Today, we’re off to the land of bears (actual bears), perfect gymnastics routines and vampires. It’s Romania!!!
Romania first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994. They will make their eighteenth appearance in the contest this year. Their best result so far has been third place, which they have achieved twice, in 2005 with “Let Me Try” by Luminița Anghel and Sistem and in 2010 with “Playing With Fire” by Paula Seling and Ovi. On their last appearance in 2015, Voltaj placed 15th in the final with “De la capăt”. They were due to be represented last year by Ovidiu Anton and “Moment of Silence” but it was forcibly withdrawn due to repeated non-payments of debts by the Romanian broadcaster to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
The Romanian broadcaster, Televiziunea Română (TVR), organised Selecția Națională 2017, select their entry for this year’s contest. From 74 songs in the audition stage, 15 qualified for the semi-final. A jury chose 10 songs to advance to the final. In the final, public voting alone decided the winner. With maximum points in the semi-final and almost double the votes of the second placed song, Ilinca feat. Alex Florea won the Romanian ticket to Kyiv.
Maria Ilinca Băcilă, better known as simply Ilinca, was born on August 17th 1998 in Târgu Mureș in north-central Romania. She was born into a family of musicians and has been performing since the age of seven. She took part in the second season of Românii au talent (Romania’s Got Talent) in 2012, the third season of X Factor Romania in 2013 with Trupa Quattro and the fourth season of Vocea Romaniei (The Voice of Romania) in 2014. She is known for her distinctive yodel.
Alex Florea was born on September 15th 1991 in Constanța on Romania’s Black Sea coast. He started singing in 2006. He is currently studying for a Masters in Theatre in the Popular Arts School. He took part in the fourth season of X Factor Romania in 2014 alongside his brother and in the fifth season of Vocea Romaniei in 2015.
Their entry for Kyiv, “Yodel It!” was written by Alex Niculae and composed by Mihai Alexandru.
Romania really took “Celebrate Diversity” to heart this year. This has to be the most eclectic mix of styles I have ever heard in a song; rap, yodelling, hip hop beats. It shouldn’t work at all but it kinda does. However, it doesn’t do it for me. It’s too random and I lose all desire to listen to it after about forty seconds. The rational part of me says that Romania will lose its perfect qualification streak but we’re talking about Romania here, the country that has sent a flamboyant operatic vampire and circular pianos. They might just make it through again.
What Could Have Been
Romania, you had so many other great songs to choose from! If they wanted a duo, a better choice would have been the third-place finishers Instinct and their song “Petale” (Petals). It’s a contemporary ballad with a serving of steampunk realness on the side. The staging is also wonderful as well. Romania would have been a sure qualifier with this!
Mult noroc România!
Are you yodelling it or hating it? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, TVR, YouTube)