The Romanian entry for Eurovision Song Contest 2012, ‘Zaleilah’, was recorded by the Romanian band Mandinga. The song was written by Costi Ioniță along with band lead singer Elena Ionescu and member Omar Secada and has been described as Latin-influenced, with other inspirations including Balkanic, Cuban, Gypsy and salsa music it is also a bilingual love song performed in English and Spanish language.
Reviewers noticed similarities between “Zaleilah” and “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” (2010) by Colombian singer Shakira and “Zou Bisou Bisou” (1964).
The music video was filmed by Florin Botea in both Romania and Dubai.
TVR organized (Selecția Națională) and opened the submission period for artists’ and composers’ entries between 6 and 23 February 2012. On the 10th March 2012, the Romanian Television (TVR) held the national finale and Mandinga with ‘Zaleilah’ won with a total of 22 points (where the 10 points from the jury were combined with the 12 points from televoting).