Wiwi Jury: MADARA is our favourite to win Latvia’s Supernova with “Esamiba”

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In just a few hours, Latvia’s Supernova 2018 kicks off with its first semi-final. Ahead of the contest kicking off, the Wiwi Jury has been reviewing all 21 competings songs. Now it’s all said and done, we have our winner: MADARA, with “Esamiba“!

Latvia’s “epic cello girl”, as she’s been described, took the win with an average rating of 7.79. In her Supernova debut, and with a song unlike anything Latvia has sent before, will MADARA take the victory?

Wiwi Jury: Supernova 2018 Reviews and Rankings

1. MADARA – “Esamiba” (7.79)

The best: In the last couple of years, it’s become clear that you don’t have to conform to regular pop music to do well at Eurovision — or even, to win. Latvia have flirted with the idea of doing “something different” over the last few years, but entering “Esamiba” would be their most daring entry yet. If Madara can perform this live with true gusto, then I wouldn’t dare them to send anything else. (Chris, 9.5/10)

The worst: “Esamiba” reminds me of “Blackbird”. It’s the kind of song that works as an intimate listening experience on headphones. But songs like that never do well in the context of a rowdy arena setting or watched at home in boozy viewing parties. It seems like a misguided attempt to follow in the footsteps of the 2017 winner, but Latvia should be doing their own thing. (Robyn, 6/10)

2. Laura Rizzotto – “Funny Girl” (7.46)

The best: I really enjoy the dark picture that Laura is painting. It’s edgy and Laura exudes the sass that the lyrics convey. Lyrically, the song could use with some minor tweaks to make it a bit more coherent. In its current state though, it’s still a very respectable entry. There is a lot of potential for Latvia here. (Antranig, 9/10)

The worst: Now this is a dark horse! Before Supernova, nobody had heard about a Latvian born, Brazilian girl who sings better than most of the local stars. Unfortunately, whilst the song is good enough to reach the finals, it means her fanbase in Latvia is close to nothing. It isn’t also the most engaging song throughout. (Edgars, 5/10)

3. Markus Riva – “This Time” (6.88)

The best: Throw on the tank top, grab some tissues and let’s cry together in the club! Markus may be emotionally torn, but he sounds so smooth, sexy and in control — I’m ready. The chorus is big enough to make this memorable but sufficiently reigned in so that it doesn’t lose its touch point with this ultimately tender dance song. Markus is moving from aspiring pop star to proper artist. (William, 9/10)

The worst: There’s nothing particularly exciting about this entry. There’s a decent beat and a good pre-chorus, but the rest is just background music and too many lyrics. Seriously, too many lyrics. It even becomes slightly irritating, especially since it starts to repeat in the three minutes. (Luis, 5/10)

4. Edgars Kreilis – “Younger Days” (6.79)

The best: “Younger Days” sounds very current and could do very well at Eurovision. Some of the lyrics are very clumsy and they would need to be tidied up if this took to the stage in Lisbon. I also believe this needs a more powerful final chorus to really hammer it home. Ultimately, this is far from perfect…but has all the ingredients to be Latvia’s best choice. (Antranig, 8/10)

The worst: You can assume what Edgars tried to do here is to go with the tropical summery dance vibe that it’s in right now. At the same time, he wanted to write a dreamy pop song about running away with his sister. It’s a really sweet idea. But it’s not catchy or energetic, and the lyrics are way too weird to get into. It really misses the mark. (Natalie, 3/10)

5. Katrine Lukins – “Running Red Lights” (6.67)

The best: Last year Katrine Lukins stood out – even if she placed last in her semi-final. But this year, she has a much better song and one of my favourites as well. “Running Red Lights is a modern song with a great beat and ultimately is very memorable. (Lukas, 8.5/10)

The worst: The song starts and you think this could be a really powerful dramatic pop song. But the longer it goes on, it just doesn’t get quite get there. It’s pretty much 100% chorus, and it’s not really even a memorable or catchy one. The tired metaphors get in the way of the music and I still can’t quite grasp what the song is about, or what she even means. (Natalie, 5/10)

6. Ed Rallidae – “What I Had With You” (6.38)

7. Monta – “1000 Roses” (6.25)*

8. Sudden Lights – “Just Fine” (6.25)*

9. DVINES – “More Than Meets the Eye” (6.17)

10. In My Head – “Sunset” (6.04)

11. Agnese Stengrevics – “You Are My World” (6.0)

12. Ritvars – “Who’s Counting” (5.75)

13. Katrina Gupalo & the Black Birds – “Intoxicating Caramel” (5.67)

14. MIONIA – “You” (5.46)

15. Lauris Valters – “Lovers Bliss” (5.29)

16. Liene Greifane – “Walk the Talk” (5.25)*

17. Rahu the Fool – “Oh, Longriver” (5.25)*

18. Hypnotic – “Pray” (4.92)

19. Jenny May – “Soledad” (4.88)

20. Kris & Oz – “Morning Flight” (4.46)

21. Riga Reggae – “Stop the War U2″ (4.08)

*Ties broken by preferential vote

We revealed yesterday that Markus Riva was your favourite in our Supernova 2018 poll. MADARA finished second in our poll, and it looks like it could be a close battle between the two.

You can watch the first semi-final of Supernova 2018 tonight from 20:30 CET, live on LTV’s live stream. Who do you want to see qualify? Let us know in the comments below!

Read more Latvia Eurovision news here