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XTRA Preview & Review: Armenia – Depi Evratesil: Semi-final 1

The national final season is in full swing. On Monday, February 19th, Depi Evratesil is kicking off with its first semi-final! We’ve taken a look at the entries and the procedure below, so here is the XTRA Preview & Review!

XTRA Preview: Depi Evratesil

Depi Evratesil (which is Armenian for Towards Eurovision) is being held for second year in a row. It was introduced as the country’s selection process last year and had the format of a talent show. However, this year Depi Evratesil has a different format and unlike last year, it will select both the artist and the song. A total of twenty acts are competing in the national selection.

Today, ten out of the twenty songs will be competing for five spots in the final, on February 25th. The qualifiers will be decided based on a 50/50 jury and public voting. The national selection will air on the First Channel at 19:15 CET.

We will be tweeting throughout the show, live at @ESCXTRA!

XTRA Review: Depi Evratesil

Gevorg Harutyunyan – “Stand Up”

Dimitris: This is really average and doesn’t actually go anywhere. It’s tedious and the attempt of making it sound like a dramatic ballad just makes it worse.
Score: 2/10
Miki: I think that the cringey/cheesy lyrics mixed with the unnecessarily dramatic instrumental make this supposed to be serious entry sound rather …. funny.
Score: 2/10
Angelos: There are plenty of songs like this one across various national finals. Uninspiring, average english, goes nowhere, and they have never done particularly well either.
Score: 3/10
Emanuel: I just have the feeling that the lyrics doesn’t fit with the instrumental at all. The whole product sounds forced.There is a moment when the instrumental gets kinda epic, but the rest of the song sounds like a mess. I like authenticity, and that’s something that this song doesn’t have.
Score: 3/10

Angel – “Heartbeat”

Dimitris: There is so much going on in this song that it ends up sounding like a mess. It started out interestingly but then by the chorus I got confused. Sounds like a worse version of what “Icebreaker” was trying to do. The verses do not work together with the chorus, even if individually they sound better.
Score: 5.5/10
Miki: “Heartbeat” is a song that tries too hard to tick all the boxes. From the slow start, to the electro-pop verses, It just becomes messy instead of unique. Plus, I don’t think that songs like this one work well live.
Score: 4/10
Angelos: Not much to add about this one. We need a good chorus and to build up a structure on the song here. I struggle to find it here though.
Score: 2/10
Emanuel: Even though I like it, it is too much to digest in a first listening. And I need to be impressed at the very first time. I just find the whole package confusing. It tries too hard to be everything, and it ends up to be kinda messy. It’s like if we put together three different songs, and as a result we get this. Plus points for the originality but I don’t think this is a good idea.
Score: 5/10

Lusine Mardanyan – “If You Don’t Walk Me Home”

Dimitris: Another ballad, but it is a cute and pleasant ballad. I like it and will probably grow on me after a few more listens. Lusine’s vocals sound really good and hopefully she’ll also be decent for her live performance.
Score: 7/10
Miki: I like this. Sounds like a track from Natalie Imbruglia’s 2007 album “Counting Down The Days”. It has a nice little acoustic flow and I really like Lusine’s smooth vocals. If she can deliver this live, I can see myself pressing the replay button frequently.
Score: 9/10
Angelos: This one takes a couple of listenings to get a grip on, and the last song I would guess would come from Armenia, but it’s not bad at all. It’s a sweet song and she sounds good, not sure about it’s chances though, it’s all up to performance.
Score: 7/10
Emanuel: This one is so, so good. It sounds so sweet, so authentic, so true. Unlike most songs in the national final, I would play this one again. Also love her style. She reminds me Dihaj, and I say this as a compliment. I’m not sure if such a fragile song would do well at Eurovision, but this is something that I would be proud of if I was Armenian.
Score: 9/10

Zhanna Davtyan – “Unbreakable”

Dimitris: I actually really like the verses of the song. However, the chorus sounds too messed up and I think it would work better with a different chorus.
Score: 5/10
Miki: This has potential to be great but It feels a bit “heard it all before” and lacks originality. I like her voice, that seems to be the redeeming factor here.
Score: 4/10
Angelos: Very weak chorus that goes on and on and then the song ends very abruptly. We need a stronger chorus and a more natural or smooth ending here.
Score: 3/10
Emanuel: This is the kind of song that I would enjoy if I was drunk at party, but while I do my reviews I’m completely sober, so it just sounds ordinary. I have heard stuff like this countless times before, and much better, to be honest. I’m a man with a good heart so I’m giving her a 4/10.
Score: 4/10

Mger Armenia – “Forever”

Dimitris: I honestly can’t stand this song, it’s too annoying and has no interesting element in it.
Score: 1/10
Miki: This is a NO from me.
Score: 1/10
Angelos: Sorry Armenia, this is not good either, it takes lots of patience to listen through the whole song. Repetitive lyrics – very annoying.
Score: 0.5/10
Emanuel: You always conquer me with that traditional sounds at the beginning, but then the rest of the song is just unoriginal. Should I mention the fact that the lyrics are extremely repetitive? You want to live forever, we got it. There isn’t any need to mention it one hundred times. Don’t underestimate my intelligence that way.
Score: 3/10

Nemra – “I’m a Liar”

Dimitris: I usually don’t like this type of songs and this song is no exception. I find it very uninteresting and easily forgettable.
Score: 3/10
Miki: This has such a 90’s vibe and I’m completely sold on it. feels honest and not overly produced, which I appreciate.
Score: 8/10
Angelos: A middle of the road song which after less than a minute turns to a repetitive tiresome song. Sorry Armenia, you won’t get very far with this one.
Score: 2.5/10
Emanuel: Feels true, feels honest, but feels also incomplete. I like the “old school” style of the song, but it ends up to be boring and repetitive. It’s pleasant to listen to, but it isn’t a song that I would play again. Anyway, it is better than half of the songs in the national final, so that’s already an achievement.
Score: 6/10

Hayk Kasparov – “Enamórame”

Dimitris: This trend of inserting Spanish just because of the current hits is cringey. I really hoped the hype of latin songs that Despacito caused last year wouldn’t invade Eurovision, but unfortunately it did. I don’t really like the song; this is so bad on so many different levels.
Score: 1/10
Miki: I’m sorry, I just can’t take this track seriously. I do understand the Hayk is trying to ride on the tail of current trends but It just leaves me confused. I don’t like this at all.
Score: 2/10
Angelos: Will an ordinary and not very inspiring latin song do well for Armenia and make Armenians proud? Give me a break.
Score: 2/10
Emanuel: It seems that singing in spanish is now the new trend in the several national finals. It’s a pity that sending good songs never manages to be a trend too. I don’t like this and I don’t even feel the need to explain why. Just play it and you will find my reasons.
Score: 2/10

Tamar Kaprelian – “Poison (Ari Ari)”

Dimitris: From the first listen, this got my attention. Every single part of the song contribute into making it a strong competition. I think it can easily attract the listener and make him wanna sing or dance along. With a performance worthy of the song, this can do really well.
Score: 9/10
Miki: Tamar steals the show for me. Hopefully the live performance will match the mystical, ethnic vibe of the song. I’m thinking, a traditional setup on stage mixed with some current choreography…. And FIRE, plenty of FIRE. Way to go Tamar.
Score: 9/10
Angelos: Oh I like this one! This is very Armenia at Eurovision, ethnic Armenian sounds mixed with modern music. Reminds of Arash early hits sung partly in Persian with a modern touch, yet ethnic. The chorus is captivating and I can already see people dancing to this one on the Euroclub over and over again.
Score: 9/10
Emanuel: I’m sure that my opinion about this song will change drastically after the live performance. I need to see her performing live to do a proper judgement. I like the ethnic basis of the song and the chorus is really catchy. I just think that it lacks power in the rest of the song, and I’m sorry it isn’t completely in Armenian. Not my favourite in the selection, but with a good performance it wouldn’t be a bad choice. Hope she conquers me with the live show.
Score: 8.5/10

Robert Koloyan – “Get Away with Us”

Dimitris: Just another typical ballad sung by a male vocalist. It’s not bad, but it’s not something I would listen to regularly.
Score: 4/10
Miki: It’s not an unpleasant song, I just find it a bit unmemorable. It’s alright while it’s on, but I couldn’t really remember it after It ended.
Score: 5/10
Angelos: Another uninspiring song that goes literally nowhere and you wouldn’t hear it on any other occasion than as a filler in a national final.
Score: 2/10
Emanuel: Sounds expensive, has a good production, but it ends up to be just boring. We have heard songs similar to this one countless times before. Unlike the past Armenian entries this hasn’t any Armenian flavour. And I don’t like that.
Score: 6/10

Gata Band – “Shogha”

Dimitris: This might be something we don’t usually see in Eurovision, and it’s a nice attempt of showing traditional music in the contest, but I can’t get myself liking this. I can’t see this nothing more than just a “joke” entry.
Score: 1/10
Miki: Very ethnic yet somehow I feel it has a bit of a humor in it. Might be an interesting choice for Armenia, I just don’t see myself picking up the phone to vote for It. Kudos for singing in Armenian through.
Score: 2/10
Angelos: This is as far as you can get from my own musical taste, but this is not bad for what it is, and I gotta give them credit for trying something truly authentic. I actually even enjoy this.
So those of you that are tired of songs “sounding all the same” here you go with something we haven’t heard in Eurovision before.
Score: 6/10
Emanuel: I’m the biggest fan of the Armenian traditional music, I love folk, but this isn’t exactly what I expect to hear from Armenia. Especially given the fact that they produce in their music industry amazing folk songs. This one is just underwhelming and to be honest sounds kinda funny. I don’t know if that was the intention. It’s original, though.
Score: 5/10

Who do we want?

The XTRA Jury, this time consisting of Dimitris, Miki, Angelos and Emanuel has spoken. Below you can see the average each song achieved. Their favourite for tomorrow’s show is Tamar Kaprelian’s “Poison (Ari Ari)”!

  1. Tamar Kaprelian – “Poison (Ari Ari)”: 8.9
  2. Lusine Mardanyan – “If You Don’t Walk Me Home”: 8
  3. Nemra – “I’m a Liar”: 4.9
  4. Robert Koloyan – “Get Away with Us”: 4.3
  5. Angel – “Heartbeat”: 4.1
  6. Zhanna Davtyan – “Unbreakable”: 4
  7. Gata Band – “Shogha”: 3.5
  8. Gevorg Harutyunyan – “Stand Up”: 2.5
  9. Hayk Kasparov – “Enamórame”: 1.8
  10. Mger Armenia – “Forever”: 1.4

Below, we’ve included a playlist for you. Which of these ten do you like best? Make sure to let us know who you like by commenting!

[ypt playlist_id=PLZzraMOF5G3PvJOLzLWSsandfblJj5ZLL]

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