Reaction to Russia v. Ukraine Controversy
Hello Dear Readers!
In these days following Eurovision, one of the loudest, most controversial arguments have been occurring. No, I don’t mean the ridiculous geoblocking of ESC content on the official Eurovision YouTube page in the US, Austria, and Germany along with, presumbably, other countries (which should be the main controversy). There is a very vocal contingent who believe third place Russia should have won by virtue of its top placement among televotes. People who follow the blog on Twitter (@escobsession) and/or on Reddit (Escobsession) know my stance on the issue. But, before I dive into my opinion, let’s look at both sides.
Side A: Russia is the true winner!!
-Russia won the televote.
-Juries intentionally sunk the Russian entry for political reasons.
-The Ukrainian song was political and a clear violation of the Contest rules.
-Furthermore, Ukraine was the beneficiary of a system that painted it as a victim and Russia as the “evil” aggressor.
Side B: Ukraine won fairly!!
-To win, you need both, the support of the juries and the televoting. Ukraine was second with both the juries and the televoters, unlike Australia (1st in jury, 4th in televote) or Russia (1st televote, 6th juries).
-The role of the juries is to stymie diaspora voting and to ensure that high quality songs do not lose to performance-driven entries.
-The EBU has previously approved the song’s lyrics.
-ESC did nothing to perpetuate the perception that Russia was attacking Ukraine. Furthermore, Ukraine got second from the Russian public.
My take on the situation:
-Australia, who placed second, is being entirely ignored in this situation. Though, under the most recent system (2009-2015), Australia would have won.
-No one is really talking about the most important thing: the song! In my opinion, 1944 is an amazing song with a strong composition, an incredible performance, and fantastic lyrics. You Are the Only One is a generic song with uninspired lyrics and typical composition, but an outstanding production that was second-to-none this year (and one of the best ever).
-The time to complain about the Ukrainian lyrics was when the EBU was reviewing it and ultimately approved it to compete.
Is 1944 political? Yes, of course it is.
However, the EBU approved it to compete. Therefore, just as I have said previously about people booing Russia, the time to complain is when the EBU makes the decision to allow participation. Once an entry is allowed to compete, then we need to accept it. 1944 was allowed to compete. We must view it in this context. 1944 is artistically superior to You Are the Only One in terms of lyrics and composition. While Lazarev had the stronger production behind him, Jamala gave an incredible vocal performance.
Ukraine won because 1944 was deemed to be the strongest song in the competition under the accepted rules of this year’s Contest, as evidenced by Ukraine’s strong finish with both, the juries and the televoting. We have a winner and I will, hopefully, see you in Ukraine next year!