Our first highlight from Tuesday’s set of first rehearsals comes from Serbia. ‘Beauty Never Lies’ is a stormer of an entry from Bojana Stamenov and likely to stand out in a particularly ballad-heavy contest. The song gets particularly crazy and ‘hands in the air’ in the last minute which, fortuitously, is the featured excerpt below. It certainly looks and sounds impressive; not only is there a strong vocal from Stamenov, but she has a merry troupe of backing dancers flinging off their outfits with wild and gay abandon. It’s all rather fabulous, although we’re hoping that it doesn’t suffer from the same fate that befell Valentina Monetta in 2013 when the beat kicked in just too late to earn it a qualification.
It is with a sense of irony that we proceed from what sounds like a pretty convincing ode to equality from Serbia, to the entry from Russia. Russian performers have suffered from a somewhat negative crowd reaction in recent years – we can’t really think why a crowd dominated by homosexual men would be so hostile to Russia, but there we are… Ok, leaving aside the thinly veiled political reference, ‘A Million Voices’ is a pretty strong power ballad, seemingly well sung by Polina Gagarina. We say ‘seemingly’ simply because this clip shows a segment where the backing singers are doing most of the work, whilst Gagarina herself appears to be having what we would call a ‘Mariah moment’. There’s a lot of ‘white and light’ here, with the background stage effects used to great effect. No one should put any money on this failing to qualify.
Our next featured song is something of a favourite of ours here at So So Gay towers, even if it doesn’t seem to have made as much of an impact on the fans as it probably should have done. We’re talking about the entry from Hungary, ‘Wars for Nothing’, sung by Boggie. This is a simple, gently-building ballad with a strong anti-war theme. Incidentally, it has a pretty lovely video which is worth checking out too. As befits the song, the performance is simple and stationery, testament to the fact that less is more. Pay close attention to the graphics in the background.