A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Latvia 2011: Daylight vs Banjo

Last night, as the two lucky losers were decided, the line-up became complete for the Latvian national final, to be held on February 26th.

I decided to have a quick listen through the 12 candidates, and here are my opinions in short, including my mark from 0 - 5 (0 = bad, 5 = top class).

1. Evija Sloka - Don't Stop The Dance
A good opener, happy and inoffensive, but far too lean and nice to do well in Düsseldorf. 2/5

2. Elīna Krastiņa-Grence - Look Back At Me Again
A touch of the latin flavour that went down so well in the ESC some ten years ago. A bit more of a beat, and this could have been a pretty good dance track. Not distinct enough to work in this kind of contest, but a good radio song and a solid effort. 3/5

3. Ivo Grīsniņš-Grīslis - Cinderella
The perfect vehicle for a charming guy with a guitar by an open fire, this number is relaxed and pleasant but nothing that will shake you enough to get voting for it. 2/5

4. Triānas parks - Upside down
Enter a group with an attitude, but a song that doesn't quite live up to the promise given by their appearance. Gets catchier by the end, but would benefit from a slightly trashier sound in the arrangement. 2/5

5. The Secretz - Summer Night
For the ones of you who can't quite remember - most girl bands never sounded better than this. But most of them had better songs. Weak voices, unspectacular song. 1/5

6. Pieneņu vīns - You Are
Clubby track that makes me think of Moloko's "Sing It Back". Again pleasant, great vocalist, but without that extra little punch that would make it a contender. 2/5

7. Stībeļa banda - Let It Be Me
Jānis Stībelis has taken part many times in the Latvian finals and most of his entries sound similar to this one. Not bad, but again without that certain something. Even though the harmonica adds a nice touch. 2/5

8. Oksana Ļepska - Live On!
A 16 year-old girl with a great voice but a ballad lacking in dynamic. Pleasant but not too memorable. 2/5

9. Musiqq - Angel In Disguise
More distinct a chorus than most and delivered by quite a good voice. However, it gets repetitive and uninteresting before it is over, and these boys would be in need of a better lyricist and soon. 2/5

10. Blitze - Hop
Written by the late Mārtiņš Freimanis, which poses the same problem as in the Icelandic final. How much is this a song contest and how much will the sympathy vote weigh in? Not the worst choice, however, (the lead singer reminds me a bit of BrainStorm's Renars) but more of a fun idea rather than a great song. 3/5

11. D-Family - Daylight
My big favourite of the lot has a very graspable chorus, good vocalists and a surprise element in the brass arrangement. If they managed to pump in a tiny bit more of a crunch in the performance, it would be full 12 points from me. An unlikely winner as it was chosen by the jury, not the people, but maybe its spot in the running order will help more people notice it? 4/5

12. Lauris Reiniks - Banjo Laura
The probably winner in the end - Lauris Reiniks wants revenge for the unexpected 2003 fiasco with "Hello From Mars" and could very well get it. He is a good singer and a likeable guy, but this whole set-up is too silly for my taste. Catchy, but silly. 3/5

A stronger selection than you would guess from my marks - what is lacking in most entries is that last extra wow factor, but the Latvian viewers will be kept entertained all the way through, even if the first nine entries mainly serve as a warm-up act for the final three songs - clearly the strongest of the bunch.

Tobson predicts:
The most likely winner if you ask the eurofans would be Lauris Reiniks, and maybe he has the widest appeal of them all. I still hope for D-Family all the way until the bitter end, as they have the best song and a chorus that, at this point at least, would stand out in Düsseldorf.

All songs can be seen and heard on LTV's official Eirodziesma page here .

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