ESCountdown 2019: #20 – “Run With The Lions” by Jurij Veklenko, Lithuania

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 10, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

Last year, when we first launched our ESC coverage, I did the songs in random order. This year, I’m changing things up a bit. Due to copyright issues with the way I did my TKR videos on YouTube, my ESC show last year never made it to public consumption. So this year, rather than just cover the songs, I’m bringing you all the info on each song this year ranked in order of my personal preference from bottom to top. I’ll give the reasons for my personal rankings, and some background info on the song, artist, songwriters, and such.  Again, these are MY opinions, and I realize that the ESC fan community is a rabid one, and rarely everyone agrees with everyone else, so as they say, your mileage may vary.

In at #20 on my countdown this year is the official entry from Lithuania, “Run With The Lions” by Jurij Veklenko, written by Ashley Hicklin, Eric Lumiere, and Pele Loriano. The song is performed in English, and will be performed 12th on the second semi final on May 14.

Veklenko has performed at Eurovision before; he was a background vocalist for Lithuania’s 2015 entry, and also got in on the stage act as one half of a same sex kiss as part of the song’s live performance.

I love the passion in this song’s lyrics, which in my interpretation are telling you not to be afraid of love, to explore every boundary, don’t be scared to be seen and do what you need to do for your love. It’s a wonderful sentiment. Where I’m not sure about the song is in its live performance – while it was good enough to make it through the national finals, I worry that Veklenko may not have the power to hold up to some of the other more powerful performers this year. But I hope the song gets through.

Lithuania had a rocky start in EuroVision, debuting in 1994 and receiving one of the rare “nul points” scores; they were incensed and pulled out for five years before returning in 1999. Although they have yet to win their first Grand Final – the last remaining Baltic state that has never won the contest – they have finished as high as 6th place, which happened in 2006, with what many EuroVision watchers consider a “troll” or novelty entry,  We Are The Winners, performed by LT United, the lyrics and presentation of which in fact made a complete mockery of the entire EuroVision contest, which is pretty ironic, all things considered. Although it only finished in ninth place in 2016, Donny Montell’s “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night” remains a recent favorite among EuroVision fans in the US (and yours truly as well…). And last year’s entry, “When We’re Old” by Ieva Zasimauskaite, wasn’t expected to even have a shot at the grand final, but an exquisite, passionate, and beautiful live performance propelled it with both fans and judges and pushed it into the Grand Final, where it finished 12th overall, and remains one of my favorite songs from the 2018 contest.

Here’s the official music video…enjoy…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so i’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

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Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! And hopefully, we’ll get to see the finals again this year somewhere – American fans, with Logo dropping coverage this year, let’s let AXS know we want to see it become the American home of EuroVision!

EuroVision ’18 Song By Song: “When We’re Old” by Ieva Zasimauskaitė, Lithuania

eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica will have daily coverage of the days counting down to the Eurovision Song Contest 2018!

Over the coming weeks, sometimes more than once a day,  we will bring you daily previews of the contest, spotlighting each of the songs individually in random order, where they come from, who will be performing them, and more, as well as some historical info on the contest and some of the past winners and participants.

Next up on our Song-By-Song preview is the official entry from Lithuania, “When We’re Old” by Ieva Zasimauskaitė, written by Vytautas Bikus. The song is performed in English. Ieva began her career as part of several different children and teen choirs, and eventually studied hotel management, which she got a bachelor’s degree in before moving full time into music, placing 2nd in the Lithuanian “Voice” franchise, then making several attempts to represent her country in prior EuroVision contests.. The song will be performed 6th in the competition order on the first semi-final on May 8.

A slow, uplifting, and truly gorgeous song about love lasting for a lifetime, my wife was in tears as she listened to the song and watched the video. Zasimauskaite’s voice reminds me greatly of Marketa Irglova of the duo The Swell Season – they have a very similar timbre and quality to the voice. This also has potential success in its future if it can find a stateside release – this is the kind of song that soft rock radio stations go nuts for over here, in a vein similar to acts like Sarah McLaughin, Adele, and Sara Barellies, and could easily find its way into the upper reaches of Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart if given a chance.

Lithuania had a rocky start in EuroVision, debuting in 1994 and receiving one of the rare “nul points” scores; they were incensed and pulled out for five years before returning in 1999. Although they have yet to win their first Grand Final – the last remaining Baltic state that has never won the contest – they have finished as high as 6th place, which happened in 2006, with what many EuroVision watchers consider a “troll” or novelty entry,  We Are The Winners, performed by LT United, the lyrics and presentation of which in fact made a complete mockery of the entire EuroVision contest, which is pretty ironic, all things considered. Although it only finished in ninth place in 2016, Donny Montell’s “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night” remains a recent favorite among EuroVision fans in the US (and yours truly as well…)

Here’s the official music video  – and be prepared to shed a few happy tears…my wife certainly did, heh heh…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through the finals on May 12 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! The daily artist and song profiles will appear on each site, with some past winners and historical info coming to TKR and PlanetBM in the next week or so as I complete my research!

In case you’re interested, I will post my list of all 43 songs in the order of my favorites at the end of our song by song preview in early May, so keep tuned in! This weekend is going to be full, with FOUR song by song profiles each day, so we will have time at the end of the profiles to do some favorites and not-so-favorites…

If you’re reading our posts on our Medium site, you may want to switch to one of the main sites – we’re having issues over there due to the multple blogs we’re posting on. If you don’t want to miss anything, check out eCO, TKR, or PlanetBM!

Are you enjoying our EuroVision spotlights? Be sure to check out all the other great blogs and podcasts PNRNetworks have to offer! And while you’re at it, if you like what you see, please consider becoming a Patreon Patron – we rely on readers and listeners to help fund our blogs and podcasts, and can’t do it without you! We have tons of great perks available, and you help fund over a dozen sites and podcasts with just one recurring monthly donation – check it out at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! And don’t forget to watch the show May 12 on LogoTV!