The below editorial is the opinion of the author(s), and does not necessarily represent the views of ESC United as a whole and its staff members, and does not represent the views of anyone associated with the EBU and Eurovision.

It’s rough being a Danish Eurovision fan.

Denmark hasn’t qualified for the Grand Final since Leonora did in 2019, and the points scored by its entries over the last three years have been on the decline.

However, there is a sliver of hope.

11 years ago, one year after Loreen won Eurovision for Sweden, the contest was hosted in Malmö. As it so happens, this year’s contest is ALSO being hosted in Malmö one year after Loreen brought Sweden a Eurovision victory. The resounding winner of the 2013 contest? None other than Denmark’s own Emmelie de Forest with her song “Only Teardrops”! Could returning to Malmö be a cosmic reset for Denmark’s Eurovision prospects?

We’ve heard who #YOU are betting on, but who does Team ESC United believe could bring some Danish magic back to the Eurovision stage? To find out, we polled 5 members of our editorial team. They are:

  • From The US: James and Tyler
  • From Belgium: Boris
  • From The UK: Daniel
  • From Denmark: David

So who is getting our stamp of approval? Only one way to find out:

SABA- “Sand”

SABA is the stage name of Saba Lykke Oehlenschlægerer, an Ethiopian-born singer and musical theater performer. Her twin sister is also a singer and stage actress. The songwriting team behind “Sand” includes Melfest favorite Melanie Wehbe and Swedish songwriter Jonas Thander. The latter has co-writing credits on three past Eurovision entries (Lithuania 2016, The UK 2019, and Austria 2021) as well as a number of songs for Eurovision vets like Sergey Lazarev and The Mamas. 

James: A slick, but ultimately boring effort. “Sand” also lacks a lot of passion – “I guess we built a castle out of sand” is a lyric for an indifferent break up. You were okay, I suppose, plenty of fish in the sea, et cetera et cetera. * shrug * SABA could be a great singer, as Danish fans are hyping her up to be, but you wouldn’t know from this song. It doesn’t seem to give her much opportunity to strut her stuff. “Tattoo” had passion and rage and allowed Loreen to let it all loose. This song lacks passion, won’t be remembered, and will slip through the European consciousness like its titular sand. 5/10

Tyler: “Sand” exudes Melodifestivalen reject; it’s basically a non-starter to me in terms of it having any shot of qualifying at Eurovision. This song may have a shot if SABA gives powerful vocals in the live performance and if the staging is actually good with a song written by Melanie MEHbe. But I just don’t see that being the case. I’m just whelmed by this song, and it isn’t nearly the slay people may think it is. 5.5/10

Boris: Chord-for-Chord the exact sort of song you’d expect to have been conceived in Swedish songwriting bootcamps (those WERE aiming to produce a competent dance track, no? Where else did “We Will Rave” come from?), with no real correlation to the person singing it. And yet, the very above average “Sand” is the best song in  this DMGP. It has a bouncy beat, potential to be fun live, and, although it’s a bit dumb (“I CAN FEEL YOU SLIPPING THROUGH MY HANDS // WE SHOULD BUILD A CASTLE OF OUT SAND” what does this MEAN?!)  it’s not braincell-killing degenerative, so overall: kind of good? Its stupid lyrics make it camp, which in turn makes it suited for Eurovision. Fingers crossed SABA can make it work, because this song is the only ticket into the final Denmark have that could also make me enjoy a Danish entry … for once. 6/10

Daniel: An ethereal pop track fronted by a rather cool singer, with a song that increases in pace throughout as pulsating electronic beats keep being added. SABA’s vocal, at least on the studio cut, feels competent and powerful. However, moments of this feel tonally disjointed, primarily in the shifts into choruses and the bridge, making me unable to capture fully the essence of the song. “Sand” gives the impression of an empowered hooky pop song that will dig its claws into me and never let me go. But it never did. I can’t recall anything about it post listen. 5.5/10

David: We’ve got some beat; we’ve got some attitude. Powerful vocal even, but yet still that very safe Danish style. This song could be so much more if it didn’t limit itself. There is some strong use of instrumentations which feels limited; there are some vocal moments, which feels like it never goes for full potential. I just wish that so much more had been done. 4/10

Total: 26

Stella- “Sign Here”

Sophie Darum AKA Stella is an up-and-coming recording artist who has been releasing singles since first signing with an indie record label in 2021. She co-wrote her DMGP entry with two frequent collaborators, including former A Friend in London lead vocalist Tim Schou. (A Friend in London placed 5th at Eurovision in 2011.)

