The double success of The Roop in Lithuania’s national selection in 2020 and 2021 seems to have inspired a continued improvement in the overall quality of the songs, in the range of genres, and in the boldness to be more unconventional (without tipping into the laughable or weird). Lithuania may still be the only Baltic nation yet to win Eurovision, yet the quality of their national final, Pabandom iš naujo!, has surpassed that of the selection shows of their two neighbours in recent years.
If I were to pick one of the four national finals to watch that are taking place on Saturday 12 February, it would be Lithuania’s. Not just because the two most likely to win this are my favourite songs from the 4 finals, but just overall it’s a (mostly) high quality final, with a wide variety of genres and some really bold songs and performances that shame the mediocrity and beige fillers we see from from far bigger countries.
Unusually, we do get an idea of what the voting public are thinking prior to the final as not only do we know the scores that acts received from the juries and the public in the heats and semi-finals, but we get the exact voting figures for the public votes. Based on those voting results, plus the jury scores, there are two clear favourites.
Favourite 1: Monika Liu “Sentimentai”
Judging from jury scores, and the public vote, Monika is the person to beat in the final. I was quite surprised but delighted to see this has got public backing as I thought such a quirky entry might be more for juries and a niche public vote. This is such an unusual song – it has jazzy/lounge song tones and a throwback to decades past, but yet with a modern touch. Monika is a very engaging performer as well – her interaction with the camera really adds to this. This would be a really interesting winner and Eurovision entry – a risky one to be sure – there’s no guarantee it would land with the international juries and public but regardless of that, it would be a fine addition to the show.
Favourite 2: Lolita Zero “Not Your Mother”
This was always going to stand out in the line up, but it seems to have got traction with the voting public as well. This is more art performance than a standard Eurovision song, but this futuristic pop is definitely not a joke entry. Lolita Zero gives a mesmerising performance, and while I think this could do with some changes to make it work well at the contest, it would really could be quite an unforgettable entry. I doubt this is jury friendly, but I’d love it as real bold and confident choice by Lithuania.
Eurofan favourite: Rūta Loop “Call Me from the Cold”
Eurofans seem to have gravitated towards Rūta Loop’s entry as their favourite – at least in the Eurovision scoreboard app – maybe partly through familiarity with her as an entry in 2020’s national final when she finished fourth. It’s a haunting song but while it isn’t as generic as many of the entries we see in other national finals, it feels quite conventional compared to the other two I’ve mentioned here. Results so far from the heats and semi-finals suggest that the voting public haven’t embraced this as much as eurofans, but maybe the bigger audience the final will get will bring more public votes.
The final begins at 7pm UK time on Saturday 12 February. You can watch the show live on broadcaster LRT’s website.