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.

For 2022, Selecția Națională returned to it’s more usual format, consisting of a national final that’s used in order to select both act and song for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. This was last done in 2019, but the selection has been plagued by various controversial opinions and the method for the selection process.

Despite all of that, and to make it easier for everyone, we went from having 46 songs competing, all the way down to only 10 songs left. One of these 10 songs will have the honor of representing Romania in Turin later this year.

3 members of the ESCUnited team have taken the task of giving their opinion of the 10 finalists of Selecția Națională, which are as follow:

  • David Popescu from Denmark
  • James Maude From Los Angeles, USA
  • Tyler Griffith From Alaska, USA

The format that has been used for the following reviews, is that each song has been given a score between 1 and 10, along with a short review. The acts that has the highest combines score, will become the ESC United favorite to represent the country in Turin. Should readers wish to listen to the songs, just click on the below pictures and you will be taken to each song’s live performance from the semi-final. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the reviews!

 

David – Score: 1 Point

  • I’ll say this much… I listened to the entire song at least… that’s the nicest I can do

James – Score: 5 Points

  • Alright dude, we now know you like doing it on mountains. A thrill-seeking naturalist, we get it. A little TMI, though. Yes, many chortles can be had with Andrei’s “take me on a mountain high” lyric, but that’s not what’s going to doom his entry. The composition’s being straight out of a “Eurovision Ballad Starter Kit” is what dooms it. Andrei has a great voice, though this ballad, complete with intricate piano movements at the start of the verse and swelling strings at the end, and the key change of course, is Ballad 101. Andrei needs a more interesting song if he’s to become a top tier crooner.

Tyler – Score: 4 Points

  • Holy, okay. “Take Me” is a ballad that exists, but also doesn’t excite me whatsoever, as when the song finally sounds like it’s going somewhere interesting, it’s right before the song is over so who cares. Andrei is fine in this, but it also seems like his mic is too quiet or he’s unsure of himself. Not sure. Either way, I was bored throughout “Take Me” and I’m stunned to see this escape the semifinal.

Total Score: 10 out of 30 points

David – Score: 2 Points

  • Very uninspiring and boring, the drumbeat is the same throughout the song, very repetitive lyrics, a few small moments where the electric guitar has an alright short solo… but again, too repetitive overall. Not much changes throughout the song and it’s just a loop that keep going, and to make it worse, it gets to that point where it feels never ending, by the time the interest is already gone

James – Score: 4 Points

  • Australia’s Voyager has ruined the keytar at Eurovision. By associating the keytar with such progressive metal excellence, anyone else using it looks like a pratt. Especially this band, whose keytarist’s look is Justin Long dressing up as the guy from Roxette for Halloween. Additionally, the guitar solo was really anti-climactic. You’d expect a guy who looks like he sleeps in the bins behind Brian May’s house would let rip when called upon to strut forward, but a few notes and guitar bends is all we get. There’s nothing remarkable in the lyrics either. Some guff about love making the world a better place, but you know he’s really singing about trying to hook up.

Tyler – Score: 5,5 Points

  • “All This Love” feels like a song I want to love because of the synth and pseudo 80s vibes from the music. But that’s about all that’s good for me about this song! I say “pseudo 80s” but it feels outdated to me. The lyrics don’t really mean anything to me, and maybe the performers are having fun, but I’m just bored here. It might be technically fine, but not enough for me to actually love. I’m stunned to see this escape the semifinal.

Total Score: 11,5 out of 30 points

David – Score: 2 Points

  • You can tell this guy is invested in this song, and he gives it some charm as well, but it’s nothing special nor extraordinary, it’s very much just there and fails to leave any sort of proper impact. I can’t hate it, but I can’t appreciate it either.

James – Score: 7,5 Points

  • What’s with Gabriel’s shirt in the TVR audition video? It looks like he took his karate uniform and tucked it inside his pants. Is he like James Blunt, taunting you to make fun of him just so he can unleash his move on you? Anyway, as a ballad goes, this is one of the more interesting on offer this national selection season as at least there’s something going on with the melody. Lyrically, this is a “toot it and boot it” song but with sensitive crooner trimmings (i.e. “let’s have sex one last time, I won’t be here in the morning when you’re crying, but some other guy can deal with that!”).

Tyler – Score: 5 Points

  • “One Night” is a fine song, but the song isn’t something I particularly care for, and certainly not something I would seek out. It’s fine though, not my thing, as this kind of ballad makes me more tired than anything. Gabriel seems to be doing a good job with the vocals, but this song goes nowhere and I don’t really care for it that much even if the song might be technically good. I’m stunned to see this escape the semifinal.

Total Score: 14,5 out of 30 points

David – Score: 3 Points

  • Slow start and slow build-up, not bad, it does what I do like, it builds up and doesn’t go down from there. VANU has a great voice, and great energy to be fair, so far so good. There is just nothing interesting here, it’s your typical power-ballad, I’m left unimpressed, the song is fast forgotten, and that’s without a doubt a bad sign.

