I need to catch up. Three nations chose their Eurovision entry last weekend, it’s Thursday and I’ve only done one. Latvia amazed me by being a pretty hot selection, but can the same be said for Hungary? You can never really predict it, or at least not on their final selections.
2014 marks the 20th anniversary of Hungary’s debut at Eurovision, though a patchy attendance record has seen only 11 songs entered. They have struggled to get good results, but have qualified for 5 out 7 semi-finals, and grazed the top 10 a few times. Last year’s “Kedvesem” wasn’t a favourite of mine, but it someone clawed its way to 10th place in Malmö, something they would like to improve on. 20 years after their debut gave them 4th place, could they ever make it back there?
Selection show “A Dal” is here to try and ensure that. Three heats of 10 songs selecting 6 semi-finalists – the jury’s top 3 and the public’s top 3. The semi-finals ran in a similar way, but only the jury’s and public’s top 2 proceeded to the final. The final 8 then got slimmed to 4, with a public vote deciding the victor. You’ve got to have a system! With all the science bit out of the way, let’s hope they’ve got something as good as the amazing Kati Wolf from 2011…
Depresszió – Csak a zene
I love that neon-lit stage! But oh no… it’s metal, and every bit as tedious as Hungarian metal sounds like it would be. That voice just grates on me, give that man a lozenge! And this got nothing from the jury? Shame…
HoneyBeast – A legnagyobb hős
Ahh look at the birthday girl in her party dress! A Tim Burton-esque backdrop and outfit makes this stand out, and at least it’s not metal. It’s not too bad once the chorus gets going, it’s a bit mid-00’s Eurovision though. Why did the word “BUMM” just flash up in big letters?! Quite nice but doesn’t really pick up much momentum, it’s a bit flimsy. I like the look of it, but the sound is only OK.
Dénes Pál – Brave New World
What a stage! All the world’s a stage… space synth player! The singer is gorgeous and his voice is so deep! Oh lord, they are doing sign-language, how inventive! It’s quite chilled out, I rather like it, reminds me of Deepest Blue’s album tracks. Not really a smash hit, but those visuals are amazing. His higher register isn’t the strongest, but it finally gets a bit of oopmh before the end. Are those backing singers at gunpoint though? Rigor Mortis has set in…
New Level Empire – The Last One
More lovely visuals now, with a colourised cityscape of Budapest. If I was listening on the radio I’d wonder if this was the previous guy singing again. This one has a bit more pep though, with the chorus exploding in a mass of swirls, synths, out-of-place pyrotechnics and a lady DJ jumping up and down. I can’t see this leaving a last impression really, but there’s nothing really wrong with it.
Viktor Király – Running Out Of Time
So into the Jury’s top 4 now, and a lot more energy finally. Candy coloured backing dancers and Hungary’s answer to Bruno Mars. He’s cute… it’s a decent package, he’s got a strong voice and looks the part. I suppose if you liked “Locked out of heaven” then this would be a decent bet. A pretty slick performance, very good.
Bogi – We All
What a nice name for a girl(!). Is she statically charged? All I can see is that giant hair sticking out of her head. A decent intro, but the chorus is a bit flimsy. The country tinges are nice (though that shrugging guitarist can do one). It’s like you’d imagine Avicii’s “Wake me up” before they put the dance bits in. It’s a bit sappy but pleasant enough. The jury’s placed this 2nd, but the public bumped it down a place, I can’t imagine why…
Fool Moon – It Can’t Be Over
What’s this, the acapella band? Is that the sound of gritted teeth? Fear not, some of them are fit, and it doesn’t sound that bad at all. That one with the spiky hair is hot and has a lovely voice. I wonder if acapella has had its day, it’s more of a talent show thing I think, but this had a really strong melody. I just wish they weren’t just sitting down for most of it. OK I’m on board, it’s like a male Haim, isn’t it? Sorry guys though, a strong second place.
Kállay-Saunders – Running
Right, so that’s that, here’s our Hungarian representative. And his teddy bear, or possibly his pianist’s teddy bear. This is rather earnest isn’t it? Domestic child abuse? Let’s get this party started… Oh but it’s all contemporary, it’s got drum ‘n’ bass and a tortured soul voice. It’s odd, I don’t remember this sort of thing at Eurovision. I mean sure we get the usual peace ballads from time to time, but not normally things like this.
It’s a bit OTT theatrical, WHERE did that mime pop up from? I can see qualification and another mid-table result for Hungary this year, but you can’t blame them for trying. Something feels a bit amateur though, it’s all intent and put-on emotion. I mean this is a song contest right? It just feels like 6th-form poetry. I’m not quite on board yet, I wish the acapella group had won. At least with “Kedvesem” it was something unusual and I could form an opinion; with this, it feels like I’ve seen this setup plenty of times, and I can’t be bothered.