Returning to the contest after their withdrawal last year, it’s Russia. There was a grand geopolitical melodrama last year that led to the withdrawal from the contest, held in Ukraine. Without going over how that all happened, one thing the Russian TV broadcaster did state is that the artist they selected last year, Julia Samoylova, would represent Russia the following year. And they have kept to their word on that – so Julia will indeed go to the contest after all…
Suffice to say though I don’t think we’ll be seeing a second Russian win this year. I think it’s laudable they did stick to what they said they would do, but I don’t think Julia has been served with that much better a song (the song last year was very weak by Russia’s standards, but I don’t think they ever intended to actually go to Kiev). As such, it’s coming near the bottom of my 2018 rankings – it’s not original, seems to rely heavily on production and backing vocals and is lyrically not great – the chorus is full of extending out words – “I won’t breaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak”….
I don’t deny that the journey Julia has gone on isn’t inspirational, I just wish she hadn’t been used as a pawn in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and of course, that someone with her back story came from a less polarising country than Russia. Regardless of what I think of the song itself, I have a feeling this will qualify for the final. It’s in the weaker/easier semi-final, plus Russia always receives a guaranteed set of televotes from the wide Russian diaspora in the ex-Soviet countries and eastern Europe.
Official music video:
Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest:
First entered: 1994
Appearances (excluding this year): 20
Best result: Winner 2008
Last year’s result: Did not enter (withdrew shortly before contest)