1 Day YouTube Views: 300,711
1 Day YouTube Likes: 19,935
Russia purposely took their foot off the gas last year with Julia Samoylova who they pretty much abandoned. It seems they were preparing their real contestant, Sergey Lazarev for his triumphant return to avenge Ukraine robbing them of the Eurovision trophy in 2016. Sergey sings "Scream", an atmospheric number that could easily be found in a melancholic scene of a West End musical.
Sergey is a seasoned performer, he can recreate this song without difficulty - and it's likely that Russia have helped with a staging concept that only adds to the intensity of the song. I do feel however, that "Scream" is not only weaker than "You Are The Only One", but that it's not even that strong an entry altogether.
I personally found myself struggling to latch onto a part of the song where I could anticipate what would come next in order to sing along. Then you're hit with the chorus, it is sung well but lyrically it feels a little lazy and overly simplistic. I also feel the overall emotional message doesn't quite hit the mark compared to entries such as Austria and North Macedonia.
Russia are 2nd-favourite to win the entire competition this year. I personally feel that's unmerited, I would happily listen to Italy, Switzerland or Sweden over Russia's offering. Of course, it being Russia and the influence it holds with regards to its political neighbours means that you can never completely write it off. I just wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be.
Once again, Russia's YouTube stats are very strong, they're the 2nd most charted track on the iTunes stats too. Curiously, Sergey has had a steady stream of new social media followers since we began monitoring on the 9th of March. Since then he's had over 200,000 new followers. His 7-day average increase has been impressive, around 3,800 new followers a day. By comparison, market leader The Netherlands gets around 800 new Instagram followers a day. Despite getting 3,800 new Instagram followers a day, his Twitter followers count looks completely different - he's actually lost almost 1,000 Twitter followers since the 9th of March - how very unsuspicious..!
I personally feel that Russia's price simply lacks merit. For me at least, of the 41 entries this year, this is simply not a go-to song, it isn't bad, it just isn't great. You'd be brave to lay Russia, especially at 6/1 but I won't be backing it unless it absolutely looks like it could win.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.