Eurovision 2023 top 37 countdown: #21 LATVIA – Sudden Lights – Aijā

It’s the second of the Baltic countries in the countdown, and the one that has struggled to qualify the most in recent years. Latvia have not been in the grand final since 2016, and in fact since 2008, they’ve only been in the grand final twice. They will be hoping that well-established indie/alternative rock band Sudden Lights can finally steer them back to the grand final.

Sudden Lights won the Latvian national final, Supernova, convincingly, finishing first with both the juries and the public vote. They’ve been around since 2012, though didn’t release their first album until 2017 (though have subsequently released a further two albums), they’ve toured, and almost represented Latvia in 2018 when they finished second in Supernova that year. “Aijā” is an art/indie rock song, that’s reminiscent of British indie pop. It’s neither slow nor fast, and there is a progression/change through the song rather than remaining static or a set pattern.

For me, this was a bit of a slow burner on my radar, but as time went on and I actually took time to watch the music video, I grew to like this a lot more. It’s not an in-your-face type entry (as some of Latvia’s songs have been), but it’s classy, and while there is a familiarity/call back to the British music scene, it’s definitely quite refreshing from a Eurovision perspective. “Aijā” means lullaby (a word used in the English lyrics in the song) and this does draw you into the song. I’m also pleased to hear that they do get a bit of Latvian into the song, even if it’s just a small part.

Quite apart from Latvia’s appalling qualification record, Sudden Lights have the multiple challenge of being in the super competitive semi-final 1, being in the first half of that semi-final, being fourth in running order (one of the worst qualification records) and having no real televote allies in it. Yet, it is not without hope! There seems to be a dedicated fan base to this song, it’s within the top 20 of the Eurovision scoreboard app and is in the top 10 of the semi-final 1 only choice. With doubts rising over some of the countries who previously were considered sure qualifiers, this could be a perfect chance for Latvia to shine.

Latvia in the Eurovision Song Contest

First entered: 2000

Appearances (excluding this year): 22

Best result: Winner 2002

Last year’s result: 14th in semi-final (did not qualify)

Flag of Latvia

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