Armenia’s selection process Depi Evratesil entered the second phase of competition Saturday. Nine of 37 contestants performed for a chance to move one step closer to Eurovision.
After three weeks of audition episodes, Depi Evratesil moved on to the next phase of the competition on Saturday’s episode. Over the next few weeks, the 37 contestants who passed the audition round will each sing again for a chance to get drafted onto a team headed by one of the six judges.
You may be saying to yourself “doesn’t that make this The Voice?” Well, yes and no. Each contestant gets to sing a full version of a song of their choosing. A judge cannot buzz in to draft a singer until the last ten seconds of the performance, which I like for a couple reasons. One, there isn’t a sense of panic creeping into a performance if judges haven’t buzzed in after the first power note. Two, it allows for a full critique of a performance rather than a snippet.
As for the buzzing in, it is a first come, first serve scenario. Unlike The Voice, where the contestant gets to choose their coach if more than one buzzes in, the first judge to buzz claims the singer outright for one of four slots on the team. This could get very interesting as rosters fill up, especially since there’s no indication if those who aren’t selected will get a second chance.
Here’s how things shook out in week one of round two of Depi Evratesil:
Team Aram mp3
Aram mp3 made the first draft choice, selecting Lucy. You may remember her from episode two, where she sang “Runnin’ (Lose it All).” This week, she covered “Mercy” by Duffy. I found her performance to be rather small and affected, not unlike singer into a hairbrush in front of a mirror. However, she does have vocal skills and underlying charisma, which should serve her well if she can get out of her shell.
Aram also snagged Sero Gevorgyan, who sang “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” back in week one. This week he attempted “Bang Bang” by Jessie J. Fun fact: that song has a deceptively high degree of difficulty. I was in a battle of the bands this summer and this track was part of our set and required hella tweaking to get it to work. While I applaud the guts to take on the challenge, this was not a great performance. I think with proper mentorship and better song choices, Sero could be a contender in this competition.
Egine continues her implements of destruction toward all things musical, following her audition of “Wrecking Ball” with a cover of “Sledgehammer” by Rihanna. Perhaps there is something happening in the studio that isn’t translating through television, but I do not understand why the judges are tripping over themselves for Egine. Hayko was first to buzz in, so he’s stuck with her for at least one more round.
Team Inga Arshakyan
Syuzanna Melqonyan offered the first solid audition of the second round with her cover of “Power of Love” by Celine Dion. The vocal was stronger than her version of “A Woman’s Worth” from round one, even though this audition did border on a Celine impersonation at times. If the competition were just among this week’s contestants, I would say Syuzanna won the night.
Team Essaï Altounian
The rule about no buzzing in until the last ten seconds made it a real race for the judges to try to snag Opera Viva. They are hands down the most technically proficient act within the competition. However, I would like for them to tackle something that is closer to the pop realm, even if it is a cover of “Grande Amore” or some other operatic Eurovision throwback. There’s a stiffness and air of inaccessibility to Opera Viva’s performances, which could hold them back.
Team Iveta Mukuchyan
Speaking of Eurovision throwbacks, Christina Mangasaryan followed her “Euphoria” audition from last week with a cover of “Try” by Pink. Although she sang both songs well, both songs have a limited range, which may cause problems down the road if Christina can only perform within that range. Give me a convincing key change and we’ll see how she holds up.
Team Anush Arshakyan
Anush didn’t snag anyone this week, but there are still plenty of folks in the pipeline.
Veronika Grigoryan was the first person to sing in round two, but received no buzzes from the judges this time around. I didn’t care for her cover of “Shady Lady”1 and it will be interesting to see how other contestants who had to do a second song in their first audition will do in this round.
Mary Mheryan, the pregnant lady with overalls from the first round, gave a somewhat lifeless rendition of “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls. Considering she got a unanimous vote in the first round, it is a bit of a surprise she isn’t continuing in the competition (unless there is a second chance round if the rosters aren’t full).
Rob Avalyan closed out the show with a cover of Greece’s 2007 Eurovision entry “Yassou Maria.” Aside from being dressed like he’s going to the gym, it’s… not a great song in 2016. If there is a second chance, I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back with a pop song that is more contemporary.
Next week on Depi Evratesil: More round two auditions as 28 acts compete for 18 remaining slots.