Three years ago, Sergey Lazarev endured a disappointing Eurovision night as his song You Are The Only One finished third behind the entries from Australia and Ukraine. But undaunted, Lazarev is back in 2019 and according to the bookmakers, has a live chance of landing the big prize.
His song, Scream, is a distinct and dramatic piece of music, which could help Lazarev to stand out from the crowd, which is one of the reasons why he is rated as the 9/2 second-favourite with most bookmakers, behind the Netherlands entry, Arcade, and some way ahead of the likes of Sweden, Italy and Switzerland, whose entries are hovering around the 9/1 mark.
If winning Eurovision is about creating an emotional and memorable impression, then Scream clearly has the potential to beat the rest. Instead of a jaunty pop tune or a slow ballad, Russia has opted for an operatic-scale performance, complete with a dramatic mid-section and a big finish. And whereas some of the performers on stage in Tel Aviv will never have sung in front of such a huge audience, Lazarev is a reliable and experienced artist, who can be relied upon for a solid delivery.
Another thing in his favour is the fact that the staging of the song will be handled by Fokas Evangelinos, whose record at Eurovision is impressive. He has a reputation for coming up with imaginative concepts that can help boost a good song into a serious contender, and although a grand spectacle can fall flat if the song doesn’t live up to the setting, Scream appears ideally suited to a big, dramatic Evangelinos production.
The song is not without its flaws, and any Russian entry is at risk of being hit by political sentiments, given the unpopularity of the Putin regime and the ongoing situation in Ukraine. But in what looks like an open Eurovision, Lazarev has to be taken seriously as a potential winner.