Romania’s Eurovision 2014 Entry

Paula Seling and Ovi of “Playing With Fire” fame are returning to the Eurovision stage this year with “Miracle”:

Eurovision has been hard on returning artists in recent years. Former winners like Charlotte (Nilsson) Perrelli, Niamh Kavanaugh, and Dana International find themselves either far out of contention or not even qualifying out of the Semis. Acts that had top 10 finishes like Chiara and Jedward get lost in shuffle in follow-up attempts. Outside of the main Song Contest, former successful representatives like Sandra Nurmsalu (of Urban Symphony fame), Yohanna, and even Eurovision winner Dima Bilan end up not even making it out of their respective national finals. (To be fair, Bilan went up against Buranovskiye Babushki.)

So why do we let them try again, even if the sequel probably isn’t going to capture lightning in a bottle? Well, there are a few reasons for the prevalence of the known quantity. First, there’s the question of viability. If we are presented with a field of wannabes without a Eurovision track record, we don’t know how they’ll go over internationally. Can they get a good result? With the known quantity, we know they have the potential – they succeeded before. There’s also the competency factor: with a returning act, we have more confidence that they’ll put on a good show.

There’s also a nostalgia factor. “Remember when Yohanna brought Iceland a 2nd place finish? We loved her.” And, you never really know, there’s always the chance they’ll pull it off this time. Winners Lena and Carola came back to score top 10 finishes. Dima Bilan followed up a 2nd place finish with a win. And over it all, the specter of Johnny Logan reigns.

Paula and Ovi finished 3rd at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest. Can “Miracle” improve their placement?

I enjoy this song a lot. Ovi and his songwriting partners (Frida Amundsen, Philip Halloun, and the Beyond51 production house) crafted an upbeat pop ballad with a crunchy electronic beat that jumps up and down during the chorus. It has Paula showing off her vocal range and it has Ovi making weird faces. It even has a cute gimmick (dancing Paula and Ovi holograms) that I am sure is heading to Denmark with the performers. It’s “Playing With Fire,” only a little more grandiose.

But does grandiose translate to more value added? As much as I like this song, I can’t help but feel like it’s pushing the buttons a little too hard. I wouldn’t count it out of a top 10 finish necessarily, but I’m not convinced it’s going to better Paula and Ovi’s previous result.