Watching Supernova this year was like going to an ultra-hip Riga night spot. The show was packed with dance club bangers and was kept moving with an in-studio deejay. Of course, most night clubs don’t have detailed discussions about each anthem’s viability with general audiences throughout Europe, but no matter: it was our happening and it freaked us out.
Then Carousel hit the stage and we knew they were totally going to win.
Sabine Žuga and Maris Vasilievsky formed Carousel in 2015 and first gained wide exposure in Latvia this December at the annual Pasaka ziemā concert, which had a promo video that featured “That Night.” The pair participated in last year’s Supernova as well: Maris co-wrote Ritvar’s entry “Who’s Counting,” which featured Sabine on backing vocals.
“That Night” is a moody, country-tinged ballad with aching lyrics and melodies full of longing. The staging featured a black and white filter with splashes with color that we’ve seen a few times this Eurovision season (Alekss Silvers even did it in the first Supernova semifinal), but Carousel’s use was subtle and effective. Sabine is a striking and telegenic performer who can draw viewers in.
Going last at Supernova felt like a distinct advantage for the duo. Save for a moment featuring a charming madman in a kilt, there had been a particular sameness to the choices on offer to Latvia. Carousel’s song and performance stood out, as did their stillness. It felt like they were in control of the evening
We’re saying a lot of nice things here, because on paper and in context of Supernova, this is a solid entry. But it doesn’t really wow us. If we were in Nashville attending a show at the Bluebird, we’d dig it. Sitting in the first half of the draw in the second Semi and at the mercy of the producer’s running order selection? We’re less confident it will grab people’s attention.
But we hesitate to count them out. Who knows what they will be up against on the night? We wouldn’t be surprised if they snag a Saturday night performance.