Early this morning the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals—caught a bus to San Marino where we strolled its medieval alleyways, photographed ourselves on its scenic terraces and drank way too many aperol spritzers in its many jazz bars. Then we sat down to review Valentina Monetta’s Eurovision 2014 song “Maybe”. Did we shed a tear thinking about how much Valentina has improved since 2012? Or were we left consoling her after she read our reviews? Read on to find out…
Wiwi: Valentina knows how to bring the drama. Her breathy vocals and her luscious spoken-word segment elevate this from soppy ballad to something that’s powerful yet quiet, moving but measured. I love it. Three years ago she barely spoke any English. Today she manages to tell a story about failed love—and redemption—in English that we can digest. The hope that things might work out for her protagnoist is born from the memory of falling in love. As she says: “Maybe it’s a journey in the darkest night/ Maybe we can make it to the morning light/ Maybe this is it this is real and I feel this is right/ Finally right /And maybe/ The courage that I’m finding now/ Remembering and sensing how/ We fell in love.” It makes me think back to when we first fell for Valentina…
Francheska: I know that a lot of people are disappointed by this year’s entry, but I am pleasantly surprised. I thought that Siegel and Monetta were going to try to do something that stuck very closely to the frame of “Crisalide”. It’s smart, charming, and it delivers with nuance. In many ways, it is dramatic like Crisalide. The perfect music video would’ve been Valentina on a lounge sofa in a draping Greek goddess gown with a bright red apple in her hand amongst other fairy tale references (Valentina, if you ever need to do an over-the-top music video, NOW’S YOUR CHANCE YOU CAN THANK ME LATER). Molto bene!
Vebooboo: Now anyone who follows this blog knows how much we love Valentina. She embodies everything good about Eurovision — purity, dedication, and personal evolution. This competition has literally redefined this woman, transforming her from a local teenage hip-hop wanna-be to an internationally renowned, English-speaking diva. “Maybe”, however, does not make best use of the beauty that is Valentina. It showcases Valentina’s vocals to some extent, but the drama just isn’t there the way that it could have been with a jazz number. We were hoping for the Rona Nishliu of 2014 in Valentina but I’m afraid this song just doesn’t give her the loudspeaker to break any glass in Copenhagen’s arena. Girl, I am PRAYING that you make it through. But if not, you better freaking come back next year and sing some jazz!!!Score: 6/10
Bogdan: At first, I wasn’t sold on “Maybe” because I compared it with Valentina’s previous attempts at Eurovision. Judged separately (and after repeated listens), I see the many merits of the song. It has a certain nostalgic vibe that will appeal to a certain age bracket (Hi mom!), which would have only been enhanced if Valentina had kept it in Italian. “Maybe” will struggle to stand out from all the ballads in the first semi-final. However, Valentina deserves to see the Grand Final stage, if only for her devotion to Eurovision. Let’s just hope her live performance will be better than last year!
Angus: There’s a pretty sombre tone to ‘Maybe’ that wasn’t present amid the relentless hope of ‘Crisalide’ and the bubble gum pop of ‘The Social Network Song’. It reflects Valentina’s maturation as an artist but also that La Republica, like Andorra and Monaco before it, is beginning to accept that microstates just don’t qualify to the Grand Final in this century. That’s a shame. ‘Maybe’ is not the song ‘Crisalide’ was, but that isn’t a bad thing. The spoken middle 8 is inspired and it is more immediately catchy than its Italian predecessor. The raw emotion is also more engaging. If her stars hit the right alignment I think Valentina could slip through the net and into the Grand Final with ‘Maybe’. The lack of assumption and vulnerability on show demonstrate that.
Billy: Will it be third time lucky for Valentina Monetta? No. Her entry is far worse than last year’s “Vola”, which I loved. As for “Maybe” we have heard generic music like this a hundred times before at Eurovision. To make matters worse, this entry doesn’t really suit Valentina. I may love the singer, but I just don’t like the song…
Deban: Team San Marino is a powerhouse. Mauro Balestri is an acclaimed poet and a meditation guru. He is responsible for penning the reflective lyrics of ‘Forse’, which offer a direct translation in English. Ralph Siegel, the composer, requires no introduction. His 40 years of Eurovision participation boasts an impressive catalogue of hits. The star vehicle for this project is San Marino’s most famous personality, Valentina Monetta. Valentina’s artistry spans jazz, swing, bubblegum pop, blues, and spoken word. As demonstrated in interviews, she is a lovable character. Furthermore, she soldiers on with a track that encapsulates the meaning of love and life, whilst fully committing to her third appearance with tenacity and determination. ‘Maybe’ this is the entry that’ll transform all their hardwork into gold.
Katie: If I see another “Will San Marino make the final this year? Maybe!” tweet or comment, I’m gonna punch my laptop screen. Eurovision isn’t Eurovision without Valentina gracing the stage so it would be really nice for her to make the final this year, she’s worked hard for it. Unfortunately I don’t like her song very much. The way she says “Mayyybbbeeee” sounds creepy and the song isn’t much of an improvement on “Crisalide”. I think a lot of people feel obliged to like it as Valentina is such a well-known Eurovision veteran, but it’s really nothing special.
Padraig: Valentina Monetta must be fuming. Last May, she was all set to be the biggest curiosity of 2014 – the first 3 in-a-rower of modern times. Then Conchita was announced and stole the oddity crown. But as we all know Valentina is a fighter, so herself and Ralf Siegel locked themselves away and produced a Bond-worthy ballad detailing her struggles and heartbreak. Valentina had her sights set on the Grand Final. Her movie-esque ballad was destined to soar above the rest. However, unbeknownst to our San Marinese heroine, deep in the Austrian Alps a similar concoction was being formulated – “Rise Like A Phoenix”. Both songs are dated, but Conchita’s has the edge, and due to the obvious similarities it will overshadow “Maybe”. Poor Valentina, foiled yet again by Wurst. On the plus side, she’s performing in the first semi, meaning that casual viewers will not have seen her Austrian nemesis and therefore, be unable to draw comparisons. There may yet be hope for our Val.
Zach: Valentina was put in a very awkward position after this past year, how to top public favorite “Crisalide” in her third attempt at the final, and despite other people’s opinions, I think this will be her year. “Maybe” is a lot slower, and is best described as a song you’d hear in a stereotypical Italian movie. And I think that will help her a lot. This song is in her best vocal range, and the slow pace will place most of the emphasis on her vocals, which being as good as they are leads to more jury votes, which is her best ticket into a final spot. The song has an odd lyrical delivery, but the lyrics themselves are actually really pretty and meaningful, could do with less “Maybe” utterances. Singing in English will help with televoters as well I feel, maybe people will just vote for her to see San Marino qualify for once.
All 19 members of our jury rate each song. However, we only have room to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining nine scores.
James L: 5/10
Maxim Montana: 10/10
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 3 and a high of 10.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 6.82/10
You can check out our latest Eurovision 2014 reviews and rankings on the Wiwi Jury page. You can keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.