Latvia brings one of the clearest “message” songs this year, and it’s a message delivered with a lot of enthusiasm, energy, and yes, some fruity language and expressions! Latvia have had little success in the contest in recent years, so they will be hoping this entry by Citi Zēni, both very tongue-in-cheek and, it has to be said, polarising, will do better. Being middle of the road doesn’t get you anywhere in Eurovision, so is this a risk that will pay off?
Latvia held its national selection again this year, and “Eat Your Salad” ended up battling “I’m Letting You Go” by Aminata (a previous Eurovision contestant, as well as the writer of other Latvian Eurovision entries). In the end Citi Zēni won both the jury vote and (by some distance) the public vote. They are a six piece hip hop and pop rap band who came together in 2020 and released their debut album last year.
“Eat Your Salad” is certainly a Eurovision entry to divide opinion. The lads wrote the song to “to make a hard topic easy to digest & fun to listen to”. It’s a fun and risqué exhortation to the benefits of eco-friendly and vegan living. The inclusion of the naughty bits (the infamous “I eat veggies and p*ssy line and references to dongs and sausage size) split opinion but they certainly make for some memorable lyrics (and you can’t say that about a lot of Eurovision entries).
I happen to enjoy this actually – it’s so upbeat and catchy, and the guys themselves really sell this. They are so lovely and enthusiastic in person (something I got to see at the London Eurovision Party) that I hope that charm and energy comes through on the Eurovision stage and on television screens. It also goes to show I do appreciate some of the jokey/novelty entries – when they feel more organic rather than forced.
The band haven’t been landed with a great spot in the semi-final running order, going second in the first semi-final. I do struggle to see juries going for this I have to say, so they will have to rely on a good size public vote. It will be an uphill battle as the other big novelty entry this year, Norway, is also in their semi-final and in a very good running order spot. So the odd are against him, so catch the boys while you can!
Latvia in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 2000
Appearances (excluding this year): 21
Best result: Winner 2002
Last year’s result: 17th and last in semi-final (did not qualify)