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? David, James, and Roy already looked at the first ten acts, and now they will review the last ten actions in the order of tonight’s draw.

Valeria Pașa – “It’s Time”

David – 2 – “Not exactly the most original idea, to add a ticking clock in the beginning of a song named “It’s Time”, but I did enjoy the buildup and the rise in the tempo… and then we hit the rap part… WHY!? You’re singing a pop song, why would you add something random like that into the song?? It just ruined so much and the song is not even 3 minutes long, there is too much going on, in this VERY short amount of time.”

James – 2 – “A female empowerment anthem that is let down by patronizing lyrics and shockingly bad execution. If you thought Pașa’s English singing was dodgy, just wait until she starts rapping after the unexpected breakdown in the middle. I don’t say unexpected in the “ooh, what a surprise way,” but in the way you feel when your sleazy Uncle Rick shows up at the door with a bottle of Brennavin and his Night Ranger LPs.”

Roy – 5 – “Ooooh boy, this song was so close to being quite epic… The instrumentation is really interesting her voice sounds great on the studio cut, the moment where the beat speaks just before the 2-minute mark is an insanely great addition too. BUT THEN…. Why would you put that horrendous rapping into this song? Cringey lyrics, terrible flow, very unnecessary and cheap. Such a bummer.”

Total: 9 (Average = 3.0)

Maria Ciolac – “Our Home”

David – 2 – “Very simple and very boring… hey, it’s a ballad, and I normally dislike those songs straight away. However, I’ll give an extra point for the voice!”

James – 1 – “No, no, no, not another Earth song! This is a terrible piano ballad with wailing about exploiting natural resources. This is the green version of that overeager evangelical Christian kid in high school who “treated” you to his devotion to our Lord and Savior with his acoustic guitar. I guess we could patronizingly pat her on the head and say, “that’s sweet, your faith is touching.” But who is she trying to reach with this? We all know about climate change, give it a rest.”

Roy – 1 – “I do not get why they picked this to go through. The girl is just singing while playing piano and neither 1 of the 2 is truly impressive. I don’t hope that they thought that this would actually have a shot at winning for Moldova.”

Total: 4 (Average = 1.33)

Sasha Letty – “Summer of Love”

David – 6 – “Damn girl! This is tough! I mean, I was expecting something more happy with the word “summer” in the title. Not getting any kind of summer vibes at all from the song, but it’s easily more of a dance track. Then there is also sum… sum… some lyrics that just seem quite out of place, so the interest drops quite fast as well.”

James – 6 – “A generic summer lovin’ pop dance track that teen girls used to do years ago. I am frankly surprised to hear one of those in 2020, in Moldova no less. It sounds like an update to Sabrina’s “Boys (Summertime Love),” right down to the cheesy synth. Sasha’s voice is eerily similar. It’s a great song to listen at an older club on a retro night (like at Hunters in Palm Springs)… and wait, which young girl singing about summer that would be played at an old dude’s gay club are we talking about again? I’ll have another poolside daiquiri to remind me.”

Roy – 7 – “I am a bit conflicted on this one. On one hand I like myself a nice summery dance-tune. On the other I somehow can’t fully ever get into the song. The beat just keeps on pounding without any change or anything done with it. Sasha is just singing throughout and Sonically nothing ground-breaking is happening either. With all that being said, after it was over I did get a sense of joy and when thinking back on it, it was kind of fun. However I don’t think this would do all too well at Eurovision.”

Total: 19 (Average = 6.33)

Irina Kit – “Chain Reaction”

David – 7 – “Very nice buildup and actually very catchy. I could easily see this becoming a guilty pleasure, just one of those innocent songs that most won’t really think about, but when brought up, then it could put on some smiles. Of course, very simple overall, but it just works well.”

James – 5 – “Caught up in a chain reaction? What’s that like? Perhaps like a property manager from Tampa, Florida who is caught up between the two men in her life – a truck driver from Moldova named Andre and her hard-headed father, duking it out for supremacy. Why am I recalling a plot from a years old series of 90 Day Fiance? Because this song, probably stuck in composer John Ballard’s suitcase for years and just dusted off now, is just bang average and forgettable. There’s really nothing new with Kit’s up tempo pop and we heard a slew of these from 2010 to 2016.”

