The Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals—spent last night steaming in the saunas of the Szechenyi Baths, one of Budapest’s most popular attractions. After sweating it out we gathered round a cabana to review Hungary’s Eurovision 2014 song from András Kállay-Saunders. Did “Running” leave us breathless and in awe of Kállay-Saunders? Or did we just want to run away? Read on to find out…
Wiwi: Not every dance song has to be about love. In “Running” Kállay-Saunders tackles the difficult issue of child abuse. The stirring number gives trauma rhythm and reminds victims of abuse that there is a way out, even when those closest to you don’t seem to care. Backed up by strong vocals and clever production, this may be the first dance number that makes me move, but is also moving.
Angus: “Running” is dark, sweeping and a truly relentless composition. It easily straddles haunting mid-tempo ballad, dancefloor thumper and song of angst without breaking a sweat. It’s truly ruthless. After a taste of the Top 10 it’s evident Budapest have their eyes on the top prize and with András leading the assault they might just scale the summit. The only thing that might derail the song is the first jarring change from intimate and elegant electropop affair to unrestrained dance mayhem. After repeated listen the transition makes sense but in a Contest based on first impressions alone most won’t have that chance.
Billy: This is my favourite this year! I love the song, the music, the rhythm, and especially these touching lyrics. Child abuse as the theme of a song is highly unusual, but this entry presents it in the best possible way. I loved the video clip. But in all honestly his live performance at the national final really lacked something. I think Hungary will live up to my expectations, though, and finish in the Top 3.
Bogdan: András has brought a serious matter to the Eurovision table. As he revealed in our interview with him, “Running” was inspired by a friend’s traumatic experience as an abused child, and it’s a message for children to ask for help. It’s definitely a startling subject, bound to make or break Hungary’s chances to win Eurovision. Luckily, the song backs the lyrics and is just as powerful and thought-provoking, and the singer is enormously talented and charismatic. My only worry is that Europeans might overlook this dark song in a show that is regarded as a mindlessly fun adventure into pop. But I hope the juries will push András to the Top 5, where he belongs.
Deban: András Kállay-Saunders deserves a composer award for capturing social concerns with music, and engaging over 120 million viewers with it. “Running” may have a light R&B sound, but its delivery is deeply emotional, and the message within it isn’t shallow. Kállay-Saunders, who happens to be the son of a famous model and an accomplished musician, is using his new found fame as a musician to entertain, as well as educate. He found success with ‘Running’ at the A Dal. Hopefully, his important message will gather momentum on the big stage.
Katie: This song was definitely one of my early favourites! András’s voice is soooo good, not too shouty but not too mellow. The first time I listened to it, I wasn’t sure about the depressing lyrics, but they don’t make much difference to the quality of the song. The bridge blends the soft verses and the exciting chorus together perfectly, and I’m sold by the mix. It deserves moshpits in Copenhagen! I wonder what the song will be like without the video and on such a huge stage, but I’m sure András’s vocal talents will carry the entire performance. This is one of the most exciting songs going to Eurovision this year!
Padraig: I’m insanely jealous of András. Tall, dark and handsome, he’s the perfect man. And not only does he have a pretty face, he’s beautiful on the inside too. Together with his co-composer, he has crafted an R&B and pop tinged lament to a childhood lost to abuse. Through menacing beats, dramatic guitar riffs, and soulful vocals, we are subtly reminded of the tragedy at the core of “Running”, yet the temptation to scaremonger or preach is skillfully avoided. Inspite of the harrowing theme, there’s a happy ending as András sings “it’ll be alright”. Some may say the electro-pop sugarcoats and belittles a sombre topic, I think it just makes it more accessible to the masses. Well done, András!
Patrick: Last year the unbelieveable happend – 12 points for Hungary. I wasn’t really happy about that but this year I really hope it happens again. András Kállay-Saunders is one of the best singers that Hungary has ever sent. Everytime I listen to “Running” I get goosebumps but not the normal ones – these goosebumps hold on to me for a long time. My “douze point” goes definitely to him. Köszi Magyarorszag!
Sami: I loved A Dal this year and the final was amazing. Even though I cheered for Viktor Kiraly with Running Out Of Time, Kallay-Saunders was my second favourite. Even his voice doesn’t sound that well live, I love his voice in the studio version. The song is build very well – the verses are very dark but the chorus brings some light and hope to the story. I think it’s one of the strongest songs this year and it has big chances to win it all – and I would love it to win. Budapest must be beautiful city.
Vebooboo: I’m usually a huge supporter of any minority on stage, and I also know I’m about to get a lot of hate for saying this…but I just don’t really think this act is all that. It ain’t bad by any means, but it is not amazles. Why? Because the song does not build. Kallay has all the right materials — sultry, seductive looks and a voice as solid as his bulging muscles — but it’s like he forgot to build the 2nd floor of his apartment and decided just to stay on the ground floor. There are a couple of times where the song almost builds to a climax, but then it just stops and goes back to the basic refrain. Now, I usually love a tease, but at some stage we need to get it over with, and Kallay just leaves me groaning for more. But boo, this is Eurovision — you’ve got to finish in 3 minutes.
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.
Anthony: Score: 9/10
James L: 9/10
Maxim Montana: 10/10
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 6 and a high of 10.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 8.56/10
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.