Exclusive: Romania 'wants a top place in Oslo'

What will your role be as the Project Coordinator of the Romanian selection?

My contribution is to ensure the presence of the best Romanian hit in Oslo, one that must impress the jury and the European public too. This goal requires a tough selection of the song and artist, followed by a good promotion. I must guarantee, at the same time, an equal and fair treatment of all the candidates and a selection process that will fully respect the rules in force. Also, my duty is to create an attractive show both on the national selection, as well as on the Oslo stage.

Can you explain briefly the selection procedure for the Romanian final 2010?

The procedure is not very different from past years: Romanian composers will send their songs for the contest to make the first auditions. A specialised jury will select the 12-15 best songs. The difference now is that the composers must choose a vocal artist from a list of the best Romanian voices of the moment – a list not established by TVR, but by a large number of Romanian specialists. The song which will go to Oslo will be chosen on the 6th of March in a show to be broadcast live on TVR1 and TVR-International. Respecting the current Romanian tradition and following the voting method in Oslo, the Romanian public will have a 50% say in the final decision, by televoting, and in order to encourage all viewers to take part, we will introduce "green numbers", so that everyone from Romania will be able to vote for free! The other 50% will come from five juries of experts: one in Bucharest and the other four representing the four main geographical areas of Romania. The winning composer will be awarded a car! 

What made TVR decide to change the format for next year and what are the expectations from the new formula?

The world we live in is in a continuous change! We want to make the best selection of our song and that is why we have changed our procedure. Romania must bring their best voice and show to the stage in Oslo! Starting from the idea that ”the important is to take part, not to win”, we wish to make a good impression all over Europe. This is very important for Romania, whatever the final result will be for us. 

What kind of artists would you like to attract with your selection procedure?

Just like in the international football championships where all countries send their best players, Romania also wants to send a strong and impressive voice to Oslo, one of our best ones, already recognised on the national music stage, experienced in live performances. This is the kind of voices we intend to attract for the national selection. At the same time, we cannot deny the access of new voices to the contest, good ones but unchecked, unknown. They will be admitted, but will have to pass the judgement of the specialised jury, before accessing the national selection – where we only want to have the best from the best! 

Will foreign composers and/or artists be allowed?

Foreign composers will be allowed only if they also have Romanian citizenship. We want this competition to be one extra way to promote our local values. Even if, maybe, our chances would be higher if we send a foreigner to sing for us; we don't think Romanians would be so excited to hear in Oslo the hosts saying: ”And now, for Romania, the American John Carter will sing a song written by the Dane Lars Gustafsson”. How could that represent us? Still, we don't want to block foreign singers to take part in the preselection, but they will have to pass the preselection jury.

How will those juries be formed?

We will focus, of course, on having high quality specialists. The jury who will select the best 15 songs out of several hundreds, will have to be very rigorous, very professional, will have to know music and to be connected to the international music phenomena and trends, and they also must have the power to predict which song is best fit for an international stage. We will choose representatives of both generations, so that the experience of ones will be completed with the modern approach of the others.

How popular is the Romanian selection and the Eurovision Song Contest in Romania?

The Eurovision Song Sontest has many fans in Romania! The proof of that stands not only in the debates on blogs and forums, on the high number of songs submitted or the votes cast, but also in the excellent ratings for the national selection, the Semi-Final and the Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, that place TVR on top of the viewers' ratings! I strongly feel that this year will have an even larger interest and higher ratings. 

Finally, what is the aim of Romania for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest?

Our main goal is to make a good impression in Oslo, to make people talk about and sing our song long after "the curtain falls”. We want to have a song that will become a European hit. And why not, face it, we want a top place on the podium!

Eurovision.tv thanks Marina Almasan for taking her time for this interview!

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