On Saturday afternoon they enjoyed some casual interviews inside Riga’s Crystal Club, revealing the stories behind their Eurovision 2017 songs while serving face for our cameras.

And when the sun went down the acts participating in the Eurovision Pre-Party Riga 2017 took to the stage to deliver some truly sizzling performances.

Latvia’s Eurovision 2016 star Justs reprised his entry “Heartbeat” and his latest single “Message To You”. And Eurovision 2004 winner Ruslana performed her number “Wild Dances” and a series of other tunes from her 2004 album. But the highlight of the night for Eurovision enthusiasts was hearing this year’s acts sing live — in many cases for the first time since their respective selections. So it’s time to watch Belarus’ Naviband, Czech Republic’s Martina Barta, Latvia’s Triana Park, Norway’s JOWST and Poland’s Kasia Mos one more time and sound off on who impressed you the most.

It’s not the easiest decision! Every single one of these acts grew on me tonight, owing to consistently strong vocals and infectious energy. The venue was perfectly sized — small enough to feel intimate, but big enough to bring out the best in the performers. It was a cauldron of energy and it was most definitely hot.

Belarus’ Naviband

They were already my favourite act from Belarus ever. And tonight they cemented their place as one of my personal favourites of 2017. They have undeniable chemistry and playful and endearing personalities that suit each other so well. Their song is cheerful and uplifting, and the cry of hey hey is pure joy. Last month I worried this may get repetitive, but it still hasn’t. And vocally they sound better than ever. Some fans ask whether it’s a matter of making the final or not making the final. But increasingly I see it as a question of “making the Top 10 or not making the Top 10?”

Czech Republic’s Martina Barta

I hadn’t heard her sing live before and I was pleasantly surprised that she came close to matching the quality of the studio version. Standing tall in a pair of vertiginous stilettos she was literally on point — see the photo here — and oozed an understated sass (which was more full-blown when she covered “All About The Bass”). Martina’s performance was subtle and thoughtful. I like her song and think she owns it. But the final minute really dragged for me. Hopefully innovative staging and LED effects will give it a bit more dynamism in Kyiv. Regardless she’s a real stunner. Get it, girl.

Latvia’s Triana Park

They’re probably the most physically attractive collection of Latvians we’ve ever seen in one place. The commentary in the press box was as much about their physical assets as it was about their thoroughly contemporary track. Angese looked like a harajuku girl who got lost in south-central Los Angeles and got her hair did before throwing down at ‘da club. I’m not sure what that means, but the point is that most of us can relate to her in some way. Her smoky vocals oozed sex as she connected with the crowd who happily bobbed along to this funky, electro ditty. She’s the girl next door who will kick your ass and we just love her (and her boys). Their performance at the national final was already on acid. Throw in Eurovision-sized LEDs and we are in for a trip.

Norway’s JOWST

If you close your eyes and listen to singer Alexander speak, you’ll hear Måns Zelmerlöw. I’m not kidding: Press play and try it now. In any case, this also grew significantly for me. It was already contemporary and on-trend and they were worthy winners of Norway’s MGP. But something about this performance clicked more than the one in Oslo. It may be the fact there isn’t that purple overlay effect on screen, which I found somewhat distracting in the national final. This performance was much more about Alexander’s voice, which is somehow strong and tender at once. I’m not feeling the DJ’s mask — too Silence of the Lambs — but no matter. This made me move!

Poland’s Kasia Mos

Fog delayed her arrival, forcing her to miss the afternoon press session. But Kasia more than made up for it when she appeared on stage, hitting note after note. She stood in front of a simple Polish Flag video…but she still managed to convey the drama and mystery of her song “Flashlight”. She doesn’t need an oversized LED to slay! When we spoke with her afterwards she told us she was dedicating her song to persecuted animals around the world. And you get the sense she really believes it as she seemed to pour all of herself into this. Emotional and vocally sound from start to finish, this woman lives for music and her music is making us live! Folks who wrote her off need to grab an eraser fast.

Eurovision Pre-Party Riga 2017: Who was your favourite?

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Joe Black
Guest

Polegend Godgarina

Bring Back Denise
Guest
Bring Back Denise

Elijah, there’s a Million “videos” where some kid has just slapped together a bunch of clips from a list of songs. If your lucky they even put in two lines of text about the song. Boring. The only interesting videos are where someone has actually given it some thought and talks about the songs….but thats just way too hard for most people

Jane
Guest
Jane

Last year I was supporting Iveta. This year my country brings Kasia. Beautiful women with powerful songs and strong voices. I’m so happy to hear this kind of music on ESC. Good luck!?

