Why, Romania, why?
So, this year we had Mandinga represent Romania. A few years back, they were pretty cool; they had this calm, salsa-like sound that was something new to the Romanian musical scene. They also had a decent-to-good lead singer by the name of Elena Gheorghe. Then Elena left and they went through a few lead singers. Elena went on to have a solo career and compete in Eurovision 2009 with a mediocre song, and Mandinga churned out this piece of fail for Eurovision 2012: Zaleilah.
Why fail? Because it's just the kind of empty bubbly manele/pop you'd expect to hear in a club, that you can mindlessly shake your limbs to. OK, OK, it's Eurovision, it's not a paragon of musical culture, but some countries do have traditions and manage to give their songs a certain weight, like Serbia - the contestants said it's become a tradition of theirs to sing only in their mother tongue; or Moldova, who puts on a performance every time, like I said before; or Greece, who always manages to insert some traditional Greek music, no matter how modern the song is.
This one just felt empty. First, the lead singer wouldn't even sing loud enough, while other contestants screamed their lungs out; being nervous is no excuse: as a professional singer, you should learn to deal with it. If you think you can't, stay off the big stages until you're sure you can tackle them. Next, the lyrics: why Spanish, of all languages? I have nothing against it, but she could not sing a word of it right. It sounded just like an elderly, non-English speaking person trying to read in English. Hell, even the elderly women from Russia had better English than her Spanish, and Spanish is much, much closer to Romanian than English is to Russian.
And finally, the performance. Save for a few other movements, she bent over a lot and seemed ready to just curl up into a ball and disappear. She looked very small and helpless on that stage, while other contestants made it their own. I'd heard of people praising this song left and right, so I understandably had somewhat high expectations, but I was sorely disappointed. For me, it's the worst entry Romania has ever had, ever since I've started watching this show - and I've watched it for at least 7 years.