XTRA Preview & Review: Latvia — Semi-final 1

The national final season is in full swing, as February begins. On Saturday, 3rd February, LTV’s Supernova will begin. We’ve taken a look at the entries and the procedure below, so here is the XTRA Preview & Review!

XTRA Preview: Supernova

Supernova will begin its fourth season tomorrow night. It was introduced in 2015, after six years of non-qualification in a row (and even a last place in their semi-final in 2009, 2010 and 2013). The success was immediate, with the fans (who are many to follow this national selection) and with Europe. Supernova 2015’s winner Aminata finished 6th in Vienna for Latvia, with ther song “Love Injected”.
Tomorrow, seven songs will compete for two spots in the final, on February 24th. The two qualifiers will be chosen with a mix of televoting (with only one vote allowed per phone), Spotify streams and jury voting. 2016 Supernova winner Just Sirmais and TV presenter Dagmāra Legante will host the show. At the same time, music expert Toms Grēviņš and comedian Edgars Bāliņs will host a live stream with input and reactions from social networks.
For now, it seems fans expect Edgar Kreilis to qualify, but nothing is certain about the second qualifier.
The show will be broadcast on LTV1 at 20:25 CET tomorrow, and is scheduled to last 2 hours and a half. The show will be available on the official LTV Live Broadcast. As in the previous weeks, we will be covering the show on Twitter.

XTRA Review: Supernova

Katrina Gupalo & the Blackbirds — “Intoxicating Caramel”

Vincent: What is that? It’s very messy, and though I don’t dislike Jazz, this sounds too much “bar on a rest area in Nevada”-like to me, if that make any sense… And those lyrics are weird. I get that she’s all crazy after being kissed, but this is too messy too.
Score: 4/10
Dominik: I’m not that into Jazz. This makes it probably more tragic for me. I like the “crazy” feeling of the song, but overall I can’t connect with it.
Score: 3/10
Matt: This is bananas crazy! The lyrics may as well have been picked randomly from a game of scrabble. For anyone who knows about Postmodern Jukebox and how they ‘jazzify’ modern day pop songs, this feels like it’s from the same family. It’s all over the place but I think it works. Still only…
Score: 6/10
Alesia: I like jazz. I actually LOVE jazz. This song is a little all over the place. I got Kate Bush vibes at one point and not in a good way. The melody changes a few times and the vocal is a little too out-of-the-box for my personal taste.
Score: 2/10

Rahu the Fool — “Oh, Longriver!”

Vincent: I like that folk-vibe! It’s fresh and intimate, and the music video translates this very well. And I like the lyrics, finally a bit original: it’s just about a place dear to him. Still, it becomes repetitive after 3 minutes (and even more in the full version).
Score: 6.5/10
Dominik: While watching the music video you just have fun watching them to party to their song. They are enjoying every second of it and I like that. The song could be easy to forget in Eurovision tho. So I don’t know if this would be a good option.
Score: 4/10
Matt: I like the fact that these guys are themselves. By that, I mean they are not pandering to grab votes. I’m seeing raw musicianship and a folky individual style. A bit too pedestrian for my liking.
Score: 5/10
Alesia: This song isn’t in my particular taste. I also don’t think it would do well at Eurovision and I think Latvia DOES want to do well at the song contest.
Score: 3/10

DVINES — “More Than Meets The Eye”

Vincent: Classic lyrics of empowerment, although they are more lyrical than cliché (and I like lyrical). Musically, it’s listenable, but it doesn’t build anything, and gets very messy and repetitive in the end.
Score: 6/10
Dominik: At first I thought this is very special. But sadly it is repeating itself and isn’t going anywhere. All in all, it is a good song, but I don’t see it at Eurovision or in the radio….
Score: 4/10
Matt: After a promising start to the song with some good production qualities, it completely fades in it’s repetitive nature. After 3 minutes we realise that there really isn’t ‘more than meets the eye’.
Score: 6/10
Alesia: The song is cute  and I wish the vocalists were stronger. The song needs a real climax and the ending feels more like a lullabye than a “BIG FINISH”.
Score: 5/10

Agnese Stangrevics — “You Are My World”