Roy – 1 – “Well this song missed the train by about 15 years didn’t it?”

Total: 13 (Average = 4.33)

Petronela Donciu & Andreea Portărescu – “We Will Be Legends”

David – 4 – “If you wanna be a legend in my book at least, then start with making a great song to begin with. It’s not because the song is bad, but more of a mess. The direction of the song is rather all over the place and tempo changes a lot. The lovely ladies could also maybe have gone for some better harmony in between each other, cause it just comes out as they are screaming a bit more.”

James – 4 – “’We will be legends?’ Not with this hot mess of a ‘80s throwback ballad.”

Roy – 4 – “The main issue with this song is that it is a bit too predictable and basic. Vocally this could become a feast and there is a lot of staging potential here. I myself am not a huge fan of basic duets and I also think they could have tried to be a bit more creative. Maybe they will win me over live, they have the potential to.”

Total: 12 (Average = 4.0)

LANJERON – “Hi Five”

David – 5 – “Very slick and cool beginning, which is actually fun and enjoyable. However, there is some need of English lessons; it’s a very heavy Eastern European accent. Actually, maybe chill with the Moldovan accent a bit as well, despite it’s only one line in Romanian that’s repeated, it almost sounds like it’s said by a Russian… thinking about it, that’s probably the case as well, sing in Russian instead!”

James – 3 – “Usually once a year an Eastern European national selection will produce a Dad’s party anthem and this one is 2020’s. I am not convinced Lanjeron are a real group, but rather a group of bricklayers who got raging drunk at a Chili’s and woke up hungover the next morning having entered a Eurovision national selection.”

Roy – 5 – “A bit cheap, but still fun. I don’t think this is the type of song to send to Eurovision. It is fun to play, but in a small and intimate setting. Not on such a massive scale that Eurovision is. That would lead to a lot off difficulties when it comes down to staging. This would probably struggle a whole lot.”

Total: 13 (Average = 4.33)

Julia Ilienko feat. Mishel Dar – “Tears”

David – 5 – “A bit of house music, then I’m a happy costumer, but I don’t think it goes that well as an love duet. The beat of the song is actually really cool, but the singing puts me off, because the two of them singing just comes out as them trying shine their voices. You have a cool song, so why would you try to overkill it?”

James – 5 – “What the hell is this about? The lyrics are in English, but it is a word salad with some very repetitive phrases. Repeating “Where do I lie? Where do we leave these tears to cry?” over and over again does not make it make any more sense. It’s light, fluffy pop aimed at the older crowd, but there’s just a pointlessness to it. What’s it about? Who’s it for? How can tears cry?”

Roy – 3 – “This is a bit of an odd one. Mishel’s vocals aren’t my favourite and the overall composition is a bit stale as well. I feel like they just tried to be hip and trendy, but just didn’t really succeed. It’s a bit forgettable too and it will get drowned at Eurovision.”

Total: 13 (Average = 4.33)

Catarina Sandu – “Die for You”

David – 9 – “Oh yes! There is power here and we have a banger of a song! I normally don’t like when the tempo drops, but it goes really well here and the interest remains towards the end, very simply, yet very catchy and just like that, the song is stuck in your head. I’m still missing that bit, that probably could’ve convinced me fully, but it’s close enough!”

James – 7 – “Lyrically, this song is a not very subtle three minute appeal for oral sex (female singer as recipient and the object of her affection the giver) set to pop of the sort Shakira used to truck in. The lyrics are definitely racier than the backing track. And yeah, be careful with the staging, as I am sure the EBU may have issues if you push the wink, wink lyricism too far into the visuals and the staging.”

Roy – 6 – “If only this drop was any good… The build-up is great, the vocals aren’t bad, and the overall concept is there. This drop is just very mehh. This desperately needed more energy and the instruments needed to be more prominent in said drop. It is a bit like they put more effort into the build-up rather than sound-designing the drop. It turns a hype-song into a mediocre overall package…”

Total: 22 (Average = 7.33)

Alexandru Cibotaru – “Cine te-a facut să plîngi”

David – 1 – “Bro… you made me cry, with these very depressing lyrics… and not in a good way. It’s just depressing and sad to listen to. Why would I listen to this, unless I feel like the world is about to end and my heart is broken or something like that. I mean, sure you wanna be there for your girl, but even she would start crying from this.”

