This is the reverse of the runner’s up spot, and it’s taken by a young man from Romania called Theodor Andrei who is the co-composer and co-writer of his entry for Eurovision 2023, “D.G.T. (Off and On)”. The D.G.T. of the title derives from the Romanian “De-ge-te” which is sung in the song (meaning “come on”) and the song is a mix of both Romanian and English. Romania qualified for the final last year – the first time since 2017 – so can they maintain their refound qualifying mojo?
Theodor won the Romanian national final, Selecția Națională, somewhat under the radar of the wider fandom, though I don’t know if it came as a surprise in Romania itself. Like many Eurovision artists before him, he has some experience of talent shows, having competed in both the Romanian version of the The Voice Kids and the Romanian X Factor. He’s also received a musical award last year as singer-songwriter for his song “Artist”.
This song’s strength, as I see it, is in the quirky but committed stage performance as seen at the Romanian national final. Theodor has deliberately blurred more than one musical genre into this song to appeal to as broad an audience as possible and also be something different from previous Romanian entries. I think he has certainly achieved the latter, though the former remains to be seen. For me, it’s all a bit too shouty – singing style-wise, and overall it’s just not something I would choose to listen to over again given the option; it’s one of my designated “Spotify skippers”.
It will have its fans though, but I’m doubtful there will be enough to propel Theodor into the grand final. Romania have been given third place in the running order in their semi-final; historically that has the worst qualifying record of any running order position and can usually only be overcome by a strong or popular song. Although Romanian entries do tend to do better with televote than juries, they only really have Spain as a firm source of diaspora votes.
While it’s not looking great for a qualification spot, and isn’t my cup of tea, I do appreciate the fact the song includes plenty of Romanian as well as English (for first time since 2015) and while the national final staging and performance were a bit messy, they do suggest creativity which I’ll be interested to see how that plays out on the bigger Liverpool stage.
Romania in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1994
Appearances (excluding this year): 22
Best result: 3rd in 2005 and 2010
Last year’s result: 18th