The Xtra Files 2019: We review Lithuania’s ‘Run with the Lions’ by Jurij Veklenko

Welcome to The Xtra Files, our new series which will give you an insight into what the team at ESCXTRA think of your favourite entries into this year’s contest! Today, we review Lithuania.

Now that all the songs have been released, we are able to review each and every one of them. Our honest and brutal reviews will keep you entertained until the rehearsals start on 5 May! We will also each give a score out of 10 for every entry, and create an ESCXTRA leaderboard of the entries!

The series begins today, with reviews of the Lithuanian entry, ‘Run with the Lions’ by Jurij Veklenko, from Angelos, Costa, Natalie, Rodrigo, Tom R and Wiv. Let’s get started!


The Reviews


What I miss here is a strong memorable chorus and a song with a hook, which I’m afraid this one lacks. Jurijus can deliver this song just fine, but I’m afraid most people won’t remember this after a while. There are way too many male soloists this year with stronger songs than “Run with the Lions” and somehow this gets lost in the long run among them. It’s harmless, but it won’t set the scoreboard on fire, nor my playlist. No, Lithuania should have sent Monika in order to continue its qualification from last year.


Following the Lithuanian selections from the sidelines, I never really understood why both the juries and the viewing public got behind such a staggeringly mediocre song. The only thing ‘Run with the Lions’ has going for it is Jurij’s ethereal vocal tone, which isn’t particularly well-utilised on this cookie-cutter mid-tempo. Of course, I am writing this review prior to hearing the revamp, but even then, this is easily one of the weaker songs in semi-final 2. Lithuania, please, spare us another national final and internally-select Monika next year!


Going from a slow yet beautiful song that was too sweet for my liking to this, Lithuania have stepped up a level in my opinion. They rejected not one, but two of Monika Marija’s entries for a song that could fit very well in the remake of The Lion King. Jurijus knows how to deliver a good performance although I don’t think his place in the final is guaranteed just yet. I’m sure he won’t have a problem with his live vocals, considering that he was the voice behind “Get Frighten” from Lithuania’s selection a few years ago…


My biggest issue with this is that half way through I start thinking the song has been probably going on for 7 minutes. What it lacks in creativity and excitement it abundantly has in cliches. Sad to see that after a year of absolute brilliance Lithuania goes back to their pattern of mediocrity. Not even the rather slick camerawork that they had in their national final can save this from being as lacking in lustre as they can be.

Tom R

I’m in no doubt that I will echo the thoughts of many here but Lithuania needed to send Monika Marija to stand a chance at this year’s contest! In amongst their marathon-long national final, Monika had the only two songs that actually stood out as Eurovision contenders, and I’ve no doubt Light On would have been in my top 5. However, unfortunately, that cannot be said for Jurij. The song, for me, is just a little flat and boring. It is not the worst song around and may make the final in May, however, for me, I don’t think it deserves a spot in the final. The song just seems like a bridge and chorus on repeat – there’s not much else holding it together. Lithuania really need to step up their game for 2020.


So, to start with the beginning here; Jurij looks quite a bit like Duncan James, which is never a bad thing. Just sayin. Also, his voice is pretty great. The way he switches between his “natural” voice and the falsetto so smoothly is rather impressive. I really hope he can pull that off live. The song is another story. It clearly wants to be big and powerful, but to me that’s all I hear. And just wanting to be big and powerful doesn’t mean it is. It’s simply missing the big punch. He’s really good though, so I’ll give Lithuania 6/10. Also; did I mention he looks a bit like Duncan James? Which is never a bad thing.


Costa6Nathan P4.5Simon4
Dan1Nathan W4Tim6
Dominik6Nick5Tom O6
Emanuel6Oliver4Tom R5

Therefore, the average score for Lithuania is 4.78.


Lithuania reaches 2nd place with a score of 4.78.

  1. France – 5.74
  2. Lithuania – 4.78
  3. Australia – 4.65

Tomorrow, it will be the turn of Norway to be reviewed.

Do you agree with our reviews of Lithuania? What are your thoughts on Run with the Lions?

Let us know on social media @ESCXTRA!

Luke Malam

I've watched Eurovision for as long as I can remember, but my interest really built in 2008, after I decided to watch the semifinals online, out of boredom, before the final...I was blown away by the quality of the show and have been hooked ever since! I'm a competitive trampolinist and I love baking. I've also just completed a master's degree in Research Methods in Psychology at University College London.
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