Tonight the first semi-final of Selecția Națională 2019 take place, which will eventually decide who Romania will send to Tel Aviv. But who should get that ticket? The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has listened to the 24 competing tracks and narrow it down to our five favourites. Which songs caught our attention? Read on to find out!

Sebastian

1. Xandra – “Independent”

What. A. Bop. “Independent” is an empowering, textured track which wouldn’t sound too unfamiliar on an album by by Dua Lipa. And while a pop drop can be cheesy, this pop drop is dark, moody, ethnic and inviting. The potential for epic lighting and staging is there. Xandra just needs to be able to deliver the sass and the attitude to match.

2. Bella Santiago – “Army of Love”
3. 2 Gents – Ielele
4. Laura Bretan – “Dear Father”
5. The Four – “Song of My Heart”

Mario

1. Laura Bretan – “Dear Father”

It took me quite some time to decide my top five — which only speaks how strong this year’s selection is — but the America’s Got Talent veteran Laura Bretan had won me over with “Dear Father”. Unlike Romania’s last attempt at popera, the key here would be in its simplicity — no wackiness needed here! Laura’s vocals are pure magic for such a young age and it only adds to the gentleness and innocence of the song, which I’m sure will shine through during her live performance. Romania, don’t miss out on the chance here!

2. Vaida – “Underground”
3. Claudiu Mirea – “We are the Ones”
4. Nicola – “Weight of the World”
5. Bella Santiago – “Army of Love”

Antranig

1. Bella Santiago – “Army of Love”

There are a fair few (amazing) “Fuego” knock-offs in Romania. Bella’s “Army of Love” bears great resemblance to the Cypriot masterpiece and we will undoubtedly see many in the national final season. However, unlike many others, Bella Santiago has the vocals and the dance moves to sell her brand of “Fuego”. This is one of the best national finals in a long time, with more than ten songs which would make high quality entries for Romania. Having said that, Bella Santiago stands heads and shoulders ahead of the competition. The Tagalog rap bridge and Bella’s own personality give the song its own identity and credibility as more than just a discount “Fuego”. Xandra could challenge with her own take on “Fuego” but Bella should have the ticket to Tel Aviv and a spot in the Eurovision top ten.

2. Xandra – “Independent”
3. Teodora Dinu – “Skyscraper”
4. Letiția Moisescu and Sensibil Balkan – “Daina”
5. The Four – “Song of My Heart”

Julian

1. Linda Teodosiu – “Renegades”

I feel some Saara Alto “Domino” realness here! It’s such a mesmerising power ballad — one can hear that there is an expensive production behind the song. And what a beautiful singer she is! I remember when Linda took part in German Idol and back there she had such a nice voice. Now, 11 years later, Linda has gained even more experience and her voice is surely at its best. Romania has some good songs in their selection, but “Renegades” is a completely standout. Give her some strong-but-not-too-much staging and Romania will be back in the grand final again — and may even ending up in top ten!

2. 2 Gents – “Ielele”
3. The Four – “Song of My Heart”
4. Nicola – “Weight of the World”
5. Ommieh and Anakrisez – “Rock This Way”

Patrick

1. Laura Bretan – “Dear Father”

I knew right away who my favourite will be once the song started and I had goosebumps from head to toe! One could say “Oh, another opera-influenced song” — but no! It’s the power and the simplicity that Laura brings into the song with her standout vocals and the emotion that shines through. In a year that is predicted to be full of dance songs, Laura would surely stand out in Tel Aviv. And that is exactly why I support this act to the fullest!

2. Bella Santiago – “Army of Love”
3. Linda Teodosiu – “Renegades”
4. Olivier Kaye – “Right Now”
5. 2 Gents – “Ielele”

Barnabas

1. Steam – “The Way It Goes”

Have you ever imagined Muse doing Eurovision with a ska vibe? Romanians have certainly done, as Steam serves a bouncy piece of ska-rock about a very popular theme: being cheated on. And while the lyrics could be improved a bit, I can’t help but enjoy the music and obey my ears. Can this stand out in the sea of fan-favourite dance bangers and popera ballads (e.g. Laura, Bella, Xandra etc)? I really hope so.

