Romania – Selectia Nationala final preview

There’s a lot of medium-likeable stuff in the Romanian national final, but also a few standout songs that play on Eurovision tropes to create something highly entertaining. There’s also Laura Bretan.

So what can you expect when you tune in on Sunday?

Linda Teodosiu – Renegades

Do you know how many songs Eurofans are listening to right now? We’re busy guzzling pop from sunup to sundown, trying to form coherent opinions on a flood of potential entries.

Linda’s entry would have been strong in 2002 Eurovision, but it just feels dated and formulaic now, and it’s not really standing out from the Eurovision pack.

Olivier Kaye – Right Now

It’s the Romanian Gotye. And I have to say it’s a Gotno from me.

Laura Bretan – Dear Father

Yes, Laura has a beautiful voice, and an amazing vocal range. But it’s popera, and not very good popera at that. In my demand for an all-banger Eurovision, I’m afraid I just can’t appreciate this performance. Despite being opera, it doesn’t lift me up in the slightest; I instead am very conscious of the work being done to make this song for me, and perhaps that’s why I just can’t relax into it.

Teodora Dinu – Skyscraper

There are elements of this song I really like, such as the country-tinged opening and the many hand claps. And there are many things that I don’t like about this song, like the lyrics. Also, the staging of the skyscrapers falling is just fear-inducing for people like me who live in big cities. No.

Claudiu Mirea – We are the Ones

I usually despise the genre of man with an acoustic guitar,but until this hits the chorus,it’s actually quite a good song. So ignore the chorus parts and … well, that’s about half the song. The problem is that the electronic elements just don’t fit in with the acoustic feel. It’s a no.

Aldo Blaga – Your Journey

Aldo Blaga, my ideal journey is one that involves a lot of dance bangers, so I’m afraid that this man ballad isn’t going to be a journey that we can share, no matter how soaring your voice might be.

Ester Peony – On a Sunday

Oh, this one is quite the country Bond banger. If this goes, I sense a disastrous staging decision (a la Laura Rizzotto) where the song just gets lost in a sexy staging technique. I love how this sounds, even though it could originate anywhere and doesn’t feel at all like any part of Romania to me.

Let me just note that I am amazed I haven’t heard more online hype about this.

Letiţia Moisescu & Sensibil Balkan – D A I N A

I should hate this song. It’s got draggy vocals. It’s got M I H A I style capitalisation that is a huge pain on a spell check. But in its chorus, it suddenly bursts into a flurry of ‘Whoa-pas!’ and I am sold. It’s amazing what a disco beat can do to transform a song.

Also, who doesn’t love a band name like Sensibil Balkan? (And the chance for Epic Melodica Guy!)

Bella Santiago – Army of Love

Bella Santiago is Romania’s answer to Eleni Foueria. Or Shakira. Or maybe both. At any rate, I should love this song, but I don’t. It feels like Bella has taken tropes that have worked for other singers and piled them all together in a song which has a dance beat but never manages to bang.

Trooper – Destin

It’s Jacques Houdek meets Ovidu! It’s a bearded goatee and a white opera scarf! It’s the best of Eurovision! Will this go anywhere? Probably not, but it’s such a fantastic mashup of things that should not go together that I hope it makes it to the final, especially because of those wicked guitar riffs in the middle of the song.

Dya & Lucian Colareza – Without You

And like Trooper, this is classic Eurovision, but not in a good way. An overwrought duet, a frantic background dancer, a mix of language so confusing that it’s difficult to immediately identify which one is being performed. At least the key change is entertaining.

Vaida – Underground

The show closes with Vaida, who sings a song that sounds like it should be playing over the credits of a 1980s romantic drama. That’s not a criticism – she’s captured the sound perfectly. But it doesn’t necessarily stand out enough among the field, except for that ending, when I think Vaida pretty much collapses in exhaustion.

CONCLUSION
What SHOULD win is Trooper. What is likely to win is Laura Bretan, because Romanians love popera.

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