Chwilio am Seren (Search for a Star in English) will air Tuesday night at 8 PM BST. Seven artists in six groups will perform songs in order to fly the Welsh flag to Gliwice-Silesia, Poland, at the 2019 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Last week, the North Wales Chronicle reported that the winner will sing “Calon yn Curo” (Heart Beating), as composed by Sylvia Strand and Jonathan Gregory, who were on piano/vocals and drums backing Jon Lilygreen in “Life Looks Better in Spring” (Cyprus 2010). Ed Holden, a rapper and producer better known by his stage name Mr Phormula, provided the lyrics for the Welsh song (to be released).
Here are the competitors for the final:
Sophie’s song, “Dwi’n Dy Garu Di” (I love you), was co-written by ex-X Factor finalist and Chwilio am Seren mentor Lloyd Macey. The song displays her range and controlled use of mixed voice, a combination of the strong notes of a chest belt (the generally louder and lower notes) and head voice (the airier vocalization most often heard in classical contexts).
Cerys (pronounced “KER-is”, rhyming with Ferris) covered Lady Gaga in Welsh with the song “Cofio Ni” (originally “Always Remember Us This Way”). She showcased flexibility between belting and singing in head voice, which fit with the relevant musical sections.
With guitar and synthesizer interplay recalling a blend of Steven Wilson’s more recent work and Within Temptation, Erin sang the song “Dim Gair” (Speechless), a cover of Elin Fflur’s version of Welsh progressive rock band Magenta’s song. She displayed her distinct rock attitude while effortlessly singing up to a G5 in head voice at 1:47 in the below performance.
The five-piece girl group showed off dance moves both during an EDM breakdown and while singing in unison, with a few shades of 2-part harmony throughout their song “Ti a Fi” (You and Me), as shown below. The song was also co-written by contest mentor Lloyd Macey, among others.
Carys (homophone of “Cerys”) took on the Caryl Parry Jones ballad “Adre” (Home) and added some melismatic runs of her own in a cadenza. That is to say, she added notes similar to Mariah Carey’s runs in a section drawn out for a soloist to show their virtuosity at the end. The original song (found here) was cut in half to fit the Chwilio am Seren broadcast format.
Mackenzie & Rhiannon
The duo Mackenzie & Rhiannon consists of two competitors from the semifinals. Mackenzie covered the drum-and-bass track “Gweld y Byd Mewn Lliw” (Seeing the World in Color) originally by the Band Pres Llareggub Brass, headed by Owain Roberts, featuring Alys Williams and the aforementioned Mr Phormula. With both sung and rapped parts, as well as some dancy moves in an instrumental break, Mackenzie may be the most attuned to Mr Phormula’s lyrical styles of all the contestants.
Similarly to Mackenzie, Rhiannon sang the Alys Williams song “Dim ond” (Only) at the semi-final. Unlike Mackenzie, however, she changed the original’s electronic background into a lower-pitched acoustic ballad, but the vocal range was not so constrained, reaching both an E3 (the lowest sung note in Hoobastank’s “The Reason”) and a G5 (the highest sung note in Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone”).
After the performances at the semifinal, the three mentors visited each budding artist separately. A preview provided by Welsh-language broadcaster S4C can be found below (English subtitles included).
Tuesday night final
The stage is set for the group to perform at 20:00 BST and is available for viewing via BBC’s iPlayer. Whoever wins the combination of jury and televote will go on to represent Wales in Gliwice-Silesia at their second-ever foray into Junior Eurovision. Who do you think will win?