#LITHUANIA: Live Blog of Pabandom iš Naujo! Semi-final from 20.00 CET
Thunder and lighting! It’s getting exciting. In Lithuania anyway. After two heats, we have ten lucky semi-finalists competing for five spots in the Grand Final of Pabandom iš Naujo! next Saturday.
And we’re off, with the usual chat with the acts we’ll be seeing tonight. Ieva and Vytautas have dressed up tonight, as we’re getting towards the sharp end of matters.
Jury room host Vaidas has dressed up too, and ditched the glasses he wore last week.
We get a brief explanation. It’s a 50/50 split between the expert jury of five, and televoters. Ten go in, five come out. And one of tonight’s five might end up going to Rotterdam in May.
Nine minutes in – ESC producers take note – and we’re off.
Be U – Love yourself
First on is our good old honest six-piece band Be U with their good old easy listening song. It’s a great opener and bounces along really nicely. A nice mid-tempo number with those moments where an audience could possibly clap along. Lots of good chemistry in the band. Lots of good interaction with the camera. I like it, but whether the voters want ‘nice’ tonight or something edgier remains to be seen.
Aistė Brokenleg – Home
Aistė is a very ‘arty’ performer (no, that’s a good thing). She’s alone on stage again, except for little keyboard. Her song is definitely a non-conformist type, and we should applaud LRT for picking an artist with a large underground following. Because it’s bit non-conformist, I can see it being very marmite and sadly it’s not really my thing. It doesn’t really get going for me, and Aiste relies a bit on her keyboard perhaps a bit too much.
Gabrielius Vagelis – My guy
Gabrielius is all in white. His English is OK, but maybe needs a tad more work. Nevertheless it’s great to see a song on such a progressive subject. Construction-wise, there are no surprises. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, all with a fairly memorable hook. It’s nicely familiar and this should definitely go in the song’s favour.
Martyna – Thank you very much
Something for fans of upbeat stuff now, and this is quite instant. Overtones of something from a Nordic national final about it, which if you were looking ahead would go in its favour. Martyna and her dancers are in distinctive outfits. It is, however, a slightly challenging song and if I didn’t know better Martyna was having difficulty with some of the longer and notes. To counter this, she’s definitely made this song her own. A qualifier? Maybe. A winner? No.
Norbertas – Man in need
More upbeated-ness from young Norbertas. There are nuances of R&B in this. And again it could feature in a national final somewhere more Nordic. He’s hitting all the right notes and again it’s familiar in sound to a lot of stuff Eurovision fans will know. The chorus is maybe a tad repetitive, with lots of “Whoa-oh”s. And there’s a lot to demonstrate several octaves of range. Compared with Martyna, I think he’s more likely to qualify.
Evita Cololo – Be paslapčių
What’s this? Lithuanian? Hurrah!Evita embraces TikTok and other similar apps, by performing some of her song tin front of a head-height mobile phone in portrait format. Her song has a jazzy freeform motif to it. Not necessarily my thing, but if you were in a smoky bar deep in Vulnius’s old town, and it was late in the evening, this might be just the tonic to accompany that last shortly before you left. Giving Evita her due, she has a good voice. But it doesn’t really shout out at me to vote for it.
It’s ad time now. Don’t go away.
Titas & Benas – No
T&B take the tempo down, and start sat on those wheeled boxes that stage equipment gets moved around in. The song itself is a very credible ballad that builds in the way you’d expect a credible ballad to build. It’s about lost love rather than falling in love, so think teenage angst and you’re about there. Whilst it’s credible, it’s maybe a tad too formulaic and could you people on a downer. I wouldn’t have it in the top 5, but I didn’t have it to qualify from its heat.
Voldemars Petersons – Never fall for you again
No, it’s not Harry Potter’s mortal enemy. Voldemars has a band with him, and a sparkly red and black jacket. And a hat. Very distinctive. Despite all the different elements that souldn’t work when put together, they all do. It’s catchy, bouncy, with a good hook and lots of participation from the whole band. If there is a criticism, it’s the very repetitive chorus. “I’ll never fall for you again” – yeah, we get it. Even so, I’d have it through to next week.
Milita Daikerytė – Shadows
Milita has some above-average Scandi-pop for us. There’s lots of good in this. Her diction is very good, the song also has a good hook, and even the dance routine from her and her two dancers is pretty slick. It’s also the first really good radio-friendly song we’ve heard tonight. I can’t fault it and as it can be assumed that Eurovision is generally a younger person’s game, this will also count in her favour. And her “Whoa”s are the best ones we’ve heard tonight.
Gebrasy – Where’d you wanna go
And finally, we get a slow song from Gebrasy. As a ballad it’s not bad, and I think he’s trying to channel his inner Ed Sheeran. There’s the vocal range, they slightly funky beat and he’s on stage alone which can be a brave move. The song ends too suddenly for my liking, and I really think this song will struggle when compared to the songs that have come before it.
Phew. We’ve rattled through the ten songs in an hour and a quarter. So that means it’s a word from our expert jury of five, one of whom (Aistė Smilgevičiūtė) sang for her country in 1999.
The phone lines are now open. If you’re in Lithuania. If not, you’ll only be able to stand at the back and heckle when the results are announced. My five would be (in running order) Be U, Gabrielis, Norbertas, Voldemars and Milita.
Interval act time now. We can’t have The Roop again, but we get another dose of Lithuanian instead.
Here come the final results.
Ha! I got two out of five! Gebrasy, Martyna, Evita, Voldemars and Titas & Benas live to fight another day.
Join us next week for the Grand final of Pabandom iš Naujo!, when these five acts compete with The Roop for a place in Rotterdam in May.
And thanks for watching.
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland, LRT Lithuania