Korean noodles, simple joys, a golden comet shower, flower petals in the wind and a silvester belt. Lithuania chose 10 finalists over the past five weeks, creating a pool of different styles and rhythms. Tonight one of them will emerge victorious and win a golden ticket for the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. But before Lithuania choose, we rate. We review. We rant.

Our editors spared nobody in another round of unfiltered opiniatedness. It was war and it was punishment for us and for the 10 finalists. Who will emerge on top? We have an answer to that. Who did we not like? There none of us saw eye-to-eye.

Our review panel for Lithuania includes

  • Boris Meersman, spin the wheel of fortune for an angry rant or rave review.
  • Daniel Theophanous, Cyprus’s best import product since Andrew Lambrou.
  • David Popescu, notoriously unimpressed with music.
  • Gabe “esc_gabe” Milne, taking refuge in our reviews section until he’s no longer a wanted man in Azerbaijan.
  • James Maude, lover of music and all things that remind him of his childhood in Edwardian England.
  • Tyler Griffith, the physical embodiment of “mid”.
  • Yehonatan Cohen, being consistently inconsistent is their game
  • Zephaniah Gabriel, weighing in their two pandans on Lithuania’s hopefuls all the way from the Philippines.

These are the 10 acts we’re reviewing today, in order of appearance:

ltr / ttb: Aistè, Žalvarinis, Pluie de Comètes, Silvester Belt, VB Gang, Il Senso, Shower, Monika Marija, Queens of Roses & The Roop // All credit goes to LRT

But before we start: The Disclaimer:

The below editorial is the opinion of the author(s), and does not necessarily represent the views of ESC United as a whole and its staff members, and does not represent the views of anyone associated with the EBU and Eurovision. Every person that participated is aware of how they come across. They’d better be.

The true disagreements  we had were on who the worst acts were, not who the best hopefuls are. Therefore, expect to see clusters of high scores while the low marks are spread around with reckless (p)abandon.  Let’s embark on a journey of mayhem along tonight’s running order: starting with the opening act:


 

Least favourite entry of Yehonatan

Boris – 8.5 – “Over the past few days I’ve fallen head-over-heels in LOVE with this inebriated Abba tribute. It is blatantly frankensteined from 70s disco bangers 😍  Yes, the vocal is wet paper. I don’t care? Aistè doesn’t, and she’s on the stage persuing her passions and dreams unimpeded by trivialities such as “lack of skill”. INSPIRATIONAL! Aistè is drunk on ~joie de vivre~ and it’s vicariously giving me (a devout Zorra-astrian) life. The 70s clothes, the dramatic “Gimme Gimme Gimme“-esque gospel riffs, the barmy choreography, the Summer of Love  motifs, the endearing idiot behind the piano.  “We will rule the world” is peak camp, and understands the spirit of the contest like few others do. This could so go to Eurovision and do really well under a more skilled vocalist. Get that performance XP, Aistè, and come back! THE WORLD WELCOMES YOUR BENEVOLENT DICTATORSHIP!”

Daniel – 4 – “From the get-go, I’m getting flashbacks of Laura Tessoro’s What’s The Pressure, Belgium 2016, whether it’s the disco pop sounds or Aiste’s shiny silver bell bottom get-up. The vocal is patchy and Aiste appears rather nervous at points. The disco references here are too on-the-nose for my liking, and I’m sure in the chorus I’m hearing the strings of  The Style Council’s Shout To The Top. Not sure if its intentional put there is a comedic value to this performance; the very tall individual on the side of the stage pretend playing on the minutest piano but standing or the exceptionally animated backing dancers or a front woman who looks like she doesn’t know where she is. There is something of a Muppet show to this.”

David – 4 – “Let’s get physical, physical… no, just me? [ed: definitely not!] Very corny, very old-school vibe and it somehow works, but I also have my limits. Vocally, is far from perfect and very shaky, while lyrically, it’s very messy. The song is fine, but it’s just all around the place, having me thinking of a lot of things, that might sound familiar from somewhere else.”

Gabe – 4 – “Firstly, the words “baby” and “theory” do not rhyme. This feels a bit like if you took a bunch of the energy out of What’s the Pressure and gave it to a less accomplished performer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not BAD, it just affixes itself firmly on the middle of the road in approximately 2014 and refuses to budge even a centimetre either way. The Abba-lite staging doesn’t do it any favours either.

James – 6 – “A sloppy, drunk tribute to Vicki Sue Robinson’s “Turn the Beat Around,” apparently. Sure it’s fun and good for a dance and a laugh, but offers no concession to modernity and yet also fails to fully embrace the late ‘70s disco vibe beyond Aiste’s pantsuit, faux American gospel backing vocals and some guy whanging a keyboard onstage. I’d suggest Aiste wear rollerskates, but she seemed to struggle to sing and strut at the same time, so maybe high energy disco was the wrong move.”

Tyler – 5.5 – I personally like “We Will Rule the World” for its funk/disco vibe and the outfit that Aistè wears is pretty great too. But the main reason I’m giving this entry just above a 5/10 is the fact that choosing this song to go to Eurovision would be such a big set-up to the work Lithuania has been putting in for the past few years. It’s as if Belgium 2007 was reincarnated into a non-slay song. The vocals aren’t good and while the song is fun and the performance is inoffensive, this is classic 2000s televote filler that won’t get votes. This is a guaranteed NQ, please don’t pick this even though I might think fondly of this song.

