Eurovision 2016 – Czech Republic: ‘I Stand’ (Gabriela Gunčíková)

The Czech Republic’s success in Eurovision this year is one of the interesting things to keep an eye on. Since their debut in 2007, the country has failed to qualify three consecutive years, and withdrawn from the competition between 2010 and 2014.

All of their entries seem a little half-hearted. A rock number in 2007 which I still can’t get further than the first nauseating 30 seconds, an overly-styled bland song poorly performed in 2008, and a ‘comic’ number for 2009 which might as well have been dreamed up by a news trainee on a coffee break.

Against that backdrop of misfires, last year’s ‘Hope Never Dies‘ sung by Marta Jandová & Václav Noid Bárta’s was a breath of fresh air. Though slightly ponderous in its reliance on musical melodrama, the Czech Republic’s 2015 song was well-performed and a good listen – a sign the Czech Republic might have found their groove for producing Eurovision entries. Sure, ‘Hope Never Dies‘ still failed to qualify in 2015, but at least its possible to get through the entire thing without switching off.

Musically speaking, this year’s ‘I Stand‘ continues on that modest trajectory. The song has a good dramatic feel which will sit right in the arena. Relying on one singer to deliver what is quite a demanding musical line may be a tough ask for singer Gabriela Gunčíková, but I’m still hopeful.

The song doesn’t pack a memorable punch like ‘Hope Never Dies‘ did last year (more of a gentle pat on the back, really), but if it’s staged well (ie without resorting to something that looks cheap and shiny) who knows, maybe the Czech Republic will secure a deserved place in the final. And if it does get that, the Czech Republic’s TV man responsible for producing the country’s three minutes of live TV will be a happy chap.

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