2. Trooper – “Destin”
3. Ester Peony – “On a Sunday”
4. Olivier Kaye – “Right Now”
5. Laura Bretan – “Dear Father”

Robyn

1. Olivier Kaye – “Right Now”

I’m vexed. I don’t think there is one absolute stand-out song in Selectia Nationala 2019. Every entry has flaws — though some much less than others. But I’m happy with my top five and from that, my attention is drawn to “Right Now”. Thanks in part of Ovi’s songcraft, it’s a super catchy tune, while Olivier delivers it with energy and attitude. If this works out live, it could be a very smart choice for Romania in Tel Aviv.

2. 2 Gents – “Ielele”
3. Bella Santiago – “Army of Love”
4. The Four – “Song of My Heart”
5. Teodora Dinu – “Skyscraper”

Oliver

1. Bella Santiago – “Army of Love”

Before the wildcards had been announced, Selectia Nationala was a difficult competition to rank. However, with the inclusion of Bella Santiago into the mix, there was a clear favourite within my ranking. “Army of Love” follows a similar structure to “Fuego” but definitely brings its own flare and flavour, especially the rap in Filipino during the bridge. This doesn’t just apply something unique to the song itself, but also to Eurovision as a whole. Last but not least, the whole ensemble is tied together by Bella’s powerful voice, thereby making this entry a real force to be reckoned with.

2. Xandra – “Independent”
3. Laura Bretan – “Dear Father”
4. Linda Teodosiu – “Renegades”
5. Teodora Dinu – “Skyscraper”

Florian

1. Ester Peony – “On a Sunday”

What I like most about this entry is the way it keeps building up throughout the three minutes. It sounds different yet contemporary. Ester’s voice brings something very interesting to the table. It uses repetitive lyrics in a very clever way to keep the flow and make it memorable. Overall, this has the potential to stand out due to its originality and it is indeed very refreshing to find among lots of folky and uptempo tracks.

2. Bella Santiago – “Army of Love”
3. The Four – “Song of my Heart”
4. Xandra – “Independent”
5. Linda Teodosiu – “Renegades”

Pablo

1. Bella Santiago – “Army of Love”

There wasn’t much to write home for in the Romanian selection, so when Bella here came in and wrecked the competition, she faced little opposition. This song may not be an immediate hit, and may be easily dismissable because you think it reminds you of other songs (yeah yeah), but you’ll remember it and it will grow on you. It’s well arranged and has a Southeast Asian quality that we have yet to see. It’s crucial for her team to find a unique identity for the stage show. You got something unique, so don’t get “inspired” by other acts, but rather be an inspiration yourself.

2. 2 Gents – “Ielele”
3. The Four – “Song of my Heart”
4. Olivier Kaye – “Right Now”
5. Steam – “The Way It Goes”

What do you think? What are your favourite tracks? Would should represent Romania at Eurovision 2019? Sound off below!

Read more Romania Eurovision news here

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JustMe
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JustMe

well, i may be biased, ’cause I’m german, but…. GO FOR IT LINDA.
Her voice is just amazing and compared to britains “hymn” this is sooo much better.
So, yeah it’s “Renegades” for me.

LukeGallagher
Guest
LukeGallagher

Me and Florian are identical in ratings here, I feel like people are really sleeping on Ester Peony. I think that song could do really well, if performed well…

Nora
Guest
Nora

I LOVE that song and I really hope we have a little bit of sense this year. I agree, it could be an amazing performance.

Nora
Guest
Nora

If we don’t send Ester Peony, I’m suing. Romania needs to get back up on its feet and this is by far the best song to be able to do that. I wish I could vote in Romania but I can’t since I live in the US now, but seriously, I will be watching very nervously. There are a few other songs that would be pretty good choices too.

zxc
Guest
zxc

Why not to score?

MusicIstheKey
Guest
MusicIstheKey

I agree that Bella Santiago and Steam have great songs

Yaa
Guest
Yaa

Nicola and The Four are out. Vaida got saved by the televoting.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Only three good songs tonight Teodora Dinu – Skyscrapper, Claudiu Mirea – We are the ones, Bella Santiago – Army of love,
And I can say with 99.99% certitude: the winner of Selectia Nationala is from the other semifinal.

Geo
Guest
Geo

Oh, shut up Nostradamus. You’re wrong!

