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Eurovision 2010: Romania – ‘great song, weak act’

May 3, 2010

Romania have a problem with their song Playing With Fire for Eurovision this year. It’s the same problem Hungary suffered with their song during the semi-final round last year. The song sounds great in the studio (as the promo video for Playing With Fire clearly demonstrates), but the live performance looks bland. It even makes the song sound bland. Merely repeating this live performance (above) at the semi-final will almost certainly make their act a bit of a damp squib.

And that’s the thing about Romania. They’ve not got their stage acts sorted very well. If you look over recent years, there’s a history of tarting up studio productions by over-relying on dancers hoofing all over the place. That only highlights a lack of understanding of how powerful TV is at communicating the wrong message in a short space of time.

Last year, Elena and The Balkan Girls looked cheap and outdated climbing to an undoubtedly deserved 22nd 19th place (see comments below).

In 2004 a dismal combination of over-stylised and ultimately tired looking choreography masked the inherent failure I Admit had delivering on the promise in it’s opening hook. It delivered Romania an equally deserving 18th place. 2003’s ‘Don’t Break My Heart’ combined an uncomfortably outdated sound with a bizarrely conceived stage act, although admittedly Romania’s 10th place in the results table makes this piece of evidence questionable in terms of the argument being posited.

In contrast, Romania’s most successful and arguably satisfying track was the industrial sounding Let Me Try in 2005. The presence of a collection of oil drums (the group Sistem) on stage with singer Luminita Anghel was a goodun. Historically speaking too it is one of only a handful of acts that has successfully occupied the vast expanse of the Eurovision stage. What it comes down to is the live performance, you see. It’s plausible. Romania achieved their highest position ever in 2005 – 3rd place.

So this year’s song Playing With Fire may only succeed in continuing the track record of looking a bit shit on stage. That’s a shame really, because in studio terms it’s the best they’ve submitted since 2005.

  1. Zoe Bidgood permalink

    Not at all true, it’s on fire! Having seen them on a tiny stage in a basement Sunday night! London Preview Party. They are also lovely people 🙂

    • Zoe – I’m a stickler. I don’t want to vote based on whether they’re nice people. I’ll just have to wait and see if it translates well to the stage. I do like the video, however.

  2. Agreed again – but they do get some street cred for a video that appears to be the same plot as the Blakes’ 7 episode Death-Watch 😉

    Perhaps they hould just do the Duelling Pianos scene from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” instead?

  3. anne permalink

    They have a good voice,it sound very good together.Azerbaijan’s live performance last year was 1000 worse,they had no chemistry and their screaming was baad.Paula is the best female voice in Romania,talented as Ovi,winner of Gold Stag,as Ovi who won the Bronze Stag,the second festival in Europe after Eurovision.
    Compare this song with the overrated one this year:
    Denmark-Romania’s song is original,Denmark’s is trash,a copy,a mix of 90′ songs.
    Germany-this girl doesn’t know the musical notes,has a weird accent and bad diction,what she does it’s not dancing moves…it’s like she needs to pee
    Azerbaijan-bad singer,bad diction,good promotio,american pop trash song
    Armenia-one of the worst-cheesy,motherland,votes,simple,singing about an apricot stone?:))
    Romania has good singers,good performance,show,the best video this year,good lyrics,good idea,it’s not the same in the beginning.
    Elena Gheorghe had a very good performance and it’s on the fifth place on youtube with the views.We are proud of her,it was the first Eurovision songs that reached the first place in a lot of charts,and sang,not like Hadise.But you don’y know to appreciate the live performance and to criticize songs. BTW,she got 19 place:)

    • Hey Anne – thanks very much for pointing out the factual error about Elena’s place in the final results table. I’ve corrected now.

  4. With Don’t Break My Heart, Let Me Try, and (my fave) Tornero, Romania tuned into its strength: electro-pop. But, as you say, the staging’s let them down again and again.

    I think this song could easily be top 10–after all, Ljubi, Ljubi I Love You nearly was–so long as the staging isn’t crap (so far it hasn’t been) and/or she hits the micronote (touring Europe she apparently often does).

    Like it though.

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