What’s a Latvian national selection without Markus Riva? With no less than seven participations in the Latvian national selections, the man is consistent at the very minimum. Some of his competing entries have done better than others, with ‘Take Me Down’ and ‘You Make Me So Crazy’ both finishing in second place. Meanwhile, on other occasions, he has failed to qualify from the heats.
I would argue that one of his most unsuccessful entries is actually one of his best, and that’s his 2017 entry, Dynamite. Looking at the studio version of the song, there’s so much promise. The intro music does a great job a piquing your interest, and the song grows well over the three minutes. The darker style of this song is far more appealing than his more upbeat entries, and ultimately, I think it could have had such strong Eurovision potential. I remember thinking prior to the national final that this would be the year that Markus makes it to Eurovision, but he failed to even reach the final – where did it all go wrong?
As much as I’d love to see Markus live out his Eurovision dream, there is one key reason he hasn’t made it yet. It all comes down to live vocals. You can have the best studio version song, but coming into a competition where you are judged for live vocals, you’d want to be able to deliver. This is a killer song, which mind you, he wrote himself, but he was not the right vocalist. After each note in the live performance, you are left on edge wondering if he would nail the next one, and most of the time, he misses.
I think what makes it burn even more is that the staging in the national selection actually wasn’t too bad. Keeping in mind it’s a much smaller studio than the Eurovision stage, I actually think the lighting looked fantastic, and the red colour theme worked really well. Could you just imagine if the vocals were on point? This could have been a force, but alas, it was not meant to be.
With all things considered, I’m still going to dish out an 8/10, just based on song and staging alone. Perfect vocals could have bumped this up, but as we know from the numerous participations, perfect vocals seem elusive.
Artist: Markus Riva