The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rank and review the 43 songs competing in Eurovision 2018. Next we head to Russia where Julia Samoylova has another turn at Eurovision, this time with “I Won’t Break”. Did we feel her message? Read on to find out!
Julia Samoylova – “I Won’t Break”
“I Won’t Break” reviews
William: Julia Samoylova is a woman who understands challenges. From living with spinal muscular atrophy to dealing with accusations that she was a geopolitical pawn, she’s kept her head high and pursued her passions — even when people told her she shouldn’t or couldn’t reach them. That backstory makes this anthem of perseverance all the more powerful. Her song drips with a sense of wistfulness and nostalgia that feels thoroughly Russian. Yet she reaches beyond borders with thoughtful production that tugs on heartstrings. She’s come a long way in a year. And while she desperately needs to work on her enunciation, she can rest assured that she — like the mountain she becomes in the video — won’t break. She’s a strong woman — and she’s cutting a path straight to the final.
Bogdan: While I am happy that Julia will sing at Eurovision after the unfortunate set of circumstances that prevented her from representing her country last year, I can’t help wondering “what if?”. Despite the fact that “I Won’t Break” is more modern, I liked the nostalgic vibe of “Flame is Burning” a lot more. I think I would have liked it better as well if Julia had sung in Russian, as her English enunciation doesn’t do her any favours. Nonetheless, it’s her big moment and I am positive that the resilient singer will shine.
Cinan: I love the instrumental version of this song, though the regular version is also good. The song is a bit similar to “Flame is Burning”, but her 2017 entry was a very good one. Julia looks beautiful in the music video. I can’t wait to see her performing this live.
Jordi: This year’s offering is just a million miles away from what Russia is capable of. “I Won’t Break” is powerful with meaning but not in its beat. Julia has proved before that she can deliver, but this song just falls short on her. While it is true that it creates an atmosphere right from its first notes, the chorus then arrives and rapidly decreases its hook. It feels like something is wrong with the concept. Such powerful meaning should have a much more powerful song. I’m a little frustrated by this, but I’m sure Julia will be provided with a strong staging that can uplift her performance.
Kristin: Despite best intentions, Julia’s English isn’t the clearest and it takes away the joy of listening to a well-produced pop song, which “I won’t break” undoubtedly is. However, that doesn’t leave much when it’s run its course. Julia herself though is stunning and has a beautiful voice and that alone is worth noticing. But the song itself doesn’t quite reach me. I got bored halfway through.
Luis: “I Won’t Break” is a decent pop track that could be from any year between 2000 and 2018. It doesn’t bring anything new, but it’s among the finest entries within the numerous group of generic pop songs by female singers we have this year. This is so much better than the cheap “Flame is Burning”, and it shows a shade of Julia that represents her more as a singer. She can be very proud of this.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 20 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 8.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 5.75/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!
I feel bad for her condition,but the song needs to be judged regardlessly.
This song is just bad.Nothing stands out and compared to her song last year , this is way worst.But because this is Russia it might go to the final, eventhough it doesn’t deserve it.It’s a 3/10 for me.
Gee, William giving it an 8?! Boy, you can stop kissing her, oops, I mean, Putin’s ass. (We all know she’s Putin’s puppet.) What next, saying Trump is great and denying that you’re an American, William?
As an ESC fan with a disability, I can say that SHE SUCKS!!!
Sorry, I’m not following the Trump logic? Yes I’m American. And yes, like the majority of American voters, I did not vote for him.
This one is really overrated. “I Won’t Break” is better than “Flame is Burning”, but that’s not saying much, it still feels dated. Also, her pronuntiation is bad and it sounds a bit autotuned. She should better sing in Russian. And, I don’t really want to say this, but… the only way she might outstand is because of her wheelchair, as her song is bland, dated and generic and her vocals are weak or even worse (THAT performance in Moscow…). Hope the Russian team doesn’t focus on that. Kudos to Russia for keeping their promise, but in a fair world… Read more »
“she’s cutting a path straight to the final”
For God’s sake, have you heard Julia’s live perfomance? It was …. pfff.
First of all, it’s great that among all acussations, Russia kept their word and made Julia’s dream come true. Flame is Burning was a drab, dull piece. This year it really feels they crafted a song for her as she wants, regardless of quality, this feels true to her, this feels like it had effort on it, nice chorus, nice flow, but somewhat anonymous; i can’t remember it when it ends. Now… when you are in talks of missing on the final, that doesn’t bode well. Her live may not be strong enough for this, but in this unusual year… Read more »
Have you heard Yulia’s cover of Spain’s entry together with her husband accompanying on the guitar? Starts at 1:40 on the video below…it’s so lovely and sweet and touching. Makes me wish she sang her own entry in Russian as well.
She will be in the final she will get loads of pity points and her back story rightly or wrongly ?
If she doesn’t sing better than in the recent live performance, I think we have Russia’s first non qualification.
This better not take a qualifying spot from other more deserving entry just because it’s Russia + Yulia’s problem…
The song is just unoriginal, and feels so cold, distant and I just can’t see how anyone can relate to this interpretation
It’s better than last year. It’s not the WOW song, but it’s beautiful. I hope she improves her english. If she’s not confortable with English, why didn’t they give her a song in Russian? I think she would be much better and express herself in a better way. I also hope she sounds better becuase what we saw in Moscow was a bit of a mess. It will qualify because it’s Russia after all.
Leaving out Julia’s live vocals and by just concentrating on the studio version, I have to say that I already strongly dislike this song because of its chorus… Those repeated long notes in “break” sound extremely uninspired, generic and bland to me. I am among the few ones who actually liked “Flame is burning” better – although that wasn’t really reinventing the wheel either, but it was a bit more pleasant to listen to… it’s imo the weakest Russian song since, erm, I don’t know. It’s probably the weakest one. Even Prime Minister and Natalia Podolskaya were better… but let’s… Read more »
The big issue I have is not the song itself, but the questionable delivery and vocals, especially with the only live version. They need to step up their game to be worthy of qualifying. 5/10. But, it’s Russia and they will get sympathy votes, so they will probably get through.
8 to Julia and 5 to Melovin??? Deban…;((
He gave her a 4
I’m sad that this song will probably qualify and steal the spot from more deserving entries.
I don’t know. I have a feeling thr political situation with Russia right now will csuse the juries across thr continent to destroy any chances regardless of the quality of the song. She’d need a top finish from the public vote to offset that…
Do you think esc has anything to do with politics? No. Also France is not about politics. Nothing in esc in about politics. Everybody knows that, right? NOT.
I know it is about politics, which is why I wrote what I wrote.
Tough competition on my 3874687867487th place, but this is the one. -387987987e34/10
10+10+1+5= 26/4 = 6.5/10.0
It seems you have too much tens. 😮
I love they are not using the wheel chair in the video. Hope the wheel chair will be covered on stage too, because Yulia doesn’t want sympathy votes, this is not what defines her.
One of the worst entries of 2018
This will get to the GF only because it’s Russia
And it’s incredibly unfair
Music vid 1/10
PS William, stop giving her pity points, you saw and heard how awful she is live
This is my guilty pleasure this year. But yeah, it should stay in the semifinal, sorry girl
-Another song influenced by reggaeton.
-Her voice sounds slightly better in this song than in last year’s, but the corruption of reggaeton is too strong for me to like it.
And her pronunciation makes me go into Teacher Mode. Can we consider this to be Russia’s weakest entry in the last decade?
Do wiwiblogs juries do know something that we don t know (maybe that Julia will sing on playback on Eurovision stage). We hear who she sing live (Moscow Eurovision party, sang in that party deserved 0 points and song maybe 5 of 10.
WILLIAM 8? HAHAHA YOU MUST BE KIDDING. LOL
She will sing better in Lisbon. Because she will take backing vocalist part for the chorus, which is kind of cheating.
If you cannot sing your song, you shouldn’t qualify.
Odds Eurovision Song Contest 2018:
22. Armenia- Wiwi jury 6.39/10, the voices of people 2.9 stars ? 3192 ratings
23. Azerbaijan – Wiwi jury 7.22/10, the voices of people 3.1 stars ? 2961 ratings.
24. Lithuania – Wiwi jury 5.83/10, the voices of people 3.6 stars ? 2557 ratings
25. Russia – Wiwi jury 5.75/10, the voices of people 2.5 stars ? 2514 ratings
26. Moldova – Wiwi jury 6.08/10, the voices of people 2 stars ? 2919 ratings
27. United Kingdom -Wiwi jury 5.97/10, the voices of people 2.7 stars ? 3515 ratings
These don’t mean that much…. Hungary for example has a score of 2.7 stars or something. I bet half of the People voted 1 star and the other half voted 5 stars. Since you can NOT vote against a song, These Ratings mean nothing at all.
I love this song so much. Just needs to fix the pronunciation and it will slay come May.
Julia is bringing yet another corporate machine-Iike song. The difference is that this song comes from pretty good machine. It feels very contemporary (since this is an important criteria for this kind of entries) l, and very well structured. I particularly like the dark basic vocals during the chorus. I thing will be key during the performance. I also enjoyed when it gets quieter before the last chorus giving us a moment to breathe. I see there is not of love for Russia this year but IMO, it is highly underrated. 8/10.
If it wasn’t for Sweden this would be my last… just kidding (Sweden is my 1st and this my 2nd) I just love evrything about this woman, she is phenomenal and I also love this song. Flame is Burning was a 10/10 for me, and this is a 10/10 for me. This has great staging potential, and since they are right after the break I have high hopes. I would bet on this finishing top 5 because a lot of people will vote for her story but also this well- produced ballad. Te only thing was that her Moscow performance… Read more »
Good to see that someone likes it as well. I think that could be a very potent dark horse. 🙂
EXACTLY. Watch when this finishes top 10 and Sweden wins, I predict a lot of hate
Yeah… as always… I am pretty sure it will end up top 10. I might even bet on it. On Sweden, I like it as well, but winning hmmm… not so sure for this year… 🙂 Wouldn’t mind, though.
So it seems like last year they were trying to make Yuliya this sort of perfect figurine, (just look at how she was dressed and styled in the music video for Flame is Burning), and in the process stripped her away from all her artistry. This year’s entry is miles above that. However, it still has its fair share of problems. The beat of the song is kind of generic, and frankly not that interesting, and the instrumentation is rather uninspired. Also, I don’t know why they keep on insisting that she sings in English. She clearly has diction problems… Read more »
Disappointment. I just skip this song. Its message seems the most positive thing. However, it is not the worst composition among our 43.
Let’s face it, if this was any other country, it would absolutely bomb in the Semi Final, and would be nowhere near qualifying. Also, in my opinion if poor Yulia wasn’t in a wheelchair and hadn’t been through the disaster of being banned from Kyiv last year, I don’t think the Wiwi jury would be so high. It has an heir of patronisation and condescending about it. I have to say, it was quite refreshing having Russia sitting out last year’s contest. Atleast we managed to get the most realistic and deserved top 10 in years. However this year, Russia… Read more »
The audio is not that bad, but I’m afraid of two things:
1/ Staging and performance will be awful in Lisbon.
2/ Russia will qualify, because of this incredibly weak SF2.
34th out of 43 for me. Could have been last in SF1.
Haters are getting too demanding on the singers level of English and have been getting viciously hostile with nasty comments and reactions towards Julia because of her pronunciation. I don’t understand all the fuzz on how one should sing. As an Italian speaker I must say that I can’t understand a single word of the song “La Forza” by Elina but nobody questions her Italian because of her good looks and amazing voice, the same case appeals to Melvin who doesn’t understand a word of English but he sings a song anyway with lyrics that don’t make any sense and… Read more »
If you’re gunna sing in English it has to be proper English otherwise what’s the point? I guess I can say I can sing in Italian and just throw some random Italian words and phrases together.
the difference here that Melovin and Elina can actually deliver very decent live singing ….the pronunciation is a minor factor if you\re an excellent performer and powerful singer ….
and Melovin actually improved his pronunciation a lot since NF, yesterday in Amsterdam his diction was way better, i understood like 90% of his lyrics and his performance was pretty much terrific i would say!
and Elina is a real Diva , i love her 🙂
Elina doesn’t sing in contemporary Italian, but a 19th century version. I doubt it’s the same one you use every day. For the reference, the language used in Mižerja is quite different from one I’m using, while both are Croatian. Mižerja only used a Dalmatian dialect. Story with I Won’t Break isn’t like that, as nothing suggests anything but standard English is being required. And for that, she doesn’t have to speak it IRL to be able to mimic it on stage. Doredos struggle with English in a conversation too, but you’d never know this from their implacable pronunciation in… Read more »
Elina is actually fluent in Italian so she understoods very well of what she’s singing. Ofc you might not understand her singing since it’s opera (duh). Also like Colin said, it’s in old Italian. There is a reason for the machine thingy above the stage which provides translations when you go watch opera. Even on TV when they show opera, there are the subtitles. I mean c’mon, you’re Italian, you should know this. Melovin at least delivers, much better than Yulia. His lyrics actually does make sense, since it’s not literal, you have to think a bit more deeper, the… Read more »
I’m Italian and I understand what she’s singing, except during the high notes ofc.
My 43rd place. I hated the official audio from the beginning as you can clearly hear the massive autotune and terrible pronounciation. But then she started singing live. Oh boy. I still have to take some blood out of my ears every morning. “I think she was sick” oh no. Singing sick sounds completely different. This is just bad. At least let her sing in Russian (although I’ve heard she has difficulties pronouncing that as well, but at least she’s more comfortable in it). SF 2 is a lot weaker than SF 1, okay. But if Russia qualifies, a way… Read more »
8/10 I’ve loved this from first listen. The message she’s conveying is simple to understand and yet so powerful; it tells of her own story and attempts to inspire. I think it’s quite a memorable song. I hope for Lisbon they select the right backing singers; the ones at Moscow dragged the performance down. I see this qualifying easily; but struggling in the final.
First of all, I’d like to point out that I always rate the studio version. I actually like the melody quite a lot, even though some parts sound familiar to me (especially the melody of the “When you come through emotions/From the deepest of oceans” lines). The arrangement and the lyrics do a good job in delivering an “anthemic” feel. Overall, it’s nothing special, but it’s decent. My personal ranking: 6/10 (30th overall) My prediction: 1-5 in the second semi final, 6-10 in the grand final ______________ 1st FR (10.0) | 4th NL (9.5) | 8th LV (9.0) | 10th… Read more »
Again the leftist social democrat from Germany. Russia will win. Your prediction is wrong. Don’t you want to be right for once?
I think predicting a top ten finish for Russia is already higher than most others around here dare to go…
Also, I didn’t make any reference to politics so I don’t really understand your post. Sorry!
Julia is the joke act of 2018 😉
The joke is Norway and it’s not a good one, either. At least she has a song.
I just started to rate and review songs from 2011 onward and finished my 2011 list (on the same rating system as last two years had). For the reference, Russia would by my 36th with this song. Yes, seven songs from 2011 were worse than anything from 2018! Just had to emphasize how the contest in general improved in quality.
Undoubtedly, @Colin. Around 2013 the overall quality of the songs started to be much, much higher. In the 2000-2012 period I believe I even skipped some ESC’s…!
This is getting no votes from Western Europe so why not sing in Russian and make your singer more comfortable?
I like the studio version. You forget that Yulia is singing, the production is quite good. However, when she sings live, there’s no mistaking.
Those who think this is not qualifying…is this worse than the Tolmachevy Sisters? It’s definitely qualifying in my opinion.
I don’t know why everybody hates the Tolmachevy Twins. I really liked “Shine” and their performance on the Grand Final was on point. For me, Yulia is definitely worse than the Tolmachevy Twins.
I agree, @Marcelo. The Tolmachevy twins and their song were far from perfect, but definitely better than this
Her English really isn’t that bad. I can understand her much more than a certain other Slav.
See, the thing is Sisters actually had a decent song plus AWESOME performance plus AWESOME live vocals. Yulia lacks both awesome live vocals and decent song so yeah. But I still wouldn’t count them off, it’s Russia after all 🙁
Semi-2 Wiwi jury Qualified 1)UKR 7.47 2) NET 7.28 3)SLO 6.58 4)SRB 6.50 5)LAT 6.47 6 )POL 6.36 7)MLT 6.31 Not qualified:8)DEN 6.17 9)MDA 6.08 10)RUS 5.75 11)NOR 5. 44 12)MNE 5.19 13)ROM 4.94 14)GEO 4.86 15)SMN 4.11 Modified Score Qualified 1)NET 8.88 2)UKR 8.38 3)MLT 8.13 4)DEN 8.00 5)SRB 8.00 6)SLO 8.00 7)LAT 7.81 Not qualified: 8)MDA 7.75 9)POL 7.63 10)NOR 7.38 11)RUS 7.06 12)ROM 6.69 13)GEO 6.44 14)MNE 6.31 15)SMN 5.94 Total: Qualified 1)NET 16.16 2)UKR 15.85 3)SLO 14.58 4)SRB 14.50 5)MLT14.44 6)LAT 14.28 7)DEN 14.17 Not qualified:8)POL 13.99 9)MDA 13.83 10)NOR 12.82 11)RUS 12.81 12)ROM 11.63 13)MNE… Read more »
The studio is okay, but after listening to her sing live it’s awful. Sorry Russia but if they go to the grand final this year it will mean a good song misses out on the final – unless she steps up her game and sings great on the night.
RUSSIA – Welcome back, Russia and welcome back, Yulia. It’s great to see they kept their promise and that she will finally get her Eurovision experience. I truly wish her a good time. Unfortunately, my positive comments stop here. It’s the only song in the contest which I genuinely don’t like at all. Is it because it’s generic and bland? Is it because the hook is somewhat annoying? Is it because Yulia can’t sing a syllable in English without sounding like she’s choking? Certainly all of the above are a reason this song is awful as it is, but the… Read more »
I feel the same way about it, Colin. My rating was a little bit better, I guess because I still have some hope her performance will improve and the staging maybe can make me at least a little bit emotional.
I read you review, it’s great as always. You really pay attention to details. I don’t like it, but I leave an open option that the presentation could be much better and surprise me in a good way. But, even if her vocals were crystal, this is around 4/10 for me. With a performance like this, it’s just very bad.
Her voice is off-putting to me. And that pronaunciation is awful. The song is generic and repeative. Russia shouldn’t qualify this year, but they will because they are RUSSIA….sigh..
Well this sounds more modern than what Julia brought last year but then that does also makes it more difficult for her to sing! Especially the chorus in the Moscow party was the saddest moment by far for me in this ESC season! I so wanted Julia to qualify with ease and not be close to being the only Russian NQ but sadly she is very close with poor Russian support and no jury support likely with that chorus. That said the song is not bad…. I like the verses and would not skip it if it comes on my… Read more »
Russia is a certain NQ this year, especially in a semi with a vocal greatness Waylon who is untouchable, and loved by everyone whereas Russia is hated by everyone
Waylon is bland, boring and forgettable. I see the possibility of him not qualifying. And I don’t love him, so don’t say “by everyone”.
Waylon will qualify, juries will make sure he qualifies 😉
his performance will be sexy, cool and not gimmicky at all, he said esc is way too gimmicky and joke act sometimes from certain countries like Moldova, Romania, san marino he said
“Russia is hated by everyone” What? One of the most successful country at the ESC.:D
maybe the weakest entry this year,William is too kind with his score
i don\t want it to qualify
Even though I think this song is better than Flame is Burning and I quite like it – I also think it doesn’t sound as powerful as it should. Maybe I’m missing some more bombastic finale to this song, not just half whispering “even in the darkness”. Live performance wasn’t great – but I think that if they don’t put backing vocals so loud in Lisbon that Julia won’t need to shoud over them, it’ll be fine.
I hate her last year song, but it is az amazing song. I can feel her emotions. But yes, she isn’t the best singer. Btw, I think she was sick in Moscow. Maybe she was cold. Wel, in my opinion the live will be much better in Lisbon, but I don’t think she will be perfect.
10/10 for the official audio.
I greatly admire Julia for keeping positive and brave throughout the situation last year, and for seeing this song as an opportunity to express that she is strong through the controversy that surrounds her. This song isn’t bad, but holy crap, that live was dreadful. The song itself is not bad but kind of monotonous and anticlimactic – it just goes on for three minutes. I really don’t think Russia will qualify and I’d be really shocked if I’m proven wrong. It’s Russia, though.
I wonder what’ll happen with the boos for Russia this year