Depi Evratesil: Judges Choose Week 2

Depi Evratesil continued its judges' team draft as nine of 28 remaining contestants performed. Have we seen Armenia's future Eurovision representative on stage?

Iveta Mukuchyan is ready to snag a contestant for her team on Depi Evratesil. (Photo: Armenia Public Television) Iveta Mukuchyan is ready to snag a contestant for her team on Depi Evratesil. (Photo: Armenia Public Television)

Previously on Depi Evratesil: we finally get some stakes to this competition as the first batch of finalists perform for a spot on a team with one of the six judges. Aram mp3 picked up Lucy and Sero Gevorgyan, filling up half of his squad. Inga Arshakyan picked up potential frontrunner Syuzanna Melqonyan while Essai Altounian snagged Opera Viva. Iveta Mukuchyan recruited Christina Mangasaryan as Hayko took a risk with Egine. Anush Arshakyan is still looking for her first team member.

Here’s how things shook out in week two of round two of Depi Evratesil:

Team Iveta Mukuchyan

The first audition of the episode came from Vahe Aleksanyan, who auditioned in the first round with Beyonce’s “Listen” and “Rise Like a Phoenix” by Conchita Wurst. Vahe went back to the Eurovision well, opting for “Tonight Again” by Australia’s Guy Sebastian. Of the three songs he’s done so far, this one seemed to match Vahe’s vibe the best. However, unless the song has gone through a significant rewrite I wasn’t aware of, a lot of the words were wrong. He didn’t let it phase him, so Vahe will move on to the next round with Iveta.

Team Aram mp3

Jujo got all the judges’ approval in her “We Found Love” audition. As the camera came into focus for this round, we see her wearing a full native American headdress and costume for her rendition of “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai. In case you missed my tweet about it as it happened: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPE.” Why does this happen every year at Eurovision? Besides being the worst in cultural appropriation, it doesn’t even make sense for this song. I can’t even evaluate the singing because I was too distracted by my discomfort. Aram didn’t seem bothered and gave Jujo the third spot on his roster.

Team Anush Arshakyan

Anush finally picked up a contestant this week! Stepan Hovhannisyan, who auditioned with “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake, returned with “Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J. Stepan doesn’t have the strongest voice, but he can sing. Unfortunately, he’s picking songs that are…baffling? I’m hoping Anush can find a song that matches Stepan’s demeanor so his performances don’t continue on this “eighth grade science teacher at the spring fling purposely embarrassing his students” trajectory. Please?

Team Essaï Altounian

Hands down, the best performance of the night (and possibly the series so far) goes to Artsvik. After a fantastic cover of Mary J. Blige in her audition, Artsvik rearranged Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams” into a piano ballad. Let’s be real, “Sweet Dreams” is not one of Beyonce’s better songs1, but this rendition was both haunting and beautifully executed. All of the judges tried to buzz in to snag her, but Essai won the battle. His team looks stacked already.

Team Hayko

Closing out this week’s show was Anna Danielyan. She auditioned with Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love” and continued her guided tour of everyone’s feelings with “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn. Also rearranged as a straight-up ballad, Anna offered a slow build of emotion as she worked through the song. She starts her performances subdued, but there’s an emergence that happens throughout the song that’s both pleasant to watch and listen to. The judges seemed equally hypnotized, with Hayko buzzing in with three seconds left on the clock. Anna could be a strong contender, but she’ll need to learn to make a stronger impression earlier in her performances.

Team Inga Arshakyan

No one joined Syuzanna Melqonyan on Inga’s roster this time around.

No Buzzes

Payla Gevorgyan continued in her Amy Winehouse et al. lane with a cover of “Too Close” by Alex Clare. Payla sang the song fine and I think her musical taste could be an interesting choice for Eurovision. However, she doesn’t know what to do on stage during the breaks and rests, so this performance came across as awkward and a little boring.

Marissa had unanimous support after her audition in round one, but no one seemed all that enthusiastic about her cover of Alyosha’s “Sweet People.” Judging by her song choices, Marissa seems to like songs where the singer wants to be heard. She sings well, but I would be surprised if that is the type of song Armenia would want to send to Eurovision so soon after their 2015 entry.

Albert Ghazaryan ran into some bad luck with his running order draw. He performed “Pero te Extrano” by Andrea Bocelli, which seems consistent with Albert’s tastes given his initial audition. In his critique, Essai said he enjoys Albert’s classical voice, but with Opera Viva already on his team he couldn’t make himself Team Classical. Had Albert performed before Opera Viva, he might have had a shot of moving on. Ah well.

Armenuhi Gasparyan offered another throwback with a cover of “Feelin’ Good.” Aside from this song being a well-documented poison for reality show contestants, this rendition was not particularly good. By the end, Armenuhi was doing a series of nonsense runs, which is not going to be something a Eurovision contestant will be expected to do in their performance.

Next week on Depi Evratesil: Round two auditions continue as 19 acts compete for 13 remaining slots.

  1. Come at me, Bee Hive!  

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