Romania have been in Eurovision since 1994, but sporadic participation meant they didn’t become Eurovision regulars until 2002, when they appeared continuously in the final every year thereafter, always qualifying from their semi-final.
That run came to an end last year, though not because of non-qualification – Romania were disqualified from the contest (after their entry had been chosen!) due to non-payment by their broadcaster’s non-payment of EBU fees. But they are back in 2017, so let’s take a look at my top 5 from their previous entries…
5. Mandinga “Zaleilah” (2012, 12th place, 71 points)
I was torn between two or three songs for the 5th place, but I have plumped for the upbeat and jolly Mandinga. With 7 members in the band, one had to sit the performance out in the green room, and as Graham Norton suggested, “presumably drunk as a lord right now”!
4. Luminiţa Anghel & Sistem “Let Me Try” (2005, 3rd place, 158 points)
While Romania also came third in 2010, this song is arguably as close as they got to winning (given Lena swept all before her in 2010). As you will see from this top 5, all my Romanian favourites have been uptempo and this is certainly no exception.
3. Paula Seling & Ovi “Miracle” (2014, 12th place, 72 points)
Time for a circular piano (“Why? Because it’s Eurovision.”), holograms, and a very high and long held note! Paula and Ovi made a return to the contest after success in 2010, and while neither the song nor the result was as good as their first time, this still comfortably makes this top 5.
2. Mihai Trăistariu “Tornerò” (2006, 4th place, 172 points)
This is probably one of the most commercially successful of recent Eurovision songs, becoming a big summer hit right across Europe. While finishing fourth rather than third, it remains the highest points scoring Romanian entry. Mihai has sold over 2 million albums and continues to release singles and albums. Also, random fun fact, he has a five-octave singing range – very rare for a male singer!
1. Paula Seling & Ovi “Playing with Fire” (2010, 3rd place, 162 points)
My number 1 will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me – loved this song back in 2010 and still love it to this day. I think this would have made a worthy winner (something I also think about Mihai’s Tornero). Was well received in the hall in Oslo, not just because of the song and performance, but Norway is Ovi’s adopted country.
So, did you agree? I know I missed out the singing opera star Dracula look-a-like, Cezar, but he just missed out on that top 5 spot. Would you have included him? Or any other changes from my top 5? Let me know in the comments below!