PÆNDA has the most divinely beautiful voice, but not quite the song to go with it. How ænnoying.
Austria has done quite well in Eurovision lately, of course with Conchita winning a few years back as the absolute highlight. Besides that, they managed to win the jury vote last year and bestowed “Loin d’ici” by Zoë upon us, one of the biggest post millennium fan favorites never to disappear from Euroclub’s A-list.
We think it’s fair to say that this recently improved track record creates certain expectations. We have actually started to assume good things are coming from Austria, which is quite an astonishing U-turn for the country that gave us “Woki mit deim Popo”.
Consequently, we were genuinely looking forward to the launch of this year’s entry. We already knew it would be performed by a blue haired woman with the cute artist name PÆNDA. In capital letters, and with an Æ, not to be found on everyone’s keyboard. In other words, she wants to stand out. And dare we suggest the Æ is meant as a tribute to Nordic coolness? If so, we approve.
PÆNDA describes music as a matter of life or death which truth be told is a bit beyond our comprehension, but we always appreciate artists being passionate about their art. And her entry Limits does convey a certain sense of urgency which is intriguing, but perhaps a tad too demanding for most of us. It might be a grower, but we find it too inaccessible, and Eurovision ain’t got time for that. Still, we hope PÆNDA resists the temptation to kill it with an over emotive performance, as she will more likely hit the right nerve with quiet restraint. Clever staging can prevent us from dozing off.
We get the feeling that there’s too many if’s and but’s here for this to end well. There is often a fine line between being passionate and pretentious and regrettably we fear this one will land on the wrong side. The reactions from the press center after the first rehearsal in Tel Aviv in a few weeks’ time should bode for an interesting read.