Review: “ESCZ 2022” (Czech Republic)

Czech Republic will select an artist and a song for Eurovision via their national selection – “ESCZ 2022“.
7 singer ans groups will compete on the right to represent the Czech Republic at Eurovision 2022.
All 7 songs have been released on the 6th of December 2021.
Voting is availabe between 7th and 15th of December 2021.
The results will be determined by:
50% international jury panel 
25% Czech public vote
25% internatioal public vote

The final will be held on Thursday, the 16th of December 2021.
In the final. we will be able to see pre-recorded live performances of the songs.
All of them have been recorded in the studios of Česká televize (Czech TV).

In this post, I will review the 7 competing songs:

#1. We Are Domi – Lights Off

It’s an electro dance pop song.
The song starts with an instrumental introduction of electric keyboards and pre-recorded beats.
The lead singer opens the song with some sound effects in the background. The content of the first verse, as well as the tone of her voice, makes it sound like a kind of confession or spoken word.
In the pre-chorus, we can hear the beautiful color of her voice. Guitar playing is added to the melody. Some of the words in this part are quite hard to understand from her singing, but at the same time it is magical. Towards the end of the pre-chorus, the melody starts to gain some rhythm, as the beat is faster and more danceable. The chorus has a familiar dance beat which suits the song.
The lead singer Dominika has a stable voice that fits the melody and the beat.
Towards the end of the chorus, she shows her vocal abilities with the line “Where are you now?”.
The second verse is shorter than the first, the electric keyboards and the softer beat keeps on playing the main role in this past of song. Just a step before the pre-chorus, we can hear Dominika singing in an angelic falsetto voice. When the chorus arrives again, we can hear the combination of guitars, electric keyboards and electric beat. On the bridge, the emphasis is on the singer’s voice.
Thereafter, she sings a long note of “Where are you now?” that explodes into a strong beat.
The song is very catchy and contemporary. We have barely received such congs in the contest in recent years. It looks like the 3 band members have a wonderful chemistry on stage.
The lead singer has charisma and she delivers it vocally.
It is an excellent song!

#2. GIUDI – Jezinky

Jezinky” are the wild women from the Czech forests. Mythical creatures are seducing people to get lost with them in the woods.
It’s a mystic ballad with elements of dark Indie.
The song starts with whispers in the Czech language, with no music in the background.
Later on, Giudi enters the song with a fragile and high voice. You can hear backing vocalists supporting her, their singing can be defined as humming. The first verse is very minimal, it relies namely on the production and backing vocals.
The second verse comes right after, it continues the line of the first verse. However, this time the backing vocals have another dimension with some high voices as well.
Afterwards, the most captivating part of the song arrives: Giudi outcries with distintive voice.
The melody is composed of keyboards and some string instruments with “heavier and deep” sound (probably cello). The length of the long note is impressive, and as you can see and hear – she delivers it live.
Afterwards, she sings 2 lines in Latin. These lines are kind of an introduction to the third verse.
The third verse is being performed in a slightly lower voice. There’s something more free in the atmosphere. Once again, we can hear the backing vocalist supporting Giudi.
This part includes more words in the lyrics and it is the peak of the song in fact.
The song ends surprisingly.
The song is magical and unique. There is nothing similar to this one in the Czech selection.
The mystic atmosphere makes it feel like the whole words stop while the song is being played.
The song has an important message: sometimes we have to give-up our fears and not be afraid of getting lost into the unknown. Her vocal abilities stand out and the staging delivers the message perfectly.
Sending such an entry to Eurovision would be a risk, but in a good sense.
Maybe it is time for the Czech Republic not to play safe anymore.
With its staging potential and uniqueness, it can be a surprising song to send to Eurovision.

#3. Annabelle – Running Out of Freaking Time

It’s a rock – pop song.
The song starts with a short instrumental part that’s composed of electric keyboards.
Then, the electric guitar becomes part of the melody as well.
She opens the singing part with half childish voice, that sometimes can be heard as non-stable.
There’s a cyclic and tiny beat that accompanies the melody. The second half of the first verse has a slower rate. The guitar plays a main role until the melody explodes towards the chorus.
The chorus sounds like a tennage rock band that used to be active around 2005 – 2007.
The electric guitar and drums give the tone in this part. Her singing overlaps with the drums playing, as both stop together.
Almost immediately, we are moving to the second verse. The second pre-chorus is a little bit more rhythmic. This time she uses a little bit more power in her singing.
The bridge is much more calmer, with keyboards playing. Towards the end it develops into a gentle fance pop beat that very fast is replaced by the rock vibe.
For me, the song is a throwback to the teenage rock music from around 15 years ago.
Unfortunatly, I feel the song hasn’t sometihng new to suggest to us.
I have some issues with her voice, which sometimes breaks or not powerful enought.

#4. Eliz Mraz – Imma Be

It’s a Latin pop song with influence of rap and R&B.
The live performance starts with improvisations on bass guitar and some diva – improvisations by Elis. Thereafter, it turns into the main direction of the songs: Latin pop vibes.
She sings the introduction with a lot sassness, self-confidence and powerful voice.
We can hear the combination of all instruments together: trumpet, bass guitar and drums.
The first verse fells like running a marathon: Elis sings it very fastly, and actually sometimes it is hard to understrand the lyrics. The chorus similar to the introduction. It is shorter than the verses. Significant part of this part is the trumpet that builds the rate, but also wraps it into uplifiting vibes. The pre-chorus continues the line of the chorus but it is “softer” in some way.
The second verse starts with R&B – soul singing that’s characterised by high tone.
Thereafter, it becomes similar to the first verse with rap singing, but this time is much more accesiable. The second chorus ends as it has started, with R&B – soul singing.
The bridge has a strong Latin stamp and this is the point where the song becomes even more danceable.
During the performance, one can pay attention to the charisma of Elis as a performer, she sings and moves at the same time and both are don in good quality.
Can I say it is a good song? Yes
Can I say it is an original piece? Not really.
The overall package is good and catchy. I think the verses are sometimes to aggressive for some listeners, while the chorus is much more accessiable.

