Last weekend the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals—traveled to Moscow to attend a performance of Swan Lake at the Bolshoi Theatre. After admiring the footwork and the bulges, we sat down to review the Tolmachevy Sisters and their Eurovision 2014 song “Shine”. Did this song blind us with its beauty? Or did we find it rather generic, dull, dim, and gauche? Read on to find out…

Angus: The instrumental on ‘Shine’ feels like it could underscore the introduction for a KGB-spy flick set in 60s in neo-noir, with the Twins as the ominous and emotionless trench-coat sporting fembots of doom. The song might feel ‘From Russia With Love’ but it’s so cold and emotionless it’s more like ‘From Moscow with Morbidity’. The song is also truly a repulsive affair and only wins marks for imitating Western blonde singing sisters Aly & AJ. If only the song was more ‘Like Whoa’ and less…like…no.

Score: 4.5/10

Bogdan: “Shine” does anything but shine. It’s not atrocious, but it’s also very far from brilliant. The only interesting thing about the Russian twins this year is that they’re, well, twins, but that’s about it. The Tolmachevy sisters also look and sound nothing like what they used to back in 2006, when they deservedly won JESC in Bucharest. Like other Eurovision songs called “Shine”, I hope this, too, will stay in the semi. There are a lot better entries that deserve to go through and it would be a pity if Russia advanced just because it’s, well, Russia. Especially this year. Oh and don’t get me started on the Crimea-alluding lyrics. NTG!

Score: 3/10

Wiwi: The Tolmachevy Sisters ask us to shine into their darkness. They should really ask us to shout. That way people may not hear their song, which is filled with lyrical clichés, a dated melody, and annoying bells. The Russian version of this song is so much stronger than the English one. It sounds more authentic and more soulful, and could have easily made the Top 10. The English version is generic and cheap. But at least it will allow the masses to comprehend the rather loaded lyrics.

Score: 4/10

Vebooboo: Were it not for a smaller field this year and the concept of bloc voting, I am pretty sure this song with the same name as Austria’s last year would face the same fate. Duets tend to do well at Eurovision, but this one just never really goes anywhere. It is sung well, the sisters are pretty, and I’m sure Russia will pump rubles into special effects (fire, lights, whatever). But you’ve gotta have a good song too, and this one just never really builds or has any meaning. Don’t get me wrong, this is heaps better than some of the others this year. But it just ain’t spectacular.

Score 5/10

Tolmachevy twins Russia 2014

Billy: That’s nice! I like the lyrics and the music, and it has a nice beat. But I really would prefer to hear someone else performing it! Russia will deliver a nice performance on stage, maybe asking some popular director to take up this project. Even though it’s nothing new, it is catchy enough to earn a respectable placing.

Score: 7.5/10

Deban:The Tolmachevy twin sisters from Kursk bagged the Junior ESC crown back in 2006, and this clearly influenced the Russian State broadcaster to internally select them to compete at the main contest this year. Although ‘Shine’ sports a recycled title, the Englishversion has been accused of veiling a political message. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Russian version of this song trumps the English version. Still, there is an unmistakably rousing quality to the song in any language, that almost borders on being anthemic, especially with repeat listens. This entry will shine even brighter during the re-cap.

Score: 6/10

rui andrade tolmachevy twins

Katie: Let’s be honest, no matter who represents Russia this year and no matter what song they sing, not a lot of people will like it. It’s annoying, but it’s simply because Vladimir Putin is an arsehole and he’s ruined the reputation of his country (nice one Cyril). But the bias against Russia is less annoying when the song is pretty bad too. It’s a repeat of Dina and the sucky ballad, only with guitars this time. It sounds like something a primary school choir would sing and there’s no excitement or sophistication to it.

Score: 4/10

Francheska: Russia’s on a disappointment streak for me. I hated “What If” (most ironic song, y’know, COMING FROM RUSSIA EXCUSE ME EXPANSIONISM MUCH?), and this is just continuing on that downward spiral. The Tolmachevy Twins are stuck in their JESC days (they say that child stars stop maturing when they turn famous, this theory holds true in songwriting apparently). The song provides nothing, and one could argue that it’s promulgating Russian expansionism (what the bloody hell else could “closer to the crime” mean? Unless they’re dealing heroin). Musically, it’s boring. The twins are boring. Yet, for some bizarre reason, I’m compelled to listen to this song. It’s oddly pleasant, and is somewhat an improvement from Dina, so this is adding to my frustration. Russia/Putin: you better send me a shirtless duet between Dima and Alex Sparrow, because otherwise I’m gonna have a bitch fit from all of these girls pretending to have some greater message.

