Global reality television trends have allowed Eurovision’s influence to continue to grow (much to the delight of international fans), with a number of the contest’s stars exporting their talents to competition shows around the globe. Most recently, Eurovision 2015 and 2017 runners-up Polina Gagarina and Kristian Kostov have both been taking part in the seventh season of the massively successful Chinese talent show Singer (which has previously featured international stars such as the UK’s Jessie J and Kazakhstan’s Dimash).
The contest has seen both singers attempting to come out on top against a field of Chinese artists. Unfortunately for Kristian Kostov, that ambition will not become a reality, after he was eliminated in the latest episode of the show.
With a complicated structure of week-to-week qualifying, knockout, and challenge rounds, Kristian did well to keep his place in the show for six episodes.
However, the latest episode was just a step too far, and the Bulgarian singer ended up in last place during Friday’s voting following his performance of “Heaven Has Demons” (originally sung by Taiwanese singer Yoga Lin). This result meant he had to leave the competition.
— Febry ???? (@bESCpositive) February 15, 2019
Meanwhile, Russian star Polina Gagarina won the latest episode of the show. Singing her Eurovision 2015 entry “A Million Voices”, she delivered the pitch-perfect vocal power that Europe fell in love with four years ago.
Wearing a simple yet stunning white dress (though not quite as egg-shaped as her Eurovision stage dress), Polina had the audience clapping along to the anthem. She was rewarded with a standing ovation before she’d even finished singing.
This is Polina’s second win of the contest since joining the show in week four as a substitute for a previously eliminated singer. Polina has wowed audiences with her emotional delivery. She’s shown a level of comfort on the stage and in her performances that her (mostly male) competitors seem hard-pressed to match.
With the Chinese audience responding well to the Eurovision star so far, we’ll be hoping Polina can last all the way to the final, scheduled for 5th April.
Kristian and Polina’s Singer journeys
Kristian has also performed his Eurovision entry on the show. In the first episode he sang “Beautiful Mess” to great effect. He was aided both by modern instrumental and traditional Chinese orchestration, which made the song sound richer in depth and emotion. The staging also provided its own amount of brightness, energy, and mood. Kristian finished in fourth place, guaranteeing himself safety.
Weeks 2 & 3
As the competition has gone on, the road has gotten a little tougher. After taking on Adele’s “Hello” in the second episode and placing fifth, in week three Kristian performed a mash-up of the Gnarls Barkley hit “Crazy” and Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t”. While he delivered the songs with confidence and ease, the messy wardrobe and the arrangement may have turned some viewers off. He finished sixth, just one place away from elimination.
Fast forward another week and Kristian impressed with his rendition of the emotional Mandarin song “Remember”, originally sung by Taiwanese Puyuma singer A-Mei. Kristian reclaimed a more solid position in the competition, finishing fourth for the week.
However, the standout performance of the episode came from the new competitor to the contest — Polina Gagarina.
Her first qualifying performance saw her wow the in-studio audience, and viewers alike, with a powerfully emotional rendition of “Кукушка” (“A Cuckoo”). The simple staging and lighting put Polina front and centre, where she should be. The accompaniment of the on-stage orchestra framed the star’s power vocals perfectly. She rode the wave of audience reaction to a first-place position.
In week five things took a step backwards for Kristian, as he chose a mash-up of the Shawn Mendes hits “In My Blood” and “Stitches”. Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to resonate much with the audience. He ended up in fifth place — still safe, but not able to progress to the upper echelon of singers in the voting.
On the other hand, Polina delivered another emotionally stirring performance that had the in-studio audience eating out of the palm of her hand. Looking gorgeous and fierce in a simple red sleeveless gown, the Eurovision runner-up once again focused everyone’s attention on her, singing the Russian/Soviet folk song “Катюша” (“Katyusha”).
Showing an innate ability to connect the words and emotions and make you feel something (even if what she’s singing isn’t in your native language), Polina’s performance shined. Another strong week helped her finish second.
Having topped the table once again in week six, Polina will now continue on to the competition’s third round.
What do you think about Polina and Kristian’s performances on Singer? Do you think Polina can go all the way to the final? Let us know in the comments below!