Ronny and I will be taking you through all that is A Dal 2018, the national selection for Hungary. It’s a similar format to previous years; there will be 3 heats of 10 acts with 6 going through from each to 2 semi finals with 4 going through from each of those to a grand final which will be held on 24 February.
The first 5 qualifiers in the heats are selected by a 5 person jury (which includes a Danny DeVito doppelgänger) with the 5th jury member being the public vote. There is then a “runoff” round of public voting for the remaining acts to select an additional qualifier which gives us the 6 to go through to the semi. Easy huh. Just wait till we try to explain the grand final voting.
So I had the “pleasure” of getting up at 5:30 on a Sunday morning to watch the first heat. The stage was a forest of LCD screens and Freddie of “Pioneer” fame from the 2016 ESC was a co-host. I’m happy to report he remains easy on the eye, his eyebrows are still as caterpillar’y as ever and there was no awkward stomping in sight. Haha.
And now to the acts themselves:
1. LivingRoom - “Kirakat élet” A little bit Maroon 5-esq. The lead singer looked nervous and didn’t really connect with the camera. Coupled with quite simple staging it was all a bit underwhelming. Score: 8-7-7-7-7=36 (did not qualify)
2. Tamás Vastag - “Ne hagyj reményt” A song with likability that builds but then disappoints when it just goes back to the beginning. The background graphics were good but Tamás was dressed like a wedding singer and his feet seemed glued to the stage floor. Score: 7-7-7-7-8=36 (second chance qualifier)
3. Noémo - “Levegőt!” It’s a sweet song but another one that was just too underwhelming. Very timidly performed and for a song about air she seemed to run out of puff by the end. Strong fringe game though. Score: 7-8-9-8-7=39 (did not qualify)
4. Leander Kills - “Nem szól harang”
A heavy, energetic performance. Sure it was rock by numbers with the staging but it worked. And the lead singer dressed as a priest was a nice touch, lol. Probably an assault on the ears for many though. Score: 9-9-9-9-8=44 (equal first qualifier)
5. Zsolt Süle - “Zöld a május” Look, at least he tried. It’s a ballad that harks back to earlier times. I found it to be a snooze-fest but Zsolt appeared to wake up the jury who gave some surprisingly good scores. Score: 8-10-10-9-7=44 (equal first qualifier)
6. Gabi Knoll - “Nobody To Die For” She has a husky voice that didn’t quite hold up during the live performance. The song itself is repetitive and doesn’t really go anywhere but it’s alright ;) Staging was the most adventurous of the night where Gabi starts off standing on a giant projected disco ball and then later busts out the steel drums. Score: 8-9-9-8-6=40 (5th qualifier)
7. Fourtissimo - “Kisnyuszi a kalapban” They call their style “electro swing” and we’ve all seen this before - think the UK’s Electro Velvet in 2015 ESC. The lead singer sounded a bit flat during her performance and the jury agreed to the disappointment of the fans. Score: 7-6-6-6-8=33 (did not qualify)
8. Ceasefire X - “Satellites” A nod to Charlie Puth and probably my favourite song from this heat. The studio version was good but as I suspected he struggled to deliver the vocals live, especially at the start where he unusually chose to sit in a plastic chair on stage. Score: 8-9-8-8-8=41 (4th qualifier)
9. Viktor Király - “Budapest Girl” You really need a sick bag with these lyrics but it was saved by Viktor’s sweet vocals and a good chorus. Score: 9-9-8-8-9=43 (3rd qualifier)
10. Patikadomb - “Jó szelet!” A late replacement for the band “The Matter” who withdrew for personal reasons. A cute “teenager” type song that turned into a bit of a hot mess on the stage. Score: 7-7-6-6-7=33 (did not qualify)
Overall, not a bad heat and for mine “Satellites” by Ceasefire X looks to be the strongest chance of going all the way.
The 2nd heat is to be held on Saturday 27th January….over to you Ronny.