Score: 3/10

Tolmachevy Sisters Russia Shine

Padraig: Ok, first up I’ve a confession to make – I’ve never watched the Junior Eurovision. And aside from Gaia Cauchi I hadn’t even listened to a JESC song. Shame on me. So in the interests of furthering my euro-education I decided to carry out a background check on the Tolmachevy’s entry from 2006. Gosh, they were a precocious duo. Irritating, but vivacious and bubbly. Wait. This does not compute. The “Shine” twins I know and … erm … know, are dull and lifeless. They’re completely unrecognisable from the perky duo of 7 years ago. What’s changed? My guess is that they might be a bit pissed about being lumbered with such an insipid and vapid song. Either that or they’re merely human shells inhabited by an alien race, who are set to commence their invasion of earth in May. Both theories are equally plausible.

Score: 3/10

Zach: I feel the Tolmachevy  Twins are getting a lot of unwarranted hate because of Putin, and Eurovision should never be judged on politics, no matter how controversial. That being said, this entry is so-so for me. In comparison to their JESC entry they appear to have “grown up” musically, and it shows in a positive way. But it just seems so tame. There’s no big spark, no surprises, although I feel they’ll vocally deliver it well. The lyrics are nonsensically uplifting in an effort to “mean something”, but it kind of just comes off cheesy. However you can’t deny the two feed off of each other’s energy, and work perfectly as a duo. Maybe the stage show will bring an extra something, but right now it looks like a qualification mainly by name for Russia.

Score: 5/10

All 19 members of our jury rate each song. However, we only have room to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining nine scores.

Anthony: 4.5/10

James L: 3/10

Mario: 4.5/10

Maxim Montana: 9/10

Mike: 8/10

Patrick: 4/10

Ramadan: 1/10

Sami: 1/10

William C: 5.3/10

The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 1 and a high of 9.

The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 4.43/10

You can check out our latest Eurovision 2014 reviews and rankings on the Wiwi Jury page. You can keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.

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MoMo
Guest
MoMo

You know what’s weird? I started off hating this song and found myself bobbing my head towards the end. Nevertheless it doesn’t gleam, glow, glint, glimmer, sparkle, twinkle, flicker, glitter, glisten, shimmer, dazzle, beam, flare, glare or any of that illumination ish.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

As an emerging music journalist (not), I have little to say about this song. It hardly does anything to keep my attention. For a song that is titled “Shine,” I expected disco balls, much more glitter, and several camp male dancers with perfectly crafted torsos prancing around (think: Ukraine 2009) – but this was a disappointing entry. Paula Abdul never gives scores lower than a 6, so I will definitely go “full house” on this – “full house” with a 6.00/10.
Ewwwww!

Leon
Guest
Leon

A rousing song that would be great from any country but it’s the Russian entry and most will vote politically against it. The girls need to do more to capitalise more on their uniqueness as Jedward did. 6/10

Chesco
Guest
Chesco

Very disappointing. I have seen better numbers in a high school graduation ceremony. Shame on you Russia!, that’s what happens when you ban poofters, what will be the world of singing, dancing and choreography with gays?…like this song, it would be, charmless and clueless.

Anna
Guest
Anna

I like Ukraine more this year, think, Mariya Yaremchuk is really more talented!

Rainold
Guest
Rainold

This entry is really really bad
A shame for Philip Kirkorov

DanIel
Guest
DanIel

Closer to the Crime(a)
closer to Ukraine

Pastora Soler haha
Guest
Pastora Soler haha

Better than shine is “The sinning”… I feel scared with these girls and their clip.

David
Guest
David

I hope russia gets booed at eurovision!

Etxeberria
Guest
Etxeberria

Best song ever

Nadia
Guest
Nadia

@SJ Russia will be in top 5 . The song is very catchy.

SJ
Guest
SJ

sorry mistake in typing, worst 2 songs from Russia for me in 1996 and 2014 not 2013

SJ
Guest
SJ

2 Worst song from Russia in Eurovision 1996 and 2013. In 1996 they did t qualify for final in Oslo in prequalification, and maybe this year Russia have same faith in semi final.
Best 5 songs for me from Russia at Eurovision 1. 1994 2.2009 3.2000 4.1997 5.2012

Ron
Guest
Ron

Worst song ever

Xaris
Guest
Xaris

Russia and Caucasian countries shouldn’t take part in eurovision.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

At the London Eurovision party, Dina Garipova was roundly booed when her image came up on a big screen during the pre-show recap of Malmö. I think that Tolmachevy & Tolmachevy will experience a similar backlash in Copenhagen. I like the song, but I can’t help feeling that the Eurovision family are going express their feelings for Russia.