James: There’s a repeating guitar riff that backs the repeating chorus that is a double grinding of my gears. The repetition goes against the point of the lyrics – Stella presents a woman moving from the country, but the repetition suggests a holding pattern keeping her down. The key it’s in and the light, clean production also clash with the “Sign here all you got to do is…” on loop, which should be inscribed on a millstone around someone’s neck. And in spite of that repetition, “Sign Here” is ultimately forgettable filler. 3/10

Tyler: “Sign Here” reads as a morality song that is cut off short by the three-minute time limit to make any point whatsoever. It’s just a song of like, “she’s from the country going to the city oh no!” and “she doesn’t believe in God, so the devil has her oh no!” like come the hell on. The chorus is so repetitive to the point of nothingness, as if hammering in the metaphor about moral failings makes the song better when it doesn’t at all. The last minute of the song is “all you gotta do is sign here” ad nauseum, and does it need to be like that? I don’t think so! If a song is going to be moralizing at least be interesting and expand on the ideas, instead of just telling us. Hated listening to this, but I suppose the country-esque style is novel in Denmark’s selection, so it just edges out “Johnny” to me. Still NQ though. 2.5/10

Boris: How is ‘the Lejla Janea recurring template for pending last placers? Anyway, Stejlla Jane’s song is a sarcastic pop-rock protest against… contractual obligations? Record labels? Consumerism? Harvey Weinstein? Who knows tbh; the verses are such non-sequiturs I would not be surprised if they were written by an AI. (why do we need to know she likes “the taste of apples on her tongue wat?) But there’s a small chance it’ll be funny live with inspired staging (lol I’m asking SO much of a song that is 100% missing the Super Final). So sure, let’s give her an optimistic score. 5.5/10

Daniel: An interesting song that fluctuates genres with a rather intriguing vocal by Stella. As the song starts to build with the addition of thudding drums and the vocal comes to the fore, one becomes aware of Stella’s bizarre choice of lyrics. The words ‘sign here’ become ubiquitous throughout the son, becoming all too repetitive and non-sensical. What is she talking about? Who or what needs to sign here? 3/10

David: I’m sorry to say I’m not signing anything here, very weak lyrically, with the constant repeat of singing the title. This also leads to making the song feel very empty, especially with the inclusion of echoey parts. In the end, just very empty. 2/10

Total: 16

Chu Chu- “The Chase (Zoom Zoom)”

Camilla Chu Xu Bjørner AKA CHU CHU is a Chinese-Danish rapper whose first taste of the spotlight came as a finalist on the Chinese reality competition show The Rap of China. She has been releasing music in Denmark since returning there full-time in 2020. Her track was co-written by a number of graduates from the Danish Songwriting Academy. 

James: Why is she singing about a Ferrari when “zoom zoom” was the catchphrase for the mid-90s Mazda RX-7? I hope Automotive Twitter calls Chu Chu out on this! And even though she implies she puts her pedal to the metal in her boyfriend’s Ferrari she takes a joyride in because she saw him necking some other woman, “The Chase (Zoom Zoom)” doesn’t thrill or even get out of second gear. The “and now with a beat” part should prepare us for a hit of gas and a surge down the straightaway, but Chu Chu apparently can’t drive a manual. This pop song with hip hop styling stalls out several times. 4/10

Tyler: So with a song that tries to convey it’s going blazin’ fast, putting the pedal (sorry, “speeder”) to the floor, you would think there would be some sounds of a car accelerating or nitrous oxide or anything, but it’s literally just Chu Chu doing the bare minimum singing with the most muted music playing in the background I’ve heard in a while. The song is appropriately titled, as if it’s chasing the viewer to keep listening … despite me trying to run far away from it. It drags so much and if Denmark picks this, it’s an easy NQ. 3/10

