Eurovision’s Greatest Hits: Wiwi Jury reviews Dima Bilan with “Believe”

Eurovision’s Greatest Hits takes place in London on 31 March. The one-off concert will see a host of past Eurovision stars take to the stage to mark 60 years of the contest. While the show itself will be purely celebratory, we’ve decided to add a little competition to proceedings by ranking and reviewing all 19 Eurovision entries sung by the 15 confirmed acts. Today the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — arrive in Belgrade 2008, to witness the second coming of Dima Bilan. Two years after his defeat to Lordi, the singer secured Russia’s first ever victory with “Believe”. Have we forgiven him for slaying the shady lady? Read on to find out…

Robyn: I love “Never Let You Go”, but I’m really indifferent about “Believe”. The sexy swagger of 2006 Dima has been replaced with a cheesy tableau involving a violinist and an ice skater, both with Bieber hair. Even roping in Timbaland to produce the song didn’t add much.

Score: 6/10

Josh: I’m still incredibly bitter about this winning. Ani Lorak was sooooo much better! “Never Let You Go” was a great starting point, and rarely are Eurovision comebacks a good idea. Somehow Dima managed to turn the tide. I still can’t see why it was so successful with voters.

Score: 4/10

Judit: It’s so hard to find something nice to say about this. The show was like a horrible white dream – just too much. Dima was like a dodgy actor from a Shakespearean tragedy. The only message I got from this performnce: he loves himself soooooo much. However, the song isn’t too bad, I can’t hate it with all my heart.

Score: 3/10

Angus: Do I think Russia deserved the win in 2008? No. That being said I take “Believe” over “Never Let You Go” any day. The staging with violinist and ice-skater was exquisite. Dima is also probably one of the best male vocalists we’ve ever seen at the Eurovision Song Contest. The only bit that I truly can’t stand is the scream he does building to the middle 8 and the unnecessary shirt-ripping.

Score: 6.5/10

Denise: I gave “Never Let Me Go” a 5.5. This is a million times worse! I didn’t even know the song was in English, so there’s nothing I can say about the lyrics. The staging was really good, but that’s all. Still can’t believe this song won!

Score: 2/10

Padraig: Whoop-de-woo, Dima didn’t deserve to win in 2008. So what? “Believe” is still a decent pop ballad, and is actually reflective of the music scene of the time – all those mid-00s R&B crooners weren’t a figment of your imagination! There is real progression from “Never Let You Go”, and this is actually a much stronger performance in every sense. Let’s face it, Euro-fans would view this in a very different light if it didn’t have the “Russia” tag attached.

Score: 8/10

William: 12 points for Evgeni Plushenko, 2 points to Dima. Easily my least favourite winner of the past 10 years, I find it difficult to say anything positive about this mid-tempo R&B number. I preferred his entry “Never Let Me Go” — and I didn’t even like that one. But at least the staging was daring and memorable.

Score: 3/10

Sami: I don’t get why this is so hated. “Believe” is one of my favourite ever winners. And definitely my favourite from 2008. Dima is a great performer. The song is well produced, it’s even quite touching. Love!

Score: 10/10


James: I preferred the younger Dima, if I’m totally honest. For a pretty simple and forgettable song, it’s weird that it won. But Russia *did* give us one of Eurovision’s most impressive contests, so… Well, “Believe” is one of those weird songs which is really only merited by the relative popularity of its singer. He’s known – he has fans. The ice-skater was a bit too much when you consider the staging and the whole thing came across as a little bit strained. Russia wanted it. Russia got it. ‘Nuff said.

Score: 3/10.

All 17 members of our jury rate each song. However, we don’t have room to share written reviews from everyone. Here are the remaining seven scores.

Anthony: 7/10

Chris: 3/10

Kristín: 2/10

Liam: 0/10

Mikhail: 0.5/10

Patrick: 0.5/10

Ramadan: 6/10

Sopon: 2/10

The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 0 and a high of 10.