Tonight, nine of the remaining acts in the Lithuanian selection will be fighting for four spots in the final of ‘Pabandom iš naujo!’ on February 15th. With a varied selection in store, it’s high time our team decided to take a look at the songs and dissect the choices!

Our scrutineers this time round are Boris, Daniel, James, Melanie, Roy and Sean. As Mr. Sand would say, take it away…

KaYra – Alligator

Boris – 9 – “What disarmingly quirky thunderstorm of silly choreo’s and even sillier lyrics this is <3 “Alligator” is a fountain of frivility, a mirage of mirth, a jubuleum of joy, not just thanks to the spunky, bouncy rhythm but also to KaYra’s genuine performance. She’s visibly having fun and it’s highly infectuous. I cannot wait to see the semi performance where she’s donned the same full-on Fleck-up she wore in her video clip.”

Daniel – 7 – “I am very much into the aesthetic of this song. It combines a kitschy vibe with some pop punk and I am really feeling this song. I love how playful and metaphorical the song is. It bursts in color and could actually be really captivating. I hoped that there was a little bit more of a drama moment but as an easy listening pop song, it is pretty fun and awesome. Oh and that part that includes a photo series is a must for the staging, that was so fun.”

James – 9 – “This is a bright, cute, quirky, catchy tune that masks something very dark underneath. The concept of a bright light façade starting to crack as the song progresses is better done in her official video than in the dancing with twins in Pepto-Bismol colored overalls live performance, but her dance moves live are creative and on point and she sells the dichotomy in the lyrics brilliantly live. In some mythology, the alligator represents human tenacity and brute survival instinct in the face of darkness. There’s tragedy in these lyrics, ending with the “don’t forget to water my plants when I’m gone” repeated more towards the end, KaYra effectively emoting the appearance of someone trying to be joyful while breaking down inside. This entry is complex and brave, yet also fun and catchy.”

Melanie – 7 – “I don’t know what it is, but she kinda reminds me of Krista Siegfrids. Maybe it’s the quirky face expressions she does through the whole performance. Anyway, The choreography as seen on ‘Pabandom iš naujo!’ is one you won’t forget. It’s cute and fun as the song itself. It’s just need some more body to really let it shine on a bigger stage.”

Roy – 6 – “At least the beat is fun and KaYra knows how to perform. What the hell was she smoking when she wrote this song though? These lyrics are atrocious and the melody doesn’t take any effort to hide it. In fact it is written in such a way that every word of the song feels of importance. You can’t be serious right? It makes this sound like a children’s song. You could maybe get away with one of these lines in a good song, but to fill a song full of cringeworthy lyrics is something else. If the lyrics were better, I could see myself giving this song a 6 since the beat (progression) isn’t bad and sounds well produced and written. A bit basic perhaps, but hey!”

Sean – 7 – “Quirky is the word I think! This is a strange blend of elements but I love the energy in “Alligator”. The performance is memorable, the vocals are surprisingly strong for a track like this and the electro-pop production is rich in sound and catchy to the ear. I feel like it will struggle to sell itself to the casual viewer in Rotterdam if chosen but this would make the contest richer for diversity if picked.”

Total = 45 (avg. 7.5)

Viktorija Miškūnaitė – The Ocean

Boris – 6 – “A modern spin on your typical Opera aria, nothing too fancy, it all speaks for itself. “The Ocean” is very reminiscent of Alenka Gotar’s “Cvet z juga” for me in terms of style – there’s a certain dramatic, folksy undercurrent. However, I like this significantly less, mostly because it’s also um… serious? WHERE’S THE CAMP GIRL I WANT MORE CAMP!!!! It’s fine.”

Daniel – 9 – “Did anyone say pop opera. I will say I tend to be very partial to this genre so take what I say with a small grain of salt, but I mean I love this song. There is an inherent drama to this song that works wonderfully and makes you totally enthralled. Her voice is flawless and that crescendo at the end literally lifts me up. If I had to have a critique it is that English and opera do not usually go well (but Australia proves that does not always have to be the case).”