Boris: This Daughters of ReykjaSHIT abomination. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to switch a song off as quickly as this one. The immediate Toynicorn sound strikes you from above like an anti-music warhead and leaves only extreme anxiety and mild nausea behind. Let’s just leave it at that (I’d like to retain some sanity at the end of this) and pray that nobody will be forced to hear “The Chase” in Malmö. 1.5/10

Daniel: I am getting Triana Park vibes here, of-sorts but not as good. Another song with continuous genres shifts, taking its cues from last year’s Noa Kirel and packing five songs into one. Some moments are admittedly interesting, especially in the song’s finale, where it decided to settle in on one genre and things start to make sense, sonically at least. But I can’t ignore the weirdo mash-up that came before? Who knows….? I have no idea how I feel about the song.  Ultimately it’s a bit all over the place. But I can’t say I dislike it; I’m actually now thoroughly intrigued to see it live. 5/10

David: This is like the definition of a deepfake, when it comes to music. The song tries to lure you in, with a very overhyped styled intro, which is re-used for the chorus, but rest of the song is this soft bland pop. Hearing the tempo be dropped this much just ends up losing me, because I’m far more curious about this style than the basic pop. So I feel betrayed. 2/10

Total: 15.5

Basim- “Johnny”

After first making his debut on X Factor Denmark in 2008, Basim represented Denmark at Eurovision 2014 with the song “Cliche Love Song”. (He finished in 9th place.) Since then he has been steadily releasing music AND co-writing hit singles for other artists. He is one of four writers credited on “Johnny”. 

James: This is an atrocious, fake “deep” emotional ballad that is supposed to impart a valuable life lesson, but the result is a narcissist making a tragic situation all about himself. The song starts off with Basim recounting chatting to a dying alcoholic who was sharing a hospice room with Basim’s father. But instead of exhibiting sympathy or some other sort of vaguely human behavior, Basim gets an “Eat Pray Love” style epiphany. Basim also thinks only dying or dead people get flowers, which must make Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day a delight for those who know him. And Basim earns my award for worst lyrics of 2024 (and yes, I have already reviewed Matt Blxck and Windows95man) for this humdinger: “People always brought him a round of whiskey, and to be honest that is kind of risky.” The only people with less self-awareness than Basim are the people who thought this should be among the contenders for a Eurovision slot. 1/10

Tyler: I guess as someone who’s father has died, it’s jarring to hear a song about an artist singing about the other hospice patient in the same room instead of their own father … just because that person was coherent and had the most basic advice you can give on your deathbed. I don’t understand how this song could take years to write when the lyrics are forcing the rhymes in them anyway–I don’t get it. The message of “why do they only send you flowers when you’re dead?” is a good one and something to consider further, but that’s just the chorus briefly before it’s time to scream “Johnny”. I did not like this song at all; the composition, the lyrics, the vocals, and what’s really disappointing is that they COULD have been something interesting here in singing about death, but, instead of reflecting on his own feelings about his father dying, it’s this random stranger that regrets “putting others before himself”? Get outta here with that, bad song, and also will NQ in Malmö. 1/10

Boris: Okay so let me get this story straight. Basim visit his dad in a retirement home, meets an alcoholic dying from cirrhosis, abandons his dad to listen to Johnny’s (generic-as-fuck) pearls-of-wisdom and doesn’t get disowned on the spot for being a bad son. And then he sings “look how much I’ve learned.  I CRIED. ME!!!! LISTEN TO MEEEE!!!!” using a wonderfully tactful array of words including: “man, that’s kinda messed up” and “they brought him whisky, and to be honest that’s kind of risky” over a very upbeat guitar tune. THIS CHEERY SONG IS ABOUT A MAN WHO IS ABOUT TO DIE OF IRREPARABLE LIVER DAMAGE AND MAKES LIGHT OF IT. Incredibly poor taste and that it is upbeat and happy makes it disturbingly cynical on top of that. Who the fuck approved of this? This lack of quality control or critical thinking (and well, the head of DMGP apparently being a fucking nightmare) is exactly why Denmark suck so badly at reaching Eurovision finals. YOU MUST DISSENT,  DEAR DANES. YOU DESERVE SO MUCH MORE THAN THIS!!! 0/10

Daniel: Another song with tricky and peculiar choice of lyrics, but this time by a previous Eurovision participant and under the guise of an emo pop song. Perhaps words and verses are lost in translation, but the English on display here is devoid of any poetic subtlety.  I don’t know what to make of words such as ‘how comes they only bring you flowers when you’re dead’. Weirdly, Basim’s recent releases skewed towards more favourable sounds, ethno-bops with middle eastern influences, which surely would have been more befitting for the Eurovision stage. 4/10

David: If we go by the lyrics, I’m technically free to say whatever now, cause Basim states even in the song that he won’t care what others think. So here goes: since this IS a competition, I am listening to songs with a competitive mindset. Does this song leave any impact? Not at all. Is it awkward to sing a sad song in such a happy tone? Oh you bet. I can respect the overall idea, but I absolutely don’t care for this song or melody. 3/10

Total: 9 💀

RoseeLu- “Real Love”

After dropping out of high school at age 17, Rosa-Lucia Frydensbjerg Jakobsen AKA RoseeLu moved to pursue a music career in Los Angeles. She has since had a run of hit releases on Spotify. She co-wrote the song with a team that includes several members of Danish Europop band Alphabeat. 

James: A fresh, light pop song about a young woman discovering love and wondering if the sparks will turn into a flame. I say woman, but she looks like she’s about 12. Though if this was a Junior Eurovision entry, this would easily make the top three. This won’t win Eurovision, but it will be a nice palate cleanser between some purely wretched noise being sent by other countries this year. In a world bogged down by cynicism and hate, “Real Love” will stand out for its innocence and wholesomeness. And she should be rewarded something for that. She even earnestly asks, “please don’t break my heart.” I fear Denmark will. 7/10

Tyler: I had to listen to this song two times to get any impression of it, and that’s not a good thing in the Eurovision format! I like the musical composition of it–it’s upbeat and peppy– but that gets dragged down when the music dies to focus on RoseeLu’s vocals (which aren’t terrible, but not amazing to me either). The lyrics feel AI-generated and don’t seem to mean anything at all. Is “Real Love” a song? Yes, but barely. Does it have a soul to it? I’m not sure! This will NQ easily in the semi. 5.5/10

Boris: My gripes with this song are fairly simple, which is good because this selection is a fight against depression, and so far depression is winning. “Real Love” is incredibly basic pop with no discernible traits (it’s like a barren “Too Late For Love”?) and RoseeLu has an annoying voice. That’s it really! 😊 Still kinda bad, tho… 3.5/10

Daniel: This starts off promising, with these big sounds and plucky guitar strings and an intimate vocal heavily reminiscent of Sia. But then it just meanders in this monotone territory failing on all accounts to deliver on the potential it initially promised. Not a bad song, by any means. It’s pure unadulterated pop, but that’s about it. 5/10

David: Your typical Danish pop song, not Nordic, not even Scandinavian, but SPECIFICALLY Danish. No matter how many times I hear it, I just won’t ever care for it. Even if we go, maybe somewhere between 20-30 years back, it will still be in this style, and it just feels so unreal. As in, anyone could sing this, but with no hope of ever making it a hit. Your typical Danish friendly music. 2/10

Total: 23

UBLU- “Planetary Hearts”

UBLU are a queer club rock band made up of members Adam Spanggaard Saarup, Andreas Darger, Marie Rørbæk, and Martina Nielsen. They’ve been releasing music since 2020. The group composed the song together.

