Welcome to Xtra Insider, our new series which will give you an insight into how well each country was statistically likely to do this year, as well as what the team at ESCXTRA think of your favourite entries into (what would have been) this year’s contest! Today, we analyse and review the Czech Republic.
Yes, this year’s contest has been cancelled…but that doesn’t mean we can’t love the songs! In this series, we’ll review each and every entry that would have taken part in this year’s Eurovision. On top of this, we’re introducing a new analysis section in which we take a look into each country’s history and how likely they would have been to do well this year. Our honest and brutal reviews and analysis will keep you entertained throughout what would’ve been the Eurovision season! We will also each give points using the usual Eurovision points system (12, 10, then 8 down to 1), and create an ESCXTRA leaderboard of the entries!
Today, we’ll be giving analysis and reviews of the the Czech Republic entry, ‘Kemama’ by Benny Cristo, from Costa, Sami, Tim, Tom R, Vincent and Wiv. Let’s get started!
The Czech Republic’s history at Eurovision
Czech participation in the Eurovision Song Contest is a story of two halves. Including the first appearance in 2007, Czech Republic participated for three years in a row but never managed to get to the Saturday night final. After this initial period of non-qualification and citing a lack of enthusiasm for Eurovision back home, Czech broadcaster Česká televize decided to withdraw from future contests. However, a surprise return in 2015 brought on a much more successful period with a focus on song quality. In 2018, Mikolas Josef delivered the country’s best result at Eurovision with his song “Lie to Me“. The contemporary pop bop came 6th with 281 points.
This year’s entry
Benny Cristo and “Kemama” was selected to represent the Czech Republic via the national final, Eurovision Song CZ. It was the third time the country chose it’s entry through this national selection, with public voting via the official Eurovision app. The votes of the public were added to the votes of a ten-member international jury, and Cristo won the would-be ticket to Eurovision. “Kemama” went through a number of revamps to get to the final version, which is extremely modern, styled in the funky afrobeat / dancehall genre. The title roughly translates to “Okay Mama” and the lyrics talk of childhood adversity.
How does this kind of song tend to do in the contest?
There isn’t a huge offering of Afrobeat music from past Eurovision Song Contests, however, one entry stands out. Jessy Matador and his french entry “Allez Ola Olé” was well received back in 2010. It finished 12th in the Grand Final with 82 points and a very respectable place on the left-hand side of the scoreboard. We’ll never know how the Czech team would have staged their 2020 entry, but you could hazard a guess that it would have been energetic and vibrant, just like Jessy’s 2010 staging.
For someone who has gotten nothing but shit since he won his national final fair and square, I respect Benny for not withdrawing altogether. Kemama is a bop ready for the summer, and from his Vidbir performance we can see that Benny is a charismatic and energetic performer. Also, the revamp really isn’t as bad as y’all make it out to be…
I feel sorry for Benny after all the backlash he got over the revamp, but I have to be honest – this is very bad. It’s nice to hear different genres in the contest, but only when done well.
I really liked Kemama in the beginning. I thought that the track was innovative and something unique. However, my perception of the track changed when he revamped it. I was a bit disappointed with how it went at first. It’s a grower, so I will still bop along to it when I hear it at an event.
There’s always a falling point for a country that are beginning to venture on a successful streak. 2020 was that point for the Czech Republic. After two good results with Mikolas and Lake Malawi, “Kemama” is chosen. It honestly reminds me of a football anthem than a Eurovision entry. It might make it onto the soundtrack of the Euros next year, but it won’t be on my Eurovision playlist going forward… there’s always next year!
“Kemama” was my favorite in the early weeks of the season, and I was happy to see the Vidbir performance showing the Czech Republic seemingly having three great years in a row. Then came the revamps. I’m sorry for Benny but I didn’t like the first one, and still believe the second one is inferior to the original version, which I thought had a nice balance between african and western sound.
When I first listened to this song I really enjoyed the fun rythms and happy mood. That didn’t last long, though. After approximately 40 seconds I realized it was just annoying. I seriously don’t get the hype, but also realize I’m one of the few people who don’t.
Therefore, the Czech Republic receives 104 points in total!
The Czech Republic ends up right in the middle of our leaderboard with a score of 104.
- Bulgaria – 163
- Ukraine – 135
- Australia – 117
- Belgium – 109
- Czech Republic – 104
- San Marino – 97
- Albania – 97
- Poland – 76
Tomorrow, it will be the turn of the Serbia to be reviewed. For now, take another listen to the Czech Republic entry below!
Do you agree with our reviews of the Czech Republic? What are your thoughts on Kemama?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA