The below editorial features the opinions and views of the quoted reviewer and do not necessarily represent the views of #escYOUnited as a whole, Eurovision or the EBU.
We at ESC United are not afraid to proclaim our love for Moldova at Eurovision. Not to be patronizing, but they are the little country that could, the meme-worthy lords of the stage, the villains you call for when your heroes let you down.
And this evening, we will know which one of the twenty acts trying out for Moldova’s national selection, O Melodie pentru Europa 2020, will be representing the tiny former Soviet republic in Rotterdam.
But prior to the selection, what do our team think of the entries? For this selection, three writers who can’t agree on anything and are spread over 12 time zones, will review the entries across two parts. Today, David, James, and Roy will review O Melodie pentru Europa 2020 in the order of tonight’s draw.
Denis Midone – “Like a Champion”
David – 7 – “What a pleasant song and uplifting song. It’s very simple and basic both in lyric and sound, but it’s still enjoyable. I could easily see myself just going all about on my own and just very chill listening to this song and feel good about myself. Of course, it’s not anything special but I enjoy and cool and easy song now and then as well.”
James – 6 – “The Persson sisters bring their rag-and-bone cart o’ songs to Moldova, and they’ve stuck a self-belief ballad on young Denis Midone. He’s earnest and handsome, and he sells this well enough. The lyrics get a bit repetitive in parts, and the whole composition lacks that creative spark and drive that, well, makes a champion. This song is fine. Midone’s performance is fine. But Midone perhaps needs to be battle tested some more before he can begin confidently proclaiming he’s the champion.”
Roy – 2 – “This reminds me a lot of what Jael did for Australia at Junior Eurovision with her song Champion. This is a lot more stripped down and not that good really. The chorus could have been a lot more creative too. Right now, it is just him repeating the same few lines over and over. Denis is just singing kind of randomly over this low-fi-kind-of-really-basic trap beat…”
Total: 15 (Average = 5.0)
Natalia Gordienko – “Prison”
David – 3 – “Dark and deep, it’s great to see that Natalia has a voice, compared to her attempt back in 2006. Unfortunately, I find it boring mostly. It’s full of power and mystery, but I just don’t feel it, then I would honestly prefer “Loca” waaaaaaaay more and we saw how that went in 2006 (Loca was actually a huge hit in Romania back then, just saying.) “Prison” just seems very sterile and lacks some personality.”
James – 9 – “As much as I slag off how much the Russians rest on their laurels and how Kirkorov’s still top dog there after more than 30 years, there’s a reason. He’s a legend. He proved with Lazarev’s “Scream” that he knows how to craft a great pop song suited to the modern area, and he’s done so again with co-writing Natalia Gordienko’s “Prison” (the lyrics by Sharon Vaughan and Dimitris K. are surely also a metaphor for Kirkorov’s gilded cage). There’s also some nice throwbacks with the instrumentation to the divas of the 1980s. Another Kirkorov and Dimitris K. special that will surely be a guaranteed qualifier for Moldova if they win this selection.”
Roy – 6 – “This is quite an exciting piece. It creates a sense of chaos and it is very unpredictable. I feel like this could have been a lot better though. The repetitiveness of “I don’t wanna be with you” is a massive thing to notice that I would have changed. Anyways, it is something different and we got to applaud Natalia for that.”
Total: 18 (Average = 6.0)
Geta Burlacu – “Răspunde!”
David – 3 – “Note to myself; never tell my mother about this song, she would so much use this song against me! It’s actually a touching song, paying tribute to mothers all around the world, cause like they say, mothers know best… Romanian mothers take that saying VERY seriously as well. However, I disagree, cause even mama can learn new somethings, so I just can’t get behind the message of the song completely, but I do adore the message of the song.”
James – 7 – “Moldova’s first non-qualifier is back, and while she delivers a great vocal performance in that jazz ballad style she’s known for, the song itself is a familiar composition. It’s unlikely to make it to Rotterdam, but it’s a beautiful ballad by a distinguished Moldovan voice nonetheless.”
Roy – 3 – “This is just very forgettable. Geta has some decent vocal moments throughout the song, but it is all a bit too basic and unremarkable. The backing track is just your basic ballad and there is nothing remarkable that deviated from that. Geta’s voice is good, the song just needed some more work.”
Total: 13 (Average = 4.33)
Viorela Moraru – “Remedy”
David – 2 – “This seems like a very poor attempt at a song, it’s like, we pick this random word which is “Remedy” and then let’s use all the words that rhymes with it… and if doesn’t, we’ll make it rhyme. Tempo of the song is also very on the bottom, never really picks up and so I’m just left… bored and uninterested.”