Yehonatan – 1 – “What in the ‘We Got Style’ is this? These lyrics are truly terrible, the entire chorus makes me cringe so hard, and the performance feels almost offensive. And to think that it was impactful enough to be in one of the 2 qualifier spots of an 8 songs heat. Choices.”

Zephaniah – 6 – “Lyrics-wise I like it but music-wise, it’s bland and it lacks something. Aiste has a great stage presense but I fear that I cannot see this song doing well in the final of Eurovizija.”

Statistics
Total points (80): 39
Highest score: 8.5 (Boris)
Lowest score: 1 (Yehonatan)
Median: 4.75
Final Mark: F (49%)
Position in the ranking: 8/10

Listen to “We will rule the world” below:


 

ENG: “Caught by the wind”

Favourite entry of Boris 

Boris – 9 –GAUDÈ VÈJAI LELIJO, LELIJO :AIRBENDER POSE: it’s always the unassuming little songs that SNEAK up on you and conquer your heart. “Gaude vejai” is Old School in the most charming way. It is a deceptively addictive song, thanks to probably the catchiest chorus in the finale. It’s a joy to hum along with this jolly trio whose passion is irresistably infectuous. Zalvarinis are further supported by a surprisingly effective backdrop (there’s something magical about lily petals flying AT you in the background, or a giant stag looming behind the trees in the wideshots). It’s a solid starter package and one that with a few adjustments can become a sleeper hit in Malmö, were it to go – it won’t, because Silvester or the Roop will, but out of all the finalists this is the one I will revisit the most often after the dust has settled. Go the way-ay, leelo, lelliow~

Daniel – 3 – “There are various elements at play here: the dad rock, a bit of country, the folk, the medieval styling and a rather basic choreo. It’s a rather dated ethno-rock affair, reminiscent of novelty Eastern European entries from the 00s singing about folklore fairytales. As the second chorus kicks in, it all becomes rather monotonous and dirge, not that matters were any more riveting beforehand. A tad on the simple, boring side of things.”

David – 7 – “Lithuanian folk-rock, an actually awesome concept. This song does have some contrasts, which it’ benefits from, but also damage the overall song. I do wish the more folk sound was more present, considering that it’s vocally very soft. Meanwhile it has a lot of harsh rock, which doesn’t quite fit the softness of the singing. Memorable, nonetheless.”

Gabe – 5.5 – “I actually quite enjoyed the vocal harmony on this, and the instrumentation was well thought out. Sadly it doesn’t go anywhere – the tempo is just a bit too slow to get you moving, but just too fast to really bring out either the voices or the instrumentation. I’ll throw in a bonus point for the fact I enjoyed the guitar solo, but sadly for this kind of music it doesn’t have the energy nor the mystique required to get much further.”

James – 8.5 – “This checks most of the boxes you want out of a rabble rousing folk song. Memorable riffs, modern groove with some folk instrumentation, a slick guitar solo, harmonizing female vocals, imagery of lads going to war and ransacking castles and fields full of flowers. The only downside is that this has been done before and the bulk of its support will be as middle aged as its lyrics reference the Middle Ages, and could be written off unjustly for that. But with some strong visuals of fields full of fire and flowers, this could be a well performing cult entry.”

Tyler – 8 – “Around the time this song performed was around the time “Ulvehem” was performed, and the comparisons began. Both songs have a blend of folk rock in the music that is actually quite good and doesn’t feel inaccessible to non-native speakers. The performance looks good, but for the final, there needs to be better staging to make an impact. I think the “Ulvehem” comparisons are unfair, but I do think if both reach the final, then Lithuania won’t do as well compared to Norway. “Gaudė vėjai” IS good though! Reminds me a bit of Slovenia 2010 (one of my faves that year) and it’s just fun and a nice look into the folk rock scene that doesn’t get represented that much.”

Yehonatan – 8.5 – “I feel like Lithuania isn’t ready for these style of songs yet, but this is by any means the most Eurovision ready song in the line up. An ethno folk rock anthem with unique instrumentation is everything I’d like to see from pretty much any country in Eurovision. The only upside of this not being a favorite to win the selection, is that if it were to win, it would probably get eaten alive by Gåte at Eurovision.”

Zephaniah – 6 – “A ballad. It’s great that the lyrics are in Lithuanian but the song is pretty much generic in my opnion. Great vocalists though. I also don’t see this doing well in the final of Eurovizija.”

Statistics
Total points (80): 55.5
Highest score: 9 (Boris)
Lowest score: 3 (Daniel)
Median: 7.5
Final Mark: A- (69%)
Position in the ranking: 2/10

Listen to “Gaudè vèjai” below:


 

Least favourite entry of David 

Boris – 9 –NEVER BE THE SAME NEVER BE THE SAME~ I’ve used ‘Estonian (complimentary)‘ as praise so often this season it feels tame and expected by now,  but selections outside of Estonia are finally discovering genres that aren’t pop, rock or schlager AND are becoming adept at them. “Be careful” is smooth, velvety synthy jazz of top shelf quality. It’s a delicate song that can very easily be labelled as boring – a disservice, since it’s hypnotic. Juste is putting all her Pabandom experience to use as a very charismatic lead (the leaps with which this woman improves every passing selection is astounding) together with tasteful backdrops and good interactions with her bass player. Classiness is not a trait I look for in my music, but this entry has it in scores and I have great respect for it. It won’t win, but it pours one out of the music lovers. Lithuania have been unkind to them for many years and “Be careful” is an excellent way to make amends.”

