Sorry for those of you that hate Eurovision, or are at least not hardcore enough to give a shit about national finals. Sadly for you, I’m only reaching the halfway point at the moment! There will be other content too, don’t worry… but anyway, here’s one that’s been put off for too long, since Lithuania picked their entry for May’s Eurovision all the way back at the end of December.
Since their 1994 debut, Lithuania have struggled to make their mark on Eurovision history. Indeed their biggest success was a 6th place finish for a pretty dreadful novelty song, “We are the winners” by LT United. Not exactly inspiring stuff, but they’ve also found success with better stuff, including 2012’s “Love is blind” by backflipping, air-guitaring Donny Montell, which defies many expectations to come 3rd in its semi and 14th overall. Could this be Lithuania’s year to break the top 5?
I haven’t sampled the delights of their entire selection process, there are plenty there, but I’ll just look at the finalists here.
Linas Adomaitis – I W Tonight
What what? Not really what I thought I’d see in a Lithuanian pre-selection. It’s actually pretty American-sounding, or at least an impression of American. What the hell does that chorus mean? “I W Tonight”?!
The bombastic production is actually a bit of a laugh, and the female backing singers are a nice contrast to the shouty semi-rapping frontman. I actually rather like this!
Božolė – Happy and Free
I quite like the intro, even if the outfits really are appalling. It’s quite a chilled-out bit of production that builds into a vaguely uplifting track as it hits the first chorus. The choreography leaves something to be desired, particularly the gurning boys.
But for all the over-emoting with their faces, their harmonies are pretty solid and the overall effect is pretty nice. It’s nothing amazingly special but it’s certainly a nice way to spend three minutes. If you don’t like the song, you can at least appreciate the cracked-out choreo.
Ieva & Gabrielius – I Fall in Love
Who styles these people? This time we get a sexy secretary in cut-off jeans duetting with a clean-cut High School Musical student. Again there are some nice harmonies on this, but the song itself doesn’t do a lot to excite me.
It’s perfectly pleasant as a sweet little love song duet. They are having fun, and it translates well to the stage. I don’t doubt they can sing, I just wish they were singing something more exciting. That key-change is great though!
DAR – Jump!
This is bound to be an uptempo, right? Oh my, IS IT! I love that little flourish the first guy presents himself with. This sounds like pretty standard Eurotrash; well-intentioned but not really working out very well. The second guy’s vocals aren’t too bad.
What the fuck is going on with the dance routine? Again the outfits look like they’ve just stumbled out of a closet ten years ago (if you’re lucky). The song itself isn’t too bad, it’s got a good rhythm, and the choruses are really the highlights. Nobody jumps though, do they?? By the end, I think it’s rather catchy, but totally doomed.
Gerai Gerai & Miss Sheep – War In The Wardrobe
Miss Sheep is a wonderful Pauline Quirke lookalike with a crazy fringe. I really love this, it’s total 80s throwback in (for once) a knowing way. Love her voice, and the backing music really sounds fresh.
It’s the first really professional entry I’ve seen so far in this final, and it would have made a really super entrant for Eurovision. I suppose it might have struggled as it lacks a really catchy chorus. A general sense that you liked the song won’t quite cut it in a setlist of 25 songs. But they really got everything else right with this one. I want this one for my iPod.
Girmantė Vaitkutė – Time to Shine
Hmm, ballad time is it? We’ve not really had a straightforward ballad yet, so no surprise this did so well, coming second in the end. But for me, I’ve certainly heard this sort of thing before, and I’m not sure it brought anything new to the table.
Saying that, her voice is really good and the song allows her the space to exercise it. It does build up slowly, and ends up being really quite nice. It does just feel a bit like Malta’s Chiara’s many ballads.
Actually forget this, that key change (despite a bit of a wobble), this is catchy. I’ve certainly heard worse ballads make it to the Eurovision stage.
Andrius Pojavis – Something
So here we are, the winner of the Lithuanian vote. Or sort of, I think a 50/50 televote jury mix picked the top 3, and a jury chose their favourite.
WTF is that top hat about? And the woman with the giant apple? Well anyway, I didn’t mind this one when I caught the end of the pre-selection back in December. It just feels like a bit of a Killers rip-off.
But in saying that, it just means there’s a handsome frontman singing a modern guitar-flavoured dance track. I’ve certainly heard worse. I guess my problem is that the song is carried quite heavily by the production rather than Andrius’s rather deadpan delivery.
I’ve seen him perform in normal clothes before, I hope he goes back to that for Malmö. Apparently there was a fundraiser to help give this entry a push, which resulted in an as-yet unheard remixed version, so who knows. I just hope they don’t mess with the production too much, because that’s one of the saving graces here.
So that’s that. I don’t imagine Lithuania are going to win in Malmö on the strength of what I’ve seen, but if anything it’s taught me not to write them off. There’s some great potential in that national final, and you only need one great song…