Russia, Julia Samoylova, 2

Privyet Rossija! Mother Russia might not be part of Eurovision 2017 anymore, but the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — never turns down an opportunity to review a song. Today we’re looking at Julia Samoylova with “Flame Is Burning”. Did we feel the heat of the flame or were we left cold? Read on to find out!

Julia Samoylova – “Flame Is Burning”

About Julia Samoylova

She’s the first Eurovision contestant ever to be barred from entering the host country. But Russia’s Julia Samoylova rose to prominence years earlier when she finished second on Faktor A — the Russian version of X Factor — in 2013. She later performed at the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Winter Paralympics, which helped solidify her place as an ambassador for people living with disabilities.

According to her web site the 28-year-old singer was born completely healthy and “developed as a normal child” but following an inoculation she slowly lost the function of her legs, and was ultimately diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy — a condition that causes muscles to weaken and which has left her reliant on a wheelchair. Julia would have become the second contestant to perform at Eurovision in a wheelchair. But, owing to her illegal entry into Crimea in 2015, Ukrainian authorities issued a three-year travel ban against the singer, making it impossible for her to compete in the country. “It’s upsetting because it’s my dream, but I believe in hope,” she told Russian state television on April 14. “I believe I will go to Eurovision again. I want my example to inspire people, to inspire them to not surrender in any situation, live a full life and follow their dreams.”

“Flame Is Burning” reviews

William: Eurovision performances aren’t judged merely with the ears — they’re judged by the eyes and the heart. And that might explain why “Flame Is Burning” burns so bright, despite the decidedly vintage sound. Nodding to Soviet-era pop, the performance is tender, breezy and stirring — an ode to perseverance and hope that Julia embodies so well. The unfortunate situation surrounding her participation only adds fuel to her fire. An important performance that inspires as much as it divides.

Score: 8.5/10

Dayana: “Flame Is Burning” sounds like a song from the 2000s. But Julia’s performance is very touching and emotional — and this is the aspect that makes you like the entry. But in the end, the most important thing is the song, and in this case I wouldn’t call it successful.

Score: 4/10

Deban: “Flame Is Burning” is a touching torch song with deeply moving lyrics. I liked it on first listen, and it keeps growing with repeat spins. However, it isn’t without flaws. Yulia’s enunciation needs improvement, and her backing singers need to support her vocals, NOT sing the song for her! However, I applaud Russia’s courage in fully embracing the slogan of the contest by celebrating diversity.

Score: 6/10

Robyn: Russia’s default Eurovision entry is the “peace peace love love” anthem and they’ve done it again with skill. Julia is an experienced performer and there’s no question she can deliver an emotional performance of “Flame is Burning”. I don’t quite feel a connection with the song, but it’s definitely one of the better ballads this year.

Score: 6.5/10

Antony: As seen in her official music video, Julia really captivates the audience with her touching and sentimental song. However, even if the song tugs on heart strings and evokes real emotion, it’s ultimately a little forgettable. At times the backing vocals add too much to the song, making it a tad unpleasant.

Score: 5/10

Marek: There are many things I hate about this song but many things I love about it too. It sounds very Russian, with a typical Russian pop ballad sound (and some dreamy guitar strumming to boot). The song sits between sadness, pride and inspiration, but never fully commits to any of them. But it’s not ultra bad. In fact, it’s actually nice to listen to depending on my mood.

Score: 4/10

Jordi: Julia’s “Flame is Burning” is built on hope. A beautiful song delivered with a sweet and angelic voice, it’s a blast of sunshine that warms the heart. However, Eurovision 2017 is full of ballads and a song like this would have struggled amongst the competition. It lacks dynamism and I’m still missing the big hook. But there’s a sparkling light for Julia anyway. 

Score: 6.5/10

Chris: The heavy autotune on the studio version of “Flame is Burning” renders the first verse practically indecipherable. Julia can sing, however, and other performances have shown she can handle English pronunciation live. Unfortunately, that’s then bolted on to a fairly drab song. The chorus’ hook is memorable though and, when viewed as a whole, it’s easy to be drawn in by the performance. Russia have done much, much better — but it’s far from their worst effort.