Daniel – 4 – “Giving off midnight soulful vibes circa 70s, Be Careful is heavily evocative of Lituania entry 2022 with Monica Liu. In the same sensual singing style, accompanied a chill-out disco backing track straight-out Studio 54.  The sound here is slightly more updated with introduction of more electronic elements, such as house synths. However, production values aside, the vocal that is a little off throughout. The staging is noteworthy with the use of low-lit ambient golds and pinks projections and impressive illuminated showers of pyro at the end. Yet, I remain unsure about this entry.”

David – 1 – “Some groovy-jazzy vibes going on here, and I’m absolutely not on board for this. Hard to listen, very dragging, overall boring… this is not something I wish to listen to.”

Gabe – 5 – “The mandatory bisexually-lit sexy song is here and it’s… fine? Unfortunately for this it’s only narrowly avoided condemnation to a dentist’s waiting room or a call centre holding song. These kinds of songs are a dime a dozen and there’s nothing special about this one”

James – 8 – “A delightful, soft lounge number that reminds me of a friend’s first date story. He took his date to a microbrewery and, both of them being beer snobs, wanted to romance each other over their mutual knowledge of IPAs and ethical usage of isinglass or whatever the hell beer snobs talk about. Anyway, he ended up in hospital because his mouth was burned by LW52, a beer line cleaning solution that the brewery had forgotten to rinse out of their beer lines. Anyway, that was surely a night to remember and one he won’t want to repeat, and the microbrewery experience will never be the same. Good news! He is still dating her after the hospital visit, though the LRT televote will probably be LW52 on the hopes of this charming number.”

Tyler – 7.5 – “I quite like “Be Careful”! It’s a bit slow and reminds me a bit of Latvia 2019 with its pacing, but the vocals are more varied with more interesting lyrics, and the performance is more dynamic to the viewer. The lighting and staging is very interesting, and if voters like a slow burn of a song, then “Be Careful” would be a good choice. I’m not sure if it is a sure bet in escaping the semi, but it would bring good variety to the contest, so I’d approve of it at least!”

Yehonatan – 1 – Again, I’m highly confused by how songs like this were impactful enough to be in the 2 qualifiers in a heat of 8 songs that most of them weren’t released before the live show. I’m so bored by it from about the moment it begins, and I find the vocal melodic line very annoying.

Zephaniah – 5 – “It’s simple but because it’s way too simple, it’s really bland. It’s definitely a choice that this song is in the final. I don’t understand how it got through the final, was the semi-final that weak?”

Statistics
Total points (80): 55.5
Highest score: 9 (Boris)
Lowest score: 1 (David, Yehonatan)
Median: 5
Final Mark: C- (51%)
Position in the ranking: 5/10

Listen to “Be careful” below:


 

ENG: “Wait a bit”

Favourite entry of Daniel, David, Gabe, James, Tyler and Zephaniah.

Boris – 9 – “Lithuania have come such a long way in the last ten years. A decade ago, they were the worst country in Eurovision, without a single good song, with an unwatcheable selection that was a laughing stock. Now: the best Baltic country by far, via consistently good selection with many options. “Luktelk” is their latest triumph as a forward-thinking, highly enjoyable synthpop banger. Lithuania’s problem at the contest now is that although their songs are better, the compositions still come across as old-fashioned which hamstrings their jury vote. “Luktelk” shatters that expectation. It’s crisp, well-crafted and visually enthralling. And yet, despite being competent, it maintains its heart and soul. Its use of the Lithuanian language is brazen and bold. This entry has balls to say “I am Quality, how about you?” Every selection should wish for a “Luktelk” within their ranks. Eurovizija.lt has a few good options for Malmö – but none of them will do as well as Silvester Belt.”

Daniel – 8 – “At a first glance, maybe Silvester is a little awkward on stage and needs perhaps to project a little more, but he does give some nuggets of potential. The vocal is solid and the dance moves are almost there, just a little more confidence that nothing that a little practice can help iron out. What I mostly attribute here is the superiority of the track itself. There is an edginess here, dark moods and sultry vocals complement intricate production, featuring these impactful punchy heavy beats that prove ever so effective. There is something very lush and fresh about this.”

David – 8 – “A very hypnotic and captivating sound, with is perfect, because that’s what you want. The beat does get a bit heavy and slow at times, but when it all kicks in, it’s done really well. I can accept it being in Lithuanian, but I do wish it was in English, cause my curiosity is getting to me, with the mysterious modern sound.”

Gabe – 9.5 – “Lithuania, please. I’m begging you. Every Eurovision season has plenty of club bangers but very few that are of sufficient artistic merit, or that are sufficiently strong both in studio and on stage, to merit a second look. This will take some beating. If I were to criticise I would say that we need a bigger finish to really bring this together, but this song should easily clear the competition on this stage so there will be plenty of time to do that before Eurovision. If it had that I would have given this a perfect score.”

