The nice thing about artists returning to Eurovision is that a lot of our work is already done. Case in point: Joci Pápai. Just read the bio we wrote when he represented Hungary in 2017, then note that he finished 8th in the Grand Final that year.
Of course, that was then. What about now?
“Az én apám” is a gentle ballad about Joci’s dad. (That’s two songs in a row from Hungary about fathers. Wonder if there’s something going on there?) It’s a lovely song, but it doesn’t strike a chord with us the way “Origo” did. Maybe we are being unfair comparing the two songs, but we think his latest effort lacks the spark that made his previous effort so successful. If he wasn’t an artist the audience was already familiar with, we wonder if he would have made it out of Hungary’s A Dal competition.
We will be thinking a lot about artists coming back for a second bite of the apple, mainly because Joci, Nevena Božović from Moje 3, Sergey Lazarev, and Serhat are all returning to Eurovision this year. They likely aspire to be like Dima Bilan, who finished second in 2006, then came back and won in 2008.
However, a lot of returning performers often find their second go-around isn’t quite as successful as their first one. For example, Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankoulov snagged Bulgaria’s best finish to date in 2007, but missed the Final when they came back in 2013. There wasn’t a lot wrong with “Samo Shampioni,” but it sure wasn’t “Water.” We’d love to say we got Dima Bilan vibes out of Joci this year, but we’re feeling more Elitsa and Stoyan.