James – 5 – “Usually I am a sucker for opera or popera at Eurovision, but being bludgeoned with bumper sticker environmentalist bromides dulls this one. Melani Garcia’s “Marte” from Junior Eurovision 2019 was at least lyrically more creative (the imagery tying the crying of the polluted seas being so loud they can be heard on Mars). Miškūnaitė is a great singer – her high notes in the outro are phenomenal – but the backing track is boring and the lyrics are a collection of clichés. To deal with climate change requires technological innovation and creativity – songs about climate change should be require that as well.”

Melanie – 5 – “I really have the feeling that her voice is overruling the song. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the refrain, but the couplets are feeling so mismatching. And when she does that high note, it just hurt my ears. But it’s an interesting composition and I hope to hear the song once again with another singer.”

Roy – 5 – “I wish this song was either a ballad or an opera song. If it were the latter I would have graded this higher since she has an incredible voice. Everything that happens before the opera part could have been completely scrapped in my eyes. The lyrics are very much in your face like “hey, watch me rhyme salvation with nation.” And it is a bit too overdramatic for my taste. The opera is what makes this song even a little bit good. Without it my score would have probably been a 2.”

Sean – 3 – “Pop opera seems to be a really strange niche in the Eurovision world that I never encounter outside of the bubble but continues to appear regularly in selections across the continent – odd! This isn’t a great example unfortunately, the transition to opera is far from seamless and the tepid electronic beat is uninspiring. Don’t get me wrong, she is TALENTED. It just doesn’t really go anywhere or offer anything except vocals for three minutes.”

Total = 33 (avg. 5.5)

Baltos Varnos – Namų dvasia

Boris – 8 – “Oh my god, actual world music breaching its way into a Eurovizijos Atranka semifinal! Eurovision 1996 is quaking in its boots. I am RIGHT HERE (-Laura Rizotto) for it.”

Daniel – 9 – “This song is atmospheric and quite beautiful. Their harmonies are on point and are actually rather moving. Their symmetry allows for a plethora of options when it comes to staging, and I quite like what they have done in their national selection. I think this song has the potential of being quite slow but the song has a low-key build that comes out of nowhere and really captures the listener. This is folk ballad done well.”

James – 7 – “New Age folk seems to be making a big comeback at national selections in 2020. There’s a few details with staging that bother me – the dresses, presumably designed to make the two twin (?) singers look like woodland nymphs, look a bit arts & craftsy, and for the love of God get them some lip balm and conditioner. This is a pleasant, ethereal acoustic number, though for staging they’re going to need to do something other than swaying to and fro. It did surprisingly well coming in 2nd to Monika Marija in their heat. As entrants drop out, could they get enough of a coalition together to win? With a bit more polish and some luck, it’s possible.”

Melanie – 7 – “This is just magical. I have the feeling that I’m listening to a fairytale sung by 2 magical creatures. I almost get goosebumps when they sing together. I’m only missing a wow-moment, now it’s just a slowly magical journey that slowly wobbles on.”

Roy – 6 – “I don’t know what it is, but somehow this song and performance intrigue me so much. It is like 2 pixies flew down and sang us a forest song. They desperately need better clothing for future rounds and their overall performance could do with a bit of polishing. Their vocal performance isn’t outstanding, the song isn’t a masterpiece, the staging is quite bad, but still I find myself enjoying this more and more at each listen. I don’t think this should represent Lithuania but at this point I would like to see this in the final and get a decent placement. Not bad Baltos Varnos! Not bad at all!”

Sean – 5 – “While this is a little breathy and twee for my normal tastes, I do strangely like this. It’s a feel-good track with an enchanting quality, but I’m not convinced the performance really works with the entry. It might be one of those songs that works off stage but struggles to translate with the camerawork and stage trickery of the contest.”

