Samanta Tīna‘s Eurovision journey has to be one of the most heart warming of any this year’s artists. She had tried to go to Eurovision seven times previously, 5 times in the Latvian national final and twice in the Lithuanian pre-selection, before finally winning Supernova last year with “Still Breathing“. The cancellation therefore came as a cruel blow but unlike the majority of other Baltic and Nordic countries, Latvia reselected her rather than having a final as usual, and announced this to her on live TV. It certainly made me happy to see that news!
Samanta became something of a lockdown legend in the period after the cancellation with memorable performances on the various “at home” concerts that took place. I don’t think I will forget the ones she did from her own flat – stomping away in high heeled boots/shoes, lacey clothing flailing perilously close to various lit candles and her powerful voice ringing out. I don’t think her neighbours will forget it either! It was a reminder of both her live vocal and also how utterly and endearingly bonkers she is.
I was a real fan of “Still Breathing” – and felt almost prophetic with her backing singers kitted out in PPE and carrying a cleaning spray. It was chaotic, bonkers and very enjoyable. “The Moon is Rising” continues in this same vein, perhaps being even more “out there” than the previous entry. Both entries were collaborations between Samanta and Aminata, who famously represented Latvia in 2015 with “Love Injected“, getting Latvia’s best result for a very long time. “The Moon is Rising” focuses strongly on female empowerment, and the track clearly shows Aminata’s style combined with Samanta’s vocals. Not quite as good as “Still Breathing” but it still stands out from the crowd.
Qualification chances are looking a little iffy it has to be said; the prevailing view being that this is something that juries will not go for and may struggle to pick up televotes too. I think this does have the chance to stand out though – this lends itself to a great set of fast camera cuts in the staging and of course Samanta’s vocal and the fact she gives it her all in every performance. I would dearly like this to get through to the semi-final, as it would be great for Samanta to get that chance of performing at a Eurovision grand final.
Latvia in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 2000
Appearances (excluding this year): 20
Best result: Winner 2002
Last year’s result: 15th in semi-final (did not qualify)