We’ve got TEN more of these selections to get through. Ten!! Who has the time? Apparently me, although I’ve been staring blankly at my laptop for a little while. But yes, trying to catch up now as we look at Lithuania, who had one of the longest and strangest selection processes of the lot – but I’m just going to focus on the last bit.
Lithuania, in contrast to its Baltic compatriots, former winners Estonia & Latvia, hasn’t quite made its mark in Eurovision yet. A sole top 10 finish came in 2006, and I’d really rather not revisit that one. 2014 is their 20th year in the contest, and 15th entry. Could they finally make it this year?
Well, they certainly want to make sure. Way back before Christmas, 20 hopefuls took part in two heats that thinned out half of the field. Each week, another finalist was knocked out. So far, so X-Factor, right? Well, once down to a final eight, they performed eight of the 16 potential entries and the least popular entrant left the running. The following week, the seven finalists sang seven more entries, with the previous week’s eliminated singer singing the 16th entry. A vote decided the least popular entrant, and a simultaneous vote picked the four least popular songs. Still following?
From then on, each singer sang two of the remaining songs (different ones each time). One singer and two songs would leave the contest in separate votes. Eventually the winning song was picked, and the three finalists sang it one last time to decide the Lithuanian representative at Eurovision. A fiendish system, very interesting, I just hope it works out for them!
Firstly, let’s listen to the song, “Attention” – we’ve got three singers, did Lithuania pick the best? I can’t say I liked Vaidas Baumila’s jazzy interpretation, he was a bit too busy showboating his laid-back Sinatra style that the melody of the song got totally drowned. Very cute but this is dull.
I think the best of the three is actually the electro-pop Marilyn Monroe rendition by Mia. A bit noisy but she’s got the cleanest pop voice despite a few wobbles. Alas, we ended up with Vilija Matačiūnaitė instead, who opts for a ballsier approach that focuses more on swagger and street moves than holding the tune. A shame, because I was quite impressed with the song sung by Mia, Vilija really needs to get those vocals into shape if she plans to escape her semi-final.
But could there have been a better song? “It’s all about the boy” was also on the table, winning the jury vote and only narrowly missing the public nod. It’s a curious Cabaret ballad with outbreaks of Charleston between choruses. Those tattoo sleeves are vile, and I’m not 100% sure this wouldn’t have died on its arse either. Very… spirited.
Vilija didn’t get her claws into the other candidate track “Look at me now”, but Mia did, giving it a creditable performance of this upbeat dubstep-lite pop track, though I don’t think the song is up to much. She nails “It’s all about the boy” too.