On this ”Throwback Thursday” we fly to Lithuania! They have participated in the contest 18 times (this year marking the 19th) since their debut in 1994. We will focus on the country’s second most successful entry, “I’ve been waiting for this night” by Donny Montell.
Lithuania’s early history at Eurovision
The Baltic nation made its debut in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994, a few years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Estonia and a couple of other countries from eastern Europe also made their debut the same year in Dublin. That year’s contest found itself with 7 new countries joining. Several debutants such as Poland and Hungary ended up in top 5 in their first try.
For Lithuania however, things didn’t start quite as smoothly. Ovidijus Vyšniauskas finished last, receiving nul points. It took 5 years until Lithuania returned to the contest after the various relegation systems used throughout the 90’s and a minor withdrawal sometime in between. But the comeback entry in 1999 didn’t do well either.
Finally some success?
Three years later, both Estonia and newly debuted Latvia, managed to win the contest with Lithuania remaining the most unsuccessful of the three Baltic nations.
Lithuania had to wait until 2006 to see its first top-10 achievement when LT United brought Lithuania to 6th place with “We are the winners”.
Since the two-semifinal system, Lithuania have qualified 6 times to the final, never missing a final for two years in a row.
The second top 10 was brought by Donny Montell and his Swedish written song “I’ve Been Waiting for This Night” at Eurovision 2016 in Stockholm. The song was written by Jonas Thander and Beatrice Robertsson. This was the second attempt by Donny after
having ended 14th in the 2012 final in Baku few years earlier.
I’ve Been Waiting For This Night
When I first heard “I’ve Been Waiting for This Night” among other entries participating in the Lithuanian national final I knew that this would eventually be the Lithuanian entry in Stockholm, knowing that Donny was a good performer and the song being catchy and fresh.
The national selection took place over ten weeks and involved 28 artists initially competing in two different competitive streams: artists that applied with a song and artists that were matched with a song from the song submissions LRT received because they did not have a song.
Donny Montell applied to compete with “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night” and therefore competed with other artists who also applied with songs. The results of each show were determined by the combination of votes from a jury panel and a public vote. In the final on 12 March 2016, six artists and songs remained and “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night” was selected as the winner after achieving the highest score from both the jury panel and the public vote.
Danny Montell at Eurovision…again
Montell travelled to Stockholm with “I’ve Been Waiting for This Night” ending up 9th in the final with 200 points. Donny had matured a lot since last time we saw him in Eurovision in 2012 and he gave a very good performance, visually and vocally.
This marked Lithuania’s second best ever placing in the contest (and second top-10).
However, with more countries competing in 2016 and a new voting system, Lithuania managed also to get the highest amount of points ever.
Lithuania had been waiting for this night for too long, enjoying a second top-10 placing, having passed 10 years from their first and only one.
This week’s guest star
Euan Thomson has been following the contest since 2010 after being mesmerised by Vukasin Brajic. He is a long time fan of the Lithuanian Eurovision entries, which of course is the reason why he is this week’s guest star.
He has been to Eurovision twice, in 2016 and 2017. In just a few weeks+ time he will be going to his fourth London Eurovision Party, and he’s also attended Eurovision:You Decide twice. This year he finally travelled to Vilnius to experience the final of Eurovizijos. In his “Eurovision Day Job” he works for Eurovoix. Make sure to check them out!
What Euan thinks about “I’ve Been Waiting for This Night” and its importance
“I’ve Been Waiting for This Night” is quite an important milestone in Lithuania’s Eurovision Story; both in regards to results, and the country’s approach to Eurovision itself. With Donny achieving Lithuania’s best result in a decade, the attitudes to the country in the contest have changed from that of derision and light mockery to have a much more positive outlook. By choosing something as commercial, and current as “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night”, the country gave itself the best chance to win in years (it should have won, but I’m not bitter or anything), and has set in motion the opportunity for the country to improve on itself again by gaining the attention of a different creed of writers.
The substantial change can’t be understated, even in Donny himself. With the country only coming in the top 10 once before, (and ever then only coming 6th) in arguable one of the weakest years in the history of the show, it makes 9th place quite an impressive feat given the context. With Donny coming back after performing in 2012 with such a different, rather cheesy, approach, and giving one of the best performances of the year, it truly has transformed his country in the contest, and for that reason “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night” should be considered one of Lithuania’s best entries.
What the others thought
If I had to pick out of the two entries that Donny entered to Eurovision, by a Mile, I will always pick this one. I found it memorable than Love is Blind, plus I think that is is better, if compared. Plus bringing one of the best results for Lithuania is always a plus, hence why I will always remember this song.
I will confess that Lithuania isn’t my favourite ESC country. I do like some of their songs (2006, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016), but the rest is usually non-qualifier to me. And they are a beautiful exemple of limited productivity: their national selection spans the whole selection season but rarely does it get a good enough act.
As for Donny Montell’s participations, I slightly prefer “Love is Blind”, because it is sassier than the 2016 song, and I don’t really like his “bad boy” look. However, I must say I LOVE the staging for the second chorus of “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night”, cleverly re-used in the official recap of the semi and final in Stockholm. That’s 1:47 on the video, if you’re curious.
This is such a banger! I love everything about this. The song, the performance, the dynamic. It’s great and never gets boring. While listening to it, I always think about so many memories from the contest in 2016. Donny has so much energy and this is the perfect song for him. Probably one of my favorite entry from Lithuania together with 2015. If you watch the video below carefully, you might even spot me 😉 Another reason, why this song is so special to me! Memories <3
Lithuania has never been among my favorites at Eurovision. They have however sent a handful of songs that I kind of like. For instance Skamp’s “You Got Style”. This is such a cool, funky song, and in another year it might have snuck into my top 5. I also like their 2002 entry, “Happy You”. The lyrics (yeah, that’s right!) never fail to make me smile, and the melody is just a little “happy pill”. So let’s not talk about the live performance, with poor Aivaras getting more nervous every time he had to perform it. My favorite Lithuanian entry, however, is last year’s masterpiece; “Rain of Revolution”. This is a proper grower, and it’s now safely tucked inside my top 10. More Lituanian indie rock, please!
Below you can watch Lithuania’s 2016 entry “I’ve Been Waiting for This Night” by Donny Montell.
Next week Nick will throw us all the way back to Malmö…but which contest; 1992 or 2013? You’ll have to come back next Thursday to find out! All we will reveal is that the song represents a scenario a lot of us find very tempting!
We have also been thrown back to 2016 before; check and see which other song from that year has managed to catch the attention of one of our editors!
We would be delighted to hear you guys’ thoughts on our chosen Throwbacks, and also on our opinions!
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