Total = 42 (avg. 7)

Rūta Loop – We Came from the Sun

Boris – 8 – “I don’t have many snappy things to say – “We came from the sun” is a very good synthpop song. The extraneous factors (the hilariously expressive miming and barefoot yoga dance) are an added bonus.”

Daniel – 8 – “This is a modern pop song with the electronic bass and a sultry voice to power it through. I like the messaging (really there are a lot of sci-fi space entries this year). The song is a good and tasteful balance of modern pop with an unique rhythmic schematic. I could do without the oooh portion of the chorus, but the choreography is lit and this song has a strong chance.”

James – 7 – “We are from the sun because we came from the sun?” What? A pity the chorus is weak, because the rest of the track is quite strong. The black with gold flourishes are tasteful, minimalist, and futuristic, and give the song a sci-fi feel. As electro pop goes, the progression is interesting. The second verse switches out the synth and the singing at the bridge puts more variety in your standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-solo-chorus-chorus structure. Lyrically, they need to change up that chorus, and for inspiration, look to the song with “blu” in its name twice – this song needs a “Volare” or the sun’s equivalent in there to break up the bizarre phrasing.”

Melanie – 8 – “So I really loved the studio version of the song. But then the live show kicked in and I just wasn’t feeling the staging. The choreography didn’t lift the song and she really has an Ice Queen vibe coming from her. I hope that she will change the staging a bit in the first semi-final, because the song is winner material.”

Roy – 6 – “If this wasn’t as repetitive as it is this would have been a really great option for Lithuania. Rūta has a really good voice and has a lot of potential. She is actually a looper and I have immense respect for these artists. I wish she used a bit more of her imagination here and made it all a bit more interesting. It is still an earworm and a good pop song that could surprise a few. Depending on my mood I either really really like the song or I dislike it for it’s repetitiveness. I still hope Rūta comes back sometime song with an even better song and I hope that she shows off her looper more in it!”

Sean – 7 – “ZENA from Belarus has all grown up! Now I’ve gotten my cheap appearance-based remark quota out of the way for these reviews, I have to say I really am intrigued by this. Her voice is a little nasal for my liking but this has a fantastic stormy dark-pop backing that would suit bassy speakers to a tee. The ending is great, but it takes a little while to get there so I think it may need a revamp to unleash the club sound potential.”

Total = 44 (avg. 7.33)

Gabrielius Vagelis – Tave čia randu

Boris – 10 – “One word: YES. “Tave čia randu” really is the best New Wave has to offer: a dream-like trance which immediately immerses you into the story. You intuitively understand the song’s empowering warmth through sheer virtue of simply listening to the song. Which is for the better because this is what “Tave cia randu” looks like. Fortunately, I have learned to embrace Gabrielius’ dance as part of the song’s quirky mystique, so he can do whatever the hell he wants in the semi’s – My support he’ll always find here. ~hoowowowoah~”

Daniel – 8 – “This song is one big build and I am here for that. It goes from a lovely soft-ballad to a cool electro-pop jam. The lyrics are quite beautiful and the Lithuanian language works wonderfully for this song. I think this song has potential to really strike a chord the way Lithuania did in 2018. I think there are a lot of good elements working in this song’s favor.”

James – 6 – “Gabrielius, please don’t wear that romper suit that looks like it’s made out of your Dad’s Toyota Camry seat fabric. He’s got to up the ante with the staging, and what’s bizarre is he has a good one already if he channels his official music video. Converting library patrons one at a time with your music until it ends in a lively party is a great concept for staging, too. Though I do have to say his ending in the official video where he dances alone with the girl where during the first chorus he was flirting with and had more sexual chemistry with the scruffy lad with Harry Potter glasses was quite the cop-out. Clearly, he has staging and concept issues, though if he fixes them, he could be a strong contender as the underlying song is quite good.”

