Tonight, ten acts will be fighting for their chance at Eurovision glory in the Pabandom iš Naujo semi-final as Lithuania’s search for Rotterdam continues. Which five of the acts deserve to make it through to join The Roop in next weekend’s final?

Our assembled panel of Boris, Daniel, James and Melanie passed judgement on the remaining Lithuanian contestants. What did they think of the first six? Read on to find out…

Be U – Love Yourself

Boris – 8 – “Upbeat indie electropop imbibed with the spirit pre-Rahula era Eesti Laul. Yeah, I love this, obviously? The basics had better start loving themselves by loving BE U.”

Daniel – 5 – “Here is the celebration of the 80’s. It seems just a tad disjointed between two or three different rhythms. I think that is my main critique because I feel each beat would be really great on its own but together there seems like to be a lot happening and seems somewhat hard to follow. Importantly, that moment of you need to smile was just such an awkward exchange. I could have also done without the clapping segment. I think they had a vision of a chimera, and it came out like a science experiment gone wrong. I like the theory of it, that is about it.”

James – 7 – “In its current state, “Love Yourself” is a bit rough. The vocals need work, the vocalist could do with more work with a choreographer, and definitely a new outfit as her current one is the least flattering I’ve seen at a national selection in a while. That being said, there’s a lot of positives to take from this. The part where the vocalist goes up the guitarist and asks him to smile, and he does, was very cute and did not feel forced. It’s a positive track in the style of easy-listening pop that dominated U.S. radio in the early ‘80s, and with some tightening up could go from a marginal qualifier for the semi-final to a Top 3 contender.”

Melanie – 6 – “This one is very cute! I really love the energy that they’re bringing on stage. The energy is uplifting and really elevates the song. Maybe it sounds a little bit too paper thin for a performance in a full arena with audience. Maybe they need to add some more instruments to the beat to give it more body, because I’m curious if they can let the audience dance with this arrangement. Regardless of that, it’s a nice effort from BE U.”

Total = 26 (avg. 6.5)

Aistė Brokenleg – Home

Boris – 8 – “This thrift store MNTHA stumblef*cking her way into the semifinal although the *very* state of her vocals and aesthetic was going to p off 85% of anyone tuning in, stands out as the biggest delight of the season so far. FEELS LIKE HOME *awkwardly presses keyboard rigged to sound like a carnival organ*”

Daniel – 7.5 – “We have an interesting alternative rock entry. This song straddles the line of mainstream and avant-garde and I appreciate it. Her voice is so mystical, and the beat is so entrapping. The kindergarten piano playing was a little bit weird, but I think that was the point. It really does feel out of this world and I highly appreciate such a unique approach to music. This song is not going to be the winner, but it most certainly merits celebration for its interesting addition to the semi-final.”

James – 1 – “That moment halfway through the song where Aiste starts pecking at her tiny keyboard like a drunk chicken is one of the funniest moments of the 2021 selection season. And with some random guitar pick scraping, I enter YouTuber James Rolfe mode and find myself shouting “What were they thinking!?” over and over again. This is forced “quirky” indie at its very worst, and in Heat 2 the Lithuanian public agreed, putting it in a distant 2nd last, only to be saved by one of Eurovision’s most inconsistent and hard to predict assortment of jurors.”

Melanie – 6.5 – “I really like the fact that the Lithuanian national final is also bringing songs with a more indie flavour to it. Really love the vibe she’s creating with the music and her voice makes it even more haunting. Only the electric keyboard part sounds a little bit random? Like without that part it would be so much better. I hope that Aiste will stay developing her music every year and come back next year with a stronger song that maybe sounds even more experimental. There’s potential in her and her music, but she just isn’t there yet.”

Total = 23 (avg. 5.75)

Gabrielius Vagelis – My Guy

Boris – 9 – “The classic Gabrielius experience – Delightful Synth Dream that transports you to the Gay Wonderland (except this time it’s outwardly Homophilic? Even in “Tave Cia Randu”, Gabe was grinding up a convetionally attractive maiden to maintain a crumb of Sergey-esque sexual ‘ambiguity’), aggressive use of fashion against all better judgment, the flailing-his-limbs-around-with-reckless-abandon choreography, flawless honeycombed vocals. Good enough to entertain, but not good enough to win, which of course makes it perfect here since we all know who this crap is rigged for.”

