She’s the Russian power vocalist who secured the silver medal at Eurovision 2015. And over the past eleven weeks, Polina Gagarina has been battling it out in another singing competition, China’s Singer 2019. After a run of stellar performances, the star managed to make it all the way to the final show of the season. However, she wasn’t quite able to secure another podium finish.
This was the seventh season of the massively successful Chinese talent show, which has previously featured international stars such as the UK’s Jessie J and Kazakhstan’s Dimash. The contest saw Polina, as well as Bulgaria’s Kristian Kostov, attempting to come out on top against a field of Chinese artists.
At the time of our last update, Kristian had unfortunately just been eliminated during the show’s sixth episode. Meanwhile, Polina earned her second win of the contest with a performance of her Eurovision entry “A Million Voices”. Since then, the Russian singer has had a roller coaster ride, with a number of stand out performances, but also just avoiding elimination (and some unexpected health drama).
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Nevertheless, Polina managed to hold her own and make it through all eight remaining weeks. Unfortunately, she was eventually eliminated during the first round of the grand final, and not able to proceed to the top four. In the end it was China’s Liu Huan, also nicknamed China’s King of Pop, who was crowned the winner.
Although she might not have taken home the crown, the Eurovision runner-up still has a lot to be proud of from her time on Singer. She earned the best average ranking of all the contestants in this year’s season. With three wins under her belt, Polina earned an average rank of 2.86, and was the only competitor to secure an average of below three.
Polina’s Singer Journey (Part 2)
Following on from her second win of the season, Polina’s previously easy road through the competition hit a major snag. Opening that week’s qualifying round, the Russian star chose to sing Christina Aguilera’s anthemic and emotional song “Hurt”. Vocally on point and with tonnes of feeling behind the performance, there appeared to be no reason why she wouldn’t be keeping her position near, or on top of, the standings (despite missing a few of the words). However, the Chinese audience didn’t quite latch onto the song. Polina only came sixth out of seven in the voting and seemed in danger of elimination.
In week eight, things returned to normal. Polina chose to perform her 2012 hit “Спектакль окончен” (“Show is over”). The confidence and ease she had displayed in previous weeks was once again in evidence. Backing dancers clothed in masks gave the performance an air of mystery. Polina slayed in every possible way, even singing through a climactic end where she was lifted by two of her dancers. She easily secured her third win of the competition to survive another week.
Unfortunately, when you’re on top, if you don’t stay there the only way to go is down. And this is exactly what happened to Polina in week nine’s challenge round, when she sung a Russian-language version of Li Jian’s “Lake Baikal”. As always the performance seemed vocally perfect, fantastically staged, and amazingly delivered. However, the performance didn’t connect with the Chinese audience and the Russian singer finished in last place for the week.
Although this would normally result in a participant’s elimination, the designated challenger for that week, Hong Kong’s Angela Hui, failed to finish in the top four and win her challenge. This meant that Hui was the one to be sent home, and Polina moved onto the next episode by the skin of her teeth.
Weeks 10 & 11
More drama was set to hit Polina in week ten. Taking command from the start and dialling up the energy to the max, Polina put on a spectacular performance of “Forbidden Love”, from her 2016 album 9. Amazing staging, including complex choreography and energetic backing dancers, seemed to ensure that Polina would sail through to the next week. Indeed, she was ranked third for this episode.
However, backstage footage of Polina immediately after her performance showed that she had suffered a muscle injury in her back, which was causing her extreme pain. Although there was the possibility she may have to withdraw from the competition, producers instead allowed her to miss the following week’s show in order to heal. The results of week ten were subsequently made void, and week eleven was changed from a knockout to a challenge round.
Week 12 – Breakout
Polina subsequently returned to the competition in the critical breakout round, which would determine who would advance to the two-show final round. Four singers who had stayed in the show from the beginning without being eliminated were granted automatic spots in the final. This left the remaining contestants to fight it out for three remaining positions. To add to the stakes, all the previously eliminated acts, including Kristian Kostov, also competed in this round.
Polina decided to perform a mash-up of the Russian folk-song “CTopohoю Дождь” (“Raindrops”) and her own song “колыбельная” (“Lullaby”). Bathed in light, the star wore a gorgeous blue dress with arm drapes that caught the wind machine perfectly. Polina sang with emotion and once again owned the stage from beginning to end. Finishing in a solid second place, Polina advanced to the final rounds.
Meanwhile, Kristian Kostov performed a mash-up of his songs “Get It” and “Rift”, from his 2018 EP Shower Thoughts. Unfortunately, the Bulgarian singer only came seventh in the voting. This wasn’t enough to see him re-enter the competition, and he was sent home for the final time.
Week 13 – Finals Rush Hour
The next round, dubbed “Santine Finals Rush Hour”, was the first time in the history of Singer that the public viewers at home could cast their vote as well (each show is usually pre-recorded with the result being determined by the in-studio audience). All of the performances were taped and uploaded to Hunan TV’s website, with voting allowed in the week up until the airdate. The top three singers who received the highest number of votes were each awarded bonus points for the first round of the grand final the following week. However, these results were not made public.
The episode involved each contestant performing with a guest singer. Polina was joined by Geng Sihan, and together they put their own spin on Lady Gaga’s and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow” from the film A Star Is Born. The duo set the mood perfectly and their vocals blended amazingly well together to produce some delicious harmonies.
Week 14 – Grand Final
In the first round of the grand final, the seven finalists were split into three groups, with only the winner of each group, and a wild card, advancing to the top four. Once again each contestant was joined by a guest singer, but in Polina’s case it was three. The Russian star formed a quartet with Kazakhstan’s Junior Eurovision 2018 singer Daneliya Tuleshova, Filipino-Canadian singer Darren Espanto, as well as Chinese rapper Air Ari.
Together they attempted to tackle USA for Africa’s 1985 anthem “We Are the World”. Although the sentiment of having four singers from different countries performing the song was there, these were large shoes to fill. Everyone did their best, but with so many parts to the performance it seemed as if there were too many cooks in the kitchen. Unfortunately, the audience felt the same way. Polina failed to make it out of her group, and was not awarded the wild card, meaning her journey on Singer had reached its end.
What do you think of Polina’s journey on Singer? Which performance along the way was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!