We watched the Latvia national final today, which was an absolute blast. Eight of the 10 songs were either awesome or entertainingly cheesy or awesomely entertainingly cheesy. Of course, one of the two sucky songs, Kristīna Zaharova and Annija Putniņa’s “Angel of Mine,” did rather well in the voting, despite the fact that Kristīna and Annija were so flat during their performance that they could have been teenaged boys.
Our favorite number was Natalija Tumševica’s “Dynamite”:
Is that not infinitely bad-ass? S&M: love it! Also, how about that chorus: “She looks so good, you’ll take a bite/but she tastes like dynamite.” Plus the male dancers explode! This did make it to the “super final,” where the top three vote-getters from earlier in the night competed for the trip to Moscow. However, it finished a distant third to “Angel of Mine” and to the winner of the Latvian final, Intars Busulis’ “Sastrēgums”:
(This is actually a performance from the semis, but it’s a better quality video than any of the ones from the final available on YouTube right now.)
After hearing “Sastrēgums” the first time, Jen and I kinda looked at each other. We had no idea what to make of it. I liked it more at first than she did. It’s a bit proggy, not something you’d expect to see at Eurovision. As the evening wore on, and we heard it two more times, it did grow on us. Jen’s not sold on it as a Eurovision entry, but her opinion is that if “Dynamite” couldn’t go, she’d rather have “Sastrēgums” than “Angel of Mine,” which is so dire I’m refusing to link to it.
In addition to the local performances, the Latvian final featured two other Eurovision contestants: Poland’s Lidia Kopania with “I Don’t Wanna Leave” and Lithuania’s Sasha Son with “Love.” Son sang the song in English, and my concerns about it being translated from Lithuanian turned out to be well-founded. In particular, the chorus is just a garbled mess. I still want to like this one, though. When Jen heard it, however, she thought it sounded like warmed-over Alicia Keys.
Also, Kristina Zaharova performed “I Wish I Could Pretend,” which was the Latvian song that was entered into Ireland’s Eurovision competition. Now, we watched that show, and I don’t know why we didn’t pick this up then, but one of the lyrics to the song is “God, I wish we didn’t met.” Nice.
I’m assuming that Zaharova and composer Lauris Reiniks entered the Ireland competition because Latvia was considering withdrawing from Eurovision due to financial concerns. As it turns out, they made the right move when they had to choose between national finals. Although they were runners-up, they probably had a better shot at making it to Moscow as Ireland’s entry than as Latvia’s entry. It was a strong year in Latvia this year.
UPDATED: Here’s Intars’ video for “Probka,” the Russian translation of “Sastrēgums”: