Eurovision 2018

#ROMANIA – LIVE BLOG of Selecția Națională 3rd SEMI FINAL #JoinUs from 20:00 CET


Bună seara Europa și bună dimineața Australia!

This year TVR decided that Selectia Nationala 2018 will consist of six shows: five semi-finals featuring eleven/twelve songs each and a final, under the slogan “Eurovision unește România!” (Eurovision unites Romania!).

Each show will take place in a different city in Romania, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Union of Transylvania, which saw Romania take its modern shape we see today.

So far, after two Semi-Finals we have 6 finalists: Eduard Santha – Mesom Romales, Echoes – Mirror, Alexia & Matei – Walking On Water, Jukebox & Bella Santiago – Auzi Cum Bate, Rafael and Friends – We Are One and MIHAI – Heaven.

Tonight’s third Semi-Final will feature 12 artists competing for another three spots in the Final. The Semi-Final is taking place in Craiova at the Marin Sorescu Theatre.

So sit back and relax, and let Eurovision Ireland’s blogging duo James and Bogdan #JAMDAN entertain and inform you. Feel free to tell us what you think and give us your opinion about tonight’s Semi-Final and who is your favourite!


You know the drill: Just refresh this page to get our comments and points of view.

You can watch the live show  HERE from 20:00 CET or you can try this LINK. 

A live webcast is also be available via YouTube – click HERE .

12 singers will perform tonight, but there there is room only for three to go to the Finals!

The acts competing tonight are:

  1. Aurel Dincă – Fire In The Sky
  2. Ayona – The Story Goes On
  3. Carolina Gorun – Reach Out For The Stars
  4. Diana Brătan – Paint It Rainbow
  5. Elena Hasna – Revival
  6. Eliza Chifu – So Good Without You
  7. Erminio Sinni & Titziana Camelin – All The Love Away
  8. Mareş Pană – Daydreamer
  9. Tavi Clonda – King
  10. VYROS – La la la
  11. XANDRA – Try
  12. Zavera – Come Back To Me



JAMES: Good evening everyone, Romania calling… soon! Get comfy as we guide you through the wonderful world of Romania’s Selecția Națională – Heat 3!

BOGDAN: Tonight’s show comes to us live from Craiova, in south eastern Romania, not far from Bulgaria and Serbia

JAMES: Those of you watching on YouTube, your feed should be starting up soon – stay tuned!

BOGDAN: And we’re live! Please be upstanding for the anthem!


JAMES: I love cheap thrills… rather auspicious start for a selection, no?

BOGDAN: This is Bibi, welcoming us to Craiova

JAMES: Cezar and Diana are our hosts tonight, but I’m guessing we expected that by now


JAMES: Cezar looking rather dapper in purple!

BOGDAN: You know the drill, they’re explaining the format of the selection. Another 3 from tonight’s 12 act will join the 6 already qualified for the final in Bucharest. And tonight we have Alina Serban in the Green Room


JAMES: And we’re straight into the songs with Eliza Chifu, who reckons she’s So Good Without You

BOGDAN: Oh… I’ll go then, shall I?

JAMES: No, stay… you speak Romanian, you tell us what’s happening! :p

JAMES: Eliza is giving me flashbacks to Jana Burceska from Macedonia with her costume


BOGDAN: Feels very much like an 1980s fan favourite!

JAMES: Shame it’s 2018… I’m waiting for it to ‘start’, but I don’t think it’s going to…

BOGDAN: I appreciate that she’s trying to give us a show, with her backing dancers and the fact she’s moving around the stage too

JAMES: Agreed, she’s owning that stage!

BOGDAN: The judges say they enjoyed the song and the staging and wish her luck tonight


BOGDAN: Weren’t they wearing something else a moment ago?

JAMES: Well, you know what they say… every time something inexplicable happens, it was a WITCH!!!

BOGDAN: … right…. Carolina Gorun up next, with Reach Out For The Stars

JAMES: Loving the staging so far, the lights on stage look really cool


BOGDAN: Is it just me, or does this have a bit of an Irish sound to it?

JAMES: No, I hear it too… it’s a very 2000s Eurovision entry, reaching for the stars, let love guide us… that’s not meant to sound unkind, it’s a nice song and I like!

JAMES: That being said, I think sending this to Lisbon would be a mistake… feels a bit too safe and tame

BOGDAN: They’re really overdoing it with smoke machines tonight… are they hitting it every time someone misses a note!?

JAMES: Now there’s an idea for the final in Lisbon… 😛

BOGDAN: The judges commend Carolina for being a consistent performer and that they hope she gets enough points to get to the final

JAMES: What are Cezar and Diana up to? They seem very festive and happy tonight!

BOGDAN: Cezar said to Dian “You’re mine tonight,” and she didn’t seem bothered by that!

JAMES: Fair enough! Mares Pana is a Daydreamer next

BOGDAN: They’re really racing through the performances tonight!

JAMES: Yes, it’s hard to keep up with typing!!


BOGDAN: They’re loving the smoke machine tonight! It’s not a bad song per say, but I wish he’d move around a bit more

JAMES: So that’s take a shot when Cezar goes falsetto, Ilinca yodels and when Craiova overuses the smoke machine!

BOGDAN: Glad he’s moving a bit more now

JAMES: The music isn’t bad, but I find the lyrics a bit too repetitive and lacking any real hook

BOGDAN: He looked quite scared and uncomfortable throughout that…

JAMES: One of the judges said it’s a good club song – that is true

BOGDAN: Our first visit to the Green Room now, Alina is talking to Eliza about what it’s like being from Craiova and performing here

JAMES: And Carolina is from Moldova and has sung at O Melodie Pentru Europa before – I wondered if I recognised her!

BOGDAN: Looks like you were right! Ayona is up next with The Story Goes On, a song composed by Ovidiu Anton

JAMES: Nice to see he’s still involved in Eurovision, especially after what happened to him

BOGDAN: That’s a lot of pink…


JAMES: Yes it is… in some ways, vocally she reminds me of Kelly Clarkson, and I can imagine Kelly having a song like this on one of her albums

BOGDAN: This song isn’t strong enough for me… feels like a demo version of something. It’s got the potential, but it’s not polished yet

JAMES: I agree, there’s potential there, but it does need work. That being said, I’d like to see it qualify tonight

BOGDAN: Never mind the story goes on, this song goes on… they realise there’s a 3 minute rule at Eurovision, right?!


BOGDAN: SEE! They’re going so overboard with the smoke machine you can barely see Ilinca!!

JAMES: AllAboard, Overboard… close enough….

BOGDAN: It’s Nina Sublatti all over again! Aurel Dincă sees Fire In The Sky now

JAMES: Now, call us psychic, but every other rockish entry so far in Selectia Nationala has qualified thus far…

BOGDAN: This will probably be one to watch


JAMES: This reminds me so much of “Baba O’Riley” by The Who for some reason… it’s not a bad song, I enjoy it, but I think there are stronger entries for Romania on offer. Bogdan?

BOGDAN: It’s got a real 1980s/90s vibe to it… the judges say they liked the energy

JAMES: Just as they did about the other rock songs… you heard it here first!

BOGDAN: Next up is VYROS with La La La

JAMES: He just said it’s original … has he heard Spain’s Eurovision entry from 1968?

BOGDAN: From his accent, I can tell he’s from Moldova

JAMES: We are watching Selectia Nationala and not O Melodie Pentru Europa, right?


BOGDAN: Something’s not sitting well with me

JAMES: I’m torn between thinking it’s quite modern and mainstream, which could be a good thing, and that’s it’s repetitive and dull… not sure why he’s dressed like a Depression Era worker either…

BOGDAN: One judge says she liked the lyrics

JAMES: Lyric…


BOGDAN: Back to the Green Room now, everyone looks quite excited!

JAMES: They do until the votes start coming in!!

BOGDAN: Vyros just said Romanian is a beautiful language and that’s why he’s singing in it tonight – shame he’s the only one who is!

