The most severe and exciting national final returns today and it’s not Melodifestivalen. Lithuania’s selection show Eurovizijos!, the national final that puts the potential artists through rigorous weeks of competition, cutting remarks from the judging panel that would make Simon Cowell baffled, and once again produced a stellar entry for the country. Donny Montell did his country proud, placing 9th last May, Lithuania’s second-best placing EVER! He was also one of only two repeat Eurovision artists that bettered their previous placings in the contest.
Part of that Donny’s success, one could say was in part to Eurovizijos’ format. Week after week, Mr. Montell had to work to keep judges interested in what was the same song, performed over and over again. Some judges came and went, so the appeal had to be wide enough to make everyone happy. He had to prove that he could stand up to fellow vets and newcomers alike. Each of those lessons come in handy when trying to find an interesting staging for Eurovision and keeping a wide audience interested in the performance, no matter their background.
That’s why Eurovizijos, as quirky as it may be for a stalwart like Montell, is probably helpful in the long run. Keep in mind, Vaidas and Monika both were singing solo until the need to keep it fresh one week found themselves in a lovely duet, which made 2015’s “This Time” so much more fun.
All that praise and then they decided to change it all. Lauras Lučiūnas, producer of Eurovizijos, for LRT recently explained the changes for the program, “Last year, some of the participants complained that the selection phase was too long and they had to perform often, so this year the artists will appear in one of the first four shows, and if the artist proceeds to the next round, then again in the fifth show. Half of the artists will be relegated in the first four shows. Therefore, some artists will appear in the shows only once, but at least nobody will get tired.”
It seems the artists and this author weren’t completely on the same page as to the virtues of the format. The main takeaway here is that for audiences, it’s going to be a bit more fresh and new, with more artists involved. For artists, especially the newcomers, it’s going to be more of an intense trial by fire to really make an impression on both judges and audiences – therefore much less chances to find an adoring public through the medium. Not everyone is as lucky as rookie Aistė Pilvelytė. What it does do is move the format a bit more in-line with contemporaries like A Dal, Melodi Grand Prix (either one), and the aforementioned Melodifestivalen.
Join the cool kids from 20.00 CET today as we dip our tepid toes into the first round of Eurovizijos! You can watch the show live on the internet feed for LRT. The twelve acts performing in tonight’s show are:
- Golden Monkeys (Vilius Krivickas & Edvinas Gurevičius) “Septyni Dievai” – Music and lyrics: Vilius Krivickas and Edvinas Gurevičius
- Otreya (Ugnė Kudlaitė) “Last Two Weeks” – Music and lyrics: Ugnė Kudlaitė. Arrangement: Giedrius Balčiūnas
- Augustė Vedrickaitė “It’s not over (not to me)” – Music: Augustė Vedrickaitė; Edgaras Žaltauskas; Kasparas Meginis. Lyrics: Augustė Vedrickaitė
- Edgaras Lubys “Could it be?” – Music and lyrics: Edgaras Lubys
- Tadas Rimgaila & Tina “Tavo oda” – Music and lyrics: Stanislavas Stavickis – Stano
- Sasha Song “Never felt like this before” – Music and lyrics: Dmitrij Šavrov, Caleb Sutton, Justin Marcellina
- Rūta Andruškevičiūtė “The way to your heaven” – Music and lyrics: Jose Juan Santana Rodriguez and Samuel Bugia Garrido
- Benas Malakauskas “Rolling” – Music and lyrics: Jonas Talandis ir Kristupas Bubnelis
- Audrius Petrauskas “Shine like gold” – Music and lyrics: David Sneddon, Simon Gitsels, Richard Ashley Hicklin
- Justin 3 (Justinas Stanislovaitis) “Streets of Vilnius” – Music and lyrics: Justinas Stanislovaitis
- Dagna Kondratavičiūtė “Feel It” – Music: Kasparas Meginis; Edgaras Žaltauskas, Dagna Kondratavičiūtė. Lyrics: Alina Gadeikytė
- Paula Valentaitė “Never Let You Go” – Music and lyrics: Gytis Valickas
Many acts for this year’s Eurovizijos are repeat performers, and Sasha Song, one to watch from the first show represented Lithuania in 2009. He returns with a song that is a striking departure from his previous Eurovision song, “Love.” Other early standouts include Rūta Andruškevičiūtė and Audrius Petrauskas with a song written by British Fame Academy alum David Sneddon.
As with last year, the format does highlight one flaw in the Lithuanian talent pool. Songs. Many of the artists aren’t coming with songs that are uniquely suited to their talents.
The first set of shows will be made up of four episodes divided into the following categories:
- Round 1: 7 January – Entries perform songs submitted by the authors
- Round 2: 14 January – Entries perform songs submitted by the authors
- Round 3: 21 January – Entries perform their songs
- Round 4: 28 January – Entries perform their songs
From there, the remaining contestants will be combined into a mix that will feature for the rest of the shows.
- Round 5: 4 February
- Round 6: 11 February
- Round 7: 18 February
- Round 8: 25 February
- Round 9, Semi-final: 4 March
- Round 10, Final: 11 March
Ten shows will be held in total, with Lithuanian televoters and a panel of jury members deciding which contestants will proceed to the next rounds of Eurovizijos. Starting in round five an international jury is added to mix. LRT – EMAIL ME! All episodes will be hosted by our lovable duo Ievai Stasiulevičiūtei and Gabrielei Martirosianaitei.