Eurovision 2023 top 37 countdown: #31 DENMARK – Reiley – Breaking My Heart

It’s been a theme of Eurovision in the past 20 years or so, that many (perhaps even most) of the artists have been alumni of some form of TV talent contest shows: X Factor, The Voice etc. but an emerging trend is of artists who made their name on social media, or more specifically, TikTok. The Danish entry this year, Reiley, is a perfect example of that. He’s got 11 million followers and his first single even charted in South Korea. Can he bring that popularity to Eurovision and get Denmark’s first qualification since 2019?

Reiley, real name Rani Petersen, hails from the Faroe Islands and he is the first Faroese artist to compete at Eurovision. He won Denmark’s national selection show, Melodi Grand Prix, though interestingly given his TikTok following, it was via votes from the jury that he won, as he was joint second in the three-song super final. “Breaking My Heart” is firmly in electropop territory, with some K-pop influences, particularly in Reiley’s look. Believe it or not, he is 25, not 18 as he looks in the music video!

I’ve been very unconvinced by this entry. I do enjoy my electropop but while this has catchy elements, I have a number of issues with this song. In particular, I’m very sceptical about the vocal which heavily uses vocal effects to achieve its sound. I wasn’t sure what were Reiley’s actual live vocals during the national final and the pre-parties to date do not suggest that there is a great vocal under those effects. I’m also not a fan of the persistent high pitch voice he is using. Overall, the song and its delivery irritates me more than any other reaction or feeling I have to it.

Denmark haven’t qualified since 2019 and I think this goes into the large group of songs that may be fighting it out for the 9th or 10th qualification spots in the semi-final. They are opening the second-semi final, which suggests a decent or impactful staging is in the offing (though there weren’t many uptempo songs to choose from in that first half). How the vocals are dealt with may be important – I don’t how far they will be allowed to use effects or backing. Reiley is followed by an impactful song with a good live vocalist, so I do think there is a risk that this could get forgotten.

Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest

First entered: 1957

Appearances (excluding this year): 50

Best result: Winner 1963, 2000, 2013

Last year’s result: 13th in semi-final (did not qualify)

Flag of Denmark

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