Hungary has had a special place in our Eurovisional hearts for a long time, with Bye Alex and last year’s Freddie on top (we wish). We actually considered going to A Dal this year, just to check out for ourselves how those Magyars were able to dish up all those fabulous entries and *cough* hawt men. But in the end we realised there was no VIP party after that national final, so we went elsewhere and saved our flair for charming Hungarians for Kyiv. Still we were really happy to see they managed to pick the right entry even without our assistance.
We also have to admit we were quite pleasantly surprised. We mean, not a bad word about the lovely Hungarians we have encountered in Eurovision, nor about the lovely city of Budapest, but we did have a certain impression of that country not being very inclusive, a certain government and treatment of refugees well kept in mind. And then they elect a song that is part in Romani? Maybe there IS hope for them outside of Eurovision after all?
Let’s keep that question lingering and move on to the song. With Balkan gone more or less astray, we are happy to say this is one of way too few ethnic sounding songs in this year’s contest (whatever ethnic means). That may seem like an instant hit in Eurovision, but we can ensure you there are ways to get the ethnics wrong. Romania has yodelling, for instance. And we regularly encounter banging of very large celtic drums by people from countries who have never ever been close to spelling Bodhran correctly.
Joci Pápai is all about doing it right, though. And, regardless of what, say, a certain president of the USA might show and tell you these days, doing it right is all about remaining true to your self and telling a genuine, real story. There shall be no doubt that is what this guy is doing. At no point does this song feel exaggerated or fake. Never do we feel exposed to cheap tricks only to gather votes from fans. Everything is high quality, all the way through. Even the rapping works in a weird kind of way. Apart from that Samurai in there, which we are totally willing to overlook. And if you absolutely have to rap in a schlager contest, what better language to use than Hungarian?
Safe to say, Hungary is among our favorites in this year’s contest as well. But not everyone’s, apparently. We know that Joci has been subject to his share of haters in his own country, all because he is Romani. We know so because they even graced our blog and Facebook page with a visit when we published an interview with him. That is out of this world sad to see, but Joci seems more than strong enough to handle it. And if there is something that scores points in Eurovision it is rising above the hate with a bunch of loving fans to back you up.
There’s no one we’d rather see prove the haters wrong than Joci. If it also contributes to introducing more of that rich Romani culture into Eurovision, the salute will be heard all the way from GEE headquarters to the darkest corners of Budapest.