Hungary: Read back our liveblog from the surprising second quarter final

After a break last week due to the bus incident, Hungary continues its preselection tonight. In the second heat of A Dal several familiar names take part including András Kállay-Saunders (ESC 2014).

Kállay-Saunders won the A Dal competition in 2014 and went on to finish 5th at the Eurovision Song Contest that year in Copenhagen. Two years later, he returned to the Hungarian preselection with his band, but due to technical problems his performance in the A Dal final turned into a nightmare. After that night, Kállay-Saunders told ESC Daily that “my dream is to win the Eurovision Song Contest, and I am not going to stop until that actually happens.”

Last week, Spoon 21 qualified for the semi finals along with five other acts. Tonight, together with nine other acts, Kállay-Saunders will compete for six tickets as well. Juries will vote in between the performances and decide five of the six qualifiers.

Live commentary

You could watch the show HERE.

The show is now over. You can read back on Steef van Gorkum’s live commentary below. Van Gorkum lived in Hungary for several years.

21:42 – Show is over

A surprising second quarter final of A Dal comes to an end. The liveblog ends, too. Stay tuned to ESC Daily for more news about the preselection season! And thanks for your attention to my commentary tonight.

21:36 – Ádám Szabó wins televoting

He lets a sigh of relief when his name is announced. After a big scare, the runner-up of 2015 qualifies for the semi finals. Mujahid Zoltán is eliminated from the competition as is Andi Tóth.

21:32 – One last recap

My personal favorite of the five is Mujahid Zoltán, but I think the Hungarian televoters will vote for Ádám Szabó.

21:23 – The final results:

  1. Kállay-Saunders Band – 17 (42pt)
  2. Gina Kanizsa – Fall like rain (42pt)
  3. The Peet Project – Kill your monster (4opt)
  4. Chase – Dust in the wind (39pt)
  5. Mrs Columbo – Frozen King (38pt)

The other five, including Ádám Szabó, Mujahid Zoltán, and Andi Tóth will battle for one televoting ticket for the semies.

21:19 – Mrs Columbo through, televoting lines open

The jury picks Mrs Columbo over Ádám Szabó. We are in for another round full of surprises in Hungary, with three big names in the bottom five of tonight’s score. From those three, televoters can now save only one…

21:14 – It’s a tie!

The jury says Ádám looked tight and a bit stressed at times. They award him fewer points than Mrs Columbo, but the App Vote comes to his help: 8 points there, and it is a tie now between Ádám and Mrs Columbo.

21:11 – Ádám or Mrs Columbo

Depending on Ádáms score, we will know the fifth qualifier for tonight. He needs to beat Mrs Columbo’s score of 38 points to go through.

21:06 – Ádám Szabó – Together (38pt)

Two years ago, Ádám used the A Dal platform to gain popularity within the Hungarian music scene. In the meantime he has grown into a more mature performer and he brings his mid-tempo pop song “Together” with a strong vibe. One could argue that the bird cages on the song do not really have much to do with the song, but this performance is not about the props, or even about the interpretive dancers: it is all about Ádám. And he does well enough to qualify, in my opinion.

21:04 – Gina qualifies, Mujahid Zoltán to televoting round

The jury is highly impressed by Gina’s song, which seems “almost like a soundtrack”. They reward her with more points than Kállay-Saunders even! But because of the disappointing App Score of 5 points, they finish in a tie. Both will qualify for the semi finals and Mujahid Zoltán will not – he will fight it out in the televoting round.

21:01 – Gina Kanizsa – Fall like rain (42pt)

Interesting although predictable visual hook at the start: an interprative dancer with a cape lies on the floor with rain falling down on her. It is the start of a slightly predictable piano ballad, which is not really convincingly brought by Gina, who has trouble with the higher notes.

20:57 – Andi Tóth to the televoting

The Hungarian jury is known for making daring choices and tonight is no different. With two performances remaining, it is already certain that former Voice-winner and A Dal finalist Andi Tóth will need televoting to save her tonight. She will not be in the top 5. Mujahid Zoltán is far from certain, too.

20:55 – “Was this the interval act?”

No, Zséda, this was a participant… She gives 7 points still and with two more 8, and a 6 from the App Vote, Péter Köváry now shares the important 5th place with Mujahid Zoltán. Peet Project and Chase are certainly through to the semi finals.

20:51 – Péter Kőváry & The Royal Rebels – It’s A Riot (36pt)

A Dal generally features a few rock songs and although this particular one is slightly dated (rockabilly might be a better description), it is received well in the studio. The lead singer wears a grey suit and a black hat. Catchy refrain and a backdrop of a living room with paintings in golden frames. No idea what it has to do with the song but it looks nice anyway.

20:45 – “More than just a voice”

In Eurovision, you need more than just a good voice. That is the bottom line of the jury’s commentary. Still, they are positive about Zoltán’s performance and award him with high points, except for Miklós who gives only 6. Combined with a relatively high 7 from the App Vote, it is 36 points for Mujahid Zoltán right now. He is in 5th place and might need the televoting to qualify.

20:38 – Mujahid Zoltán – On my own (36pt)

Zoltán rose to fame two years ago as “the guy in the Star Trek uniform”. Much like that time, his new song “On my own” is an extremely sweet Backstreet Boys ballad with an intro more dated than the last few Eurovision entries from Monaco. His strongsuit has always been his voice, which is really strong, and tonight is no exception. He simplified his outfit as well, sitting behind a piano in a Mans Zelmerlöw styled grey t-shirt. Halfway through the song, the piano starts to spin in circles for some reason.