James – Score: 9 Points

  • This song asks how you process the death of a little / younger brother, and as someone who has gone through that, I still have no idea. I don’t think this band claims to know the answer either, but they understand the pain, the regret, the anger, the constant replay in the mind of good times that can never be had again. On that basis I may be inflating the score of this song, but I don’t care. It struck a chord, but that is what art is supposed to do. And I am sure there are thousands of others out there who, like me, need a song like this to help vent.

Tyler – Score: 4,5 Points

  • When I first watched the live performance for “Never Give Up”, I was curious about why the back-up singers were wearing red gloves, but then realized it was just paint? For symbolism? What kind of symbolism? What is it in this song that should evoke that kind of emotion and protest? Because I cannot find it in this song. “Never Give Up” feels generic, shouting, and not really worth my time. Seems like a song that’s trying to be bigger than it is, but fails to do so and I’m stunned to see this escape the semifinal.

Total Score: 16,5 out of 30 points

David – Score: 3 Points

  • Can we call this a song? Maybe just barely. Alright, so PETRA seems more focused on delivering a stunning vocal performance, but to a song that’s barely there. It takes off during the chorus, but so does the vocals, I barely hear or focus at the music at all. She’s a bit shaky and brave for going for such, but where the heck is the rhythm at all?

James – Score: 5 Points

  • A slow song that never really gets going. The lyrics are allegedly about losing faith in love, so a large part of my disappointment is baiting us with a title like “Ireligios,” which brings to mind the excellent album by Portuguese metal band Moonspell. This song pales in comparison to any on that album. Don’t get me wrong, “Ireligios” is a slick, well-produced, well-arranged song but it doesn’t really connect with me. Maybe Petra is playing it too cool for school? I don’t know. I’d rather have an overearnest misfire than someone who holds back.

Tyler – Score: 3,5 Points

  • “Ireligios” should feel like a jam I can get into, but I’m actually quite distracted by the fact that Petra and her backing artists use dreamcatachers. It isn’t nearly as jarring as Joan Franka wearing a feather headdress in 2012 (yes I know WHY she did it, but it doesn’t mean that the execution could be forgiven for it), but it’s still enough to take me aback and not focus on the song. Change the staging so it doesn’t feel like appropriation, and maybe I’ll give this song a chance in the final. I’m stunned to see this escape the semifinal.

Total Score: 11,5 out of 30 points

David – Score: 3 Points

  • Very slick and enchanting, it has that slow build-up and it doesn’t take that long to get into the song, so far so good, but then the composition remains very much the same from there. Not much changing throughout the song, and very fast, it becomes a bother instead. I start enjoying it, but end up waiting for the ending.

James – Score: 3 Points

  • This guy’s dodgy English pronunciation is not the biggest sin he’s guilty of. Or his overwrought performance. It’s the stalker lyrics. On a break up song. I guess if you drive by your ex’s house to see if they’re home on a Friday, this song’s for you? I am not saying that aspirational Eurovision artists shouldn’t be endorsing dodgy acts, but they should at least not be endorsing sad ones. Would this song really be any worse if Møise added the logical next step of “I rummaged through your bins to see what you ate today”? No it wouldn’t. Now get over her before you enter Selectia Nationala 2023 with a song called “Trespassing.”

Tyler – Score: 4 Points

  • The performance given for “Guilty” is certainly passionate and over-the-top, and that kind of energy can be good and elevate a performance, it can also feel uncomfortable and almost tryhardy in how much they’re trying to sell this song. The song itself means nothing to me and rings hollow, and while MØISE goes overdramatic with the performance, it isn’t in a fun way for me. I’m not buying this nothing of a song, and I’m stunned to see this escape the semifinal.

Total Score: 10 out of 30 points

David – Score: 4 Points

  • VERY modernized take on traditional Romanian music combined with some manele, also VERY nationalistic. My Romanian heart do enjoy it, but my Romanian brain wants to deny it. This is just a glorifying song about Romania, that it becomes ridiculous and I can’t take it properly seriously. I would love a traditional song, but just not like this.

James – Score: 4 Points

  • What the hell is going on with their audition video? It looks like they all stepped out of three separate musicals where a color blind costume designer was instructed by a pervy director to “make sure we some cleavage!” And could these three not have come up with a name for their act, as just having their names is a bit clunky. They also have a version of this out there with an old geezer called Costi? What happened to him? Not that he improved the song much apart from yelling “Romania”. I ask these questions as the song itself, which straddles Romanian folk and hip hop, is not that interesting.

Tyler – Score: 6 Points

  • Okay, performance-wise, there isn’t a whole lot there in “România mea” as it’s the group just singing together in one place on stage. And all the singers don’t feel cohesive with each other. Is it engaging? Not really. Do I like the song though? Only mildly. I think it’s fine, entertaining sometimes, and I can see why this qualified from the semifinal. The harmony is nice sometimes, and this is just fine.

Total Score: 14 out of 30 points

David – Score: 1 Point

  • This is… very bland and empty. A piano ballad that honestly takes me nowhere, I’m bored throughout the entire song.

