Bucharest calling – ESC Romania pre-selection (Selecția Națională)

Three more national finals and I can finally shut up about them! Maybe I’ll start getting some viewers again… well, I’ve come too far to turn back now, ganbatte!! Tonight is the turn of Romania, one of the most reliably interesting nations in Eastern Europe. The last decade has seen strong results, despite a variable quality in entries. But they are one of the few countries still preserving a lengthy 100% qualification record, and that’s not to be sniffed at.


Romania have produced some amazing entries in recent times, so they are well worth keeping an eye out for, including their consecutive top 5 finishers “Let me Try” and “Tornero” (2005 & 2006) and the fabulous “Playing with fire” which took the bronze in 2010. They are not immune to sending some stinkers though, so let’s hope it’s a good year. And no more ballads PLEASE.

Andrei Leonte – Paralyzed

Oh I like these intro VTs, it’s like a light-hearted hostage video. Haha, even more so when the performance starts with singer blindfolderd and tied to a chair, very 50 shades!

Did the producers hear Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold” recently? Call the lawyers! But they’ve stuck a fresh-faced Eastern-European to front it, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. The backing singers are standing in the wings like pushy stage-school parents, while their boy gets beaten up by Tulisa.

I can’t stop hearing “Hot and cold”. But he can sing decently, I’ve heard a LOT worse.

Good start, if a bit of a car crash.

Ovidiu Anton – Run away with me

The show graphics are very swish, almost as stylish as those gorgeous Estonian idents. Ugh, who is this potato? That trashy violinist really wants her screen time doesn’t she? Sturdy thighs, that woman.

It’s not hard to steal the attention, this is boring folky-rock filler. The violin bits are nice, but this really is just an excuse for the violinist to troll the audience, is she on speed? This is way too worthy for me. Give that violinist a solo spot and THEN WE’LL TALK.

Cristian Prăjescu – The best thing in life is to love

Hooray, a sensitive ballad!! It’s going to be good with a cacky cheese sandwich of a title like that. He’s cute though, his shy boyfriend isn’t bad either. WTF was that hand gesture? Don’t do your “Vote for me” pose in the middle of the song!!

WHAT was that line, “We can unleave on the sex”? His voice really doesn’t have a lot of power to it, it’s nice enough but this song is just a bit too be tame. I think the pianist fancies the singer.

He gets a bit of the constipated boyband face with some of the more taxing notes, but this song never really gets off the ground sadly. Fun little bit of theatre watching these three characters though!

FreeStay – Criminal Mind

Are they named after a parking tariff? Anyway this looks hopeful, a full band but sounds a bit more like The Killers in nature than tedious college rock. That jacket is a bit horrible though. Is he topless in the video behind them? Distracting.

It needs to be, this isn’t an amazing track, but it’s quite bright and breezy. It even has a few little dubsteppy whomps in there. This isn’t bad, but “Romanian finalist” is about as lofty a status that this really deserves. Pleasant though.

Narcis Iustin Ianău – Seven

I feel like they needed a few more props to explain the sound effects here. Christ, that’s a falsetto! Butch it up a bit, and not with those dance moves. What a bizarre song, about the wonders of the number seven, with mental opera high notes. Fucking hell, what is this song?!! This is astonishing.

There’s a basic world-music dance beat under it all, but he’s really stealing the show with his macho posturing and castrati-tastic high notes. You have to watch this one!
Al Mike feat. Renee Santana – What is love

Tudor Turcu – Hello

These intro graphics are making me want to listen to “Collide”. Oops, never mind that, the madness has started already, he’s got an easel! Is he really going to do a charcoal drawing of a woman while he’s doing this song?? Now I’ve seen everything (not even close, I’m sure).

They really are bringing it with the mental gimmicks tonight. Shame the song is pretty nothingy, it’s a fast-paced soft-rock guitar track with a smattering of synths for the gays. And an art lesson too! The woman doesn’t seem too fussed, she’s flatly ignoring the whole thing. Boring song, good gimmick.

Elena Cârstea Muttart – Spinning

We’ve been a bit light on the traditional ballads, so it looks like this might be one. She seems a bit dramatique, doesn’t she? She’s a bit hammy on the verses, but the chorus is memorable enough.

It’s a bit sparse though, I hope this builds up by the end. She’s a bit stiff, and her vocals seem a bit shaky, maybe it’s the emotion. The middle-eight is promising, except for that awful note just before the last chorus. It doesn’t really climax, and her vocals really can’t keep up with it… oops!

Casa Presei – Un Refren

Wow, are we in the top 4 already? Here’s Romanian Simon Cowell to get the party started with his jazzy acoustic rock. There’s a sax there too, everyone loves those these days, I think she’s even playing it too, not some tacky sample like they usually use.

What an odd collection of people, how did they meet each other? She knows how to play that saxophone as sexfully as she can, the minx! Such an ungainly instrument for a lady in heels, it’s like she’s trying to shotgun a whole baguette.

This song is really not making any impact on me, apart from the sax lady, can she hook up with the mental violinist woman from the 2nd song?

Luminița Anghel – Unique

That name rang a bell, sure enough she was Romania’s 2005 representative, coming 3rd – the best position they’ve ever achieved. I liked her song a lot, she’s got a big voice.

This is quite different to the dance stomper she entered before, it’s a much more theatrical affair. A tango, which apparently takes six people now, that’s inflation for you. She’s still got a great voice, and I can appreciate that she’s doing it well, but I think this song doesn’t really connect with me that much.

I don’t tend to listen to a lot of theatrical tango music, and while it would almost certainly stand out in Eurovision, I’m not sure it would be a surefire hit.

Electric Fence – Emilia

I like the band name at least, wonder what they’ll be like. From that opening bass guitar, my heart sinks. Oh I don’t know, we’ve been a bit low on mental entries that have actually won their finals, but this one fell just short in second place

Real Romany manic gypsy music, perhaps a little try-hard but it’s melodic enough and the fierce hairstyled frontwoman really gives it some. That cavegirl isn’t fooling anyone with that trombone though. A bit of a hot mess really, and we even get a dubstep breakdown, what a treat.

I think this might have really grown on me had it made it to Malmö, but it’s sadly lost to the ages. Hope the winner has some of the mental energy that a lot of these entries have had, surely one of the more entertaining national finals!

Cezar Florin Ouatu – It’s My Life

romania2013So what treat does the winner have in store? Oh dear oh dear!! I like this guy, very sparky! There are crazy dance tableaux in the background, and he goes for the full mental opera experience again.

Is he stuck on that falsetto? On come the street dancers. WTF is all this? Dubstep breakdown? Flame throwers. This really is a smorgasbord of entertainment.

Jesus, that’s a glory note! It’s got a whiff of “Tornero” about it, but I’m sure that wasn’t as entertaining and memorable as this. I really hope this one gets through the semis, this needs a wider audience!

Well Romania, you didn’t disappoint!! If “Tornero” can make the top 5, I have a sneaky feeling this might surpass expectations and gatecrash the top 10 in Malmö


1 Comment

Filed under Eurovision, Malmö 2013, Music, Reviews

One response to “Bucharest calling – ESC Romania pre-selection (Selecția Națională)

  1. Pingback: Road to Malmö: Cezar – “It’s my life” (Romania) | Verbal Diarrhoea

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