With the first National Selection drawing to a close, it is time to reveal what our team thought of the entrants. Will #YOUR favourite be ranked first? Scroll down to find out.

Disclaimer: This article contains a plethora of opinions that belong to the persons quoted and no one else. It does not reflect the views of Matt, nor of ESCUnited as a whole. De coloribus gustibusque non disputandum est, etc. 

With tomorrow’s deadline looming, nine of our editors took the plunge and are sharing their thoughts and opinions on the seven hopefuls vying for the opportunity to rep the Czech Republic at Eurovision 2022. What did Arnaud (France), Boris (Belgium), James (UK/USA), Melanie (Netherlands), Roy (Netherlands), Sean (UK), Stefan (Serbia) Tyler (USA) and William (USA) make of ESCZ’s line-up?

Let’s find out!

07. Jordan Haj & Emma Smetana – “By now”

Total Score: 47.5/90
Average Mark: 5.3
Highest Mark: 9 (Stefan)
Lowest Mark: 3 (James, Roy)

A favourite amongst the native Czech Audience, married couple Jordan and Emma find themselves at the bottom of our combined ranking, with only one markedly high score. This is what our team had to say: 

Arnaud – 4.5/10

“A nice chill song, but, for Eurovision, it’s too plain. It lacks a wow moment for me. It is still a good song to vibe to.”

Boris – 4/10

“You would expect a real life couple, married with two children, to have better on-stage chemistry, but, honestly, that is the least of Jordemma’s problems. Their song is not good. In addition to a wonky rhythmic progression that is difficult to wrap your head around and Jordan having a voice like an unlubricated chainsaw, “By now” also has to cope with a stupid, bordering-on-irritating libretto. “At 20 I am mean and old, I’m living in a house that ain’t no home.” Like OKAY, ZOOMERS, you can settle your neo-libertarian arses down on your hometurf of Tumblr and get back to reblogging sexually-tinged Dragon Age fanfictions, BYE NOW!”

James – 3/10

“Why did Jordan decide to go with a crap Falco haircut, only to deploy it on this repetitive and morose piffle? They’re 20 and mean and old, apparently, as they wail repeatedly. Just what is the point of this duet? Are they breaking up, or just deciding to plod along as the fun and frolics of their early romance clearly evaporated years ago? In this narrative, they’re spinning their wheels. If entered into Eurovision, the only thing I’d be wondering is what spot from 11 to 18 this non-qualifier would sit in. That’s how little the lyrics and the live performance grab me.”

Melanie – 7.5/10

“Can we just take a moment and appreciate this WONDERFUL music video? It reminds me of a little Wes Anderson movie. Really adore the vibe of the song. Strongest moment is when Emma starts to sing in French, and I really feel like she means every word she says. However, their live performance didn’t convince me. The atmosphere I got from the music video was ruined by their vocal performance, choreo and chemistry. I really hope they can fix this for Eurovision, because there is potential in this song.”

Roy – 3/10

“I really tried. I really really did, but I don’t get it. The composition is weird. The transitions are odd as well, even though I do like how the chorus gets introduced. The lyrics to the chorus are catchy, the instrumentals less so. And then we get to this live performance… It is so insanely messy and unpolished. It loses all momentum that this song had for me. Both miss their timings quite a few times. Both vocals are very underwhelming and barely feel like singing at points. Yeah, this ain’t it, I’m afraid.”

Sean – 5/10

“What the hell? This takes some time to wrap your head around. I’m not convinced by either of their vocals working in a duet to be honest, and I’m not sure about the performance. The whole thing just feels a little unfinished, and the French section feels tacked on. What I would say is that, by the end, I feel like I have…enjoyed it? It’s unique at least. Something different from Jordan x Emma, but different doesn’t always quite come off.”

Stefan – 9/10

“We had a lot of male/female duets at Eurovision in the past, but these two bring something special, something different, something unique. The stage needs only these two, and these two only need the stage (and maybe some good backdrop on the screens). Lovely, emotional song. It was a joy to listen to it and will be again and again, as it landed on my playlist.”

