Buranovskiye Babushki, Russia’s most famous sextet of singing grannies, wowed audiences with their spirited delivery of “Party for Everybody” at the recent Russian national selection. But what did the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of music unprofessionals—make of their win? Read on to find out how we scored them…
Wiwi: I love a good Susan Boyle moment—and the Buranovskiye Babushki gave me six of them during the Russian final. Re-watching the YouTube video, I can’t help but melt when I see the pure joy on the babushki’s faces as they dance (very slowly) and repeat “boom, boom” with smiles as wide as Siberia. The smug, almost scornful looks of the jury make the granny’s victory even sweeter. They stared their detractors in the face, and shoved them aside with their walking sticks.
The song itself isn’t spectacular. I’m not going to be playing it at my daughter’s wedding. But I might just turn it up during the after party! Eurovision has never been about the best song. It’s about the best act. And this one comes with attitude, spunk, spirit, and the belief that you can keep on moving no matter what your age.
Vebooboo: The Eurovision winner isn’t always the best song, it’s the most memorable one. And with nearly 400 years among them, something tells me these ladies have lots of memories to share with us. The staging is adorable, especially the teeny, weeny old lady who doesn’t even sing. The vocals…not so great. But the song itself is catchy and that’s what counts. ESC 2012 may be these grannies’ 15 minutes of fame…a good thing since they don’t have many minutes left!
Meows: These babushka grannies have proven to be a huge hit with the public, and have clocked up more than three million YouTube hits. Part of their charm stems from dancing to a simple but energetic little number in their adorable peasant outfits. I can’t help but go ‘awww’ as they hop gingerly on the stage and hope no one falls over. The entertainment factor is definitely there. But unfortunately the novelty factor will wear off pretty quickly and I predict that the scoreboard will ultimately be filled with nul points when people realize the Russians forgot to bring the most important ingredient to the Eurovision party: talent!
Deban: I’m all in favour of inclusion and diversity. However, broadening a demographic shouldn’t affect the quality or the standard of an entry. Votes shouldn’t be cast simply because of age. A song should be able to stand on its own. Sadly, the Russian entry doesn’t. Sung by a group of five tone deaf OAP’s, and one relatively young 43-year old, this is Russia’s worst entry to date.
With a combined age of three centuries, it feels like a major step back in time. (And not a time that conjures any nostalgia). This is not a song that has any mileage, nor could it be re-worked to create a hit. No radio station would play this! More worryingly, should Russia win ESC 2012 with this song, there are no guarantees that the original line-up would still have the breath of life to perform their winning entry in Moscow 2013.
What’s unfortunate about the ESC situation is that most of the eliminated acts in the Scandinavian countries have more artistic merit than the qualifying entries we’re seeing from Latvia, Georgia, and sadly Russia this year (consult the bottom half of the Wiwi Jury Standings for more examples).
However, the more shocking aspect of this is that the Russian pre-selection included a pretty deep field of established pop stars. It even showcased a duet with Dima Bilan and Julia Volkova (ex-tATu). However, their combined powers couldn’t break the spell of the grannies. Perhaps it’s time for a Senior Eurovision Song Contest. It feels almost unfair to draw level comparisons with top acts when these bizarre entries emerge. Having said that, a children’s choir would deliver a better act and manage to be taken seriously. Baku is shaping up to be the worst of any Eurovision in recent memory, and Russia 2012 is helping mould that trend.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 5.63/10