In terms of qualifications, Romania is one of the stronger Eurovision nations, however in the last two years, failed to qualify to the final. Hoping to change that was internally selected artist Roxen, who was selected to sing the song Alcohol You at Eurovision this year. Would we have seen it in the final?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
Romania changed the selection format this year, featuring an internal selection for the artist, but a public selection for the song. This was definitely a good road for Romania to go down, after the previous two non-qualifications.
Out of the competing songs in the national selection, I preferred (like many fans) Cherry Red, but admit that it was underwhelming at the live selection. Alcohol You was performed better, and it did seem she had more passion for that song. In general, what we got from Romania in that selection was miles ahead of what we often get from Romania. The songs felt much more contemporary and professional than what has been previously sent, and I would credit that to keeping a stronger focus on one artist and the songs rather than have a range of artists and songs.
I enjoy the production of this song, and Roxen’s voice is nice. The live version was good, but didn’t reach the heights of the studio version. The song has a nice melody, and it builds well to the simple chorus. By the second verse, I’ve lost some interest in the song, but it reels me back in at the revamped chorus which has much more power. Whether she would be able to nail those big notes or not is up for debate, but studio-wise, it’s a solid revamp.
Act and Performance
Roxen is a fresh face for Romania, a young talent but one that has huge potential. Her voice is good, but wouldn’t have been the strongest of the field this year. It would have been enough to carry the song, but perhaps when she returns next year, we will see some vocal growth. Stylistically I think she is great for Eurovision. She has youth appeal.
The staging at the selection was fairly simple, and to be honest, didn’t really do much for me. It would have needed something a bit more magical to really capture my attention for the full 3 minutes. The potential is there, and there is a strong chance it would have been reached had the right team been working on the stage performance.
Next Up: 2021
Roxen will return to Romania, and I see that as a fair decision. I suspect they will do the same format to select a song, and that works for them, as it gives them a chance to try out different staging techniques. If they match or exceed the song quality from this year’s selection, Romania will remain a likely qualifier in 2021.
When it comes to ballads, I am definitely more picky than I am with upbeat songs. When there’s such strong ballads this year, such as Norway, Italy or even Albania, I will always choose those over Romania. Yes, it’s a nice song, but I don’t find myself listening to it very often. Let’s see what she can bring in 2021.
Song and Vocals
‘Alcohol You’ is no typical Eurovision song. And to be clear: that is a strength. The song was chosen in a national final with only songs for Roxen and based on all live performance this was probably their best pick. I was not entirely convinced by the vocals of Roxen in that final, of which I expected more. But I can’t say it was bad.
Performance and Act
The performance in the tv studio of TVR could not be compared to what would be necessary on the Eurovision stage. The stage design was crucial for this entry, because I have the feeling the young Roxen was not able to carry it solely by herself. Before her national final Romania was on top at the list of the bookmakers, but right after ‘Alcohol You’ was chosen, she dropped a lot of places. I think that was mainly because of the somewhat disappointing live performance.
Next up: 2021
The Romanian broadcaster already announced that they will keep Roxen as their singer for Eurovision 2021. Like many other countries with an internal selection, this is pretty obvious. I expect she will perform another bunch of songs in different genres at a national final, just like she did in 2020.
Roxen is a young and talented artist. Here also lies the risk. Is she ready to take part in the biggest music competition in the world? From what I have seen and heard in live performances thus far, I have some doubts. In 2021 she has had another year of life experience, which will of course help her again to learn and grow and be even better when she gets to take part after all.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 7.7/10
What do you think of Alcohol You? Follow our Eurovision 2020 reviews here.