A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tobson review: Hungary could be a winner

You often hear talk about how difficult it is for various broadcasters to find good and established acts that are willing to take part in Eurovision. Not to mention how beyond impossible it always is to stage a credible national final that includes bigger names.

Then at times there comes a massive success story that completely contradicts all this. The way the BBC managed to breathe life into their national final in the 90's (before losing their way completely). The complete makeover of Melodifestivalen in 2002. The German national finals of 2013 and 2014.

Hungary's A Dal is another one of these incredible successes. Hungary had made a comeback after two years of absence and in most aspects except the final result, it had turned out very well. In 2012, they launched their new national final format and the audiences at home surrendered completely to it.

Now in its third run, A Dal has attracted many interesting names from across the Hungarian music spectre and - not least importantly - it has resulted in a most impressive line-up for the final.

Eight songs, all of which range from good to very good. Every single one of them would be a good eurovision entry. At least five of them would stand a good chance at making top ten or better.

As I haven't been able to sniff up a running order for the final, I have instead ranked the songs in the order I would personally place them tonight.

8. Bogi - We All
In most other national finals, Bogi would have been a real contender with this simple and straightforward pop ditty. There is something about it that becomes a little bit annoying a little bit too soon and facing this kind of competition it should be hard for it to go anywhere tonight.
Grade: 2/5

7. Dénes Pál - Brave New World
A pleasant and well-produced - if possibly slightly generic - light dance track that should be most appreciated by the local radio stations but that lacks a little bit of bite to stand out.
Grade: 3/5

6. New Level Empire - The Last One
A soft rock song that glides into a more electronic landscape makes this an original and enjoyable slice of contemporary music that would benefit from a bit of a climax somewhere.
Grade: 3/5

5. HoneyBeast - A legnagyobb hős
A nicely climaxing song wrapped in a soft folk-pop packaging that for some reason reminds me a bit of NOX (Hungary 2005), and the beautiful Hungarian language compliments the music very well.
Grade: 3/5

4. Depresszió - Czak a zene  
Still quite a far cry from being heavy metal, this is the kind of rock I would like to see more of at Eurovision. Catchy and fun, easy to grasp but still not making musical compromises in order to appeal to a large audience. The best rock song in any national final so far this year.
Grade: 3/5

3. Kállay-Saunders - Running
This seems to be the most likely winner tonight and I wouldn't mind. There is something about the verses and the lyrics - no matter how well intended they are - that doesn't quite hit home, but the chorus sounds like it could be a hit single anywhere.
Grade: 4/5

2. Fool Moon - It Can't Be Over
Not convinced this would be the safest choice if Hungary wants a top placing but I just love this seriously catchy number. So far, a cappella in Eurovision has been really jaunty (Latvia 2006) or unbearably smug (Belgium 2011) and it would be interesting to see how a genuinely good song like this would hit home in Copenhagen. And I have had a soft spot for Gergő Rácz ever since Dublin 1997.
Grade: 4/5

1. Viktor Király - Running Out Of Time
A while ago, I added Olly Murs to my eternal wish list of singers I would like to see at ESC and I don't think we would closer than this in 2014. An irresistibly infectious pop chorus with a flirtatious and fun performer could never be a bad choice. Even if I am not a huge fan of the compulsory rap part, I feel this could be a potential winner come Copenhagen.
Grade: 4/5

Tobson predicts: It seems very likely Kállay-Saunders will be tonight's winner. He has a great chorus and being last year's runner-up might give the voting audiences the feeling it is his turn. Not a bad choice, but I like Viktor Király better and think he would score higher.

Regardless, this could be a grand year for Hungary and with a bit of luck Friderika Bayer could be thrown off throne as the best placed Hungarian entry ever.

Kállay-Saunders - Running (Hungary NF 2014)

Fool Moon - It Can't Be Over (Hungary NF 2014)

Viktor Király - Running Out Of Time (Hungary NF 2014)

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