Some of you may recall that last year I published a best and worst at Eurovision article for every country that was taking part in Eurovision 2016 with the exception of Australia who were only competing for the second time. So this year I will publish one for Australia and Portugal who are returning. Also I will revisit each of the other countries to see if last years entry has entered the best or worst hall of fame. Now that the National Finals season is finished and all songs for Eurovision 2017 have been selected we now have 1 day where we wait for the rehearsals to begin in Kiev. What better way to fill the time than to look back over the 61 years of Eurovision at some of the best and worst entries that countries have sent to the Eurovision stage. There were 43 countries going to Kiev to take part in the 2017 edition of our favourite musical extravaganza, until 22nd March when Ukraine authorities placed a ban on the Russian entrant Yulia Samoylova entering Ukraine. Then on April 13th it was announced that Russia had officially withdrawn from this year’s contest as announced in our article here. So despite not going to be in Kiev we continue our journey with Russia who have won the contest once, finished second four times and finished third three times. They have also been in the top 10 another four times. They have never finished last and have always qualified from the Semi Finals through to the Final. Their lowest finish has been 17th. This has all been achieved in 20 participations. You can check out the previous articles from last year in the best and worst series for Ireland HERE ,Spain HERE, Austria HERE, Bosnia & Herzegovina HERE, Iceland HERE, Belarus HERE, Denmark HERE, Georgia HERE, Germany HERE, Cyprus HERE, Finland HERE, Belgium HERE, Hungary HERE, Switzerland HERE, Ukraine HERE, Moldova HERE, Estonia HERE, Norway HERE, Italy HERE, Slovenia HERE, The Netherlands HERE, Armenia HERE, Azerbaijan HERE, San Marino HERE, Israel HERE, Albania HERE, Poland HERE, Serbia HERE, France HERE, Romania HERE, Russia HERE, Croatia HERE, Czech Republic HERE, Malta HERE., Macedonia HERE, Lithuania HERE, Latvia HERE, Sweden HERE, United Kingdom HERE, Greece HERE, Bulgaria HERE and Montenegro HERE. Also the articles for this year for Belarus HERE., Germany HERE., Hungary HERE., Austria HERE., Cyprus HERE. , Denmark HERE. , The Netherlands HERE. , Finland HERE. ,Poland HERE. , Australia HERE. , Romania HERE. , Belgium HERE. , Slovenia HERE. , Croatia HERE. , Montenegro HERE. , Ireland HERE. , Malta HERE. , Macedonia HERE., Azerbaijan HERE. , Portugal HERE. , Czech Republic HERE. , France HERE. , Serbia HERE. , Georgia HERE. , United Kingdom HERE. , Sweden HERE. , Norway HERE. , Switzerland HERE. , Ukraine HERE. , San Marino HERE. , Israel HERE. , Moldova HERE. ,Latvia HERE. , Greece HERE. , Iceland HERE. , Lithuania HERE. , Bulgaria HERE. , Albania HERE. , Spain HERE. , Italy HERE. , Estonia HERE. and Armenia HERE.
So this year Russia were to be represented by Yuliya Samoylova with the song ‘Flame is Burning ‘. We will now not have the chance to see if it had turned out to be more of a best or worst song for Russia. In fact she will now perform in Crimea on May 9th the same night that the first Semi Final will be broadcast live as was reported in the Guardian here. Also it was announced already that she will be the Russian artist in next year’s contest. This is the second year running that a song has lost out on a chance to compete on the Eurovision stage. Last year the Romanian entry was weeks away from going to Stockholm when the EBU pulled the plug on Romania competing. They also join a growing list of songs that were due to go to Eurovision only to be denied for various reasons.
So last year Russia were represented by Sergey Lazarev with the song ‘You Are The Only One’. So how did Sergey do in Stockholm? Well he came 1st in his Semi Final and 3rd in the Grand Final. This is the third time Russia have won in the Semi Final but not went on to win the Final too. It is also the third time they have come third overall.
Therefore I am able to welcome him into the hall of fame as one of the best entries for Russia.
So my selections for best and worst entries are based on a combination of actual results and personal taste. Now Russia have twenty entries to choose from making the task a lot easier. There are some great songs from Russia over the years but I am struggling to pick out the three best. So I will highlight more good Russian entries after I have picked three good and bad ones.
