Czech Eurovision songs unveiled

People can vote online on the eight selected songs until Jan. 21

Eight songs are competing to represent the Czech Republic in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. The winning song will be selected by the public using a phone app. Voting is possible up until Jan. 21, and the winner will be announced Jan. 28.

In addition to the public vote, an international jury will also evaluate the songs and participate in the selection.

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will take place March 14 to 18 in Tel Aviv, Israel, since the Israeli contestant won last year. The finals will be broadcast on Czech Television.

This will be the second time in a row that the public can vote on the Czech selection. Last year, the winner was Mikolas Josef, who went on to finish sixth in the finals with his song “Lie To Me.” It was the best showing ever for the Czech Republic.

Most previous entries had been selected without public input. Televised national finals were held in 2007 and ’08, and after that Czech Television switched to jury selection, before changing again to a mixed jury and public vote last year.

“The success of Mikolas Josef in last year's Eurovision has caused a huge increase in interest in this competition in the Czech Republic. This year, twice as many Czech artists signed up in the competition than last year, recording over 60 songs. Altogether, more than 300 compositions have been sent from around the world,” creative producer Jan Potměšil said on Czech Television.

The eight options are Andrea Holá with “Give Me A Hint,” Barbora Mochowa with “True Colors,” Hana Barbara with “Poslední slova tobě,” Jakub Ondra with “Space Sushi,” Jara Vymer with “On My Knees,” Lake Malawi with “Friend Of A Friend,” Pam Rabbit with “Easy To Believe” and Tomáš Boček with “Don't Know Why.”

Videos for the songs and a link to downloading the voting app can be found on the Eurovision website at eurovision.tv.

Andrea Holá is an actress and singer who has been on stage since 2014. She finished fourth in the second-annual Hlas ČeskoSlovenska (Voice of Czecho-Slovakia).

Barbora Mochowa, from Trutnov, first appeared on television when she was 7 years old in the contest show Rozjezdy pro hvězdy (Star-Bound), and has been on other shows since.

Hana Barbara likes to experiment with her voice and is part of the new generation of Czech pop music.

Jakub Ondra wrote his first song at the age of 16 after a breakup. When he was 18, he was discovered by a record label talent scout. His first song for the label, Malý princ, was a hit on Czech radio stations.

Jara Vymer was born in Costa Rica and his family moved back to the Czech Republic when he was 1 year old. Jara writes his own lyrics and melodies.

Lake Malawi is an indie-pop band with a name inspired by a Bon Iver song. The band, which performs exclusively in English, was founded in 2013 by Albert Černý, who sings and plays guitar. The lineup also includes Jeroným Šubrt on bass and keyboards and Antonín Hrabal on drums.

Pam Rabbit says she has been obsessed with dance, shows and art since as soon as she could walk. She also hopes to inspire underdogs and people who feel left out. She was a backing vocalist for Mikolas Josef in last year’s Eurovision contest.

Tomáš Boček aside from being a musician studies medicine at the Palacký University (Univerzita Palackého) in Olomouc. He plays guitar, bass, ukulele, piano and percussion.

Some 42 countries are expected to participate in the 2019 contest at the Expo Tel Aviv pavilion, with no additions compared to last year. The only country not returning is Bulgaria, due to financial reasons.

The Czech Republic first participated in Eurovision in 2007, with Kabát singing “Malá dáma.” They scored one point in the semifinals, coming in last and failing to make it to the finals. In 2008 singer Tereza Kerndlová did better with “Have Some Fun,” scoring nine points, but this was only good enough to be second from last.

In the third attempt, Romani band Gipsy.cz scored no points, one of 16 times since 1975 when a new voting system was introduced that a band did so poorly.

The Czech Republic dropped out after that and did not participate again until 2015 when Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta sang the heavily produced ballad “Hope Never Dies,” scoring 33 points, good enough for 13th place in their semifinal, but still not making it into the final round.

In the 2016 show in Stockholm, the Czech Republic at least made it to the finals. Gabriela Gunčíková performed the song “I Stand.” The song came in ninth in the semifinal and 25th in the final, for next the last place.

Martina Bárta sang “My Turn” in the 2017 competition and came in 13th in her semifinal round but failed to make it to the finals.

Mikolas Josef had been asked to sing “My Turn,” but declined. He did participate the next year though, and as previously stated came in sixth with “Lie To Me.”

The Eurovision Song Contest is organized by members of the European Broadcasting Union. It is the most watched non-sporting event in the world. It was first held in 1956 and is one of the longest-running shows in television history. Viewers and a jury select the winner. Viewers cannot vote by phone for their own country.

ABBA remains the most successful act to ever win the contest, and “Waterloo” in 2005 was named the best song ever to come from the contest. Other winners include Celine Dion, Julio Iglesias, Olivia Newton-John, Cliff Richard, Loreen and Conchita Wurst. Karel Gott participated in 1968, representing Austria, but he did not win.

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