The Czech artist and song for the Eurovision Song Contest has been selected through a video contest where the public could vote for their favourite among seven contenders. The jury put Benny Cristo him on second place, while he was the number one for the Czech public, it was still enough to win the race. For the first time in ESC history a real Hip Hop – RnB song named “Kemama” has been chosen. But due to the Corona pandemic this year’s ESC has been cancelled. It’s not clear if Benny will be able to start again next year.
Benny Cristo, whose real name is Ben Cristovao was born in Pilsen in 1987. His mother is Czech while is father is Angolan, that’s the reason for the Portuguese name. In 2009 he could reach the 7th place in the casting show “Cesko Slovenská SuperStar”. His debut album “Definitely Different” was the first of three albums so far. He also released various singles and two EP’s. In Benny’s career he could achieve many awards and prices e.g. the best video for “Bomby” . His music combines an interesting mix of Hip Hop, Rn’B and Pop. Benny’s biggest stage appearance took place in the O2 Arena in Prague with 15.000 people, he mainly act in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The song “Kemama” has been revamped two times. Benny was not happy with the first version and worked it through. This caused a lot of discussion how many times a song can be changed before it’s officially submitted. At the end the third version became the official version for the ESC. The song is now more appealing and could have get a lot of points by the younger viewers who like Hip Hop and RnB. But for the general majority of 200 million ESC viewers this might have been too special, especially for the elderly people. A place in the Grand Final would have been possible.
Top 10: 1
Chances for Top 10: 11%
Chances for Final: 33%
The stats for the Czech Republic do not look overwhelming, but there is a very positive development since 2016, where a place in the Grand Final could be achieved for the first time. The success could be developed. Mikolas Josef could make a Top 10 place with “Lie To Me” in Lisbon 2018 and last year’s representative Lake Malawi reached the 11th place in the Grand Final of Tel Aviv. In contrast to the neighbour country Slovakia, which does not take part anymore since 2013, had only four finalists out of seven participations. Supposedly the Slovaks have no interest in the ESC anymore, that’s what the national broadcaster says.
The Czech Republic has been transmitting the Eurovision Song Contest for many years until they have decided to join the contest in 2007, while Slovakia has participated since 1994 already. The Czech debut entry “Malá Dáma” by the rock singer Kabát has only received one point in the Semi Final and came last. Many TV spectators would have not even noticed that the Czech Republic has been taking part in those years, as they have never passed the qualification rounds, and only appeared in the Semi Finals. Since 2016 the Czech Republic is one of the stronger candidates. This is a very good progress and shows contemporary Czech music which is highly appreciated internationally. A great singer with a great song that works.
Great to see that the Czech Republic is showing a high interest despite of so many unsuccessful attempts. So the Grand Final is reachable it just depends on the entry and the singer.
The former Eastern European countries had a similar contest in the past called “InterVision”, which resulted of the annual Sopot Festival in Poland. This was a music festival from the post-Soviet states and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. There countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, GDR, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, even Western European countries participated like Finland, Switzerland and even beyond Canada and Cuba. A lot of international stars have been invited as well such as Whitney Houston, Vanessa Mae, Chris Rea, Annie Lennox, LaToya Jackson, Tanita Tikaram and many more. There were plans for a revival of this contest with Russia and China. The former Czechoslovakia could win the contest with Helena Vondráčková and the song "Malovaný džbánku" in 1977.
The most popular Czech singer in the ESC is with not doubts Karel Gott, who has been representing Austria with “Tausend Fenster”, place 13 in 1968, which was composed by Udo Jürgens. Both singers passed away sadly.
1x 6th place “Lie To Me” | Mikolas Josef (Lisbon 2018)
1x 11th place “Friend Of A Friend” | Lake Malawi (Tel Aviv 2019)
1x 24th place “I Stand” | Gabriela Gunciková (Stockholm 2016)