Let’s talk about Philipp Kirkorov for a moment. He has decided to be to Moldova what Ralph Siegel was to San Marino for a few years, only much more so. Natalia Gordienko’s song reveal of “Sugar” was in Moscow, not Chisinau, and included a long speech by Philipp about how he is now Mr. Eurovision. Then he, Natalia, and “Sugar’ co-writer Dimitris Kontopoulos showed up to Russia’s flash national final. When host Yana Churikova interviewed him, he neglected to mention Natalia even though he was sitting uncomfortably close to her.
To top it all off, Philipp performed his Eurovision song “Kolybelnaya dlya vulkana,” which finished 17th at the 1995 Song Contest, instead of letting Natalia perform “Sugar.”
He is utterly insufferable. I wish his songs weren’t so damned good.
Natalia was supposed to represent Moldova in 2020 with another Dimitris Kontopoulos/Philipp Kirkorov/Sharon Vaughn song, “Prison.” It was absolutely dire and stood a real chance of becoming the first Kirkorov song to not qualify for the Grand Prix Final.
Thankfully, a yearlong pandemic has given Team Moldova a chance to reevaluate what they are good at: generating memes. The official video for “Sugar” features Natalia ripping the mouth off of her love interest, revealing a rainbow cake under his face. I can’t imagine they can recreate that in the staging, but I want to see them try!
Natalia successfully walks the thin tightrope of singing “Sugar” both proficiently and sensually without sounding ridiculous. Her vocal is really sexy (in fitting with the theme of the song) and really powerful (in fitting with her being an awesome singer).
Musically, “Sugar” combines the broad Prokofievian bombast of “Scream” and the bold dance-pop stylings of “Shady Lady,” with a lot of potential energy built into Sharon Vaughn’s lyrics. The whole song feels like pent-up arousal finally bursting.
Even though the video is kind of ridiculous, the song itself is really good. I would love to hate it based on a certain egotistical songwriter, but the combined charms of Natalia Gordienko and that big, bold arrangement makes it easy to adore.