Tonight, Lithuania continued the course of the second season of Pabandom iš naujo! with the semi-final stage! All ten acts brought more developed performances of their entries following their introductions in the past two weeks with the hope of reaching one of the five tickets to next week’s final. Once again, Vytautas Rumšas Jr. and Ieva Stasiulevičiūtė were in charge of conducting viewers through the two-hour show.
The five jury members for tonight’s show are LRT in-house music journalist Ramūnas Zilnys, musician and former InCulto and Saulės Kliošas member Jievaras Jasinskis, events organizer Gerūta Griniūtė, singer Stano and former Eurovision act Aistė Smilgevičiūtė. As usual, they gave feedback on all competing entries across the show and ranked them using the Eurovision score system to decide 50% of the results.
The other half was decided by the viewers at home! All Lithuanian residents could send text messages to send a vote for their favorite entry in the field. As always, each SMS costs 60 euro cents and the revenue will be destined to funding the winner’s Eurovision performance. Consulting firm Grant Thornton Baltic supervised the televote.
The band BE U was in charge of kicking off the show with Love Yourself! After the performance, the band’s vocalist explained that they were really happy with their performance, which they considered a positive evolution upon the heat’s attempt as ‘there were plenty of smiles and good energy on stage.’
After them came Aistė Brokenleg in her second attempt at the selection! She described her entry Home as ‘non-standard,’ explaining that she was surprised to reach the semi-final as she sees herself as a really different number to the general public. The performance stayed largely similar as in the preliminary heat, with the new keyboard solo standing out for the jury members.
Long-time entrant Gabrielius Vagelis performed next! His performance of My Guy stayed largely the same as last week, though following the feedback of Ieva Narkutė in the preliminary heat he decided to change his beige suit and Burberry hat to a more simplistic white outfit, hoping to repeat the success that placed him second in his heat’s scoreboard as he explained that ‘white symbolizes good spirits and light.’ Interestingly, the jury compared him to Sam Smith, a compliment taken really well by the artist, who explained that the English R&B singer was one of his main inspirations.
Martyna, who prepared a new choreography for the entry over the last week, would be the next artist to touch the stage! She appeared really happy about her performance, as the first time she ‘made a lot of mistakes because of my excitement,’ and explained that her goal in the selection is not to win but rather to improve as a performer and gain more stage experience. As such, she was overwhelmed two weeks ago by the audience’s support, winning the televote with over two thousand votes. Her performance of Thank You Very Much included two new dancers on a rainbow outfit and was overall much more stable vocally.
Debuting act Norbertas was next! His performance of Man in Need was much more stable, more confident and with looser dancing as he changed his outfit. Once again, the jury praised his performance as they explained that the song has a lot of potential as a radio song and they were happy by his improvements on stage, showing much more stable vocals and an interesting falsetto.
The sixth act to touch Vilnius’ stage was Evita Cololo, who also appeared really excited as she performed Be paslapčių (No Secrets), the only Lithuanian-language entry in the show. After her performance, most remarkable by the contrast between the studio’s cameras and a phone recording her on portrait mode, the daughter of comedian Vitalijus Cololo said she was still trembling after her performance and appreciated the jury’s feedback. To conclude, she revealed that she supported The Roop in the final, who she believes deserve the new chance to take onto the Eurovision stage.
Following a brief pause for advertising, Titas and Benas would be next to perform! This time around, they did a complete overhaul of the performance removing the furniture and wearing more casual outfits with a darker scenery. The duo explained that, as they watched the first performance of No on TV, they were really critical and wanted to show a visible improvement and show more energy on stage. The first half of the Panevėžys duet, Titas Astaf, believed that their efforts paid off, since ‘we felt stronger on stage, showing a lot of the certainty that was missing last week.’
One of the selection’s biggest surprises, Latvian-born Voldemars Petersons, continued the semi-final’s pace as the eighth performer along with his live band with Never Fall for You Again, the entry that topped the scoreboard in the first show. The song was staged really differently compared to its introduction, including a new sparkly outfit and dance moves. In a visibly good mood, the vocalist told LRT that ‘this competition has already brought us plenty of good moments and we are happy with our performance regardless of the result. We hold great respect towards all performers, everyone puts a lot of work.’
Only two entries left! Milita, nicknamed ‘our own Eurovision diva’ by Aistė, took Shadows to the stage for a second time with a similar performance to the preliminary heat, though including two new dancers: ‘to have a team behind your back gives you a lot of strength.’ Even though she found this performance harder, having to combine dance moves with singing, the jury appreciated the efforts, labeling it as an ‘emotional performance.’
The artist chosen to finish the show was Gebrasy, who against all odds became the show’s main favorite to win just behind incumbents The Roop. He undoubtedly became the show’s star, praised by the five jury members as they all loved his stage presence and the emotional investment put into his ballad Where’d You Wanna Go. Could he genuinely be one of the season’s biggest surprises and defeat The Roop next week?
Following all ten performances and another pause, the semi-final featured Evgenya Redko as a special guest! The singer was due to participate in the selection’s semi-final last year with Far and was one of the fan favorites to win, only to be forced to withdraw due to a spinal hernia before the show’s recording. She used the platform to make the first live performance of her latest single Laikinai.
All in all, after 1 hour and 40 minutes of show, here are the final results! The top 5 all qualified to the final and will battle it out next Saturday with The Roop to earn the Rotterdam ticket. Join us on February 6th at 20:00 CET!