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Looking every inch like he just walked off the set of "The Hobbit" or "Game Of Thrones", Rasmussen delivers Higher Ground, a rousing anthem with staging that hints at a viking motif. The general consensus is that this year's Eurovision is shaping up to be nothing special in terms of song quality, viewers find it easier to list reasons why songs can't win than reasons they can. With this in mind, I'd originally consigned Denmark's entry to the garbage dump on first listen - it was only after going through and listening to some of the truly terrible and bland offerings this year that I was able to appreciate this track a little more.
Higher Ground starts slow and melancholic, however the moment the drums kick in, the song switches and plays like the montage sequence of a Disney movie, building throughout and reaching the crescendo without too many bells and whistles. The melody and lyrics are accessible and comfortably predictable, even for non-native English speakers.
Disappointingly though - for a man with a beard as impressive as Rasmussen's you'd perhaps expect a throaty roar somewhere in there, instead you can't help but feel that Denmark have played it safe, the song never really conveys any emotion and simply delivers a standard offering without much spice. It almost feels a little West End, the voice is a little too clean for the look.
Despite this, it's always pleasant when a country showcases it's cultural history in it's Eurovision songs, so the viking theme is a nice touch. With 43 entries this year, songs need to be 'elevator-pitch' in their catchiness and have an original quality to the staging. Denmark has this for me in the song, however, the lighting in the official video is a little too dark and the men that join Rasmussen on stage have an air of the undead pirates in "Pirates Of The Caribbean" about them, if they're able to lighten it up just a little, this may stand them in better stead.
The betting markets currently have Denmark's song 16th favourite which I feel is fair. This is a song though that will have a general appeal to the juries and a more acute appeal to the voting audience. There are definitely a few songs in the top 15 of the betting market that have no reason to be there. Denmark to me is a realistic challenger for top 15.