All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.
Selecţia Naţională 2023 is soon taking place and the question that always remain, is who will be the winner? We might not be trying to actually predict the winner, but more so trying to see if our personal preferences will be in-line with what is the popular choice. 12 songs will compete in this year’s Romanian national final and it will be solely decided by the public this year. However, some things have happened since our panelists decided to rank them. TVR has released live performance clips in the line-up to the national final, but our panelists have made their opinion based on the audio only, so keep in mind that live vocals were not considered, when these scores were submitted.
The songs were judged by two panelists, being as follow:
- David Popescu – Denmark
- Tyler Griffith – United States of America
Together, the two will share their thoughts and opinions about the 12 competing songs, and then we shall see if the opinions of the studio versions will be any similar to the final results.
Song 1: Deiona – “Call On me”
David – 2: “Normally, this song goes into a territory which I usually like, some power, a bit of feel good and some sweetness. Somehow, it doesn’t work AT ALL! There is nothing captivating in the song, I mostly hear a drum beat and nothing else and the interest is long dead before we hit the ending. It also seems like there is some heavy use of autotune, which is a big no no in this competition. Not because I mind it, but live vocal is VERY important, I need to be impressed by pure talent and not artificial help.”
Tyler – 4: ““Call on Me” sounds like a song that was AI generated with an artist (real or robotic?) that has been autotuned to death. The lyrics read and sound like nothing and don’t stand out to me at all. I can’t judge Deiona’s vocals, as I’m not sure they’re real. There’s the obligatory key change towards the end, and this song is just too generic for my tastes.”
Song 2: Andrada Popa – “No Time For Me”
David – 2: “Alright, she can sing… and that’s it. This is just not me, another boring ballad, another song I just ignore. It takes half of the song before it gets to something, and it barely brings anything. I just have nothing to remember after I hear it.”
Tyler – 5,5: “This is a similar situation to “Call on Me” in that I’m not sure this was written by a person, HOWEVER, I think the vocals are better and I like this ballad! That’s mostly it though, it’s a fine song that doesn’t wow me. Not very intriguing, but feels more authentic. We’ll see if that holds true in the live performance.”
Song 3: Ocean Drive – “Take You Home”
David – 4: “Not gonna lie, this one gives some classic and a bit groovy vibe, and I think it’s kinda cool. Very inoffensive song with some slick sting work. Is it my tune of 2023, no way near… it’s cool and alright, but only when it’s suddenly on. I doubt it’s one of those auto-repeat songs, plus it’s mostly the music that gets me, the lyrics and vocal performance are alright, but again, just very inoffensive.”
Tyler – 4,5: “The main takeaway for me is how high the lead vocalist goes on his notes that it reads as being too high for his register. I’m worried for him! The song overall though is fine, nothing crazy. Reminds me of radio songs from the early 2010s, and that isn’t necessarily a demerit! But I’m not excited about this song, so this score seems appropriate!”
Song 4: Amia – “Puppet”
David – 4: “This is actually quite fun, my mind is put straight into one of those 1930’s cartoon. Music wise however, not so fun. Every time we hear the word “Puppet”, then comes the word “trumpet”, couldn’t we be a bit more creative? Then of course, the trumpet actually does takes quite over the song and eventually, we just run out of words and sing the same over again, until it feels too repetitive.”
Tyler – 7: “To be clear, “Puppet” isn’t a masterpiece to me. I don’t like the instrumentation that much (a touch too much jazz swing), BUT this is fun and the staging will be iconic. The lyrics are too repetitive and doesn’t go further than the puppet metaphor. However, I just think this is neat and fun, and I’m allowed one entry that is probably not that good that I will mindlessly stan regardless, okay?!”
Song 5: Andrei Duţu – “Statues”
David – 6: “Unlike the rest, this song was accepted, without having a singer. Of course, I had higher expectations then, but can’t say I was disappointed. What I really missed, was an instrumental solo section, where the music just blows out. The song is nicely composed and it’s actually great with some inspirational lyrics. This song could really need a revamp and become something awesome, but it still feels like a demo.”
Tyler – 6: ““Statues” is a cute song! Even if the song is repetitive, I found the ideas behind it to at least be unique in its love declarations. I’m curious to see how this will be performed live too and if Andrei’s vocals will be good too. Overall, I just think this song is cute, but not gorgeous, it’s decent! The live could give it some much needed umph.”
Song 6: Theodor Andrei – “D.G.T. (Off and On)”
David – 3: “The main thing I need to point out, is how rather pointless it is to have both English and Romanian, the song doesn’t need both languages, just one would’ve fitted it all better. He has energy and vocal ability, but lyrically, it just seems a bit like nonsense, just not captivating nor interesting. Really not much to say, it’s a song just being a song”
Tyler – 3: “There’s a LOT going on in this song, and sometimes less is more. There’s a blend of different vocal styles and music genres in here that I want to be interesting and melodic, but the end result is a whole lot of screeching. I expect the live to be just as chaotic as the studio. I actually thought the art style for the MV was good, but the editing did not unfortunately extend to the song itself. This song is a mess overall that needed editing, but good luck in the NF!”
Song 7: Steven Roho x Gabriella x Formaţia Albatros – “Lele”
David – 4: “If this wasn’t so modernized as it is, I would probably have enjoyed this far more. It feels like the Romanian elements were just added to be there. This is more in line with the more modern Romanian music, which is without the classical violins or the pan flute (Nai). I’m just left wondering, what was the goal with this song, modern or traditional?”
