Eurovision National Finals 2013

Latvia 2013 : Latvia want to win Eurovision this year – Reviews by Stephen Hardiman

Flying the flag

Flying the flag (Photo credit: swishphotos)

We invited Stephen back for a second guest article and today he shall be reviewing the Latvian contenders for Eurovision 2013. Brace yourself people.

I’m back with another brief synopsis of a glittering Eurovision National Final. This time its Latvia‘s turn, to introduce us to their 24, yes that’s right 24 songs in their national final Eirodziesma 2013. It’s like a Eurovision contest in itself with 2 semi finals to be held on the 8th & 9th February followed by a grand final the following week on the 16th.

The running order for the semi finals has yet to be determined. But you can listen to all of the entries here on LTV’s official Eirodziesma 2013 website.

We also found this brief video with short clips for the songs too that can give you a flavour of the songs as not all the contestants have yet released a video for their songs.

(YouTube Video Courtesy of ParalimniVoice)

Well after listening to all 24 songs I find myself feeling like I have just lived through a Eurovision final in its self.Latvia’s National Final certainly has raised the bar since their performance in Baku with a diverse crop of songs. There are certainly a few songs that could really make a good firm challenge for the Eurovision crown and have an international flavour.  
Semi final 1 – 8th February
Pieneņu Vīns – Better Than You
The first of 2 songs that Pienenu Vins have in the national final (one in each semi), when looking at the poster picture for this group, I was thinking to myself they look cool & fresh, and I had an image of a Scissor Sisters style group & song – then I pressed play. What I got was Imelda May. I like Jazz & its a good up tempo song. The lead vocalist is fab & the track has a great trendy feel to it. But is it Eurovision ? 7/10
Ivo Grīsniņš Grīslis – Give Me A Try
Soft Pop Rock song with Ivo singing about the one he loves. The writer here is following that traditional Eurovision method of a slow beating start to speeding the track up with that all important key change – does it work ? Not as good as the potential I feel of the song and may get lost by juries and the public –  3/10
Dominic Okolue – Good Woman
Reggae at Eurovision! The last time I remember an attempt at a reggae style at Eurovision was France in 1992 and that failed to lift the crown back then. Ok, it’s not my favourite genre of music, but it’s not a bad track and who doesn’t need a “Good Woman” !!! 5/10
Liene Candy – Higher And Higher
I was beginning to feel sorry for Latvia until I heard this, its pop at its best & sung very well. Eurovision fans will adopt Liene as one of their own immediately – she’ll want for nothing.8/10

(YouTube Video Courtesy of EuroMelodiboy)
Samanta Tīna – I Need A Hero
Now here’s a song. A dark, sombre, ballad here. Samantha is looking for a hero (who isn’t) and its by far the best ballad if not one of the best songs in the competition. This will work very well with good dramatic staging & lighting. Both jury’s and fans & the ordinary “Joe Soap” will love this. Watch out for the big key change – I nearly wet myself with excitement 9/10.

(YouTube Video Courtesy of jurismillers)
Headline – Love
A 5 piece band here singing about “love”. I found it hard to understand the lyrics here – pronunciation, not the singers strong point. For me the song goes nowhere and has little progression to sustain an audience.1/10
Liene Matveja & Baiba Reine – Love Responder
Gentle little pop song here, but I just don’t think it screams “Modern Music” in 2013, but then again it is Eurovision. As we say in the west of Ireland say – its grand. 4/10
Olafs Bergmanis & The Random People – Never Let Me Go
WOW – this is so different its brilliant. Best word to describe this track is Quirky. The lyrics are simple & make sense – the song just makes me smile, and its sung brilliantly. The song immediately grabs you and draws you into it – which I think is fantastic. Love it – 9/10