Melanie – 6 – “Gabrielius has the voice, he has a great song, but he need a better dance teacher! The staging he has shown in
his heat is really killing this song. So he really needs to come with another show in Semi-Final 1 otherwise, we won’t see him in the final.”

Roy – 7 – “The song itself is growing on me slowly but surely and I should probably even be giving this an 8, but I feel like my top 2 are a lot better than Gabrielius. There is a clear top 3 for me however and I would not mind if this would win the whole thing for Lithuania. If they can make the staging better and polish it all a bit more than we could truly have a contender for the win here. The studio cut of this song is a genuine pleasure to listen to and could even sneak its way into one of my playlists on Spotify, something I rarely do! Gabrielius massively stepped up his game and I full on applaud him for this song. If he works on the staging and the overall live show this could become an 8. For now he will have to live with a 7, but with the knowledge that he is one of my top 3.”

Sean – 6 – “This has potential Barbara Dex award written all over it (I don’t mind the outfit but I know how Eurovision fans can be…) Lithuanian really suits the song and his voice and I like the 80s synthpop vibe. Gabrielius comes across as a charismatic performer which always helps when selling a song. Yes, it’s a little basic, but I find myself bopping my head along to this!”

Total = 43 (avg. 7.17)

The Roop – On Fire

Boris – 9 – “THE ROOP IS ON FIRE. I love bizarre art school experiments! It’s really not hard to see why The Roop slay: An utterly trippy track and even trippier dance routine have annointed “On fire” as one of the most delectable entries across all national selections so far, despite the fatal flaw of rhyming Fire / Desire / Higher with one another. Honestly I wouldn’t be too surprised if they randomly did well in Eurovision proper as well (which they could because this is Lithuania and this shit is right up their alley.)”

Daniel – 9 – “The intro is very eye catching and he really brings a commendable amount of sass. The dancing is a bit over-the-top, actually a lot of elements are a bit much but I think that is part of the charm. I feel like this would totally be a dance moment and a memory for years to come. It’s very artistic while screaming camp from the top of their lungs. I feel I was not so into this song and it kept growing on me during the three minutes.”

James – 9 – “Is it me or does the singer look like Yanis Varoufakis channeling the guy from Right Said Fred? This is a catchy anthem with an earworm of a synth hook about overcoming doubt in a world that writes off people because of their age. The singer has a goofy charm, and if this makes it to Rotterdam, you know that goofy dance will catch on, even if people will fall over because they don’t have his spaghetti legs. Great message, danceable and contagious fun.”

Melanie – 8 – “I think I heard this song now for the fifth time and It’s so weird in a good way. Everyone will remember this after watching it for the first time, thanks to the catchy beat and the weird staging. A really good contender in this national final.”

Roy – 9 – “I legit see this as a masterpiece. I am not a fan of funny songs or joke-entries for that matter, but this genuinely works. If The Roop was ever to go to Eurovision, I feel like it should 1 million % be with this song. I feel like this song embodies what he is perfectly. It is a funny act that will probably even do really well in the televote and at Euroclub. The Roop has reached it final form and this song is exactly that. I am massively rooting for him! I feel like it could really add some spice and diversity to the contest. I think Lithuania has the most chance at reaching the grand final and get a decent result in there with this song. The Roop is an act, so is On Fire and it is in perfect harmony. My winner for Lithuania.”

Sean – 7 – “These guys had a great song a few years back so I’m pleased to see them trying for Eurovision again. “On Fire” strikes me as a remix of a song from the xx sung by an impressionist of both Right Said Fred and Anohni (Anthony and the Johnsons)… so top marks for originality. It’s no match for “Yes I Do” in pure emotion and feeling but I really like this and would love to watch Europe’s confusion if this won!”

Total = 51 (avg. 8.5)

Kristina Jure – My Sound of Silence

Boris – 3 – “Now my heart awakes to the sound of sim cards and it BEATS to the sound of sim cards and it BEATS to the sound of sim cards.”

