7 Day YouTube Views: 1,139,191
7 Day YouTube Likes: 11,709
After last year's furore, Julia Samoylova has been wheeled out again with I Won't Break, a song so hopelessly generic and meaningless I actually feel a little sorry for her that she has to devote months of her time to performing it.
Russia have historically cranked the propaganda-o-meter to 11 for Eurovision but listening to I Won't Break, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the chief propagandologist in Russia had taken an extended holiday, very little effort has been put into this song at all, it's believed that Julia was also asked to do Eurovision at the last minute, which suggests they really haven't invested much into Eurovision this year.
Although it won't affect the semi-final/grand final performances, I do want to mention the music video as evidence of Russia's lack of interest in this year's Eurovision. Firstly compare this song to 2016 Sergey's entry, a great (if lyrically cheesy) song and decent chunk of money thrown at the production in the video, this music video has not had the same treatment. It mostly consists of extended shots of Julia's face, with occasional overlays of stock nature footage such as waves, mountains and volcanoes. There are also many close-ups of Julia's mouth including her chipped front teeth as she mouths the lyrics completely out-of-time with the music playing. The final shot is what truly makes me think that Russia handed this project over to an amateur though, the merging of the top-half of Julia's body onto a mountain with a big moon in the background - it looks laughably bad, not to mention really has no relation to the song either.
As for the song itself, calling it 'generic' is a compliment, it really is a rather featureless song. Julia's English is unfortunately not great either and many of the lines of the song are incomprehensable as a result. Not that her lack of English diction is a big loss, the words that are intelligable are as 'stock' and without depth as it gets anyway. The 'I won't break' chorus section is shouty and an infamous video of Julia singing this song live suggests she can't manage it, the soundtrack is very auto-tuned and she'll have to come exposed when the time comes to sing live.
In terms of stats, I Won't Break has a surprisingly high number of YouTube hits but apparently only 1% of those people bothered to hit the 'Like' button, this is often one of a few indicators that the YouTube stats may not be completely genuine, their stats from the first hours after the song uploaded are quite ridiculous too. We at TellyStats got in a bit of bother with Bulgaria for suggesting that they might have manipulated their YouTube stats - so we're not doing that here...but those stats are weird. In terms of the betting markets, they have Julia at 25th most likely to win the show, however people do seem to have faith that she'll progress past her semi, the markets give her a 64% chance of progressing to the live final.
The question then is - Will this pile of crap progress actually past it's semi? Julia sings in the first half of the second semi final. It's a poor semi but there are still at least 5 or 6 definite qualifiers which leaves little wriggle room for the rest to qualify. If done on merit, Russia wouldn't be near qualification, however it being Russia, nothing can be ruled out. Russia has a large diaspora over the ex-Soviet countries which could tip it over the edge into qualification, or it could just take the tried-and-tested route of handing brown envelopes filled with cash to a few juries. As mentioned, Russia don't seem to have invested much into this song, but would they be able to stomach the ignominy of not qualifying past their semi? I won't be betting on Russia either way.