Another weekend, and another show in Lithuania. The penultimate show of the newly rebranded “Pabandom is naujo!” sees the final eight semi-finalists fighting for four spots in the final next weekend.

So who deserves to be there? Our usual panel of Boris, Daniel, James, Melanie, Roy and Sean take a look at the songs in tonight’s semi-final…

Andy Vaic – Why Why Why

Boris – 7 – “In a vein similar to Samanta Tina’s entire NF repertoire (sans “Cutting the Wire”), I absolutely cannot listen to “Why Why Why” without cracking up before 00:05. Reminder that one of the judges was like “So Andy claims he went to Oxford… how come he isn’t able to afford singing lessons then”! Forgive me for taking the ironic love route here. Someone must. BLESS.”

Daniel – 6 – “This song is super retro, like I feel like I am watching one of those MTV throwback segments (well at least when they use to have music). It is a fun and quirky song that has some interesting elements like those horns and the visuals. Is it a winner, no not really, but it is super fun and that counts a lot in my book.”

James – 5 – “Peppy songs papering over despair seems to be an unofficial theme at Eurovision this year based on several national selection entries. This is not one of the better ones, being a lot more obvious. Andy’s voice sounds like Tre Cool’s from “All by Myself,” the gag song which closes Green Day’s “Dookie.” It gives “Why Why Why” a goofy charm until the “I inflicted pain on you” and “it’s only misery inside” lyrics kick in. I am also wondering who this song is for. I can empathize with KayRa’s “Alligator” protagonist who forces a smile and soldiers on, but where’s the resolution for the protagonist in “Why Why Why?” Is his point that we’re just meant to spin aimlessly like his live dancing?”

Melanie – 5 – “So the beat is amazing. The lyrics are catchy. The song is very catchy. There is just one big problem with this song and that is that the live vocals are terrible. If someone else sung this song, this could potentially win. Andy really has to improve his vocal otherways I don’t see a bright future for “Why Why Why”.

Roy – 6 – “I don’t know why why why, but this song somehow really works for me. Andy Vaic pulls the character that belongs to this song off so well. He looks and performs like a dorky dude who has some serious issues. And there he sings about it all in a joking fashion. Add to that a beat so catchy that it should be illegal. It is way too simple too, but sometimes simple is all you need. I guess I just needed a simple funny song performed by a guy who pulls it all together really well. Never change Andy, never change!”

Sean – 7 – “I feel like this is utterly chanceless, he isn’t a very strong singer at all, the lyrics aren’t great either. But this feels like a Lithuanian answer to Hot Chip and I’m loving the actual tune itself. He’s also quite charming in an unusual way and has charisma in spades. An interesting entry!”

Total = 36 (avg. 6)

The Backs – Fully

Boris – 6 – “The Backs are very good live performers. Now imagine what this would get if their song were.”

Daniel – 4 – “This song’s biggest asset is the harmonizing, it is quite good and soothing to the year. There are some elements of soul which do not come off as well as other girl groups like the Mamas of the Divaz. The hat throwing charade is also a little bit over the top. Well it is not the worst song in this semi-final, but it definitely was the not best.”

James – 6 – “This reminds me of a brief moment in time after the Fall of Apartheid in 1994 and 1995 where black trenchcoats were in fashion in South Africa and shouting “Fully!” was en vogue. What is the point of that anecdote? There’s a longer story that I don’t have time for. Just like this song. Feels like it’s ramping up to a seven minute epic, but never really gets going. Maybe with a bit of a revamp (though keep the organ track) and a restructure, The Backs have a potentially strong gospel inspired track here. As it is, it’s capturing a moment before or between other moments and does not feel like a fully realized piece, especially since it ends with “I spend my time online, I’m scared to live my life fully.” Really, for a fully realized piece you want to end with the spirit of “I’ve left my time online, I’m not scared to live my life fully” rather than the protagonists being stuck in their rut.”

Melanie – 5 – “The Backs are bringing us great harmonies, but the song lacks power. The moment they try to give it some power, it feels forced and unharmonized. In most of my reviews I talk about songs that are building to a moment, but never reach that peak. The Backs aren’t even trying to build a moment and are just walking slowly next to the the mountain.”

