This week it is Aline’s turn to give some attention to a song from Hungary. This country debuted in 1994, so we can say that they are fairly “new”. However, they have given us some great entries over the past 26 years. Let’s return to the year of 1997.
A little back history
During the 90’s, we collectively enjoyed the music of boy bands such as Backstreet Boys, Boyzone and Take That. Hungary has responded very well to this, and so the Hungarian boy band V.I.P. was born. Józsa Alex, Imre Rakonczai, Viktor Rakonczai and Gergő Rácz, four men of which two are brothers, formed the group in 1997. In that same year, they represented Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest after winning the national selection.
Viktor Rakoncza, one of the members, composed the song “Miért kell, hogy elmenj” together with lyricist Krisztina Bokor Fekete. Péter Wolf conducted the orchestra during the final on 3 May. In Dublin, the band performed in 19th position out of 25 entries, between Malta and Russia. After the voting sequence had finished, Hungary finished 12th with a total of 39 points. The highest score that night came from winner United Kingdom, giving the boy band 8 points.
The team reacts
Confession time: I had never heard this entry before. Thankfully I have now, because I really enjoyed it! The Hungarian language is sure to improve any song, whether it’s rock or boyband. While this song definitely falls into the latter category, it’s very charming. The singers are talented and their voices work well together. The staging is quite simple, but it works in their favor. While this is not something I would add to my playlist, I can appreciate its charm and the fact that Hungary had a very solid entry here. Though I do prefer some good Hungarian rock music!
I feel that after missing out on a spot (what even was that pre-qualification round?) into the 1996 final with their old fashioned ballad ‘Fortuna’, Hungary decided to play it safe and try something much more contemporary for the time in 1997. So we were treated to quite possibly the most stereotypical 90s song in the form of boyband V.I.P and their song which translates to ‘Why do you have to go’. This was of course on the minds of all ESC fans in response to Hungary only two years later but going back to the song, I quite like it. The harmonies are perfect and the staging is simplistic but compliments the relaxing atmosphere the song creates. As Boybands were at the height of their popularity in the late 90s, it’s no surprise to me that the highest score for the song on the night came from the British Televoters. Of course, shades of Westlife probably contributed to 4 points from our Irish jury
I don’t like Take That. I’m sure that revelation will come as…no surprise to anyone who knows me even remotely. With that established, it’ll come as even less surprise that there is very little in this entry for me. I deem 1997 as one of the best years in Eurovision history, featuring some of the best entries to ever grace a Eurovision stage. It is for this reason that I find “Miért kell, hogy elmenj” to be even more of a generic, weak non-event with whiny vocals and poor styling. The Hungarian language elevates it very slightly, but I have no desire to revisit this beyond this review.
This song fits into the boyband rave of the mid-late 90s – even down to the stool for a mid-tempo song! Though not my favourite Hungarian entry, it’s probably my favourite from the 90s – which may be potentially controversial. It’s performed well and has a catchy chorus. 12th seems about right, as 1997 was an incredibly strong year. I’m glad this song was performed in Dublin, as it really could be a performance by Westlife or more potently Boyzone. Perhaps Boyzone member come Eurovision host Ronan Keating gave V.I.P. some tips?
Enjoy the song one more time here!
What is your opinion on Hungary’s 1997 entry? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media platforms! Next week, we are back with another episode of “Slideback Sunday”.