This Russian Woman is amazing!

Manizha from Russia backstage for Eurovision 2021 at Rotterdam Ahoy
Manizha from Russia backstage for Eurovision 2021 at Rotterdam Ahoy

I am SO looking forward to this! Manizha has emerged as one of the most interesting artists in the year’s Contest for me and her song smashing the stereotypes women are expected to adhere to. What a Russian woman! Or Tajik, but let’s not add any fuel to that fire.

Manizha starts in an oversized version of traditional dress, and scoots about the stage on concealed wheels, looking deliberately awkward and restrained by what she’s expected to wear. It’s brilliantly hilarious! She then opens the dress to step out of all her trappings, sporting the more familiar red boiler suit of the video.

Manizha from Russia on stage for the first time
Manizha from Russia on stage for the first time

The presentation follows what we’ve already seen but with some embellishments. The four backing vocalists stood square around her are more animated, and get to dance later in the song. The backdrop is full of encouraging statements, in English, addressing women and their possibilities.

During the more folk-inspired chorus there’s a gorgeous backdrop, inspired by traditional Russian art, and animated by horsemen leaping at one another to illustrate the line about everybody fighting. As the song reaches its conclusion the backdrop is filled with a grid of videos of real-life Russian women, bringing even more strength to Manizha’s message.

We get a bit of pyro on the final run through too. Our first this year. Not bad for three songs in.

If you didn’t already get this, there’s maybe only marginally more to sway you, but if, like me, you’re a fan then this delivers, and does so magnificently!

Monty x

Image Credits: EBU/Thomas Hanses, EBU / Andres Putting.