So it turned out that this morning's little bit of Little Big excitement was nothing more than wishful thinking, and Russia did, after a fashion, have a national final. They did, however, have last year's victors-in-waiting on to have a run-through of Uno, and although we couldn't entirely work out what was being said, Ilya came up front afterwards and explained something with a sad look on his face while the rest of the band kept their poses from the end of the performance frozen - which me must say was a bit of a strange spectacle in itself. More fool them for not picking Sex Machine, I say!
So anyway, what we did get was three songs of variable content. The first was a serious looking chap with a pleasingly bleak little number. The we had a couple of ladies jigging about inconsequentially before the reason, we suspect, that we were all convened here this evening turned up and knocked us all for six.
Anyone else think it's a coincidence that they held the final on a Monday night that just happened to be International Women's Day? Yeah, that was either utterly blatant or so innocent that it's halfway believable. But whatever the intentions, I reckon they've done and picked themselves a pretty decent replacement for our thwarted video heroes, and the lass Manizha has enough sass and swagger to carry a massively complex song like this with ease. There's a good chance that it will transpire that this is some kind of moderately dubious nationalist statement, but what the heck - on face value it was easily the best song of the three, so it deserved its win.
It still ain't Little Big though, curse it. Major major missed opportunity there.
Hold that thought, for it turns out that our Manizha here is of Tajik descent, and is very good at kicking ass and getting important stuff done - as you can see in the link below. Quite whether she's singing to all women of Russia, or has been co-opted in to water down her message, remains to be seen, but the portents are good!