Eurovision 2018

#ROMANIA – LIVE BLOG of Selecția Națională 4th SEMI FINAL #JoinUs from 20:00 CET

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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 three Semi-Finals we have 9 finalists: Eduard Santha – Mesom Romales, Echoes – Mirror, Alexia & Matei – Walking On Water, Jukebox & Bella Santiago – Auzi Cum Bate, Rafael and Friends – We Are One; MIHAI – Heaven; VYROS – La la la; XANDRA – Try and Erminio Sinni & Titziana Camelin – All The Love Away.

Tonight’s fourth Semi-Final will feature 12 artists competing for another three spots in the Final. The Semi-Final is taking place in Cluj county at Salina Turda.

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.

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

The artists taking part in the show tonight are:

  1. Feli – Bună De Iubit
  2. ZØLTAN – Daca Dragostea E Oarba
  3. TIRI – Deşert De Sentimente
  4. Paula Crişan – I Am Here
  5. Cristian Siminonescu – Nirvana
  6. Alice Jeckel  – Out Of The Dark
  7. Dan Manciulea – Rază De Soare
  8. Lion’s Roar – Rekindle The Flame
  9. Claudia Andas – The One
  10. Ioana Ciornea  – Time After Time
  11. Bernice Chiţiul – Too Busy For My Heart
  12. Nicoleta Ţicala – Una Oportunidad



JAMES: Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s underground we go! Down into the impressive halls of Salina Turda for the 4th Heat of Selectia Nationala for Romania! 20150829_152827.jpg

JAMES: This is where we’ll be – JamDan have actually visited this mine and the pictures don’t do it justice for massive and amazing it is!

BOGDAN: Almost show time! And back by popular demand, both James and I will be commenting on tonight’s show!

JAMES: Part 467 of the Romanian national selection! 😉

BOGDAN: Those of you watching on YouTube, remember the feed usually goes live at 10 minutes past the hour – so don’t worry, you’re not missing anything!

JAMES: Tonight, Eurovision fans will be delighted to know that Eurovision 2009 singer Elena Gheorghe is one of the interval acts – you know, the bit that goes on longer than the actual songs do?

BOGDAN: Now now, James…

JAMES: And we’re live from Turda! Please be upstanding for the Eurovision anthem

BOGDAN: Salina Turda is really amazing. Not great if you have claustrophobia, but still impressive…

JAMES: Opening the show tonight is Katia Carbune, who featured on a talent show here in Romania


BOGDAN: She’s joined by Ad Libitum, a group of male singers

JAMES: Their voices compliment each other well, I must say


BOGDAN: As you can see, we’re not kidding when we say this mine is HUGE!!


JAMES: It’s a really unique venue, I was excited when they announced one of the Heats for Selectia Nationala was going to be hosted down here

BOGDAN: It’s Cezar and Diana, our hosts again!

JAMES: What is she wearing? 0_0


BOGDAN: They’ve just said this is the first time that there’s been a live broadcast from Salina Turda – cool!


JAMES: Our judges… which one of the Muppets did Ilinca scalp for that coat?

BOGDAN: Loredana is in the Green Room with a  lot of wine… I want…


JAMES: Quite a big Green Room for a change!

BOGDAN: They just said that there is a enough salt in Salina Turda to provide for the slat needs of the whole planet for A CENTURY!!

JAMES: First of the songs up now with Bernice Chiţiul from Bistrita singing Too Busy For My Heart – written by her daddy… awww

BOGDAN: Expect a bit more opera towards the end…


JAMES: I like the look, the dress is quite stunning. But it looks weird with the whole Matrix code on the backdrop and office worker backing singers…

BOGDAN: It doesn’t really have a chorus and is quite monotone

JAMES: And the shriek was kind of unnecessary… if you want to go full La Forza, then go for it… but commit to full on opera, not a bit of wailing!

BOGDAN: It’s quite messy… a bit of this, a bit of that and the end result is… just weird

JAMES: The judges seem to agree, they said it’s a kind of opera and pop, that seems like it was written in a hurry… ouch…

BOGDAN: But he’s right!

JAMES: Shoulder pads went out in the 80s my dear… and those are whoppers!

BOGDAN: Cristian Siminonescu is up next with ‘Nirvana’ – and he almost started a fight with the judges during the auditions, so this could be interesting!


JAMES: Under ground, no one can hear you scream… which is just as well for this guy, except he is being broadcast live and it took me far too long to figure out which language he was singing in!

BOGDAN: At leas they cut away from him during the chorus so we couldn’t see him do that bizarre dance he did during the audition… this is the kind of thing you expect at 3am in a karaoke bar, not a Eurovision national selection

JAMES: I know a couple of people who’d argue there’s little difference!

BOGDAN: Well, we have to congratulate him for the courage it took to do that

JAMES: You can, I’m just pleased it’s over… for a song called Nirvana, it’s quite hellish…

BOGDAN: The judges agree with me about the courage it took! But they also reminded him that the level of songs at Eurovision is significantly higher than he’s performing at… but it’s maybe OK for a graduation party….

JAMES: If they all failed perhaps!

BOGDAN: Nicoleta Ţicala is up next and has Una Oportunidad for us


BOGDAN: She has a bit of a look of Helena Paparizou

JAMES: I quite like her voice, it’s quite gritty and fiery

BOGDAN: This is the most enjoyable song of the night so far

JAMES: For me, the song is lacking something and it’s descended mostly into her shouting… less sultry, more… well, shouty

JAMES: For me it started well, but then went all over the place

BOGDAN: Not great vocals, but I enjoyed it!

BOGDAN: The judges congratulate her on taking on their advice and improving their performance. They also said she’s very confident on stage!

JAMES: Loredana in the Green Room chats with the Mayor of the Turda municipality… he looks a little startled… did no one tell him they were going to interview him?

BOGDAN: They’re now having a little quiz with the prize of a coffee set up for grabs… Nicoleta won it by remembering that the slogan for Selectia Nationala this year is “Eurovision Unites Romania”

JAMES: Just as well I wasn’t there, I shouted out “All Aboard!” because I only understood half the question… the joys of only speaking a little Romanian…

BOGDAN: A little? You barely speak any! 😛 Anyway, ZØLTAN is up now with ‘Daca Dragostea E Oarba’ – or If Love Is Blind


BOGDAN: I like the background video

JAMES: I looked up long enough to see what looked like a man in a chipmunk costume rolling down a grassy hill… the things you see at this contest!

BOGDAN: She kicked Bugs Bunny!!

JAMES: I know there is a tendency to celebrate avant-garde stuff as artistic… but this is drivel… the music is dull, his voice grating and the whole concept falls flat for me. Pushing animals off cliffs and calling it art…

BOGDAN: It’s poetic in Romanian, and Ilinca reckons if it was in English it would be a song she’d listen to. I liked it

JAMES: Alice Jeckel is Out Of The Dark now. She’s part German and Romanian – Sehr bun!


BOGDAN: I liked this better in the pre-selection auditions. Her voice isn’t as strong as it should be

JAMES: I agree. I remember listening to this before tonight and liking it, it’s a shame the live version could do with a little more power vocally. I’m not sure this would stand out at Eurovision to be honest

BOGDAN: The best part of the performance is the blonde rocker on the end! I think if this went to Lisbon, it would struggle to qualify

JAMES: The judges again say it’s an improvement from the audition stages – haven’t they said that to everyone so far tonight?

BOGDAN: Singing fireman Dan Manciulea is singing next with ‘Rază De Soare’, Ray of Sunshine


JAMES: I like his traditional shirt and it’s a nice upbeat song. Yes, it’s as dated as hell and he might not have the best voice or the best song, but he seems genuine and like he’s having fun performing it, which is nice to see. Good on you sir!

BOGDAN: Is that his father on stage with him? They look related! Something like this would do well in a local contest at the pub, but I’m not sure it would suit Eurovision. The judges took a long time to say very little too… Diana called it a diplomatic response

JAMES: Or like that of a politician 😉 Back to the Green Room… will they be giving away more coffee sets?

