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

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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!

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