Amor A.
Guest
Amor A.

Naviband all the way! I love these two! Their positivity, joy, musicality and the will they, won’t they vibe of their relationship.

LjupcoMKD
Guest
LjupcoMKD

I seriously do not understand the great fuss about Kasia from Poland. True, she is a good singer indeed, but her vocals are not standing out at all in “Flashlight”, for the composers did a grave mistake by having the chorus in a lower key than the verses. Right in the moment when she is ought to explode vocally, she goes in her lower register and is not very impressive. No one praises Martina Barta’s vocal execution, which I believe is better than that of Kasia. However, when it comes to vocals in 2017, I believe Jacques Houdek and Anja… Read more »

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

Ruslana is not an ESC act but she impressed me the most. she won ESC in 2004, 13 years ago and today she’s fit, energetic and optimistic about this even more than ever! I wish we can see more famous pop divas partying (actually working for us to enjoy) like there’s no tomorrow 🙂 we already saw Naviband and Kasia in Ukrainian selection where they slayed. It’s hard to compare and say if they improved because of the pre party format. I liked it, espessially Naviband with their famous “Hug Me”. I love this song and it’s great to hear… Read more »

Colin
Guest
Colin

Poland is becoming one of my top favorites to win the whole thing. Kasia has the whole package – Voice, song melody, lyrics, stage presence, looks and personality. Everyone was good, but I had to vote Poland and Norway. Norwegian song is also growing on me very much. Belarus is so cute too, though.

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Just a few comments on the performances: 1 JOWST – My opinion about this song didn’t change. It sounds exactly the same as when I saw it in the NF. Beautiful voice, not a fan of the song. 2 Kasia – I had no doubt she’d slay! Her voice is stuning and the song is amazing! 3 Martina – definetely better than the studio version. Sometimes you have to watch it live to get it and Martina is excellent live! I just love her voice! 4 Navi – Such energy and so lovely people! I am not a fan of… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Triana Park were the best performers imo. Very entertaining. I don’t think all of them “brought their A-game”… Martina Bárta’s awful rendition of Lana Del Rey’s Young and Beautiful will haunt me for a few nights.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

@mocosuburbian: Thank you, are here is Nathan Trent’s performance last night: https://youtu.be/X16kCrRiiqU To be honest, both him and Levina looked like they were lip-syncing anyhow. @Kris: Well… that song did bother me, because purple was ignored! :I But purple mask’s existence in real life pre-dates this decade (and it was also a 1955 film with Tony Curtis!) 🙂 Online I think it started last year, yeah. 🙂 I don’t think real masks are allowed at the London Eurovision party audience; this is not November 5th! So I may have to be unmasked for the event, which ironically will make me… Read more »

Elijah
Guest
Elijah

Check out the “Ultimate Eurovision Compilation” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebqaQCS2M8Q sorry not sorry for using epic unironically and ad whoring but i put effort in this.

HBau
Guest
HBau

In terms of the one who most improved my opinion of them… gotta be Naviband.

#WhereWeDrawTheLine
Guest
#WhereWeDrawTheLine

Triana Park’s Agnese is really charismatic and energetic on stage. Her vocals are unique and powerful. The song is modern and it works in the rave and on the radio. Kasia’s voice is powerful, beautiful and bold. Her song is also powerful, but still touching. Martina’s darker, soulful voice sounded amazing. Her song is absoulutely amazing, it’s beautiful. She means every word, she sings. Naviband has so much energy and happiness around them. Their song is so up-lifting and joyful. JOWST’s Alexander’s voice is so soft, so smooth. It’s honey. Their song is modern, different to other contestants this year.… Read more »

Diva Fan
Guest
Diva Fan

Line is a really catchy song and I keep listening its MP3 version, but they are really bad when it comes to live performance 🙁

(J)ESC Fanatic
Guest
(J)ESC Fanatic

William is right, Alexander’s voice is so similar to Måns’!

Aline De Kegel
Guest
Aline De Kegel

None, all of the performers there have no chance to be in the top 10.

(J)ESC Fanatic
Guest
(J)ESC Fanatic

Poland and Belarus. The guys from Belarus constantly look so cute and happy and I love Kasia’s personality and voice.

Team Ruslana
Guest
Team Ruslana

@ Maclaren – ”Hope the London party will properly launch the preparty season”

Do you think that Cafe de Paris from London has a better stage than Riga???
Emperor’s new clothes.

