Where to draw the line, Latvia?

Can Latvia continue their good fortune in the Eurovision Song Contest without Aminata being involved? After two successful years in a row we’re leaning towards a no, but we suppose we can allow them the benefit of the doubt and give Triana Park a chance to prove us wrong.

We were actually quite surprised to find out that such a hard hitting, alternative entry could win in a country where televoting is used to establish the winner. Never in a million years could we imagine the same thing happening in Norway, where the families watching MGP and voting on their phones are too conservative to pick something so far outside the box.

However, having looked a wee bit behind the voting figures in Supernova, we see that the winner is selected upon in a mix of televoting, online voting, and Spotify streams, and we suppose that explains why Latvia has adapted a more progressive approach to Eurovision this year. Especially taking the Spotify streams into account seems like a potential game changer, which in Norway quite possibly could have sent Kristian Valen to Kyiv, and he did not even reach the Gold Final in MGP. To be fair, Triana Park would have won based on televotes only, but we’re assuming that the option of voting online as well as knowing that Spotify streaming also counted, possibly could have affected the number of televotes, so there is no way to tell if the result would have been different with just traditional televoting.

We applaud the Latvians for being innovative and for their contribution towards diversifying the spectrum of genres in Eurovision. The introduction of a voting app in Melodifestivalen propels the same kind of change in Eurovision forward. On the other hand, we do not think this new approach is without flaws and pitfalls. In a relatively small market like Latvia, we can imagine it being quite easy to manipulate the streaming numbers. And a Eurovision entry is so much more than just something you fancy putting on your playlist on your way to work, or on your spinning playlist.

That’s why we need to see more of Triana Park before we can pass any real judgment on it as a Eurovision entry. We were not impressed by their performance in the national final, but the promo video suggests that the band is in fact capable of pulling together a visually compelling staging beyond a basic band setup with crazy neon colored costumes and epilepsy inducing blacklights. Their lead vocalist looks like a scarier version of Nina Sublatti, and we’re intrigued by her in-your-face presence. She is obviously one of the main assets here and we assume the focus will be on her. We throw in an honorable mention of the drummer as well; he might very well be hotlist material this season.

The song Line is not without Eurphoria connotations; and as EDM has turned mainstream it’s not as experimental and groundbreaking as it would have been in ESC only a few years back. We do however fear it will come across as too dark and moody to garner enough support from the average televoter and juror to make any real impact in Kyiv.

The other band members realized just how rebellious their lead vocalist was when she showed up to their promo pictures shoot in rainbow colored sneakers. Photo: EBU


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