Tyler – 7.5/10

“The chemistry between Jordan and Emma is infectious in the music video for “By now”, and that is sure to shine if it makes it to Eurovision. There are different tempos and beats throughout the song, and I find myself interested in what happens next as the song shifts between Jordan and Emma. With proper staging, I think “By now” could be artistic enough to do well, but it has to be just right. I wish Emma was featured more prominently in the song to show off more of what she can bring, but overall, I liked this. It was cute!”

William – 4/10

“There’s a dreamy, Serge Gainsbourg-y back-and-forth to this song that speaks to me, at least in the studio version. But as a live performance? It all just sounds like a bit of a mess. Jordan and Emma have chemistry as stage performers, but I’m not sure I buy their vocal chemistry? The way their voices stack on top of each other is … strange? At a certain point, the song becomes repetitive.  I can’t deny there’s SOMETHING here, an intangible bit of hypnotic magic that compels me. I wouldn’t send this to Eurovision, though. Who knows? I’ve been wrong before.”

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06. Skywalker – “Way Down”

Total Score: 54/90
Average Mark: 6.0
Highest Mark: 9 (James)
Lowest Mark: 3 (Stefan)
Favourite entry of James and Sean

Skywalker’s punk rock proved a divisive entry amongst our editors, with the lovers slightly outnumbering the haters. This is what our team had to say: 

Arnaud – 4/10

“Another rock song in the selection, as we expect there will be a lot of in Turin. I don’t really like that kind of rock music to be honest, and the song doesn’t have enough nuances to me to create an impact in Eurovision.”

Boris: 4.5/10

“It begins. ☹ We all knew that, after a contest where Måneskin and Blind Channel placed 1st and 6th respectively, we would be getting pallid punk rock-offs and this is the first in what I imagine will be a string of many. “Way Down” is not ~outright bad~ I guess, but given what the genre has on offer in general, it is shockingly going-through-the-motions tepid. Blind Channel at least had *some* edge, ya know? Skywalker’s edge is dull, which is also the word I would use to describe their song.”

James – 9/10

“Pop punk goes djent? The metalcore bridge is tight, though, and propels “Way Down” to a triumphant ending. Just when you think the song is Blink 182 pissing about with Meshuggah’s gear, the bridge hits, and the vocalist turns guttural. It’s the right sort of core that gives resolution to the issues the vocalist raised in the first two verses. That transition is jarring, but it works really well and leaves an impression. “Way Down” walks a tightrope, and a slight misstep could have doomed it to ridicule, but Skywalker pulls off a capable and confident modern hardcore track influenced by the greats of the early 2000s.”

Melanie – 6.5/10

“Skywalker is bringing me back to my teen emo period with their national final entry “Way Down”. I’m happy that such bands are trying to represent their county and that we have that kind of diversity in the line-up. I think it’s a perfect song that gives us rock in an accessible way, but I got the feeling that there’s more potential in this band than this song and performance shows us. I just hope that they’ll come back again in the Czech selection and blow us away with a killer song.”

Roy – 7/10

“I know that I am a metalhead, and I DO love this a lot, but we also have to be realistic here. This is not reinventing the wheel; it might also not be the most modern or unique piece ever. The chorus lacks a bit of memorability as well. The song is well-delivered, and the normal singing voices are very pleasant. Where this metalcore piece really wins me over is the part where the instruments are the loudest and where we actually get some proper grunting! Really diggin’ this, but it probably shouldn’t win for Czech Republic.”

Sean – 8/10

“Ah yes, I was wondering when the token rock band would appear in this selection! What a breath of fresh air this is in a Eurovision selection, though. I love the pop-punk vibe this gives off, and it feels like they have been inspired by Blink 182 and Sum 41, with a clean vocal performance reminiscence of KennyHoopla. The breakdown and screamo section is incredible and really makes the song pop off! Eurovision fans are probably going to worry about this being lost in a deluge in Turin, but there is a place for many rock genres at Eurovision, just as much as any other music. This would be my choice for the Czechs!”

Stefan – 3/10

“A rock song won last year, so we should also send a rock song! Just kidding… Let’s be honest, every NF needs a rock song, but the switch here to deathcore/metal or whatever is just not my cup of tea (unless you are wearing pink/turquoise spandex and a hairband xD).”

Tyler – 7/10

“This is a bit of a conflicting song for me. I get Fueled By Ramen vibes for most of the song, until the screaming part comes in for a chorus. That feels a little discordant to me. On the other hand, I think it’s quite funny that the rock solution to a woman singing a big belting note is to do a scream note, and quite appropriate. I like the more mellow parts of the song, though, but the screaming takes away from me a bit too much for me to really like it and stand behind it.”

William  – 5/10

“I’m a bit confused by this one. It starts out as a pretty solid throwback to early ‘00s pop punk bands. Then, two minutes in, it becomes heavy metal, seemingly with no warning? Based on the live-on-tape, I have no doubt these guys know how to put on a show.  Vocals are good, and they seem like experienced performers. If they were to go to Eurovision, I could picture this doing surprisingly OK. But, for me, this just isn’t the one. I appreciate the talent, but this isn’t really a song I would ever listen to in my daily life.”

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05. GIUDI – “Jezinky”

Total Score: 60.5/90
Average Mark: 6.7
Highest Mark: 9 (Arnaud, Melanie)
Lowest Mark: 3.5 (Stefan)
Favourite entry of Arnaud, Melanie and William

GIUDI’s eccentric style proved an arguably greater point of contention amongst our rankers, gathering a solid amount of high and low scores across the board. This is what our team had to say: 

Arnaud – 9/10

”Immediately fell in the love with the song. The atmosphere is so catching and unique. Jezinky welcomes us into her universe with this song. It may need a little revamp to add more nuances to the song, though. Still brilliant and definitely stands out from the other songs.”

Boris – 7.5/10

“The positive things first: The instrumentation and polyphony in GIUDI’Ss music is beautifully atmospheric, and I like how she tries to incorporate some typically-Czechoslovakian mythos in her art. These things are neat, and I like them! Problem is, GIUDI doesn’t do much with these traits in this particular song? “Jezinky” just meanders along for three minutes, mumbling incoherently about “wicked women” without ever really going anywhere. Homegirl is no Mick Pedaja, and she currently clocks in at “bargain bin Kerli”, maybe, if you squint.  Is *this* the song I’ve heard other fans call “life changing”? Like, what are you, a weathercock? I assume because they see an eccentric platinum-blonde lady and immediately project their unanswered Kerli cravings onto her? For all her looks and promise, GIUDI under delivers, period. I usually adore this sort of music, and yet I merely mildly like “Jezinky”. A good act will prove mandatory to distract the juries from the song’s glaring flaws, if it were to win ESCZ.”

James – 4/10

“Could ASMR work at Eurovision? I’d hope so for GIUDI’s sake, as that whispered intro is pretty much the only distinctive moment of this dark pop entry. I thought those Slovenian kids mumbling to each other in 2019 were dull and minimalist, and then we get GIUDI’s siren call. I cannot get into this entry, and the three minutes that Eurovision allows is not enough time to even try. If it makes it to Eurovision, it will be buried and forgotten between whatever dumpster fires Moldova and San Marino send in. I’d give GIUDI a try outside the context of Eurovision, though.”

Melanie – 9/10

“What you even think about the song, you have to admit that this performance is ART with capital letters. Her haunting voice compliments this captivating performance. It keeps me interested the whole three minutes, while watching it with slack-jawed amazement. This is just breathtakingly beautiful, and I really hope Czech Republic has the balls to take the risk and choose GIUDI as their representative.”

Roy – 5.5/10

”Every time I am intrigued by Giudi and her voice, yet, after every time this song has come on, I also feel like there is a lot of wasted potential here. It all just lacks that one thing to be able to really latch onto it. I get that this is more meant as an arts performance, but I also do need a song that is more memorable and replayable. Unfortunate, because I do think you could match GIUDI with a masterpiece, at some point; Jezinky just is not really that yet.”

Sean – 5/10

“One for headphone users, this one! This song has the richest production of the lot, with GIUDI’s crisp, rich vocals, the snarling, breathless backings and little vocal interludes making this a treat for the ears. In terms of the song itself, it’s not really my bag, but I can see this going down well with a lot of Eurovision fans who are into the whole folktronica/ambient scene. There’s potential for strong staging to make this a real moment in the contest, if selected.”

Stefan – 3.5/10

“Is it special? Yes. Is it unique? Yes. Do ESC fans love it? Yes. Do I like it? Not so much… People need to remember that the majority of voters at Eurovision will hear the songs for the first time on the night of the semi-finals, so, if this does wins in the end, we’ll have another case of Portugal 2019.”

Tyler – 8.5/10

“The appeal of “Jezinky” is really about the theoretical staging, at this point. “Jezinky” takes me on a witch-y, quiet, introspective journey that ends with what feels like a deluge that brings the impact of your emotions in it. The ambiance reminds me of “Nocturne” at times, but I wouldn’t go so far as comparing it to a ESC winner. This song is a bit of an unknown entity, and I can see why this wouldn’t win a fan vote at all, especially if the staging is poor. I will be listening to this for years to come. But Eurovision? I’m not sure how well it would do. It’s definitely a ride, though, that people would remember.”

William – 8.5/10

“Sending this would be learning the correct lessons from Eurovision 2021. We saw countries rewarded for sending entries that were singular, out of the ordinary, and specific. This is all of those things. The live-on-tape is a work of art, and I trust GIUDI has a strong enough artistic voice that she will fight to see her vision for this performance realized on stage. It’s a risk, no doubt, but it could pay dividends. This would be competing in a category of its own. I hope Czech Republic takes the leap and trusts juries and voters to get on board.”

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04. Annabelle – “Running Out of F* time”

Score: 61/90
Average: 6.8
Highest: 9 (Roy)
Lowest: 5.5 (Arnaud)
Favourite entry of Roy

Annabelle received mildly positive reviews across the board, with one editor vastly preferring her over the other available options, causing her to narrowly edge out GIUDI in the tally. This is what our team had to say about her: 

Arnaud – 5,5/10

“This brings me back to the Green Day/Sum41/Fall Out Boy era. Very dynamic song, Annabelle has a lovely voice, but it’s not my type of music. I except a lot of rock/rock-ish song for ESC 2022, and I’m not sure this one would stand out.”

Boris – 7.5/10

“Such a millennial Monroe <3 I mostly love Annabelle’s song because its themes are so relatable to me (struggling with anxiety, social pressure, getting older while not having accomplished much in life, it’s honestly almost autobiographical), and it is delivered with a lot of pluck AND cuss words <3 It makes for a fresh, current, pop-rock sound that should be present in every NF but will probably only find clout in the Czech selection. However, Annabelle doesn’t quite vibe as well live as she does in the studio cut, which is why I harbour doubts that this song would be a good fit for ESC. Sorry girl.”

James – 6/10

“For anyone living in America, if you want to feel younger and surrounded by kids who play the music of your youth, just move to Europe. Eskimo Cowboy is playing Attack Attack-style metalcore, and Annabelle is channeling the pop punk of Avril Lavigne. I just wish MySpace was still around for me to rave about this. The funny thing is the lyrics mention going back to the old days. A young‘un getting reflective on a song that’s style is that of her parents? Maybe the strains of time travel explain some of the weird English pronunciation (fine to rhyme time with right)? Even though it’s basic pop punk, I don’t get it.”

Melanie – 7/10

“Like Skywalker, Annabelle is bringing me back to the teen rock-pop era. Like, it really reminds me of Avril Lavigne, and I still have her albums in my old sleeping room in my parents’ home. I really like the song, and she’s delivering it with such an attitude. However, in such an amazing national final, I just need something that feels more unique. So Annabelle, if you don’t win this national final, please apply for San Marino and try to represent them with this song! Good song, but just wanted something more from her.”

Roy – 9/10

“Let’s get straight to the point.: Having ‘Freakin’ instead of ‘F*ckin’ is such a massive difference for the catchiness of the song. I get it, it is a family show, but it is just really unfortunate. This song could go straight onto the radio and would do well at the same time! Annabelle could perhaps add a bit more oomph to her singing/performance as well, perhaps. Overall, this song is the most complete, the best studio version, the most radio-friendly, just the best of the bunch, really!”

Sean – 6/10

“There’s a lot to like about this one – Annabelle is likable, has personality and brings a competent pop-punk type song to the table. This feels like it captures a current popular sound, with shades of Olivia Rodrigo, beabadoobee and – to throw it back a little – early Avril Lavigne. It gets a little repetitive towards the end, but there’s no doubt this would stand out in Turin.”

Stefan – 6/10

“I really liked the build up, but when the chords start, it just gets messy. For me, it’s just another radio-friendly song that you’ll hear at every NF this season. I know we have just started warming up with the 2022 season, but, if this does win in the end, I am worried it would just get lost in the bunch.”

Tyler – 8/10

“Part of what I like about “Runnin’ Out of F* Time” is that, while it’s presented like a pop-rock banger, there are still moments where I feel like Annabelle is able to belt out a note that is stunning. The music itself isn’t that revolutionary and gets the job done supporting Annabelle’s vocals and the lyrics themselves. I can totally see this being a sort of song that resonates with teens from back in my day. It doesn’t blow me away completely, but it’s enough of a fun ride to keep me interested.”

William – 6.5/10

“Of all the acts competing at ESCZ, she’s the one I most trust to bring the necessary level of energy to the Eurovision stage. She definitely has the most dynamic live-on-tape. The song itself ALMOST sounds current to me. It’s a little early ‘00s pop rock, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I grew up with that music. I’m down. I just wonder if it’s competitive. Either way, I wish they had come up with a better way to self-censor than changing the lyric to “fricking”. That’s cheesy, and it infantilizes what is otherwise a rocking and energetic performance.”

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03. The Valentines – “Stay or Go”

Score: 63.5/90
Average: 7.1
Highest: 8.5 (Tyler)
Lowest: 5 (Stefan)

The Valentines clock in at a respectable third place after the vote tally, with generally positive reviews by most of our jurors, but very few *actually high* scores. This is what our team had to say: 

Arnaud – 7.5/10

“You say ‘retro’, I say yes! Love the song, the vintage feel to it. It’s nice, happy, groovy, and could make some ESC fans happy. Not sure if it could be a certain qualifier, but really like that song.”

Boris – 8/10

“[robotvoice] TRAPPED. IN A CAGE. OF THE POST-MODERN AGE. [/robotvoice] Let the comparisons to Lake Malawi commence, although the two songs sound nothing alike, vibe completely differently and have completely different target audiences. “Friend of a Friend” was very happy-go-lucky. “Stay or Go” is so self-deprecating and miserable I refuse to believe it wasn’t written by Eeyore <3.  “Stay or Go” is  a very good track, though, evidenced by the fact that I keep going back to it. Unfortunately, it’s the studio version I keep going back to, because the live doesn’t hold up as much – such is the lot of those who are forced to compete in the same NF as We Are Domi and Elis Mraz. ☹”

James – 6/10

“Weeeeee, the Czech Republic presents another funky indie number with slightly dodgy lyrics by an awkward lothario. I may be biased because, I prefer the Željko Joksimović school of, “I’m going to seduce you on the bearskin rug by the fireplace of my log cabin,” lyrics, but I find the “I’m kind of crap, wanna hang?” lyrics of “Stay or Go” really grating. Actually, I’d prefer to see an entry of Joksimović teaching these three Czech lads how to pull birds rather than having to hear the phrase, “we can smoke a cigarette if you’re not afraid of death,” again.”

