Roxen represents Romania with modern ballad ‘Alcohol You’
For quite some time, Romania seemed unable to flop in Eurovision. Until recently, they never missed a ticket to the final and reached top 3 in both 2005 and 2010. After they were disqualified for financial reasons in 2016, they returned with a 7th spot in 2017, but in both 2018 and 2019 failed to reach the final. The Romanian broadcaster hopes to turn things around by internally selecting upcoming Romanian pop star Roxen. They gave her five songs to perform during a national final, of which ‘Alcohol You’ was chosen as the one.
Although quite some Euro fans were hoping Roxen would sing the uptempo tune ‘Cherry Red’ in Rotterdam, it became obvious from watching the national final that her preference was the ballad ‘Alcohol You’ and that is what the televoters and jury went with. The song is produced by Viky Red and written by Red in collaboration with Ionuț Armaș and Breyan Isaac. They created a ballad that does not solely relies on a big finale or huge ad libs. They went with something more subdued and current in terms of production and vocal performance. The strings and drums build up towards the end, but without feeling the need to go into full on belting and bombastic drama, while the main hook (‘Alcohol you when I’m drunk / I’ll cahall you when I’m drunk’) strips things back to just Roxen’s voice. ‘Alcohol You’ is a memorable, modern, well produced entry and we will have to forgive them for the grammar errors in some of the lyrics.
The same goes for Roxen’s English pronunciation, which needs work in the months to come. Vocally however, she holds her own. Sure, she could do even better, but her performance on the national final was serviceable and sold the song well enough. Visually, things need improving though. That dress needs to go and the visuals of the lyric video (and the hologram thing) could be executed way better on stage. Also, if they want to keep the hologram around, please don’t let her perform towards it with her back towards the camera and crowd. Having said that, ‘Alcohol You’ has loads of potential and I would not be surprised to see it go straight into top 10 in the final with a smooth stage performance.
Update: Roxen released a revamped version of ‘Alcohol You’. They took out the worst grammar error (‘Why do fairytale fail’ is now ‘why do fairytales fail’) and they changed the ending of the song quite a bit. There is now a bit more of a climax and build up towards a finale and slightly more belting, but not too much to distract from the contemporary elements that make ‘Alcohol You’ stand out.
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