Looking back at the history of Russia, it is clear that they are a force at Eurovision. It’s not uncommon to see Russia break into the Top 10, and for that reason, we have come to expect strong entries. In amongst the peak was Dina Garipova who represented the nation back in 2013. The song was yet another qualification success, finishing second in the semi-final. In the final, it backed up those results, finishing in 5th place. Although the entry gave Russia another Top 5 finish, was it justified?
There are nations that stumble on success at Eurovision, and there are nations that find a formula and stick to it. Russia certainly fits into the latter category. Many of their entries have come across as formulaic, from the songs to the performances. However, is that really an issue if it’s the factor creating the success?
This song is a prime example of the Russian Eurovision formula, and despite the results, I still can’t seem to find the appeal. ‘What If’ is so painfully cliché, and listening to this song again instantly reminds me of why I don’t listen to this song. On its face, the lyrical content is a cheesefest, but it’s hard for me not to think of this as a façade. Eurovision is meant to be void of politics, but yet this feels like a political song.
Lyrics aside, the music is incredibly generic, as is the performance. Dina delivers the song well, and in that sense, I could justify a strong jury vote. I can’t say I love the outfit choice, but I guess it all adds to the inoffensiveness of the performance.
This is a classic ballad which follows the standard structure. There is nothing remarkable about this song, and same goes for the performance. While these types of entries have historically done well for Russia, I find them completely void of personality. There was a bit of a breakthrough with Russia selecting Little Big, and then Manizha, as it finally felt like Russia was adopting authenticity. That being said, I don’t think their formula days are over – time will tell!
With that scathing review, I can’t give this more than 3/10.
Artist: Dina Garipova
Song: What If
Final Ranking: 5th in the Final