Roy – 3 – “Look, I get it, they want to show off that they can harmonize. That is lovely and all, but you could at least try to make it into a bit of an interesting piece. I am not going to deny that these lady’s have decent to good voices, but the song does 0,0 for me. It is forgettable beyond believe and the only points that I can truly give it is for the singing and the fact that they harmonize quite well. I couldn’t care less about this, so let’s move on!”

Sean – 4 – “This has a kinda 90s RnB vibe to it, which is normally abundant in Eurovision selections year on year but surprisingly absent this year. Does this make it stand out? Not really. They have fantastic soulful voices and combine really well but this can’t recover the fact the song itself is a dirge with no colour.”

Total = 28 (avg. 4.67)

Petunija – Show Ya

Boris – 7 – “This pure distillation of baltic NF trash! TALK TALK TALK LEMME GET TO KNOW YA IT’S A SHAME I THAT I CAN SHOW YA. We (well, I) always support acts that run out of breath less than 1.2 seconds into a performance. Making Lithuania famous with underground synth trap, show ’em girl.”

Daniel – 6 – “Lithuania really has a collection of retro entries this year. This song is cool and has a great ambiance. However, it probably is not a song I would seek out. The bridges sound a tad nasal especially in comparison to the real cool effects of the rest of the song. A nice song that is probably happy to be in the semi-final and will probably not proceed from there.”

James – 5 – “This basic tune is not definitely not going to make Lithuania famous as her lyrics brag. Two fashion tips – lose the horrible frock, and get a purple lipstick that does not stain teeth. And what’s with the “silver rain” comment? Is she going to shoot up Rotterdam, or with that and the Lithuania famous line she’s poking fun at braggart performers? What the hell is the point of this? It’s too low key to go anywhere, with a low-key vocal performance buried under bass and guitar. And the trilling at the end just comes out of nowhere and serves no purpose, unless it’s an homage to Netta. And even then, it just feels tacked on.”

Melanie – 6 – “”Show Ya” has a mesmerizing vibe around it. But I’m getting easily bored after the first minute. Petunija need to sell this song with a stellar performance, otherways she won’t make Lithuania famous with this song.”

Roy – 1 – “I feel like Petunija actually feels like she is delivering a good song. That makes this song even more excruciating to listen to. It is boring, flat and it takes way too long to get going. Besides that it is repetitive beyond believe and Petunija does nothing to help her song become more interesting with her live-vocals either. To me this attempt is lazy beyond belief. The lyrics are boring and simple on top of a basic beat where they did no effort to even hide the fact that they didn’t really try to make it something good. Probably the worst of the selection!”

Sean – 4 – “This only really gets going two minutes into the song, which just isn’t going to work out at Eurovision. It’s an interesting low-key electro-pop song, and is perfectly serviceable at an arts festival or as an album track but it will get lost in a sea of entries in Rotterdam if chosen.”

Total = 29 (avg. 4.83)

Rokas Povilius – Vilnius Calling

Boris – 2 – “This sort of trippy rock song isn’t too bad. What is bad though, are these godawful lyrics. They come off as super passive-aggressive to me? Self-awareness is fine, but in combination with passive-aggressive cynicism. Shut up and stay home.”

Daniel – 5 – “As Foucault would say, we have reached the post-modernist tradition of literally creating a song using Eurovision as a metaphor. I mean Lithuania’s best result came when they poked fun at the contest so maybe this is their secret sauce? But in all honesty, I think the song is cute but a little too ironic. But I am going to start using some of those lines “your eyes get 12 points” why have I never thought of that? Ok and funny song but nothing remarkable.”

James – 1 – “The “10 points will go to your smile, 12 points if you try not to fake it” snarl that the singer does and the “lonely guy” whine really sinks this into petty territory. Did the lyricist originally write an Elton John-esque pop rock song from the perspective of Elliot Rodger and then decided at the last second to throw some random Eurovision references in? The tone of this song is just off. Look, I get that we tire of romance clichés and jokey Eurovision references, but combining them in an angry manner on top of a piano and acoustic guitar driven song is just off-putting.”

