The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — have reassembled to celebrate the 2010s. The past decade has seen huge changes to the Eurovision Song Contest, and we’re taking a look back at the top-three placed acts from year year.
First up, we’re heading to the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna, Austria to review Russia‘s Polina Gagarina with her epic power ballad “A Million Voices”.
In 2015, Russia needed something wonderful and hopeful after unfortunate incidents in 2014. Enter Polina Gagarina, the stunning blonde songstress with lungs for days, and her power ballad “A Million Voices”. Despite the world peace message and all-in-white music video (and later staging), there was a sense of modernity that Russia’s 2013 entry “What If” didn’t possess. The act brought a sincerity in the belief of the message from Polina herself — proved by her posing for pictures with Conchita, an act less than favourable with the broadcaster, but revered across Europe.
The aforementioned lungs for days made a top-five finish inevitable. Polina did better than many expected, getting 303 points and taking home the metaphorical silver medal. Some had said that if “A Million Voices” were up against Måns Zelmerlöw’s “Heroes” in 2019, Polina would walk it — but will our jury feel the same?
Polina Gagarina – “A Million Voices”
“A Million Voices” reviews
Sebastian: It was a somewhat ignored performance that laid under the radar back in 2015. But when you look back at Polina’s performance (and remove any of the clear anti-Russian bias of the time), you’re left with staggering vocals and a visually stunning backdrop with an equally visually stunning singer. Yes, it might be power-ballad-by-numbers, but it is the best rendition of its genre.
Robyn: Four years later, the “A Million Years” performance comes across as a number from a Christian family concert. It’s so wholesome, but in a way that doesn’t fit with the altered political landscape of 2019. Polina’s heartfelt vocals can’t be faulted, but viewing this song now, it feels like a relic of its age.
Jonathan: In all honesty, “A Million Voices” passed me by in 2015 and I fell in love with Polina more for her post-Eurovision discography. Looking back now, it’s clear she flawlessly delivered an inspirational power ballad that’s easily accessible for people of all nationalities. The performance is a good example of how to effectively use the LEDs and lighting options provided by the in-house stage team to enhance the emotion of the song (even if that emotion is craving egg for breakfast the next morning). Polina’s passion and vocal talent helps lift the song, and her joy after finishing the performance is the cherry on top that endears her to the audience at home.
Oliver: In my eyes, 2015 was the turning point for Russia in terms of the quality of their entries in the Eurovision Song Contest. In the years following “A Million Voices”, all of Russia’s songs — while performed by credible artists — felt a little flat to me and never placed highly in my rankings. However, “A Million Voices” has a powerful yet gentle charm that was magnified to galactic proportions during the live performance. The vocals, the staging, visuals and Polina’s photogenicity all tied this entry together, catapulting her to the best Russian Eurovision song alongside Serebro’s “Song #1”.
Barnabas: Russia has been criticised several times for sending a ballad about peace and love which seemed paradoxical to the political situations of the time (Eurovision is a non-political event, huh?). But who cares about that if musically those songs just work? “A Million Voices” wasn’t in my personal top five but the top-notch live performance and staging truly made the result deserved. Just one more thing… can I have that transparent drum kit for myself? (haha)
Charlotte: This was definitely winner material. “A Million Voices” is the most memorable runner-up in my Eurovision history — Polina had it all! I absolutely loved her performance. That strong voice and that Cinderella white dress, backing vocalists and a band! Everything came into place at the right moment. Pure magic. Polina blew me away.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 24 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 6 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.7/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!