In the Eurovision Song Contest 2016, Russia finished in third place with ‘You are the only one‘ by Sergey Lazarev. The singer took part in 2019 again, and finished in third place again. A disappointment for the superstar.
Lazarev specifically questioned the result of the jury vote, which made him lose the contest in 2016 as well. “The juries of 17 countries thought that this performance is rated with 0 points! For example, all the members of the jury of Georgia put this performance at the last place,” he wrote on Instagram. And Lazarev has a point. As you’re all aware, jurors are meant to vote independently. So the odds of five independent jurors all ranking the exact same song in the exact same position is rather unlikely.
Sergey Lazarev aimed for the jury vote
Lazarev learned his lessons from the 2016-Eurovision Song Contest. He told ESCDaily he wanted to enjoy his performance, and really live in the moment. However, this does not mean that he was not motivated by getting a good result. “Of course I want to have a good result. I want to win, everyone wants to win Eurovision.”
To do so, Philipp Kirkorov deliberately wrote a song that had the potential to score better in the jury vote. “Europe only saw one part of Sergey ‘s talent. ‘You are the only one’ was very theatrical. That’s why, when we started to prepare for Eurovision, we showed him different kinds of songs. Songs with a strong melody, strong voice. So that he can show Europe that he’s a great great singer.”
Same singer, different approach
Already when Russia released the song “Scream” for Lazarev, it became clear that the song was very different from “You are the only one” in 2016. Sergey Lazarev picked a ballad this year. While his previous entry was more of a Euroclub pop song.
The staging for “Scream” was impressive, yet elegant. While some jurors might have been put off by all the visual spectacle of “You are the only one” in 2016, this year Russia plays the long game. On top of that, Lazarev’s movements to the exact rhythm of the holograms could persuade several juries to consider him a professional.
The result: A worse ranking in the jury vote than in 2016
Despite all the strong intentions, the result was a let-down for Russia. Yes, the nation was back in the final, after missing out on qualification from a semi final for the first time in history in 2018. And yes, Russia even made it to the top-3 of the result table. But doing better than the fifth place in the jury vote in 2016? No, that did not happen.
Russia was placed in 9th place in the jury vote and got a 4th place finish in the televote. Because of some big differences, this was still enough be the overall 3rd place finisher.
The Aftermath 2019 series is made in collaboration with our Australian partner website Eurovision Union.