# 5.The Valentines – Stay or Go

It’s a pop song.
The song starts with an instrumental introduction that’s composed of electric guitar and drums playing. The first verse relies on a simple and basic melofy, alongside modest production.
The listener might think it is actually a ballad. The second half is more rythmic, and gives the drums the honor they are deserved to. The second half of the first verse is much more similar to the chorus that comes after. The lead singer sings it effprtlessly. In the background, we can hear the dance beat from the beginning. The second verse is more danceable than the first one, we can hear some electic keysbosrd alongside the guitar. The melody in this part is less basic and it elevates the value of the song. In the second chorus, we can hear pre-recoded vocals of the lead singer. In this way, the lead singer accompanies himself. The bridge included the same sentence for 4 times in a row.
Thereafter, the chorus appears once again, but this time with some wind-instruments in the backgroud.
The song is radio-friendly and make the listener happy.
However, I find it somehow flatty and not surposing.
In fact: Don’t you think it is the next genration of “Friend of a friend” (Czech Republic, Eurovision 2019)?

# 6. Jordan Haj & Emma Smetana – By Now

It’s a Indie – pop midtempo modern ballad.
The song starts with Jordan’s singing with his raspy and low voice. The melody is based on acoustic guitar playing. After 2 lines of Jordan’s as a solo singer, we can hear Emma sings a solo. Her voice is deep, a little bit low and with a lot presence. In some moments, it even sounds similar to Lana Del Rey’s voice. In the pre-chorus, the rate is faster, as piano is part of the composition as well.
After Jordan’s part in the pre-chorus there is a shot pause that’s based on bass guitar. Thereafter, we can hear again Emma with higher voice.
The chorus starts, its melody is quite simple and once again based on guitar playing.
Jordan’s voice sounds even more rough and husky. They sing together, but we can namely hear Jordan and not Emma. There’s something “sexy” in the melody, and it isn’t only fue to their staging. Something in the simple keyboards playing combines well with thr guitar playing.
The keyboards playing becomes the main part of the chorus until it ends.
Right after that, we get the pre-chorus which is mininalist, but somehow effective.
In fact, I find the pre-chorus stronger than the chorus. They sing the pre-chorus together. The production of the pre-chorus is richer: it is based on violion, piano and guitar.
The second verse is based on guitar playing. Emma sings it in French and her voice sounds even more beautiful and velvety. She continues to the pre-chorus in English and in she uses in some high notes. Jordan sings in contrast to her in raspy and almost withour air.
The last chorus has a different structure regarding the previous ones.
Joradan sings the main part of it, while Emma does the secondary voice with some nice inprovistations. The song ends with last occurance of the pre-chorus. This time, it is more sensitive and softer.
The song is radio-friendly. The two of them has good chermisty and their voices combine good together. I think that in some parts. the melody could have been more complex and sharper.

# 7. Skywalker-Way Down

It’s a rock song.
The song starts with an insturmental part that’s based on keyboards and guitar playing.
Later on, a recorded beat is attached to the production. The insturmental part transforms into stronger rock direction with drums, bass and electric guitar.
The lead singer sings almost without air, one of the band members supports him by secondary voice.
As in another song in this line-up, the vibes are of tennagers rock band that was active around the years 2005 – 2007.
The lead singer is very energetic on stage, which is a positive thing of course.
The transition between the first verse and chorus is quite smooth (and maybe too direct).
The guitars play main role in the melody. From time to time, we can hear the backing vocals as well.
Without any due, the second verse comes. The melody has the expected sound of this sub genre of rock. Toweards the end of the second verse, the lead singer uses a softer version of his voice.
Thereafter, the song returns to its natural place. Out of no where, they move to growling which isn’t required at all. This time we can hear the laed singer and the guitarist growling together.
The song ends with fading insturmental part.
I don’t know why, but this song does nothin to me.
I forget it, as I finish to hear it. It sounds like a copy-cat of a lot of rock songs from 15 years ago.
I can throw “Green day” as a reffernece for example.
It is blessed to have more rock songs at Eurovision. But, more important than this, will be having original songs in the line-up

My Personal Ranking

  1. GIUDI – Jezinky
  2. We Are Domi – Lights Off
  3. Elis Mraz – Imma Be
  4. Jordan Haj & Emma Smetana – By Now
  5. The Valentines – Stay or Go
  6. ANNABELLE – Runnin’ Out Of Freakin’ Time
  7. Skywalker – Way Down

My Prediction

It semes like the Czech Republic tends to send upbeat (or at least mid-tempo) songs in recent years.
As we’ve mentioned, the voting will be baed on 3 different parts: international jury, international public vote and Czech public vote.
To begin with, I predict that the winners of each part will be different.
I think that Jordan Haj & Emma Smetana or Elis Mraz might win the Czech public vote (due to popularity).
The winner of the selection will probably be one of the following:

The Valentines
Jordan Haj & Emma Smetana
Elis Mraz
We Are Domi

Who’s your personal winner?
What’s your prediction for the national selection’d winner?
What do you think about our review?

Doron Lahav is 28 years old guy who lives in Israel. Doron watches Eurovision Song Contest since early 2000s. Doron works as a Data Scientist and also shows interest in singing and writing.

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