ESC 2017 Review: Latvia – Where We Draw The Line

Supernova is usually one of my favorite events out of the national finals and while Latvia’s winners deserved to win, they didn’t really beat anyone to do it making me feel like Latvia could have been holding back on us.

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: Latvia
Artist: Triana Park
Song Title: Line
My Ranking: 20th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 1st Semi Final
Final placement prediction: 12 of 26

Latvia is the second Baltic to have won Eurovision. Their winning entry is absolutely of another, bygone era. That said their 2002 winning entry “I Wanna” has one of the most clever costume changes and employs it several times for many different people on stage which clinched them the win and since then it’s been a hard road. When Latvia qualifies they tend to do pretty well (including a few top 10s in there) but they also had a 6 year streak in the middle where it was no qualification city. Worse yet, the last two years when they qualified were under one song writer, Aminata, who led Latvia to 6th and 15th place in the finals. So this year not having her sends Latvia back in to uncharted territory and very possibly straight towards an NQ. I also have to say that Supernova, Latvia’s national final, was really disappointing this year. If it wasn’t for ad break beaver I would have said I should have never watched it. #adbreakbeaver #latviaforever

The winners of Supernova were absolutely the right pick out of the four finalists and they are the band Triana Park. This was their 6th time entering in to Supernova so finally all that hard work paid off. With two albums and over a dozen singles they’re a band that’s been around almost a decade making music together fairly successfully in Latvia. The band makes electric pop funk according to them and they didn’t expect the song to be a success nor were they intending to take it to Kyiv. I think that shows in a way as it’s not exactly the usual Eurovision fare and it’s not quite as polished as a song as many of the others.

“Line” in a high energy pop punk-ish song. It’s lyrics are really simple and repetitive. Sometimes I’m in the mood for that and I find the song really catchy and end up jamming along to it but sometimes I find it very grating which is why I don’t think this is going to spell a win for Latvia. The band is absolutely a live stage band, somehow the recorded version of this song not only features worse vocals but also weird composition and arrangement changes I hope they don’t make on stage. Having seen the band preforming at the pre-parties now the singer, Agnese, doesn’t come alive unless there are people she can see cheering. While that shouldn’t be a problem at Eurovision, it’s certainly going to affect how well she can rehearse for the show itself and could cause a trip up during the semi final.

The staging at the national final was fun, like a teenager goths bedroom and a rave had a baby. A lot of people have joked that Latvia liked Germany’s set up last year so much they decided to do their own version of it and I agree to some extent. If they go with this staging again they’re absolutely sure to stand out but since Germany was so misunderstood, I’m not sure how they’ll be perceived. My worry is that because the staging has to be somewhat rigid due to placement of cameras and the fact that a live show has to run perfectly when it’s being aired live for 100+ million people that we won’t get to see the band really turn it up. At Supernova the band was free to move around and really interact with the energy of the crowd but at Eurovision they might get stuck in one place and it might tank the performance.

The vocals are very on and off and while I do think they will qualify because of the “funness” level of the song and how easily understood it is and how unique it is, I am stating to second guess ranking it so high during the final. I might do a revised version of my final predictions after I see the rehearsals and I expect this song to really be a mover and shaker on that list.

At least for now, I draw the line here.

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