20:30 – Commercials again

And with that piece of information, we go into the second break.

20:28 – Kállay-Saunders Band immediately to the final

With three times 9, one time 8 and at last 7 points from the App Vote, Kállay-Saunders Band is safely into the semi finals with 42 points. This is the highest score so far in the competition.

20:23 – Kállay-Saunders Band – 17 (42pt)

Kállay-Saunders comes on stage with a guitarist, four backing vocalists, and… DREADLOCKS! “17” is a mid-tempo song suitable for a car drive through the United States, where Kállay-Saunders has part of his roots. He seems slightly emotional to be back on the stage where his adventure ended in a nightmare last year. Tonight, his technical equipment works and his vocals are sound. The song does not stand out to me so much, but this is a definite qualifier.

20:21 – Kállay-Saunders is up next!

He knows the required score for him to immediately qualify is 40 points. With fewer points, he might still get through later in the night.

20:20 – “This needs more movement on stage”

Almost all the jurors comment on the static performance, but they like the rest of the performance. Everyone gives 8 points and with 6 from the App Vote, Mrs Columbo ends up with 38 points in a third place so far.

20:16 – Mrs Columbo – Frozen king (38pt)

This eccentric performance slightly plays the card of the successful former candidates Passed. Electronic music, written for the keyboards (there is no harp in this performance like with Passed) but somehow it just is not as special as it is supposed to be. Vocally alright. Staging flat, but the visual hook of this song is in the clothes of the lead singer, who is wearing all sorts of curtains around her arms.

20:11 – “Very specific vocals”

Zséda is surprisingly nice for Chase, calling his vocals “very specific and different”, which is of course one way of explaining it. She personally tries to push Chase through the jury voting by giving him no less than 9 points! The others are less generous, but altogether he finishes with 39 points in a safe second place. That might be enough to qualify.

20:08 – Chase – Dust in the wind (39pt)

Chase entered the competition after a few other acts were disqualified. He is on stage together with just one young interpretive dancer. Clouds displayed in the background. Song is an electronically driven power-ballad, but the most outstanding thing (unfortunately) is the terrible vocal performance from Chase. He dances better than he sings, and this does the song no good at all.

20:04 – Commercials

And after a quick interview with Peet Project, who surprisingly take the lead for now, we go into the first commercial break.

20:02 – “Not for stage performance”

“I love this, but not for a live performance”, says Miklós. Caramel agrees: “It is much better in studio version.” In the end they both give 8 points, but due to other lower scores and only 5 points from the App Vote, the final score is 34.

19:56 – AnnaElza and Juli Kása – Jártam (34pt)

It would not be Hungary without something experimental. Flutes and eccentric keyboard sounds accompany an experimental mid-tempo song, performed by a girl in a white hippie dress. Dead trees on stage and no less than six musicians on stage. Different from everything else, though the vocals were not always on point unfortunately.

19:54 – “Big stars have more vision”

Andi is heavily criticized for her song, which has “nothing I haven’t already heard before”, as Miklós says. “Big stars have more vision”. He gives her only six points, and altogether she ends on 34, with again 6 points awarded from the App Vote.

19:50 – Andi Tóth – I’ve got a fire (34pt)

Andi rose to fame because of The Voice of Hungary, but her voice is her biggest problem. It was the same thing last year in her catchy duet with Olivér Berkes which did not hold up live. The camera shots at the beginning are interesting with Andi starting to sing while laying on her back. After that, the performance becomes more static. Andi is wearing a white dress with wisps. The song “I’ve got a fire” is a drum-driven ballad with not a lot of interesting melody shifts to it.

19:46 – “Good starting song”

Judge Karoly says this song is cheerful and therefore suitable for a starting position. He gives 8 points and altogether the band ends with an impressive 40 points – that would have been enough to win in Heat 1!

Two jurors gave 9, two jurors gave 8, and the App Vote gave 6.

19:42 – Peet Project – Kill your monster (40pt)

We start the night with one of the lesser known names. Peet Project is one singer and four backing musicians, presenting a cheerful pop song with slightly dated rock ‘n roll and funk elements and a big band instrumentation. One of the guys is holding a saxophone. Lots of close-up shots from the lead singer, who hits his notes although English pronunciation is not good at all. Monsters projected in the backdrop but also a judge’s gavel (for some reason?). Song gets repetitive towards the end.

19:38 – Everybody’s famous

With a lot of spectacle, the jurors AND the presenters are introduced to the audience. Sometimes it seems like everyone is famous in this show. Hungary just loves A Dal.

19:32 – The official tune

“Te Deum” – and we are underway! These are the ten participants for tonight:

  • Kállay Saunders Band – 17
  • Ádám Szabó – Together
  • Péter Kőváry & The Royal Rebels – It’s A Riot
  • Zoltán Mujahid – On My Own
  • Andi Tóth – I’ve Got A Fire
  • Mrs. Columbo – Frozen King
  • Chase – Dust In The Wind
  • AnnaElza feat. Juli Kása – Jártam
  • Peet Project – Kill Your Monster
  • Gina Kanizsa – Fall Like Rain

19:30 – Commercials

We are almost starting the show – right after this commercial break. Just to remind you: 10 performances, jury votes right after each song, TOP-5 from the jury qualifies for the semi finals. After that, televoters can save a sixth act.

19:20 – Three other familiar names

Besides Kállay-Saunders and his band, other successful A Dal participants return to stage tonight. Mujahid Zoltán and Ádám Szabó are both former superfinalists, and Andi Toth reached the final last year.