JAMES: I think someone correctly guessed which cities Romania’s Heats have been held in – Focsani, Timisoara, Craiova and Turda, with Sighisoara and Bucharest still to come!

BOGDAN: Well remembered! Next up is the Cluj based band, Lion’s Roar and Rekindle The Flame

JAMES: I’ve heard 10 seconds of it and I love it! It’s like an arch-wizard singing rock!

BOGDAN: He was one of the backing singers for Ovidiu Anton’s Moment of Silence

JAMES: I still think that song would have sailed into the Top 10 had it been allowed to qualify!


BOGDAN: It’s not my style, but I think it has a good chance of qualifying tonight

JAMES: It’s a touch repetitive, but man can he sing! Yes, I think given the jury’s track record with rockish entries, it’ll sail into the final in Bucharest

BOGDAN: I think he lacked connecting with the audience a bit… though they still seemed to love it

JAMES: The judge says he sounds like the spirit of the Salt Mine – I agree!

BOGDAN: 600,000 tourists annually visit the Salina Turda… do you want to go there after seeing the show tonight?

JAMES: I’d like to go back! But before that, Ioana Ciornea will sing Time After Time… no, probably a different version!


JAMES: It’s all very Disney Princess, isn’t it?

BOGDAN: I think she’s got the most enjoyable vocals of the night so far

JAMES: It’s not a bad song persay, but it’s something we’ve seen thousands of times at Eurovision… she does look stunning and she sings well, but for me the song is nothing special

BOGDAN: I think she’ll qualify, or at least come close

JAMES: This semifinal doesn’t seem as close as some of the others, I must admit

BOGDAN: The jury liked her performance and the instrumentals, and said they hope to see her in the final

JAMES: He also said she was a beautiful girl… easy now!

BOGDAN: Tiri now, with Deşert De Sentimente… parts of this song are very similar to a well known Romanian song, Balada by Ciprian Porumbescu, so I’d be tempted to say it shouldn’t be allowed to compete


JAMES: To me this sounds like a blend of Beautiful Mess from Bulgaria last year and another song I can’t quite put my finger on… though other than that, it leaves me quite cold

BOGDAN: I quite like the song, but as I said earlier, I can’t agree with it being entered in this selection

BOGDAN: Ilinca looks cold…

JAMES: It is freezing down there… a good 10 degrees colder than the surface!

BOGDAN: HAHA! Even Ilinca said it was nice to hear bits of Balada by Ciprian Porumbescu in Salina Turda! She clocked him!

JAMES: Back in the Green Room, that’s like a slightly disappointing version of Oprah with it’s tea cup give aways…

BOGDAN: Even Loredana said it sounds like Ciprian Porumbescu’s song!!

JAMES: Here’s another song for you… Let it go! 😉

JAMES: One of the favourites of the whole selection up next – Feli with Buna De Iubit!

BOGDAN: Sadly, Feli’s father died recently and there was even talk she would not be taking part as a result. She’ll be dressed in black for mourning and as a sign of respect, she won’t be dancing around as much as you might expect

JAMES: I’m pleased she’s singing in Romanian. The Spanish version of the song isn’t as strong


BOGDAN: I love her dress!

JAMES: Vocally she’s as good as she is in the studio, which is a novelty for this selection *cough Serena cough*

BOGDAN: I enjoyed it and applaud her for giving that performance under the circumstances

JAMES: Yes, sign of a true professional

BOGDAN: The judge said even though it sounds like a commercially produced song, he can see it getting into the final

JAMES: I can too. I think it should get there and deserves to

BOGDAN: Penultimate song of the night, Paula Crişan with I Am Here

JAMES: But Paula, you’re not here, you’re in Turda!


JAMES: Does Joci Papai know you’ve borrowed his jacket and mangled it into a half suit!?

BOGDAN: She sounds a bit nasal

JAMES: I’ve said it before at this selection, some of these songs belong on a theatre stage and this is definitely one of them. I like it, it’s a nice self-affirming ballad, but for an intimate theatre – not so much for an arena.

BOGDAN: Thanks but no thanks… the judge said it started well, almost ended well, but dragged on for too long…

JAMES: How’s that for a sledgehammer compliment!?

