Will Martina Bárta’s “My Turn” take Czech Republic to final of Eurovision Song Contest?

Martina Bárta, photo: CTK

The Czech Republic does not have a stellar track record when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest: the country fielded entries for three years straight from 2007 to 2009, but then withdrew until 2014. In all, all but one in five entries failed to make it to the final. This Tuesday, jazz singer Martina Bárta will be hoping to change things, however with My Turn.

Martina Bárta, photo: CTK
This Tuesday, Czech fans of the long-running Eurovision Song Contest will be keeping their fingers crossed as Martina Bárta takes to the podium. The 28-year-old jazz singer will be performing in the competition semi-final. In the past, other entries, from hard rockers Kabát to the talented Romany hip hop group Gipsy.cz fizzled in the semis, their music and performance missing necessary glitter and certain audacity to advance in the competition that most famously propelled Swedish supergroup ABBA to international fame in 1974. Only one made it to the final, in 2015, and that was Gabriela Gunčíková.

Does Martina Bárta have a chance? There’s no question the singer is a talented and seasoned performer (she received the award for best jazz composition at Bohemia Jazz fest in 2016) so it will come down to a matter of taste. She herself said when the official video for her song My Turn was released back in March that she believed in the entry 100 percent; she explained that she would never be able to perform in front of such a large audience if she didn’t.

Martina Bárta performs regularly in Germany as well as in the Czech Republic. She has appeared at a slew of festivals, performs with her sister who is a successful jazz pianist, has her own project called “Scotch and Soda” and has worked with German legend Henning Protzmann. On the Czech scene she has worked with names like Felix Slováček and the country’s best-known aging singer Karel Gott. The latter, curiously enough, took part in the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1968, but not as an entry for Czechoslovakia but for Austria. Even he didn’t reach the final. We’ll know by Wednesday whether Martina Bárta does one better.