The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — are reassembling to celebrate the 2010s in all its glory. Today we head to Bucharest to review Romania‘s Paula Seling & Ovi who are “Playing With Fire”.

Someone grab an extinguisher, this place is on FIIIYA! Long before “Miracle” was brought to us in 2014, Paula Seling & Ovi gave Romania its second top-three result ever with smouldering looks across a double piano, serving us sex and sass. The upbeat pop banger is still adored by Eurofans across the continent, and it’s impossible to forget Paula’s pleather catsuit.

Romania may not have the best fortunes in the last couple of years, but they didn’t hold up a 100% qualification until 2017 for no reason. Can the jury take the heat? Did Paula’s famous high notes have us coming back for more? Read on below to find out!

Paula Seling & Ovi – “Playing With Fire”

“Playing With Fire” reviews

Pablo: I’m gonna cut to the chase: this is perfection. The magic this entire package exudes when I first watched it then still holds after ten years. The duo’s vocals are on point, their chemistry even more so, and it’s one of those performances that are truly original and never-before-seen; a perfect balance of voices, special effects, attitude and uniqueness. This is the song that hooked me to Eurovision, and for what is worth, I think it should have won it all right there and then. Of my best of all time.

Score: 10/10

Sebastian: “Playing With Fire” captured exactly what this decade’s sound and feel was all about. It was tactfully over the top with its piano, while Paula and Ovi’s chemistry was electric. Listening back – “Playing With Fire” has not stood the test of time aurally. But it sure does transplant me back to the start of this new decade, and should usher a return to the power pop duets that are so now sorely lacking at Eurovision.

Score: 8/10

Calvin: Am I the only one thinking about Will.i.am and Fergie whenever I see Paula and Ovi? “Playing with Fire” is the perfect example of a radio pop song that worked on the Eurovision stage. Their chemistry is amazing and we don’t even have to talk about the transparent double piano. It seems like only the background singers couldn’t enjoy the song as much as I did.

Score: 9.5/10

Edd: Throw together Ovi’s Scandi songwriting abilities, Paula’s glass-shattering vocal abilities, and that iconic siamese piano, and you’re on to a winner. The song may be a dated cheese overload, but that’s certainly not to say it’s not enjoyable — and the key to its success was that the song had personality and the duo had hot chemistry. I imagine, if it were to compete in the 2019 contest, it would bomb in the jury vote and fail to make the top ten. But I cherish the days where these kinds of songs triumphed.

Score: 7.5/10

Natalie: Romania’s best ever entrant to Eurovision certainly left a lasting impression. It’s sassy, the chemistry is amazing and it is held together by that killer electronic beat. It was during a time when electronic music was owning the charts, so it was a very contemporary, sweet entry. Paula’s vocals never really sold it to me though. The third verse could have been much more than just her highest notes possible. Still, a beautiful gritty song performed perfectly, and a very deserving third place.

Score: 8/10

Tom: That catsuit though. I remember loving this song from the first listen and it didn’t disappoint live. Paula and Ovi’s vocals were on point, the joint piano gimmick worked and the pyros (and the catsuit) elevated the song to another level. The only thing I didn’t think was necessary were the feathery women in the back — strip them away and just make it solely about the relationship between Paula and Ovi (and the catsuit). Other than that, Romania’s best song in the last ten years. *mic drop*

Score: 9/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 24 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:

William: 7.5/10

Antranig: 9/10

Robyn: 8/10

Angus: 7/10

Lucy: 8.5/10

Jonathan: 8/10

Bernardo: 7.5/10

Deban: 6/10

Luis: 8/10

 Oliver: 7.5/10

Kristin: 8/10

Lukas: 9.5/10

Barnabas: 6.5/10

Florian: 9/10

Steinunn: 8/10

Julian: 7/10

Katie: 8.5/10

Charlotte: 6.5/10

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 6 and a high of 10.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 8/10

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

See all of our Wiwi Jury of the 2010s rankings here

34
Leave a Reply

avatar
21 Comment threads
13 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
21 Comment authors
Mr XAn American ESC FanESCFan2009Purple MaskSabrina Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
An American ESC Fan
Guest
An American ESC Fan

Ah yes, my favorite Romanian entry and one of my all-time favorites. Seriously, their chemistry is amazing, they sung perfectly, the staging was epic, and the song itself is catchy and fun. It deserved Top 3 imo, and if I could choose the winner of that year it would be this.

In short, I adore this song. 😀

Mr X
Guest
Mr X

Absolute horrible and totally overrated …..
One of the worst songs for me in this decade, sorry…..

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I got filtered. Obviously I love this entry. There are pianos. 🙂

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

Purple and pianos 🙂 An everlasting love, right? <3

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

This is one of my personal favourite Eurovision entries. Firstly, the music video with the VR is outstanding: please do check that out. As for the final live performance – I love pianos, so seeing a double piano prop was a joy. The duet works brilliantly as a theatrical scene, and I love how the singers get to sing the Chorus in thirds with each other. Then there are those awesome piano runs throughout the song, yaas! And just to top it off, Paula can sing very very high to match the rising melody in the bridge. That’s another level… Read more »

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

This one is very entertaining and still puts me in a good mood everytime I watch it. The contest changed a lot during the decade, but this could be considered a perfect Eurovision entry back then. It’s a silly song and it hasn’t aged well, but the gimmicks were very well executed (I love the Siamese piano) and the vocals were on point. Paula and Ovi were clearly having so much fun on the stage.

Trash KAN
Guest
Trash KAN

The top 3 in the 2010 contest were potential winners anyway. If Lena did not win that year, I would choose Ovi and Paula Seling instead. My next choice would be Lena then followed by maNga.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Proper, proper Eurovision entry. If only every duet (and boy, does Eurovision have a few of them) had this level of chemistry between the performers. Great, over-the-top song. Loved this and loved their other one, too.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Back when Romania was good. The present hurts so much.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

a very well done song. romania was dominating the european music industry in 2008-12

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Great for 2010, but this would flop in 2019.

asuma
Guest
asuma

I don’t think it would flop (remember Yodel It), but Romania needs to raise its game. If you do it, do it perfect! And 2010 and 2017 were great.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

Cheesy and artificial, though they sold it good through the staging. It sounds really dated now.

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

Their chemistry really sold the song.

asuma
Guest
asuma

I have the feeling that ESC fans give mixed messages to the artists. You criticize gimmicks, but in the end you say the staging of some artists was not enough (Sennek 2018). Delegations don’t understand anything anymore.

pepe
Guest
pepe

A staging that isn’t good enough won’t change in a good performance because of gimmicks. Gimmicks have to be clever and sparse. Romania 10 did it just right (even though I don’t like it at all), Romania 14 however was the kitchen sink approach.

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

Sennek’s staging was a gimmick of sorts- it was messy in how amateurish it was. She should have qualified on the strength of her song, but in such a tough semi you needed an excellent whole package.

Skiwalko
Guest

It feels very much like a song from 2010, which is not necessarily a bad thing – it’s just not really for me. “Playing With Fire” is fairly catchy, and the vocal power of Paula is legendary, but the act as a whole seems kind of… artificial. The lyrics are just plain bad, the production’s a bit bland, the staging’s gimmicky and stale and there were songs in 2010 that deserved their 3rd spot a bit more (my schlager-loving soul tells me that I’d much rather see Denmark there). Still, I come back to this song from time to time… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

I’ve always liked this one. As I’ve said before, Romania are big on “playing the game” at Eurovision. This is a song designed for Eurovision (although it’s got a damn good studio cut) and the staging was well thought-out and on-point, albeit (very deliberately) gimmicky. But it’s a gimmick that paid off and worked with the song. I guess it’s fire-related (or Bosnia 2010-related) that lightning didn’t strike twice when they came back for 2014, but this is Romania at the peak of their powers at Eurovision. 9/10.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I’ll also add that 2010 was probably the last year where there weren’t just a handful of gimmicky entries as opposed to the one or two we get nowadays, but also consistently entertaining ones. This, Moldova, and Lithuania are all still fun to watch.

Olid
Guest
Olid

I think it’s overrated. Ovi’s voice ain’t that special. I admit that Paula has impressive vocals, but the lyrics are poor. Fire – desire. Boy boy boy, girl girl girl. It’s a pop song, frosted with camp.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Very stale frosting.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

The piano was a fun idea, Duncan Laurence could take a few pointers, given how hideous that thing he had on stage was. The song, however, does not justify a top three result and the bored backing vocalists seem to agree. Severina’s Afrika-Paprika was a better rhyme than fire-desire.

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

This was one, if not the only, of my all-time-faves since 2009 – until Kate Miller-Heidke came in my life xD I love the dynamic in the melody, the staging and the charisma between Paula and Ovi. A truly magic performance. And “Playing With Fire” is sometimes my life philosophy as some readers might know haha. No risk, no fun xD 10/10

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

This is an absolute masterpiece of a pop song and the staging and live vocals absolutely helped carry this song to a very well deserved top 3 placement. And that high note!!!
10/10

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

This is far too camp for my taste. Everything about it is way over the top. The misery on the backing singer’s face at 2:35 is what I would feel if I had to support this song.

asuma
Guest
asuma

Lena and maNga were strong competition, Paula and Ovi deserve 3rd place. Good song and singers, but the chemistry made the difference and gave them such high place. Duets are hard to do.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

Absolutely justified result. I was rooting for them in the 2010 final, since my miles ahead big favourites Malcolm Lincoln got eliminated in the semis. The “fire-desire” rhyme is the only thing I don’t like about this. “Playing with fire” is to this day part of my playlists.

Skiwalko
Guest

“Siren” is probably one of the strangest Eurovision entries ever. It’s just a collection of elements that don’t really go together – 60s style music and clothing, verses and chorus that feel like two very different songs, mysterious lyrics about a man thinking whether he should say goodbye to the world and overexaggerating performers, who are both the best and the worst part of the act. It always makes me feel uncomfortable – one part of me loves it, the other hates it, so my rating would have to be 1&10/10.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

I really liked Siren but I’d never have it on my playlist. It’s a good example of how Eesti laul is also a place for really different stuff and how this stuff can even win.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

I’m starting to doubt that a little bit over the last three years. With the exception of the counterintuitively entitled “Amazing”, I more or less liked everything Estonia sent this decade. But “Verona” changed everything and after that they kind of dropped the ball. But perhaps that’s just my frustration over them not catering to my taste anymore. 😉

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

Hm, I don’t hear the 60s style music, but I agree with you that something didn’t work with the visuals (they were indeed decidedly 60s). As you know, I’m normally not one to overemphasize the role of staging, but “Siren” is one of the few instances when I thought, that staging might have been the key to their failure: The song was musically interesting, very well sung, but framing it as some kind of joke act (with the lead singer’s weird dancing) was in hindsight apparently not the right way to go. I’m still mourning for this song, it’s one… Read more »

Skiwalko
Guest

It immediately gave me retro vibes, something a la the Doors, for lack of a better comparison. And I agree, the awkward staging might have made a lot of viewers confused and annoyed.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

Ah, okay, now I see what you mean. That’s a very keen observation. Although you’re absolutely right and The Doors are of course a 60s band, I never think of them like that, since their sound is – at least to my ears – already paving the way to the 70s.