Wiwi Jury Romania 2018 Rafael, Mihai, Jukebox feat. Bella Santiago

The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — is in Romania judging the 15 finalists of Selectia Nationala 2018. We continue with the three qualifiers who won semi-final 2: Rafael & Friends, M I H A I, and Jukebox feat. Bella Santiago. Will we agree with the Romanian jury, who picked them for the National Final? Let’s find out!

Rafael & Friends – “We Are One”

“We Are One” reviews and rankings

Antranig: This is cheesier than the dairy section of your nearest supermarket. Lyrically, it is a generic Eurovision peace anthem with no subtlety. We’ve all heard this a thousand times before. Musically, it bounces between a few genres without finding a home in one. It is an enjoyable song to listen to once or twice but it has no staying power and no potential to succeed at Eurovision.

Score: 4/10

Bogdan: “We Are One” reminds me of the typical Eurovision songs at the beginning of the ’90s. Rafael, otherwise an iconic name in Romanian rock, does his best to shine, but the hopelessly dated sound, the repetitive lyrics, and the static, outdated and unimaginative staging don’t do him any favours. The only redeeming quality of the song is that it’s shorter than the usual 3:00 minutes.

Score: 4/10

Luis: *says ‘Oh, for God’s sake’ in Romanian*. Why does anybody think this is good enough to qualify for the final of Selectia Nationala 2018? Dated, dull, uninspired, love-love-peace-peace-y… Listen Romania, the best thing you can do with this is placing it dead last in the national final and we can all forget it snuck in.

Score: 1.5/10

Sebastian: Eesh, bring out your parents’ lighters, y’all. “We Are One” is Meatloaf covered in Romanian cheese. Cringe, repetitive and straight from the bargain bin of the 1980s, the only redeeming feature is the lead singer’s braid. A government inquiry should seriously be launched into how this made it through to the final.

Score: 1.5/10

In our Selectia Nationala Wiwi Jury, we have 8 jurors but only room for 4 reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:

Anthony: 2.5/10

Barnabas: 5.5/10

Jonathan: 3.5</10

Robyn: 4/10

 

 

Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 1.5 and a high of 5.5.

Wiwi Jury Verdict: 3.25/10

M I H A I – “Heaven”

“Heaven” reviews and rankings

Anthony: Sending a returning artist after a successful Eurovision debut is always a risky gamble. In M I H A I’s case, this would surely put Romania’s 100% record to the test. “Heaven” ends up sounding like a flimsy version of “Beautiful Mess”, which doesn’t help bring out his evergreen vocals. I’m still left waiting for M I H A I to recapture his “Tornero” glory days in the 2010s — if not 2020s.

Score: 6/10

Barnabas: “Tornero” was a club banger and a huge hit back in 2006, but honestly I’m feeling like Mihai’s songs are getting worse every year he tries to return to Eurovision. If the actual heaven is like this song, I’d rather stay alive. Mihai, come up with a proper song or give up. We do have ears.

Score: 2/10

Jonathan: Despite all of M I H A I’s Selectia Nationala appearances, there always seems to be something missing that prevents him reaching the heights of “Tornero”. While this time his songwriters have obviously been inspired by “Beautiful Mess”, it nowhere near lives up to the Eurovision 2017 runner-up. Kristian’s performance worked because he put emotion and soul into it. M I H A I just seems to be singing it for the sake of it, with the main aim being to show off his vocal range. This lack of emotion subsequently exposes the song, which is repetitive and uninspiring.

Score: 6/10

Robyn: “Heaven” treads the same path that “Beautiful Mess” took, only with heavier footsteps. Where Kristian Kostov brought a youthful fragility to his performance, M I H A I brings an adult sledgehammer. As likeable as M I H A I generally is, it’s hard to relate to him singing “Heaven”. It’s not helped by the obnoxious background graphics of the angel wings, suddenly popping up like an unwanted erection.

Score: 5.5/10

In our Selectia Nationala Wiwi Jury, we have 8 jurors but only room for 4 reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:

Antranig:  5.5 / 10

Bogdan: 7/10

Luis: 5/10

Sebastian: 5.5/10

 

 

Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 2 and a high of 7.

