Natalia Gordienko was internally (re)selected to represent Moldova at the 2021 contest, but she is not just a returning artist from the cancelled 2020 contest, but also a returnee from the contest itself, back in 2006, where sang “Loca” for Moldova, along with Arsenium (finishing in 20th place in the grand final). Last year, she won the Moldovan national final with “Prison”, and both last year, she is backed by members of the self-styles “Dream Team” – songwriters and composers Dimitris Kontopoulos, Sharon Vaughn and, of course, Philipp Kirkorov.
That “dream team” have each been involved with some popular and iconic Eurovision songs over the years, very often jointly involved, other times with other writers and composers. Between them, there is a lot of success, and they’ve done particularly well with some of the cheesy but very catchy uptempo bops. Moldova does have a history of these cheesy, and tongue-in-cheek tracks as well, and many will find “SUGAR” falls into that category for them.
For me though, this falls a little flat this time, and it just feels a bit more overtly cynical, with Kirkorov’s overwhelming and overbearing presence dominating the release event and promotion of the track. I do get why people enjoy this, but I find the (admittedly catchy) instrumental drop and hook irritating (the end parts of it) and overall, aside from that catchy hook, I don’t think it hangs together that well overall. The music video is quite something – brace yourself for towards the end for a moment which I think is meant to be quirky fun but comes across more horror show!
I am sure thought the staging will be clever, funny and memorable and I think this will probably do quite well with the public vote – probably enough to qualify, though I don’t know how the juries will see it. Natalia has experience of the Eurovision stage of course, though live vocals are more important now than they were in the mid-2000s, so she’ll need to do well there to pull in jury votes and ensure Moldova makes the final.
Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 2005
Appearances (excluding 2020 and this year): 15
Best result: 3rd in 2017
2019’s result: 12th in the semi-final (did not qualify)