Daniel – 7 – “I felt like I was in the minority when I said last year that I liked his song a lot, particularly for his retro feel. Now here he is doing what he knows best. I must admit that the styling is a mess, it looks borderline like a joke entry (it is probably the Burberry bowl hat). I hate to compare to last year’s entry, but I just preferred it in sound and rhythm. This has some cool points and has a stronger chorus. I think I like it but there are so many things that chip away from it like the styling, the backing vocals of the chorus, the interesting dance moves.”

James – 7 – “Another entry inspired by soft pop from the early ‘80s, but what’s with the floppy hat like the guy from The New Radicals wears? Gabrielius is probably the selection’s best vocalist, and his voice is allowed to shine with this sweet ballad. The stage performance is, in its current state, dreadful. Based on his performance last year, he’s clearly not afraid of being flamboyant and flaunting his good looks. And his piercing blue eyes, hidden by that hat! If the hat and suit is a concept, like he’s hiding his true self from his guy, it’s not very clearly communicated.”

Melanie – 7 – “When I first heard this song, I really thought he’s bringing the English version of “Tave Cia Randu” to the National Final. It sounds so alike! I’m a big fan of Gabrielius’ past attempts at Pabandom is Naujo, but somehow this song just doesn’t click with me. I really love his voice in the verse, but he just lost me in the chorus. It’s still not a bad song at all, but just misses the magic of his previous attempts. Or is it just that I can’t watch in his eyes and feel his emotions while singing? Hopefully it will grow with me with another staging, but for now I sadly don’t see this winning.”

Total = 30 (avg. 7.5)

Voldemars Petersons – Never Fall For You Again

Boris – 7 – “Voldermars entertains the notion that the best way to deal with devastating break-ups is with cheerfully waiving a ukulele in their faces. A premise I can agree with. ‘Break-ups’ shouldn’t be sad at all! Also, I am surprised no one else pointed this out, but I LAUGHED SO HARD when I noticed ‘tattoo sleeves’ on the guitar players. Bless your low budget banger, Lord Voldesnort.”

Daniel – 5.5 – “This is a hard song to categorize, which may just be the vibe we are going for. It is like folk with a heavier pop element and country too and some futuristic sounds thrown in for good measure. I really do not know what is going on with the staging and hope they revamp it rather than having boomerang videos. I think that there is a lot happening that seems slightly jarring but I cannot deny the fact that this song has a very unique personality to it.”

James – 7 – “Let’s be honest: the lyrics are terrible. “Never Fall for You Again” is a prime example of how a song can go off the rails due to excessive repetition of the title in the chorus. However, the composition and arrangement, though simple, is very catchy, especially in the chorus. At random times of the day I find the instrumentation pops into my head. Petersons knows how to compose a cracking, catchy pop rock track, but the lyrics need a major overhaul. Replace a couple lines in the chorus, maybe replace the suggestion of physical violence between a heterosexual couple (even if the boxing is clearly meant as a metaphor), and you have a damn fine candidate.”

Melanie – 7.5 – “Voldemars and his song is definitely the biggest surprise for me till now. When I first heard this song I was like “Nahh, Not gonna fall for this” Cute, but a little bit cheesy and repetitive. Regardless from what I thought about it, the song got stuck in my head! My hate turned somehow to an appreciation for this little gem. Do I want to see this win Pabandom is Naujo? No. But will it hit my guilty pleasure list? Definitely a yes! And that’s already a big accomplishment Voldemars!”

Total = 27 (avg. 6.75)

Norbertas – Man In Need

Boris – 6 – “Okay, I don’t know where LRT found this Nottet-looking twink. In a KirkorovBot Breeding Facility would be my guess. Fortunately, whatever the case is, the evil scientists responsible for the ‘Norbertas’ model forgot to properly reprogam his neurochip, so he’s reduced to helplessly flailing and floundering his way through his dopey electro-house track and is promptly swallowed by the sensory-overload backdrop. So yes, ironic that his song is called “Man In Need”. If you think this is grounds enough for ironic appreciation, you are correct!”