Wiwi Jury Verdict: 5.58/10

Jukebox feat. Bella Santiago – “Auzi cum bate” (Hear It Beating)

“Auzi cum bate” reviews and rankings

Antranig: This is promising. The dramatic performance in Romania would look even better in Lisbon on a larger scale. The song itself is a little repetitive but enjoyable, with lots of energy. My only criticism is that Bella seems to carry the song with her vocals and her performance and if you want to produce a successful Eurovision duet, both halves of that duet need to shine. If they can iron that out, this could win the Romanian selection.

Score: 7/10

Bogdan: A strong entry with an equally powerful message, this has become one of Romania’s frontrunners for Lisbon, and I wouldn’t mind it if it won Selectia Nationala. Onstage, both Alex and Bella pour their heart (ahem) into it and give life to the song. Their performance overshadows the song’s few misgivings, like the awkward bridge. But I’m nitpicking — “Auzi cum bate” would be an interesting choice and a respectable entry for Romania.

Score: 9/10

Luis: “Auzi cum bate” is a bit repetitive, a bit cliché, and Jukebox and Bella overact a little bit. However, everything is in the right measure, and it makes it bearable and enjoyable. There’s a lot of power here, and their voices blend together fabulously. Romania should have better options than this, but sending them would be totally respectable.

Score: 7/10

Sebastian: Packed to the brim with drama, “Auzi cum bate” is the dark underside of 2017’s happy-clappy “Yodel It!”. The two incredible vocalists give it their all. The performance itself feels authentic, explosive and powerful, and would benefit strongly through the big staging of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Score: 7.5/10

In our Selectia Nationala Wiwi Jury, we have 8 jurors but only room for 4 reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:

Anthony: 7/10

Barnabas: 7.5/10

Jonathan: 7.5/10

Robyn: 7/10

 

Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 7 and a high of 9.

Wiwi Jury Verdict: 7.25/10

SEE OUR LIST OF ROMANIA 2018 RANKINGS HERE

FOLLOW ALL OF OUR ROMANIA EUROVISION NEWS HERE

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AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Rafael & Friends: Repetitive and forgettable. Not a fan. 4/10
M I H A I: I really like him as an artist and want him to go to Eurovision some time. But I don’t think it’s the right song. It’s modern and showcases his great voice, but it’s overproduced, it doens’t have a peak and reminds me a lot of Bulgaria 2017. 6/10
Jukebox feat. Bella Santiago: What I like in this song is the language, the beat and the powerful performance. This has grown on me. Among the best in Romania this year. 7.5/10

AurelianTamisan
Guest
AurelianTamisan

We Are One – 4/10
Heaven – 5.5/10
Auzi cum Bate – 7.5/10

frenchbaguette
Guest
frenchbaguette

auzi cum bate is super and amazing ! it’s something we’ve never seen in eurovision mixed with things that does well in esc such as great vocals :p plus it’s in romanian !

Max
Guest
Max

Sorry, but I can’t understand what others see in Auzi cum bate. I find it sounds dated and awfully incoherent and unmelodic. The live singing sounds pressed and the performance looked quite messy. It’s more trainwreck than favorite to me.

eurovision6
Guest
eurovision6

“Auzi cum bate” should win this year, Romania could be top 10 with it..

James
Guest
James

I’m for at least one of my faves to win Selectia Nationala, one of them being Jukebox and Bella.

James
Guest
James

*hoping for at least.

Seems like not all of the words I type make the final cut whenever I post my comments.

Kris
Guest
Kris

Auzi cum bate:7/10
Heaven: 6/10
We are one: 3/10

up!
Guest
up!

“If the actual heaven is like this song, I’d rather stay alive”

🙂 haha, well said :-)…

beni
Guest
beni

Luis: “Auzi cum bate” is a bit repetitive, a bit cliché, and Jukebox and Bella overact a little bit. However, everything is in the right measure, and it makes it bearable and enjoyable.

I wonder if is Luis Fuster, the wiwiblogger that writes those very cheesy articles about Spanish duo.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

All members of the Wiwi Jury are valued for their contributions and bring different perspectives and musical tastes to their reviews. 🙂