While Russia is still to officially confirm their participation in Eurovision 2017, rumours continue to circulate about potential acts. There is a lot of buzz around the Ukraine-born singer Aleksander Panayotov, who is also a favourite to win the current series of The Voice of Russia. Let’s take a look.
Aleksander was born in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, back when it was part of the Soviet Union. He studied music and singing from a young age, and participated in many competitions and events. Since the early 2000s, he has lived in St Petersburg and Moscow.
And he has the range – Aleksander’s Wikipedia entry breathlessly notes that he has a three and a half octave range, and that “his name is a sign of high-quality music.”
Aleksander got his start on TV talent shows. In 2002, he competed on the Russian version of Popstars, where he made it to the top 10 in the grand final, then in 2003 he competed in Russian Idol, where he placed second.
That established Aleksander as a popular singer, and he frequently participated in Russia’s national finals for Eurovision.
In 2005 he placed fifth with the song “Balalayka”, which he sang with Alexey Chumakov, in 2007 the duo were shortlisted for internal selection, and in 2008 he narrowly missed out (by only two points!) as a solo artist, placing second with the peace song “Crescent and Cross”. Then in 2009, he tried his luck in his home country, again placing second with “Superhero” in Ukraine’s national final. And finally in 2010, he was back in the Russian national final, where his song “Maya Showtime” placed sixth.
All these near misses have led some fans to think of Aleksander as the “Russian Sanna” – looking for his “Undo” to finally take him to Eurovision.
But it looks like he might finally get that opportunity.
Aleksander is a contestant on the current series of The Voice of Russia, and he impressed the coaches with a strong and emotional audition of the Celine Dion hit “All By Myself”. It prompted a dramatic quadruple turnaround from all four coaches, including Eurovision stars Dima Bilan and Polina Gagarina. Aleksander selected legendary singer Grigory Leps as his coach, and we’ll see Aleksander join Aminata Savadogo in the upcoming live shows.
The reaction in Russia has been huge, and regardless of the outcome of The Voice, people are saying that Aleksander would make an ideal act for Russia in Kyiv next year.
The Voice broadcaster Channel One, who are responsible for selecting Russia’s act this year, have a track record of sending The Voice winners, with Dina Garipova in 2013. And let’s face it — Russia sending a well known Ukraine-born singer as its act for the Kyiv-hosted Eurovision would be a very smart move.
What do you think? Should Russia select Aleksander Panayotov for Eurovision? Could he take a power ballad to Kyiv?