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 bullies 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.
Image Credits: EBU / Thomas Hanses.