It’s Eurovision Song Contest time again, and Russia’s Sergei Lazarev has made it to Saturday’s final with a horror-themed ballad.
The annual celebration of kitsch — which is more famous for its over-the-top staging and shameless political voting than the quality of the music — takes place in Israel this year, and the guest performer will be Madonna. Last year, 186 million people worldwide watched the spectacle.
Lazarev, who also represented his country in the contest in 2016, challenges none of the stereotypes about the tortured Russian soul with his song “Scream.”
Clad in white, he sings of “rivers of loneliness” and “acid rain from your fingertips” against a stark background of lightning bolts and mirrored coffins.
Lazarev is an outspoken performer, who has said he is against Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. The producer of the band t.A.T.u, the faux-lesbian pop duo that represented Russia in 2003, said Lazarev shouldn’t be allowed to compete for the country.
Russia last won the contest in 2008 with Dima Bilan and his song “Believe.”
Enjoy your Eurovision party!