Russia Day - their most iconic entries
Today June 12 is ‘Russia Day’ and has been the national holiday of the Russian Federation since 1992. To celebrate this day we’re going to have a look at Russia and their five most iconic entries.
Russia debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest 1994 in Dublin and achieved a creditable 9th place with the song ‘Vyechniy stranik’ performed by Youddiph. Russia has one win to its name when in 2008 Dima Bilan took the prize in Belgrade with his song ‘Believe’. Since the turn of the century, Russia has placed in the Top 5 on 10 occasions making them one of the real powerhouse nations in the modern competition.
Let’s look at what we have chosen as their five most iconic entries:
5. Polina Gagarina – A Million Voices (2015 – 2nd place)
Eurovision will always be synonymous with soaring vocals and one of the most iconic was delivered by Russian chanteuse Polina Gagarina. After storming her Semi Final she eventually placed second in the Grand Final on 303 points. The first time a runner up had received more than 300 points.
Unfortunately for Gagarina, Russian government involvement in a conflict in Ukraine and anti-LGBT policies lead to widespread jeering when she was awarded points in the Grand Final and Eurovision’s famed ‘anti-booing’ technology had to be utilized to prevent television viewers hearing the crowd’s reaction. A stern telling off by Green Room host Conchita Wurst was also required to quell the audience on the night.
4. t.A.T.u. – Ne Ver, Ne Boisia (2003 – 3rd place)
When Russia announced that pop-duo t.A.T.u. would be their competing artist for 2003 you knew they had come to win. Already bona fide popstars around Europe and in many parts of the world, the duo were Russia’s biggest name in the music industry.
Controversy was never far away with t.A.T.u. and it followed them to Eurovision. Their time in Riga was plagued by reports of disrespectful comments about other competitors, speculation that they would sensationally kiss during the performance and a rumoured falling out between the pair that had some wondering if they would end up performing at all!
Ultimately they came third, only three points behind Turkey’s Sertab. Accusations of voting irregularities were made against both the UK and Ireland as both nations were the only ones that had not voted for the entry, denying it a victory … Drama to the very end!
3. Dima Bilan – Believe (2008 – 1st place)
The return of Russian star Dima Bilan, two years after his second place finish in Athens was a signal of intent that the Russians were desperate to finally get the victory that had alluded them.
A powerful ballad, expressively performed by a barefooted Bilan and curiously accompanied by a violinist and Olympic and World Champion ice-skater Evgeni Plushenko it may not go down as one of the most beloved winners, but there it is certainly an iconic Eurovision performance for the ages.
2. Buranovskiye Babushki – Party For Everybody (2012 – 2nd place)
Any list of iconic Russian Eurovision entries must include the adorable Buranovskiye Babushki. Comprising of eight elderly women from the village of Buranovo, their infectious blend of ethno-pop won over the hearts of Europe and earned Russia another runner-up spot in the process. Their performance featured the ladies in traditional peasant clothing and a large spinning oven. Not a prop we are likely to see again on the Eurovision stage.
1. Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One (2016 – 3rd place)
What part of Sergey’s 2016 Eurovision performance isn’t iconic!? A banger of a track with great vocals was topped off with some of the most stunning visual effects ever seen on the Eurovision stage. Performing in front of a projection screen that displayed 3D images that Sergey interacts with, he seemingly climbs the screen and floats in mid-air at one point. It really has to be seen to be believed. It impressed the European public so much it won the Televote in the Grand Final, but unfortunately for the Russian superstar he didn’t impress the Juries as much and ended up in third place.
So that’s our selection of the most iconic Russia songs. It was very hard to just pick five for a very successful nation. Surely another win will happen sooner rather than later...