Eurovision 2018 Review: Russia – Julia Samoylova – I Won’t Break

julia samoylova

Julia Samoylova gives Eurovision another try for Russia
Russia was one of the most controversial countries in 2017’s Eurovision season while they did not even get to participate in the contest in the end. Eurovision took place in Ukraine and Russia wanted to send Julia Samoylova, who had performed in the Crimea area both countries are fighting for, which was against Ukrainian law. After the debacle the Russian broadcaster promised Julia she would get another chance in 2018. And here she is! Samoylova will represent her country with the rather one dimensional power ballad ‘I Won’t Break’.

Samoylova will perform in Lissabon in her wheel chair. The Russian delegation has not shared much information about the stage act yet, but the live performances at recent events did not exactly help their chances. To put it lightly, Samoylova struggles to own the song in a live setting, no matter how many backing vocals support her. ‘I Won’t Break’ is a ballad with lots of big, long notes in the chorus which simply might be too much to ask from Julia.

But if performed well live, could ‘I Won’t Break’ make a big impact in the competition? I doubt it. It is a fairly contemporary power ballad with a bit of a Sia vibe going on, but it lacks a proper chorus. The repetition of the title feels rather one dimensional and it isn’t until the middle-eight, where the catchy ‘even in the darkness’ is added, that things get somewhat interesting. Her poor English pronunciation does not help either. Having said all that, Russia has never missed the final and they might still qualify this year too. If any other country had sent this, I would probably haven’t considered it as a finalist at all.

Review of Semi Final Performance:
No country is safe in Eurovision 2018, not even Russia. Just like Romania, they always qualified, but not this year. Julia Samoylova represented her country after not being allowed to participate last year in Ukraine. She performed the power ballad ‘I Won’t Break’, but even the backing vocals could not hide the fact that power is the exact thing her vocals lack. Together they were not able to make the chorus sound as it should and the staging with the singer in a wheel chair on a mountain did not distract from the weak vocals enough. It might sound harsh, but I am actually glad that Russia did not make it. This year’s result really show us that any country could make it to the final and no one just sails through with a lacking performance.


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