James – 9 – “Probably the best club song I’ve heard in a national selection thus far, and to be fair, a good Eurovision year requires a few of these. There’s a lot of thought put into “Luktelk’s” composition in that even though it’s EDM it subtly weaves in traditional Slavic music elements (the speed ramp up, for instance). It’s not just the language, but the music and the choreography that is given it a modern Lithuanian identity. An F- for Sylvester’s hair, though, which looks like someone shaved a sheep’s crotch and glued it to his head, as is the fashion for Gen Z’ers.”

Tyler – 10 – “The best choice for Lithuania. The beat is catchy, the lyrics are easily singable, as if the song was crafted to avoid any harsh-sounding Lithuanian words. The chorus is a great hook to keep you interested, and for being in the first week of the selection, “Luktelk” has been the one I consistently relisten to and enjoy. This could be a great result for Lithuania at Eurovision, easily the best option available. Love the vibe of the music with its trance-like notes, and it’s a pleasure to listen and watch the performance constantly. Lithuania, you can’t go wrong if you vote for “Luktelk”, this is an instant qualifier and can easily hit top 5 and be Lithuania’s best result.”

Yehonatan – 6.5 – “Has one of the best beats this season, but fails to keep the momentum due to a very weak chorus melodically. While I’m surprised to see “Luktelk” being featured so hard by many fans, I can get behind several aspects of the song. It has a great live performance, and a good instrumentation.”

Zephaniah – 10 – “Pop perfection. It’s such a catchy song especially it being in Lithuanian and Silvester Belt is an amazing performer. I can see this doing well in Malmö. This is the only choice in this national final I fear.”

Statistics
Total points (80): 70
Highest score: 10 (Tyler, Zephaniah)
Lowest score: 6.5 (Yehonatan)
Median: 9
Final Mark: A+ (88%)
Position in the ranking: 1/10

Listen to “Luktelk” below:


 

Least favourite entry of Gabe and James

Boris – 8 –GUGSU CHIKKIN NEEEEEEEEEE. “KABOOM!!!” represents a side of Atranka that never truly went away – the token Arkham Asylum For The Criminally Insane novelty act. Christ it’s unhinged; SCREAMING “CHICKEN NOODLES” in Korean as a hook is so stupid it works. And yet, “KABOOM!!!” is represents the powercreep going on in Lithuania –  it’s more in line with Little Big than Lithuania’s usual disaster joke entries, surprisingly competent for its ilk. Vidas Bareikis understands this contest so well – set up enough silly nonsense for the audience to laugh at, and right when the fatigue’s about set in,  set the entire venue en FUEGO with a drastic key acceleration and firecracker finale. I wouldn’t underestimate a “KABOOM!!!” just because it’s irreverent. It goes hard by the end and before you know it you’ll want naught but scream GUGSU CHIKKIN YOKOOOOO alongside them.”

Daniel – 6.5 – “With the Eurovision semi-finals being televote only ‘fun’ entries like these have been proliferating in the national finals this year. Kaboom’s comical exterior is underlined by electronic dark synth accompanied by a group of performers decked out in colorful futuristic cyberpunk outfits engaging in the wackiest coordinated choreography ever. Fronted by two lead vocalist, if you can call them that, where a squeaky vocal alternates with belted out chicken-like noises; its as weird as it gets. Perhaps a certain taste-level is lacking in this instance, but then after Windows95 Man winning this year’s UMK I don’t think that matters anymore, at least with the televoting. Not gonna lie, I did enjoy this and I also appreciate the underpinning electronic production element which amusingly speeds up super-fast in the mid-to-end where it ventures into this techno musical terrain.. It’s crazy, incredibly silly and thoroughly entertaining.”

David – 6 – “This is fun and interesting, but at the same time, you just also wonder. Futuristic styled modern EDM, is probably how I would describe this, with dated vocals and lyrics. It has parts that absolutely would annoy me, but it has the sound that captures me. It’s beyond ridiculous, but I’m so entertained, that I just can’t hate it.”

Gabe – 0 – “I don’t think I have ever hated anything as much as I hated the three minutes I had to spend watching this. No merit whatsoever and no redeeming features to this farce. ”

James – 1 – “From the opening fart synths, you know exactly the sort of dog turd entry you’re going to get. You have a bellend cringe Dad with shaved head and two pairs of sunglasses on his head putting in a performance that would make Daz Sampson wince. You have a blonde singer who makes Real Housewives of Beverly Hills club grifter Erika Jayne look professional and emotive. You have a chicken dance, annoying performers hamming it up for the camera, cheap 2000s era neon outfits. It’s appropriate the song ends with one of the dancers humping the floor, because f&%K this lazy, cynical effort.”

Tyler – 7 – ” Honestly, “Kaboom!!!” is hot televoting garbage, but it’s so camp that it circles around to me liking it. The costumes are fun (we need more colors though for the Power Rangers fantasy) and the vocals are okay. They could be stronger, but for this song, I don’t think that’s necessary. With the tempo increasing as the song goes on, they keep up with the speed well enough and that’s what’s impressive about the entry. This performance is just a lot of fun, and while I’m not sure if televoters across Europe will vote for this with how over the top it is, I’d be a fan if Lithuania sent this! It’s not nearly as embarrassing as previous Lithuanian entries!”

