On Tuesday Polina Gagarina had her first rehearsal in the Wiener Stadthalle. She was charming her audience with her anthemic ballad and her captivating smile, so her odds to win have shortened since then, and she has climbed in the fan polls. Polina is afraid of too many compliments though, as she confessed. Watch our video and photo content from the second Russian rehearsal, and let us know your opinion about it!
"I am a fatalist, and I am afraid of getting too many compliments and good words. But of course it's a big pleasure to see this", Polina said when she first had a look at the current odds to win the Eurovision Song Contest. She explained that she always prepares herself in the best possible way for every performance, and she feels no pressure or raised expectations.
"Together like the stars in the sky"
On stage, images from outer space are shown, culminating in a view of planet Earth. "The idea matches the song - it's a powerful message, and so the visuals also had to be powerful", Polina Gagarina comments on these scenes.
The stars on the backdrop and stage floor visually flow into a projection of stars onto her long white dress, an effect which is caught both by the top and front cameras.
Backstage, her backing vocalists were practicing their lines. Polina was calm, wrapping herself in a blanket and having a cup of tea, before moving on to her soundcheck.
An international team of authors have worked on the song A Million Voices including Russians, Swedes and even an Australian who lives in Berlin: Gabriel Alares, Joakim Björnberg, Katrina Noorbergen, Leonid Gutkin and Vladimir Matetsky. Will it lead Russia on the road to success? We shall find out next week, on the night of the First Semi-Final!
"It's a nervous moment - just 35 seconds to go on stage"
First Polina Gagarina told about her experiences during her postcard shoot in Innsbruck: "I didn't create this Swarovski crystal you will see myself, but I did hang it up", she said, smiling. "The Swarovski Crystal World is a place of inexplicable beauty but unfortunately I couldn't visit it, it was closed when I was there."
"I think we are getting there", Katrina Noorbergen, one of the backing vocalists commented on the second rehearsal. "It's a bit of a challenge to get Polina's dress to the stage." Polina added: "It's really a nervous moment - you have only 35 seconds to go on stage. Also I am not used to singing with two in-ear monitors - I am used to listening to the audience."
The Head of the Russian Delegation, Yuri Aksyuta, explained how Polina Gagarina was selected to represent Russia: "We knew what we wanted. We didn't have a national selection as in other countries. I made a suggestion to the General Manager of Channel One Russia, Konstantin Ernst. I love Polina Gagarina myself, she is a very good singer, she is in a very good shape in all aspects. One month before, she had a solo concert in Moscow with more than 7000 spectators. This is a good sign of the interest that people show in a singer, and I do hope that she will impress Europe and Australia with her performance."
He went on to introduce the backing artists of the Russian entry on the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest stage: Gabriel Alares, Joakim Björnberg, Katrina Noorbergen, Leonid Gutkin, and Vladimir Matetsky.
"It's a very big responsibility for such a big and beloved country - compared to that I am very small, like a child. So it's quite a burden for me. I feel very honored", Polina Gagarina explained her feelings about representing Russia.