This morning the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of music unprofessionals—gathered in Wiwi’s dreary basement to review Romania’s cheery Eurovision entry “Zaleilah.” Some of us got up and danced. But one of our critics had to leave the room to find some painkillers. Uh, oh. Scroll down to read the reviews that tore the Wiwi Jury apart…

Wiwi: I fell in love with this song the moment I heard the bag pipes swell at Romania’s national final. The opening bars bring a smile to my face, fulfilling Eurovision’s mission to be Europe’s Joy Factory. In a year of “we’ve heard it before” ballads and screeching dirges, this is a blast of sunshine. If you read the English translation of the lyrics, you’ll quickly realize that the upbeat rhythm and enthralling sounds of “Zaleilah” match the song’s storyline. It’s about a woman deeply in love with her “chocolate boy.” We don’t know if this refers to someone who is merely sweet, or to someone who is of African descent. But it doesn’t matter because “you touching me and kissing me makes me want to dance/ I’m so happy, I can shout out loud.” The English-language chorus is slightly mangled, but the intended meaning comes through. “When you love you say, everyday, everybody” should be read as “when you’re in love, say it everyday and tell everybody.” How can you criticize a message like that?

Score: 8.5/10

Vebooboo: Any country that can afford to shoot its preview video in Dubai takes Eurovision seriously, and it’s not a surprise that Romania has stepped up to the plate yet again with another fierce song. This nation may be poor, but it is rich in Eurovision talent. Good stage presence, decent voice = great potential for a Top 10 spot. The dance is a bit confusing to me, but who cares…

Score: 8/10

Mandinga: Romanian music with Cuban roots

Meows Kitty: I got excited during the intro of this song when it started with the marching band drums, a bagpipe and an accordion. But when the singing began, it all went a bit mediocre and the singer looked out of place in this otherwise quirky ensemble. The song itself isn’t too hard on the ears. The accordion base reminds me of “Zorba’s Dance” — that repetitive clubby song which went viral during the late 90s before everyone got really sick of it and it was never played again…

Score: 6/10

Deban: When Wiwi emailed me urgently asking for a review of the Romanian entry, my first thought was ‘wait a minute, haven’t I sent it already’? Romania is one of the entries I anticipate most every year, so, in my headspace I was convinced I’d reviewed it, and probably liked it. Well, I was wrong!

On watching the video again, I realised that I had clicked out after a minute, and moved on to something else. Watching it for 3 consecutive minutes was cringe-worthy. I felt I needed added inspiration to resume the task at hand. Elena Ionescu comes across as a Bollywood courtesan cashing in on desert trade. Mandinga as a backing band is totally dispensable, and although they all play different instruments, cohesion remains a secondary concern. In an age of minimalism, they proudly exhibit an inability to edit. There are so many ideas in “Zaleilah.” So much so, it collectively reads as noise. Furthermore, the catchy chorus isn’t so catchy once the song is over.

However, this isn’t a universal problem. Fusion sounds make remarkable Eurovision moments. Some of my favourite entries have been from Blue Café (Poland 2004), and Jessy Matador (France 2010). However, the deathly ingredients here are the overdose of seduction, the clash-clash of ideas and direction, the lack of originality, focus and identity and…wait for it…the meaningless of it all. “Zaleilah” means nothing!!! Without a shadow of doubt, this is Romania’s worst entry to date.

Score: 2.5/10

The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 6.25/10

related posts

Total
82
Shares
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
trackback

[…] international) fan base. It boasts 12 original songs, including their Eurovision hit “Zaleilah,” a 6-minute bonus track remix, as well as three “back to basics” […]

trackback

[…] can’t get Loreen’s “Euphoria” out of our heads. Unless we put on Mandinga’s “Zaleilah” or Valentina Monetta’s “The Social Network” (that frequently results in […]

Christian
Guest

I miss playing with fire. I could go to Romania only on the back of that song.THAT song blew me away.

