The majority of Eurofans were focused on the result of Benidorm Fest yesterday, and quite rightly so given the quality of the broadcast. There was, however, a much more eclectic Eurovision selection taking place mere hours before. The Moldovan Audition Livestream. *shudders*

Moldova featured 28 acts fighting it out for the chance to represent the nation in Turin. They varied wildly in terms of quality, effort and professionalism…exactly what you’d hope for from such a process. There was, of course, a significant portion of filler so dull that even before their three minutes were done they were already forgotten. Despite that, there were a number of acts that will forever enter the Eurofan lore, whether in a positive sense or not.

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For a livestream like this, it requires comparatively little effort when stacked against the showier selections. You’ve not got a parade of backing dancers to learn a whole routine with. You don’t have to go big on styling, as was very evident yesterday, it’s a largely understated affair. Basically, you learn your song, turn up on the day and perform it as well as you can. That makes it all the more mystifying that part-time Jacinda Ardern lookalike, Viola Julea chose to sing with her phone in hand seemingly scrolling through the lyrics. Doesn’t quite give off the idea of a professional performer ready to represent their country on the world stage.

Tudor Bumbac proved himself to be an absolute treasure to the Eurofan community, once again trying his hand for his homeland. Whilst we all know he is no danger of getting to the Contest stage (boat parties, aside) his yearly appearance was an odd delight. It was at the very least performed with a degree of charm, something missing from an alarming number of other auditions.

Elsewhere Bognibov was his usual unsettling presence distracting from proceedings. Despite errant plurals, The Tramps turned out to be one bloke crooning his way through his allotted three minutes. A woman repeatedly screeched that she was the only one and Katy Rain turned up looking like she was getting married before immediately murdering her new husband. All much of a muchness

In amongst the oddities, there was the occasional glimpse of some genuine quality as well. Ana Cernicova proved she had an impressive set of pipes during Secret Battlefield, would love to see her back with a better song. Emilia Russu’s Yama was an ethereal, otherworldly performance that I will gladly revisit in years to come. It would’ve been a very different direction to see Moldova choose it though. Unlike…

Yeah, this felt like peak Moldovan livestream. Elaine O’Neill’s excellent article on ESC Insight perfectly sums up the role Moldova play at Eurovision and Magic Carpet would have served that perfectly. Memorable, humourous but with a genuinely catchy tune. That could have felt as Moldovan as you could ask for. That would’ve been the case were it not for some returning heroes.

It always felt like Zdob și Zdub were in a good place to be chosen and lo, they will return for their third crack at Eurovision in a third decade. They are up there with the Sunstroke Project and DoReDos as feeling like the archetypal Moldovan Eurovision entry and their brand of folk/ska will be a welcoming addition to the lineup in May. Whilst Trenulețul may not quite live up to the heights of So Lucky we are guaranteed a fun, entertaining three minutes on the Eurovision stage come May.

Thank you Moldova, never change.

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