Russia have yet to place outside of the Top 10 at Junior Eurovision, with their debut at the contest back in 2005. It’s an impressive record, inclusive of two wins at the contest, the most recent being in 2017. Last year however, Russia achieved their lowest results, finishing 10th with Anna Filipchuk. This year, the duo Tatyana Mezhentseva and Denberel Oorzhak will represent Russia at Junior Eurovision with the song A Time For Us, but will it be a winning time for Russia?
Song + Vocals
The last time we had a male-female duo representing Russia was back in 2010, and the duo of Liza Drozd and Sasha Lazin managed to finish in 2nd place with their song Boy and Girl. This year’s duet is much more mature in sound, and serious in message. In fact, the first time listening to this song, I was in disbelief that *that* voice could come from a child. I surely am not the first person to notice Denberel’s insanely deep vocals – it’s a far cry from Boy and Girl, that’s for sure!
After the initial shock of Denberel’s vocals passed, I came to appreciate the Russian entry a little bit more. Surprisingly, Tatyana’s angelic vocals blend very well with Denberel’s vocals, and the harmonies are great. I think the contrast between the voices gives interest in the song, even when the song itself is lacking interest. The song itself is very plain, from the backing music to the melodies. At times, I would go as far to say that it’s very flat or one-dimensional. Maybe another good word to describe it is ‘safe’ – the actual entry takes no risks, and against its competitors, it runs the risk of not standing out from the crowd.
Despite that, there’s still something appealing about this song. Perhaps it’s the novelty of the vocals, or perhaps it’s the familiar sounding choruses, but clearly I can’t be the only person who enjoys the song, since it won the national selection. It goes as far as that – I don’t love this song, it’s just a ‘like.’
Act + Performance
The duo seem to have a good friendship, and I think that comes across during the performance. Individually they are competent artists, but together they form a great vocal bond. It feels like an unlikely choice from Russia, especially considering their track record with strong solo vocalists but nevertheless worthy competitors.
When it comes to staging, we have seen a small portion of the staging and unless there’s something we have not yet seen in the clips online, it seems a bit plain. Russia also ended up in 3rd in the running order, which is not an ideal position, especially sitting between strong favourite France and upcoming dark horse North Macedonia.
I unfortunately picture Russia being overlooked this year as a result of the running order as well as the type of song representing them. It falls a bit flat, and I can’t see it appealing to juries or the public so strongly that we will see Russia in the Top 5. Top 10 even feels like a stretch at this stage, but if it does, it feels more likely to fall towards the bottom of the Top 10.
If you support Russia at Junior Eurovision this year, vote in our Poll here.