Ukraine: Is this the winner hiding in plain sight?

Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine rehearsed their song Stefania for second rehearsal
Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine rehearsed their song Stefania for second rehearsal

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Kalush Orchestra are the winners hiding in plain sight. It is not the best song in this Contest – far from it – but are you going to be seen to be voting against Ukraine at this point?

That may, or may not, cloud my judgement on this performance. If I am purely basing this on the performance, it is at least one repetition of the chorus too long, it has a man in a jelly mould hat rapping at me, something which is clearly still in in Ukraine but has been left out of the real world since at least 1998. It provides the Eurovision quota of ethnic music, and all this is presented by a band who do nothing but move around on stage coupled with a dancing shaman. The blue and yellow symbolism has been cut down and the lighting is now predominately red, and there is an inclusion of breakdancing in the middle of it all to distract you.

It looks ridiculous and messy on screen. It sounds like it has far far too many words for anyone who views this as a standalone performance, and under normal circumstances I would say that it’s qualifying down in about 9th or 10th out of this semi, because it literally runs out of ideas 30 seconds from the end. Couple that with the first five songs being all a bit dull, this does stand out like the proverbial punch in the face that Europe needs. It is the bastard child of “Shum” and Denmark 1997, and I don’t necessarily mean that as a compliment.

You then say “Ukraine” and “War” and, as I have stated, you have televoter gold. Your simple televoter will, for the most part, ignore what they have seen and throw sympathy/pity points at this like confetti at a wedding. The jurors will be scared into not voting this down, because their names are going to be associated with their scores by anyone who cares to look.

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2 years ago

I really do struggle to see this picking up quite the level of televote some are expecting. Regardless of the obviously dreadful situation in Ukraine, I don’t think people will generally sit there and go “Well, my absolute favourite was ‘insert here’, but Ukraine war so I’ll vote for them”. I may be proven completely wrong of course, but I don’t see it as the foregone conclusion a lot of people do, and not just because the jury will apparently ‘keep it in check’.