The finale of Hungary’s A Dal 2017 changed up the format we’ve gotten used to these last few weeks. After the final eight acts performed, each jury member selected their four favorites, awarding 10-8-6-4 points to their selections. The four acts with the most points would move on to the superfinal, where the winner of the home vote gets a ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv.
Here’s how things shook out on Saturday’s show:
- Gabi Toth opened the show with “Hosszú idők”. Although she ranked on three of the four judges’ lists, her 12 points were not enough to move on to the superfinal.
- With no help available from the home audience, the surprise run of “Kalendor” by Soulwave came to an end. No points were awarded by the judges.
- “See it Through” by Gigi Radics managed to pull an upset, sneaking into the superfinal with 14 points.
- Somewhat surprising, Eurovision veteran Kallay Saunders Band received zero points from the judges for “17.”
- Leander Kills, the only survivor from the first heat, received eight points from one judge, but that was not enough to advance.
- Zavodi + Olivér Berkes eased into the superfinal with 30 points for “#Hatterzaj”.
- “Origo” by Joci Pápai won the jury vote, earning 34 points with top marks from two judges.
- Gina Kanizsa “Fall Like Rain” closed out the jury round, scoring only 14 points despite top marks from one juror.
Considering Gigi Radics and Joci Pápai were the only acts to receive more than a 5 from the home audience throughout the competition, my guess is the home vote was between those two entries. However, Joci Pápai’s song has a point of view and delivery that will make it stand out in the Eurovision field, moreso than the cliche mess of “See It Through”.1
I still maintain my concern that the rap element could be an obstacle for Hungary, but it seems like every year there is a major obstacle Hungary manages to overcome as it continues its qualifying hot streak. Also, the way that the A Dal process vets entries through repeat listening and variation in competitive fields shows that this song could work. I will be interested to see what tweaks (if any) happen in the next few weeks as Joci Pápai prepares to compete.
Good job and good luck, Hungary!
- Spoiler: I did not like that song. ↵