Photo: EBU / Andres Putting

She’s already won two Vision Music Awards, but Manizha is showing no signs of slowing down as the “Russian Woman” singer claims yet another accolade in this year’s award season.

We’re pleased to announce Manizha’s “Russian Woman” as the winner of wiwibloggs’ Vision Music Award 2021 for Best Song with a Message.

Manizha’s victory in this category makes her the most decorated artist at the 2021 VMAs so far, after previously winning the Dana International Award for LGBTQ+ Equality and the Most Improved award.

Our readers voted “Russian Woman” as their favourite out of six shortlisted tracks.

“Russian Woman” by Manizha wins Best Song with a Message at the Vision Music Awards 2021

Music always comes with a story. Whether it’s the tale of a personal struggle or a message for society at large, songwriting enables an artist to channel their stories through sound — and Eurovision helps them relay it to a global audience.

We asked our readers to vote for the Eurovision 2021 song with the best message. And running away with the gold is “Russian Woman” mastermind Manizha, who picked up a grand total of 1,946 votes — that’s 32.87% of all votes cast.

Manizha’s “Russian Woman” remains a powerful call for oppressed people to take back the power and drive social change.

The song’s lyrics recount the history of women’s struggles in Russia, persevering through hardships, war and gender stereotypes.

Manizha sings to herself in the third person from the perspective of a misogynist commenting on the singer’s clothing, weight and lifestyle choices:

You’re over 30 already!
Hello? Where are your kids?
You are quite fine overall
But losing weight would do you good

With semi-parodical jabs like this, Manizha pokes fun at critics and old-fashioned, sexist perspective.

And though the song is almost entirely sung in Russian, the few lines in English help deliver Manizha’s message to an international audience.

In Rotterdam, as the song reached its climax, Manizha raised her fist in the air and said to the 183 million Eurovision viewers: “Are you ready for change? Because we are the change.”

As wiwiblogger Robyn described in her Wiwi Jury review:

“‘Russian Woman’ is unusual and pings off in so many different directions. This might normally be bad news for a Eurovision entry, but Manizha is here to guide us along the way. The song comes with a message — and Manizha has resisted the temptation of translating too much of the song into English, instead keeping it in a key language spoken by, well, Russian women. Regardless of how the song does in Rotterdam, it is just really refreshing to have Russia send a Eurovision song in a very different style to the slick pop tracks usually heard.”

The silver medal in our poll for the Best Song with a Message award went to Italy’s Måneskin for their track “Zitti e buoni”. The Eurovision champions delivered a message of defiance and non-conformity with their crystal microphone-winning anthem. In our poll, the four-piece rock band picked up 1,195 votes — that’s 20.18% of the total vote.

Meanwhile, the bronze medal went to Norway’s TIX. The “Fallen Angel” singer, donned in bling and angel wings, delivered a touching message about self worth and mental health. In our poll, TIX received 1,066 votes — a clean 18% of all votes cast.

Poll results: Who should win the Vision Music Award 2021 for Best Song with a Message?

  1. Russia: Manizha “Russian Woman” — 32.87% (1,946 votes)
  2. Italy: Måneskin “Zitti e buoni” — 20.18% (1,195 votes)
  3. Norway: TIX “Fallen Angel” — 18% (1,066)
  4. Malta: Destiny “Je Me Casse” — 10.42% (617 votes)
  5. Germany: Jendrik “I Don’t Feel Hate” — 9.91% (587 votes)
  6. Netherlands: Jeangu Macrooy “Birth of a New Age” — 8.61% (510 votes)

Total votes: 5,921 votes

Vision Music Awards 2021

This award is just one of 14 awards we have launched as part of the Vision Music Awards 2021 (VMAs).

Our 14 categories — from Best Dressed to Best Use of Social Media — identify the contestants who left the biggest impression on Eurovision fans, regardless of whether they won the contest or not.

Click here to see the remaining categories, and stay tuned to find out the Vision Music Award winners!

Do you agree Manizha’s “Russian Woman” was the best song with a message? Which other artists delivered an inspiring theme? Sound off in the comments below.

Read more Vision Music Awards 2021 news here

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2 years ago

the fact that the release of the song was followed by a strong nationalist and conservative reaction showed the message is acute and relevant in modern Russia. Totally deserved

2 years ago

I’m aware I might get some – reactions for this comment. But any others who agree there was too much focus on “messages” in the songs this year? I also think ESC should be taken seriously, and I indeed favour lyrics which are not like “Say nanana” or “Sha la lee”. But as a big fan of melodies, I think the actual melodies are more important than the lyrics. Sometimes there was too much focus on songs having to have a “message” for the sake of it. Sometimes it turned out pretensious I think. ESC is – even if it’s… Read more »

2 years ago

Manizha’s backstory makes the whole thing even more touching. She doubtlessly deserves the three awards so far and I hope she gets more!

In other news, Jeangu was underrated and Tix was overrated

2 years ago
Reply to  Sot

yes yes and yes

2 years ago

My thoughts with Afghan people who are basically almost the same nation as Tajiks. Manizha had to flee from Civil war, now thousands of Afghans are migrating to Russia. Hope their struggles end soon.