The Czech Republic have been on a roll recently, with the last two entries qualifying for the Eurovision final, one of which finished within the top 10, and the other finishing in a close 11th. Will they have kept the ball rolling this year with Benny Cristo and his song Kemama?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
The Czech Republic held one of the best national selections this year, with many of the songs strong enough to do well on the Eurovision stage. From the get go, it was difficult to guess which song would come out on top to represent the nation, but I can say that for many, they wouldn’t have guessed Benny Cristo.
I, on the other hand, had a feeling that Benny would come through and sneakily take the win, and I was happy to be right. This is absolutely one of my favourite songs this year. It’s not a typical Eurovision song, but this is the type of song that I would listen to over and over, well beyond the contest. I was certainly happy with it without the revamp, and although that was a bit of a saga, I think the final product has worked out well.
I love the beat of Kemama, and the simple transitions between verses, pre-choruses and then the chorus. His voice also works well in this style of music, just super relaxed. I can fairly safely say that Benny would not have been the strongest vocalist at Eurovision, but his charisma well and truly makes up for it.
Performance and Act
Benny has a star quality about him, and we saw that shine in his performance in Ukraine at their national selection. He is an absolute charmer, and I think if he was paired with a strong staging, he would have done well in the televote. I personally pictured this staged in a similar style to the music video, where we see a lot of dancing, dark staging but cleverly and colourfully lit with neon lights. Would that have eventuated? Probably not, but one can dream.
Next Up: 2021
Being one of my favourites from 2020, I would love to see Benny return next year, but perhaps the Czech broadcaster will aim for a national final as their momentum grows at Eurovision. I think if they do choose Benny, pair him with a strong songwriting team so that the first version of the song released is the final version! Not to say a revamp is a bad thing, but it would be great to see true confidence in their own entry.
Easily one of my favourites this year, and although I may be somewhat biased, I did see this entering the final. I think if it had a strong staging, it would have fared well enough in both jury and televote to scrape into the final. Keen to see what the Czech Republic puts forward in 2021!
Song and Vocals
A rap song without a typical chorus. Not Eurovision material? That’s what people who still think of the standard cliché Eurosongs sometimes tend to believe. But I think that the non-typical Eurovision songs are the ones that have great potential. ‘Kemama’ was a song with the potential to come in last place, but also be a banger.
Performance and Act
I was wondering how a song like this would translate to a stage for a live televised performance. But I was convinced by Benny’s performance during the Ukrainian preselection show Vidbir. He has a natural charisma and the fun he was having himself really came through the cameras to the living room. And that was just a performance of him performing solo. With even more props and dancers, and if he interacts well with them, it would have had even more potential.
Next up: 2021
Since Benny Cristo was not chosen internally but video a national final by video, we don’t know yet if he gets his pass to Eurovision 2021 by the Czech broadcaster. It would be well deserved if he does. And hey, maybe if he gets a song that is a bit more polished, and doesn’t need three revamps, it will do him a favor. A song in his unique style, but a bit more memorable chorus to also keep the mainstream audience on board, without being cliché. Good luck with that CT, I believe in you.
Benny seems to be a natural born performer. I had confidence that he would have given us a good show in Rotterdam. And I still have that confidence for the next Eurovision in 2021. I even see some possibilities to come up with an even better song for this strong performer. I hope broadcaster CT also has faith in him, and sticks with Benny as their singer for Eurovision.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 6.6/10
What do you think of Kemama? Follow our Eurovision 2020 reviews here.