Jury Darling Ester Peony defies odds to represent Romania

Ester Peony took part on behalf of Romania at Eurovision 2019

Eurovision 2019 is the year of jury darlings. No less than 9 times this preselection season, a song won without the support of the televoters. ESCDaily introduces them all to you in the build-up to Tel Aviv, moving onwards to the controversial selection of Ester Peony for Romania.

On February 17th, Romania announced that Ester Peony will be the Romania representative for Eurovision 2019 nearly solely in thanks to the power of the jury vote. The female Romanian singer competed against 32 other entries in a controversy-stricken selection year. Three artists withdrew their entries: Dan Bittman (Romania 1994), Mihai Trăistariu (Romania 2006) and Xandra. These withdrawals were due to scheduling conflicts, artist favoritism and unknown reasons respectively.

Despite being third by the jury during her semi-final, Ester received an astounding lead in the jury vote having been rewarded 68 points; 14 points ahead of the eventual runner-up. What made the show extremely controversial was the fact that the jury vote provided approximately 86% of the overall vote. Therefore, the televote would be void even if they had rewarded the jury runner-up Laura Bretan with the top score of twelve points. Ultimately the televoters placed Ester 8th with 3 points but the jury advantage guaranteed her victory.

“On A Sunday” (Romania, Eurovision 2019)

Peony’s co-composed song “On A Sunday” is an interesting take for a Eurovision pop song. Ester Peony is a Romanian-Canadian who started gaining notoriety through performing music covers on YouTube. She previously worked as a songwriter having recently being signed to Romanian music label Cat Music.  Vocals and story-telling seem to be the main focus points in her entry.

Romania is one of the countries that lost its 100% Eurovision qualification rate in 2018. “On A Sunday” stands a potential but most certainly not-guaranteed chance of qualifying in the second semi-final in Tel Aviv. Visual aspect will be a defining factor whether the performance can sell to gain the televotes it lacked during its own national final.

The alternative: Laura Bretan – Dear Father

Laura won the televote in Romania’s national final with the song “Dear Father” nearly twelve times the amount of the chosen representative. Do you think Romania should have gone for her instead of Ester Peony?