Eurovision 2009: Ukraine
READ REVIEWS: Semi-Final One | Semi-Final Two | Grand Final
SONG REVIEW | REHEARSAL NOTES | PERFORMANCE NOTES
Look. I’m sorry. I know quite a lot of people probably like this but Svetlana and her anti-crisis nonsense did rather see me rip my own head off. The EBU obviously persuaded the Ukrainian delegation to play down the homo-erotic aspects of the dance moves although this now seems to have been replaced with the gay-centurion theme with ripped torsos. The absence of the “Fuck The Crisis” T-shirts that made an appearance in the rehearsal only goes to show this act was always style over content. Sorry love, you’re still leaving me feeling a little annoyed. Maybe that was the point. The acid test for me is whether or not is provokes a reaction in my husband. Where this act is concerned I can confirm that it did as illustrated in his surprisingly accurate but necessarily brief mickey-take of the song the following morning in bed.
I can feel my reserve tank of bile rising from a steady simmer to a violent boil with this one.
It’s not like I really expected the scenery to be jettisoned, nor the scary looking boys with their relatively ripped torsos and sickening waistlines (don’t tell me they haven’t touched a drop of alcohol this week). What gets on my chimes now is the shameless inclusion of the t-shirts emblazoned with “fuck the crisis”. The t-shirts are lost by the dancers shortly before the track kicks in but Svetlana is seen to keep hers on as the man on the public address “and now a special thing for the press”.
Not only is it a shameless effort to court controversy, it is in my mind a pointless one for two reasons. Reason number one: I’m not entirely sure what “fuck the crisis” actually means. And Reason Number Two: if it’s a reference to the financial crisis we’ve all heard so much about over the past few months, I find it difficult to understand how “fucking the crisis” will actually help us get out of the crisis nor whether Svetlana is necessarily as confident about her proposition as she leads us to believe. Quite apart from anything else I question whether Svetlana has actually done any up to date research just recently. To the best of my knowledge our most recent obsession has been about swine flu, not the financial crisis luv.
Oh … and keep an eye on where those boys place their hands at 3’52”. The T-Shirts will definitely go for the live broadcast on Thursday 14 May and I’d be amazed if the dancers didn’t get asked to change where they position their hands.
I feel the need to be absolutely clear on this fundamental point. I don’t enjoy being mean. I don’t enjoy being disparaging. Neither do I think in my heart of hearts it will necessarily win me any friends. I should really be careful.
HOWEVER. I’ve lurching around trying to grapple with my feelings about Svetlana, her tagline “Anti-Crisis Girl”, her song and now it seems her stage performance.
A tiny, mean spirited, bitter streak in me taps into the growing dislike I have for this song, a feeling largely based on the way the melody seems is presented to me as a fait accompli. That same tiny portion of my narrow-minded brain might even possibly dream about it not getting through to the final. In that dream I picture fairly stern looking representatives from the European Broadcasting Union insisting Svetlana and her dancers take the oversized cogs home with them on the plane, also insisting the drum kit goes as hand luggage.
But, just because it’s not to my tastes doesn’t mean it isn’t to others. And I should be balanced and I should be accommodating. I’m not having people across Europe (if there’s anyone reading this) thinking I’m a mean spirited bastard. That would never do.
I’ve never been to Ukraine but I’m sure I’d like it if I went. I just don’t like this song or the performance as demonstrated in the first rehearsal. If you do that’s fine. Just don’t expect me to like it. And as for the boys in their leggings. Exactly how many people does it take to get them into and out of them?
Genuine fear influences what I write about Ukraine’s 2009 entry. Only last week I saw the BBC Eurovision homepage showcase Svetlana Loboda’s song “Be My Valentine”. To me it’s a sure fire indicator of what everyone will be focussing on in Moscow. And with a by-line of “Anti-crisis girl” Svetlana has a handy marketing ploy tapping into all the various crises we all reckon we’ve suffered from over the past few months.
My fear is that this could be the song which could clinche it all. She’s got untold number of gimmicks – not least her fantastic legs – and even if the melody isn’t strong and enticing, the song’s seemingly unforgiving personality will entrance people to pick up the phone and vote. It could quite possibly be one of those songs which makes it to the finishing line without anyone noticing until, sadly, it’s too late.
There is one thing this crusty old fan can berate Svetlana for. Didn’t she or her producers do their research? Didn’t anyone tell her that there’s only one gay man’s icon who’s allowed to sing her song AND play the drums? Hasn’t she heard of Karen Carpenter? OK, so Carpenter did in the end bow to the pressure of her record company and ditch the drum-kit playing.
But still, if you are going to bend this gay man’s rules, for God’s sake don’t put talcum powder all over your drum kit. That’s going way too far love.