Dare to Dream: The Race to Eurovision 2019 (Part I: the Czech Republic, Montenegro, and Hungary)

It is that time of the year!

Eurovision!

While many people would moan and groan about this trivial musical competition, I honestly enjoy this musical battle. I don’t look at the politics of the whole competition. Instead, I look at the musical side with songs from each country’s representative.

I will feature at least three songs from each country each week leading up to the start of Eurovision 2019 on May 14. I will highlight each song based on the alphabetical order of each country. Some countries haven’t released their country’s song yet (like Belarus and Cyprus, who says they will release their song in March). If that is the case, I will skip that country and come back to that country once their song is released.

To begin, let’s take a look at the songs representing Montenegro, Czech Republic, and Hungary.

Czech Republic: Lake Malawi – Friend Of A Friend

Now, I wrote last year or in 2016 that I have a bias towards the Czech Republic. My mother’s side of the family is from this Eastern European country. I would say that I am 1/4 part Czech. Although I moved around the US because my dad was in the military, we still celebrate some Czech traditions. But, when my whole extended family got together for a family outing in Nebraska (where my mom is from), there would be Czech food, beer, and music present.

My grandpa and Uncle would always play polka whenever we had these family gatherings. And, I hated it! Polka wasn’t my cup of tea when I was little. And, I would be somewhat discouraged to believe that this musical genre was the only thing musically from my great-grandparents’ homeland.

However, that wasn’t the case. When I first discovered modern Czech songs in Eurovision a couple years ago, I was happy. Although they aren’t in Czech — something I want to learn someday — they were modern Czech tunes. Something I could relate more.

But, it wasn’t just because they were modern. It was because they were wonderful tunes too. I love the beauty behind the 2016 song “I Stand”. And, I loved last year’s upbeat tune “Lie to Me”. They were crafted well with such much musical potential.

But, I am not feeling that same excitement for this year’s entry: Lake Malawi’s “Friend of a Friend.” One of the problems with this song that is the vocals; they are a bit weak. I think the singer is too airy when he is singing the notes as his pitch isn’t strong. The other problem is that I heard this before. I feel like this a weak imitation of British indie pop bands like The 1975 and Kero Kero Benito.

Let’s see how this song plays out in the competition. But, I am not excited about this song.


Hungary: Joci Pápai: Az én apám

Joci Pápai gets bonus points in my Eurovision playbook for singing in his native tongue. I love it when artists sing in their native language during Eurovision. Yes, I can’t understand what is Joci singing about because I don’t know a lick of Hungarian (shhh, I might learn some here, and there if I keep playing this song on repeat, I learn languages from music). But, the song is so beautiful, you can understand the story of the song through his singing style, techniques, and emotions. I wish more Eurovision would sing in their native language as it is beautiful and refreshing.

“Az én apám” (which means “My father”) is a beautiful song. It doesn’t feature much except Joci’s vocals, backing vocals, a guitar, a bass, a violin, and a strong percussion set. But the heart of the song is Joci’s vocals. They lead the story, bring the emotions, and take us through his portrayal with his raw emotions. I don’t need a translation to understand how magical and powerful “Az én apám” is. Amazing!


Montenegro: D-Moll – Heaven

When I first listen to D-Moll’s song, I am reminded about the 90s’ R&B duets that featured a female vocalist and a male vocalist: “A Whole New World” and “One Sweet Day.” “Heaven” brings backs the nostalgic feelings as it is very laid back, features that well-known 90s’ percussion and snap/clap track, and features that random synthesizer fluttering around. The song starts slow, sweet, and light energy. By mid-song, the tempo picks up as the vocals climaxes slowly but surely with high power by the final chorus.

“Heaven” is a beautiful song but I don’t think it will win the competition. I think it will bring back memories of the 90s for many. But the energy is a bit off, it isn’t powerful enough, and I don’t think the vocal timbre isn’t up to par for an R&B song. I kept on imagining how Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey would sing this as Mariah Carey would carry the tune better with her timbre, techniques, her power, and her embellishments.

I also found that random synthesizer to be overpowering at some times and not necessary at times. It is a good addition but it can be annoying.

Overall, I think “Heaven” is a nice song but I don’t think it is going to win the competition. But, I do think it might have a shot to enter the finals.

Trivia: D-Moll, for those who are not familiar with music theory, means “D minor”.


So what do you think, which song is your favorite? Comment below!

And, since I have a lot of travel bloggers and readers from the world who visit this blog, what are your favorite memories or sites in the Czech Republic, Hungary, or Montenegro? Let me know in the comments below.

Since this is an ongoing series, I am going to share my prediction scorecard at the end of each post. It is a way for me to keep track of my predictions and see if they came true in May.

CountryStandings at the Finales
Czech RepublicEliminated
HungaryFinals – MAY WIN
MontenegroFinals

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120 thoughts on “Dare to Dream: The Race to Eurovision 2019 (Part I: the Czech Republic, Montenegro, and Hungary)

  1. You, Me and Benny says:

    I like the “friend of a friend” song – it has a really great beat and that’s something I look for when listening to music and finding music to sing along with!

  2. This is so cool! I never hear music from other countries, so it’s neat to hear these songs. I have Hungarian in my ancestry, so I am partial to that one. And, I just like it.

