I always keep my promises, so here is your second review of the day. Heading further east, we head to the land of wine, breakaway states and grannies who play drums. It’s Moldova!!!
Moldova first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 (the last time the contest was in Kyiv) and will make their thirteenth appearance this year. Their best result was on their debut, when Zdob și Zdub came sixth with “Boonika Bate Toba”. Their only other top 10 finish was in 2007, when Natalia Barbu came tenth with “Fight”. Last year, Lidia Isac failed to bring Moldova to the final for the third year in a row, finishing 17th in semi-final 1 with “Falling Stars”.
The Moldovan broadcaster, TeleRadio-Moldova (TRM), used the national final O melodie pentru Europa 2017 (The Song for Europe 2017) to select their entry. All competing acts had to audition in front of a judging panel, who selected 14 songs to go through to the semi-final. In the semi-final, the jury selected four songs to go to the final and the public selected another four. In the final, 50% jury vote and 50% public vote decided the winner. There was a tie for first place so public voting took preference. SunStroke Project won the tiebreak and the Moldovan ticket to Kyiv.
SunStroke Project is a trio made up of Sergei Yalovitsky (vocals), Anton Ragoza (violinist, composer) and Sergey Stepanov (saxophonist). The band was formed in 2007 in Chisinau and their name comes from an experience Anton had in the army, when he got sunstroke while out on the field. They first tried to represent their country in 2009, when they came third in the national final with “No Crime”. The following year was their lucky year and along with Olia Tira, they represented Moldova in the contest in Oslo, finishing 22nd in the final. And a meme was born. Since 2011, they have toured regularly around Moldova and Romania and collaborated with many artists. They recently finished recording their second album and established their own label, Ragoza Music. Their song for Kyiv, “Hey Mamma” was written and composed by all members of the band, alongside Alina Galetcaia.
Moldova has cracked the code. Sex and memes sell. The song itself is quite catchy and memorable and the choreography is easy to copy. It seems that SunStroke Project have decided to go down a more lighthearted route, both with their performance and video. If they can get the right amount of sex and sax, we could see Moldova back in the final after an absence of a few years.
What Could Have Been
I’m glad it wasn’t anything else because the standard in the national selection was poor at best. The only song I might have liked to see at Eurovision was one of many withdrawals from the selection, Boris Covali with “Calator” (Adventurer). It’s no winner but it is a very sweet song and it is full of happy vibes. Boris had to withdraw from the selection for “personal reasons” but it would have interesting to see if he would have beaten SunStroke Project. I guess we’ll never know!
Mult noroc Moldova!
Is this more Hey Mamma or Mamma Mia? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, TRM, YouTube)