Joci Pápai has won A Dal 2017 and will represent Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest with his song “Origo.”
Pápai is a Romani musician who participated in the 2005 edition of the Hungarian talent show Megasztár. He has since put out a number of singles, including a 2015 collaboration with A Dal 2017 judge Caramel.
A Dal is one of our favorite national selections, and we followed it from the quarterfinals. “Origo” is the song we were rooting for all along. It is a gorgeous melody with a hook you remember, and it stood out against the more commercial entries on display. It was also the rare song in this year’s national selection that united the judging panel and the Hungarian televote. This is another number that we have high hopes for at the Song Contest.
We were concerned during the early stages of A Dal that Pápai looked too nervous to really perform the song. He only got comfortable during the rapped verse. In the final, however, we thought his performance came together. We could see a repeat of that in Kyiv, where nerves that are on display in the Semi dissipate during the Final.
As a side note, Good Evening Europe has a lovely interview with Pápai where he talks about the significance of a Romani-Hungarian musician representing Hungary at Eurovision. A must-read for Eurovision fans.