When you’re an American Eurovision fan in 2016, things can get pretty frustrating after the contest ends. PED (Post-Eurovision depression) sets in, the Eurovision stream and official YouTube videos get geoblocked due to the Logo TV deal, and there are very few people to talk about the contest with.
I usually have to go on Twitter or Tumblr to talk to someone in the fandom, but my geography professor, who is constantly subjected to me crashing her office hours at uni and ranting about the contest, was nice enough to set up a Skype session for us to talk in person. She also teaches a class focusing on Russia and neighboring states, so just the results and surrounding events were enough material to talk about for hours.
While she hadn’t watched the contest in full, she explicitly mentioned that she didn’t like Sergey Lazarev’s performance because it appeared like “Russia just threw in everything but the kitchen sink.” After thinking about it for a while, it did make sense. Yes, Russia definitely looked like it wanted to win, host the contest with expensive production that would beat out 2009, and possibly even set up a few positive stereotypes. And they would do anything, i.e. take aspects from a bunch of top 10 entries and combine them into a hopefully winning entry:
(Edit: Previous video had been taken down, so here’s a rehearsal video instead.)
**Disclaimer: There is more than a bit of sarcasm in here; imagine this announced by some Russian media person looking forward to a win in May.**
Having an international team
The artist is Russian, but obviously the Russian delegation has to have the best of everything, from composers to choreographers to producers. Let’s go with the Dream Team then, with composers Filipp Kirkorov and Dimitris Kontopoulos working with choreographer Fokas Evangelinos. Just add lyrics co-written by John Ballard, a Scottish person working in Sweden, four Swedish backing vocalists/dancers, and Cypriot vocal coach Alex Panayi, and that’s a team involved in 19 past Eurovision entries, including 2 wins and 8 non-winning top 10 entries. Even if it’s not enough to win, it has to be enough to get points from countries of involved team members.
(To no one’s surprise: 14 points from Sweden, 22 points from Cyprus, and 22 points from Greece.)
Bringing a projection screen on stage
Well Måns Zelmerlöw won the entire thing with a projection screen last year, so why can’t Russia?
Interacting with the projection screen
Last year’s winner might have had a projection screen, but it just looked like an animated chalkboard drawing. Maybe it was supposed to look like that, but check out all these 3D effects!
Including a ledge on the screen
Belarus had ledges for the dancers on moving screens, but even without the dancers they’re still visible. Check out this wall with a ledge that’s hidden by Spandex, so you can’t see it with the camera. Not to mention this ledge is higher off the ground
Including wings on the backdrop
Well Conchita won with wings, right? So why can’t Sergey with wings?
(Or he’s using wings simply because they’re part of his artist identity, as he has wing tattoos, wings on his microphone stand, and a past Russian national final song called “Flyer.”)
*Cue Maltese commentator saying that they still have better wings*
Having dancers appear “by magic” (read: zooming out after doing a closeup of the artist)
Camera magic is wonderful. This trick has worked for other Dream Team-composed entries, so why can’t it work this year?
Climbing a wall
We still have no idea what Guildo Horn was doing back then. Don’t worry, we know exactly what’s going on here. And it should be as safe as that third grader climbing up the slide while playing tag on the play structure.
Singing while lying down
We’ve definitely seen that singing while lying down on the floor stands out. But while Loic does it on the ground, let’s up it a notch and have Sergey sing while mid-sit-up and on a ledge a meter and a half off the ground! And let’s add 3D effects so it looks like he’s falling into a black hole!
Zooming in on the artist’s face
The hosts even sing about this in Love Love Peace Peace! It has to work!
But on the other hand, they did mention “look into the TV camera so the audience can see that you’re lovable, not desperate.”
Standing on top of a box
So Ani Lorak standing on a box with a Dream Team-composed entry got her 2nd place because Dima Bilan threw in an ice rink, an Olympic figure skater, and a Hungarian guy playing a Stradivarius. What if we put Sergey on a box with a Dream Team-composed entry and involve the backdrop and screen?
Or maybe it looks like next year it’s time to sit on a box instead, because that seems to get more jury votes…
The Russian delegation clearly understands that Eurovision is a TV show and needs all the effects to get a good placing. However, maybe they might want to focus a bit more on the song next year. Considering that Bulgaria and France got top 10 with fewer effects on stage, that might actually work out.