Melanie – 7.5/10

“The Valentines kinda remind me of Lake Malawi, but it’s giving more of an indie vibe. “Stay or Go” is really infectious, and let me wobble on it. Like, you immediately want to sing along with the singer. The band is really charming, and I really think they are adorable. If they can keep the retro vibe and the funky moves of the singer, I can see this doing well at Eurovision.”

Roy – 6.5/10

“Let’s keep it short on this one. Solid song, very enjoyable, easy listen, well performed, I’m vibin’. Solid, but just barely not good enough in such a strong selection.”

Sean – 7/10

“Perhaps The Valentines are working in an over-saturated market now, but this is still a well-worked slice of ’80s-inspired indie pop. The guys have great stage presence and charisma, but the lyrics are a little ordinary, and the whole thing is a little middle of the road for this type of music. It’s something I do enjoy listening to compared to some in this selection, though.”

Stefan – 5/10

“Am I the only one getting Lake Malawi vibes from these guys? Have you heard the expression ‘bottle episode’? Well this is a bottle song. I don’t want to say that it’s a filler song, because it’s better than that, but yeah, the Czech NF would not be any worse without it, nor is it better with it.”

Tyler – 8.5/10

“Stay or Go” fits nicely in the indie pop genre that’s getting more seen in Eurovision. It’s definitely not as commercial as, say, Lake Malawi in 2019, but it’s still got an incredibly upbeat brass sound that I quite like a lot with fun lyrics included in it as well. The song tends to get a bit repetitive (at least noticeably more so than others), but this fits very nicely in the modern Czech catalogue of songs. Wouldn’t mind if this one wins, as I think this would be a lot of fun to see live.”

William – 7.5/10

“Of the songs competing at ESCZ, this is the one that’s right up my alley. I’m a sucker for some quality, synth-y indie pop. Live vocals are strong, and there’s a lot of potential for colorful, dynamic staging. My only concern? Is it TOO soon for Czech Republic to send an act like this? Perhaps.  This is by no means a carbon copy of Lake Malawi and “Friend of a Friend”, but you’d find it in the same section at a record store … if record stores still existed. Regardless, I dig this. I’d be happy to see it win.”

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02. Elis Mraz – “IMMA BE”

Score: 64/90
Average: 7.1
Highest: 10 (Stefan)
Lowest: 4 (Sean)
Favourite entry of Stefan

ESCZ returnee Elis Mraz narrowly edged out The Valentines for 2nd place in our ranking, thanks to winning over a few editors with her impressive live performance. This is what our team had to say: 

Arnaud – 7.5/10

“Nice urban song that stands out in the selection. I preferred “Wanna Be Like” from 2020, but it’s still a decent song. It’s modern and dynamic, but isn’t the best option for Czech Republic, in my opinion.”

Boris – 8.5/10

“Imma be, more like a, “I’m a QUEEN BEE,” because that’s what Elis has proven to me. The netizens seem divided on Elis – the basics appreciate “IMMA BE” for its trashbop quality, the others aren’t too hot on it for the same reasons. I was sort of in the middle at first – R&B/reggaeton aren’t my favourite genres of music, but they bring something different to the table compared to the *usual* flavour of mini-skirted sex anthem that we normally get in ESC.  Then came the live performance, and Oh. My. God. What a serve. Songs such as “IMMA BE” are immensely difficult to bring well, and Elis just nailed it with her steady voice and charismatic personality without breaking a sweat. I highly prefer We Are Domi, myself, but if Elis went instead, I wouldn’t be disappointed at all.”

