Lithuania – When We’re Old

Every year, Lithuania hosts a multi week selection spectacular called Eurovizijios Atranka. This year, FORTY-SEVEN separate acts competed through six heats, two semifinals, and a final show to determine who Lithuania would send to Eurovision – that’s about 54 hours of television programming all devoted to Eurovision before the competition even starts. I know because I watched it all. (Do you realize how many versions of ‘Yes I Do’ by The Roop that it encompasses? A LOT.)

Because Lithuania is only a country of slightly under 3 million people, and because it’s had artists who have participated in Eurovision already, it’s not always so choosy when it comes to who participates in Eurovizijios Atranka. This year, for example, we had acts like Chris Evans (both bearded and non-bearded versions) in a Bad Suit and this anthropomorphic DuoLingo and a guy wearing this hat (which seems to be all over Eurovision this year) but with a really, really bold sweater choice.

(As a quick side note –  this year once again had the amazing Gerai Gerai, performing with Silvija Pankūnaitė. Gerai Gerai is like the polar bear of electronic music – icy and chill and yet somehow completely huggable. ‘More than You Know’ would win a place in my alternate Eurovision for sure.)

I love Eurovizijios Atranka primarily because I know that every year, Vidas Bareikis is going to come up with something interesting. Bareikis is a Lithuanian actor and director who has a serious theater career, playing Hamlet at the State Theater of Lithuania. He also has a thriving alternative music career, and has entered Eurvizijos the past three years with songs which are jokey. This year, he entered with the song ‘Pusvalanduko,’ or ‘Half an Hour’, which was a story about how a late alarm clock ruined a man’s day. It was performed in a sky-blue suit, complete with video clips of Jean-Claude Van Damme, a saxophone solo, and a flying leap at the end. It was a grand demonstration of Sebastian Tellier-type Eurovision madness, and it failed to make it to the final. I hope it lives on in memedom.

Last year, Barekis entered with a singer named Ieva Zasimauskaitė. They sang a duet called “I Love My Phone,” which was a purposefully silly commentary on the modern addiction with smartphones. It didn’t make it to the finals.

This is all a roundabout way of noting that Ieva Zasimauskaitė is representing Lithuania this year with a very sweet song called, ‘When We’re Old’ which would likely make me cry if I listened closely to the lyrics. Indeed, Zasimauskaitė has a whispery voice that she’s able to bring to the edge of heartbreak. Most of her staging is simply her sitting on stage and singing, and yet it’s absolutely spellbinding. As a bonus, if the lyrics weren’t sentimental enough, she brings her real-life romantic partner on stage to finish the song.

“When We’re Old’ is possibly the best of the ballads at this year’s contest, but that’s not a high bar to meet. It’s not going to win, but I think it should have enough fans to make it to the finals.

Jokes about her being so old she can’t get up – she can, guys, and it’s not funny in the first place.

SHOULD YOU TAKE A PEE BREAK DURING THIS PERFORMANCE: No, because you’ll be too busy peeing out of your eyes. (They’re called tears.)

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