitely having a great time but this ain't the time to do that, she should be proving everyone why she deserves to win this thing, cause she really does.

I think they sampled her voice, and now they are playing it back from the synthesizer. Pernille is flirting with the audience. She really demonstrates crowd control.

Blachman: Brilliant. Both singing and song choice. And you can move. There is exactly one moment when you sit down and we hear that you can actually sing.
Lina: The humour, the song. This was the best song choice. Maybe not the greatest of your vocal performances, but that doesn’t matter.
Remee: You fool, you missed the choreography rehearsal. And then we gave you two extra hours with Jesper Kryger to get the magic out in you. That was what was needed for you to arrive. And you did today. I am so proud of you.


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Blachman: This has been a learning process. It’s interesting how we evaluate each other, based on how we dress, mannerisms. But suddenly their personality shines through. Everybody is a little bit nuts. - It is so great to work with them. I almost miss them now. Well … maybe not.
ManBand: There are two kinds of Ole: The one who has eaten, and the one who hasn’t. If he hasn’t, he gets grumpy and takes it out on us. So the first thing we ask him is if he has eaten. Dennis likes the ESC theme; the others … not so much. “Like some Eastern European club hit.”

"Save Your Kisses For Me" (Brotherhood Of Man) - 6,5/10 - An appropriately old fashioned song for an old fashioned group. The song won the 1976 contest giving the UK their third win and I totally get why. It's a cute ballad with a nice, slow melody. ManBand could've been big back in the 70s, cause their vocals were flawless on this song, but in 2014, I don't think there's anyone left who'd like to buy a record like this. How is Denmark still voting for them? Is this show demographic nostalgic 80 year olds?

The other members are loyal to the task, of course, even though it’s an ESC song. I like when the bass comes in on the chorus. I think we really hear the song as new. It’s brilliant. It doesn’t exactly give me the chills, but it’s OK. Better than the original. They leave out the point of the song: “Even though you’re only three”.

Remee: Well, I am not even remotely in your target group. Your target group is the swinger club up there. And your marketing works. But to be constructive: I respect the way you work, but it pulls me down, the energy. You have used the same tempo for four shows in a row. Can you try a new energy next week?

I would have to agree with Remee that all the songs have been slow. If I heard their four songs in a concert, I would have had enough. But vocally they are one of the best groups ever in all the Danish XF series.

Lina: I was just thinking, there are not many more buttons that can be unbuttoned on that shirt; if you go to the finals, the shirt will be completely open. I like how you stick it to the theme. And I have to say (Blachman): You are very good. (to the band) Gorgeously played over there.
Blachman: We had four markedly different tempos, and I am in your target group. They have the sensitivity in common. This was maybe the most corny tune, so the way you make it work, is by slowing it down. Did you notice the ending chord? Well, it was B minor with a G in the bass.

  1. Lucy Mardou
  2. Steffen Gilmartin
  3. Henriette Haubjerg
  4. Pernille Nordtorp
  5. Anthony Jasmin
  6. ManBand

Bottom 2: 

Steffen Gilmartin
Pernille Nordtorp

While not a fair result, I could see this coming. Pernille's performance wasn't a good one. She may have had her fun but it felt as if she had given up on winning the competition. Steffen's was beautiful but as I suspected, too intimate for the competition.

OK. I am with Pernille. Actually, I don’t understand why she is in the bottom two at all.

Harlou: Pernille, how does it feel to be here again?
Pernille: It’s certainly not any more fun than the first time. Maybe there is something about my dance moves, ha ha.
Steffen: I am up against my good friend, P. But I must just do my best.

Steffen sings "What’s Another Year" again. I agree with Lina, it needs some kind of change, a C section, a change of tempo, a lift, something.

Harlou: How did it feel this time?
Steffen: It felt good. I rehearse the songs a lot. I didn’t have so long to rehearse this one.
Harlou: How do you prepare for a song?
Steffen: I rehearse the song. I was up rehearsing during the break.

Pernille sings "Divine" again. The audience is with her. She seems nervous, and might be off-key I just noticed, no funny printed t-shirt this time. The same gimmick as before, singing to a member of the audience. Finally trying to go very low, again, on purpose, but this time she doesn’t quite make it. It’s like a joke, as if they have arranged it that way on purpose because Blachman (and I) talked about picking the right key last time. It’s funny.

Blachman: Briefly, you are two very different artists. I would think, P, you have all kinds of charm and XF already. Hats off to that. Steffen, you can sing, but I don’t remember you from any of the auditions. So I choose you to go.
Lina: Steffen, It’s nice to see you shaken. You touched me more. Pernille, I love how you sing. I choose Steffen to go.
Remee: What are you doing up there? I told you I’d be mad. Well. Seriously, we felt it coming, statistically. Two of the greatest artists in the show. Steffen’s voice is unique. And this means so much to you. When we are jamming afterwards, it’s like a Dylan concert. P… P-diddy! Why are you there? The most exciting performance of them all this season. The most progressive and funniest. When you do it best, you remind me of Ane Trolle (a Danish singer). I have been so happy to take the Overs further than ever before. I could choose strategically, and pick Steffen. But I go with the one who has the best potential for development: Pernille. So I have to send you home, Steffen.


Steffen Gilmartin

A shame. He has such an unique tone, I bet it records beautifully. Hopefully we get to see that. I can't believe ManBand has lasted so long and without even being in the bottom. I don't think they are making it to the final though, Top 4 is the longer I expect them to advance.

I think Pernille and especially Anthony Jasmin have some vocal problems. Henriette, something about performance, but definitely improving. ManBand, something about the whole setup; if I bought their album or went to their show, would I fall asleep to it? And then there is Lucy, who I cannot really put a finger on.

1-5: Pernille, Anthony Jasmin, Lucy, Henriette, ManBand.
6. Steffen, primarily due to the arrangement, rather than his performance, so not entirely his own fault. I don’t think he should have accompanied himself, it would have released a lot of resources to concentrate on the singing, and a pianist could have made a more interesting accompaniment. Also, something to break the arrangement. I just checked against the original: It has a middle part with a saxophone solo which they left out.
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