#LITHUANIA: Live Blog of Pabandom iš Naujo! from 20.00 CET
The Eurovision season starts in earnest tonight, and Lithuania’s broadcaster LRT starts its search for a competitor for the contest in May in Rotterdam.
Ten acts will compete for five spots in the semi-final of Pabandom iš Naujo! on 30 January. You can watch the action as it unfolds HERE.
And it’s starting. We already know The Roop are in the final, which takes place in several weeks time.
In another room, we meet the lucky five jurors Ramunas, Jievaras, Vytautas, Ieva and Aiste. A certain Vaidas Baumila is the jury room host. They’re all in visors. Good to see they’re staying safe.
Ten minutes in and it’s onto the ten songs.
Black Spikes ft Indrė Launikonytė – Don’t tell me
A trio of ladies form the basis of the band, with a metal theme running through their music. They’re dressed in black and red, which is very striking. To give the edgy effect, the camera angles are very rocky. There’s a bit of tune running through this, but it seems a little improvised too. The two ladies singing also seem to be competing against each other. It’s a brave attempt.
Thomukas1 – Wish
Why am I thinking Harry Potter – the rebellious years? He’s on stage alone, dressed in fetching tangerine. The vibe has eastern flavours to it. He also has an interesting vocal range. Think a slightly lower Jimmy Somerville and you’re about there. He even speaks for the last 30 seconds of the song. It’s quirky.
Be U – Love yourself
A five-piece group with attitude? Well we know where things “…with attitude” get you. Actually they’re not that bad. A proper regular band who sing a song without gimmicks. Good for them. It’s youthful, fresh and bounces along really nicely There are electronic touches to it too. Easily the best thing so far.
A long word from our expert jury before we move on…
Titas ir Benas
Titas and Benas are sat down and socially distant until the final chorus. And very young. It’s a standard ballad some with much earnestness. The diction is OK. Not perfect but definitely passable. And the song does have something about it. Maybe just a little to ‘bad vibey’ though.
Martyna Jezepčikaitė – Thank you very much
Martyna means business. She’s gone for an Eleni Foureira look but with bigger heels. It’s nicely upbeat with much ‘yeh-ing’ and repeating the title. It didn’t quite have ‘qualifier’ written on it for me. It’s just trying too hard to be sassy and full of attitude.
Donata – The way I am
Donata takes things down a tempo or two. She has backing singers who are very finger-clicky. This is very good. She has a very clear voice and it’s a very well constructed song. She also makes effective use of the video wall behind her, as it shows various Lithuanians of all backgrounds. The bridge builds very nice too. I know I’ve used the word ‘very’ many times in this write-up, but it’s very good. It should qualify.
Twosome – I love my bear
Riga has a beaver. Twosome have a bear. And why not? You will have seen them before, so this trio (yep, a trio) entertain. They definitely entertain with people dressed as a bear and a pink unicorn on stage. The choreography is suitably clunky, and it hooks you in early on. They even throw in Italian for good measure. This is fun and if there’s any justice it’ll make the semi-final at least.
…and another short word from our expert jury. And Vaidas. And it wouldn’t be a blog without baffling adverts for your favourite Lithuanian products. With some basketball thrown in for good measure.
Milita Daikerytė – Shadows
Milita looks very young, and has a song that could have a more Nordic vibe about it. If you know your Eurovision sounds, this is instant. Absolutely instant. A predicable structure, very Schlager, very inoffensive, and likely to be there in the shake up. Perhaps not a winner, but it’s raised the bar.
Aldegunda – Sitdown
We’ve gone a bit more avant garde now in presentation. Aldegunda is in black – like a widow – and has two dancers with her, hooded and looking like 21st Century grim reapers. The song is on the upbeat side with very precise lyrics – in Lithuanian, moving to English in parts. That’s novel. It would be an interesting semi-finalist, but I think it might struggle, with only the local language really in its favour.
Voldemars Petersons – Never fall for you again
According to his postcard, Voldemars busks. He’s gone for a quirky little song. He and his ukelele say safe, but he’s got several grizzled old rockers with him that imply otherwise. I’m not sure. It smacks a little of something The Roop would do – remember them? Anyroad, his English is passable, the chorus is repetitive but it doesn’t detract. And the heavy guitar-ey vibe is quite refreshing. A qualifier? I have no idea. A decent enough dance remix of this would go down very well at any Eurovision disco.
With that, it’s back to the jury for an extensive word on songs 8-10. Don’t go away.
Whilst they’re chatting away, my five qualifiers would be (in performance order) Be U, Donata, Twosome, Milita and Voldemars.
After a quick recap, the phone lines are finally thrown open for the viewers in Lithuania to – in the words of LT United – vote.
While we wait, it’s interval act time. No, it’s not the late great Jahn Teigen.
The results are in. It’s a combination of 50/50 jury and televoting.
OK, I got four out of five. We’ll see Voldemars, Titas ir Benas, Martyna, Milita and Be U in two weeks time.
Hope you enjoyed the blog. The second heat will be at 20.00 CET next Saturday – 23 January.
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland