Ten acts turned up to the second heat of Hungary’s s A Dal 2016, Central Europe’s premier Eurovision selection show. We saw men in top hats (Maszkura és a Tücsökraj), singers dancing in the rain (Gergo Oláh), others covered in temporary neon tats (Kallay-Saunders), male popera stars (André Vásáry) and harpists grinding to dubstep (Passed). But in the end only six could advance to the semi final. You can find out who made the cut below, followed by our instant reactions to the live performances.
A Dal 2016: Second heat qualifiers
The jury’s top 5 acts advanced to the final. They were led by Hungary’s Eurovision 2014 act Kállay Saunders, who is here competing with the Kállay Saunders Band. The public were then asked to vote to save one of the five remaining acts. That honour went to A Dal 2015 breakout stars Passed.
1. Kállay Saunders Band (41 points)
2. André Vásáry (39 points)
2. Gergo Oláh (39 points)
4. Laci Gáspar (37 points)
5. Karmapolis ft. Böbe. (36 points)
6. Passed (34 points) — saved by the public
7. Maszkura és a Tücsökraj feat. Siska Finuccsi (32 points)
8. Patai Anna (32 points)
9. Group’n’Swing (31 points)
10. C.E.T. (27 points)
Kállay-Saunders Band – Who We Are
Covered in temporary neon tats and rocking leather pants, Kallay-Saunders was clearly feeling subversive. “We are strangers in this life, we are rebels in the night…and it feels so right,” he sang. The song had grit yet it somehow felt familiar and flat. He sounds great, but the song just doesn’t live up to the highs of his Eurovision 2014 number “Running.” Not my favourite of the night — and certainly not my favourite of A Dal 2016.
Jury points: 41
Gergo Oláh – Gyoz a jó
If this contest were about staging, he’d be my number one. He wore a gaudy floral vest which ultimately matched the digital garden of roses that surrounded him. A garden needs water and he got it courtesy of some pipes in the ceiling. The Turkish sound was surprisingly intoxicating.
Jury points: 39
André Vásáry – Why
A song in two parts, this starts off seriously sombre and I’m left reaching for the anti-depressants. The tempo picks up, but sadly the mood really doesn’t. At times I feel like he is shouting at me. Singing about how miserable the world is tends to have that effect on the listener. “I dream of a place where love can’t be erased” — spare me! Love will start when you stop shrieking. At this point popera is starting to feel a bit cliché at Eurovision. You have to do it extremely well or you’ll pale in comparison to Malena Ernman, Il Volo, etc.
Jury points: 39 points
Laci Gáspár – Love and Bass
I’m trying to look past the bedazzled shoulders on his shirt. And when I do I hear dated, cheesy funk with an awful spoken-word-bridge. Bad idea as it takes the song from bad to worse.
Jury points: 37
Karmapolis feat. Böbe Szécsi – Hold On To
This act feels like a polished version of Passed. They take a lounge-y sound and make it feel a tad more mainstream. The lead singer sizzles and her bald electro-drummer knows exactly when to do his thing. That said, Passed’s entry has more life and passion, which makes “Hold On To” seem somewhat clinical in comparison.
Jury points: 36
Passed – Driftin’
No one makes the harp more sexual than Passed. Their number “Driftin’ smouldered as the lead vocalist brought emotion, drama and a smokey-as-hell voice: “If I saw you driftin’ in slow motion, I’d be lost in emotion.” Me too, babes. I was floored that the jury rated this mid-table.
Jury points: 34
Maszkura és a Tücsökraj feat. Siska Finuccsi – Kinek sírjam
The lead singer’s top hat and cane suggested something dated and weak and boy he lived up to that. This is like watered-down R&B with a splatter of spoken word. I can’t call this rap because it lacks any sort of drive. Pass the vodka — it’ll make this go by faster.
Jury points: 32
Anna Patai — Colors
When I saw her name I started craving Thai noodles. Sadly Miss Patai’s song wasn’t quite as delicious. The melody isn’t the most memorable and it hinges entirely on her energy and attitude rather than the music. That’s weird in itself as her delivery is raw and soulful while the lyrics are sickly sweet — “I can’t live without a kaleidoscope, colour in my life!” Not my cup of tea, but well done: She saves a mediocre song with her swagger. (It’s no wonder the judges kept comparing her to Christina Aguilera).
Jury points: 32
Group’n’Swing – Szeretni fáj
They went for an Old World jazz sound, combining her sultry vocals with a piano and a bit of brass. At times the male vocalist looked cray, but hey — who doesn’t like a bit of passion? Not the most current arrangement, but that’s not the point. They did their genre and they did it well, even drawing comparisons to great James Bond songs of the past. But please: ditch the electric guitar. This isn’t FiK.
Jury points: 31
C.E.T. – Free
Did he borrow Robin Stjernberg’s choreographer from Malmö? This was very avant-garde and full of falling bodies. They cranked up the LED with this one — very Matrix — but not even that could distract me from the dodgy vocals. Halfway through the song he ripped out his earpieces — and he looked distressed — suggesting he was having major technical issues.
Jury Points: 27
Since their 2011 comeback, Hungary has reached the Eurovision grand final every year. Kati Wolf, Compact Disco, ByeAlex, Kállay-Saunders and Boggie all made it. This year the country wants to send a winner. Did we see one tonight?
What do you think of the result? Did your favourites qualify? Let us know below.