First Listen: Lithuania Decides on a Duet “This Time”

Eurovision Song Contest 2015 (Logo: Eurovision)
Eurovision Song Contest 2015 (Logo: Eurovision)

Lithuania does not have a healthy Eurovision track record, and this year’s entry doesn’t hold much better promise. At least it’s not another mediocre ballad?

Lithuania does not have a healthy Eurovision track record. They first entered the contest in 1994, but earned the dreaded nil points in their first performance and didn’t take the stage again for five years. Since then, Lithuania has failed to participate twice more, and did not make it out of their semifinal round on five occasions (including last year’s Attention). When they have made the finals they’re not been much more successful. Lithuania placed 6th with the (hilarious) “We Are The Winners,” but otherwise have finished no higher than 13th, usually languishing in the 20s.

This year’s entry doesn’t hold much promise for a better outcome. Oddly, the national selection came down to two versions of the same song: a solo performance by Mia, and the eventual winner, the duet by Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila:

I can see what Lithuania is going for here; you don’t have to look closely to see the references to recent successful entries from Denmark and The Netherlands. Both of those countries had something this entry does not (yet): well-designed and compelling staging. Throughout their performance in the national selection, it looks like neither of the Lithuanian singers know quite what to do with themselves … well, except for that moment when they draw circles in the air while singing “round and round.” Which … no.

Another odd / disjointed moment comes as a result of the choice to make this a duet … Monika’s first stanza depicts how deeply she’s falling in love, while Vaidas’ stanza sounds like he’s not all that interested and can we please just put the brakes on this situation? Overall, I’m not sure I like Mia’s version better, but at least with one person singing, we get effective internal and emotional conflict. With two singers splitting stanzas the way they do, it’s a little bit more like “femalez be cray-cray yo.”

Last thing on staging: that kiss in the middle? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything more awkward on the Eurovision stage. And I’ve seen a lot of awkwardness on the Eurovision stage.

The song itself is musically unremarkable. It finds a nice groove to start with, but just stays there without any movement building towards a climax. In that way it also reminds me a bit of last year’s Maltese entry. “Coming Home” was a fine song and performance, but left nothing memorable behind and finished very near the bottom of the finals. I’m not sure what Lithuania could do to make this more compelling, especially since they seem to have been banking on this song for a while. At least it’s not another mediocre ballad?

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