Marco
Guest
Marco

Queen Ruslana <3

NOR LAY
Guest
NOR LAY

Norway had the best song (up to date), the best voice by far.

Kris
Guest
Kris

Also Jon Ola Sand in an interview with DR said:
“He supports Ukrainian laws banning Julia.
But in the spirit of the contest he will and has requested the Ukrainian Prime minister to enforce Yulia’s Ban after the Eurovision Song Contest in May gets over.

Also he said the poor organization in Ukraine still gives him anxious moments and he ‘hopes’ they will give him a good show.

Also DR said ‘Denmark can be a place where we have unity across borders unaffected by politics’

Aline van Rossem
Member

Latvia ????

Kris
Guest
Kris

@Purple Mask
Did you hate Slovenia’s entry last year??
She sings ‘How can I mix blue and red together?’
And you name yourself ‘Purple’ Mask!!

Pavel
Guest
Pavel

1 JOWST – okay-ish, the mid 8 is good
2 Kasia – the singer’s too shouty, yawn
3 Navi – the song is too repetitve, even a bit annoying
4 Triana Park – not good enough in the live singing department
5 Martina – nice singer, but the song goes nowhere to be honest

esconly
Guest
esconly

Martina slay!
Should qualify…

Voxtaylor
Guest
Voxtaylor

Kasia was my fave, with Marta coming second. Marta has my favorite song out of these (followed by Triana, but they didn’t blow me away in this live performance), so she had an edge. JOWST was my third favorite, very energetic with a good voice.

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

also @purple mask austria performed in the same show
apparently it was like a 1v1 battle and nathan somehow lost to levina lol

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

i didn’t know i was a navi stan until now, their attitude is always so infectious

i wish the crowd had been more responsive 🙁
still it looks like everyone had fun

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

And also, Levina was on in Germany last night as well.
Here is hers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-OzCpfnHWo

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Hopefully I got the 2nd link correct this time…
Alma singing the 1965 song “Poupée de cire, poupée de son.”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uEVDMlqFkw

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

(Sorry I posted something with an incorrect link. I will amend it below:)

I don’t know if people know this or not, but Alma (France) apparently performed at the HIV-action “Sidaction 2017” event last night as well, and sang both “Requiem” and the 1965 winner for Luxembourg “Poupée de cire, poupée de son.”
Interestingly, the “Requiem” performance was entirely in the original French version (with no English), was slightly lower in key, and had some choreography behind it.
Link to Requiem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgpskxGmn5w

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I don’t know if people know this or not, but Alma (France) apparently performed at the HIV-action “Sidaction 2017” event last night as well, and sang both “Requiem” and the 1965 winner for Luxembourg “Poupée de cire, poupée de son.”
Interestingly, the “Requiem” performance was entirely in the original French version (with no English), was slightly lower in key, and had some choreography behind it.
Link to Requiem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgpskxGmn5w
Link to the 1965 song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgpskxGmn5w

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Oh no! William doesn’t like the mask!! 🙁
Anyhow… in my opinion, Kasia Mos was in a different league to the others. She’s breezing through to the Grand Final, and getting vocally stronger with every performance. Well done all though. 🙂

Colin
Guest
Colin

The only minor criticism I’d have is Martina’s accent. With Kasia, Alexander and Agneze, you cannot tell English isn’t their first language when they are singing. Martina has a great voice, but judging by the way she pronounces ‘turn’, for example, you can tell she has an accent. Again, this is a minor issue, it’s far from bad. I remember a girl last year in Romanian NF and she was completely unintelligeable. Martina is good, but her English needs more practice till May.

Colin
Guest
Colin

Honestly, I think all five did great! It is very hard to choose. Kasia is so angelic and powerful. NaviBand creates a unique magic on stage. Alexander’s voice is so naturally smooth. Triana Park is very energetic. Marta has a great live voice. It is a matter of preference, but they were all good.

Edd Keith
Editor

Belarus and Latvia won by a MILE <3 (unless I can choose Ruslana?)

Maclaren
Guest
Maclaren

Where is my ‘none of them’ option in the survey? Let’s be honest, none of these participants are going to shake the ground in Kiev. These are five middle to bottom part of the table acts and they did nothing special in Riga to change this opinion.

The staging options in Riga remain brutally simplistic; the audience is as unenthusiastic, somnolent and placid as before. No wonder only five acts showed up. Hope the London party will properly launch the preparty season

Donna Vey
Guest
Donna Vey

Belarus and Latvia steal the show for me 🙂

Hope you guys had an amazing trip 🙂

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