ESC 2010 Reviews: Romania
Romania, like many other nations from the Central-to-Eastern European region, entered the ESC in the mid-1990s. The first entry from Bucharest came in 1994, the same year as Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Russia, Hungary, and Poland. Since then, Romania’s found some half-decent success, including a set of third and fourth-place finishes in the middle of this past decade. They’re one of only a handful of countries to have qualified for every final since the semifinal system began back in 2004, but they haven’t broken into the Top Ten since 2006.
My personal favorite entry from Romania was actually their debut. Dan Bittman, lead singer of the long-running local rock group Holograf, took the stage with “Dincolo de Nori (Beyond the Clouds)“, a great rock ballad that sadly scored only 21st place out of 25 contestants that year. (Ironically, the first and so far only contestants from San Marino, MiOdio, recently covered “Dincolo de Nori” into a modernized Italian version, “Oltre le Nuvole“).
2005 brought “Let Me Try” by Luminiţa Anghel and Sistem, a high-energy Europop number complete with flying sparks and backup dancers drumming on oil cans. It was the nation’s highest placement, and Romania followed it up in 2006 with the equally dynamic “Tornerò“, sung in English and Italian by Mihai Trăistariu. Scoring an incredibly respectable 4th place (next to heavy hitters from Finland, Russia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina), “Tornerò” brought Romania’s highest point-total to date, and it reached the top of the charts in Greece, Cyprus, Malta, and Sweden.
This year, Romania brings us “Playing With Fire” by Paula Seling and Ovi (Ovidiu Cernăuţeanu, who currently lives and works in Norway).
Paula Seling & Ovi – Playing with Fire (Official Music Video) from Eduard Schneider on Vimeo.
This music video is probably the most fun out of 2010’s crop. Anything with flaming pianos, transparent iPads, pleather catsuits and dancing robots automatically is made of win, right? Granted, the lyrics might be a bit trite (the whole fire/desire/higher rhyme isn’t quite original, but it works), but the song is fun, danceable, and catchy as hell. It won its National Selection with top marks from the local jury, as well as nearly twice the televoting numbers as the runner-up. Although “Playing with Fire” is in the tough second semifinal, I’d be surprised if they didn’t make it through, assuming that Paula’s high note doesn’t cause her throat to explode or the jury’s ears to bleed.
…Now if only they can get some dancing robots on stage with them, they’d be a lock.