Score: 5.5/10

In our Wiwi Jury, we have 38 jurors but only room for eight reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:

Anastas: 6/10

Andy: 4.5/10

Angus: 4.5/10

Anthony: 4.5/10

Antranig: 7.5/10

Bernardo: 4/10

Bogdan: 5/10

Edd: 2.5/10

Erdi: 8/10

Forrest: 2.5/10

George: 5/10

Jacob: 9/10

Jason: 3/10

Josh: 5/10

Jovana: 5/10

Kristin: 7.5/10

Luis: 5.5/10

Matt: 4/10

Mikhail: 3.5/10

Natalie: 4/10

Padraig: 3/10

Patrick: 3/10

Renske: 6/10

Rezo: 8/10

Sami: 1/10

Sinan: 7/10

Stanislav: 6/10

Steinunn: 3.5/10

Tobias: 6/10

Zakaria: 5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 1 and a high of 9.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 5.14/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See our current Eurovision 2017 reviews and rankings

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garage door remote
Guest

Hello! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!

ESC84
Guest
ESC84

I am just wondering, the eurovision press sang “Moment of Silence” last year, would you do the same for “Flame Is Burning”?

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

This one is of better and genuine russian songs for quite a long time. Melodic with nostalgic notes, easily sung and served by imprisoned, in some sense, person. Would it be sung in russian – I could immediately see it in some conveyor tv series sung nearby campfire by brave patriotic soldiers who were lost somewhere in Dagestan while fighting evil separatists – one guitar against the darkness. It’s funny but I’m getting every her word unlike when Loreen sings, for example. Production is simplistic but instruments comply her soaring voice. Prediction: I could imagine this winning hearts of aged… Read more »

Stan
Guest
Stan

I hope to see Yulia and someone from Ukrain next year in Brussels!

Julie
Guest
Julie

Watching Yulia’s performance in the Sochi paraolympics, I was moved beyond words. This lady has the potential to bring the whole house down, and I am fully confident she she would have done so on the Kiev stage. Indeed, forget the political posturing and excuses for a minute – the real reason Ukraine banned Yulia is that they could not stand the idea of Russia winning on their soil; it’s the reason they would have banned any Russian artist with even a POTENTIAL of winning. Ukraine: “We’re not banning you Russia, just choose another artist who hasn’t broken the law… Read more »

Racal
Guest
Racal

Girl, I was in favour of Yulia singing at Eurovision but you need to wake up: the winning potential of that song was close to 0%… “Ukraine: “We’re not banning you Russia, just choose another artist who hasn’t broken the law we’re choosing to enforce at this moment even though we make exceptions all the time”. Not true. What exceptions to that statement have they made exactly? They may have made a mistake, but they’ve been very consistent in that mistake. “Oh, and this law will prevent 80% of your artists from competing, especially your best ones and any ones… Read more »

Julie
Guest
Julie

If you think the winning potential of this song is 0%, then I’m not the one who is delusional. Watch her perform live. She has a voice, and she has a story. She could have gone far. -Here is an example of a recent exception to the law: a Russian comedy group performed in Crimea recently and then performed in Kiev just this March, no problem. Hmm… -As for the 80%, that is a number often cited by Russians on these threads, for example, as an estimate of the % of their artists that have performed in Crimea. It was… Read more »

Racal
Guest
Racal

Yes, I’m saying this song had a 0% chance of winning: regardless of the artist’s story, it was cheaply produced, her voice was so covered by the backing vocals it sounded like a computer voice, and it was pretty obvious that she can’t speak English (I have no idea what she was mumbling about). As I commented hereunder, her ban might actually be a blessing: now she can come back to Eurovision with a stronger song and really have a chance at winning (and hopefully she’ll sing in a language she understands). So anyway, your sources are “numbers often cited… Read more »