  3. Neil Alvin Nicerio says:

    First time to hear of these but hey thanks for sharing you made me less ignorant of the beautiful songs rarely played on the radio here in the Philippines 🇵🇭.

  4. MELANIE EDJOURIAN says:

    It can be quite amusing to watch although I don’t most years. Some of the singers are really good and the commentary is hilarious.

  5. Elizabeth O says:

    The great thing about music is that it is as rich and varied as nature. We can listen to whatever we like. That said, I think this is a great way to showcase music from around the world.

  6. Ann F. Snook-Moreau says:

    I have huge 90s nostalgia from my childhood, so the song from Montenegro is my choice! If I had to choose one of these places to visit, though, it would definitely be the Czech Republic.

  7. Ann Snook says:

    I honestly don’t know much about how Eurovision works. I didn’t realize it’s such a long process! We need something like this in North America.

  8. Morgan Shaw says:

    I wouldn’t say I am a Eurovision super fan but I do watch it. You have a lot of work head of you to post 3 songs from each other . Was nice to learn about about your family history to

  9. LuciWest says:

    This post is so lovely and brings back tons of memories. I grew up in Germany – where today the Eurovision is again a very big deal, kind of having a renaissance. But I’ve been living in the USA for a long time where no one cares about it. Thank you for bringing it closer for me again!

  10. I’ve heard SO MANY people talk about Eurovision, but I never really knew what it was! I didn’t expect it to be a competition between countries. I do love music so I might have to give it a watch sometime!

  11. Blair villanueva says:

    I am not familuar with these songs, and it was awesome that you introduce these to us. Very reliable reference blog!

  12. Courtney says:

    Omg how neat!!! I always love musical battles! I suck at all things to do with singing so I like to live through others that actually have talent lol

  13. Alexandra Cook says:

    This is my first time to hear about Eurovision. This sounds like an awesome competition. Is this aired Internationally?

  14. Elizabeth O says:

    I didn’t hear about this contest yet but it sounds fantastic competition. I would love to watch its episodes.

  15. Oh wow, this awesome. I don’t mind admitting I used to really enjoy the Eurovision. And watched it ritually as a kid. (Only stopped watching it because was hard to do so from Japan when I first moved here). We (Ireland) haven’t done too bad over the years!! Another blogging friend of mine wrote about the Eurovision yesterday and I didn’t put two and two together that it is THAT time of the year!!!!!

  16. lauragetsrichinhealth says:

    Loved reading (and listening) to this post. I didn’t even know about this competition, but it sounds pretty cool!!

  17. I always like reading about and hearing new music. I love all kinds of music and it’s always nice to hear something new that I wouldn’t hear everyday!

  18. thislovefilledlife says:

    I love music so this was really interesting to see it from different countries. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Kristen says:

    I love hearing about other nationalities and cultures. This was so refreshing to learn about. I actually have a lot of family in Nebraska as well from my fathers side.

  20. KA Inspired says:

    I’ve never heard of these songs or singers before. I didn’t know they had contests like this either.

  21. The Eurovision Competitions aren’t really talked about here in the US. I know I’ve discovered some interesting and unique songs from watching bits and pieces on youtube, but it would be good to see the entire competition play out.

    • aisasami says:

      I never knew about Eurovision until a few years ago because of Youtube. They have the competition on there and I think a cable channel covers it.

  22. Wendy says:

    This is refreshing to listen to. I have never heard of these artists but I had fun listening to the songs. Music battles are always fun… I enjoy them a lot.

  23. Luna S says:

    It is always a lot of fun learning about new competition shows, I love music but I am unsure if I could sit through a whole signing competition. I like shows that have a variety of acts along with musical performances which is why I love the Americas got talent and the other countries got talents as well.

    • aisasami says:

      They chop the competition into blocks. Not all 49 countries compete in one night, it usually two nights and the finals. And also, the powerhouse countries don’t need to compete on the semifinals.

  24. Kemi says:

    Eurovision is all politcs lol. I used to be addicted to it when I lived in England. Most of the Balkan states would vote Russia back then. Dunno how it’s changed now lol. Love the Hungary version.

  25. Kristine Nicole Alessandra says:

    I like the song by Joci Papai. I love the melody and although I did not understand a word he said, it was obvious that he had so much emotion in it while singing the song. My vote goes to Joci Papai of Hungary.

  26. oyibougbo says:

    I have stumbled upon friend of a friend before, and i will choose it over the others but they are really awesome too… friend of a friend for i what am going for.

  27. Matija Antonić says:

    I enjoyed Eurovision a lot more before, now I just don’t know most of the songs feel like they are just the same, and I don’t like that more and more artists don’t sing in their mother tongue, they sing in English so that the song could be understood better, but you lose that part of putting your soul into it, apart from all that I really did enjoy D-Moll one it has a nice ring to it.

  28. Courtney says:

    Ooooo now this sounds like one awesome event! Especially if you’re a huge music fan! Definitely something I would love to attend myself

  29. mommysup says:

    Maybe Hungary, but I am not pleased with the songs neither this year neither the past several years… :/ Anyhow, Eurovision is an amazing contest, and it reminds me of childhood! ❤

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