James – Score: 2 Points

  • This is somewhat deranged. It’s like a crazy person got inspired by “Arcade,” and I suspect that the lyrics are correct in that a lot of drinking was involved in the composition of this song. Apart from the track being a dull piano riff being plonked over and over again, and a backing choir repeating Kyrie’s words at random (“lesson!”), it’s the lyrics that don’t work. When asking someone to come home, why would you tell them there’s an empty seat? Wouldn’t bed be more appropriate? Does Kyrie keep a spare toilet around? Speaking of bed, why would sheets feel like sandpaper in the absence of a lover? You’d normally point out the bed is cold or some such. And the hurricane, which his ex left behind, is only mentioned in isolation. At no point are there similes that deal with the effects of a hurricane.

Tyler – Score: 5 Points

  • “Hurricane” doesn’t go really anywhere for me to really like that much. I think Kyrie sings the song well, so it’s nice in that way, but performance-wise, it doesn’t really do anything. There’s no staging, there’s no real build-up for me to appreciate. Another example of a song that’s technically good, but that’s just all there is! It’s just fine, and feels quite vanilla to me. I’m stunned to see this escape the semifinal.

Total Score: 8 out of 30 points

 

David – Score: 6 Points

  • This is what it is, traditional Romanian rock. Dora is a VERY confident and strong vocalist and I absolutely love the use of the traditional folklore violin. The vocals and the violin is what carries it for me, the rest is rather tame and simple for a rock song, the hard bass and heavy drums feels very lackluster. I don’t mind it, but I don’t love it either.

James – Score: 8,5 Points

  • Alright, we get some folk rock here. Not sure why the guitarist needs an eight-string, unless he’s part of a djent band on the side? But we have a charismatic frontwoman, and we have a violin taking the lead role and not the guitar. Perhaps the guitarist could actually use the eight string and down-tune so the riffs could smack a little harder? But otherwise, this is perfectly serviceable and I’d be happy to see Romania select this for Eurovision. It’s got local flair, but the format is universal enough to get some foreign fans – particularly metal and rock – on board.

Tyler – Score: 6 Points

  • For “Ana”, this is an example of a song that while I like what the instrumentation is going for and the vocals are okay, the performance is another example of not really going anywhere. It’s Dora rocking out with her back-up band, and that’s fine! But that’s just it though. I don’t think “Ana” really has much going for it in terms of dynamics, and it’s just the sound of it that people like. Did I still have fun to this though? Only mildly.

Total Score: 20,5 out of 30 points

David – Score: 3 Points

  • In case anyone wonders, Spanish is a VERY popular language with Romanian singers, along with Italian, so not surprising, we are a Latin speaking country after all. Anyhow, I don’t feel like WRS can sing… very poor and shaky vocals, ruins the song completely. It’s a huge shame, the melody is very catchy and nice, but this is a dance song… I would honestly enjoy the instrumental alone more. WRS got the moves and dance, he’s indeed a performer, just not a vocal one.

James – Score: 8 Points

  • This is irredeemably goofy, I cannot hate it. At first I thought I’d be annoyed because it’s one of those dance tracks that throws in a few Spanish words in the chorus and feels entitled to have drunken fans eat it up. But I suspect WRS knows this, and just decided to have a bit of fun with it and not take it serious. He won’t be competing with Chanel for choreography, put it that way. But he has a goofy charm that makes him a fun character to watch. Stage this right, and Romania could have a cult act on their hands at Eurovision 2022.

Tyler – Score: 3 Points

  • There is a lot of dancing in “Llámame” that was impressive to see on stage! Sure, the dancing took the breath out of the singer a lot to make him sound nervous, but that’s all fine when the performance is your craft. Yes, it’s a quite crazy display to see! That’s nice 🙂 Oh, the song? Lol don’t pick this please. Goes nowhere, the vocals were good in the live, and I’m stunned to see this escape the semifinal.

Total Score: 14 out of 30 points

Final Score

  1. Dora Gaitanovici – Ana: 20,5 Points
  2. Vanu – Never Give Up: 16,5 Points
  3. Gabriel Basco – One Night: 14,5 Points
  4. Cream, Minodora and Diana Bucșa – România Mea: 14 Points
  5. WRS – Llámame: 14 Points
  6. Alex Parker & Bastien – All This love: 11,5 Points
  7. PETRA – Ireligios: 11,5 Points
  8. Andrei Petruş – Take me: 10 Points
  9. MØISE – Guilty: 10 Points
  10. Kyrie Mendél – Hurricane – 8 Points

With that the 3 members have decided that Dora Gaitanovici would be the best suited act to be selected as the Romanian representative for Turin. The acts were listed in the order of their performance in the final, and in case of a tie among points, the act that perform first was placed higher on the scoreboard.

Do #YOU think the 3 members have picked the correct winner for tonight and if not, who do #YOU want to win tonight for Romania? Come by our forum right HERE and share your thoughts, or #YOU can do the same on our social media sites.

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