In 2014 and 2015, Russia’s Eurovision contestants were booed on live television in response to growing resentment over, among other things, the country’s anti-LGBT laws.
But in 2016 Sergey Lazarev re-wrote the script, winning the televote and receiving huge support from some of the very fans who booed his predecessors.
And on Friday afternoon the “You Are The Only One” singer reminded everyone why he’s so loved, as he posted a thoughtful message on Facebook that acknowledged his LGBT fans.
Writing on his official page the day after his performance at Stockholm Pride, Sergey said:
Everyone here in Sweden treated me in the best possible way [at Eurovision] and I am very happy that I had the opportunity to perform here again, I am very happy that I realize that I have fans from different countries, believing in different religions, having different sexual orientations and I love them all the same… thank you all for your support and love!
Sergey at Stockholm Pride
Ahead of his show-stopping performance, Sergey caught up with wiwiblogger Tobias inside the Grand Hotel.
Wearing a well-fitted white-top that showed off his gym-honed arms, the Russian stud opened up about his new video for “Breaking Away”, his fond memories of Stockholm and much, much more.
“I’m so happy to be back,” he says of Sweden and why he wanted to come back for Pride.
“Almost three months have passed since Eurovision and I’m happy I’m going to perform tonight again in Stockholm. I will have an opportunity to say thank you to my dear audience here in Sweden for the support that I received from them at the Eurovision. I will perform tonight with the best feeling.”
He tends to have good luck in the country: “Before Eurovision, I’ve been in Stockholm and recorded about seven songs here. And they became really big hits in Russia.”
“I have so many great memories and emotions from Eurovision,” he says. “I miss this atmosphere. I miss my friends from the Eurovision, the other competitors. I’m happy we’re going to meet each other again. We are forever in the history for Eurovision 2016.”
And what does he miss the most about the Eurovision bubble?
“The performances at the Globen Arena, the nerves, the audience, the stress that we had, all the attention that we had, the atmosphere. It’s really hard to describe and choose something, just one. It’s in the package, you know, the whole thing. And I’m really happy that I had this performance and this experience. It’s one of the best experiences of my life and I have no regrets about doing it.”
In the two months since Eurovision he hasn’t had a break, traveling through Greece, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Belarus, among other places. He’s currently on tour and when he gets back to Russia he’ll hit the road again, performing his sold-out tour all over his Motherland.
The self-confessed workaholic understands that he needs to rest. But even when he talks about breaks his sentences wind back to work.
“I didn’t have holidays after Eurovision yet. I’m going to have it at the end of August. I will take some break. I have to because I have a very busy autumn. I have a big show in Moscow. We’re going to celebrate the 100th show of my tour. It’s going to be very big. I have a lot of plans. I’m recording my new songs.”
His new album will drop in 2017.
A true gentleman, Sergey isn’t remotely bitter about finishing third at Eurovision.
“Everybody was upset I didn’t win, but again everybody was so happy we won the televoting. They called me the ‘true winner’ and the ‘real winner’.”
“Every country when they send somebody to represent a country of course they wish them all the best luck. For your own country you will always be the winner. But I’m happy that I did my best in the Eurovision final night and I’m proud of myself and my country and my team. We really did a great job.”