The Fanning Verdict – Eurovision 2021 – Russia

Manizha, Russia, Second Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 12 May 2021 — EBU / Thomas Hanses
Manizha, Russia, Second Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 12 May 2021

I’ve faltered on the Russian entry to the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. On the one hand, I love Manizha and all she stands for. She’s a truly charismatic performer who isn’t afraid to take chances. On the other, I find ‘Russian Women’ just a bit too disjointed as a song. When it’s good, it’s superb, but …

The performance today was tighter than in the first run-throughs, with the supporting singers now in golden suits and a beam of light lighting up the huge (later discarded) dress in which she starts – previously it had looked like left-over laundry.

The first camera rehearsal didn’t feature enough of Manizha, since whenever she gets focus, she lights up the screen; occasionally camping it up, sometimes angry. I felt that changed in the second run-through. By the third try, she was ad-libbing and truly performing. Unlike so many at this year’s show, you got the point that this song matters.

It’s only today I noticed just how neatly arranged the song is with the second part mostly in English, after you’ve settled into the ideas of the song. I truly did enjoy this performance and I can overlook the jarring elements of the song, because taken as a whole, this is compelling stuff.

The Fanning Verdict

We often talk about how Russia buThumbs up iconllies itself into the final thanks to friendly vote exchange, and even if that happens, this is a song and performer deserving of a spot in the Saturday show. I think it’s going there.