Eurovision 2018 Review: Denmark – Rasmussen – Higher Ground

rasmussen higher ground

Rasmussen is Denmark’s hope for Eurovision success
Denmark has been struggling for Eurovision success ever since they won the contest with Emmelie De Forest‘s ‘Only Teardrops’ in 2013 and Basim‘s top 10 position the year after. They missed the final in 2015 and 2016 and Anja Nissen and her big vocals only just made it to Saturday night where she finished in a 20th position. Needless to say that Denmark could use some success again and they are going to try this year with their very own viking Rasmussen and his song ‘Higher Ground’ after a convincing win in Melodi Grand Prix.

Now Denmark is known for sending rather safe radiofriendly pop tunes to the contest. This year is a little different, but at the same time more of the same. The good news is that ‘Higher Ground’ is a super catchy tune with a suspenseful build up and a welcome key change in the last chorus. The style could be described as typical Eurovision pop, ready to use for the soundtrack of any pirate or viking movie. What is not to love about that right?

Well, at the same time, the performance needs some serious tweaking. The dark staging with sails works, but the dancers and mister Rasmussen himself seem to take themselves a bit too seriously during their little choreography. The song, above anything else, is catchy Eurovision pop so there is no need to make it all darker and deeper than it really is. The stamping of the feet almost has an unwanted comedy effect with the focused, almost angry faces they put on. They could lighten up a bit if you ask me. Now vocally, Rasmussen does not sound as raw as his viking image would make you believe, but he does hit most of the notes. The production however, is quite drum heavy and he already struggles a bit to get the upperhand and during the performance in Denmark he was relying on backing vocals on tape, which he won’t be allowed to do in Lisbon in May. Long story short, Denmark chose a song that could easily sail into the final, but the performance needs a lot of work.

Review of Semi Final Performance:
Denmark’s Rasmussen takes us out to sea with his performance of his song ‘Higher Ground’. He looks like a proper viking and the theme of staging is perfect for this song that could easily have featured in a pirate or viking movie. Vocally, Rasmussen does sound a little shaky when the backing vocals are not there to help him out. Although ‘Higher Ground’ is a catchy song, the performance as a whole does not convince me completely and I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly I am missing. There is something about the energy the song should put forward that is lacking in the way they perform it on the Eurovision stage. Denmark deserved to qualify from this semi final, but I don’t expect them near the top on Saturday.

Review of Final Performance:
Denmark delivered a better performance in the final, than on Thursday night. Rasmussen’s vocals still sound too thin to carry the powerful ‘Higher Ground’ at moments, but he improved. Visually it is a slick show that brings back the viking theme that is going on. This somehow clicked with the televoters very well, as he won the public voting in the second semi final, while the juries did not even want him to qualify, placing him 12th. A similar pattern repeated in the final, where he finished 21st in the jury vote, only to let a top 5 placing in the televoting lift him to the 9th place overall.


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