The second semi-final of A Dal, the Hungarian selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, was held tonight. Four more acts have made it to next Saturday’s final. We thus now have the complete list of the eight finalists competing to represent Hungary in Stockholm this May. See what you think of the finalist entries.
Having progressed from three quarter-final shows, there were nine acts competing in tonight’s A Dal Second Semi-final. There were four tickets to the final to be had and the participants did their best to impress the judges and the Hungarian tele-viewers in this second, televised performance of their entries.
Egy Másik Zenekar – Kéne Közös Kép
The presentation starts with a dark stage. When it slowly gets lit, we see the female singer in her black (as opposed to white in the quarter finals) ruffled skirt and blue glittery top. This is a slow tempo number, starting with a sparse musical arrangement before the band, now visible behind a see-through curtain, joins in. The curtain falls to the ground for an instrumental bridge that gives the singer the opportunity to swirl around the stage. The song consists of repetitive musical phrases – sweetness and sophistication is the intention here, just flirting a tad too much with gently sending one to sleep. The singer was more relaxed and confident tonight and the overall presentation was quite solid. The song gets 33 points out of a possible 50.
Olivér Berkes & Andi Tóth – Seven Seas
This is a rhythmic pop duet. The two main singers wear matching ripped jeans, brown leather jackets over printed t-shirts and leather boots. There is also a pianist, guitarist, drummer and two female singers loosely scattered around the stage. In the quarter-finals, the female singer looked very comfortable on stage, performing with ease for the camera and was vocally in key. That could not be said about her male counterpart all of the time. However, tonight, the male singer has upped his game a bit whereas the female singer looked a bit more restrained perhaps. There is a lot of interaction between the main, as well as the backing, singers against a nice, not over the top backdrop of water and thick, moving cloud. Some dry ice effect was used across the stage floor, too. A nice convergence of spotlights on the duo right at the end brings the presentation to a close. 33 points awarded.
André Vásáry – Why
André, sporting eyeliner, leather gloves and a jacket with a jazzy floral pattern is joined on stage by five backing vocalists, one of whom also serves as a violinist. The song starts as a ballad before abruptly breaking into mid-tempo pop. The singer’s voice is less shakey and he looks more sure on stage compared to his quarter-final performance. A dramatic backdrop of a city scape and ample use of pyrotechnics try to lift the presentation. Towards the end, André’s delivery changes into a falsetto; indeed, he looks more comfortable singing like that, even though, considering this is a falsetto, his voice here sounds softer. He manages to hit the last high note, while apparently surrounded by fire, that brings the song to its close. One can still remember the melody after the song – not always the case with entries. André receives 42 points.
Passed – Driftin’
The song starts with a harp and a sparse, folkey sound but it soon turns into a – still sparse – cool, dance tune. The female singer is a delight to behold coming across all relaxed and fresh in her Friderika-esque (Hungary 1994) hairdo and dark blue mini dress with geometric patterns on the skirt. The stage is covered with blue and purple balloons matching the colours of the geometric patterns displayed on the backdrop. Apart from the female harpist, there are also a lively electronic percussion player, a bass player who also provides backing vocals. Again, Passed have upped their game compared to the quarter-finals. Quite a sweet, understated, pleasant note to the evening. Another song that receives 33 points.
Laci Gáspár – Love And Bass
Laci is here to funk up the place. This is an uptempo song starting with the singer playing his four string bass walking forward from the back of the stage. There is also a musician behind a large box that looks like a mixing deck, a guitar player and three backing singers, two women and one man. The men are dressed in black, the women in red. Laci is wearing a black trilby hat and a black vest The singer keeps on dancing to the rhythm of his song and, at some point, breaks into rap. Wisely, the guitar is not placed on its case for the second half of the song as was the case in the quarter-final (things had gone a bit jerky) but stays secured over one shoulder by its rainbow coloured strap. Laci appears more in control and confident than previously. The song does not go anywhere too far but it is nevertheless pleasant enough. 35 points awarded.
Nika – Emlékkép
The presentation starts very eye-catchingly with light in brightly coloured geometric patterns being projected on her face as she sings the gentle intro to her song. As the projections ‘flood’ out of her face and into the backdrop behind her the song breaks into a dynamic dance number. As soon as the face projection is over however, the rest of the presentation is quite unexciting. Nika looks quite sweet, singing alone on stage, but her clothes of a black top, black leather trousers and a black flamenco style skirt over it, in their Spanish undertones, do not seem to match the rest of the aesthetic concept. Nika’s performance is adequate and she seems to have the studio audience on her side as the song finishes – still impressed by the face light projections, it seems. The song receives 39 points.
