I was really annoyed that Lithuania didn’t immediately invite The Roop back to Eurovision after last year’s Song Contest was cancelled. Alongside Iceland’s Daði og Gagnamagnið and Russia’s Little Big, The Roop was one of the biggest buzz acts during the 2020 national final season, and I thought that they deserved more than just an automatic place in the Pabandom iš naujo! final.
I guess everyone in Lithuania thought so too, because The Roop absolutely crushed their competition. They received 74,512 televotes, more than six times the votes for the other five acts in the final combined. Oh yes, we all want you to go to Rotterdam!
Singer Vaidotas Valiukevičius, percussionist Robertas Baranauskas, and guitarist Mantas Banišauskas formed The Roop in 2014. They had two Lithuanian top 100 albums and one previous national final appearance to their name when they competed in last year’s Pabandom iš naujo! “On Fire” was an immediate hit, topping the Lithuanian singles charts and boosting Lithuania to the top of the betting odds for a spell.
It is very difficult to regenerate that level of hype, but I’ll be darned if they haven’t done their absolute best. They are back at the top of the betting odds as of this writing (albeit without a lot of set competition this early in the season), and it’s easy to see why.
“Discoteque” is ridiculously catchy: I had the chorus in my head all day after my first listen, and I had only listened to it once. I wasn’t mad.
The lyrics “Discoteque” seem to be about both having self-confidence and embracing life in the face of a pandemic that has kept us confined in our homes. What better way to relieve tension than dancing like a lunatic around the living room?
Bringing back dancers Miglė Praniauskaitė & Marijanas Staniulėnas is not only a nice thing to do (from a 2020-was-cancelled perspective), but a stroke of genius. Vaidotas has upped the ante on his dance moves, and Miglė and Marijanas help carry the live performance even further.
Is it all basically the same thing The Roop did last year? Sure, to a certain extent. It will probably be new to a lot of people who only tune into Eurovision once a year, but it may bore folks who remember last year’s entry. I think it is fresh enough that any similarities to their previous effort aren’t detrimental, though.
What I like the most about “Discoteque” is that Vaidotas is dancing along that fine line between not taking himself too seriously and taking himself way too seriously without ever falling. He is loose-limbed, personable, and entertaining, and his whole performance is like a little wink to everyone. The message is clear: fun is serious business. I’m a big fan of that.