James: UBLU are about two-thirds of the way to a fantastic, fun LGBT+ anthem but fall short in several areas. If you want to do a synthpop banger, you have to commit, and the stop-start composition really destroys the flow, especially the part at the bridge where this song should ramp up. Lyrically, this is a word salad. What is the “new love” of which you speak, and why would spreading your wings and flying tear your wings apart? But that being said, a revamp and some changing of the lyrics, and you have a dance-along and sing-along party that could be sent over the Oresund Bridge. 5.5/10

Tyler: We stan UBLU being queer, but I don’t like this song, sorry! I wanna like it for going in a science fiction direction and doing something interesting there, but the song opens with speak-singing over static, and static continues throughout the rest of the song. It’s just white noise with some vocals over it. The composition isn’t there for me to enjoy listening to it, even if the vocals were good (they were fine). Maybe the staging would be good, but this another easy NQ for Denmark. 4.5/10

Boris: So this queer collective describe themselves asUBLU IS ABBA FOR GOTHS ~ UBLU DON’T BELIEVE IN LOVE AFTER CHER ~ UBLU IS A BAD ROMANCE BETWEEN FUTURE AND PAST!according to music website (feel free to take a moment to pause and laugh at that name) so yes they are OBNOXIOUSSSS (affectionate – you know their existence pisses off the Tories that like camp but not the gay rights that come with it). Sadly, “Planetary Heart” is just… boring? Imagine being THIS queer-coded and then NOT serving. The song can’t be bothered to even build up some sort of tension and then hits us with a chorus of “metaphors over static“. Disappointing, and I’m not sure if it’s bad enough to count as camp. It is bad enough to classify as lame, though. 3.5/10

Daniel: Another lyrically non-sensical song, but this time from a band that is intriguing with a unique perspective. The electronic dance influences, as well the vocal style of the lead singer, are reminiscent of past decades from the ’80s synths to the sped up pop of the early ’00s. UBLU’s futuristic DIY, LGBTQI+ aesthetic feels fresh and progressive, even if it borrows its stylistic cues from early ’00s bands such as Aqua and A*** Teens. This is an exciting proposition, but the Danish jury and public are known to vote fairly conservatively. 6.5/10

David: A promising start to the song, which then quickly jumps back into safety and becomes a very standard pop-dance track. It has some kicking to it and is a bit catchy, but lyrically it ain’t anything special nor interesting; eventually the song feels more dragging towards the end. A lot more kick was needed here to help this song. 3/10

Total: 23

Janus Wiberg- “I Need Your Love”

Janus Wiberg is a beloved singer and songwriter in his native home on the Faroe Islands. He also has a large following in Greece due to (not kidding) his resemblance to a much-loved, deceased Greek singer. He co-wrote “I Need Your Love” with a team that includes a number of songwriters from the Faroe Islands. 

James: Great voice, even if his pronunciation of words like “start” and “time” annoy me. Janus is this year’s Faroese hopeful, but he’s paired with a boring ballad that is usually reserved for every European Voice or Idol or Got Talent graduate who enters a national selection. Not only can’t you tell that he’s Faroese, this song contains not one ounce of personality. That being said, if Janus’s live performance works and he can connect emotionally with the audience, he might pull off the win at DMGP. But, ultimately, the canned feel of this will be his undoing. 6/10

Tyler: I guess this song is technically fine? The lyrics are middling, and the instrumentation is decent. The vocals are good too; it sounds like Janus can sing well. But the entire composition is meh and boring, at best. The staging would have to elevate this to be memorable and have people vote for it. Otherwise, it’s dead on arrival. Who does this song speak to that compels them to send in their vote? I’m not sure who that is, and I’m not sure this would have any sway for Europe to vote for it in the semi. 5/10

Boris: The feeling is mild unease? Looking at Janus’ face is like looking in a mirror and I would never debase myself into singing Michael Bublé derivatives about groveling in the dirt for my crushes. I may *think* those things, like all the time, but simping in public with hundreds of thousands of onlookers? A bit of dignity goes a long way, bro…x As a stand-alone song, “I Need Your Love” is just… dull? It follows the structure of the epic romance ballads that were a thing in the early-mid ’00s, without really deviating from the formula. But the true source of my unease is that “dated generic theatre ballad by a mirror twin” is somehow my third favourite in a selection, strictly on the basis of not offending me. This country needs Jesus way more than it needs Janus. 5/10

