As usual Russia has made an internal choice. This was the last song of this year’s participants which has been submitted within the given deadline. With a surprise the Russian broadcaster Channel 1 has taken the punk pop rave band Little Big, as this band is known for its provocative and shrill songs and video clips.
The band consists of Ilya "Ilich" Prusikin, Sonya Tayurskaya, Anton "Boo" Lissov and Sergey "Gokk" Makarov and was founded in St. Petersburgh in 2013. The band describes themselves as satirical art collaboration and want to wake up people to rethink about Russian stereotypes. “We just want to show people that they own their lives. Countries and governments are not as important as they think, a person can deal with what he wants", said frontman Ilya Prusikin. The video clips are all self-made, have a look at this:
Little Big has released four albums, two EP’s and various singles. The biggest hit was “Skibidi” which has received more than 23 million clicks within a week and by now has 360 million. The song “Uno” is another funny song with a distinctive rhythm, but compared to the music they normally do, it appears a bit harmless. In this year’s competition the biggest competitors with similar music would have been Iceland and Lithuania. It’s not clear if Little Big will be able to compete next year, as this year’s ESC has been cancelled because of the Corona crisis.
Top 10: 13
Chance for Top 10: 57%
Chances for Final: 88%
Russia’s debut year has been in 1994 in Dublin with “Vechni Stranik” by Youddiph, she made a very good 9th place in Dublin. At that time Russian pop music was not very well known in Western Europe. In the same year the ESC has opened its doors to six new countries, which were Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Estonia. This was due to a very high interest in participation of these countries.
In the past there has been the Intervision Song Contest – the music contest from the ex-Soviet countries – the network of Eastern European television stations, which mostly took place in Sopot, Poland. The contest was also open to non-European countries such as Cuba, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The famous singer Alla Pugachova, who also represented Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest could win the Intervision Song Contest with “Vsyo mogut koroli” in 1978. Also the Finnish singer Marion Rung could win it with “Hyvästi yö” 1980.
It’s no surprise that the majority of the Russian entries were sung in English, only the three first entries have been sung in the native Russian language. This has been made to increases the chances of good placings. Furthermore the aim of the Russians is to spread out the image of the utmost contemporary music to the world – the new music from Russia. A similar effect could be monitored at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sotchi during the opening ceremony. The newest beats and techniques have been used to show that Russia is ultra-modern and this should overtrump the level of the western standard.
The big wish to win the ESC came true in 2008, when Dima Bilan sang “Believe” in Belgrade, with the help from the violinist Edvin Marten and the Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, who won three gold medals at the Olympic Games. This was the first ice-skating performance at Eurovision. For many this exaggerated performance was far too much, but it also contributed to the first Russian victory at the same time.
One year later the Eurovision Song Contest took place in Moscow for the first time in history. The Russians have put every effort into these three live shows to make it the most modern ESC ever. The latest technology has been used, in particular the massive usage of LED lights ever in ESC history. But the Russians have often been close to victory four times 2nd place, and four times 3rd place. With such a good statistics nobody can complain. 13 times Russia made it into the Top10, so there is a chance of 57% for Russia to be on a top position. There is always a lot of neighbour country voting from the ex-Soviet countries, so Russia mostly qualifies for the Grand Finals, but in 2018 Russia did not make it into the Grand Final for the first time ever. Julia Samoylova has been disqualified from the 2017 ESC, which was held in Kiev. At her second chance in Lisbon with “I Won’t Break”, she could not fulfil her dream. In 1996 there has been an international pre-decision as too many countries wanted to participate, a lot of countries could not go to Oslo, also the Russian entry “Ja, eto ja” by Andrej Kosinskij. Between 1998 and 1999 Russia refused its participation.
Russia is the biggest country in the world and it has a huge amount of viewers, the interest in the ESC has grown from year to year, there were also singers from the Asian part in Vladivostok: Mumiy Troll with “Lady Alpine Blue” (12th). Interesting to see is that there are ten time zones in Russia. Watching the ESC in Eastern Russia means people have get up at 7 o’clock in the morning to witness the live show, similar to Australia.
1x 1st place “Believe” ǀ Dima Bilan (Belgrade 2008)
4x 2nd place “Solo” ǀ Alsou (Stockholm 2000) “Never Let You Go” ǀ Dima Bilan (Athens 2006) “Party For Everybody” ǀ Buranovskiye Babushki (Baku 2012) “A Million Voices” ǀ Polina Gagarina (Vienna 2015)
4x 3rd place “Ne Ver, Ne Boisia” ǀ t.A.T.u. (Riga 2003) “Song #1” ǀ Serebro (Helsinki 2007) “You Are The Only One” ǀ Sergey Lazarev (Stockholm 2016) “Scream” ǀ Sergey Lazarev (Tel Aviv 2019)