It’s another February weekend which means it’s another brace of national finals (as well as several semi-finals). We’ve also got couple of song reveals as well with Tom Leeb’s song for France being released on 16 February and Hooverphonic’s song for Belgium coming the day after. Norway and Lithuania’s multi-stage selections culminate in their grand finals this weekend while Armenia holds a single national final show. In addition, national selection stages continue in Estonia, Iceland, Poland, Sweden and Ukraine this weekend.
Armenia: Depi Evratesil 2020
Armenia’s strong record of qualifications has taken a bit of a battering in the last two contests, and after a national selection in 2018 and internal selection last year, they (somewhat unexpectedly) announced a return to their national final this year. There will be 12 finalists, and the songs were released a couple of weeks ago as audio only (no music video).
My favourite: TOKIONINE “Save Me”
The choice on offer in this national final is not inspiring I have to say, but this song stands out for me – it’s not a Eurovision-by-numbers track and I appreciate the fusion of modern with some 80s sounds. I have no clue how this will be live, so I could be barking up the wrong tree, but it’s the one that intrigues me the most and could ultimately make for a decent entry.
Lithuania: Pabandom Is Naujo! 2020
Lithuania must have one the jolliest national selection titles – translated it means “Let’s try again!” (or “We go again!”). Historically Lithuania’s national selections have been long on entries and stages, but somewhat low on quality. This year though, the 8 strong line up for the grand final is of a much higher standard.
My favourite: THE ROOP “On Fire”
For me, this is one of the stand out songs from all the national selections, or at least, that I have heard to date. It’s a really interesting and distinctive song, with strong elements of 80s electropop combined with modern pop, and an unusual and engaging vocal and staging/performance (with some memorable dance moves).
I could really see this make an impact at the contest in Rotterdam IF it can win the national final – but I do fear that while it could win the public vote quite handily, it will get voted down by the juries. I think that would be a real shame, as this could put Lithuania in line for a very good result.
The (fan) favourite: Moniqué “Make Me Human”
This song seems to be attracting the largest support among the fandom (though never conflate that with wider popularity as it is not the same thing) and it’s certainly modern, classy and quite haunting. It would be a competent entry, but I think it lacks that extra something that would make it stand out in Eurovision. If the juries do send this through over “On Fire”, I think it will be a missed opportunity for Lithuania.
Norway: Melodi Grand Prix 2020
For the 60th anniversary of Melodi Grand Prix, NRK (the Norwegian broadcaster) went all out, expanding the selection from the usual single final to include 5 semi-finals, with the winner of each semi-final joining a further 5 preselected songs to form the usual 10 song final. I’m not convinced it’s helped the quality though, and I dare to say that of the three national finals on 15 February, it’s Lithuania offering the best quality of songs overall. But of course, this being Norway, it’s still not lacking some good ones.
My favourite: Rein Alexander “One Last Time”
It’s a huge slice of “Viking pop” cheese but it’s so catchy and fun – and a sort of hybrid of “Higher Ground” and “Euphoria”. Rein is dressed up as cross between Hodor and Hagrid and there is an element of Game of Thrones/high fantasy to this as well. Yep, it’s over the top, but it has me won over and I think would be a worthy and popular successor to the televote-topping “Spirit in the Sky” by KEiiNO.
The (fan) favourite: Ulrikke Brandstorp “Attention”
Seemingly popular with the fans is this solo ballad which is a perfectly good ballad (and cowritten by former Eurovision finalist Mørland, but it’s just not grabbing me yet. It has the usual very long held notes, key change, and golden shower pyrotechnics, but that’s all been done many times, and better so I don’t know that this offers much up for the casual Eurovision viewer (whose votes are required). Maybe I will warm to this if and when it wins but at the moment, I’m rooting for Rein.
As always, the times and links to shows are available on my Eurovision 2020 season calendar page.