The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rate and review the 41 competing entries of Eurovision 2019. Next we turn to Lithuania‘s Jurij Veklenko and his song “Run with the Lions”. Did it make us roar? Read on to find out!

Jurij Veklenko – “Run with the Lions”

“Run with the Lions” reviews

Lukas: Jurij is a great singer and his song is good but that‘s about it. In a year where we have a lot of strong songs, good is not enough to make an entry stand out. “Run With the Lions” has a nice melody and its chorus quite catchy but it feels very safe and the whole performance doesn’t have that wow moment. If Lithuania wants to make the final they really need to give this strong staging. Jurijus also needs to have more stage presence so the performance doesn’t feel so safe.

Score: 7/10

Angus: At this point, Lithuania is flying a little under the radar. “Run with the Lions” has moments to really commend it and moments that fade into the background. Likewise Jurij has moments of total charisma and moments where you question whether he actually hit that falsetto note or not. In all, the problem with Lithuania is that the package at the moment oscillates between pedestrian and purposeful delivery. Smart staging, as we saw last year, might bring this together better. At the moment it is lacking in direction, but there are promising elements here.

Score: 4/10

Bernardo: Jurijus is eye candy with a decent but not perfect vocal delivery. “Run with the Lions” is painfully generic though. I got myself waiting the big moment where I would connect with the singer or the song on an emotional level. That moment never arrived. It’s probably one of my least heard songs of the season. A risk-free effort that will suffer in the hands of both the juries and televote.

Score: 5.5/10

Robyn: Jurij has been to Eurovision twice before — but both times as a backing singer. And I think that’s where the problem is. He is used to blending in in the background and is less convincing as the charismatic frontman the performance needs. But there is potential. If Jurij can get comfortable on stage and bring some swagger to his performance this bold pop anthem could be another qualifier. It really needs to feel like he’s running with lions, not tiptoeing with kittens.

Score: 6.5/10

Deban: Jurijus may have the look and the voice, but a song contest calls for a decent song and a charismatic delivery. This is where his shortcomings lie. “Run with the Lions” is just so boring! Jurijus often sings to inanimate household appliances such as his refrigerator. His bland execution makes magnolia seem like a burst of rainbow colours.

Score: 4/10

Oliver: Lithuania completely blew me away last year with their entry and stage show, so I was somewhat hopeful that they could double down on their success.  However, “Run With The Lions” really does not sit on anywhere near the same level as Lithuania did last year.  It is a decent song but it just did not stand out to me in the selection let alone in the sea of 40 other entries.  The vocals felt a little shouty at times and the song barely managed to hold my interest for the entire three minutes.

Score: 3/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 29 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:

Anthony: 7.5/10

Antony: 5/10

Antranig: 9/10

Barnabas: 5/10

Calvin: 2/10

Chris: 6/10

Essi: 6.5/10

Florian: 2.5/10

Izhar: 4.5/10

Jack: 3/10

Jonathan: 5.5/10

Josh: 5/10

Julian: 1.5/10

Kristin: 7/10

Lucy: 3/10

Luis: 6.5/10

Mikhail: 1.5/10

Pablo: 1/10

Renske: 8/10

Ron: 7/10

Sebastian: 4/10

Tobias: 5/10

William: 4.5/10

We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 1 and a high of 9.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 4.83/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all our Eurovision 2019 reviews and rankings

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Phary
Phary
1 year ago

Jurijus (or Jurij? One of the greatest mysteries of this world) is quite a good singer, and his song is totally okay, but comparing to all the other songs this year it kinda goes in the “very forgettable” category. There is nothing particularly bad but also nothing really good about this, his falsetto is great but the whole act doesn’t seem to know of it’s supposed to be filled with emotion or to sound current and ‘hip’, so the result is quite bland. A 4.5 for me

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago

It’s bland, forgettable and dull. It might qualify because Lithuania is in a very friendly semifinal.
Overall, 4.0/10

Michèle
Michèle
1 year ago

The Baltic countries have really poor entries this year.

Roelof Meesters
Roelof Meesters
1 year ago

Quite a safe entry but he is not chanceless in SF2, he could sneak through given that Latvia, Russia, Ireland, the UK, Norway, Sweden and Denmark Will probably give nice televote points. This is also a gigantic improvement over last year luckily.
6,5/10

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

I may be in the minority but I really like this. He’s got a great voice and a great presence. Love the falsetto. The only problem had been the rather unimpactful instrumental that he had behind him and it sounds as if they’ve fixed that in the revamp. I think Lithuania are going to surprise again and qualify, maybe even comfortably.

Héctor
Héctor
1 year ago

Yesterday it was time for Russia, the most overrated song. Today it’s turn for Lithuania, the most underrated one. Everybody here claiming Monika had a better song… C’mon guys, get over it, “Light On” was dull and uninteresting. “Run With The Lions” might be generic pop, but it is still modern and enjoyable. Jurijus falsetto is great and he has an impressive stage presence; he knows well what to do, as well as where to stare and how. The staging could be better though, but the overall package grabs me. No matter what people say, I’ll be supporting Lithuania and… Read more »

ESC LOU
ESC LOU
1 year ago

Yea this entry is just ok I mean I don’t think it’s bad at all but there are just too many other better entries and this sadly doesn’t really stand out. As it is in semi 2 I don’t think it will qualify but if it had the right staging and was in semi 1 I think this could’ve qualify… 6/10

