Stockholm 2016

Xtra Review: Hungary’s A Dal Heat 3

Thirty songs started in A Dal 2016. Eight of them have already been sent home, four more will follow on Saturday. That also means six more will qualify for the semifinals. Time for Max and Nick again to take a look at what Heat 3 of A Dal has to offer. Check it out below!

B The First – You Told Me That You Loved Me

Max: Rockabilly style, which is not a bad thing in my eyes. The problem with this song is the lack of structure: it is repetitive and has unnecessary spoken parts. The guitar solo is by far the best feature of this track.
Nick: It’s the return of rock’n’roll, but I feel Europe is rather over that kind of genre by now. We had a few years where bands like The Baseballs rocked the charts, but that’s long gone. The lead singer, Barna Pély, is good for his genre and so is the song, but they’re a few years too late.

Parno Graszt – Már Nem Szédülök

Max: A gypsy atmosphere that takes you back to a kind of Todomondo (Romania 2007) band without their uplifting and humoristic nature. This one felt like 3 hours rather than 3 minutes. A bit painful to my ears…
Nick: This gypsy band has been around for almost thirty years. Fear not, it’s not like the Czech gypsies. It’s much more traditional, with an accordion and a woman sounding like she’s about to cry. There’s an audience for this, but that audience is not Eurovision, nor am I part of that audience.

Nika – Beautiful Love

Max: Electronic pop ballad with gorgeous vocals. As much as I found the beat quite original and more than enjoyable, it was Nika’s voice what captivated me. I fell for the build-up the first time and I thought it was a dance track but it kept me on my toes for the whole duration of it like I was hypnotised. Great quality!
Nick: An award winner in Hungary, there’s a certain amount of expectations Nika needs to live up to and the song takes a few listens to make that true. Starting off as an ordinary pop ballad, the dance beat soon kicks in and fades away – exactly what it needs. This song requires powerful vocals to work well. Not sure Nika can deliver, but if she can, this is going to be great quality on stage.

Júli Hóranyi – Come Along

Max: I cannot wait so long for a 3-minute ballad to take off. Boring from beginning to end. Definitely a no-no. Another one repeating the title endlessly… How ironic that the lyrics say “we need to write beautiful songs”. Next!
Nick: I spent about two minutes waiting for this to get going. I waited for nothing. It’s a ‘let’s all join hands and be peaceful and love each other’ kind of song, but then without the effect that a charity/good cause song needs. Not convincing whatsoever.

Szilvia Agárdi – It Is Love

Max: A simple, non-pretentious, sweet love song with effective vocals, a nice in crescendo plus a key change (YAY!) almost at the end. Easy listening, but definitely not a strong contestant I’m afraid…
Nick: This entry has been written by Viktor Rakonczai, who was an A Dal juror for years. He knows the competition, he knows what they’re looking for and this does tick quite a few boxes. Viktor will know he didn’t deliver his absolute masterpiece for Szilvia, he knows. But he also knows that Szilvia’s voice can take a song to the next level. And that’s what she does. Still, it doesn’t really pack a punch at all. It just sits there for three minutes. Meh, a missed chance for such a wonderful voice.

Olivér Berkes & Andi Tóth – Seven Seas

Max: A young pop song without falling in the bubble gum category. Well balanced and nice to hear although it seemed to me that it is a song made of 15 other songs I’ve already heard before… Including Emmelie’s drums at times, for example.
Nick: Originally entering as a solo entrant, Olivér realised he needed the female touch to make this entry work. Andi does indeed add a whole lot to the song and quite frankly, she almost makes Olivér redundant. The song is a decent pop ballad, where Andi gets her chance to shine and she does it well. Deliver this live and you’re ready for a final in A Dal.

Viki Singh – Katonák

Max: A ballad you would expect to come from Ireland maybe. This is another example of a track that would have done well in the ESC but in a different era. Viki’s voice is a pleasant thing to listen to but she has gone for the wrong song. Better luck next time, darling!
Nick: Viki is the replacement entry in A Dal 2016. She wasn’t supposed to be there, but hey, Misztral got disqualified and so the spot opened up for this former Rising Star participant. And when you get an opportunity, you need to take it with both hands. That’s what Viki does with a brilliant effort: A melodious ballad where the Hungarian language shines like never before. As for the stage performance, just put a spotlight on her in A Dal and maybe even Eurovision (one can dream?). This is my kind of song. Well done, Viki.