We only have to go back a short while to find our first song that is one of the best for Russia. The year was 2006 and we were in Athens to see Dima Bilan singing the song ‘Never Let You Go’.
Now this was highly fancied to do well pre contest and it certainly did not disappoint. Dima Bilan was wearing a white tank top with a number representing his place in the contest’s running order – 13 and 10 in the semi-final and final respectively. Bilan had two ballerinas dancing in the background and a white piano covered in red rose petals, from which a ghost-like female figure emerged halfway through the song. Dima Bilan has of course gone on to win Eurovision in 2008 but I admit to having a bigger preference on this entry. He also was unsuccessful on getting to Eurovision in 2012 when he finished 2nd behind the Buranovskiye Babushki. The song finished 3rd in the Semi Final then 2nd in the Final with 248 points.
So moving along we look at one of the worst entries for Russia. We were in Oslo in 2010 to see Peter Nalitch and Friends perform the song ‘Lost and Forgotten’.
Now the song was a folk rock ballad which did rather well in the competition. I personally disliked it intensely but know many fans adored it. Peter is a singer composer born in Moscow but has a Grandfather who was a Bosnian opera singer. He formed his band back in 2007 before being chosen to go to Eurovision . The song finished 7th in the Semi Final then 11th in the Final with 90 points.
So now we move back to look at another best of entry for Russia. We were in Vienna in 2015 and the performer was Polina Gagarina with the song ‘A Million Voices’.
Now the song was a pop ballad that was co written by a Swedish/Russian team. The song was described as synth heavy with oodles of key changes. Polina is a Russian singer, songwriter, actress, and model. She spent most of her youth living in Greece with her family and only moved back to Russia when her father died. The song was also sung by Polina at the draw show for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. It finished in 1st place in the Semi Final and then 2nd in the Final with 303 points, which is the first time a song finishing 2nd has scored over 300 points.
Our next song that has to be considered one of the worst was in the year 1995 and we were in Dublin to witness Philipp Kirkorov singing ‘Kolybelnaya dlya vulkana’.
This was a song that was a dramatic ballad sung in Russian and translates as ‘Lullaby for a Volcano’. Philipp is a Russian pop singer of Bulgarian-Armenian origin. He also married another Eurovision singer Alla Pugacheva in 1994 and has gone on to write other Eurovision entries for Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. His song finished in 17th place with 17 points which is Russia’s worst result to date.
So onto our next song that was one of Russia’s best. It was in 2000 and Stockholm was witness to seeing Alsou perform with the song ‘Solo’.
Now starting with the song it was a pop song that was sung in English and performed in a sultry manner by Alsou backed by two male dancers. Alsou gained a moderately successful music career after appearing at Eurovision and also hosted the Contest when it came to Moscow in 2009. It finished in 2nd place with 155 points which at the time was Russia’s best result.
We now arrive at another song for Russia and it’s another of the worst ones. In 2005 we saw Natalia Podolskaya in Kiev with the song ‘Nobody Hurt No One’.
It was a song that was a pop rock number sung in English and written by a Russian/American/Finnish collaboration. Natalia is from Belarus and became a Russian citizen in 2008 after she appeared at Eurovision. It finished in 15th place with 57 points.
So I have mentioned 3 best of songs above but also have to mention the following songs as all great entries too.
2007 Serebro with the song ‘Song #1’ which came 3rd.
1997 Alla Pugacheva with the song ‘Primadonna’.
2008 Dima Bilan with the song ‘Believe’ which won the contest.
1994 Youddiph with the song ‘Vechni stranik ‘.
2001 Mumiy Troll with the song ‘Lady Alpine Blue’.
2003 t.A.T.u. with the song ‘Ne ver’, ne boisia’ which came 3rd.
So there we have it folks, my little delve into Russian Eurovision history and some of the best and worst moments over the years. Do you agree with all or even any of my choices? Feel free to comment below.
This series will continue with another look at songs over the years for each and every country competing in Eurovision 2017 so keep coming back for more reflections of the best and worst that Eurovision has had to offer us.
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland