Romania (Semi Final 1) - Alex White

The first semifinal of Selectia Nationala took place in the city of Lasi and featured a new look and format for the national selection.

Gone are the small and amateurish looking venues and production elements. Instead, a fresher modern look has taken over giving this selection a bit of a futuristic vibe. Also gone the way of the past are the four semifinals with too many filler songs. Now, there are two leaner semifinals with more gusto and talent throughout.

In this semifinal, six acts out of the 11 semifinalists advanced to the final which will be held on February 17th. The top five acts in the jury vote advanced directly to the final while the remaining acts left their fate up to the televote where the top vote getter from the remaining acts also advanced.

Those acts were (in chronological order):

1.     Trooper – “Destin”: A mix of folk rock and Jacque Houdek, these rockers found a unique way to kick off festivities with a memorable and catchy anthem. ADVANCED VIA JURY

2.     Berniceya – “The Call: Destiny of Love” (no video link): A strange and all too jarring pop-opera blend which was strangely staged and performed. Off note sank this one from the get-go. ELMINATED

3.     Ommieh & Anakrisez – “Rock This Way”: A step down from the lead duo performances last year, this song felt like a bad High School talent show entry. That being said, Anakirisz showed potential for an entry in the future. ELIMINATED.

4.     Teodora Dinu – “Skyscraper”: Darkly staged and a bit generic, this song didn’t stand out initially. However, a competent performance and strong vocals compared to many helped this one catch the ears of the jurors. ADVANCED VIA JURY.

5.     Dya & Lucian Colareza – “Without You (Sin Ti)”: A intriguing euro-ballad sung by best of the duos by far. Some shaky vocals made an appearance but this solid pop ballad used its power to woo strong scores from the jury. ADVANCED VIA JURY

6.     Nicola – “Weight of the World”: While this was a catchy electronic dance track, the staging let this entry down big time. Perhaps some better attention to the details could have saved this song.  ELIMINATED

7.     Steam – “The Way it Goes”: As a rock entry deeper into the lineup, one would think this song would stand out. Unfortunately, the lead singer’s bare arms couldn’t save the band in the eyes of the jury or the public. ELIMINATED

8.     Vaida – “Underground”: The national selection veteran returns with a power ballad that calls back to the songs of Eurovision past. Despite being denied entry by the jury, Vaida won over the public in a landslide to earn a place in the final. ADVANCED VIA TELEVOTE

9.     Claudiu Mirea – “We are the ones”: My personal favorite of the evening. This singer-songwriter bop filled the in-person audience and the jury members with cheer. A catchy song that could surprise the favorites in the final. ADVANCED VIA JURY

10.  The Four – “Song of my Heart”: An early fan favorite, this performance was a complete mess. A possibly catchy song was marred by weak vocals and the female members seeming like a duo more than a quartet. ELIMINATED

11.  Bella Santiago – “Army of Love”: The favorite to advance, this catchy dance tune justified its hype with the most polished performance of the night. The strongest contender for Tel Aviv in this semifinal.  ADVANCED VIA JURY

Semifinal 2 of Selectia Nationala takes place on February 10th.