Daniel – 6 – “This is a beautiful ballad that really grows as the song progresses. It is like a black hole that begins to bring all the stops, the synthesizer, the strings, the bass drum, everything. It is a very standard fare song with a key change and everything. I mean for the traditional Eurovision listener, this is a very familiar sound that really cannot go too wrong. While not the most original, what it does, it does well.”

James – 6 – “A serviceable ballad sung expertly with instrumentation that hits all the usual markers when expected (strings coming in, bombastic outro, etc.). The biggest puzzle is how this won the televote in Heat 2. Does Lithuania have a core age group that comes out in droves to vote, and they’re over 50? I also don’t get the chorus. “Let me listen to you, because you are my sound of silence?” What? The “let me…” lyric structure sounds like a weird set of BDSM riddles.”

Melanie – 3 – “Yeah, we heard this before. It’s the standard ballad in every national final. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Roy – 2 – “To be quite honest, I wish she stayed silent and never delivered this snooze fest of a song. I am not a fan at all of her delivery either. She pulls faces that I find really tough to look at. Besides that this song sounds dated beyond believe. I feel like Jure misread her calendar and saw 2002 instead of 2020. Woman, wake up! We need better music that is modern and better produced. This should have never gotten out of the first rounds, but I guess she is a decent singer. So yay, 1 extra point for that!”

Sean – 2 – “I try to judge every song fairly and individually regardless of genre but ballads always start on the back foot with me, unless I hear something unique from one. Unfortunately, I can’t say it is the case here. Were it not for some dramatic percussion this would not be out of place in an Irish selection from the 1990s. Sorry Kristina, but… bland.”

Total = 22 (avg. 3.67)

Alen Chicco – Somewhere Out There

Boris – 7 – “I am somewhat conflicted here: On one end, “Somewhere Out There” ticks many boxes I like: it’s a deep avant garde ballad which at no point forces its artistry down our throats, it uses the build-up progression very well compared to most others of its ilk and it actually delivers on its epic climax (twice). Alen is excellent in the role of the Ziggy Stardust-esque Martian bard. The problem however is that for one, two minutes of build up is still too long to really maintain my interest throughout, so I’m never *INTO* the song as much as I’d like to be. And for two, Alen finds himself hopelessly outclassed by Moniqué as far as modern Atranka ballads go. A solid entry overall, but I have other faves.”

Daniel – 5 – “A mystical song with an even-handed build. Unfortunately when I compare it to some of the other entries, it seems to be lacking in some areas. The costume and design is not my favorite and looks like a satanic intergalactic ritual. The vocals are good but they start treading the line of taking itself too seriously which is bizarre when he looks like he was just teleported from Mars. It is a fine song but I do not like as much as I like others.”

James – 8 – “2001: A Drag Odyssey? The synth literally gives you goosebumps, though staging, as typical of Alen, has a few issues (lose the white sneakers, what’s with the shorts and chaps, why if you’re going futuristic are you wearing a jousting glove?). Last year I essentially turned ESC United into an Alen Chicco fansite on the strength of “Your Cure,” and he hasn’t lost me in his second year for Lithuania’s national selection. He is a fascinating cultural figure, a strong singer, and an Eastern European drag pioneer, and I will continue to support his work if it continues being of the quality of “Somewhere Out There.” The composition of this song – very different than his channeling vogue culture of 1980s NYC of “Your Cure” – suggests a maturity and an ability to hone his craft while not repeating himself, though there’s still a few minor kinks to iron out before he’s ready for Eurovision prime time.”

Melanie – 6 – “The song has a really good built and keeps me interested the whole time. But I have the feeling that this song is actually written for a musical and not for the Eurovision stage. As listener you try to understand his story due the way he’s singing it, and therefore you immediatly feel his emotions. But the staging keeps me distracted. If I was him, I should ditch the futuristic staging.”

Roy – 4 – “I never thought that I would be saying this, but last year’s song doesn’t seem half bad now. Alen can do so much better than this. He has got a great stage presence and he should try to make use of that. This song isn’t doing that for him. He isn’t a guy for ballads in my eyes and I wish he stayed to chaos. He does show off that he actually has quite a good voice. Maybe after showing these 2 aspects he can come with something that shows both sides of him. So nice singing parts and an interesting orchestration and melody. A pass from me this year!”

Sean – 7 – “Alen Chicco, what an icon! His 2020 effort is not as incredible as “Your Cure” but the space-age aesthetic of this performance does suit the mood of the entry and there’s some really interesting tempo changes to keep my interest. Alen really elevates an otherwise ordinary entry with his fantastic range and vocal.”

Total = 37 (avg. 6)

Aistė Pilvelytė – Unbreakable

Boris – 4 – “Is it possible to plagiarize yourself? Because I’m certain I heard this G:son composition before (ten years ago, in fact, when it competed in Eurovision under the name “In a Moment Like This.”). Anyway, Aistė has been part of the NF mill for over 20 years and has been good once (ironically, in 2017). Perhaps it’s time to just face the music and accept you’re never going to win?”

Daniel – 8 – “Low-key, I feel that Lithuania really came to provide good this year. This song would perfectly find its place in Melodifestivalen, which speaks volumes of the improved quality of this national final. It is a powerful diva ballad with an equally impressive light show to really drive the message. She has a strong voice and a wonderful stage presence. Am I blown away by the innovativeness? No but honestly I do not care because there is quality and that is all we can ask for.”

James – 6 – “Did an A.I. that only listened to Eurovision entries write this? It’s got every trope from every self-belief banger ever put on a Eurovision stage? And then did the A.I. arbitrarily decide to make it sound like it’s from 2007? It’s also bad luck to name your song “Unbreakable” – look how well that worked out for poor Markus Riva in neighboring Latvia. That being said, this is actually not a bad song. It is catchy and fun. It just lacks any semblance of originality, which will doom this entry no matter how well the slick professional Aistė tries to sell this.”

Melanie – 3 – “This was a great song in the early 00’s, but feels outdated now. The generic Eurovision uptempo dance song that we heard before.”

Roy – 3 – “DAAAATEEEEDDDDD. Okay sorry that I sounded like a whiney little b*&# just now, I promise I won’t do that again. Honestly, this sounds like it should have competed in 2010, but would already be a borderline qualifier because it already sounded dated back then. I want to see Eurovision move forwards and with this it feels like we are going back again. I guess I gave this 1 point more than the other dated song since this has a little more energy and was relevant a few years later. I am sorry, next!”

Sean – 5 – “Did this 00s Melfest entry stumble that hard out of its decade and its country that it ended up in Lithuania 2020? I have a soft spot for this type of song as a Eurovision fan (no matter how against my musical grain it goes) and this is a decent schlager track by those standards, but there’s much better options in this semi-final alone. Ah, this is written by G:son. That explains everything.”

Total = 29 (avg. 4.83)

So, after all nine songs have been discussed, where do we stand?

  1. The Roop – On Fire – 51
  2. KaYra – Alligator – 45
  3. Rūta Loop – We Came from the Sun – 44
  4. Gabrielius Vagelis – Tave čia randu – 43
  5. Baltos Varnos – Namų dvasia – 42
  6. Alen Chicco – Somewhere Out There – 37
  7. Viktorija Miškūnaitė – The Ocean – 33
  8. Aistė Pilvelytė – Unbreakable – 29
  9. Kristina Jure – My Sound of Silence – 22

There is a clear winner from our panel, with The Roop the favourite from all nine songs! We would have The Roop through to the final, alongside KaYra, Rūta Loop and Gabrielius Vagelis. But will this be the case later on? We will find out soon!

Do #YOU agree with our views on the Lithuanian songs? Or have we underrated any entries? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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