On April 26, just two days before the first rehearsals at Eurovision 2014 kicked off, the Tolmachevy Sisters appeared in a 90-minute special about their journey to Eurovision. The girls were adorable with their blonde bobs and matching Yves St Laurent Mondrian dresses. The audience praised them for their “purity” and “innocence.” And special guests said that they would help counter the “sickness in the West.” At one point in the show the producers contrasted images of Conchita Wurst bathing in a bath tub with images of the girls singing as toddlers.
Wiwi appeared on the show as a special guest to discuss his blog post, “Do the Tolmachevy Sisters Support the Annexation of Crimea?” The lyrics—”Living on the edge/ closer to the crime/ cross the line a step at a time”— seem a bit too loaded in the context of ongoing political tensions. We weren’t stating this as fact, just saying that’s how the song could be read. The host suggested that Russians don’t hear “Crimea” in the lyrics. That is probably true. But there is ambiguity: “crime” could hint at Crimea, but it could also refer to a literal crime—the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory. Given the climate in Eastern Europe at the moment, you’d have expected them to vet every aspect of this song. We discuss all this from 29:30. Unfortunately it’s all in Russian.
For me the most interesting part of the program the passion with which the Russian media are approaching Eurovision. It’s great to see a state broadcaster getting behind its act and giving them a glamorous send-off. Regardless of what you think of Crimea, you have to admit that the Tolmachevy Sisters know how to sing. They can also perform. They work their see-saw at Eurovision and throw down some fierce dance moves. In my mind it’s one of the most beautiful acts at Eurovision this year…
Willy Lee Adams contributed this report from London. Follow him on Twitter @willyleeadams. You can also keep up with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following wiwibloggs.com on Twitter and Facebook.