In 2008 Sergey Lazarev competed in the Russian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest and finished fourth. In the following years rumours persisted that the singer was preparing to participate in the contest. In 2016 Sergey, one of Russia's biggest stars, finally represented his country in the Eurovision Song Contest. In part twelve of our Stockholm Revisited series we follow Sergey's journey to Stockholm where he broke new ground for live performances.
When Russian broadcaster RTR premiered Sergey's entry for Stockholm, You Are The Only One, in March 2016, he was immediately installed as a pre-contest favourite. The song was written by Dimitris Kontopoulos and Philipp Kirkorov. Kontopoulos wrote the Greek entry in 2009, This Is Our Night, performed by Sakis Rouvas whilst Kirkorov has penned numerous entries and performed in the contest in 1995.
Sergey rigorously rehearsed his song throughout his time in Stockholm, perfecting the routine before the live performances. Not all went to plan though; in his first rehearsal on-stage he fell! Being the consummate professional, he immediately got back up again.
Sweden's Måns Zelmerlöw set a new standard for interactive performances in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015. Russia's Sergey Lazarev went one step further and not only used the lighting to good effect but also the physical aspects of the special projection wall that was created for him. The visual performance captured the imaginations of viewers of the UK reality show Googlebox with many participants wondering how Sergey managed to appear suspended in mid-air! Sergey shared the clip on his official Instagram account:
In Stockholm expectations were high. Russia won the First Semi Final with 342 points, 99 points ahead of Armenia, therefore qualifying for the Grand Final. During rehearsals Ukraine's Jamala was seen applauding Sergey showing that the Eurovision Song Contest is an event where music and solidarity takes precedence over politics. Russia finished third in the Grand Final of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest providing the country with its fourth top five placing in the last five contests.
With four second places, three third and a victory in 2008, Russia has been one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years. After he returned home, Sergey Lazarev spoke about his experiences in Stockholm and hinted that he may return to the Eurovision Song Contest to make another attempt to take the trophy. Could it be second time lucky for Sergey?