Ív – Love Kills Me

Max: Rebel chick! Fun beat and insolence plus an original breakdown before the 2-minute mark. This girl tried winning the ESC ticket in the past and I believe she deserves a chance. Cool track with a justified use of title repetition matching her know-it-all attitude
Nick: Returning isn’t always a good idea, Ív. This girl entered last year with the catchy Fire and, even though she stays in the same style for 2016, the catchy bit is gone. She’s gone more for the jazz and less for the catchy side. It’s instantly forgettable and looking at her live capabilities, this isn’t one to watch. Major disappointment, as this was one I was looking forward to.

Petruska – Trouble In My Mind

Max: : Too simple but probably it is intentional. I found it difficult to say anything about this entry beyond that. Nothing special about the melody or the singer’s voice. Perhaps the only aspect to highlight is the reflective lyrics about the world we live in. Not a horrible song but I will survive without listening to it more than once.
Nick: Here we go, folk music with guitars and a violin performed by the definition of a hipster. It doesn’t sound like a recipe for success, does it? Surprisingly, it is a big favourite of mine. It’s definitely in my top three of this year’s A Dal. The rhythm this song has is just really pleasant to listen to and Petruska’s voice is brilliant. The way he lets rip in the final minute is perfection. I have very little hope that this ends up in Stockholm, but I wouldn’t mind seeing this there at all. Brilliant stuff.

Bálint Gájer – Speed Bump

Max: This one made me think of what a Tom Jones song would sound like if he was a young guy nowadays. The voice of Gájer cannot be compared to Tom’s at all but I still enjoyed the uplifting retro sound very much. The same thing I thought of Denmark 2015 but nobody agreed with me 🙁 Go retro music lovers!!
Nick: Bálint is no stranger to A Dal, having entered multiple times. Sadly, his 2014 entry Elmaradt Pillanatok still stands out miles above the rest. Speed Bump isn’t bad, it’s quite decent. I like what he’s trying to do, but he needs to convince me on stage. Bálint normally isn’t the best stage performer of the lot and he needs to do something about that if he wants this to have a chance.

So, who’s qualifying?

It was hard to find six songs we agreed on in this lot. There are three stand-outs we both agree on and that leaves room for three others. The first easy qualifier is Bálint Gájer. His Speed Bump has, in studio, convinced both of us and that makes him our combined winner of this heat.
In a close second place, we have Nika. She will have to show she’s capable of doing this live, but if she can, she should make it as well. Her Beautiful Love goes into second place. Third is reserved for the duet of the lot, Olivér Berkes and Andi Tóth. It apparently was a good move to get Andi involved in Seven Seas then!
We need to eliminate a few first. B The First is the first to be (no pun intended) eliminated. Rockabilly is nice for three minutes, but we don’t need it again. Júli Hóranyi’s song isn’t even nice for three minutes, so that’s her out as well. The third eliminated entry has to be the entry that both of us would place at the bottom of the list: Parno Graszt.
That leaves four acts for three tickets. Petruska, Szilvia Agárdi, Viki Singh and Ív were four acts we really couldn’t agree on. So let’s first put both of our favourites through. Nick definitely wants to see Petruska through. Max isn’t bothered with that one, but at least he doesn’t hate it.
Max would then have to go for his ‘rebel chick’, Ív to make it through. Her song was a major disappointment for Nick, but as for Max with Petruska, he doesn’t quite hate it enough to veto it.
The last one is the toughest choice we’ve had to make. Nick clearly prefers Viki Singh’s Katonák, Max thinks Szilvia Agárdi’s It Is Love is much better. We really can’t make a choice between these two. You’d have Szilvia with a great voice and a key change versus the Hungarian ballad which could easily be written a few decades ago. What a choice!
Let’s be honest though – None of these ten is going to trouble the two favourites, Kállay Saunders Band and Freddie. In this heat, a whole lot needs to happen in order for any of these ten to make it to Stockholm.

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