Melanie – 6 – “Hahaha, a Eurovision song in singer songwriter style. I can appreciate this, because this doesn’t sounds like a parody or a protest song. It sounds very honest and even made me smile. And believe me, that’s already an accomplishment if you can make me laugh. For this reason alone, they deserve a place in the final.”

Roy – 1 – “The only credit that I can give Rokas is that he actually try to be creative with the Cliché Eurovision things. That is where it ends though since the rhythm is very slow, boring and repetitive. “We are the winners” at least had a fun beat and a good live-performance. This is just a joke delivered by a bad comedian that fails to stick with the audience. I generally hate joke-entries and this has no real redeeming qualities besides being a bad joke! (hahah I guess)”

Sean – 5 – “Lithuania are the kings of self-referencial Eurovision songs, and while it would be refreshing to see a traditional joke-entry type format return to the contest, this isn’t the strongest candidate. Stadium rock can be fantastic if done properly but this plods along a little too slowly and doesn’t match up with the jovial nature of the lyrics.”

Total = 20 (avg. 3.33)

Germanas Skoris – Chemistry (Breaking Free)

Boris – 7 – “It wouldn’t be an Atranka semi if it didn’t feature at least one failed art school experiment. “Chemistry” turns into a distorted trainwreck the second Germanas opens his mouth and constantly trips over its own guitar farts and uncanny valley vocals. Yet another entry for the ironic love pile. BLESS.”

Daniel – 3 – “I can tell that this song was the border qualifier. It just is not at the same level of the other songs and seems more incomplete and yet very messy. Not really living the falsetto vibes, the futuristic country-rock, the bizarre soundtrack in the verses. I mean someone had to not qualify to the final. I do like the staging a lot and matches the all-over-the-place vibes of the song.”

James – 7 – “A trippy retread of late ‘90s alternative rock, as if Spacehog started playing Days of the New. It even has a naming convention for a song from that era. My only quibble is that we’re not really hearing anything new here even if they do play with the guitar effects pedals more than most. A good rocking time could be had to this in a pub in Brighouse in 1997 – at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam in 2020… probably not?”

Melanie – 4 – “Chemistry starts very great in the verses. I don’t understand the female backing voice, but I can live with that. Than the chorus kicks in and I’m really disliking his voice in this part of the song. Why does he has to sing so high? The insturmentals has so much potential, but for me it’s ruined by his voice.”

Roy – 6 – “In any other national selection this would have gotten a lot lower, but I feel like I would not necessarily mind seeing this go to Eurovision. I don’t think it will however. It has some clear and obvious flaws and one must really not mind his odd voice to like this song. This is one of the few songs that actually has some decent energy behind it. It is also memorable which a lot of the Lithuanian songs lack in my eyes. Will this win? Probably not! Should this win? Probably not! But You really got to applaud the effort here!”

Sean – 7 – “So this is what it would sound like if George Michael was the lead singer of a math rock/punk band? Lithuania always bringing me the answers to questions I didn’t ask! I really like this actually. The vocals are a bit shrill but this is an atypical Eurovision song and would be an original choice for the contest. My only gripe is that the performance is probably not dynamic enough to really make this track pop on stage.”

Total = 34 (avg. 5.67)

Meandi – DRIP

Boris – 5 – “I still have no clue what this creature is.”

Daniel – 5 – “I mean this is definitely a mood, is it one that I am into, well not exactly. I do love the allusions to 90’s R’n’B. It literally has the backing track of “It takes two” plus the verse sounds remarkably similar to Norway 2017. I mean this song is a burst of color, and if anything it adds to the diversity of songs that Lithuania is offering!”

James – 2 – “Just look at these drips trying to be funny, more like. This makes Tom Green’s “Bum Bum Song” sound like a masterpiece, even if Meandi is trying more for Yung Gravy and bbno$. Problem is, those two are charismatic, funny and they riff off of each other over tracks a lot more interesting than Meandi’s half-baked rap over cheap synth. The repetitive “ain’t gonna end” is irritating, and constant reminders of his own terrible dress style is not “ironic” or funny or endearing in any way. Like the mall cops who chased Tom Green out the malls he (not so) covertly filmed his videos in, you just want to run these fools out of Eurovision with a night stick.”

