Yesterday morning the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — headed to Moscow. Being lovers of top Insta-opportunities we hit St Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square, threw a few filters on our gorgeous selfies and then found a cute little cafe for some nourishing Russian soup. While dunking hearty homemade bread, we lent our ears to Russia’s Polina Gagarina and her Eurovision 2015 entry “A Million Voices”. Did we love it or where we rushing to leave Russia? Read on to find out!
Russia’s Eurovision 2015 song
Reviews: Polina Gagarina with ‘A Million Voices’
Angus: Mother has arrived! Soaring among the best productions this year, Polina Gagarina brings the world together and unites us all through modern technology. Cities and satellites build bridges between Europe and tie us all together and that is what the Eurovision Song Contest is all about. Russia have given us the Earth goddess and every time I hear ‘A Million Voices’ it is difficult to resist the jubilant diamond jubilee message.
Bogdan: Another peace song from Russia, seriously? What is it now, third year in a row? I’m sorry. I know it’s not a political contest, but I can’t with Russia. The fact that this was internally selected less than a year after #MH17 is pure insolence. I am a fan of Polina Gagarina’s (please don’t boo her, audience) and that’s why this doesn’t get zero points, but the formulaic song itself, together with its cheesy lyrics, grinds on my nerves. It’s the typical made-for-Eurovision crap that will now get votes from Belarus, Azerbaijan and the like, and I am sick of it.
Chris: Much like Maria-Elena, it’s Polina’s voice that is really going to carry her. “A Million Voices” has the same old Eurovision themes of peace and love, which of course raises eyebrows because it’s Russia. I also find the song weaker than “What If” from 2013 – but Dina managed to come 5th and I wouldn’t rule out Russia doing nearly as well this year. Perhaps it will deserve it for Polina’s talents, but it definitely will not for the song.
Deban: “A Million Voices” is gratingly cheesy, but I LOVED it until the refrain “..sing it out”. It is an unnecessary ad-lib that hurts the overall song quality. Polina is pitch-perfect, and has a respectable pedigree. However, with her chosen song, she comes off as just another puppet on a pop-music production line.
Denise: Everyone is talking about the political side of this song and yes it’s a little strange coming from Russia, but come on…! The song is really good, Polina has an amazing voice and the video clip looks fantastic, so there’s no reason to hate this just because of the country she’s born in. She deserves a really high placing, even if I was a little upset in the beginning because I thought Polina would give us an upbeat pop song.
Padraig: Cynical. Hypocritical. Manipulative. The message contained within a “Million Voices” is all of these and more. But we must overlook this and remember that Eurovision is a song contest. Polina will be the one taking to the stage in Vienna, not Putin. Whereas Dina and the Tolmachevys both delivered rather insipid sets, Polina is full of life. Her voice soars, and as she sings so do our spirits. Both the song and singer deserve points solely on their own merits. It will be a great shame if they receive nothing but boos.
Robyn: It doesn’t help that the opening line of the song sounds like “We are the worst people”. I know Eurovision is staunchly apolitical, but it’s so hard to separate the cloying sentiment of the song from the actions of Russia over the past year. The contrast ends up giving “A Million Voices” a really dark, cynical feeling. Polina Gagarina is a great singer, but the song is a dull, by-the-numbers Eurovision ballad. Russia could, in so many ways, do so much better.
Sopon: With the voice of Kelly Clarkson and a blinding smile, how could I not like Polina? Well, the fact that her song is soggier than a bowl of cereal left out for several hours helps me dislike the entry. The lyrics are cheesy and the excessive use of children and the elderly in the clip don’t make it any better. Russia’s internal selections continuously prove that no matter what stars they bring into Eurovision, the voice and name are more important and the song comes second.
William: Whenever I think this is about to veer into boring Polina cranks it up. At 28 seconds we get a timpani. At 41 seconds we get a new beat. At 54 seconds we get some drums. And throughout we get a positive message carried by pitch-perfect vocals. I don’t care if Vladimir Putin is a monster. Polina Gagarina is my goddess.
William C: This song is quite okay for me. I don’t really understand the hype some people are placing on Polina’s shoulders though. Yes she can sing, but this style doesn’t suit her. I cringe sometimes because of the cheesiness. While I never loved it, it’s a like/hate relationship with this song. These type of songs however will do relatively well, and I know that she will be smooth-sailing to the final. I hope the ride ends there, but I know it won’t.
Our first impression (March 15)
Our jury consists of 29 people, but we only have room for 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining 19 scores.
To reduce potential bias, we drop the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. We removed a low of 1 and a high of 10.