After a lengthy non-qualification streak, Aminata finally took Latvia back to the final, and not only that, brought the nation back into the Top 10. The following year, Justs also qualified with a song written by Aminata. It seemed as if the nation had finally worked out the modern Eurovision formula, however their success was short lived. The nation failed to qualify in both 2017 and 2018, but will Carousel be able to change Latvia’s Eurovision course with the song That Night?
Song + Vocals
After a pretty dire national selection, Carousel managed to confidently top the vote with their song That Night, and based on all the songs in the national selection, it was fairly clear to see that Latvia were in for an uphill battle at Eurovision. I’m not even sure I could say that Carousel was the best of a bad bunch, as I think some of the other acts could have at least been elevated with a strong stage performance, but looking specifically at the chosen song, I definitely don’t see this as a contender.
That’s not to say that there are no redeeming features. I think the song is set up well with the instrumental introduction, and even through to the verse and chorus, there is promise. The melody is nice and the folky and/or country style of the song is actually quite charming. Overall, it’s a relaxing song that will certainly appeal to a certain type of audience.
Unfortunately for me, I find this song to completely flat line after the first chorus. Although I like the chorus, I tend to only like it the first time, and after that, I find myself disinterested. Had this been in the first semi-final, specifically in the second half, it would have had the ability to stand out through the running order, but being in quite a dull first half of the second semi-final, I can’t see this providing enough of a contrast to make it more memorable.
We have heard the song live at both the national final and at Eurovision pre-parties, and vocally this is great, in fact, almost spot on to the studio version, but with the studio version being quite flat, I would hope for some more vocal embellishment especially towards the end of the song where it has the potential to get quite repetitive for viewers.
Act + Performance
There was no real stand out act in the Latvian national selection this year, but at least with Carousel we know that we will get a great vocal performance on the Eurovision stage, plus we know that the song is authentic. I just don’t know if there is a style of staging that could really elevate this song to where it needs to be.
I picture a fairly dark staging, perhaps with props as well as soft and dimming lights. They can definitely play off the folksy vibe of the song, and I would say that is the best way to approach the staging for this song. Maybe that’s all too obvious? We will have to wait and see how they go about the stage performance!
Overall, I think this is a nice song that will have a niche audience, but overall won’t capture enough of the votes, both jury and televote to be able to find their way to the final. The running order doesn’t seem to do Latvia any favours this year, and as a result, I think the nation will fall to the same fate as previous years.