Samanta Tina finally gets the chance to represent Latvia in Eurovision
Eurovision countries that host national finals every year almost all have one of those artists who comes back year after year to compete for the ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest. Samanta Tina from Latvia is one of those and she shows us all that one should never give up on their dreams, because she finally made it in her sixth attempt! She won Latvia’s national final Supernova with the electronic pop song ‘Still Breathing’. Will she bring Latvia back to the Eurovision final in Rotterdam in May?
The Latvians do not exactly have a great track record in Eurovision. In the past ten editions, they only made the final twice. The good news is that those two times, Latvian pop artist Aminata, who wrote the lyrics to this year’s entry, was involved. She reached the 6th place in 2015 when she participated with ‘Love Injected’ and wrote 2016’s entry ‘Heartbeat’ which made the final too. I am unfortunately not convinced though that Aminata’s influence will result in a third spot in the final. Let’s start with the positive stuff: Samanta is a powerful vocalist and a charismatic performer. She shows she is capable of selling the hell out of ‘Still Breathing’. The contrast between her voice and the high pitched backing vocals is very much on point and ‘Still Breathing’ is in no way a forgettable entry.
The song itself has some interesting poppy melodies, but the production of the tune is not as epic as it tries to be. I get what they were going for with that electronic, industrial break, but to be honest, it just sounds unpleasant to these ears. The build up to the first drop might keep viewers on their toes, but then after a minute, ‘Still Breathing’ seems to repeat itself quite a bit and instead of building to a proper climax things just seem to get messier. ‘Still Breathing’ could use a production-upgrade, the English pronunciation live needs improvement and the staging needs to be bigger and better to keep up with the big ideas of the song.
With the performance as it is, I can’t really see either juries or televote fully get behind this, but either way this is a memorable entry that is in no way mediocre. Latvia is taking a risk with this tune, which may or may not pay out.