Anyone who will listen knows that Moldova is my favorite Eurovision country over the last five years. From Epic Sax Guy, to a unicycle-riding fairy with an ear trumpet, to some bizarre backup dancers, and a dress on fire that grows, Moldova is one of the few countries that consistently keeps Eurovision weird, which for me is the entire reason to watch. After last year’s misstep (let’s just agree to pretend that Wild Soul didn’t happen), Moldova is back on track with Eduard Romanyuta’s “I Want Your Love.”
Let me be crystal clear: this entry is trash, complete and utter trash, and it’s fantastic for precisely that reason. It’s like whoever planned this entry was working off a Eurovision Drinking Game rule list. They found an Axl Rose lookalike who can’t sing, gave him some terrible lyrics (“The picture that you’re painting got me all anticipating”) to work with, put him in some joggers and a flat rim “Ballin” hat, paired him with a Aaliyah knockoff, then finished the whole thing off with lots of fire for absolutely no reason. To my taste, this is the recipe for a perfect Eurovision entry.
The one change Moldova needs to make from the national final: ditch the ending, when the female dancer / object of affection comes up with a beard, and the singer looks surprised and disgusted. At best it’s simply not funny. (Given the state of LGBTQ rights in Moldova, I’m not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on that.) At worst it’s a reference to the gay / trans panic defense that is frequently used to retroactively explain and excuse the beating and/or murder of LGBTQ people. Previous performances of this song had a different ending, with the lead singer kissing the lead dancer, so that is an easy fix to make. (Right, Moldova?)
I was completely ready to be mad that Moldova didn’t select SunStroke Project, whose 2010 entry birthed the Epic Sax Guy meme and was the start of the country’s spectacular run. But to be honest, SunStroke’s entry (“Day After Day“) was neither good enough nor terrible enough to merit serious consideration. So, in the end, Moldova made the right choice. I wouldn’t be surprised if “I Want Your Love” fails to qualify for the finals; even if it does qualify, it should and likely will end up in the mid-teens or lower. But, for me, Eurovision isn’t about great songs. It’s about over-the-top performances that, for better or worse, you wouldn’t see anywhere else.