Moldova: Read back our liveblog for the national final

Eight candidates in Moldova will battle for a ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in Kiev this night. In the line-up we see SunStroke Project as one of the biggest contenders to win O Melodie Pentru Europa.

After the semi final on Friday, eight acts remain. Four of them qualified after the jury gave their points as first. SunStroke Project, the group that represented Moldova in 2010, was the winner of the jury. Four other acts qualified after a public televote.

The show will start at 18:35 CET and is – hopefully without too many hiccups – broadcast on a livestream here by TVM. Below you can follow the show along in our liveblog by Neil MacInnes:

20:05 – The televote is decisive! SunStroke Project indeed returns to Eurovision!

20:00 – What a climax! Ethno Republic & Surorile Osoianu and their song ‘Discover Moldova’ win the jury vote, with SunStroke Project coming second. For the televoters, it is the other way around. So we have a tie…

19:48 – So all eight finalists have performed and it’s time for the interval, my favourite green room host is chatting to all the artists backstage but as I don’t speak Moldovan, it’s time for me to grab a glass of wine…these Moldovan interval acts could go on for hours…DAYS. If you’ve been here before, you know the struggles. We’ll likely have a result in around 30-45 minutes.

19:40 – The last song of tonight is “Don’t Lie” by Vozniuc feat. Vio Grecu. This is the real ultimate pop rock power ballad. Extremely powerful, slick, and stylish, it’s an anthemic rock song. Heavy guitars accompany a strong vocal performance. The whole thing is emotional and feels real, epic power rock at it’s best. There is a singer accompanied by four backing singers and a rock guitarist whilst red and white lights flash around the stage. This is just a really great rock song, if the juries go for it tonight, this could be a winner.

19:32 – Ethno Republic & Surorile Osoianu are next on stage to perform “Discover Moldova” and they really do make me want to discover Moldova. This group of women are so charming, much like the Russian grannies from Eurovision 2012 in Baku. The song is both fun and showstopping with the vocals of Surorile Osoianu taking centre stage between the joyful choruses sung by the Ethno Republic ladies. It’s a very cheerful song, a slight hindrance in the fact that it is sung in Moldovan as I feel this is an entry that the whole of Europe could get behind if we had some better context to this song.

19:30 – Marks & Stefanet are performing song number six: “Join Us in the Rain”. Inspired by Emmelie de forest much? This song is unfortunately less stylish and far less catchy than anything Emmelie de forest would produce. The song is an attempt at an etheral, environmental, indie princess ballad. I mean, the beat is okay, it feels a little bit tribal, the staging is a bit funny though, they look like two kids at a school disco who are scared to talk to or look at each other seeing as the two singers don’t interact or even look at each other throughout this performance? This could really use some work.

19:27 – Diana Brescan is up next with “Breathe”. Another seasoned performer in this competition, she has made many attempts in the past to represent Moldova at Eurovision. This song is a ballad, it’s simple but effective. The song has a level of power to it. It’s a motivational anthem, almost similar to “Freedom” by Valeria Pasa, except this one is a bit more melodic and she has more of a Jamala-feel to her. She is wearing what looks like a sack of potatoes and is performing on top of a woven Turkish rug. How nice.

19:16 – Aurel Chirtoacă is next up with the song “Dor de mamă” and it’s almost refreshing to hear a language that isn’t English until you hear the actual song. It’s dreary and melancholy, not only that, it lacks the power and soul of a true blues ballad so we’re left with a bland, uninspired, slow moving song. The performance isn’t much better, it’s dull and doesn’t seem to go anywhere. The three minutes felt a lot longer during this performance.

19:12 – Song number 3 is “Freedom” by Valeria Pașa and she is an experienced performer in this competition having come close to winning on a couple of occasions over the years. This year’s effort is a spiritually uplifting pop song called “Freedom”. The song is meant to inspire and show off a great voice and she manages that very well, she’s standing in a flowing floor length purple dress in front of a mixed chorus of male and female singers who bring the song to life. The song itself unfortunately isn’t instantly memorable or powerful enough to stand out in a field like Eurovision, nor does she have any particular style or direction for her performance. A shame really.

19:06 – Samir Loghin is performing song number two: “Glow”. Falsetto ahoy on this one boys. Impressive vocal range on a pretty young man. The song has a strong beat and ethnepop influences. The hook is very powerful and instantly catchy and Samir has a great deal of charm, the performance is really capturing and a little bit sexy? Just me? The performance is dark with the singer and his dancers dressed in white, it’s a little bit theatrical but I think a good staging in Kiev could lift this up to being a really good Eurovision entry. 2/2 so far Moldova…let’s keep this ball rolling.

18:58 – First up is the return of Sunstroke Project and the song “Hey Mama”. One of the favourites to win tonight, they FINALLY brought back epic sax guy. I was worried he wasn’t going to show up, the most popular Eurovision meme of all time lives on. The song “Hey Mama” is very contemporary Moldovan pop, typical of the style of Sunstroke Project. The performance features a bizarre wedding scene with three grooms and three brides all doing some strange foot dance? Not sure on that one. Compared to the group’s previous efforts for Moldova their 2015 entry “Day After Day” was much stronger and had a greater impact, however in a relatively easier national selection this year, could it be their night?

18:48 – They also have an extra backstage host and she’s awesome! She looks like a right laugh, she’ll be interviewing the artists as they come off stage after tonight’s performances. The hosts are then introducing us to tonight’s judging panel and then it’s time to start the performances.

18:43 – Our hosts then introduce us to the show, they’re incorporating the 2017 logo really well into this broadcast, keeping the whole show very “on brand” for Kiev 2017. Good show so far.

18:40 – The opening of this show is really cool, it’s very classic, in the sense of a group of dancers surrounded by fireworks and flashing lights but they’ve managed to incorporate the 2017 Eurovision logo into the outfits and the background of the dance. Then out of nowhere, last year’s winner Lidia Isac returns to perform “Falling Stars”.

18:30 – Time for the show

We are ready. Here are the eight acts that will take part tonight.

01. SunStroke Project – Hey Mamma
02. Samir Loghin – Glow
03. Valeria Pașa – Freedom
04. Aurel Chirtoacă – Dor de mamă
05. Diana Brescan – Breath
06. Marks & Stefanet – Join Us in the Rain
07. Ethno Republic & Surorile Osoianu – Discover Moldova
08. Vozniuc feat. Vio Grecu – Don’t Lie