Melanie – 8 – “So for the dutch people who are reading this review, he reminds me of Dutch comedian Stefano Keizers. But back to Meandi and his song “Drip.” It’s so different than the usual songs we see at Eurovision, but in a good way. This can be the ear-worm that will be stuck in everyone heads, without even knowing. The staging is also quite unique and people will absolutely remember this after hearing 41 songs. I can’t wait to see people doing his quirky dance on this song.”

Roy – 5 – “I listened to this song before the live performance. It sounded like a funny song that could have been a nice breathe of fresh air. In reality after a couple of listens it gets really stale easily. I hate how both of the guys have no chemistry at all and how the beat gets so repetitive so quickly. We just heard a song in Norway about a pink jacket so singing about more clothing isn’t needed for me at all. The final minute of the song is really sloppy and without it I probably would have given this a 6. I still like that it is in the contest and frankly even in the national final season. Funny unique song!”

Sean – 8 – “Now I’m going to admit it – I really like this! Meandi have just enough charisma and confidence to pull this song off without seeming arrogant (although I feel like a lot of people watching won’t quite feel the same). Rap is a desperately unrepresented genre in Eurovision and this is quite a friendly format for it to make an entrance in Rotterdam. The whole package screams modern and original to me, at least in Eurovision terms, and Meandi have brought a very creative package to the contest.”

Total = 33 (avg. 5.5)

Monika Marija – If I Leave

Boris – 4 – “Do people honestly like this reel of nondescript spaghetti western soundtrack? Like, “If I Leave” starts okay, I suppose, and then tapers off into the sunset, never once becoming an interesting composition. It never really goes anywhere, does it? I could understand stanning Monika Marija if this was a regular Atranka and the broth were particularly thin, but this upgraded Atranka has so many superior options available. Aspire for higher, MM fans. DARE to love… and let Moniqué be your cure…x”

Daniel – 6 – “Monika is back. Just like many people in the community, she was both my favorite and second favorite act from last year. I am not going to lie and say that I am not slightly disappointed by this year’s song. Nothing on her, it is a perfectly great song but it is just not my genre of music. Speaking critically, the song has a very non-threatening composition, I just feel as though it is missing a stronger delivery. This could do well in Eurovision, if well means mid-low teens in the finale. I am rooting for Monika but not this song so much.”

James – 7 – “Could someone please explain why fans stan so hard and aggressively for Monika and this song? To the point they’re leaving vitriolic comments on other artists’ videos? This is a perfectly serviceable and slick country pop song performed by a talented young charismatic artist. It’s a little too slick, though. “If I Leave” is more “When I Leave,” as it doesn’t leave as much an impression as her close call with death song “Leave a Light On” from last year’s selection did. I don’t see this one getting much traction with jury or televoters if it makes it to Rotterdam, however, possibly falling into the same trap as the heavily hyped Greta Salome and Victor Krone from recent editions. Hype aside, though, good song. It’s just missing the heart of “Leave a Light On.””

Melanie – 6 – “Monika Marija is back and she’s bringing us an average country song. If I Leave is her worst entry to date and I liked all her entries before more. She sounds great, but the song itself isn’t strong enough to win it all. I know it must be hard to exceed the expectations, but she could came with a better song than this? Please Monika come back next year and blow me away with a killer song.”

Roy – 3 – “If this was any other singer than Monika Marija we would all be burying this for it being boring and lacklustre. This sounds like a song that is sung at a random wedding from uncle Dave and aunt Margrett delivered by your average party one-man-band. Instead it is one of the revelations from last year’s national finals season failing to deliver to expectations from her previous 2 efforts massively. The lyrics are cringeworthy at most and don’t do much for the song either. It feels like this song goes on and on and on for about 7 minutes and it never really gets you somewhere. Fine music to have playing in the background, but not for Eurovision!”

