Moldova: Natalia Gordienko – Sugar
Martin: A slick, highly calorific video, a big budget, a song with a very “this decade” structure (i.e. no actual chorus), a presentation show that’s already going down in fan legend: Moldova are certainly making an impression in 2021, and some think “Sugar” could go very far indeed.
For me, this explosion of cake and glitter is concealing two issues: Natalia doesn’t have a huge amount of personality as a performer (although she’s not the lost little girl from “Loca” any more either), and she is – let’s be honest – probably a few years older than she needs to be to persuasively deliver this package.
Although “mutton dressed as lamb” worked well enough for someone older still, Tamta, two years ago, that kind of thing can quickly end up feeling uncomfortable to watch – and that’s where Moldova have to be careful. “Sugar” needs to be fun rather than overtly sexy, flirty and playful rather than cheap and grubby. I’m not saying they should go full DoReDos with it, but you can imagine the temptation for them to indulge in dodgy S&M allusions like in 2015, and warning bells should be sounding if so.
Get the visual side of things right, though, and mid-table in the final feels like par for this structurally solid number.
Shi: It’s somewhat appropriate that this song is called “Sugar”. Like many other delightful sweet desserts, the first few bites are tasty, but a few spoons in it becomes a bit too dense and overly sweet. The team behind this one isn’t particularly known for subtlety, so the sugary flavor might be overwhelming sooner rather than later.
Felix: I preferred “Loca”. I preferred “I Want Your Love”. But this is still good enough. It might be a bad sign for them that I have hardly anything to say about it, and I agree with Martin that a lot depends on the staging. But it won’t be Chisinau 2022.
video and title image source: eurovision.tv