Rimig
Rimig
1 year ago

Many people compare the Russian entry with a Disney movie’s song, but I actually believe that is the case of the Lithuanian song. Unfortunately, it’s not the song of a big Disney blockbuster, but rather that of any of its sequels, only edited on DVD and only enjoyed by children between 4 and 8. The first 20 seconds of “Run with the lions” is all I like about it. When Jurijus brings in the headvoice it loses all its charm, and once the chorus starts, they completely lose me (that slight roar in the word “run” is just cringey). Sorry,… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
1 year ago

this entry is absolutely devoid of any personality, it’s that type of song that makes u feel nothing between the clichéd lyrics, the 2013 production and the attempt to make it an imagine dragons-sounding song that actually sounds more like a discarded demo from earlier this decade. juss awfully bland

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

I feel cold about this entry. There’s nothing that makes me want to jump to the next track, but also nothing that makes me want to revisit it. Jurij’s vocals are fine and the falsetto is nice. He could use more the stage. The song plays extra safe. I consider the chorus silly, since “running WITH the lions” is not a sign of courage or freedom, but more like terrible judgement. Though the real problem here is how soon it shows all its cards. For example: the bridge only recycles previous moments. 4.75/10

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Thanks Sabrina, that is interesting. I hadn’t considered that the lyrics could actually be condescending. That puts a new perspective on the song entirely.

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

What puzzles me is that they could go for any empowering metaphor, but settled for one that could be easily dismissed and replaced.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

LITHUANIA – They had a potential winner in their hands, yet they chose another song. The actual winner of Eurovizijos atranka is a very middle-of-the-road song. Jurij’s pleasant voice is a big asset, but then again, the song itself is very safe and forgettable. The lyrics are quite good, but they don’t go along with an instrumental this tame. They are empowering, while the music is calming. What also prevents it from creating a deeper atmosphere is that it’s not slow enough to be a ballad, but not uplifting enough to be a ‘banger” either. It wanted to be a… Read more »

Jordan
Jordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Potential winner on their hands? Potential almost qualifier maybe.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Jordan

Colin is still leaving a light on for Monika.

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

And I am helping Colin with the light, so call me a “Criminal” 😀

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

You couldn’t help yourself, could you? You just had to say it lol.

Kris
Kris
1 year ago

He is too ugly for me to focus on the song really. But the song doesn’t really reach great heights as it promises to be. I do like the song and his voice but I’d rather run with cute puppies than lions , lol. It’s need a really good staging to go through. A 5.5/10. The bad running order reduces a point. While it has diaspora support but the song seems to have had no impact on non-diaspora voters. So no points despite the diaspora. I’d assess for it to have 45 % chance to go through.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Kris

While I respect most of your opinion, your first sentence comes across as grossly impolite. I hope that was not intentional.

Polegend Godgarina
1 year ago
Reply to  Kris

lmfaoooooo

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Kris

Damn…I wish I were as “ugly” as Jurij, then!

Whisker
Whisker
1 year ago
Reply to  Kris

Kris, YOU are ugly.

Nicky91
Nicky91
1 year ago

love this song :), bit basic but fun

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

Daring lyrics, but bland music and a bland arrangement. The key here is C major. If you’re playing this on piano then it’s very easy to play, because it uses all the “white notes” of the keyboard. Even the bridges only hint at the relative minor and the sub-dominant, making this song entirely harmonically static, and that is the problem. But the positives are: the singer has an awesome falsetto, and the message of the song is empowering. It has a lot of potential for a re-vamp – my first suggestion would be to raise the key by a semitone,… Read more »

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

I’d really like to borrow your ears sometime … 😉

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

“Get your freedom now, run wild. Run with the lions.”
Literally the words are daring the listener to run in the wild. (Sadly, the music is not.)

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

The literal interpretation depends on how much geographical proximity the preposition “with” implies. 😉

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

ROFL. That’s really funny! Thank you 😀

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

This is another case of: I do not understand the song-writing. Jurij Veklenko has range, but his head voice is obviously not his strongest asset, his chest voice sounds much more pleasant, yet from the beginning the head voice is getting highlighted. I would like to hear this song in a lower key, where he would be less occupied with barely hitting the high notes than with actually putting some expressive power into his vocal performance. Then again, after a transposition he probably wouldn’t hit the low notes anymore. Like it is, the voice is thin and shrill at the… Read more »

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

Ah, that’s an interesting assessment of the singer’s abilities. 🙂 I really like his falsetto and I had no idea that he could be struggling with it. Something I missed, it seems.
Also, the problem with lowering the key of the music is that you would make the song sound darker and potentially even less engaging to the listener. It might be fascinating to ask the producers to do a few test re-vamps for us. 😀

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

I thought you of all people would be able to _imagine_ how this would sound in another key. 😉
I’d be all in on different revamps. And while they’re at it, they could also make a deeper one for Pænda’s song. I’d be really curious about how this would work.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

Okay, I just played it in B major. And amazingly, it sounds like you are right. 🙂
It shows that I really still know nothing, after all these years. 😀

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

But we still don’t know, if he could sing it, vocally, he already sounds maxed out as it is, so perhaps I’m wrong after all … 🙂

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
1 year ago

The problem with that song is that it is “completely okay”: song, voice, the kind of “lion noices” etc… All is “okay/fine”, but that is not enough for Eurovision. (I hate the word “generic”, because for me it is a disrespectful expression, I appreciate every effort, but this is the thing about Lithuania 2019). I need to be touched more. Jurijus, be emotional, be strong, do more show, but please, do something for us! 😀

Makis
Makis
1 year ago

That’s a new low

Fatima
Fatima
1 year ago
Reply to  Makis

Yes, and Mike from Aussievision just said he’d rather be mauled by lions for three minutes than hear this song again. You can’t get much lower than that, either.

Benji
Benji
1 year ago

In my opinion, one of the most underrated songs this year.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 year ago

Lithuania actually has some advantages of neighbors and diaspora voting all in the second semi final, but that may not pay off if the song is not outstanding.

Polegend Godgarina
1 year ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

hopefully the jury does their job n spares us from this filler in the final