THE RUSSIAN PRESS CONFERENCE
When it comes to stage outfits, Russia’s upcoming “Eurovision” contestant has no plans to don Halloween masks, like previous contestants Finnish hard rock band Lordi, or the folkloric dresses of last year’s runners-up Buranovskiye Babushki. For Dina Garipova, conservative is better.
Garipova got the top spot in Russia’s first season of “The Voice” singing competition in late December, collecting about a million votes in the last portion of the show alone. She presented the music video and the final version of the song that she will perform in May in Malmo, Sweden, at a news conference Friday.
In the music video for “What If,” which was filmed in Maly Theater, Garipova appears in a simple black dress and sings about people around the world uniting for a better future.
“I think the song itself doesn’t imply for any revealing outfit, plus this would absolutely not match who I am,” she said. “Changing an image, dying hair, putting on short skirts — this would be absolutely not me, so I am not going to do it.”
Garipova is now engrossed in rehearsals for the contest and the promotional tour to the countries where Russia has the biggest chance of getting more “Eurovision” votes, primarily the republics of the former Soviet Union.
But famed singer Alexander Gradsky, who was Garipova’s mentor in “The Voice” and even used to pick out her outfits during the show’s run, said he would not have recommended for her to go to “Eurovision” if the decision were up to him.
“All that could happen to her happened to her. She got the attention and the love of the Russian audience,” Gradsky said. “I couldn’t care less about Europe and all the other countries. Maybe she would interest them, but I absolutely don’t care. I think that she should earn her singing authority in Russia.”
He added that Russian artists should sing in English only in exceptional circumstances and that singing in English does not make anyone unique, but rather like other performers around the world.
Gradsky and other managers involved in Garipova’s “Eurovision” participation are still fending off accusations that parts of “What If” were plagiarized from a Polish song and the British pop number “Carried Away” by Hear’Say.
Leonid Gudkin, who co-wrote the song with two Swedish songwriters Gabriel Alares and Joakim Bjornberg, insisted that the song was written without any references and that any similarities are natural given today’s ample musical offerings. “Even if there are some similarities, I don’t think that there is any crime in that,” Garipova added.