Song Title: “A Million Voices”
Artist: Polina Gagarina
Semi-Final: First, Position 12
Last year’s entry: “Shine” – Tolmachevy Sisters (7th Place)
It’s been hard to talk about the Russian Eurovision entries the past few years based on what’s going on in the country. Much like last year, the nation’s not in a great place politically and socially, and much like last year, they seem to think if they send a song about tolerance and being united as one, we’ll completely look the other way during the Eurovision Song Contest. Last year’s strategy appeared to be TWINS LOOK AT THE TWINS YOU GUYS, so what sort of smokescreen has Russia sent this year?
Okay, so let’s talk about the song first: the melody line is catchy (I’ve had it in my head the last few days as I’ve been gathering my thoughts for this post), even if the lyrics totally read like a knockoff Hallmark card when separated from the song. There’s a nice energy to the arrangement and Polina’s performance, something I certainly find welcome in this year’s field. Even amongst similarly upbeat entries like Belarus’ “Time” (which precedes it in the lineup), the song has its own energy propelling it.
Russia is one of the countries in the competition (like Greece) where, regardless of how much you like/dislike what’s going on in the song or the countries politics, they have enough of a fanbase to ensure their placement. In Russia’s case, the first semifinal is stacked with former SSR friends like FYR Macedonia and the aforementioned Belarus to guarantee its placement regardless of the opinion of its politics. Even though it feels like Russia is trying to paper over its shaky political situation the same way they did last year, this song is head and shoulders about the Tolmachevy Sisters – I could see this having a similarly strong placement if Polina’s performing skills are at their best in Vienna (and unlike the Tolmachevys, I won’t be left scratching my head at the final placement)