Daniel – 6.5 – “Having spend so much time, I am one to immediately love the sounds of a steel drums. I think this song has one of the crispest sounds and composition. It also has some great styling and staging. I think what really docks it for me is the Oh-oh chorus. If not for that, this would be easily one of the best for me. Really that is the main issue, between oh-oh and the more standard pop beat it makes it feel a tad bit vapid. I still am a pretty big fan and will be rooting for it for the final.”

James – 6 – “I do like the synthesized steel drums to make this track stand out and to sound appropriate for a mid-to-late May spring party. However, this is rough. Norbertas, whilst possessed of a nice voice, needs help on his stage presence as he seems kind of lost. Perhaps some added dancers or some props (a fake steel drummer?), better choreography, and a better costume (what’s with all the beige coats at this selection?). The “oh oh” repeated often also grates. Add this to the growing list of tracks with potential but needs a lot of polish.”

Melanie – 5.5 – “It almost sounds like Norbertas thought he was competing in Melodifestivalen instead of Pabandom is Naujo, because I expected this kind of music more in that National Final than this one. So if you compare it with the other contenders in this national final, it definitely stands out. But if we look at the overall picture, I think it will be little bit generic on the Eurovision stage. He also really needs to improve his vocal and stage presence (or a choreography with dancers). Nevertheless a great first attempt at Pabandom is Naujo and hopefully we will see him back.”

Total = 24 (avg. 6)

Evita Cololo – Be paslapčių

Boris – 3 – “Everyime I am starting to think this song might become interesting it takes a turn for the insipid. What a shame.”

Daniel – 5.5 – “I am not a big fan of the iPhone aesthetics and the fact that there is a stand there in the show, seems a tad bit amateurish. The song itself, is actually quite nice and sultry with a modern soul twist. Her voice is so smooth, it’s like hot knife cutting through butter. The actual scenography is pretty good which makes me wonder why include the iPhone parts. This is a song that itself is pretty good but is somewhat distracting by the scene they have decided to showcase it with. I am conflicted.”

James – 5 – “This is a pleasant enough jazz ballad delivered by a young woman on the cusp of becoming a powerhouse. Sadly, her entry this year is not ready for prime time, largely due to creative decisions most likely not of her own making. There’s a lot of bad outfits at Lithuania’s selection, but Evita’s bin bag jacket with beige patterns that looks like a corset is the worst. The song itself is a nothing burger, lacking the hook you need to be noticed at Eurovision. The selfie gimmick at the beginning is also a terrible distraction. A lot of issues here, but Evita is compelling enough for me to want to see her come back at a later time a more mature singer with a more interesting song.”

Melanie – 6.5 – “Can we please fire the one who thought it will be cool to have her sing to a phone on stage? Sadly, that just doesn’t work. I love the atmosphere created in this song and her dreamy voice, but she is singing the song very stone cold. Like, if I would watch the performance without sound, I would expect her to sing some urban, cool song and not something dreamy like this. So that really confused me. Nevertheless, a really pleasant song from Evita, but misses something that really makes it memorable.”

Total = 20 (avg. 5)

Let’s see what the standing are halfway through our team’s reviews…

  1. Gabrielius Vagelis – My Guy – 30
  2. Voldemars Petersons – Never Fall For You Again – 27
  3. Be U – Love Yourself – 26
  4. Norbertas – Man In Need – 24
  5. Aistė Brokenleg – Home – 23
  6. Evita Cololo – Be paslapčių – 20

So far, Gabrielius Vagelis is the team favourite, but stay tuned later today as we reveal our team’s thoughts on the other four semi-finalists and The Roop!

Do #YOU agree with our team’s thoughts on Pabandom iš Naujo? Have we underrated any songs? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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  1. […] Missed part one of our Pabandom iš naujo reviews? Check them out HERE. […]

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