My heart beats in deep appreciation for Latvia, but will Eurovision fans feel the same about Justs?
Song Title: “Heartbeat”
Second Semi-Final: Position #1
Last year’s entry: “Love Injected” – Aminata (6th Place)
The first time I heard Love Injected, I fell instantly in love, and Aminata remained my favorite performer throughout the 2015 contest season. This year, it took me a little while longer to warm up to “Heartbeat” (also penned by Aminata). The Latvian contigent is obviously happy with the song, as they’ve not made any changes since the original release. Can Latvia make it to the finals, and potentially even bring the contest back to Riga?
First of all, I don’t think there’s any doubt Latvia will qualify easily out of the second semifinal. There’s no one else in the contest who is writing songs quite like Aminata, which is partially what catapulted her so far up the leaderboard last year, and Justs has a great voice that perfectly fits this song. I’m not thrilled with his stage presence; at the recent Eurovision in Concert appearance, Justs was as physically awkward as ever. But the entire crowd knew “Heartbeat” and sang right along with him. That’s a very good sign! It reminds me of the Grand Final in 2014, when it seemed like the entire arena was singing along with Conchita’s choruses.1
Although the odds for this song winning the contest have slipped a bit, Latvia is still a very strong contender not just to qualify, but to win the whole shebang. Russia is perhaps not as invincible as they once seemed; Ukraine is very strong but potentially working against a tight-knit voting block; Australia’s song is good, but not that much better than last year’s, and the novelty of their appearing is beginning to wear off; and after a string of finishes in the 20s, I’m still having a hard time believing anybody likes France that much.2 I’ll be looking for this song qualify high, and finish top-five.