Tyler – 4: “I listened to this song from the MV provided by TVR and like…they really couldn’t go more professional quality? The song feels and sounds amateurish, the sound mixing is bad, and I can’t look past this! If this was on Spotify, maybe the quality would be better and I could judge this song better, but like. Girl, this is not a good product! I’m hoping the live gives the song justice, good luck!”
Song 8: Aledaida – “Bla Bla Bla”
David – 6: “A song with some attitude, always refreshing. My greatest annoyance, would probably be the lyrics, about all of this with being a strong independent woman, it’s really growing old by now! However, a song that straight out says “I’m not taking anyone’s bullshit”, with music that gives similar vibes goes really great together to make it catchy.”
Tyler – 4,5: “I’m going to need better enunciation in the live performance, as other than “Bla Bla Bla”, I’m not sure what she’s saying! The vocals are good though, but the beat and the instrumentation is forgettable to me. This feels like a MGP reject, and I hope the live performance is more exciting and higher energy. Good luck!”
Song 9: Adriana Moraru – “Faralaes”
David – 3: “Now and then, I do like how we just embrace that we are a Latin country, hence why there will appear songs in Spanish, Italian or even French, and here it was. This however, is the simplest Spanish you can learn, where is “la pasión”? There’s a great lack of personality as well. A nice beat but I don’t really care about the rest.”
Tyler – 6,5: ““Faralaes” is fun! I don’t think the chorus does the song justice, and the song doesn’t really go anywhere other than staying as a dance number. But it’s still quite fun, and I can see this getting some televotes and doing well in the national final. I want more energy from Adriana in the live performance to really take this over the top into full stanning territory. Good luck!”
Song 10: Maryliss – “Hai Vino”
David – 1: “How would I describe this, probably as a “Romanian country love song” …that I absolutely didn’t need in my life. The lyrics are my biggest bother, because it goes for this sweet message of love and being together. One case, where non-Romanian speakers should be thankful to not being able to understand anything. Anyhow, if there are any fellow Romanians reading this, listen to the song “Doar Cu Tine”, and let me know if the lyrics of this song feels like a butchered version.”
Tyler – 6: “The music style for “Hai vino” isn’t necessarily my thing, as it sounds like a light country song using a Casio sample piano track. What makes it slightly more interesting to me is Maryliss’s vocals, and this isn’t something we would normally hear from Romania. It’s unique for sure! I’m curious to see how the live turns out for this, hopefully it makes me a fan!”
Song 11: JaxMan – “Bad & Cool”
David – 4: “A slick and old school tune, it has some personality which gives it some attitude. However, the music has more personality than the artist, which is quite a shame, since it can be so much better, if it went hand in hand. Overall it’s quite inoffensive, but it loses it’s touch and the song progresses because of this missing part.”
Tyler – 5: “While I find the lyrics to be annoying (wow it’s so rebellious to smoke a cigarette and not eat breakfast /s ), I do like how this sounds like a Melodifestivalen NQer. It has a polish I didn’t expect from the Romanian selection, and if the live is pretty good, then it could be a good package to send to Eurovision. Less work involved! I hope they don’t as while the song is decent, it isn’t my favorite, but I would understand if it was chosen.”
Song 12: Andreea D Folclor Orchestra – “Periniţa Mea“
David – 2: “I can listen to this song in two ways, first being as traditional Romanian music OR as a Eurovision contender. One way is VERY good, the other is VERY bad. Since it’s as a Eurovision contender, all I’m asking is… WHY!?!?! This is traditional Romanian music, why would Europe care for that???! We have beautiful culture in Romania, show people that in the country, NOT on an international stage.”
Tyler – 8: “Is this song a continuation of Moldova 2022? Maybe so. Do I love the traditional instruments and love the idea of sending an accordion to Eurovision? Definitely. “Periniţa mea” is a super fun entry to me and based on the MV, looks like they’ve done a good job with rehearsals, so I’m not worried about it flopping. I could see this doing well in the televote, and it’s my pick for Romania this year. Good luck!”
Just like that, our panelists have shared their thoughts, so now let’s count the scores together. The system that has been used to judge the songs was based on a ranking system between 1 and 10, with 1 being the lowest score and 10 the highest. Since only two panelists have taken part this time, that means that maximum is 20 points, while minimum is 2 points. Should there be a tie between two or more songs, the song that received the highest individual rank, will be placed the highest.
Now then, below you can see the final scores:
- Andrei Duţu – 12 points
- Amia – 11 points
- Aledaida – 10,5 points
- Andreea D Folclor Orchestra – 10 points
- Adriana Moraru – 9,5 points
- JaxMan – 9 points
- Ocean Drive – 8,5 points
- Steven Roho x Gabriella x Formaţia Albatros – 8 points
- Andrada Popa – 7,5 points
- Maryliss – 7 points
- Deiona – 6 points
- Theodor Andrei – 6 points
Somehow, the panelists greatly avoided similar scores, but all the songs still placed up against each other very closely from bottom to top. That leaves Andrei Duţu as the pick of our panelists with his song “Statues“. Not long to go now before we see whether this will be the final out come or not, since the national final will take place on the 11th of February 2023.
Selecţia Naţională 2023 will take place in Bucharest, in a studio at TVR (the Romanian broadcaster). The show will be hosted by Laurentiu Niculescu and Ilinca Bacila and will air at 20:30 local time (19:30 CET). This year’s Romanian winner, will be decided purely by the public.
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