Colin
Guest
Colin

I have zero confidence in televoting this ESC season. I want them to pick Vaida, but I expect “Rock This Way” or “Weight of the World”. :-\

Colin
Guest
Colin

I’m biting my cynical tongue now. Congrats, Vaida! Also, nothing against aformentioned songs, they are fine.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

When you’re down, down low
And there’s no place you can go
When you’re down, down, love
You know that I’m here for you
(“Here for you”, Maraaya; Slovenia 2015)

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

N.B. There are no workable links or feeds in the UK to view TVR1 at present. Even the Facebook Live stream was taken down.
Anyone with any other alternatives, please post below here:

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Update: This feed DOES work, but the sound is of very poor quality here:
https://www.tvrplus.ro/live/tvr-hd

Film
Guest
Film
Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Yey, thank you. I didn’t even know there was an “international” feed.

Film
Guest
Film

Youre most welcome. I usually look here for link- https://eurovisionworld.com/eurovision/calendar …Too bad they all performed already, but the results are coming soon.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

My personal favorite is Esther, but I guess it will be Laura x Bella. Though last year Romania totally got me by surprise with their choice, so maybe I shouldn’t try predicting it at all.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

I don’t follow the Romanian selection but I read in a comment that there’s a girl who could become Eurovision’s first participant born in this century, so I had to check that one out. Wow. Laura sings so beautifully. I am not the biggest fan of father/mother songs, not at all actually, but her voice is so angelic, it is impossible not to feel captivated.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Oh, I forgot. The Maltese girl has already got this century thing in the bag.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Well, if Laura qualifies, the draw or the running order will decide who’ll be the first “new century kid” in Eurovision.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

True true. She’s the first selected one, anyway. But the running order at Eurovision would eventually decide it.

Escfan
Guest
Escfan

Kristian kostov from 2017 was born in this century as is Elliot for Belgium this year

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Actually no. The 21st century started in 2001 and Kostov was born in 2000, according to Wikipedia. So was Eliot. According to Wikipedia, on December 29th of 2000. So close, though. He missed out by three days.

pasi
Guest
pasi

Yes you are right.

AurelianTamisan
Guest
AurelianTamisan

1. TMW
2. Laura Bretan
3. Esther Peony
4. Ommieh and Anakrisez
5. Echoes

Colin
Guest
Colin

Where and when can we watch it online? These infos were more available last year.

AurelianTamisan
Guest
AurelianTamisan

I think that you can watch it on Youtube if you search for it. If not, try TVR’s site: TVR.ro, it should have a Live option.

Colin
Guest
Colin
Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

That feed worked for about 8 minutes, then it was discontinued. I am running a search for other feeds.

Colin
Guest
Colin

I know. Also, Tv,ro ”doesn’t transmit” in my country. 🙁 I get so frustrated. Is it ALWAYS something? 🙁

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Update: This feed DOES work, but the sound is of very poor quality here:
https://www.tvrplus.ro/live/tvr-hd

Colin
Guest
Colin

Thanks for the link! I am late, though – Romanian 9 is my 8 and it’s over now. I’ve seen some clips of cca. a minute and a half of some performances.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

[This comment has been removed, as it is no longer relevant to the thread.]

Film
Guest
Film

Purple mask. Half of the song were bad live. However Vaida was on another level. Her screaming toward the end was gold. I hope after the show is over they upload it to youtube to rewatch her performance.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Ooo that’s exciting, thanks for that. 🙂

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Finally found it: https://www.tvrplus.ro/live/tvr-international
Thanks for the help in the thread above

AurelianTamisan
Guest
AurelianTamisan

I have no idea why that type of things are happening, I get very frustrated too when I can’t watch something in my country. Why would TVR not give rights in some countries…. is beyond me.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask
Héctor
Guest
Héctor

Laura Bretan or Bella Santiago.

marcus (Day One)
Guest
marcus (Day One)

vaida – underground is my absolute favourite

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Some good choices. Some safe, some risky.
Nicola is and has been my choice all of the way through. Xonia and Laura don’t have the safe floor that Nicola gives you but potentially could finish higher.

Personally, I wouldn’t venture outside of that top three for a winner.

Evan
Guest
Evan

1. “Dear Father,” Laura Bretan – Her vocals are beautiful, the song will stand out in Tel Aviv, and it builds to a triumphant climax that (if they stage it correctly) could serve as a coronation moment. 2. “Army of Love,” Bella Santiago – I’m a bit uncomfortable with how familiar this sounds, but I find myself bopping along. 3. “Independent,” Xandra – Love that syncopated chorus! 4. “Song of My Heart,” The Four – Bop tinged with an ethnic edge 5. “The Way It Goes,” Steam – Call me crazy, but I’d love to hear Jedward sing this. 6.… Read more »

romanian
Guest
romanian

Last year, romanian esc fans did not wanted Alexia and Matei to win, this is why they voted for The Humans. If this year there is somebody that esc fans will be against, that is Vaida. This woman is the host of a reality show called “A Bride For My Son”. She is a joke in Romania.

