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Saturday, 14 January 2012 18:53

Latvia: Second Set of Finalists Revealed

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Last week marked the beginning of a journey for the Baltic nation of Latvia with the very first semi-final featuring ten acts out of which only five (5) remain in the competition. The system for the second semi-final will be exactly the same with yet another ten (10) entries going head to head against each other in the hope of making the final which is set to take place on the 18th February 2012. Many people noted that last week did not include the best songs this year so there is hope that a rough diamond is found.

Tonight the second semi-final is taking place and expectations are definitely higher this time round as some of the most notable names in the industry are going to be competing against each other. Once more the result will be noted down by both the people and the jury. Latvia were once an extremely formidable nation coming into the competition with a runner-up finish back in 2000 thanks to Brainstorm and their song 'My Star'. They would eventually keep on trying and win in 2002 thanks to Marie N and her entry 'I Wanna' pipping Ira Losco and Malta to second position. You can watch the live streaming of this semi-final though this link whilst also following our live report.

The Show

The night has just been declared open. The two presenters are nicely dressed. Especially the elaborate yet one-coloured scheme silk dress of her. The man should have gone for another shade for his tie, as too much black is overpowering. The stage seems to be too dull, unfortunately.

Running Order

01. Niks Dukurs & NBC - Sweet for me (Music - Miks Dukurs, Lyrics - Miks Dukurs, Georgijs Girbu)

The singer is wearing a nice suit, which would have been appropriate had it not been for the pea-soup colour combination. And the overly-big bow-tie. His voice is rather good and he keeps a good standard all through, even though the diction is not the best one could listen to. The dancer (looking like an overly-abused Marie Antoinette figure) and the rappers are a bit too much to see all at one go. There’s mismanagement of the space provided. Would love to see the performance on a bigger stage.

02. Valters Gleske & Liba Ece - Better world (Music - V Gleske, Maris Orehovs, Lyrics - Valters Gleske)

The ballad opens with the guy singing in this alluring voice, reminding me a lot of Malta’s Lawrence Gray vocals. After a while Liba steps in with an amazing voice and strength, which ultimately shadows her male counterpart at times. It’s an OKish song, even though on her own Liba would have made a much bigger impact. Besides, the theme is a bit too much of a cliché.

03. Group 'The 4' - Get it started (Music - BuGaGa Project, Lyrics - Sandris Vestmanis)

This overly-confident singer opens this R ‘n B song... She’s wearing a cool dress, with a powerful yellow; a shade present in some pieces on everyone on the stage. Two other male singers are accompanying the whole song. Unfortunately never stopping. The song is extremely boring and it makes your ears bleed. The vocals are horrendous and it’s totally off-key, with no harmony throughout. The chorus is then appalling, which adds to the lead singer’s irritating voice. Overall: thankfully they’ve good style with clothes, as singing doesn’t seem to be their thing much. It would be a boring add to the Big Night were they to make it.

BREAK

04. Anmary - Beautiful song (Music - Ivars Makstnieks, Lyrics - Rolandins)

It sounds like something traditional. In her long, evening silky dress she sits on a hay-made armchair. (Why?) The song is on the whole boring. The backing vocals don’t help much - especially not with those flags hanging from their dresses. I’m afraid the title is really misleading, for it’s all but a beautiful song. Anmary’s pronunciation is also very poor and the intonation gets a bit monotonous, which puts you off. Not beautiful, no.

05. Paul Swan - Wanna be with you (Music - Kaspars Pudniks, Lyrics - Paul Swan)

Finally. I thought it was going to be somewhat impossible. There’s actually some good English being sung. Paul Swan is very casually dressed, which reflects the relaxed tone of his song. Yet, he’s struggling a real lot with the notes. It gets rather boring at times, because the climax one is expecting never comes.

06. Roberts Petersons - She's a queen (Music - Austris Rietums, Lyrics - Liga Markova)

At the beginning of the song, the singer seems to be shadowed by the instruments playing around him, yet everything is good thereafter. This, what I think could qualify as soft-rock, song is indeed a blessing among the others and I really hope it makes it through. It has nothing special and the vocals are not the best. The English is clear and actually enjoyable to listen to. The attire is also very cool - both the lead singer’s and the group’s. Everything seems to be complementing, which wasn’t much the case with the other acts. It’s a catchy song, which won’t bother or annoy you if you hear it more than once.

07. Samanta Tina - For father (Music - Elmars Orols, Lyrics - Samanta Tina)

I’m hooked. She lured me in with the beginning. Her voice seems to be powerful and she reaches some good high notes easily. Nevertheless, unfortunately, her diction is atrocious. It leaves a lot to be desired. The dancers, I think, are a bit useless because she should be the centre of attention. The dark setting and the shadows are gorgeous, as is her wicked dress. She deserves to make it through, despite the plethora of inaccuracies.

08. Elizabete Zagorska - You are a star (Music - Atis Auzans, Lyrics - Karlis Streips)

The setting for the performance is rather gothic-like. To add to this sensation, the singer decided to dress up as a witch. Yes, you read that right. The fire effects, especially the guitars on fire, give it a vibrant feel. Her voice is forceful, for want of a better word, which also adds to this ethnic aura they wanted to portray. She struggles with diction, but it’s bearable. On the whole, it’s a very Eurovision song, which - good or bad - drags you along. It would be a good asset to break the routine!

09. Group 'Mad Show Boys' - Music thief (Music and lyrics - Garijs Polskis)

A guy has just come in riding a segway and it immediately gives you the feel that it will be a fun song. Then the singer comes in, looking like Batman’s archenemy The Joker, which cracks you up as soon he starts singing. And what cheek - he says their song is “very cool”. Then The guy in a hilarious pink suit gives it a try. A rapper wants to have his turn, so he grabs the mike. The seem to be (actually they are) the jesters to his Excellency the King, who sits on his deckchair right beside them. It’s a fun performance, yes. But that’s all about it. It stops there. You always need that act which you can’t take seriously - well, this is the one!

10. Group 'Trianas Parks' - Stars are my family (Music - Aivars Rakovskis, Lyrics - Agnese Rakovska)

The three-dancing garbage bags open this act. They look like the three witches out of Macbeth. Musicians look like Igor (the cartoon character!) It’s an extremely boring song, which reaches no climax. You can barely understand what they are saying, except for “stars are my family”. The whole setting is fit for a Halloween parade rather than the colourful Eurovision stage. Stars may well be their family, but given their singing, they will never become one.

Results

I must say that it was very disappointing show. The acts were quite poor and of mediocre quality! It will be extremely hard for the judges and the public to pick the qulifiers. Given what we’ve seen tonight and what was there on the 1st night, I seriously doubt Latvia has a chance to stand out.

And those making it through are:

  1. You Are A Star
  2. Beautiful Song
  3. She’s A Queen
  4. Stars Are My Family
  5. Music Thief

Source: LTV

Last modified on Saturday, 14 January 2012 21:13