Yehonatan – 7 – “First of all, let me be very clear: windows95man wishes they were VB gang. This is by far the best troll entry in this season so far. It reads very well into the trend of making fun of old European club hits with bad lyrics and an odd female-male duo. But most of all, it’s just a much more fun entry than the other trolls we had so far. ”

Zephaniah – 8 – “It’s definitely a song! It’s camp and I can see why this won the televote in the first semi-final. It would be fun to see this on the Eurovision stage.”

Statistics
Total points (80): 43
Highest score: 8 (Boris, Zephaniah)
Lowest score: 0 (Gabe)
Median: 6.5
Final Mark: C- (51%)
Position in the ranking: 4/10

“Listen to “KABOOM!!!” below:


Il Senso – “Time” 

Boris – 6 – “This barmy modernist operette disaster mild <3 It’s honestly more hyperpop disguised as opera, but w/e it’s camp so I approve. It’s been a while since a Lithuanian finale last featured an entry with a true Atranka Soul.. Newscast intro followed by “SHARP. BLADES. OF. TIME. CUTS. THE. SPACE. :epilepsy:” is about as Lithuanian an opener you’re going to get. Il Senso then quickly pivot into “arias rejected from Nixon in China” territory – more nonsense delivered via theatre-vocals-over- news-jingles, featuring overzealous acting you can’t help but laugh at. Unfortunately, the laughter is mostly at Il Senso’s expense and while most ironic enjoyment eventually turns unironic over time, there is -very ironically- not enough time for the seeds of true appreciation to blossom before Lithuania pick their rep.”

Daniel – 5 – “It starts of very theatrical, very drama; more like a performance than a song. A very tight choreography of them swinging back and forth but not moving from the spot and intensely singing in an accented, almost operatic style singing to lullaby-esque song about lost time. Decked out in austere black clothing, Ill Senso appear to take themselves very seriously. For its slickness, there is a dorkiness to whole thing. There is something of mid 90s Eurovision, with all these entries that were inspired by folklore and Enya. It’s very kitsch Eurovision.”

David – 5 – “There’s something harmonic going on here, which the group perfectly delivers, very in-sync and professional. Yet, also very soulless and cold. The music is nice, with it’s tense tone, along with the very tense singing, but I just don’t feel the authenticity of it all. I wanna like the song, but I also doubt that I even care for it.”

Gabe – 7 – “I do enjoy this kind of dramatic show-pop when it’s done well, but I’m just not quite totally sold on this yet. The vocals are superb and it’s well put together, but again I haven’t been shown anything new in this performance. I also don’t like the staccato of the verses. It feels disjointed and breaks the immersion of the song. Most frustratingly, they built up for a big finish only to completely dissipate the energy without actually releasing it in the song. Nonetheless a stronger offering than a lot of its competitors. ”

James – 2.5 – “This feels like a bad Marxist musical theater group laced their marijuana with PCP and hit us with some dystopian pop-opera propaganda. There’s a po-faced seriousness to this that makes it unintentionally funny (like Boggie’s “War for Nothing”), from the weird tics in their hand gestures to the clichéd “wind carrying the hope of peace” lyrics. A half point is for the minimalist staging and visuals, which look cool. And the vocalists’ performances are great (unlike the amateur hour over at VB Gang). But everything else in “Time” is a boneheaded blunder, a result of a pretentious quartet lacking self-awareness.”

Tyler – 3.5 – ” I wasn’t a fan of Il Senso’s last entry “Sparnai”, and with “Time”, my sentiment was right! Look, the staging itself is unique and weird and I should be a stan of it. However, the song itself is not good! I like the beat behind the vocals, but the vocals themselves are do not give me confidence that this will resonate with Europe. The lyrics are bland, and I hope that they run out of money soon to buy SIM cards for the televote. The popera really has to work or else it’s going to be off-putting to voters, and I don’t think enough work has been done to make this accessible.”

Yehonatan – 5 – “‘Time’ lives in an uncanny valley of ‘Face the Shadow’ and every Albanian ballad from 2014 to 2017. There is way too much drama than the song calls for, and the harmonies work on a technical level, but fail to really convey reason for their existence.”

Zephaniah – 6 – “Another slow, mellow song. Nice vocal blending and ethnic elements but it’s really getting kinda boring at this point. Way too many of these type of songs in the national final.”

Statistics
Total points (80): 40
Highest score: 7 (Gabe)
Lowest score: 2.5 (James)
Median: 5
Final Mark: C- (50%)
Position in the ranking: 7/10

Listen to “Time” below:


 

Least favourite entry of Boris

Boris – 1.5  – “Are they called Shower because their songs aren’t growers? Every once in a while the netizens lose their goddamn’ minds, and at this selection it happened when people (hateful cretins that like to see us suffer) started touting Shower for delivering “Real Music” – although “Be Careful” was in the SAME fucking heat?! “Impossible” is bad – atonal warbly parlando verses into cursive singing chorus. “Real Music” my fuzzy peaches. Give me a fast food tune every second of my life over this garbage. It is smug anti-pop of the Sobralian variety. Anyone who thinks that is good should be KEPT AWAY FROM EUROVISION VIA ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY. The jury had better put this one last because the Godvester vs The Poop showdown is already anxiety-inducing as is.”

Daniel – 3 – “I spent my whole time listening to this trying to decipher what it actually reminds me of, case the song itself isn’t exciting enough. A non-sensical rap ballad without almost no melody. The singing and rapping feels continuous, with almost no break. The music is stripped back, mellow, non-descript with banal piano riff  and a bit of electronica thrown in at the end for variation. There is nothing here.””

David – 2 – “Not a fan at all, of how the song is overall delivered. The way the lyrics are very much just worded out, with a huge lack of a proper hook, which makes me struggle to even remember the song in the end. Musically, it’s actually enjoyable, and vocally during the chorus I believe is quite strong, but the lyrics just tears everything apart.”

Gabe – 6 – “I really appreciate the vocals of this song and the kind of half rap-half vocal of the verses. I feel like there is a mismatch with the track though – you could take the same lyrics, the same vocals, and the same melodic themes, make the song much more bombastic, and you’d probably end up with a stronger product. As it is, again, I don’t dislike it, but it’s not made any real impression on me.”

James – 6.5 – “I am going to give credit to the vocalist for delivering a performance of a disturbed and unhinged spurned ex. The underlying track is not much to write home about, even with the switch up in the final third, but the singer runs us through an emotional rollercoaster of anger, anguish, accusation and more.”

Tyler – 3 – “The vocals for “Impossible” are technically good–they have the stereotypical notes of pop rock songs that makes it “soulful” that people like. But the song itself I don’t like! I don’t care for the lyrics (especially with asking to pick up a gun and shoot him in the head) and the performance does nothing for me to be excited about it. I’m bored the entire time, and I will not be gaslit by the Lithuanian public into thinking that this is good, nope, sorry!”

Yehonatan – 3 – “The main problem I have with ‘Impossible’ is that I fail to listen to it for more than a minute straight in most cases. I find it so hard to stay committed to this song and not skipping, because I”m not hooked to any melodic or harmonic aspect of the song at all. It’s not very bad, it’s just particularly boring.”

Zephaniah – 8 – This one is decent– composition-wise and lyrics-wise. I think it’s a fine song but then again, it’s in a final where there’s a lot of slow tempo songs. I don’t think this will stand out.

Statistics
Total points (80): 33
Highest score: 8 (Zephaniah)
Lowest score: 1.5 (Boris)
Median: 3
Final Mark: F (41%)
Position in the ranking: 10/10

Listen to “Impossible” below:


 

Favourite entry of Yehonatan, least favourite entry of Daniel

Boris – 4 – “No honey, your crash course of English is starting tomorrow. “Unlove” is not a world, what in the Sanna Nielsen is this cringe attempt at splicing internet lingo to your title? Not that Monika – a notable carrier of the Servephobia genome-  stands a chance at going TikTok viral; the melody of her song is not strong enough. Visually, “Unlove you starting tomorrow” is decently skilled and providesa  well-crafted narrative throughout its act. The issue however is –because the melody itself is unmemorable- it  all comes across as form-over-function. Nobody will be voting for a ballad specifically for the act. Staging should enhance the melody and emotions, not distract from them. Juries might be swayed by the act on paper, but I don’t see why they should be – International Eurovision juries dislike Lithuania and this entry won’t change their minds. The domestic Atranka jury meanwhile should be pushing for the acts that will give Lithuania the best possible results at Eurovision. This is not one of them.”

Daniel – 2 – “They correctly edited the song title from Unlove Starting Tomorrow which sounds incredibly dorky. But perhaps that original title would have grabbed more attention for Monika cause nothing about her song, now titled Starting Tomorrow will. [ed: the title change is not yet official] If she wins the national final, she will be the third Monika in a row to represent Lithuania, but that’s not going to happen. This singer/songwriter county ballad is absolute dirge, monotonous with absolutely no shifts in register. I remain baffled by the lack of self-awareness by songwriters producing insipid music like this and consider it be competitive enough to enter Eurovision.”

David – 3 – “A very sweet a relaxed country style song, I don’t mind it, but neither do I care too much for it. I do like that it builds-up over the course of the song, and it does it great. Yet the lyrics don’t really convey me, as in, at all. It’s still a very slow-paced song, and my interest is quickly faded away, before it gets slightly good.”

Gabe – 7.5 – “This ballad was actually very touching. Though it doesn’t risk anything musically either in terms of chord progression or style, but the song’s warmth and the really quite touching lyrics help put together a really nice picture. The theme is essentially “Hold Me Closer but it’s a country ballad” but this kind of subject matter is something you can come back to over and over again and still see really good results. Definitely one of the strongest in this lineup.”

James – 3 – “What is “unlove”? I wish I could delisten to this song and non-remember it, too. Monika’s latest sad girl pop country ballad is as mopey as its title is dopey, and is a far cry from “Light On” from a few years back. The repeating “running” motif has been done a thousand times. Or should it be post-walking?”

Tyler – 5 – “We don’t need another Monika this year for Lithuania, pack up the jokes and memes please. “Unlove You Starting Tomorrow” is fine! The vocals are good, the lyrics are fine, the instrumentation itself is okay (but I like the country guitar twangs in the background). However, this song demonstrates that while Monika Marija is competent and a good performer, there isn’t a moment in this entry that would make it memorable in a televote. The staging is good, but I’m left feeling hollow and wanting this song to be bigger than it is. Maybe that isn’t necessary if the song is good enough to capture people’s attention, but this isn’t one of those songs. So while technically fine, it’s devoid of any passion to it for me.”

Yehonatan – 9 – “Monika Marija is back with another entry that hits all the right places. She went for a more emotional stripped atmosphere, and she delivers it so damn well. Her live performance is probably the best live performance I’ve seen so far this season. It makes such clever use of the entire stage, the lights and the built in set for the song, to really capture and create a unique story. This should be the clearest choice Lithuania has made in the past few years, but they robbed her too many times for me to believe that this song has a chance.”

Zephaniah – 7 – “Monika Marija is an amazing artist and singer but I don’t think this song will stand out in the final especially there’s quite a lot of ballads in this national final. ”

Statistics
Total points (80): 40.5
Highest score: 9 (Yehonatan)
Lowest score: 2 (Daniel)
Median: 4.5
Final Mark: F (41%)
Position in the ranking: 6/10 (after tiebreakers)

Listen to “Unlove you starting tomorrow” below:


Queens of Roses – “Walk through Fire”

Boris – 7 – “Vapid female empowerment to a boppy tune by slay women. Yasss queens goooo hunty! Yes, obviously, this is good? “Walk through fire” is very in-line with the songs Lithuania normally send (strange that this doesn’t get mentioned more often? But I assume everyone has Luktelk/Roop-coded tunnel vision). It’s a fun club banger that would effortlessly deliver a finale for Lithuania. The problem is two-fold. First, “Walk through fire” outclassed by several options in Eurovizija.lt. Secondly and more poignantly, Queens of Roses don’t have an act. The staging is barren, and although Queens of Roses serve, the performance in the heat feels more like an audition they cobbled together last minute than a full package ready for Eurovision. But hopefully that means San Marino announce them as a Big Name autofinalist any day now…x”

Daniel – 3 – “Interesting choreography from on all girl -three piece or at points are vocally weak. Starting off promising – we have disco sounds, a theme in this year’s Lithuanian final – but then in no time at all it just falls flat. A rather unremarkable about generic pop dance track that happens to be a little disco, a genre which I feel now I am very familiar after listening to this final. All three girls do sell it or at least try to with some moves and a bit fire, but sadly they cant salvage a song feels dead on arrival the moment it was written.”

David – 6 – “Sexy and seductive, but without the passion. Overall, the song seems promising, the singing is great and it sounds like it’ll be all good, but instead, it just never get’s to the point, that you personally hope for. The song does kick in fast, but afterwards, it’s just burns out, but the flame ain’t getting any hotter.”

Gabe – 6.5 – “This song would work better with a John Newman – Love Me Again style backing rather than this rather bland funk pop style that we’ve been given. With that said it’s one of the stronger hooks in this show. It’s a shame, really, that the production and instrumentation holds it back like this. The lyrics being essentially empty and devoid of meaning don’t really help it either. ”

James – 6 – “Anyone remember the Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett, Jr. film “Firewalker”? Vaguely, which is more than I can say for this retro-90s girl group effort from Queen of Roses. There are also some ropey lyrics, with “ignite” being forced to rhyme with “crime” and, right after singing about a lion’s roar, “hmmmm”. It’s a middling pop funk effort, but lacks firepower.”

Tyler – 5 – “It was going to take a lot to reach the highs of pre-PiN final version of “Washing Machine”, but I can confidently say that “Walk Through Fire” does not reach that bar! Look in a dictionary, and you’ll find this song as an “unslay”. I don’t find the performance to be fun or very memorable other than their coordinated dance moves. The vocals are okay at best, the lyrics mean nothing, and the music has a hint of funk to it that I want to like more, but I can’t be bothered in the slightest! One of the most disappointing entries for me for returning artists.”

Yehonatan – 6.5 – I will never be the one to complain about a good disco – soul tune. It’s fun, it’s refreshing, and it doesn’t pretend to be more than it is.

Zephaniah – 7 – “Finally an upbeat song! However, I think that they did not match the energy of the song. I quite like it though. I wish they have more lights and dancers on stage to match it.”

Statistics
Total points (80): 47
Highest score: 7 (Boris, Zephaniah)
Lowest score: 3 (Daniel)
Median: 6.5
Final Mark: C+ (59%)
Position in the ranking: 6/10 (after tiebreakers)

Listen to “Walk through fire” below:


Least favourite of Tyler and Zephaniah

Boris – 3 – “Vaidotas is right, we should cherish the simple joys in life. Unfortunately for him, my simple joys include trashtalking bad entries. You know the Roop fatigue has settled in when your first instinctive reaction to the song title is:

The anxiety WASN’T quelled by the simple joys he lists, which includes lyrical cancer such as “calming voice of mother” – um my mother is from Southern Europe, absolutely NO part of her voice can be described as ‘calming‘ what is this northern privilege? Musically, “Simple Joy” goes from “What if ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ didn’t slay” in the verses to “What if ‘Relax, Take It Easy‘ didn’t slay” in the chorus. Visually, Vaidotas -normally a very charismatic lead-  shows how painfully self-aware he has become since ‘On Fire‘ and can’t help but pepper the act with unnecessary memedances that made me wish I was blind as well as dead. Every time he ruins the performance with another solipsistic dance break, a viewer’s soul dies from cringe and a keiino fan is formed from the empty husk. I don’t want him to suffer pain or even death (that would be too severe) but wouldn’t it be nice if the bones in his legs turned liquid for just the day of the final? Being forced to wobble down flights of stairs like a mint jelly for a day would be adequate karma for reminding Europe of Kurt Calleja’s foot sweep choreography.”

