Another round of the competition in Lithuania took place tonight, and it was the one before the last! The semi-final of LRT's "Eurovizija" was aired live from Vilnius and has been concluded with six qualifiers which will compete again in the final. Next Saturday, the national jury and TV viewers are about to decide on the Lithuanian representative at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm.
The night round of the Lithuania Eurovision Marathon was even more spectacular and exciting than the previous one. First, it was a live show and second - the semi-final of this year's national selection. There's just one round left - the final one.
Eight competing acts were performed in the semi-final in the following order.
Ieva ZasimauskaitėLife (Not That Beautiful)
Valdas LackoStay Tonight ***eliminated!
CatrinahBe Free ***eliminated!
Erica JenningsLeading Me Home
Donny MontellI've Been Waiting for This Night
Aistė PilvelytėYou Bet
Ruslanas KirilkinasIn My World
*The results are based on jury votes and a public televoting (50/50).
Like in the previous shows, the acts which received the least support from the jury members and TV viewers across the country were eliminated. Two artists had left the show after the semi-final tonight.
The national jury in the semi-final consisted of five members: Ramūnas Zilnys, Darius Užkuraitis, Dalia Ibelhauptaitė, Justė Arlauskaitė-Jazzu and Tomas Sinickis.
Nevertheless, in comparing to previous rounds of the competition, in the semi-final and final, there won't be any international jurors taking part in the voting process. However, Dave Holmes, Karl Frierson and William Wells have expressed their opinions tonight on who would be the perfect candidate for the role of Lithuanian representative at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Being 22 years old, the youngest finalist of Lithuanian national selection has already a number of achievements in her career as a singer. As a 16-year-old together with a choir she won the most popular show on the national television, equivalent to the British Last Choir Standing. Ieva started her solo career at the Voice of Lithuania two years later, got into the finals and won the third place.
Two years ago, Ieva took part in the national selection and managed to qualify for the final. This year, she is back with a beautiful ballad song Life (not that beautiful) which, she says, has a special meaning to her: 'This song says that life could be way more beautiful if everyone of us had faith in our hearts."
Born in 1983, Ruslanas Kirilkinas is not a newcomer to the Eurovision Song Contest. He already took part in the national selection in 2010. His decision to participate this year was quite a surprise to the audience: his fans take it as a sign of comeback to the big stage, from which he, sort of, kept aloof for quite some time.
The lyrical song he chose is called In My World. Ruslanas also decided to perform his song walking barefoot on broken glass! Sincerity and depth at the same time can not go by unnoticed.
Rūta is one of the best singers in Lithuania, there are no doubts about that, holding vast experience in TV and music. When Ruta’s on the stage, she always enthralls the audience making their eyes fill up with tears and smiles grow on their faces.
The singer, who was born in Siaullai, is not a novice to the Eurovision fans. This is the fifth time she is trying her luck.
“When I heard this song, I instantly knew that I have to share it with all people in Europe and beyond. Whether you like me as a singer, that’s a separate question, but this song is worth at least to get into the Eurovision's Finals, and that’s a fact” - said Ruta, who also contributed to creating the lyrics for United.
This redheaded bombshell has thrived on the Baltic music scene ever since she began her professional career as a teen. She has won every possible award many times over, both as part of a collective with “SKAMP” (1998-2015), “The Ball & Chain” (2011-2013) and as a solo artist featuring on the “Living Theatre” compilations.
Leading Me Home is about the human spirit and all that it can endure. It’s about strength, hope, faith, love, solace, conquering our fears and all the emotions we all face as human beings. These are the feelings that unite us as human beings. Leading me home, is about coming back to our center, to our core., Erica told Eurovision.tv
“Leading me home” stands out, which is already a reason. The Eurovision is a song contest, and I believe it is a great song. When entrants try to copy the last years winner, it never works, although it often happens. The song that always wins is something that stands apart. Besides that, I have the stage experience to give a great performance. I only ever sing live, and I expect the absolute best from myself every time, no matter where I perform. Having been there before also helps.
Donny Montell (original name – Donatas Montvydas) presented Lithuania at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. After being part of the greatest music event in Europe, Lithuanian promised himself to come back. Donny is full of ambitions to show more power, more quality, and even biggest show on the stage.
"After I took part with Love Is Blind and ended 14th, same night, before I went to bed, I told myself, that this won't be my last Eurovision, I will come again," said Donny Montell.
"In other words, I waited for the right song, which could give me a goose skin… And then we met some great people in Sweden in 2014. That's how we met Jonas Thander and Beatrice Robertsson – the authors of my song I‘ve Been Waiting For This Night. They are amazing. Beatrice is a great singer herself and Jonas is a musician, producer, who worked with Taylor Swift, Jessie J, Ariana Grande and others."
The Lithuanian pop divaAistė has a long history of taking part in the national selections. She was among the constants eight times – and she came second.
Her collaboration with the Spanish composer Rafael Artesero is also worth mentioning. It is the third time he wrote a song for Aistė to take part in the Lithuania national selection. It‘s called You Bet, and so far it's one of the favourites this year, as it received great support from the audience and the jury, both national and international.
10 shows, 27 acts, one ticket to Sweden
On December 21, 2015, LRT announced the names of 28 artists selected for this year's national selection. Among the contestants, there are some well-known Eurovision faces. Erica Jennings represented Lithuania in 2001 (as a member of the group SKAMP), and Donny Montell, who took part in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.
In the meantime, the Lithuanian public broadcaster confirmed that there will be 27 acts competing for the role of Lithuanian representative in Stockholm at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.
There are ten rounds of the competition this year. The final of Lithuanian "Eurovizija" is scheduled for 12th of March at 20:00 CET. It will also be broadcasted live via webcast on Eurovision.tv.