JAMES: Zavera are performing next with Come Back To Me

BOGDAN: It’s a song about children returning to their mothers

JAMES: Kind of like the reverse of Voltaj in 2015! Loving the traditional costumes!


BOGDAN: This isn’t a bad entry, I think it’ll qualify because of it’s message. I think it needs a little more work with instrumentals, but I like it

JAMES: So far, I think this is the most upbeat song and has a hook. I like the blend of traditional and modern sounds, that’s always gone down well. And yes, I think the message of returning to your homeland will strike a chord with a lot of people around the continent.

BOGDAN: One of the judges just said “We wish you a good evening, you might qualify”

JAMES: We think so too!

BOGDAN: Elena Hasna is up next with Revival. She’s only 16 years old!

JAMES: Cezar falsetto – SHOT!


BOGDAN: She’s so tiny on the stage! She’s very well known in Romania and has a huge fan base. I’m expecting her to do well tonight!

JAMES: I have to hand it to her, for just 16 years old she knows how to command a stage!

BOGDAN: It’s a bit of an unusual song choice for her though, almost seems too old for her

JAMES: Yes, bit heavy going… but beautifully sung nonetheless


JAMES: Diana is up to something…

BOGDAN: Ilinca says Elena has a fantastic voice and that it was a very special moment with her on stage

BOGDAN: Diana Brătan wants us to Paint It Rainbow next

JAMES: Hmm… I can see what she’s going for…


BOGDAN: Sounds like a song from a musical

JAMES: She sings beautifully, but yes… this belongs on a stage telling a story… I fear something like this would be trampled in Lisbon

BOGDAN: I agree, I think for a small theatre it comes across well, but in a large arena, everything that makes this so intimate would be utterly lost

JAMES: The judges wish her well… and Diana says she hopes her performance showed that she’d taken their critiques on board

BOGDAN: They didn’t seem all that enthusiastic to me…

JAMES: After a quick run around the Green Room, we’re back for the last 3 songs – and first up is King by Tavi Clonda

BOGDAN: There goes that smoke machine again…


BOGDAN: This had a promising start, but didn’t live up to it… the chorus is quite flat

JAMES: Hmm… this is strange, it has all the components of a strong song, but they’ve been thrown together quite haphazardly…

BOGDAN: At least it’s a nice costume though

JAMES: Less a king, more a minor duke

BOGDAN: One of the judges also seemed to like the jacket, saying it was one of the most well put together performances of tonight

JAMES: Have to give it to these judges, they’re rarely critical or mean. They’ve had something nice to say about everyone!

BOGDAN: Very true! Our penultimate act for the night are up so, Italian singer Erminio Sinni and Titziana Camelin, singing All The Love Away

BOGDAN: Fun fact, Erminio participated in Sanremo in his youth


JAMES: Is it a power ballad right out of the early 1990s… she’s carrying this performance too, I have to add

BOGDAN: She has a really good voice, but the song is soooo outdated

JAMES: This would have won the whole contest somewhere between 1987 and 1994…

BOGDAN: Would have definitely won Sanremo in that time!

JAMES: Diana screams “Pizza, Pasta, Carbonara!” to prove she speaks Italian… awkward…

BOGDAN: One of the judges said she felt like she was watching Sanremo and that her colleague sees them in the final…

JAMES: If Romania wants to send a guy-gal duet that features a piano, go find Paula Seling and Ovi!!

BOGDAN: Last song of the night now, Xandra wants to Try 😉

JAMES: Oooh… now this is a lot grittier and jazzy than the studio cut I heard before… and it works a lot better!


