Glossy wave icon. Free flag icons from RomaniaROMANIA
SONG   "Zaleilah"
SINGER   Mandinga
MUSIC Costi Ioniţă  LYRICS Secada Dihigo Omar & Ionescu Elena
DRAW   #6 in the first semi-final



Romanian broadcaster TVR is normally one of the first to stage its national selection, so when nothing had announced by mid January, rumours started in the local media that Romania was not sending an entry to Baku. However behind the scenes, TVR was trying to negotiate a reduction in its participation fee and had been in negotiation with the local star Inna, to avoid the expense of a national final. However when Inna declined the offer of representing Romania at Eurovision, TVR announced that they were reverting to a multi-artist national final, to selection their 2012 entry and that songs that had already been released could enter the selection.

Selectia Nationala, the Romanian final was held on March 10th at the TVR Studios in Bucharest and was hosted by Gianina Corondan, Iulia Pârlea, Constantin Trofin, Valentin Paraschiv, Bogdan Iacob and David Zory, with the winner being chosen by a jury and televote, each with a 50% weighting. In a split vote, the televote winner narrowly prevailed, with the seven piece dance-pop ensemble Mandinga winning the Romanian ticket to Baku, with their song "Zaleilah".



Mandinga promise a spectacular stageshow in Baku where they will represent Romania with Zaleilah, a unique juxtaposition of Cuban and Romanian sounds.

Mandinga is a unique band in Romania. The cultural variety, as a result of mixing Romanian and Cuban musicians, guarantees the best show on stage. The group is capable of pleasing the most heterogeneous crowds.

Mandinga consists of 7 members: Elena (lead vocals), Alex (trumpet), Chupi (drums), El Niño (congas), Omar (piano), Zach (saxophone) and Tony (trombone). Only six of them will sing on the stage in Baku, Tony being just their Green Room supporter.

The band started 10 years ago. Since then they have become known as the best latino band in the country. They have released no less than four albums so far and at the moment, the band members are working on a new album which will be released soon.

Mandinga's success has gone beyond the borders of Romania and that is because they were not afraid to create and launch new concepts for their shows.

Anyone who meets Mandinga can see and listen to the 7 musicians playing latino music, latin jazz, balkan salsa or even club music, as they do in their Club de Mandinga show. Any Mandinga appearance on a stage turns into a spectacular show due to the blend of sounds, virtuosity and impeccable visual construction.

This was Mandinga's second attempt to represent Romania at Eurovision, having come 4th at the 2004 selection, with the song "Soarele Meu" (My Sun).



The fact that TVR allowed songs that were already released and getting airplay meant that Mandinga were the favourites to go to Baku, from the day the finalists were announced. An expensive video, filmed in the United Arab Emirates also meant that the song was already getting a lot of attention.

Because the song was one of the last to be chosen for Baku, little international promotion has been done. However since winning the Romanian selection, the song has done reasonably well in internet polls, knocking on the door of the Top 10 favourites. Bookmakers have been a little less enthusiastic, rating the song at 40/1 to win in Baku, although the combination of a previous 100% qualification record and a reasonable position in the draw, means that Romania is one of the favourites to qualify in the first semi-final.


Date Rehearsal Press Conference
Sunday May 13th 15:40 - 16:20 17:05 - 17:45
Thursday May 17th 15:00 - 15:30 16:15 - 16:45
*Baku is four hours ahead of Ireland and the schedule has still to be confirmed officially






  Running Order
  Fan Polls





  • First entry: 1995
  • Number of previous entries: 13
  • Best result: 3rd (2005 & 2010) 
  • Worst result: 22nd (1998) 
  • Qualification record: 5/5 (100% success)




"Instant catchy fun, what's not to love? With appeal to clubs and radio, this has "summer hit" written all over it and I think this could be a real one to watch if it gets drawn in the last five slots in the final. A certain qualifier and a very tasty each-way bet. I love the fact that it makes me want to get up and dance." - Keith Mills


"First of all, I want to congratulate Romania for using other foreign languages than English and that's about it. This one is an outdated europop song trying to go ethno. The mixture of Galician and Romanian music are fine but the beats, vocals, and lyrics are just too cheap. However I don't hate it, you know, it is a happy song that you can find pleasant to hear it for a few times. It also has some high chances of qualifying because it is the kind of song that attract the conservative ESC voters." - Anthony Lopez (Venezuela)

"For me this is a bit of an enigma. Expecting it to qualify and die a death in the final. Its a grower, but on first listen did nothing for me at all." - Chris Church (U.K.)

Fun during the first minute, but bores quickly. Very thin." - Leendert Jan  (Netherlands)

"Romania want to do well this year and they are going to with this Latin influenced song. Her vocals are a not great live but I think they will be in final. Spain will give them 12 points." - Jack Cuffe (U.K.)

"Strong but difficult song which I think is not accessible enough for everyone. I'm afraid that the screamy parts will make people drop out.” - Nicky Peeters (Belgium)