After sending the more sedate ByeAlex to the Contest last year, Hungary picked Kállay-Saunders to represent them in Copenhagen. Will “Running” keep them in the running for the prize this year?
Hungary’s Eurovision Song Contest entry last year, ByeAlex’s “Kedvesem”, really surprised me, but not for good reasons. At the end of their semi-final, I was confused how their sleepy little song actually qualified to the final; by the end of the competition, I was surprised it hadn’t placed last. This year, the Hungarian people have spoken and chosen Kállay-Saunders’ “Running” to represent them in Copenhagen. How does it compare? Let’s take a listen:
I’m really liking Hungary’s choice this year. Kállay-Saunders’ singing is soulful and engaging throughout, and the melody keeps you hooked to the end. The one quibble I have with the chorus is that the sudden electronic back beats make it seem as though someone has cut and pasted in the dance remix of the song. There’s also the content of the song itself – the lyrics (and official video) make it clear that this is a song about escaping abuse. Not that Eurovision can’t deal with Big Issues, but “message” songs tend to be a tougher sell.
That said, the staging of this song is perfect, and I hope to see it continued on the big stage at Copenhagen. Kállay-Saunders sells his presence as a singer, and the abstract dance/piano playing by the remaining players on stage highlights what the song is about without shoving it in your face. I think the prospects for this song are good come the first semi-final; we’ll see if Europe agrees with me come May.