Sean – 5 – “Monika’s entry this year sounds like a country version of a song from A Star is Born, and you can take that as a positive or negative. She has a great voice, almost like Lady Gaga’s tones in the movie, but the song itself is not one for me. It sounds like a lot of other songs that get popular but I feel it would fly under the radar instead. Can’t see this one standing out all that much if chosen for Eurovision.”

Total = 31 (avg. 5.17)

Moniqué – Make Me Human

Boris – 8 – “Ballads are always a hard sell for me – I usually cannot muster the patience required to sit through all of the build up. Enter Moniqué who brings an on-point ballad game, snatching our attention within the first ten seconds of her song and retaining it throughout the entire performance. I cannot believe Lithuania, of all countries, managed to deliver a ballad this competent and Eurovision-friendly this early into the NF season. “Make me human” is conceptually brilliant and an easy sell to boot. Is this still the same country that terrorized us with “Nomads in the night” and “We are the winners”? While not my favourite of the bunch (GABRIELIUS <3), the Lithuanians would be fools to not pick Moniqué… which of course means they’ll definitely not choose her and go for The Roop instead. Oh well.”

Daniel – 10 – “This one is a total mood and of the best kind. It is visually and sonically arresting and the staging is already ready. The voice effects, while initially distracting, add that additional element of je ne sais quoi that I think makes this song a heavy contender. While I slightly hoped for a stronger build and final moment, this song really gets you feeling with such a powerful theme. And that ending sequence, that gave me goosebumps. Great job.”

James – 8 – “Sci-fi themed pop seems to be a theme with staging in Lithuania this year, with Semi-Finalist 1 entrants Alen Chicco and Rūta Loop going a similar route. This is a stan favorite where I can understand the hype (if not the behavior of her fans). There’s an awkwardness to Moniqué that actually makes her robot movements endearing, which makes you buy the “make me human” sentiment. This is also another song about coping with everyday life, but unlike some others, there’s an out for the protagonist, hope that she can hang her hat out. Of the two stan-backed Mon’s with blonde hair, this is the better, more memorable and idiosyncratic entry.”

Melanie – 9 – “Lithuania, please send Monique to Rotterdam. Monique gives a phenomenal performance that keeps your attention for the full 3 minutes. You can feel her emotions in every word she says and she also brings this alive in her choreography. This is what we call bringing a full package. Monique is Lithuania’s best bet for the win in Rotterdam and I would be sad if they won’t send her.”

Roy – 8 – “This is genuinely a quality song. Moniqué’s voice is absolutely mesmerizing and this song has an overall emotional feeling to it. The major issue for me is that this could get lost in a massive competition in between all the other songs. I don’t even mind the repetitiveness of this song which is baffling to me. Moniqué delivered an amazing piece here that I would love to see performed in Rotterdam. It is my number 2 however and I feel like that deserved another point higher and I didn’t want to give a 10 to any of these songs. That’s why Monique will have to do with only an 8 (see it as an 8,5) Lovely word Moniqué!”

Sean – 7 – “Is there some kind of vocal distortion going on here? She has that fragility in her voice that Billie Eilish portrays so well (less is more) and the concept is intriguing. I feel like it could be a little punchier, at the minute its halfway between a ballad and a pop song and needs to decide what it is. Eurovision is all about moments, and unfortunately the big moment at the end wasn’t quite powerful enough to match the build up of the song. I like it overall though.”

Total = 50 (avg. 8.33)

So, let’s tot up the scores and see where we stand on Semi-Final 2!

  1. Moniqué – Make Me Human – 50
  2. Andy Vaic – Why Why Why – 36
  3. Germanas Skoris – Chemistry (Breaking Free) – 34
  4. Meandi – DRIP – 33
  5. Monika Marija – If I Leave – 31
  6. Petunija – Show Ya – 29
  7. The Backs – Fully – 28
  8. Rokas Povilius – Vilnius Calling – 20

As #YOU can see there’s a clear winner for our team in this semi; Moniqué’s “Make Me Human” with a staggering 50 points! We would also have Andy Vaic, Germanas Skoris and Meandi as qualifiers. Will this be the case tonight?

What do #YOU think of Lithuania’s selection? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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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