Julie
Guest
Julie

As an American, I understood her English perfectly…I don’t really see what the big deal around that is – though I admit I would rather hear her sing in her native tongue if she is more comfortable doing that. I really didn’t see much issue there. This is a song that could have been pretty powerful live, as her story gives it an emotional weight. But alas, we’ll never get a chance to hear how it would have sounded. As I said, there was definite potential there, especially if we go by what she has done in other live performances…… Read more »

Racal
Guest
Racal

It’s crazy how one-sighted you seem to be. It’s like Ukraine is the big bad wolf attacking poor innocent Russia, and you’re using whatever random bs you’re reading online to make up stupid figures (supposedly posted by self-labelled Russians) to support your statements. This is truly the era of fake news… Both countries are playing games here. Russia knew very well that their singer had performed in Crimea and would be banned from Ukraine, and they’ve been using her disability to play the victims (which is insulting to Yulia and to all disabled people). Ukraine on the other hand has… Read more »

Julie
Guest
Julie

“It’s crazy how one-sighted you seem to be. It’s like Ukraine is the big bad wolf attacking poor innocent Russia..” What a statement. Look, I live in a culture that is 99% on Ukraine’s side. According to them, Ukraine can do no wrong, and they are these poor innocent angels standing up against the big bully. I live in a place where media personalties and pundits call Russians “scum” on their news casts (I kid you not…), where they actually claim that Putin has killed AMERICAN journalists, that he was responsible for the ebola outbreak, that he is controlling our… Read more »

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

Racal, she’s also forgetful to add that if you’ll disagree publicly [in Russia] with Crimea’s ‘return’, you’ll have a good perspective of imprisonment. Active crimean aboriginals regularly face anti-constitutional detentions and tribunal. So, don’t bother yourself. Her guess of 100% bashers is result of another mentality tucked in reality there, because of laws like that.

Julie
Guest
Julie

Well, I don’t live in Russia, so I can’t speak to their laws. I’m not exactly sure that your point is valid or relevant here. The social media comments ARE FROM UKRAINE – that’s what I’m looking at here. They are the ones that cited that as part of their justification for banning Yulia. I mean, that is INSANE. Once you start going through a contestant’s social media looking for justification to ban them, you start heading down a slippery slope. In this case, Ukraine becomes a “Ministry of Truth,”: they become arbiters of what is acceptable and what is… Read more »

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

I live there so I spoke. Somewhere you’ve got percents and keep pointing on them repeatedly, figuring that around 150 banned established artists is all that 140+ mln Russia has got. Basing on what survey, please? Singer comments were left in russian social media, which is popular in both countries. Each country uses people content and applies the law (up to imprisonment). No one takes that Ukraine proclaims itself ‘truth’ ministry – it’s simply the way how each country defends it’s information field and it’s even far from being effective and all-encompassing, yet both countries are sunk in corruption. It… Read more »

Julie
Guest
Julie

Great, feel free to speak as much as you want about it – it doesn’t make a difference to me. You seem fixated on exact percentage points and therefore seem to have missed the entire point. What I care about – and what should be setting off everyone’s alarm bells – is that Ukraine thought some social media comments were so important as to cite them as part of their reason to ban someone. This is a red flag y’all. I mean, the ramifications of this for the future of the contest is HUGE. We need to nip this in… Read more »

Magpie
Guest
Magpie

Two countries with top 5 songs (in my list) have been forcibly removed two years straight. This is getting dark (at least for me)

Julie
Guest
Julie

If you think the winning potential of this song is 0%, then I’m not the one who is delusional. Watch her perform live. She has a voice, and she has a story. She could have gone far. -Here is an example of a recent exception to the law: a Russian comedy group performed in Crimea recently and then performed in Kiev just this March, no problem. Hmm… -As for the 80%, that is a number often cited by Russians on these threads, for example, as an estimate of the % of their artists that have performed in Crimea. It was… Read more »

Julie
Guest
Julie

Sorry Magpie, my comment is not meant for you. Must have hit the wrong reply button on my phone lol.

