Final qualifying heat in Lithuania tonight

With twelve acts already having taken their places in the Lithuanian semi finals set for the 8th and 15th of December, it was time for the final round of candidates to enter the ring and fight it out in an attempt to impress both viewers and jury alike for the final 3 spaces available.

2012 sees the return of Monika Linkytė to the Lithuanian national selection, and a collaboration with former entrant Sasha Son. Despite making it to the final in 2010, she came in a resounding last place. Sasha Son was attempting to represent his native Lithuania for a second consecutive year in 2010, having achieved a final placing with Love in Moscow in 2009. Having come only fifth in the national final in 2010, Son has a lot riding on Linkytė’s entry tonight, which he has composed. With such a pedigree between the two of them, they must surely be the ones to watch.

The songs:

01. Kvinta – LoudsideToks Gyvenimas

Four young men take to the stage amid flashing strobe lighting blue background screens, dressed in pale blue shirts with a slight uniform look. The choreography consisted mainly of striking various arms in the air poses. The song had a modern sound, although their vocals were slightly on the flat side.

02. Sepa Ir Asorti Money

Another foursome took to the stage which was predominantly green, dressed rather shabbily, in keeping with their grungy sound. The lead singer wore jeans and a baseball cap and gave a very lacklustre performance that sounded more like he was reciting lists. Quite a limp number, if truth be told, with some pretty dire lyrics "Money, money, it’s not even funny". 

03. Al BagdoBackdoor Superman

A rather serious looking, mature performer in the shape of Al Bagdo took to the stage, singing a song about staying positive and being an undercover hero. He certainly wasn’t dressed the part, having swapped the superhero costume for a sobering black shirt and pants with silver tie. The vocals were at best lacklustre, with not even the three female backing singers to his left able to lift this dreary number. Two dancers were thrown in for good measure, but just made the presentation even odder. Instrumentally, the song plodded along with its rock undertones, but with a melody that went nowhere, making the three minutes drag out and probably leaving many indifferent.

04. Baiba SkursteneI’m On Fire

Baiba was quite the glamour puss, in a hot pink, flamenco inspired creation. With her long blond locks piled on top of one another her look was quite fetching. A nice contrast between her four singing dancers and backing vocalist all dressed in black. An altogether energetic performance, with tastes of the orient mixed in with a modern, pulsing techno beat. They made great use of the stage, making this one of the more engaging acts of the evening. Baiba had great stage presence, building up a nice rapport with the camera and had by far one of the most professional presentations. Vocals fell somewhat short in places sounding a bit thin and screechy, however the general package on the whole was one of the more appealing on offer.

05. El FuegoLedo gabalėlis

Four fresh faced men sat with their backs to one another in a circle formation on stage for the opening of their number. Dressed in seemingly formal attire (tails and charcoal trousers paired with chequered shirts and tartan bow ties), their entry was what can only be termed as operatic, with soaring vocals in places, but at times it sounded as if they were attempting to outdo each other. The sound of opera over a heavy percussion beat made for intriguing listening, but made it perhaps a little too outlandish to make any impact. Following their performance, there was a slight delay before the audience began to show their appreciation – had they fallen asleep?

06. DARJump!

Another foursome on stage tonight, two men and women, the men dressed in black suits with glittery lapelles, the women wearing a combination of skin tight flesh coloured body suit and a figure hugging slightly short slivery black dress over the same kind of body suit. Thumping disco beats over an enthusiastic and energetic tune, made this one of the more listenable and certainly danceable entries on offer tonight, despite the slightly cheezy and dated sound. The foursome, although out of tune in places, were professional performers in the respect that they gave their all during their number. Although fairly weak, this was still one of the standout acts to appear tonight.

07. MonikaBaby Boy

And so the evening’s seven acts was rounded off by Monika.The set was very innovative, and certainly the one that stood out best tonight, with large balloons scattered across the floor, illuminated by spotlights in different colours. Monika took to the stage sporting a classy black dress complemented with white and black trim at the bottom and set off with black tassled earrings. Definitely the most impressive vocalist of the evening and the song itself was extremely hummable, essentialy a modern dance tune, with Monika  even having time to fit in a key change.With male backing vocalists out of focus, the camera lapped up Monika and so did the audience judging by their rapturous applause once the number was over.She certainly delivered on all accounts and by no means did she dissappoint.Such was the impression she made, that she was even handed a small bouquet of flowers by a fan near the stage after the jury had delivered their verdicts.

The show:

Laba diena, Lietuva, Good evening Lithuania! A rousing opening number
entitled Melankolija by a rather serious looking yet photogenic Aiste Pilvelyte in a long,
flowing black dress got the show off to a start with some impressive
vocal acrobatics which wavered in places. Host Andrius Rožickas then
took to the stage to wish everyone welcome before the jury and combined results were

Would the jury results echo those of the audience voting from last week
with Linas Adomaitis, Gintarė Korsakaitė and Gerai Gerai & Miss
Sheep occupying the top three positions? Once the scores had been
tallied, we learned that Gerai Gerai & Miss Sheep had failed to make
their mark on the juries, with the jury top three consisting of Linas
Adomaitis, Gintarė Korsakaitė and Girmantė Vaitkutė. The combined
results gave therefore the aforementioned three acts a place in the semi

The audience were highly appreciative of each and every act in what can best described as an intimate setting. With regular updates between the songs, it was quite clear that as far as the audience were concerned, it was a two horse race between the final two acts, DAR and Monika, no surprises there. It was a great touch, getting to see the panel of judges deliver their verdicts to the acts after each performance, with some of the facial expressions being highly comical! It certainly was an effective way of opening up the show, in keeping with the popular X Factor format, undoubtedly giving the show more appeal. It would appear the judges had a lot to say, with each and every one seemingly having all the time in the world to deliver their verdict. While those in the audience made up their minds, Aiste Pilvelyte returned to the stage to treat us to a rocked up version of the Cher classic Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down, visibly giving her all in the final performance of the night.

The voting:
The audience participated by voting for their favorites during the show. The televoting results revealed at the end of the show were as follows:

12 points (1743 votes): DAR
10 points (1133 votes): Monika

8 points (452 votes): El Fuego
7 points (304 votes): Al Bagdo
6 points (262 votes): Baiba Skurstene
5 points (110 votes): Kvinta Loudside
4 points (84 votes): Sepa Ir Asorti
Not suprisingly, DAR were the victors of the audience vote, with Monika coming in a rather distant second. They had led from early on in the evening and not even Monika’s draw or convincing performace were enough to close the gap between them. It will be interesting to see if the jury results mirror those of the audience. Stay tuned for an update once the jury verdict is known to find out which lucky three acts managed to run off with the last three places for the Lithuanian semi final.
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