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  • Joshua McDonald

ESC 2022: Czech Republic: We Are Domi - "Lights Off"

Another country has found their entry for Eurovision 2022! The Czech Republic held their national finals, with We Are Domi advancing to compete for their country with "Lights Off."

Oh, thank God! This is MUCH better than what Bulgaria delivered. "Lights Off" is a solid Euro-dance-pop song that should perform well in the competition. I've listed to the song a few times now, and it's grown on me the more I've listened to it. I like the lyrics - especially the first verse - and Dominika Hasek has a lower register that is reminiscent of Lana Del Ray and a vibrato that evokes Stevie Nicks. Her upper register is completely her own.

My biggest concern here is simply how early the Czech Republic released the song. Considering the competition isn't until May, "Lights Off" will definitely lose momentum once other countries release quality songs. And if 2022 is going to be anything like the past three years, there's going to be a handful of great songs on the way.

Turning to the songs and acts that didn't qualify, there were a few standout songs and performances that prove, yet again, why the Czech Republic has one of my favorite national finals in the Eurovision season. One of my personal favorites is GIUDI with "Jezinky." It's a haunting song that definitely isn't meant for mainstream listening, but is captivating and unique in its own right. Ethnic backing vocals always get me, and this song has that in spades. The song is prime and ready for a soundtrack or film advertisement. As different as it is, I found myself thinking about it days later, and had to give it another listen before ultimately adding it to my 2022 ESC playlist.

I also found myself impressed by "By Now" from Jordan Haj and Emma Smetana. They finished fourth in the national final, and if I'm being honest, I wasn't initially a fan of their vocals or the construction of the song at first. After a few listens though, that changed, and they're probably my favorite act overall to come from the Czech cycle.

Stylistically, Hag and Smetana are more in line with what I listen to, and I feel that "By Now" could stand the test of time. Lyrically, I think the song is damn good with a beautiful message. "You said the city is mean and cold. I'm suffocating. I can't breathe at all. I'm twenty. I'm mean and old. I'm living in a house that ain't no home." ... I mean, seriously. Great, raw lyrics. And once the melody fully kicks in, the song is golden! If you really want to see the scope of these two though, you should check out their song "Lost & Found."

After a terrible start from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic swoops in to remind me why I watch Eurovision to begin with... I find so many incredible artists and songs during the journey. If this is a sign of what's to come for the remainder of the season, then we're in for a real treat!

Share your thoughts on the songs and acts above, and let me know what's POPPING your culture!

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