Daniel: There is something endearing about Janus; there is an earnestness that seeps through his vocal delivery. You can feel that he really, really means it… he really does needs your loving! Wiberg is undoubtedly a seasoned male vocalist, however it’s truly unfortunate that nothing can save this song from mediocrity. There is literally nothing about “I Need Your Love” that stands out.  You can search the world over, and you will not be able to find another more middle-of-the road song than this. Actually I lie, there are many songs like these, and they are all in the Eurovision national finals. 2/10

David: A very touchy love song, which just goes nowhere. The song itself just feels empty and is far away from reaching those feelings it’s going for. No, it’s not that bad as it might imply, but it’s just something that goes through without even leaving anything. The overall composition is just so overly fine that you just don’t care. 2/10

Total: 20

Aura Dione- “Mirrorball of Hope”

Aura Dione is a singer and songwriter who has been releasing music since 2007, with a number of hit singles under her belt. She won Female Artist of the Year at the Danish Music Awards in both 2009 and 2012. Among the team who collaborated on the song is Michelle Leonard, a German singer-songwriter with an extensive history working with former Eurovision vets like Michael Schulte (Germany 2018) and Hanna Pakarinen (Finland 2007). 

James: It’s a messy effort, and it veers to-and-fro wildly, but it at least has personality, something positive to say, and a singer who is a little wacky. The staging could be a dumpster fire-Aura could pull off some magic-but I doubt it’ll be boring. Looking at her back catalog, she pulls from her Faroese, French, Spanish, and hippy parents’ roots in both sound and look, and “Mirrorball of Hope” seems to jam them all together into a mid-tempo dance anthem that, if performed right, could get some notice. If this makes Eurovision, at least the stoners will know which song to ready the bong for. 7.5/10

Tyler: Am I missing something here? Since when could disco balls be beacons of hope? Because it shines a light on those that need them? I don’t think the Peruvian flute music or the yodeling really convey that message to me in between all of the basic “have hope in yourself” anthem lyrics that are being sung here. I feel like with a title like “Mirrorball of Hope” this should be camp, but it isn’t! The song sounds both serious in its intentions and also trying to be cheeky, but it doesn’t work for me at all. I dunno what this song is, but it didn’t make me hate myself listening to it, so a 5/10 it gets.

Boris: I DO NOT SING MIRRORBALLS OF HOOOOOPE. Sure, I love me Magica DeSpell-looking cougar like everyone, but Aura’s song is hopelessly stuck in 2004, destined to NeverServe. I feel even dumber having heard it. How can one sit through lyrical cancer such as “MIRROR MIRROR ON THE BALL, TELL ME THERE’S HOPE FOR ALLand not instantly lose all will to live? Who is this for? Those with brains so underdeveloped a mind flayer would reject them? People (“people”) saying this qualifies in Malmö PUHLEASE. “Mirrorball of Hope” wouldn’t even qualify from a Eurovizija.LT heat. 2/10

Daniel: A rather unique vocal that incorporates Shakira-esque yodeling. “Mirrorball of Hope” feels like a form of catharsis for Aura as she tells us about her emotional inner turmoil. A lot of varied instrumentation has been compacted into this rather peculiar pop songs thatseems to shift in genre with each verse. I am uncertain how this will do if it got chosen to represent Denmark. 4/10

David: Literally your very average and standard pop song, singing about love and hope. A beat that’s fine and happy, but which also just lacks personality and development. I don’t mind pop music, but I would also need to feel the message, rather than just go with the rhythm. Very inoffensive, but barely leaves an impression. 5/10

Total: 23.5

Our choice is clear. The ESC United editorial staff weighing in here agrees with you that SABA is Denmark’s best option out of all eight acts competing.

Dansk Melodi Gran Prix kicks off on Danish broadcaster DR1 tonight at 20:00 CET. You can watch it here. The winner will be determined via a 50-50 split between jury and televote points. Check out or on-the-ground interviews with all eight competing artists here.

Do #YOU think any of these eight acts have what it takes to get Denmark back in the final? Are #YOU still seeking justice for Ben & Tan? Just me? Let us know on social media @ESCUnited, on our Discord, or on our forum page!

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