They’re the country that went from frequently finishing in the Eurovision top 15 to regularly failing to even qualify for the grand final. Now Romania‘s broadcaster TVR will attempt to get to the bottom of its lack of Eurovision success with a two-hour televised debate on the subject.
TVR will host Eurovision, pe şleau! (Eurovision, By the Way!), with the debate moderated by journalist former Romanian Head of Delegation Marina Almăşan. The debate will include Romanian entertainment industry figures as well as Eurovision fans.
The show will also feature performances from Romanian Eurovision stars Paula Seling, Ovi and The Humans.
The debate will attempt to answer some vital questions relating to Romania’s Eurovision fortunes:
- Why don’t Romania’s great voices participate in Eurovision?
- Why has the interest of Romanians towards Eurovision decreased so much?
- What are the solutions to rectify the situation?
Host Marina Almăşan — who oversaw Romania’s third-place in 2011, with Paula Seling and Ovi’s “Playing with Fire” — spoke enthusiastically about the debate. However, she suggested that if Romania doesn’t do well at Eurovision 2022, it might be time for the nation to take a break from Eurovision. She said:
“I will moderate a heated debate on the evening of July 5 on TVR1, with chosen and skilled guests. And even if it comes out with sparks flying, it is important that things go smoothly. And at the next edition, Romania should reach the top 10! If, after the debate, that doesn’t happen, maybe it is healthier to stay away for a year or two. The debate will be LIVE, which for me will mean a return to the good times! I thank Romanian Television for entrusting this event to my team and I hope we will not disappoint!”
While there are currently no plans for Romania to take time off from Eurovision, the inadvertent strategy worked well for both Ukraine in 2016 and Portugal in 2017. After taking one year off from the contest (both for reasons unrelated to the song contest itself) the countries returned the following year and won.
Romania’s fortunes in the Eurovision Song Contest
In recent years, the Eurovision Song Contest has drastically fallen in popularity among Romanian viewers. The 2021 grand final attracted only 178,000 viewers — a tiny 0.9% of Romania’s population. Compare this with the 138,000 fans who tuned in in Iceland (38%), or the 141,000 (10.6%) who tuned in from Estonia.
While Romania has previously managed to attract top acts such as the established rock band Voltaj and the rock singer Ovidiu Anton, in recent years Selecția Națională mostly attracted upcoming acts and national final regulars, rather than Romania’s top music stars.
In 2020, the broadcaster changed its selection method and internally picked the upcoming singer Roxen. Her song for Eurovision 2020 was selected using a special edition of Selecția Națională, where viewers and a jury voted for one of five potential Eurovision entries.
After Eurovision 2020 was cancelled, Roxen was reselected for 2021, however her song for Rotterdam was internally chosen. While there was fan support for Roxen’s song “Amnesia”, many felt the performance suffered due to Roxen being given overly complicated choreography. Fans felt all the movements left Roxen sounding breathy and didn’t allow her to deliver the strong emotional performance of the studio version. The song finished 12th in its semi-final.
Eurovision, pe şleau! will screen this Monday, 5 July at 21:00 EET on TVR1.
What do you think? How should Romania revive its fortunes at Eurovision? How can TVR make Eurovision more appealing for Romanian viewers? Tell us your thoughts below!