Lanti
Guest

The song’s definitely sweet, and I like it.
At the same time the production’s just super last-minute, and that’s what if felt like in her performance at the time.

I’m probably going to put it in my calm-down playlist

Pablo Nava
Member

NOW onto Flame Is Burning.

It’s funny how you can pinpoint a year where Russia kind of… doesn’t care. This suffers some problems like Shine did in 2014 as in it sounds very demoish, as in they didn’t give her the grandiose production Sergey and Polina had, which makes it have… kind of unfortunate implications.

The song itself is not the worst Russia has sent, and I don’t think of it as jarring when compared to outside circumstances as I did with What If and A Million Voices, but it sounds they didn’t give her their 100%.
3/10

Pablo Nava
Member

I’m going to go on a tangent here. The more I see Yulia and a couple of her past performances, the more I feel Russia tried to tailor her into this “angelic deity sent from the heavens to bless us all”. Look well at her Molitva cover and many of her pictures. She has a pretty rock punk style, clothes and piercings included. Look at her in the Flame Is Burning video and it’s all… suddenly gone. It’s like they didn’t want to send Yulia, but rather send her story, which is kind of… reprehensible in itself. If Russia wants… Read more »

Grande Amore
Guest
Grande Amore

I like it! Reminds me of a Christmas carol 🙂

real@winner
Guest

Hi Wiwi team, you have some typos. You wrote “touching” and “inspiring” instead if “awful” and “boring”.

HBau
Guest
HBau

????

It’s kind of like people’s ears don’t work any more once they see the wheelchair or something.

Eve
Guest
Eve

This song is awful, sorry, and can’t believe that has higher score than Malta, Czech R. and Germany! 2/10

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

Leaving literally everything but the song aside – it’s a 3.5 from me.
Don’t get me wrong, but at least now it won’t prevent a more deserving song from going through.

Emili
Guest
Emili

This song is so emotional, nice, voice is amazing. 10/10.

real@winner
Guest

haha 🙂

Hada
Guest
Hada

This score is too high. That song is terribad, and the singing was autotuned to hell and back. I hope next year they send Yulia and give her a song that doesn’t suck.

goprake
Guest
goprake

Finally a reply button! Russian song is okay tho, a 5 for me

Maclaren
Guest
Maclaren

Yes! So happy to see the ‘reply’ button too. I hope we will get ‘edit’, ‘like’ and ‘report abuse’ buttons eventually. Sometimes I just want to like sombedy’s comment and to express my support – so would appreciate this functionality. However editing of your own comments is a must as silly typos can ruin the message

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

O M G Russia is for once my favorite and then they end up disqualified, why like WHY??? I love her and I love her voice. Yes, the song isn’t the most modern one, but IT IS SO GREAT. I LOVE the part before the second chorus, but I love every part of the song, and in Kyiv she would have SLAYED the pack, televoting would have placed her in the top three, and she would have EASILY won the SF. Russia knows hoe to stage EVERY song, and this would have been no excpetion. But as I keep dreaming,… Read more »

goprake
Guest
goprake

Well, Ukraine, Romania and Russia qualified in every year they participated, I wouldn’t consider withdrawals as a non-qualifying year tbh

It’s only Greece who broke the streak (and Argo deserved final btw)

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

I mean countries that qualified EVERY year. And btw, I don’t know if Romania would have qualified in 2016 XD

Abel
Guest
Abel

Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Romania qualified always when they participated. If we think that presence must be every year, then Ukraine, Romania and now Russia are out.
I guess is only Azerbaijan now.

Hi
Guest

This is one of the best Song this year. 10/10.

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

I agree

William Lazarev !!!
Guest
William Lazarev !!!

Im so tired of her already… Hope she will never comeback at Eurovision…
People in Russia dont want her to represent Russia, but Channel One choose her… WTF? We want another artists!!!

Plum
Guest
Plum

Dear William Lazarev,
Who in Russia has told you this? I don’t want another artist in 2018. Probably in 2019 it could be Sergey again or any other artist but in 2018 it must be Julia for sure.

Yulia4tw
Guest
Yulia4tw

It’s so strange that Russia would steal a song from San Marino. 1/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Oh gosh; a “reply” feature! I just can’t deal with this extra stress right now! 😛 Is it fair for me to review Russia? I don’t know. A summary of what I wrote was that this song is mostly in B minor, modulating to D major in the Chorus, before doing “the rounds” to get back to B minor again. There is a twist in the Coda at the end, which raises the third of the chord to turn it into a bright B major ending, as literally the light has been seen by that point. The way the melody… Read more »

Kris
Guest
Kris

Major Ending!! *Salute*

Replied
Guest
Replied

It’s cool to reply!

Joe
Guest
Joe

Sorry, but it’s 2/10 (judging only the song).
I hope she will be back in 2018 with a much better song.

Abel
Guest
Abel

Georgia 2009 couldn’t participate because they didn’t wanted to change the song
Russia 2017 couldn’t participate because they didn’t wanted to change the artist

Russia should’ve sent another artist that waited for a chance, now Russian artists that want to participate, must wait until Yulia goes first, that could mean 2018 or 2019 or later. Russia could’ve been the winner this year with another artist, because of Yulia drama.

azaad
Guest
azaad

Yes. While I would have wanted Russia to compete (although I’m glad that another country can now qualify), given what they did in 2009 with Georgia, I can’t help but think…karma!

HBau
Guest
HBau

You guys are wayyyy too generous. A boring song autotuned and carried by backup singers getting 7s and higher is madness. Politics aside, as much as I can, I still can’t justify giving this more than a 2/10.

Eve
Guest
Eve

Totally agree, well said! also wanted to try reply button, haha 😛

Bring Back Denise
Guest
Bring Back Denise

Nul points and greetings from Belarus

Esc fan
Guest
Esc fan

Luv this reply button

Martin
Guest
Martin

#bringbackdenise #justicefordenise #jesuisdenise

BRING HER BACK!

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

It wasn’t the right song for me!

I felt like they picked Julia and just gave her a random song. It’s good, it has a beautiful message but the song doesn’t work.
Hopefully, we’ll see her participating some time with a better song than this!

I’ll give it a 5.5!

I love the “reply” button btw!

Tom
Guest
Tom

Beautiful music, good lyrics.

Lukewarm
Guest
Lukewarm

The song is dated but not that bad. Despite that it would have ranked as one of my bottom songs and we all know why. Her English is completely unbearable and it is infuriating to see how little Russia cares this year.

02 NOR | 04 UK | 11 SRB | 12 SWE | 14 DEN | 16 POL
18 LAT | *19 CYP* | 20 ICE | 23 GRE | 24 CZE | 26 NLD
27 BLR | 33 MNE | 34 ISR | 36 GER | 37 MLT | 38 ESP
42 SVN | *(33 RUS)*

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I feel like I have liked this song more than a lot of other people have done. There is something sweet about it and I feel the questionable English skills of Julia really work and possibly, even make the song better.
Now, if only she were able to perform it.

ewan
Guest
ewan

Honestly I do really like this. it’s very emotional and whilst the verses do nothign for me, I do really appreciate the chorus. Overall a good effort from Russia and better than some of their more recent attempts ie. 2010 and 2013 (which I really couldn’t stand)

ewan
Guest
ewan

7/10 btw

(J)ESC Fanatic
Guest
(J)ESC Fanatic

I actually really liked this song. It’s an ordinary ballad and that’s why it appeals to me, it’s very sweet.

7.5/10

Hope to see Julia at Eurovision 2018.
By the way, thanks for the reply feature. 🙂

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

This song isn’t enough for the Contest, in fact is really bad. Russia knew what was doing,when they chose Yulia. It isn’t her fault, but Russian TV selected her on purpose because of her wheelchair. I find the song unlistenable and terribly dated (not vintage).

Russia would have qualified, you know it’s Russia, and would have received a lot of sympathy votes. So I’m glad Rusia has withdrawn, now we can have a more realistic and fair voting.

Rusia was my 43th. 0.5/10

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

I’m loving this reply button!!!

Colin
Guest
Colin

Wow, I honestly didn’t expect this to be reviewed because of the circumstances. But it is, so here we go… There is something really tender and fragile in the performance. Someone said in comments that her condition affects her vocal cords and I was ready to be considerate of that fact. But, I’ve heard her Molitva and it’s excellent! Turns out Yulia has no vocal problems, it’s her English that she struggles with. That is the problem – The song seams underproduced, which would be okay if it seamed as genuine as Portugal does. Note to Russian team – Next… Read more »

Kris
Guest
Kris

@Colin
Now you can be less illiterate when you walk around and type

Colin
Guest
Colin

Hi, Kris! Yeah 🙂 I love this feature. It focuses the conversation. Thanks, Wiwibloggs 🙂

Kris
Guest
Kris

Yup it does 🙂
I was a bit taken aback by Julia’s withdrawal so I missed a few days of Articles here. 😐

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Hi Colin. Nice to reply to you. 🙂
Looks like we both picked up on Yulia’s English-language enunication point (as did Deban in the article). Yey.
I feel a bit bad reviewing this one, considering that we won’t get to hear it in its full form. What happened was very sad; I would have liked to have seen this entry at the contest.
Keep on reviewing: I’m a big fan. 🙂

Aria
Guest
Aria

Go away @Kris.Shoo!!

I asked for @Colin and @Purple to get a room and now that Wiwibloggs gives them one you poke your head inside.Two’s a company, three is a crowd!! No threesome happening here.

Colin
Guest
Colin

Thank you very much. I also really enjoy your reviews. 🙂 As for Russia, year, I kinda like it, but seams like there is a constant struggle between Yulia and English language and it comes off as bit uncomfortable at times. I really hope Russian delegation will take this time and make the next song sooth Yulia perfectly. I know they can do it.

Tom
Guest
Tom

William you are so Honest, thank you.

William Lee Adams
Admin

Thank you for reading and watching!

Kris
Guest
Kris

I’m still waiting on the Top video you promised 🙁

Kris
Guest
Kris

I like this reply feature 🙂

But I’m so disappointed on Ukraine’s bad decision. The flame is still burning in my heart for Julia.

Kris
Guest
Kris

Hi there myself 😉

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Oh, this is working well! 😀

Kris
Guest
Kris

Yes it is 🙂

Ay Jo
Guest
Ay Jo

It is a typical Russian ballad we used to hear in the 90s. Ears of ex-soviets are bleeding to listen to such kind of songs. Maybe, she could have passed to final because of recent issues between Ukraine and Russia but I do not believe people would massively vote for her from ex-soviets.

Racal
Guest
Racal

Her ban might actually be a blessing: that song was definitely not good enough (and if entered by Portugal, Malta or the Czech Republic, definitely a non-qualifier), but if she does enter Eurovision again, all the publicity might take her straight away to first place.

William Lee Adams
Admin

You’re right: I imagine her profile in Russia has risen quite a bit! I’m keen to see if the broadcasters stick to their word and allow her to compete next year.

Digital Style
Guest
Digital Style

I’ll try not to bring the situation into the review and judge it impartially. Honestly, I’m not a fan. It has an important message, but the delegation clearly chose her out of tactic and not out of genuine belief she could actually do well. The song is quite badly autotuned, and Julia has the kind of voice (and aesthetic) that should lead a rock band, not a badly written 2000’s jazz song.

William Lee Adams
Admin

That’s an interesting point — she does have a rock look! I’m going to Google and see if she’s made contributions to the genre! <3

Hada
Guest
Hada

I think Channel One or whoever chose the song thought “she’s in a wheelchair so she has to sing a ballad”, when there are countless ways to make an uptempo song work.