Daniel – 3 – “I find the singer Vaidotas Valiukevičius a tad on the annoying side, especially in the beginning with just him singing with a guitar, thus allowing me to clearly hear the very on-the-nose and incredibly grating lyrics about life’s simple joys. The cynic in me cannot take it. Matters become somewhat more palatable when instrumentation kicks but then the whistling and these geeky dance moves come into the fray, turning everything into this twee mush. It’s completely different vibe to Discoteque, but something that did pick up then which I pick up here, is a sense of the contrived and inauthenticity that permeates from Valiukevičius’ delivery. A commendable effort nonetheless, but not for me.”

David – 7 – “I’ll say this much, I absolutely appreciate how they went for something else, rather than copying the likes of “On Fire” and “Discoteque”, but on the other hand, it’s no masterpiece either. It’s a simplistic and very easy going song, which is great just to vibe to, but on the other hand, the interest for the song ain’t the greatest.”

Gabe – 3 – “Under the heavy weight of high expectations, The Roop’s knees unfortunately buckle. This is, by a mile, their weakest offering to Eurovision to date and one of the weakest songs in this final as well. On paper this offers everything On Fire and Discotheque offered – a catchy hook, the charisma of Vaidotas, and a danceable beat – but it disappoints on every front. It captures none of the quirkiness or unique qualities that those songs had and replaces them with something that is totally generic.”

James – 7 – “Vaidotas is back with a knobbly-knee and gangly elbow dance that your drunk uncle will mimic at a wedding. And while The Roop’s message in their last two Eurovision efforts was inspiring, this time it feels a bit like a “It’s Wine O’Clock Somewhere” sign in song form. “On Fire” was a reflection of leaning into middle age and “Discotheque” was a dance anthem for a time when a pandemic shut down the clubs, but “Simple Joy” seems like a mild reflection leading into a resignation. Those who believe that the meek shall inherit the Earth will at least have a new anthem, but I don’t see “Simple Joy” doing much business at Eurovision.”

Tyler – 2 – “I’ve never been a The Roop fan, and “Simple Joy” hasn’t endeared them to me at all! I think a song reflecting on the small things in life that could make you happy or fulfilled is cute, but the presentation is just as terrible as previous entries. It’s undercut by stupid dancing and bad camera angles, and it all feels forced to try to capture the stranglehold the group had on the fandom in 2020. But if Lithuania picks this, it will have no shot at winning the entire thing, so why bother? I hope people are willing to look past the name and consider that maybe this song isn’t good enough actually and not settle for mediocrity. Please? Don’t pick this!”

Yehonatan – 5.5 – “This is by far my favorite entry from The Roop. I wasn’t at all featuring ‘On Fire’ or ‘Discoteque’, but this song takes a very different approach to these two. Is this the most innovative song? Nope. Is it one of my favorites of this selection? Not even close. But something about the simplicity just make this song feels authentic and come across as geniune and real.”

Zephaniah – 5 – “Probably the biggest disappointment, not including the outfit because that’s another crime. The Roop returning with a song like this is definitely a choice! Although it’s definitely going to the superfinal (to which I will not like) but this is not Lithuania’s choice this year.”

Statistics
Total points (80): 36.5
Highest score: 7 (David, James)
Lowest score: 2 (Tyler)
Median: 4.5
Final Mark: F (46%)
Position in the ranking: 6/10 (after tiebreakers)

Listen to “Simple Joy” below:



And that concludes the reviews. I’ve promised you low score divergence and that’s exactly what we got! But what does our ranking look like finalised? Fear not for I have chart and graph ready.

For a comprehensive graph:

 

 

As you can see, Silvester Belt demolished our reviews with a whopping 88% average across 8 reviewers, the highest average any act has achieved so far. Folk rockers Žalvarinis clock in at a respectable 69%, just shy of a 7.0 average, meaning that our top two songs were the entries in Lithuanian. Queens of Roses, VB Gang, Pluie de Comètes, Monika Marija and Il Senso all received mixed reviews but managed to pass the litmus test. Aistè, the Roop and Shower bring up the rear, failing to impress enough of our editors for a passing grade.

 

and finally, check out our chart to see who enjoyed this set of songs the most  or least, and which of our editors #YOU have the most correlation with:

With no scores below 5, Zephaniah is officially Lithuania’s biggest fan on our team with an average of 68% Boris, who gave the largest number of high scores (5) in this round, is the second most positive overall with 65%. James, Tyler, Gabe and Yehonatan also gave Lithuania a passing grade but were more picky. David and Daniel were not impressed with the selection, giving Lithuania an average of below 50%

Overall, the only thing we truly agree on is that Silvester Belt should win, with a few of us also supporting Monika Marija and Žalvarinis as backups. We’ll know tonight whether Lithuania shares this view or not.

Check out the Eurovizija.lt finale tonight, which starts at around 20:00 CET. The finale will be streamed on youtube and LRT.lt’s website if you’re interested.

Who do #YOU endorse for Lithuania? Are #YOU a Silvester Belt, Roop or Monika fan? Let us know in the comments, or join the discussion on our forum or in our Discord!

 

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