How everyone (myself included) missed the fact that “Waterfall” was never going to win Eurovision is now beyond me. Nodi and Sophie were vocally fabulous – congrats for that because sometimes vocal perfection is taken for granted (Alyona Lanskaya anyone?). Unfortunately the good points end there. The song was devoid of emotion, Sophie looked constipated throughout and the staging was dull in the extreme – at least Bonnie Tyler had a podium to give her performance a literal ‘lift’. In its pursuit of the perfect Eurovision winner, Georgia fell too wide of the mark.
It’s confusing how the Georgians managed to get it so desperately wrong. It’s not like they had to look far. The reigning masters of the duet, Azerbaijan, are neighbours. They won in 2011 with the gorgeously staged “Running Scared”. That victory came despite the fact Nikki seemed completely incapable of singing her part in tune for the entirety of the performance. Had Georgia roped in a few dancers they could have improved their performance immeasurably. A prop wouldn’t have been a bad idea either. Denmark’s staging of “A Moment Like This” with Chanée and N’Evergreen divided by a literal wall was audacious. “Waterfall” would have been so much better for a huge, and entirely unnecessary waterfall, drenching Nodi and Sophie, ruining the stage and causing a catastrophic short circuit that plunged the whole of Malmö into darkness. That would have been a Eurovision-winning performance.
“Waterfall” was lazy. It lacked quirkiness that could have made it more distinctive. Armenia’s “Jan-Jan” had the intimidating Inga and Anush dressed in indigo, blending Eastern allure with a punchy aggressive song. Jonsí and Greta from Iceland, despite stealing the fiddle from a certain all-conquering Norwegian, worked an overt vampire vibe with the dark mountain backdrop to give “Never Forget” an altogether more ominous tone. Even Esma and Lozano at least had the novelty of a fairly pleasant song moving unexpectedly into the most horrific abomination from the Balkan Pit of Terror to grace the stage since Rona Nishliu’s cat-murdering performance in the Crystal Hall. The rather sad steam cannons of “Waterfall” were about as quirky as Birgit Oigemeel’s plain white dress.
Perhaps the most glaring omission Georgia made from the Eurovision Romantic Duet Textbook was chemistry. The single most important element of a romantic duet was forgotten. Ell and Nikki’s romance had us all convinced we could expect wedding bells in Baku. Nodi and Sophie just looked thoroughly disinterested in one another. Even the non-romantic duet performers had more chemistry than them – TWiiNS in 2011, and even the distinctly weird Noa and Mira Awad for Israel in 2009 showed more affection for one another. The master-class in this platonic chemistry are Elitsa and Stoyan, whose rousing delivery of “Samo Shampioni” demonstrated exactly how to have a crazy time, even if you are going to crash out and burn in the Semi-Final. Why anyone thought putting two people together who don’t even look like a couple and struggle to demonstrate even rudimentary chemistry is shocking.
With a huge, thoroughly unnecessary waterfall, a couple that actually understood the need to demonstrate affection and a song that wasn’t dull Georgia might actually have scuppered things for Emmelie. Fortunately for the Danes, the Georgian approach was entirely half-arsed, and that is why, the minute commentators began speculating on the fact that the song would succeed on vocal merit alone that alarm bells should have started ringing.
Angus Quinn contributed this report from the U.K. You can follow him on Twitter at @Angus_Quinn17.
Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU)