After last year’s debacle with Julia Samoylova being forbidden to travel to Ukraine, you could say Russia has a mountain to climb, but in fact Julia’s already scaled it. She’s perched atop one in fact, created on stage, with her plonked on it. The most famous image of faces atop a mountain is of the US presidents carved into Mount Rushmore. This is, if you will, our very own Mount Russiamore.
This song is much better than they one Julia was lumbered with last year, possibly now the most (in)famous song not to be sung on a Eurovision stage. The vocal queries that persisted after her ill-fated performance at the Moscow preview party are answered – she’s fine, especially in the verses, and ably assisted by three backing singers.
Julia’s dress, which cascades like a waterfall down her mountain and across the floor, is illuminated similarly to Estonia’s – I wonder if they saved on the projector by going Dutch on the costs?
Two dancers are the main focus for the presentation. Julia at times feels a little of an afterthought, placed so remotely away from them. It’s a shame, after all the build-up, that she herself seems a little insignificant in the staging. She shouldn’t be assumed to be a poster-girl for disability equality purely because she’s a wheelchair user, but it does feel a missed opportunity for improved visibility of disabled artists on a major international stage. After having expressed her own surprise at the mountain concept in the video during her very first interview opportunity to publicly do so, you have to raise a serious eyebrow at how much say Julia herself has had in this, and how much she's merely the pawn in Russia's next move of Eurovision chess.
Underwhelming, given how long we’ve had to wait to finally see her claim her place on the Eurovision stage.
Image Credits: Thomas Hanses.