Slovakia confirms: Max Jason Mai to Baku
So it looks like Slovakia has confirmed what they seem to have announced back in November, but with a twist! Months ago, broadcaster STV proclaimed that “Česko Slovenská Superstar” runner-up Miroslav Šmajda (aka Miro Šmajda, aka My.RO, aka the lead singer of RoseMaid) would go to Baku, but only days later, withdrawing the comment, stating that it was nearly a done deal, but that contract negotiations were still ongoing. It then appeared that those negotiations fell apart, and no more was heard from Bratislava.
This morning, we finally got our Slovak press conference confirming that Miro would be representing his homeland under the anglicized alias Max Jason Mai, with the song “Don’t Close Your Eyes”:
Slovakia has yet to break into Top Ten from their six previous entries in the ESC, or even out of the Finals from their more recent attempts. TWiiNS, last year’s representatives, came the closest, coming in 13th place in their Semi, but missed the cutoff by seven points. Will Max do any better?
Hard rock has often been a tough sell in Eurovision, with the exceptions of Lordi’s “Hard Rock Hallelujah” and Eldrine’s “One More Day“. When the Czechs tried it back in 2007 (their debut entry), Kábat’s “Mala Dama” came in last place. Parts of the chorus of “Don’t Close Your Eyes” have a bit of a 30 Seconds to Mars feeling that I rather like, but during the verses it extends a bit into hair-metal territory, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a brave choice by the Slovaks, and given a good draw position and staging, Max might surprise the Eurovision old-guard by drawing on the same fans that helped Eldrine into 9th place last year. But, considering that neither the Czechs nor the Polish are participating this year and most of Slovakia’s neighbors are in Semifinal One, this might be a hard mountain to climb.