On Sunday, Romania‘s Selectia Nationala 2018 culminated with a nail-biting sprint to the finish and a surprising upset: The Humans beat pre-show favourites Alexia & Matei and Feli, grabbing the ticket to Lisbon and kissing their competition “Goodbye”. After the music stopped and the confetti settled, the two runners-up as well as other Selectia Nationala stars voiced their reactions.
The Humans won Romania’s National Final with 3277 votes, while Alexia & Matei got 3114 votes and Feli — 2862. Jukebox feat. Bella Santiago placed fourth with 1728 votes, while last year’s runner-up M I H A I finished in a surprising seventh place, with just 1165 votes cast in favour of his 2018 entry “Heaven”. All these acts had different things to say about the results. Let’s break it down!
Alexia & Matei: “We were not disappointed”
Alexia & Matei, who had been touring schools and high schools in various Moldavian cities prior to the National Final, were winners just two minutes before the voting lines closed. Literally at the last minute, The Humans came from behind to snatch that trophy, but the young duo were not disappointed. Alexia Urtoi told the press in her hometown Iasi:
Our target was to present a top quality show, to impress the viewers and to place ourselves in top five. We were not disappointed — on the contrary, we were extremely delighted that Iasi supported us, which was visible for 58 minutes […]. We will continue with our project Alexia & Matei, we want to release new music as soon as possible, and we won’t stop here, because this has only been the first leg of our musical journey.
We also spoke with Alexia immediately after the show ended, and she was ecstatic with the result. She told us that, while going to Lisbon would have been great, both she and Matei were overwhelmed by the public support with their performance.
Alexia & Matei won our poll as well, which is another testament to their fans’ dedication.
Feli: “Your song is awesome”
Feli also accepted defeat graciously. During the national final, the most famous act of Selectia Nationala 2018 asked the viewers to only vote for her if they liked her song “Royalty (Buna de iubit)”. When the votes came in and she placed third, Feli wrote on Instagram and on her Facebook page:
I think the favourite act tonight was music and, as always, the viewers’ opinion about it mattered. Music is also my favourite for life. I live for music and I make music with all my soul. Every moment of love, passion, sadness or joy turns into a song. Thank you everyone for your votes, encouragement, and reactions. I love you for listening to my soul sing. And bravo to The Humans! Your song is awesome and I can’t wait to listen to Romanian music again in Lisbon!
Bella Santiago: “I can’t explain the voting”
Bella Santiago, who competed with “Auzi cum bate” alongside Jukebox, took to her Instagram to voice her opinion about the result of the selection, during an Insta Live session on Tuesday. While she had words of praise for “Goodbye” and for the voice of Cristina Caramarcu, the lead vocalist of The Humans, the Filipina had doubts about the correct number of votes. While she did not say that the contest was rigged, she said that she could not explain the low number of votes after the heavy promotion Jukebox did for the song and the support “Auzi cum bate” had enjoyed prior to the final.
Beli was also surprised that Feli did not receive more votes, given her celebrity status in Romania and the positive message behind the song. With regards to the winning song, Bella said that she liked it, except for the first verse, where Cristina Caramarcu is forced to sing in a very low register.
In the same Instagram Live session, Bella told wiwibloggs that she was doubtful that she would return to Romania’s national selection, jokingly adding that she might try for Sanremo next year.
M I H A I: “There’s no way I got only 1,100 votes”
The artist formerly known as Mihai Traistariu gave a harsh reaction to his loss. After he finished seventh with 1165 votes, M I H A I took to Facebook to voice his disbelief. He first complained about the cold in Sala Polivalenta during the rehearsals and the show itself, claiming that the temperature in the venue for the first rehearsal was 8 degrees Celsius.
He also claimed that the voting lines were jammed, saying that he received print screens from fans who were unable to vote for “Heaven”. The singer, who has almost 200,000 followers on Facebook, found it improbable that only 1165 people voted for him.
I was not aiming for first place, but I mobilized exactly the same people who voted for me last year, and a few thousand more. And I strongly believed that we would easily get over 5,000 votes. Overnight, I received thousands of messages with “I voted 10”, “I voted for you from three phones, ten phones, etc.” I feel like counting every single one of them. Seriously! I really don’t believe that I only got 1,000 [votes].
Later on, he came back with a new message.
I’ve been thinking hard and I have two possibilities. 1. I will return to Selectia Nationala with an upbeat song, “helped” by a label, as many Selectia Nationala winners have done in the past. […] 2. I will participate in another country with a WOW song, be it slow or upbeat. And here I have various possibilities.
I am tempted to try in Moldova because they speak Romanian and I am terribly successful there. I am also tempted by Malta because “Tornero” was number one on their radios for six months in 2006. Plus, I was awarded a star on the Celebrities Boulevard in Malta and I went there to perform nine times. […] The only problem is that both countries will only allow foreign artists if they collaborate with a local singer for a duet. Which does not appeal to me in the slightest, because I would have to share the song.
One thing is certain: M I H A I has not given up his dream to win Eurovision one day. And while today he is debating which country he would like to bring the trophy for, the “Tornero” singer promises that we will see him again in 2019.
Other artists had less vocal reactions. Teodora Dinu thanked her team and her supporters, Xandra also thanked TVR, Dora was in disbelief at finishing above M I H A I. Claudia Andas said that she left home feeling like a winner and Rafael & Friends felt honoured to have taken part in the contest. Most singers praised the design of the stage, the sound and the way the National Final show looked on television.
What do you think about these reactions? Was there a problem with the voting lines? Or is Selectia Nationala less popular than the artists expected? Let us know in the comments!