MikeT
Guest

The rehersal version is in danger of getting over-choreographed,they should do it like
this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWWWgfvDB7Q, unleash the crazy accordian guy
(and the bagpipes!).
Accordians are big in Romania right now, check this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvzNPWyIBuM&feature=relmfu by the great Denisa Raducu, composer Costi Ionita who wrote Zaleilah.

trackback

[…] Tags: Mandinga, rehearsal, Romania, Zaleilah Wiwi: Romania remains one of the favorites with the Wiwi Jury, and Elena is still the front-runner in the race to become Eurovision’s Next Top Model. So […]

Christian
Guest

No need to get personal. Relax folks it is just a 3 minute pop song. If you like it or not is irrelevant. This website is an exchange of reviews and opnions.I can agree or disagree but that is only a matter of taste.
It is great that we all have different taste. If we all agreed on what we like it would be dull and no need to even hold a song contest with 42 different songs and styles. It is ok to disagree but no reason to get personal

MoMo
Guest

Okay so this song, is a fraud. and I’ll tell you why.
The first 13 secs are pure excitement; the build-up for what you expect can only be American-style step dancing.
But then there’s the pipes, the dance beat, that voice and god-awful writhing and you can’t help but think this is the Rednex’s “CottonEye Joe” gone wrong. Really wrong.
Why does an attractive woman have to try to hard to be sexy during such a busy song?
I. Can’t. Deal!
It’s a trainwreck and I must agree with Deban. So, fans, please take your earplugs out and watch the video ah-gain!

trackback

[…] staff. She proves that Romania can be radiant, and she has all of Europe singing “Zaleilah.” She is Elena […]

trackback

[…] Read the Wiwi Jury’s review of “Zaleilah” […]

Remi
Guest
Again Deban, very harsh remarks, it definitely isn’t as bad as you make out……you need topping up on your prescriptive eardrops; Ouch! ”How dare moi”, you’ll say. On a very unbiased note though, I assess songs and their performances based on what I hear / see and not what I expect to hear or see. Therefore, based on what I can hear and see, Romania is indeed rich in Eurovision talent. Even though the performance was a bit too over-the-top sexy, as if it was going to be out of fashion anytime soon, she still however managed to capture the… Read more »
Brendan
Guest

Romania!!!!!!!!!!- is going to cause me to have a car accident, everytime it comes on when Im driving my ass just goes with the flow – just love this song. Deban SHAME on you lol

Zolan
Guest

Promising start, then urgh. Everything fits together harmoniously, it just doesn’t sound like anything but a clamour of beach party soup. There are distinct parts, but they are so compatible as to be variants of each other. It has no contour to prevent it collapsing into a painful memory blob of accordistomp when it ends. Needs to stripped right down instrumentally, with fewer lyrics to make space for stronger and more convincing differences just to be tolerable.

trackback

[…] as a single competitor, and Wiwi’s readers clearly like the selection. From the “Chocolate boy” Elena Ionescu sings about in “Zaleilah” to the sexy man in spectacles, these guys prove […]

Nicol
Guest

I love it! 🙂

trackback

[…] Ionescu is the perma-tanned star of Romania’s Mandinga. Tulisa Contostavlos was the star of British hip-hop group N-Dubz. But is it possible that these […]

Neil
Guest

Don’t know what the song is about but it’s catchy, rhythmic and with flashes of sexy people, it has to be in the top 10.

trackback

[…] because his back-up vocalists and instrumentalists did not submit complete portfolios. Elsewhere, the men of Mandinga will compete as one person. Collectively they have a lot of style and a complete […]

trackback

[…] of the Wiwi team—has come under attack from some of you on our comments page over his review of Romania’s entry “Zaleilah.” Wiwi, Vebooboo, and Meows Kitty all gave the song […]

dia
Guest

Zaleilah – it’s a dance !!! It’s not just a meanless word !!

anya
Guest

@ Sean: 2.5/10? so you say the assessment is fair! wow!! (like in Inna’s song:)) what about a true assessment? like 7/10???

Seán
Guest

It’s better than some of the songs in the contest this year, but I still think there’s something in the performance that just does gel. (Folk band + leather cat suited woman maybe?)

