Joci Pápai returns to Eurovision with his song ‘Az en Apám’
Hungary is one of the steadiest countries in the recent history of the Eurovision Song Contest. They have qualified for every single final since 2011, making for eight consecutive successful participations in the semi finals. The Hungarian delegation is definitely hoping to add a ninth one and for this, they brought back their 2017 representative Joci Pápai. The singer returned to the national final A Dal and won the whole thing again, this time with a track titled ‘Az én Apám’. Will Pápai be able to top his 8th place with ‘Origo’ in 2017?
While ‘Origo’ and ‘Az én Apám’ definitely sound like they belong to the same sonic universe, I do have to admit that the latter is not as instantly catchy as its predecessor. ‘Origo’ had a completely instant hook, while ‘Az én Apám’ builds up slightly slower and needs more time to settle in the brain. The chanting part is more subtle, but does have a memorable melody, which shows itself more towards the end where Joci starts to belt out more. Having said that, I do enjoy the more understated, guitar-based vibe of his new track. Pápai composed the track together with Ferenc Molnár Caramel, who also wrote the lyrics. The title means ‘My Father’ and Pápai explained that he performs the song as a dedication to his dad, who still plays a major role in his life.
In comparison to 2017’s entry, Joci Pápai’s presentation now is more stripped back. There is no rapping, no dancers on stage and the focus is constantly on him and his vocals. He already proved to us that he is able to perfectly nail his vocals, even when millions of people are watching him. He is a true professional on stage and clearly knows how to sell his songs. He also showed us last time that a language barrier does not necessarily have to be a problem in Eurovision and the emotional power of his voice is apparent even if you don’t understand the words. I would be surprised to say the least if Hungary does not score their 9th consecutive spot in the final. We will have to wait and see if Pápai can come close to his 8th position last time, but at least a mid-table final result should be within reach.
Review of his semi-final performance:
His vocal performance was one of the few flawless ones of the night, while the staging was simple, but looked good to these eyes. Something apparently did not click with Europe however, as Hungary became the most shocking non-qualifier of this semi-final. Although this is not a song I listen to often, I am the first to admit that he deserved so much better. While juries agreed and put them just in their top 10, the 14th place with televoters resulted in a 12th place over all.
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