The Power of the Revamp

Every Eurovision national final season, there are songs that we would love to forget, the songs that fly under the radar, or the songs that we love to hate. And then these songs get chosen. We think ‘this will come last, for sure’, but by the time May comes around, things change – the song changes, and suddenly we’re in love, calling it ‘the most deserving winner ever.’ So how is it that we can change our minds so dramatically in the space of a couple of months? Well that’s the power of the revamp…

This year, a number of songs, including Belarus, Georgia and Malta have decided to utilise their time by tweaking parts of their song in order to (hopefully) make the song better. Sometimes, the changes made really take the song to a whole new level, but sometimes, the songs are better when they are left untouched. So let’s look back at some of the most recent cases to really discover the power of the revamp…

First let’s look at Georgia from this year. The Georgian national final wasn’t overly impressive, and it was clear that Nina Sublatti was the only performer with real Eurovision potential. In order to hear the changes, we first have to have a listen to the national final version.

The backing music is what I find really lacks in this version. For such a fierce song, the backing music wasn’t as punchy as it needed to be to stand out from the rest of the songs at Eurovision. Full respect to Nina, who did an amazing job to create the song, but at this point, it was a bit flat. Cue the revamp…

Now this is what a revamp can really do. The song catches your attention a lot better now, with the music matching the power of the lyrical message. When you break it down musically, the song hasn’t actually changed THAT much, but you can really hear the difference. There’s more depth in the song, and that’s really to the advantage of Nina, who now has what will most likely be a qualifying, and well placing song.

Now for a serial revamper – Ukraine. In 2014, Mariya Yaremchuk won the Ukrainian national final with the song Tick Tock. Wowzers, this was a bit of a doozy. The opening line ‘We belong to each other, like a sister to a brother’ mortified Eurovision fans, and just everything about the song was so cheesy. The chorus wasn’t great, but the song did have potential due to its obvious catchiness. So let’s start the Ukrainian revamp journey by looking at the slight car crash that is the national final version of Tick Tock…

Alright, so, a bit dodgy. But it’s Ukraine, and they’re not the type of country to just pick a song and send it off to Eurovision as is. So the first revamp was heard at the Maltese national final not long after, and Eurovision fans totally did not see this coming. The song had changed dramatically, and no one was really sure if this was the final version. Not only did the song have a more mysterious feel to it, but the singer herself had a bit of a makeover, wearing a more modest dress in comparison to her double slit gown at the Ukrainian national final. The one thing that Eurovision fans wanted gone was that controversial first line of the song – but it was still there, even though a lot of the lyrical content had been taken out. So let’s have a look at it:

Here we were, thinking that Ukraine were done with the revamping for one year, but we were oh so wrong. Somehow, Ukraine pulled THIS out of their hat (and that is a big hat, Mariya)

Finally, the creepy first line was out, and with a complete lyrical overhaul, and a musical change, the song was crazy good. Perfect for Eurovision. The song was a lot more, dare I say, classy, and obviously the 2nd revamp was a good move by Ukraine, as they ended up 6th in the Grand Final. Well played Ukraine, well played.

Another country who is no stranger to the revamp is Belarus. Back in 2012, the band Litesound was (eventually) picked for Eurovision, with their pop-rock song We Are the Heroes. Here is the national final version:

A relatively inoffensive song, it was neither a terrible, nor an amazing song, but with a few more rehearsals, and a bit of tweaking, it would have been at least, a qualifying song. Somewhere along the line, someone decided to ‘Eurovision up’ the song a bit more, and make it into a dance song. ‘Why?’ you may ask, and in all honesty, I cannot answer that question. It really seemed like Belarus got swept up in what they believed would be good for Eurovision, rather than sticking to what got them to Eurovision in the first place.

I really believe that the cheesiness of the staging and the dance backing track was a huge disadvantage for them. Some would disagree, as again, it’s all up to personal preference, but you can make your mind up by listening to the song below:

Here we have taken only three examples, but I can assure you that the revamp plays an important role in Eurovision and a nation’s attempt to win Europe’s favourite contest. Developing the chosen song for Eurovision can really make or break a song, and it is interesting to see what participants believe will do well at Eurovision.

What are your thoughts about the power of the revamp? What are your favourite, or least favourite revamps? Let us know below!