ByTheWay – Free To Fly
The stage starts quite sublit with this one and this later serves to offset crazy geometric patterns constantly moving in the background. The overall effect appears lighter and busier compared to the predominantly black, red and light electric blue, the palette used during the quarter-final. The trio is dressed in similar black and white clothes. It is a pleasant enough, quite contemporary uptempo pop song. The vocal performances of the young group, aided by three female singers dressed in black, is adequate. The main gimmick of the staging was a rectangular panel of spotlights that tilts towards the stage floor immediately behind the three young singers. The group jumps towards the front of the stage near the end of the presentation. Perhaps the first song tonight that looked better in its quarter-final rendition perhaps. 31 points awarded.
Freddie – Pioneer
Another presentation starting with a sublit stage and a silhouetted main singer. Freddie looks casually cool and in control from the start, singing confidently in his gravelly voice. A huge drum and a drummer with a shaved head and wearing a tunic – yet not quite a Hindu one – beats to the rhythm of the song. Three male backing singers occasionally clap to the beat and later use light sticks. Everything about it has a lot of character. With atmospheric staging in yellows, oranges and warm red, the song itself sounds like a contemporary pop song with a hint of hip-hop. The presentation comes to an end with close-ups of Freddie’s photogenic voice. This one stands out. It receives 47 points.
Parno Graszt – Már Nem Szédülök
You guessed it, another intro with a silhouetted main singer. And, yes, you guessed it again, a low start is soon followed by an abrupt switch to a different musical style, this time a traditional, gyspy-like mid tempo song complete with an accordion, guitar and traditional percussion. The song is in effect a duet between the female singer and a male singer playing some sort of small traditional string instrument which looks very similar to an Eastern Mediterannean baglamas. There are two couples dancing on either side of the musicians, the latter ones dressed in black and red, on stage. There is a really colourful backdrop of simplified forms that centre around a naively drawn face of a girl. Again, quite a pleasant song, expectations at this stage in the show are not particularly high, but nothing that would bother the juries or the televoters if performed in Stockholm this May, I don’t think. The song receives a very respectable 42 points
With their performances tonight, the nine acts did their best to impress the four-member professional jury and the TV viewers.
Like in last Saturday’s first semi-final, three acts took the ticket to the final during a first round. Each juror awarded one to ten points to each song, whereas the televoting results acted as a fifth vote. The maximum potential score for each song was therefore fifty points, i.e. 1-10 points from each of the four jurors plus 1-10 points from the televoting.
A fourth ticket to the final was decided by televoting only during a second round where the six remaining acts were given another chance to progress to next week’s final.
|Egy Másik Zenekar||Kéne Közös Kép||33||out|
|Olivér Berkes & Andi Tóth||Seven Seas||33||qualifier, second round|
|André Vásáry||Why||42||qualifier, first round|
|Laci Gáspár||Love And Bass||35||out|
|ByTheWay||Free To Fly||31||out|
|Freddie||Pioneer||47||qualifier, first round|
|Parno Graszt||Már Nem Szédülök||42||qualifier, first round|
The A Dal 2016 Final line up
With the completion of tonight’s show, we now have the full line up of the 2016 Hungarian national final, which is as follows:
- Petruska – Trouble In My Mind (first semi-final qualifier)
- Gergő Oláh – Győz A Jó (first semi-final qualifier)
- Kállay Saunders Band – Who We Are (first semi-final qualifier)
- Mushu – Uncle Tom (first semi-final qualifier)
- Olivér Berkes & Andi Tóth – Seven Seas (second semi-final qualifier)
- André Vásáry – Why (second semi-final qualifier)
- Freddie – Pioneer (second semi-final qualifier)
- Parno Graszt – Már Nem Szédülök (second semi-final qualifier)
Hungary in the Eurovision Song Contest
Hungary tried to compete in 1993 but failed to qualify from a special preliminary round set up for seven former Eastern bloc countries wishing to debut in Eurovision that year. The country got the chance to compete the following year however when, with Friderika Bayer singing Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet? (To Whom Can I Tell My Sins?), it achieved its best Eurovision placing to date. Hungary has since missed eight contests, in 1999-2004, 2006 and 2010 and, since its return to the contest in 2011, has never failed to qualify for the grand final. This year in Vienna, the country finished 20th (out of a record 27 countries performing in the grand final) with Boggie and Wars For Nothing.
In our highlights video below, you can watch some of our own footage of Hungary 2011-2015. We hope that it provides material you have not seen before. Enjoy!