As we enter the eighth round of the Lithuanian selection, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, now both sets of artists are competing with each other from here on out. The contestants that came with a song are now with those that were given songs selected by the LRT broadcasting team. As such, many will feel and see a stark divide between the two sets of singers.
Secondly, in order to impress the judges, much like last week, we’re seeing more and more unique and crazy ideas hit the stage. The more you can stand out, the longer you stay in the competition, the long you get to play with the big boys, so to speak, for some contestants. The stakes are being raised almost at a second-by-second basis, creating great moments for this musical game. You could be forgiven to assume that the singers that didn’t have their own songs would be at a disadvantage of those that have more musical ties and experience. We’ll see how things pan out.
Sitting as judges this week are Darius Uzkuraitis from broadcaster LRT, music reviewer Ramunas Zilnys, opera soloist Nomeda Kazlaus, and musician Juste Arlauskaitė. They presided over the live competition on Tuesday and doled out their points for the evening Eurovision style, 1-8, 10, and 12. The show will be broadcast today at 20:00 CET, when the international jury and national televote will be combined with the judges scores and we’ll see who advances to the penultimate chapter of Eurovizijos 2016.
- Catrinah “Be Free”– 5 points – She seemed to be making all the right moves for the judges in her fourth iteration of the song, with the judges liking her slimmed down stage costumes saying this was her best performance thus far
- Ruslanas Kirilkinas “In My World” – 6 points – The gentleman kept the staging of walking over broken glass, which impressed the judges quite a bit last week, but some said they would have liked more than just the singer and his broken mirror sharing the stage, also commenting on his facial expression whilst going over said glass
- Milda Martinkėnaitė “If Tomorrow Never Comes” – 3 points – The upbeat song was accompanied by a farmer theme, which was called, ‘cheerful and slightly kitsch[y]’, just what the doctor ordered for Eurovision said on judge, with other saying it was in her top 3
- Erica Jennings “Leading Me Home” – 8 points – Told she was one judge’s favorite, the song and singer were gushed over, while for others, the first performance of the song was the best, and they found it carrying less impact now
- Saulenė Chlevickaitė “Strong” – 2 points – The new singer was told this was her best outing with the song, but the staging with a somewhat excited male mannequin was panned
- Aistė Pilvelytė “You Bet” – 10 points – After being given some criticism over her staging from the week prior, Aistė drew back the shenanigans and gave the judges goosebumps with the rendition of this song that again was the best yet for many, with one saying that if the singer wins, it will be because of her sheer empathy singing the song as well as her ‘ethereal madness’
- Valdas Lacko “Stay Tonight” – 1 points – Given a bit of praise for seeming freer on stage, the singer’s intonation came under fire as well as his use of the dancers in the staging
- Rūta Ščiogolevaitė “United” – 7 points – The message has always been the selling point for “United”, and the judges all agreed they liked it and the performer, leaving her to the audience today
- Donny Montell “I’ve Been Waiting for This Night” – 12 points – Being praised on one hand for being the best Donny Montell song ever, the judges also felt the need to leave the door open by saying the picking a winner would be ‘very hard’, and adding that while Donny’s performance was very professional, he may need to be a bit more spontaneous and human
- Ieva Zasimauskaitė “Life (Not That Beautiful)” – 4 points – Told that Lithuania was ‘too small’ for her, this singer was encouraged to go forward with her ‘addictive’ talents, but the song itself may be a bit forgettable
As the judges results leave things, Donny is of course in the pole position. Not entirely surprising as he’s been the odds on favorite since the beginning, but as the judges pointed out, the door is not entirely closed to the rest. This will be the first time he goes against the other group of singers for the public and international points. That said, he’s and incredibly bankable star in Lithuania and the public has given him the boost to take over the lead when the judges were more kind to Erica and Ruta in his heats. Speaking of both women, they were each pitted against Donny throughout the competition as his main rivals. Ruta finds herself not even in third place, but fourth behind the newcomer who lead group two for much of the most recent shows. Indeed Aistė is the highest ranked of that group with the judges scores. Erica also slips behind Aistė as she really has become the darling of the judges, and therefore Donny’s main competition for the win.
Easy enough, until you add in the televote scores, which have played a fairly large role in the competition as a whole. Valdas and Ruslanas both have found their scathing judges critiques disregarded by the public at large and owe their places in the contest mainly to the Lithuanian people. In the past the televote is where Donny overcame being set squarely on par with Erica, so realistically, many of the middle places will be up in the air before the final numbers come in. Donny however has also seen himself in the shocking situation of being third with the viewing public, which maybe is the fault of the judges seeming ambivalence towards his participation in favor of other acts. As such, the outcome of the contest is heating up to be very dramatic.
Of the remaining competitors, the situation is fairly hopeless. Being middle-to-end with both judges votes and historic televote, the race is clearly moving down quickly for the next two shows.
Catch the best national final online today:
And don’t forget to vote for your favorites in Eurovizijos Show 8!