The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — is travelling around Austria in the lead up to Wer singt für Österreich 2016 on February 12. Today, we travelled to the city of Innsbruck in western Austria, where we tried our hand at some of our favourite sports from the Winter Olympics. After one too many falls on the ice, we called it a day and sat down to review our next song — Lia Weller with “Runaway”. Are we hearing her calls to stay — or are we running away? Read on to find out…
LIA WELLER – “RUNAWAY”
Antranig: Lia has a lot going for her — an amazing voice, a powerful song and an entry that is very different to the rest of the Austrian field. I really like this for about two minutes but it doesn’t carry the same strength all the way through. I don’t think it would be memorable enough for Eurovision but she’s definitely one of the best Austria has to offer.
Bernardo: I know Eurovision national finals are saturated with ballads, but I can’t help falling in love with them. “Runaway” is my absolute favorite this year. Lia’s voice is compelling and on point and “Runaway” builds quite nicely to the big climax. Nothing new here, but it’s charming and real. Lia, you go, girl!
Chris: Finally, a good singer matched with a good song in this Austrian final. “Runaway” is hardly breaking the Eurovision mould, but Lia’s voice alone is enough to carry this song. If she can deliver that emotion in her vocal live too, then this is the song that probably should go to Stockholm.
Luis: Well, this is good! Lia’s voice is great and she puts a lot of sentiment on her song which is, unfortunately, not in the same level as its singer. I fear this act has left it all to the staging: if Lia’s performance is as good as the studio version, she’ll focus all the attention on her and the song will be less important, a bit like Ruth Lorenzo in 2014. Whether this is enough for winning a National Selection or not is another thing.
Mikhail: This is just an ordinary ballad. Those “STAY!” screams are annoying. They rush through the ozone layer and bump right into your ears. And after giving you a terrible headache, Lia tries to bring you down even more with her “Run, run, run”.
Patrick: This is big! Looking at Austria’s history in Eurovision, we tend to send ballads and this might be the next one. Sometimes we just go melancholic and love hearing ballads with a glass of wine by the fireplace. Cheesiness aside, this has potential and it even makes me a bit teary. Beautiful girl with beautiful lyrics and a beautiful melody. Ah, we will never get rid of the beauty of ballads!
Robyn: I don’t normally like songs like this, but I can appreciate “Runaway”. It’s definitely one of the better songs in WSFÖ this year. The song’s melody brings in some pop styles that help lift it beyond a typical piano ballad. Lia’s only job is to make sure her piano ballad imploring a lover to “stay” doesn’t make listeners think too much of Rihanna’s take on the subject.
Sami: There’s always a place for ballads in Eurovision, but in order them to do well, it really has to have something to make it stand out from the other ballads and incredible singers. Lia has a good voice, but vocally she is far from Austrian Eurovision divas such as Nadine Beiler or Conchita Wurst. A country like Austria, that doesn’t have that many friends to vote for it, needs something to really stand out and therefore this wouldn’t be the best choice for them.
William: Normally songs this stripped back don’t appeal to me. But Lia tugs on my heart strings and she doesn’t let go. Her gritty voice carries emotion so well. At times when she says “stay” I feel myself welling up. There is shape and ambition here, all held together by a master vocalist who seems to feel every note and lyric. As she moves from defeat to emancipation to freedom, I can’t help but cheer her on. Sister slays.
In the Austrian Wiwi Jury we have 15 jurors, but only have room for 9 reviews. The remaining 6 scores are below.
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 5 and a high of 8.5.