Mr. M
Guest
Mr. M

Hey bav. If you’re so sure about Russia winning then go bet 1000 Euros on them, since you think about them winning 24/7.

Stop the joke now please.

Mateusz
Guest
Mateusz

Number 37 on my list, totally agree with Woz !! It’s the blandest and least interesting song this year! But it’s Russia, they could send 3 minutes of silence and would still end up in top 10!! So unfair to one less popular country from semi final 1 to lose its place in the final because of Russia this year!!

Dan RO
Guest
Dan RO

I really am sorry that the ESC this year will take place during this whole Putin nasty affair, because if the Russian song will do badly, they will have the geopolical reasons to blame! And this song should do badly under any circumstances!!! The only positive things I have to say about this are: 1. the sisters are cute, and 2. it is not THE WORST entry this year (Lithuania, Latvia and a very few others are the stronger contenders for that title). The music is sooo generic and don’t get me started on the lyrics. Generally I hate the… Read more »

Nadia
Guest
Nadia

Only the fact that the name “Putin” is mentioned in every review show how objective the reviews are.
It’s a great song : strong melody, very good production and good lyrics.
This is a definite top 5 and I am sure that if the Russian delegation was reading this reviews (which I doubt) they will be laughing at them on the 11th of May.

Leon
Guest
Leon

@can someone take Ramadan out of the so called jury list?

Robyn
Guest
Robyn

Yet another song inspired by Adele’s “Skyfall”. The song seems in need of a dramatic climax. I was going to say maybe “Shine” needed another 30 seconds or so, but Conchita managed to pack in more than her fair share of drama into “Phoenix” so there’s no excuse for the lacklustre ending of “Shine”.

Vladimir
Guest
Vladimir

I think it’s an okay song. Not amazing, but okay. It does not deserve the mean bashing (“sass”) it’s been given and I think that’s more about Russia than the song itself. Being sarcastic does not mean one is funny.

beccaboo1212
Guest

Cool beans!

Easpag
Guest
Easpag

I think it’s actually ok. The lyrics are terrible, and it’s kinda cheesy and generic, but the twins are pretty good singers, and it’s a grower. I think the Russian version is fabulous, but this definitely isn’t terrible.
6.5/10

marklebron
Guest
marklebron

This song is a mess. Sounds like a potential soundtrack for Sakura Card Captors.

sopon
Guest
sopon

I’m sorry, but Billy kind of sucks at writing reviews. Put some sass in!

Woz
Guest
Woz

It’s a bland song blandly delivered. Of course it has the potential to be liked by some people, but if it was an entry from an unpopular country with no geopolitical connections, no one would be talking about it. Not the case: it’s mother Russia, so I expect it doing better than it deserves. For that same reason I hope the rest of Europe to do it justice. Because, you know, it’s mother Russia and they already have enough help.

bav
Guest
bav

televoting (democracy) vs jury (fascism/socialism) Many eurovision fans are prudish and dull. I think of Eurovision 24 hours a day. This is my prediction of final: 1. Russia 200 – 250 points 2. Ukraine 150 – 200 points 3. Estonia 150 – 200 points 4. Finland 100 – 150 points 5. Ireland 100 – 150 points 6. Denmark 100 – 150 points 7. Romania 100 – 150 points 8. Azerbaijan 100 – 150 points 9. United Kingdom 50 – 100 points 10. Armenia 50 – 100 points 11. Hungary 50 – 100 points 12. Belgium 50 – 100 points 13.… Read more »

Thiefo
Guest
Thiefo

Ot’s another of those “ok” songs, not terrible, but nothing special either, dated sound and not so strong vocals. Plus you have the hate they poor twins receive just because of the country they’re representing. That aside, I kinda like it, it’s a grower, I hated it at first like everyone else, but with time I learned to appreciate it.
The russian version sounds a lot better though, it sounds a lot more mature, less sugary and I think it would’ve been a stronger entry, but oh well.

Gerard P
Guest
Gerard P

Worst song of the year. NEGATIVE 10. Or, barring that, a big fat ZERO

Anette
Guest

I give it a 10/10 just to make up for all of the other unjust ratings. (I really think it’s a 8/10 but if everyone else is going to make unjust ratings, I’m not going to be different.)