Vincent: I find that song flat, and I don’t really like Agnese’s voice (at least in the beginning). It doesn’t build up enough, and the lyrics won’t help. But I think it might shine brighter on stage.
Score: 5/10
Dominik: This is great. Modern uptempo, radio friendly and could do very well. Immediately added to my Spotify playlist. This is a good sign and I would hear it again and again. Would make a nice entry for Latvia!
Score: 8/10
Matt: Here is an artist singing exactly what they should be. It’s current, appropriate, and more importantly, has elements that will work on the Eurovision stage. But the song meanders too much and doesn’t go anywhere.
Score: 6/10
Alesia: The production is top notch and this song is modern. The slow pace of the song may have folks feeling like it is a typical ballad but it isn’t. Now it just has to not be staged that way.
Score: 8/10

Sudden Lights — “Just Fine”

Vincent: So, I like the music, it’s vintagely modern and gloomy, but… First, it doesn’t take off, it builds to a climax that never really happen. Second, the lyrics: it’s full of the most generic critics of the modern western society: it feels as if a teenager wrote them (and the English is sometimes broken). Although, the last bit, “maybe I’ll be just fine” adds some maturity.
Score: 6.5/10
Dominik: This is an interesting song. I like the sound elements of the song and it is always a good sign, when you think, that 3 minutes can be really short. I enjoy it and think many others will, too.
Score: 7/10
Matt: This is another dark horse. The composition is interesting with some folky, light rock elements. Not memorable enough to grab votes but a really strong entry nonetheless.
Score: 7/10
Alesia: Latvia is giving some really modern tracks. They all have a place at the NPR tiny desk concert. That is a compliment. I love the alternative feel of the song and the production.
Score: 9/10

Edgar Kreilis — “Younger Days”

Vincent: “Younger Days” sounds modern, though the melody (especially the chorus) isn’t so special to me. Interesting story to tell (at least, it’s a bit original), but, if I may say so, “you wasn’t Younger Days”.
Score: 7/10
Dominik: YAS! This song is amazing! Love the production and the sound elements of the song. Edgars has a great voice and this would be a really good entry for Latvia. Probably one of the best decisions they can do this year. Totally in for this.
Score: 9/10
Matt: The modern sound and tight production sets this song up with a good chance of doing well. The phrasing and general English pronunciation is a little jarring at times.
Score: 7/10
Alesia: I love the vocal. The song is modern and the production is clean. The song reminds me of JOWST from last year— slick, forward thinking and radio ready.
Score: 9/10

Liene Greifāne — “Walk the Talk”

Vincent: Now, that’s some bland lyrics of self-empowerment… A pity, because I actually like the beat and the melody. Still, it feels like an constant attempt at singing with power, but never really reaching this goal.
Score: 6/10
Dominik: Some parts of the song are modern and well done. However, the overall song is not appealing or interesting to hear it again or to vote for it. The dance break was my favorite part of the song.
Score: 3/10
Matt: Pretty much everything about this track is bland. It’s well produced but not exciting.
Score: 4/10
Alesia: This Demi Lovato derivative beat is colored by a weak vocal and trite lyrics.
Score: 1/10

Who do we want?

The XTRA Jury, this time consisting of Vincent (France), Dominik (Germany), Matt (UK) and Alesia (US) has spoken. Below you can see the average each song achieved. Their qualifiers for tomorrow’s show are Edgar Kreilis, with his song “Younger Days”, and Sudden Lights with “Just Fine”!

  1. Edgar Kreilis — “Younger Days”: 8
  2. Sudden Lights — “Just Fine”: 7.4
  3. Agnese Stangrevics — “You Are My World”: 6.8
  4. DVINES — “More Than Meets The Eyes”: 5.3
  5. Rahu the Fool — “Oh, Longriver!”: 4.6
  6. Katrina Gupalo & The Black Birds — “Intoxicating Caramel”: 3.8
  7. Liene Greifāne — “Walk the Talk”: 3.5

Below, we’ve included a playlist for you. Which of these eight do you like best? Make sure to let us know who you like by commenting!
[ypt playlist_id=PLaN_bl4PQH7RqWvyoJEgbHy5axHPmlhhR]

Vincent Mazoyer

I'm a French Eurovision fan, and an ESCXTRA Editor since August 2017. I love following national selections and live tweeting on Destination Eurovision / Eurovision CVQD for ESCXTRA. Outside of this nice Eurosphere, I'm a "fan" of the audio medium, from radio podcasts to commercialy-released audios, Modern Pentathlon, and more generally a business and law student.

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