The third and final of my previews for this very busy national selection weekend sees us swing back to the south east of Europe with national selections of Romania and Serbia on 1 March and Israel’s on Tuesday 3 March. In addition, Greece will be revealing their song on Sunday 1 March as well (artist and song title already revealed).
Of the three national finals, only Serbia’s is following the format of a line up of artists and songs; Romania and Israel already have their artist, so the shows are about the song choice (a bit like Finland’s method in 2018 and 2019).
Romania: Selecția Națională 2020
After all the controversy of their national final last year (see my post from last year), Romania have changed the way their selection is done, and adopted the 2018-19 Finland model, that is to say internally selecting an artist and then having a final based on song selection. The artist selected is Roxen, and there is a choice of 5 songs.
Romania are riding high in the betting odds even before the selection – and for good reason – Roxen is a very credible artist and the 5 songs are very modern and high quality. It’s a new direction for Romania and brings possibility of a very good result indeed.
My personal favourite: “Beautiful Disaster”
I think this is probably my favourite – a dark, modern, classy pop song
The fan favourite: “Cherry Red”
The most up-tempo of the 5 songs, it’s probably not surprising this seems to be the fandom’s favourite (the fandom’s need for “bangers” in national selection season is visceral!)
Roxen’s favourite: “Alcohol You”
Perhaps unusually, Roxen has publicly said this is her favourite of the five – which rather begs the question of why not go internal? Given its not my favourite, maybe that was not a bad thing after all!
Serbia: Beovizija 2020
Serbia have packed their national final shows into a single weekend, with two semi-finals on the Friday and Saturday and the final on Sunday. Twelve songs have qualified for the final and the winner will be decided by 50/50 jury and televote.
The fan favourite: Hurricane “Hasta la vista”
No great surprise this is the fan favourite maybe – it has all the components of uptempo ethnobanger. I do though find it, well, a bit mediocre really and not that strong vocally. It’s a genre that’s been done many times and better before – I think the fandom may be latching on to it as there are relatively few of this genre in the mix this year. It’s been placed in the dreaded second place slot in the running order, so maybe the producers agree with me more than with the fandom!
My one to watch: LIFT “Samo mi kaži”
I single this one out really simply because I quite liked the sound of it – it’s light Balkan rock with a young male band – which to my taste I prefer to the classic Balkan ballad. It’s got a decent place in running order but I would be surprised if this won.
Israel: HaShir HaBa 2020
Israel has kept with its recent format of selecting the artist through a separate singing contest and selecting song separately. This year there is a choice of 4 songs to select from for the winning artist, Eden Alene, the first Israeli of Ethiopian descent to represent Israel at Eurovision. All four songs are uptempo to a degree, a format that usually serves Israel well at the contest.
The fan favourite: “Rakata”
This has been the clear fan favourite, as measured in the My Eurovision Scoreboard app. Unsurprising it is the most bop/banger-like of the four songs on offer.
Fan second favourite: “Roots”
Probably the most intriguing of the four, and brings out those ethnic sounds we often get and love from Israel, though this time, the Ethiopian/east African influence can also be heard. It has a quirky element in it as well, though will have to see how that sounds when performed live.
As always, the times and links to shows are available on my Eurovision 2020 season calendar page.