BOGDAN: She’s really channelling Adele, that’s for sure

JAMES: This is one of hot favourites to do well tonight… but then again, so were Serena and Alex Florea…

BOGDAN: She definitely delivered vocally, but nothing about this song excites me

JAMES: Ilinca says Xandra’s voice could shatter glass, but she wishes there had been a bit more of a performance to go with it

BOGDAN: I think this might have been the weakest semi final in Romania’s selection so far…

JAMES: But there have been very a few really stand-out entries tonight, so we’ll take a moment to discuss our favourites while you watch what’s going on in the Green Room

BOGDAN: OK, so for me I think it’ll be Zavera, Elena Hasna and Xandra – maybe Aurel Dincă that will go through to the final

JAMES: I’d like Zavera and Elena Hasna to go through to Bucharest, I would also like Ayona to go too. But I agree, I suspect Aurel Dincă will make it, which makes me think it’ll be them instead of Ayona

JAMES: We’re on an ad break now, after which we’ll have some interval acts while the jury votes

BOGDAN: And we’re back! Cezar and Diana (fresh for their 3rd wardrobe change tonight) are explaining how the voting works and that tonight only the jury will vote – don’t worry Romania, come the final it’ll all be down to you!

JAMES: But before we get those votes, we have a few interval acts, including FreeStay

BOGDAN: FreeStay entered Selectia Nationala themselves a few years ago, back in 2013


JAMES: Are these guys Romania’s answer to Maroon 5?

(BOGDAN and JAMES take a moment to read who won in Switzerland and listen to Stones by Zibbz to refresh their memories)

JAMES: I wondered what ever happened to Joss Stone!

BOGDAN: Interesting take on Fairytale from FreeStay there!

JAMES: Now it’s time for Dincolo De Nori, Romania’s first official Eurovision entry from back in 1994 – they tried to enter in 1993, but didn’t get past Kvalifikacija za Milstreet, a one-off semi-final hosted among several former Eastern Bloc countries

BOGDAN: Don’t we have another 2 interval acts AFTER this one?

JAMES: Apparently!

BOGDAN: Alina in the Green Room says that she doesn’t want this night to end…

JAMES: She’s in luck, there appears to be no end in sight…

BOTH: No, seriously, we love Eurovision ❤


BOGDAN: They just asked “Do you want the jury results, or another song?”… despite the audible screams from the audience for the results, here’s Dan Helciug with a Queen tribute…


JAMES: Do you think someone gets paid every time that smoke machine gets used??

JAMES: Seriously, people in Craiova are going to start thinking a new Pope has been elected…


BOGDAN: Dan has now been joined by Alexa to sing Barcelona – hopefully after this, we’ll get to the points!


BOGDAN: He’s shouting, she’s screaming…

JAMES: Now Cezar is trying to shriek even higher… ouch…

BOGDAN: As the smoke clears, literally and figuratively, it’s results time! All the semi-finalists have gathered on the stage to hear their fates

JAMES: Will your favourites makes it?


BOGDAN: Looks quite busy, doesn’t it?

JAMES: Ilinca is hiding under the table… because she doesn’t like this part – but gives her 12 points to Xandra, and 10 to the Italian duet!

BOGDAN: Next 10 points go to Xandra and 12 to Erminio Sinni & Titziana Camelin

JAMES: That’s a bit of a surprise…

BOGDAN: 8 points to Xandra from the next juror, VYROS 10 points and 12 to… Erminio Sinni & Titziana Camelin

JAMES: We’re a bit in shock… didn’t think Erminio Sinni & Titziana Camelin would get so much support!

BOGDAN: This looks like bad news for Elena Hasna…

JAMES: 8 points to Erminio Sinni & Titziana Camelin, 10 points for Xandra and 12 points for Tavi Clonda…

BOGDAN: Seems like Xandra and Erminio Sinni & Titziana Camelin will be in the final… but who is joining them?

JAMES: So our finalists are… Vyros (37 points) , Xandra (52 points)  and Erminio Sinni & Titziana Camelin (52 points)

BOGDAN: That was a surprise for us! Shame for Elena Hasna and Zavera; they deserved to qualify in our opinion. But good luck and congratulations to the three qualifiers!

BOTH: Thank you all for watching and see you next week for the forth Semi-Final in Turda!

Good night Europe!

Authors: Bogdan and James

Source: TVR, Eurovision Ireland

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