Grupa Per – Sad Trumpet
From the high of Olafs Bergmanis & The Random People you do feel somewhat short changed by “Sad Trumpet”. A repetitive guitar rift and a trumpet dominate this song. Again there is not enough variation in the song to make it memorable. 2/10
Fox Lima – Tirpini
I was wondering when the “Ethnic” style song was going to make an appearance in a national final from the Baltics. It’s a good haunting song. Does it make sense – No! But the music is great. 6/10
Sabīne Berezina – Upside Down
This is a great song – it starts off promisingly and gets you interested. Its fresh & current & Sabine sings it well. 8/10
Antra Stafecka – When You Are With Me
Soulful Sassy Lady here. The song reminds me of a track from a Quentin Tarrantino movie. I like it and she sings with attitude. 8/10
Semi final 2 – 9th February
Ieva Sutugova – Cold Heart
Imagine you’re in the West End watching the musical Chicago. This is very theatrical with a great singer with good stage presence. Its different.6/10.
Dāvids Kalandija & Dināra – Fool In Love
Oh! the Eurovision Fans will love this. It has an 80’s feel to it and its a love pop song sung very well by a duet. It is a mid to up beat tempo song that has that rare quality of being instantly memorable. The hook from the song is still in my mind. Just wait for that key change 9/10.
Rūta Dūduma – Here I Am
A nice simple up tempo ballad on offer here. But I listened to it after Samanta Tīna’s song and I just wasn’t blown away. If both songs make it to the final and are drawn after each other it wont work in Ruta’s favour. 5/10
Grupa Per – Here We Go
Well hasn’t Austria 2012 brought the rappers out. Another rap track in a Baltic National Final. Good singing chorus with decent rap & music but it’s not as good as the one in the Estonian National Final.7/10

(YouTube Video Courtesy of PeRmuzik)
Andris Kivičs – Hey! Hey!
Well there’s 3 minutes I’ll never get back. With all those bag pipes at the start I taught I was in Scotland. Very little change between the verse and the chorus of the song to make it interesting. 2/10
Marta Ritova – I Am Who I Am
Great “Gutsy”  singer here. Another uptempo song singing about who she is.
“I am who I am, I know I’m the best”………….maybe she will be! 5/10
Mārtiņš Ruskis & 4 Vēji – Joey
Poor Joey. Its nice & folky – that’s it. After listening to it, I just wanted to give Joey a hug. 4/10
Framest – Let The Night Belong To The Lovers
Quartet on offer here. Who remembers Butterflies 2010? It’s very similiar to the the Belarus song and all the key changes in the world wont save this. 2/10
Aiwink – Now Or Never
Another up tempo song sung by a 4 piece with a female lead vocalist. I like the music and its a good beat with loads of oh oh oh oh oh ‘s for you to sing along too. Now or Never ? – never 3/10

(YouTube Video Courtesy of DIANNA – Diana Pashko)

Niko – One
Electro Pop anyone? Back again to the second song from composer Michael James Down in Latvian Final. Mean and Moody dance track that I can picture on a Eurovision Stage with massive pyrotechnics. A heavy electric bass beat with tons of atmosphere. I am sure I will be dancing to this at Euroclub in Malmö even if it does not win in Latvia. This is a song that any band would kill to release today. Only one question – WHY HAS MICHAEL NOT BEEN SNAPPED UP FOR THE IRISH SELECTION?? 9/10  

(YouTube Video Courtesy of NIKOworldwide)
Kristīne Šomase – Phoenix Fly
“See my Phoenix Fly” is the main line in the chorus of this song. Your interpretation of that on a postcard please.?? Lyrically it’s just got no substance & its just not fresh or current for me. 2/10
Pieneņu Vīns – The One
A slower 2nd song from Pienenu Vins, but it still has that Jazzy edge to it. Its well written and sung. I’m just torn whether if it would sit well in Eurovision land! 6/10.
Well there you have it. And with a record 122 songs entered for the National Final have the adjudicators whittled it down to the right 24? It’s hard to say. But Semi Final 1 is definitely harder to predict. We just have a few weeks to wait to see who fly’s the Latvian flag in Malmo. Good Luck to all. 

Guest Author – Stephen Hardiman

Source LTV

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