Alinerotwijf (Van Rossem)
Guest
Alinerotwijf (Van Rossem)

Right now will win I think

Probably
Guest
Probably

I don’t like that Aline too…

romanian
Guest
romanian

My favorite is Laura Bretan, and I really thought a lot if she is the right choice, in the end, I believe Laura is the right choice.

My second choice is : 2 Gents with Ielele (the first letter is “i”)
ielele = the evil fairies, because yes, we don’t only have Dracula and vampires, we also have evil fairies. I’m afraid the song will not be understood, everybody will think that the chorus is just random sounds like la-la-la.

Katariina
Guest
Katariina

“Ielele” is by far the best here. Bella is just average and Laura is atrocious.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

There is a potential Eurovision winner here.
But instead of telling Romania how to win, I’m going to keep quiet and let them choose by themselves. 🙂

Colin
Guest
Colin

There are are at least 8 songs that I can see qualifying and perhaps nabbing top 10:
– Underground, Your Journey, Dear Father, Skyscraper, Army of Love, On a Sunday, Give Up Now, Renegades
Will you at least shorten it by telling us is it in my top 8 or my taste differs so much from yours on this occasion? 🙂

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

As you may or may not recall, someone in Romania told me last year not to lecture them on their National final choices. So, this is my sweet revenge. They have a winner, and they have the choice. Best of luck. 🙂
P.S. Our tastes are usually very similar.

romanian
Guest
romanian

If any troll can make you so sad, you should do some Reiki to find yourself, it works for me.
I prefer Laura Bretan, she reminds me of Eimear Quinn – The Voice. She is my choice, but it may not be the right year, if fans are still looking for social problems.

Yaa
Guest
Yaa

There will be an internatinal jury at the finals, the Romanian televote will count as a sixth juror. I hope there won’t be some sabotage at work!

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you haven’t lost your mind. Obviously, you’re talking about Laura. 😉

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I’m perfectly sane. Thank you for caring. 🙂

Porsteinn
Guest
Porsteinn

I’m with Barnabas’ favourite. But it won’t win.

Veta
Guest
Veta

I was too, so sad they got eliminated….

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

It’s interesting that Wiwi Jury prefered Bella (26 p.) over Laura (16 p.), fan favourite, but “Army of Love” is not a bad pick either, however I think “Dear Father” has the biggest potential to bring Romania top 10 finish – it’s memorable, distinct and epic, perfect televote entry.

Colin
Guest
Colin

There are a lot of good songs in this selection. Let’s start with fan-favorites Laura Bretan, Bella Santiago, Ester Peony and Linda Teodosiu. They are all really good. My personal favorites, however, are Vaida with Underground and Aldo Blaga with Your Journey. There isn’t much hype around them, but who knows – The Humans had no hype whatsoever before they won.

Ric
Guest
Ric

I have to be honest. I am surprised that relatively so few people have Laura Bretan in their very top. Imo she is a couple of notches superior to all the other contestants and her song is very credible and genuine , not to mention her incredible talent. I respect the other songs cause they are good but they wouldn’t add anything different from a well crafted pop song to the contest and I would love to see something different at Eurovision since even France has decided to leave an emotional entry behind to go for a pop track.

Colin
Guest
Colin

Where did my comment go again? I didn’t even contain any links or questionable phrases. How did it just randomly perish from the comments?

Colin
Guest
Colin

I agree with the statement in the description: This NF is awesome! Sure, it has a few typically awful pseudo-rock songs characteristic for Romania and Moldova, but other than that, it’s pretty respectable, with some entries being truly outstanding! My semi 1 qualifiers (alphabetically): Berniceya, Destin, Teodora Dinu, Bella Santiago, Steam, Vaida (Semi winner – Vaida) My semi 2 qualifiers (alphabetically): Johnny Badulescu, Aldo Blaga, Laura Bretan, Ester Peony, Linda Teodosiu, Xonia (Semi winner – Aldo Blaga) PS. Is it just me, or does this NF season goes FAST! I mean, it’s still January and we have most NF songs… Read more »

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Ielele is my fave!

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

Army Of Love is my fave, but Dear Father is a great choice as well, Romania has a strong selection this year!