I’ve only played the song a couple of times but am already bored by it, there’s nothing special in it. So I am not a extreme as Deban but I think the assessment is fair.

anya
Guest

Francisco dear, the Russian entry is pure JOKE! The Romanian song is way better than lots of crappy participating songs…I know the bookies never loved Romania but Russia 2nd place in the odds?? come on…I consider only Island, Spain and Serbia better than the Romanian song…Zelailah is PURE JOY and it will do very well in the actual contest!! Mark my word dear…

SMM
Guest

Deban is right about this one; shit song.

Richard
Guest

Another superb Romanain entry – for me they are one of the most consistent countries every year and this year’s offering is no exception. Very typical of Romanian dance music, instantly catchy, great beat and very danceable.

Not quite sure what they are doing in the middle East shooting the video but they seemed to be having fun whilst making it and who am I to deny them such pleasure. Let’s dance!

I think Deban just likes to be contrary…!

Melissa J
Guest

Romania= land of epic music mixed with accordions. (Akcent’s “That’s My Name”, Edward Maya’s “Stereo Love”, and now this! LOVE IT!)

It certainly is one of the entries that stands out more. I’m hoping that gives it an advantage. And it’s just so happy! You can never go wrong with marching snares, bagpipes and accordions.

Nathan
Guest
Well, it is my turn to give this song preferential treatment. I traveled through Romanian for two weeks last year and I loved it. I loved the people as well. And Vebooboo youre right, for shooting this video in Dubai they deserve MUCH more than 2.5 which Deban is giving. Deban, what are you thinking? If I had a bit more time on my hands (which unfortunately I do since I am recently unemployed), I am going to go back and see your scoring for every entry. 2.5? Wiwibloggs –when you guys have finished reviewing all the songs, or even… Read more »
Nirgal
Guest

You know the world is doomed when somebody apologizes for writing wrong your name, but not for telling you go kill yourself.

b
Guest

Deban, you can keep your opinions for yourself because thay are shit!

ana
Guest

* deban, sorry. :))

ana
Guest

doban, go kill yourself. 🙂

Miss saHHara
Guest

Typical Romanian music, i like it, she looks like Tulisa from Xfactor, i dont see it winning though.

Nirgal
Guest

Must admit I love it… for completely the wrong reasons. The complete nonsense of it, the bad English, the BAD Spanish, and above all, the fact that they sing it like it was the most awesome thing ever.

Tom
Guest

First three judges have solid arguments. But Deban? Seriously? 2.5/10? OK, everyone have their own tastes, but a thing should be judged by general characteristics, not by your own tastes. I know what I’m saying, for instance I don’t like Norway’s entry but I must admit it’s a good one. Anyway, good work Wiwi Team. Lovely site 🙂

M
Guest
I think best shot at Eurovision Romania had in 2010 with ‘Playing with fire’. In my mind that was a winning song and the fact that Lena won that year is an example that this competition is both unpredictable and many times unfair to the singers/countries that perform. I don’t think Romania’s entry this year is necessarily a winning song, I preferred other entries in Romanian selection, but on the other side 2.5/10 from Deban is a bit harsh compared with other marks he gave (and his comments about Russia – give me a break! OK, respect for the old… Read more »
francisco
Guest

What an atrocious entry! It is appalling in every possibly way! It’s so tacky, I know Eurovision has never characterised itself for its good taste, but this is taking the piss . The lyrics are idiotic, the music is trite, the choreography is non-existent…awful!. It looks like an advert for some sort of refreshing beverage extended into a song. Bleurgh…Watch the Russian entry instead, much more fun!

Denis
Guest

Why is a Romanian entry singing in Spanish? I don`t get it??? Not my cupa tea anyway… Good looking bunch though 😉

stephen
Guest

Not bad at all much better than the beautiful song. Again not a winner song I will give Romania 7/10 for trying.

trackback

[…] Me” (6.5) 9. Denmark: Soluna Samay with “Should’ve Known Better” (6.25) 9. Romania: Mandinga with “Zaleilah” (6.25) 11. France: Anggun with “Echo (You and I)” […]