ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Hungary


It has become customary for the editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Martin Isherwood, Deo Grech, Stano Simor and Matt Mercieca from the United Kingdom, Malta and the Czech Republic have been entrusted with the first semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 6th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and thus moving onto number #16, we catch up with Hungary (MTVA) who will be represented by András Kállay-Saunders and the song Running co-written with Krisztián Szakos.

András Kállay-Saunders became famous through his participation in the Megasztár talent show, and while working on his career, he soon discovered his love for the Eurovision Song Contest. In his third attempt, he finally won the Hungarian national selection A Dal in 2014 with Running. The song has a very strong message and a personal link to Kállay: “I wrote this song about a childhood friend of mine, and people I have met with similar stories throughout my life. Unfortunately my friend was victim to child abuse, domestic violence. I wrote this song about their experiences and everything that they went though. I would like to raise awareness to this topic.”

András Kállay-Saunders was born on January 28, 1985 in New York City to Hungarian model Katalin Kállay and American soul-singer and producer Fernando Saunders. Autumn of 2009, Kállay decided to visit Hungary to reunite with his mother as well as spending quality time with his grandmother. During his visit, he noticed a TV commercial urging talented singers to audition for the nation’s talent competition Megasztár. Kállay finished fourth in the contest but gained a life-changing experience. He realised the doors were opened toward making a life-long dream come true with hard work and dedication. He went on to sign with Universal and permanently resided in Hungary.

In 2012, Kállay entered the Hungarian Eurovision national selection show A Dal, but he unfortunately came short of the finals. During this competition, he developed a pride towards one day bringing the big stage to the country that opened doors to his dream. In 2013 he entered A Dal again with his single My Baby and reached 2nd place. He still had the desire to represent Hungary in Eurovision and wasn’t going to give up trying just yet. While having many songs to his arsenal, Kállay felt it was time to show Hungary a deeper song and chose to send Running, a song inspired by a childhood friend, who grew up dealing with domestic violence and child abuse.

András Kállay-Saunders also has a message for his fans: “I just want to say thank you to everyone who believes in me and supports me.” Since returning in 2011, Hungary has been succeeding in getting through to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest with Kati WolfCompact Disc and ByeAlex reaching either a mid-table result, or in the event of the 2013, Kedvesem managing the third top ten result in eleven previous participations. The best result from Hungary was achieved during their debut back in 1994 with Friderika Bayer and Kinek Mondjam el Vetkeimet finished in fourth place with 122 points. Since the semi-final system was initiated back in 2005, it seems that Hungary has faced mixed fortunes apart from the past three years.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 75%

Martin Isherwood: Lyrics seem to be about child abuse and which, whilst a very serious issue, doesn’t really seem to sit with the overall vibe of Eurovision Good voice. Ballad feel morphing in to drum n bass – unusual. Good track but I doubt it will enthuse the Eurovision audiences. 

Deo Grech: I rooted for Andras since the very first time I listened to his entry.   He faced a fierce competition in the Hungarian territory at A Dal 2014 from another entry with a similar title ‘Running Out of Time’, which should have been perfect for Eurovision, too. Having said that, I still prefer Andras’ ‘Running’.  This is full of emotion and has a very modern production.  With the right marketing, I can see this hitting the radio waves quite easily.  Come May, this will definately be battling it out with the other contenders.  Yes, it will surely be a battle of the ballads at Eurovision 2014.

Stano Simor: Hungary has in recent years quite successful artist, which well represents the unknown Hungarian music scene. András could reach this year especially young generation audience. The combination of slower intro and verses with drum n bass chorus is impressive. The chorus is easy to remember and that’s what counts.

Matt Mercieca: I like it! Lyrics are a little blah! with the story telling and what-not. but I love his voice and the beat. and the Chorus is Brilliant!



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