In the name of Poland, Monika Kuszyńska will present “In the Name of Love” (no — not that one!) in Vienna.
After a couple years away from the contest, Poland came back strong in 2014 with a FANTASTIC entry. Donatan and Cleo’s track, “My Slowianie” (Slavic Girls), only placed 14th in the finals — but the two official videos (one in English and one in Polish) racked up 50+ million views, making it Eurovision’s most popular online song, ever. It’s not difficult to see why. It’s also interesting to note that Poland ranked 5th with televoters — it was the older, more conservative juries that brought their subversive entry tumbling down in the rankings. But enough about last year. In 2015, Poland once again relied on an internal (i.e. secret) selection process. What performer and song came out on top?
Monika Kuszyńska is well-known in Poland; she was the lead singer for the pop band Varius Manx until the group got into a car accident that left her in a wheelchair. I’m thrilled the contest will feature an visibly disabled artist this year; Monika is apparently the first wheelchair user to compete on the Eurovision stage. There’s no reason why that should be the case, and I hope Monika does well, if only to encourage other countries to better support and promote artists with disabilities.
From a musical perspective … well, I’m a fan of Monika’s but not so much of her song, or the accompanying music video. I’m biased against ballads as it is, and this one has nothing to make it stand out from an especially crowded field this year. I love the clarity of Monika’s voice, the overall message is a good one, and the lyrics even incorporate the contest theme: “Let’s build a bridge from heart to heart in the name of love.” But from the piano, to the reliance on hi-hat, to the uninspired bass line — it’s just beige. Exactly like the video! (And don’t even get me started on the choice to have Monika SITTING ON THE FLOOR for almost the entire thing. Seeeeeethe.)
Long story short: I don’t think there’s much Poland can do about the song at this point; they’re not going to make dramatic changes — and anyway, it’s not offensive, just boring. But they can do something about their poor staging choices. I will keep my fingers crossed.