James – 7/10

“Czech reggaeton by way of Dubai act, Elis Mraz is back. Instead of “Wanna Be Like” from 2020, she is now “IMMA BE.” Since she apparently achieved her ideal state of being, is her effort for Eurovision 2022 an improvement? I’d say so. Slightly. It’s a good vibe and a sound you don’t hear at Eurovision, but, despite her impressive vocals and her body positivity message, will the vibe be enough to stand out at Eurovision? It falls a bit flat after the bridge, not quite ending on the triumphant note that it should. A revamp would help.”

Melanie – 7/10

“Well that’s an epic way to start your song! I love how she’s having fun throughout her performance. The way she’s rapping looks so effortless. I just wanted some more power in the chorus. She’s so strong in the rapping segment, but is losing me when she’s singing the chorus. Anyway, the instrumentals in the live performance are promising and she knows how make it work.”

Roy – 6.5/10

“ELIS MRAZ ladies and gentlemen!! What an insanely good performer. Rap is often a struggling in Eurovision since the live performance has to be as close to the studio version as possible. Something that is rough with the many words in quick succession. Elis nails it! The only thing missing is a bit more of an interesting song.. Right now, the chorus is supported in a very basic instrumental, the verses are just kind of only a trap-beat and the message is delivered in a very shallow way. It is quite catchy, and the live performance is phenomenal, so I wouldn’t write this off at all!”

Sean – 4/10

“I was really hoping (vainly) that this would be a little rock-ier, given the presence of the drummer in the beginning. I’m not sure if I really expected a salsa/latin vibe with R&B, but, then, Elis Mraz is at least not an unknown quantity to ESCZ fans. The performance is great, this has decent energy and wouldn’t sound out of place on mainstream radio, but to me it’s just not my cup of tea.”

Stefan – 10/10

“Can we all just admit that a song like this one would be quite a refreshment at Eurovision? Even though I do prefer her last year’s entry in the Czech national final, this one is also a huge BOP! Love her voice, love her energy, and I bet she will elevate it so much more if she ends up going to Turin. It’s not a secret anymore, this is one of my favorites.”

Tyler – 7/10

“IMMA BE” is a bit of an on-the-nose title for a song that’s all about feeling comfortable with who you are in your skin, at least that’s the message I got from it. The song is pretty interesting to listen to, and I don’t think the rapping at the start of the song was bad! It’s difficult to make that rapping enough to make people vote for it, perhaps. The song feels bigger than it is, but not big enough at the same time. I wish the song itself wowed me more and Elis hit even more fun beats in it, because I think she does have potential. I think “IMMA BE” will do well enough in the voting, as it works for a lot of people.”

William – 6.5/10

“Based on the studio track, this was a pretty solid ‘no’ from me. But the live-on-tape changed my mind. She has a ton of stage presence. She can execute choreography. And her vocals, on a song that can’t be easy to perform, are STRONG. I worry about the Czech delegation’s ability to stage this. I haven’t forgotten what they did (and didn’t) do for ‘Omaga’. If the delegation from 2018 and 2019 showed up, they could handle it. The current powers that be? Unclear. Not my first choice for Czech Republic, but it’s still a hell of a good time.”

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01. We Are Domi – “Lights Off”

Score: 76/90
Average: 8.4
Highest: 10 (Stefan)
Lowest:  7 (Sean)
Favourite entry of Boris and Tyler

EDM sensation We Are Domi have smashed this ranking with not only good scores from each of our editors, but also top 2 scores from the *majority*, docking in at an impressive 8.4 average per ballot. This is what our team had to say:

Arnaud – 8/10

“Really good song, which also has a retro vibe but more pop. Really like that kind of music, could do okay in Eurovision with a good staging. “Lights Off” stands out in the selection and goes against the upcoming rock wave in ESC 2022.”

Boris – 9/10

“An EDM dream. I fell in love with “Lights Off” at first listen, but I was cautious. My experiences with Eesti Laul have taught me that indie electro-pop often transitions into mediocre, unspectacular lives. However, as if Hipster-Wizard Jan Bors had waved the magic competency wand himself, the Czech provided us with live performances of each of their songs, and We Are Domi’s frigging slays. Rare is the EDM act that can not only boast good vocals but captivating stage presence as well. The highly relatable, “I could reinvent myself to repair our broken love, but nah I deserve better for myself so bye twat,“ story of the song is just the icing on top of the synth sundae.”

James – 9/10

“This is a fun dance number I’d love to hear at a party like Eurovision. So you know that foreigners like Roy are going to vote in the international online vote for The Valentines to keep the fun away from Turin for the rest of us. And as for break-up songs, this is one I can go for as the phrase, “Where are you now?” takes on two meanings – first, she misses her ex-lover and seeks him out, and second, she’s grown up and done giving a care. The girl from We Are Domi would eat The Valentines guy alive. Unless Uncle Zeljko’s Balkan Book of Pulling Birds comes to his rescue first.”

Melanie – 8.5/10

“Can someone please tell me what kind of instrument the Violin Guitar is using in the live performance? It’s so confusing, but cool, ha! Anyway, this screams Euroclub banger from the moment the chorus hits in. Really love this song when I’m doing my morning run; I’m just scared that the live performance will be falling flat during the amazing instrumental part. Wouldn’t mind to see this in Eurovision’s grand final!”

Roy – 7.5/10

“I am not going to lie, at first this song made me a little bit lukewarm. Then that live performance was released. I do not think that an EDM song has ever been performed better than this one. WOW! The only one that I could think of is Norway 2017, but this is a totally different experience. The thing that could use some work are the lyrics in the chorus. It is a bit too much repeating, ‘where are you now,’ right now. Also, the staging on a big Eurovision stage could be a massive challenge. Besides those points, very great effort!”

Sean – 7/10

“Delicious little slice of electro-pop this, with a neat twist (gimmick?) with the violin-guitar. The pop group boast great vocals, meaty beats and warm stage presence with this one, and for me, this is one of the front-runners in this selection. There’s more that can be worked on here, but there’s at least a solid base to improve upon for Turin if chosen and has danceable appeal which will help when performing in front of an audience!”

Stefan – 10/10

“The song might be called “Lights Off”, but the lights will be ON when they hit the stage. I love the mix between melancholic vibes and electro-pop. It’s the only song that gave my chills. IMO this has the biggest potential to grow and be liked by the audience on the first watch/listen.”

Tyler – 9/10

“Lights Off” has all the things in it that makes me think it’s a Eurodance banger that wants you to throw yourself into the throngs of a club crowd. It’s got a great hook, it’s catchy, it reminds me of the music that I quite enjoyed years ago. That’s part of what appeals to me, but I can see the case that this might be slightly outdated as well. I still heavily enjoy this, though, and I want to see this live and on the Eurovision stage.”

William – 8/10

“I liked the studio version, but I was skeptical of how this would perform on stage. I was particularly nervous about the vocals. You never know with an EDM song like this. I’m happy to report the live-on-tape eliminated all my fears and then some. The beat is transporting. The vocals are next level. I love her outfit! In terms of staging, Czech Republic could do a lot with very little. All you need is some smoke machines and imaginative light cues. This live-on-tape is probably the most fully realized of the pack. I could see this doing very well.”

That concludes our review of the Czech national final. We Are Domi won, by a respectable margin, but with 2nd-5th place being closely clustered together and not too far behind, it is our opinion that the Czech have a bevvy of good options available for the upcoming contest.

If #YOU wish to cast your vote for your favourite, you have until tomorrow (15/12/21) do so via this link.

And #YOU? What did #YOU think of the Czech selection? Do #YOU agree with our reviewers or not? Let us know in the comments, on social media, or on our forum HERE.

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