ESC 2017 Review: Romania – Victory Yodel

I really wanted these two to win the Romanian national final and when they did and they were able to give a victory yodel, I felt it right in my heart.

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: Romania
Artist: Ilinca feat. Alex Florea
Song Title: Yodel It!
My Ranking: 7th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 2nd Semi Final
Final placement prediction: 7 of 26

Romania is always bringing the goods to Eurovision. One of the most quintessential Eurovision staples is Romania’s 2013 entry with Cezar’s opera gay space vampire thing. Romania is clearly full of vibrant, colorful, talented folks and M I H A I (who is still trying to reclaim his 2006 near-fame). Romania hasn’t yet been able to catch the brass ring but if anyone can do it, I believe it’s these two delightful kids. Romania could really use a win after some political strife at the beginning of the year and hot on the heels of the disqualification of their TV station last year which bared Ovidu’s “Moment of Silence” from being allowed at Eurovision. This year Romania got their financial house in order and then they delivered.

The chosen ones for Romania are Ilinca Băcilă and Alex Florea this year. I don’t even know where to start with this pair. Ilinca, 18, and Alex, 25, were both introduced to the world through Vocea României, the Voice Romania. Though they appeared in different seasons of the show and neither was able to claim victory both of them were known for being standouts on the show. Ilinca also was on Românii au talent and X Factor [Romania]. Ilinca has a true talent and that talent is yodeling. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise since the song is called “Yodel It!” but there it is. Alex on the other hand is known for rapping. So there it is, the fate the no one can deny, yodeling and rap together at last.

This is definitely one of those all or nothing songs. Either you’re delighted by how strange, wonderful, fun, and unique this song is OR you think this is a cheap gimmick, a piece of garbage, and poorly written music. I’m in the fun camp. I think it’s hard to appreciate this song unless you really know how truly difficult it is to yodel. Rapping is one of those skills I believe most people could probably develop fairly quickly. Yodeling is not. Switching between singing and yodel is even more difficult.

The studio version of this song is good but I think it can really only shine live. Ilinca and Alex are both a delight to watch, they have great stage chemistry, and they really enjoying preforming which is one of my favorite things. They look quite natural on stage and while they haven’t always figured out how to be in sync with each other yet, they absolute sell it. I think this is the complete package and I wouldn’t be totally shocked if this ended up #1 on the televote. I think it’s pretty obvious that the song is bonkers but I’m hoping the jury will understand the technical parts and appreciate all the work behind it.

The only other thing I want to touch on is the staging. At the national final and of course, live on tour, we’ve seen just the two of them on stage with very simple backgrounds and very true-to-them clothing. I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s hard to think of something you could put in the backdrop to a yodel-rap and because the pair are so animated by themselves I don’t think it’s worth doing. Anything that takes away from the raw energy and joy of the song is just going to be a disservice and knock the ranking lower. Unless Romania has literally come up with the best possible thing I think if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

I can’t think of a clever way to tie in yodeling to my outro.

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