BOGDAN: Last song now, Claudia Andas thinks she’s The One – but is she your one?

JAMES: This song is about a friendship that becomes love… awww… the best kind of relationship! ❤


JAMES: I love the quality of her voice

BOGDAN: She has a bit of Bonnie Tyler about her!

JAMES: I love this kind of moody love song, definitely one of the better vocal performances of tonight (love the key change!) but that being said… I suspect this isn’t quite right for Eurovision

BOGDAN: That was the last song of the night! I’m not sure who is going to qualify tonight, but I hope Feli is among them!

JAMES: Oh, I think Feli will qualify with no problem. I think Lion’s Roar and possibly Claudia or Tiri will follow her too. (at the risk of triggering Bogdan!)

BOGDAN: Too late! It’s a copy, it can’t go!!

JAMES: See? 😉

BOGDAN: I’d be happy with Feli, Lion’s Roar and Ioana

JAMES: We’ve been hugely inaccurate predicting the qualifiers so far in this Selection, so don’t take our word for it! No seriously, out of the 9 finalists we’ve accurately predicted I think 4 of them!! 😛

BOGDAN: We’re having a bit of a ad break now, but don’t go too far as we have the results and a performance from Elena Gheorghe coming up! Don’t miss it 🙂

JAMES: And we’re back live at the Earth’s core! And just in time too, Elena Gheorghe, the Balkan Girl and Romania’s 2009 Eurovision entrant is going to sing for us!

BOGDAN: Elena Gheorghe, sponsored by Pufuleti (Romanians will get this joke)


JAMES: She looks so different every time I see her!

BOGDAN: Ilinca and Elena must buy their coats at the same Muppet shaving facility!

JAMES: Poor Big Bird 😛


JAMES: Seeing this dress and hair colour and I’m having flashbacks to XXL from Macedonia in 2000… sto po sto te ljubam, sto po sto e da!

BOGDAN: She’s giving us quite a full repertoire tonight, isn’t she?

JAMES: She certainly is… she’s changing quickly though!

BOGDAN: Hopefully we’ll have some results from the mine in the next 15 mins or so… maybe sooner!

JAMES: I do love this song of hers, Echo

BOGDAN: Anyone else having a few hiccups with the YouTube feed?

JAMES: Has anyone else forgotten we’re watching the Romanian Eurovision selection and not an Elena Gheorghe concert? 😉

JAMES: Ooooh another song of hers I love!

BOGDAN: The song we’ve all been waiting for! The Balkan Girls!

JAMES: I remember when this took to the stage in Moscow, Graham Norton took great lengths to explain that her father is a priest….

BOGDAN: This is a great feel good song to dance along too!

JAMES: More costume changes… is she going for a world record?


BOGDAN: Are we finally due some results?

JAMES: Looks like it! All the acts have taken to the stage to hear their fate…

BOGDAN: Who’s Eurovision dream ends here, and whose is just beginning?

JAMES: First 12 points to Claudia! Only 7 for Feli

BOGDAN: 8 points for Feli… sabotage, anyone?

JAMES: Mhmm… 12 points to Claudia again

BOGDAN: Why are you crying Claudia, you’re in the lead!!

JAMES: I suspect these results are going to be a “bit weird”… that being the technical term!

BOGDAN: 10 points for Feli – and another 12 to Claudia!

JAMES: Notice he doesn’t mention the 8 for Tiri….



BOGDAN: ET phone home… :))))))))

JAMES: 10 for Feli and 12 for Tiri…

(BOGDAN goes berserk in the background)

JAMES: I think this could be anyone’s game right now…

BOGDAN: Another 12 for Claudia!

JAMES: Ooooh!! Possible tie break!

43 points in 3rd place is Feli

43 points and also in 3rd is Tiri

and 1st  with 56 points is Claudia Andas – The One

BOTH: Congratulations to all! We are really happy for Feli and we want to thank all our viewers! Good night and see you next Sunday for the last Semi-Final of Selectia Nationala!

Authors: James & Bogdan

Source: TVR, Eurovision Ireland


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