We’re into the two bumper weekends of national finals and internal selection releases; too much in fact to put into a single post! So I’m writing not one, not two, but three posts to cover them all. This has a distinctly eastern European and Balkan flavour with the Belarus, Croatia and Moldova national finals taking place on 28 and 29 February. Serbia’s semi-finals happen to take place on those two dates as well (though the final will be previewed in a separate post).
Belarus: Belarus Decides 2020
Somewhat unexpectedly, Belarusians will get an opportunity to vote this year in the national after last year’s jury-only voting. This year it will be 50/50 and there are 12 acts to choose from. It’s been hard to detect if there is any true favourite, and I will be honest, nothing really stood out for me from what I’ve seen or heard. At least that does mean whoever wins will be something new for me to listen to/watch rather than already being familiar with it!
One to watch: CHAKRAS “La-ley-la”
I’ve no idea if this could be a favourite or flop spectacularly but it does seem to have attracted a bit of interest among the fandom on Twitter recently and the music video they released recently has attracted a lot of views quite quickly. While I often love songs that use folk or local instruments, I’m not sure this does it for me but perhaps I will reassess should it actually win.
Moldova: O melodie pentru Europa 2020
Moldova have used a national final for the last few years, often high on numbers of acts, not so high in terms of overall quality. However, the sometimes unpromising line ups have presented Eurovision pearls in 2017 and 2018, so never rule it out. The final consists of an exhausting 20 artists, so I’ve been generous and highlighted three here!
My favourite: Valentin Uzun & Irina Kovalsky “Moldovita”
This has all the elements of my favourite type of Moldovan Eurovision entry: upbeat, fun, folky and quirky. Sadly I don’t think we will end up seeing this at the contest so catch it while you can!
Former Eurovision grand finalist: Pasha Parfeni “My Wine”
Pasha has twice graced the Eurovision stage, and both times in the grand final. He scored a very respectable 11th place for Moldova in 2012 with his song “Lăutar” and returned the year after as the composer of “O Mie” with his former backing vocalist Aliona Moon as lead singer (Pasha appeared on stage at the piano), again finishing 11th. He’s back for another tilt, now looking a little like a young Sirius Black/Gary Oldman I think and with a jaunty song that sounds quite similar to Lautar. Still, no bad thing given I liked that song, and nice to hear those brass instruments that Moldova weaves in so often and so well to its Eurovision entries.
The (possible) favourite: Natalia Gordienko “Prison”
Rightly or wrongly, I think this is most likely to be the winner given the team behind it. It’s another Phili Kirkorov product (in addition to two other composers with many Eurovision entry credits to their name). That alone makes this favourite I suspect and while it seems competent, it doesn’t feel especially authentic or something that will stand out (unlike “My Lucky Day” for example).
Croatia: Dora 2020
So I have actually very little to write about the Croatian final. They have kept things very secret and only released snippets of the songs the afternoon before the final. It’s a long entry list with 16 artists competing. With so many artists and just the short snippets to go from I can’t really do any sort of decent preview so I think we will just keep our fingers crossed that the regional juries and the televoters will make the best choice they can (I’m still scarred from their choice last year!)
As always, the times and links to shows are available on my Eurovision 2020 season calendar page.