The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — have been rating and reviewing every top-three finisher of the 2010s. Today we get to the youngest participant on the list — Bulgaria‘s Kristian Kostov, with his modern and powerful anthem “Beautiful Mess”.
After the success of “If Love was a Crime” for Bulgaria the year before — getting them their best ever result — the Bulgarian delegation got the taste for a win. They came back even stronger in 2017, getting in fresh young talent with a stunning voice beyond his years, direct from The X Factor Bulgaria 2016. Kristian Kosotov, the runner-up from that show, was prepared for the Eurovision circus, armed with an epic song.
He rose up the betting ranks spectacularly once “Beautiful Mess” was released, and even more so once we saw his staging in Kyiv. The Eurovision win seeming to be a three-horse race between himself, Francesco Gabbani of Italy, and Portugal’s Salvador Sobral. As we know, Portugal won but Kristian’s second place was something to be proud of, since he was so young and against much more experienced performers. However, two years later, are the Wiwi Jury still thinking this is beautiful, or a bit of a mess?
Kristian Kostov – “Beautiful Mess”
“Beautiful Mess” reviews
William: Among the most contemporary tracks of 2017, “Beautiful Mess” is a thoughtful piece of pop that oozes soul. Rather than following a traditional formula and reaching an easily identifiable peak, this progresses somewhat linearly. It’s more cinematic and atmospheric than the typical Eurovision song, and has a smooth, polished finish yet never leans toward the sterile. Young Kristian has the face of an angel, but the voice of an established (and much older) international pop star. The staging — pared back and powerful — framed him beautifully and memorably.
Lucy: Simple, modern, quality. When Bulgaria had the task of trying to match the success of Poli Genova the previous year, they must have known it was a going to be extremely hard, given Bulgaria’s history in the contest. Yet they turned up with a young star with killer vocals and a soaring song with electro edges bringing it into 2017 with style. The staging gave full focus on Kristian, deservedly so, and it just worked. An excellent act, who really embraced the contest and experience.
Deban: A slick composition that’s beautiful but not messy, “Beautiful Mess” marries subtle folk elements with sparse contemporary production. Now that Bulgaria has pulled out of the Eurovision Song Contest, Kristian Kostov’s performance remains the country’s best highlight. However, this is a production-driven number that works best in the right setting. Some live renditions of this number in club settings have left me wanting.
Kristin: It took me a while to appreciate “Beautiful Mess” completely, but once I did, it was hard to look past the quality of the song. Kristian’s unbelievably mature voice is what carries the song from start to finish, and I doubt that it would have reached as high with another singer. The song is basically tailor-made for him. This will never be my all-time favourite from Eurovision 2017 but “Beautiful Mess” was nonetheless a clear top-five material, and on stage, it was executed perfectly. The gloominess of the song as well as the emo feeling of it, took the audience by storm and Kristian portrayed that angst with an immaculate confidence, considered his young age. I can definitely understand why it reached second place, although I don’t agree with the results completely. Not a personal hot favourite but damn it, I respect “Beautiful Mess”.
Edd: As is very common with these international songwriting groups, “Beautiful Mess” is a well-written and slick produced song, but lacking in that raw edge that makes it stand out — “Average Perfection” may be a more appropriate title. Kostov’s vocals are excellent and lift the studio version, and the visual performance is pleasant, but still all very grey. All in all, a strong, professional performance, but lacking in memorability.
Steinunn: A mess it is. A beautiful one, not so sure. There’s no denying that Kristian is a great singer and that “Beautiful Mess” is a pretty well-written song. I just don’t like it. Plain and simple. There’s something about this angsty and gloomy teen singing about an untouchable love that doesn’t really hit home with me. I totally get why people like it though, don’t get me wrong. But I just don’t. Not really more to say about it.
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 4 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.14/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!