Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — travelled to Latvia and visited the Riga Central Market. Inside the expansive market halls, we discussed Justs‘ song “Heartbeat”. Did we feel his rhythm? Or were we flatlining? Read on to find out!
Justs – “Heartbeat”
Bogdan: Justs was one of my faves from the very first listen of “Heartbeat”, and that was before I saw his handsome face. Unlike many Eurovision fans, I love the minimalist staging and apparent lack of choreography. But make no mistake. This is a mathematically calculated presentation, down to the clenched fist on “heartbeat”. Vocally it needs a bit more work, but otherwise Latvia’s entry is flawless and I see it very close to, if not in the top 3 in May.
Patrick: Latvia was close to a last place by nearly picking a bad bad song because of frustration. But Justs saved the evening and Latvia is going straight to the final again. Perfect voice, perfect styling, perfect tune (Hi Aminata) and perfect looks. I find it really unbelievable that the country found the way to do well after all those bad attempts. First Aminata, now Justs. I’m going to love this country in Eurovision more and more!
Angus: “Heartbeat” was the clear runaway winner at Supernova, but over the course of the season Justs has faded a little. The staging is cool, but the vocal becomes shouty and unlike Aminata, this is really lacking a mystique to make the pitch compelling. Latvia are surefire qualifiers but a second year in the top 10 seems less likely. Justs sings well and looks cute, but in the last minute the song just feels too noisy. Some restraint, which Aminata totally has history on, would do this wonders.
Deban: The production on “Heartbeat” is slick, and Justs cooks it right. Sparse but driven with heartfelt emotion, this contemporary take on a love song is juxtaposed with Justs’s vintage-esque vocals, and Aminata’s avant-garde production. A musical marriage made in heaven, and hopefully one that’ll be celebrated at the Eurovision finals.
Denise: The song is already really good, but Justs is making it even better. His voice is so raw and he hits every note. The staging in the national final was pretty simple, but it made Justs and his song stand out even more. Together with Aminata, it’s a killer combination.
Robyn: I love the minimalist arrangement of the song. It’s something that can only work with a strong singer and Justs more than delivers. While “Heartbeat” isn’t my top pick for 2016, I’m still getting a very strong #riga2017 vibe. What we saw at Supernova has all the ingredients for a killer performance in Stockholm. It needs work, but as Latvia showed last year, they know how to work it.
Edd: Another very respectable entry from Latvia, but I can’t see it following last year’s success. “Love Injected” achieved its big impact by having very quiet verses, followed a booming chorus of long, dramatic notes – neither of which are present in “Heartbeat.” Furthermore, Aminata was an Amazonian spider monster, whilst Justs is just a pretty guy in a leather jacket. Make the production less monotonous and give me a striking stage presentation, and I might justs be sold.
Judit: I know, I know, almost everyone went crazy about this song, and one of the reason was Aminata. Well, I didn’t like Aminata last year, so she’s not a reason why I would like this song. Justs has the potential. A good voice, and a good looking guy, but “Heartbeat” is not the most powerful song to me — mostly just OK. We’ll see how it can work on a big stage but he needs some powerful background to land in the top 10.
Mike: People who know me well will confirm I am one of Markus Riva‘s biggest fans and I really really do not like Aminata. But this year it was a close call between Markus and Justs as to who would be my fave to win Supernova. In the end I was happy with the result. The Baltic countries again in it to win it and Justs’ song is a likeable, quality song with a beat that just won’t leave your head.
Padraig: Justs is effortlessly cool. From his styling to his vocals, he tackles everything with such a smooth swagger that it’s hard not to swoon. And then of course there’s his striking blue eyes (be still, my beating heart)! But a Eurovision contestant is only as good as their song, and thankfully “Heartbeat” is up to scratch. Slick and modern, it’s got hit written all over it. The lyrics may veer slightly towards the derivative, but Justs’ delivery elevates the track sufficiently. His raw, raspy vocals just drip with emotion. If accompanied with some proper staging that can fill out the performance, Latvia could be up with the big boys once again.
William: I’m not wetting myself over this like the majority of Eurovision fandom, but I can appreciate its merits. Modern, edgy, Swedish — it has all the qualities of Aminata’s “Love Injected,” which makes sense since she wrote it. His gritty, smoky vocals kick ass in that chorus — and they sound as good live as they do in the studio version. But this ultimately leaves me kind of cold. It’s more mood music than main event.
Zakaria: I like Justs’ voice, I like the melody, I like the staging… but combined all together, I don’t like the final result. It seems to me Justs should be singing rock and the song would be more suitable for a female voice. Still it’s my favourite of the three Baltic countries.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 12 reviews. The remaining 28 scores are below.
William C: 3/10
The highest and lowest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average score. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 10.