From booing Russia’s 12 points during the voting segment to heckling the Tolmachevy Sisters’ after their performance, there was a lot of hate directed toward Russia at Eurovision this year. Much of it was undeserved and all of it was inappropriate. If you take a step back from politics, you’ll see that Russia did an outstanding job this year across the board—and we should applaud them for it.
First let’s talk politics. I’m pretty sure that Russian policy is not set by two 17 year olds. They have nothing to do with Russia’s efforts to destabilize Ukraine nor Russia’s detestable anti-gay laws. Zero. None. Sorry.
In addition, Russia kept their Eurovision act completely apolitical and focused solely on the music. They made no statements. They issued no attacks. They just let their twins “Shine”.
Second, they sent a superb act that got a well-deserved seventh place. The song is really good, the twin’s voices are amazing, and the staging was inspired. The combination was greater than the sum of the parts. And they made good use of the girls being twins without over-playing it.
It was much more than the bubble gum pop that it so easily could have been (and way too many Eurovision songs are). Their entry was classy, compelling and special. Any country should be proud to send an entry of this caliber.
Third, their jury votes showed an independent set of members that gave reasonable votes. There was a decent spread among the individual jurors. Yes, overall the jury ranked neighbour Belarus first. But only two of the five individual jurors did, showing a bit of a spread in opinion. And they awarded Ukraine sixth place, something a controlled jury would never do. (And kudos to Ukraine for giving Russia tenth place.)
Fourth, a number of people called the twins out for being so scripted and limited in what they said. You had two 17-year old girls who many wanted to make the face of the Putin regime. I say good job to the people managing them for protecting them from what could have been an awful experience.
This year’s Eurovision is richer for Russia’s participation. Despite all the calls for “Russia, goodbye!” at Eurovision, we need to turn the other cheek. If we exclude countries that are imperfect, where do we draw the line? And how many would make the cut…
What do you think? Are you glad that Russia participated? Do you hope to see them in Austria next year?
Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)