James – 4 – “Another self-belief ballad by the Persson sisters. Moraru doesn’t seem as ready for prime time as Midone, which may be why they gave her the self-belief ballad with the clunkier lyrics? “Like a remedy, never give up”? A remedy is binary – it either works or it doesn’t. You can’t yell at a remedy to work more. And those electronic touches at the bridge really sound like the grinding of gears.”
Roy – 2 – “This is just a very amateur song. The lyrics are quite weak in the chorus, the production is weak and the entire song will fall flat live as well. Yeah this really isn’t doing anything for me.”
Total: 8 (Average = 2.67)
Valentin Uzun & Irina Kovalsky – “Moldovița”
David – 9 – “If you’ve ever wondered what Moldova is like as a place to visit, this song is ON POINT! Pretty much a tour guide song of Moldova, within 3 minutes. This song alone is the reason why Moldova or even Romania MUST win soon enough already!!! Traditional folklore music from the Moldovan region that Romanians can only appreciate! <3 ”
James – 8 – “Usually one country can be guaranteed a fun kitschy tourist advert and this year Moldova has one in their selection. It’s a fun, up tempo folk rock song with some traditional violins combined with electric guitar, selling you on the virtues (or vices) of Moldova’s wine and food. It’s an inviting and camp song that Moldovan nationalists will love, but the song is more aimed at foreigners with its “welcome to Moldova” vibes.”
Roy – 7 – “An interesting piece of Moldovan music. I am all for diversity, so why not select this for Eurovision? Maybe the lyrics could have been a bit better, right now it is just kind of cheap and it gives a sense of amateurism. Especially in the little breakdown where they explain that they are from Moldova. All in all this is jut a fun piece that could be cool to select if all the other options fall flat.”
Total: 24 (Average = 8.0)
Lavinia Rusu – “Touch”
David – 1 – “Oh lord save me… this is so out of time here, I don’t even know in which decade this belongs, but I just can’t get behind the style of the song. What does it even mean “Chasing your touch”? The composition is also very bad.”
James – 8 – “This funky pop song is a great club banger. Onomatopoeia can grate at Eurovision, but for the chorus the “terry terry tum terry terry tum” actually works. The lyrics are incredibly goofy, but for a party song where you’re chasing touches and playing with fire and all that, who cares? There’s some bigger names to get past in this selection, but if Moldova is feeling like sending a party to Rotterdam, “Touch” is a great candidate.”
Roy – 6 – “This song is very unremarkable up to the part where the beat really kicks in after the 1, 2, 3, go! If they had managed to spread it out a bit better and make the verses interesting too, then I would have liked this more. It is still a fun little tune that would be lovely in the background.”
Total: 15 (Average = 5.0)
Dima Jelezoglo – “Do It Slow”
David – 3 – “Can we seriously just leave the Arabic style of music to the Arabs instead? It’s a shame that we don’t have any Arabic countries taking part, cause this is what they would offer, but SO MUCH BETTER than this. Lyrics are simply laughable and ridiculous, what saves this song so much is the music, but the lyrics… I can’t describe how much they drag the song down!”
James – 7 – “I guess there is no word in the Moldovan dictionary for subtle? The track is basic, and it gets repetitive in parts, but it’s very much a West Hollywood club track and we are all the better for it showing up in Chisinau. Now Dima is going to have to work on his dancing as I’ve seen Jehovah’s Witnesses wander into The Abbey and trying to escape without offending anyone having more grace in their movements. This is the diamond in the rough entry in the selection that gets high points for the core idea and the potential that, after some substantial changes in production and staging, could be one hell of a blast on the Eurovision stage if improved upon.”
Roy – 6 – “Interesting… There was heaps of potential with this. The beat is quite good and vibrant. The singing is a bit ehh and a few more elements could have been added. This has a good potential for staging too. I am a bit unsure of how this would be received by the entirety of Europe when it is matched-up against a lot of other high quality songs.”
Total: 16 (Average = 5.33)
Diana Rotaru – “Dale dale”
David – 8 – “Some Latino flavor going on here! To anyone wondering, why would Moldova pick something in Spanish? It’s because Romanian IS a romance language and therefore close to other Latin based languages. Any Romanian would easily understand the few Spanish added, and the mixture with Romanian lyrics, my Latino heart is beating to this rhythm! Only negative thing, the song is quite slow in tempo, so it doesn’t completely delivers the energy that you’d normally expect.”
James – 6 – “What’s with all the Latin infused stuff that’s showing up a lot in national selections this year (alongside the New Age)? I also had to double-check the date on YouTube as I thought maybe I’d watched a national selection entrant for 2010. This is a fun club banger for sure, but it is not an especially memorable one. Roxen’s “Cherry Red” paints a Spanish night for a foreigner much better than this (it also helps it is modern). Merely name checking Latin things like “spicy” and “tequila” on top of synthesized horns and deep bass is not going to cut it.”
Roy – 5 – “So random to have a Spanish song in this selection. The overall feeling is a bit cheap even though the “drop” is quite cool. She overuses the word Dale way too much in my opinion. It makes it become an annoying earworm that you would rather not play. That is maybe not the best idea for Eurovision.”
Total: 19 (Average = 6.33)
Pasha Parfeny – “My Wine”
David – 8 – “God bless Pasha! This man is a genius! Only he can turn traditional Moldovan songs into something modern and even in English so any can understand. This is pretty much the music style that belongs to “Lautarii” (No, not talking about his 2012 song), it’s very Romanian with a Moldovan style. Unlike his song “Lautar” (Yes, now talking about his 2012 song), it’s not on the same level, but damn, I love whenever I hear music that contains a “țambal”.”
James – 7 – “Is the Moldovan wine industry sponsoring a couple acts this year? Anyway, Pasha doesn’t need any introduction to Eurovision fans as his first time there was great. However, I think “Moldovita” is the better wine-based song here. “My Wine” comes off as a cross between “Alcohol is free” and the drunken word salad and humor of Korpiklaani’s “Tequila.” That’s not to make it sound weird. That’s just to point out that tempo shifting drunken revelry by Eastern European folk rock combos is not that new. Parfeny only disappoints in his song’s relative unoriginality. It’s still a blast to listen to.”
Roy – 7 – “This is a lovely folky song. I would not mind to see Pasha returning to Eurovision somehow. As long as he brings a fun, authentic and uplifting song to Rotterdam. It is far from perfect, but it is quite cool. Maybe it is a tad too simple though?”
Total: 22 (Average = 7.33)
Live Beat – “Love Me Now”
David – 1 – “This is quite out of its time period. Very old school styled song, and I just can’t get behind it, it’s simply just not my style. To make it all worse, then we slap some random lyrics onto it, which overall doesn’t really go that well… oh and let’s slap some fast rap as well… come on, really now?!”
James – 4 – “An older fashioned funk song that is seriously let down by the Zach Galifianakis look-a-like rapping in the middle. The lyrics are also a word salad of generic hook-up phrases. The underlying funk track also sounds tinny and cheap. On the plus side, it’s kind of fun if you don’t notice the underlying problems.”
Roy – 7 – “This is nice and funky! This also has a lot of potential when it comes down to staging. I am a little afraid that it could get lost in the crowd at Eurovision. It could be a really cool pick for Moldova however. They have quite a good track-record when it comes down to staging a song. Not bad at all!”
Total: 12 (Average = 4.0)
We are at the halfway mark – who holds the lead in our editor reviews?
- Valentin Uzun & Irina Kovalsky – “Moldovița” – 24 (Average = 8.0)
- Pasha Parfeny – “My Wine” – 22 (Average = 7.33)
- Diana Rotaru – “Dale dale” – 19 (Average = 6.33)
- Natalia Gordienko – “Prison” – 18 (Average = 6.0)
- Dima Jelezoglo – “Do It Slow” – 16 (Average = 5.33)
- Denis Midone – “Like a Champion” – 15 (Average = 5.0)*
- Lavinia Rusu – “Touch” – 15 (Average = 5.0)*
- Geta Burlacu – “Răspunde!” – 13 (Average = 4.33)
- Live Beat – “Love Me Now” – 12 (Average = 4.0)
- Viorela Moraru – “Remedy” – 8 (Average = 2.67)
*Lower spread is used as a tie-breaker on the reasoning that the closer to the mean, the less divisive the opinion of the song.
Coming out of the first half, Valentin Uzun and Irina Kovalsky are our runaway leaders, with Pasha Parfeny’s “My Wine” a close second. We’re getting the sense that food and wine are on our reviewers’ minds.
Join us in a few hours as we review the second half of O Melodie pentru Europa 2020!
Do #YOU agree with our editors’ reviews so far? Share your thoughts below, in our forum, or in the comments below.