James – 7 – “The sort of ballad your granny would love when your family takes her out to her favorite steakhouse in a Black Sea resort town. A singer such as Alexandru will be performing there, and will present the old dear with a rose, his crooning taking her to the days of her youth and her later reminding the table that had it not been for grandfather socking the local carpenter in the jaw, she would not have accepted his dance request to a song just like the one being performed. There’s a time and a place for a nostalgic, old-fashioned song such as this. 2020 and Rotterdam is not it.”

Roy – 3 – “Alexandru’s voice is lovely, it has a warm and calming tone to it that I really like. However the song is doing absolutely nothing for me. The melody is nearly non-existent and it sounds a bit like he was just randomly singing to a backing track that was playing at a mall. I wish it was more interesting.”

Total: 11 (Average = 3.67)

Maxim Zavidia – “Take Control”

David – 9 – “This is actually quite cool, not something I would expect from Maxim and especially from any Moldovan artist. Some good old rock n’ roll which comes out really well. Maybe it drags out for a bit too much, but without a doubt something unique from this part of the continent.”

James – 7 – “I am a little confused. Why does Maxim have gospel elements in a song about being a power top? Or is this a self-belief ballad disguising that element as he has to live and work in a social conservative region? This is not Maxim’s strongest entry to date, and I fear that with his talk of taking control he is also a little afraid to take risks. Like his Latvian counterpart Markus Riva, he has built a solid fanbase who will turn out for his songs, but just seems to lack that cutting edge and ruthlessness to kick him on to the next level. As with Markus, I hope he proves us wrong in 2021 and comes back with something bold. As your lyrics suggest, Maxim, time to take control.”

Roy – 4 – “This is not even bad… Maybe a bit too many Wow’s and it is getting a bit too plotting at some point. His voice is interesting and I feel like this has a lot of potential for staging or live delivery. In the end, this would most likely not do well at Eurovision and there are quite a lot of better songs in the selection”

Total: 20 (Average = 6.67)

If we at ESC United had our way, then Valentin Uzun and Irina Kovalsky would be welcoming revelers in Rotterdam to Moldova.

  1. Valentin Uzun & Irina Kovalsky – “Moldovița” – 24 (Average = 8.0)
  2. Pasha Parfeny – “My Wine” – 22 (Average = 7.33)*
  3. Catarina Sandu – “Die for You” – 22 (Average = 7.33)*
  4. Maxim Zavidia – “Take Control” – 20 (Average = 6.67)
  5. Sasha Letty – “Summer of Love” – 19 (Average = 6.33)*
  6. Diana Rotaru – “Dale dale” – 19 (Average = 6.33)*
  7. Natalia Gordienko – “Prison” – 18 (Average = 6.0)
  8. Dima Jelezoglo – “Do It Slow” – 16 (Average = 5.33)
  9. Denis Midone – “Like a Champion” – 15 (Average = 5.0)*
  10. Lavinia Rusu – “Touch” – 15 (Average = 5.0)*
  11. LANJERON – “Hi Five” – 13 (Average = 4.33)*#
  12. Julia Ilienko feat. Mishel Dar – “Tears” – 13 (Average = 4.33)*#
  13. Geta Burlacu – “Răspunde!” – 13 (Average = 4.33)*
  14. Irina Kit – “Chain Reaction” – 13 (Average = 4.33)*
  15. Petronela Donciu & Andreea Portărescu – “We Will Be Legends” – 12 (Average = 4.0)*
  16. Live Beat – “Love Me Now” – 12 (Average = 4.0)*
  17. Alexandru Cibotaru – “Cine te-a facut să plîngi” – 11 (Average = 3.67)
  18. Valeria Pașa – “It’s Time” – 9 (Average = 3.0)
  19. Viorela Moraru – “Remedy” – 8 (Average = 2.67)
  20. Maria Ciolac – “Our Home” – 4 (Average = 1.33)

*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.

# YouTube View Count of TRM’s Audition Videos used as a secondary tie-breaker.

Do #YOU agree with our editors’ reviews so far? Share your thoughts below, in our forum, or in the comments below.

Like our content? Consider supporting us on Patreon HERE to help us continue our work to bring the contest to #YOU!

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  1. Kit nade

    March 1, 2020 at 18:36

    I love escunited but you are so ageist and I dont know why.

    You were the same last year too, constantly making comments about who will like what by age.

    The ‘ sort of song your granny will like’ is so tedious. Who’s granny is this ? Dont you realise the generation who loved vera lynn and dean martin etc are basically gone .

    Last year you all kept saying no one over 50 will like iceland etc etc? Why?? You do realise the punk generation are in their 60s and 70s now dont you? I’m not sure Hatari would shock/be anything new for them really.

    I was visiting some one in a retirement home recently … the music playing was rolling stones, u2, Queen, someone was playing heavy metal.

    I really wish you would stop putting older people in the shocked granny category.

    Do you think you’ll become closed minded to music as you age … lose your taste … only like soft ballads when you get older.

    We try so hard to fight prejudice these days … but there have been no strides to combat ageism. And that’s something that affects ALL of us.

    Really hoping your team will stop those comments.

    • James Maude

      March 1, 2020 at 23:08

      Hi! Your comments on ageism are spot on, and it is a topic well worth having a conversation about.

      In response to this particular article, the “granny” in question is mine. She loves the sort of ballads that this particular review was about, and no matter how bad a day she had, she said that the music of the likes of Julio Iglesias, Danny O’Donnell, Johnny Logan, and Engelbert Humperdinck would lift her mood. And on the occasion I mention “granny” in a review, I usually try to touch on her particularly dark sense of humor. She’d always have a joke about men not willing to get into a fist fight to proclaim their love for a woman or men not willing to risk being shot for an illicit afternoon with their love. She loved and joked about the grand romantic gestures in these ballads. Loved ones who have passed are kept alive by their friends and family, and in coming across a song such at the one reviewed, I always find myself wondering what she would think, and what jokes (she always had one) she would have in response. As Eurovision expanded eastwards in the 1990s, it opened a whole new world of crooners and balladeers, and rather than think of them of as an exotic species, she embraced them as an extended family of the musicians she grew up with and appreciated.

      Anyway, to the casual reader, I can see how the comments could come off as ageist to grandmothers in general, so I will save any odd jokes (or joke attempts, as naturally most won’t land) for long form articles about these sort of ballads.

      In response to your Hatari comments, I can’t speak to the intent of the particular writer (I don’t believe those were my comments), but I do agree with the ridiculousness of the “shocked granny” stereotype. In fact, most of the comments I heard from people over 50 about Hatari were, “so what?” I recall one guy saying he went to Skinny Puppy and Ministry shows in the early 1990s, and found Hatari tame in both lyrical content and musicianship (he correctly pointed out Hatari’s song is a simple three chord pop song with industrial trimmings). Going back to my grandmother, she was around when the musical landscape did shift under her feet with the introduction of rock ‘n roll to a scene dominated by big band. Hatari are positively twee compared to how the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly impacted music. Or the next decade when Jimi Hendrix plugged in his guitar and melted the minds with his playing. The “shocked granny” has heard acts a lot more shocking than a couple of Icelandic ambassadors’ kids playing BDSM for a pop song contest.

      It is also timely that this year we will have a song at Eurovision 2020 that deals with writing yourself off because you’re too old. The Roop’s “On Fire” (for Lithuania) is exactly about that, and it is great to see it is being embraced to the point it is one of the bookies’ favorites for victory or a Top Five finish.

      Thank you for your very thoughtful post on this topic. We can all do better to respect those who came before us, and I will try my best to make sure I do so and keeping not just their memories alive, but the music that they loved, too.

      Lets keep the conversation going, so if you want to see this topic addressed in a long form article or a series, let us know.

      Regards, James

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