In 2006 Poland failed to qualify with the catchy and diverse ‘Follow My Heart’. Let’s remind ourselves of this intriguing ‘kitchen sink’ entry.
It’s not always about the huge successes. Sometimes we should remember those times that ended in less of a victory parade back to their home country and more of a disappointing attempt to improve upon a previous result while trying to flash not one but two pieces of name power. And one entry from Poland has always interested me in that regard.
While in recent years, Poland have tended to do fairly well, with talk of a disaporic base that propels them to success… some of the time, it was not like that in 2006. ‘Follow My Heart’ was entered in the midst of Poland’s dark period at Eurovision where they qualified once between 2005 and 2011 before leaving for two years. In 2006, after experiencing failure the previous year, they turned to what are relatively big guns for Eurovision.
Not only did they bring back the act responsible for their most recent top 10 result in Ich Troje, they added in German Eurodance band Real McCoy, famous then for at least 90s dance anthem ‘Another Night’, among many others if you are a Eurodance connoisseur. Even if you are not, even with a contest with stars like Kate Ryan, Dima Bilan and Carola, ‘Another Night’ arguably ranks as the most famous catalogue song from the collection of Eurovision 2006 alumni.
Yet Follow My Heart didn’t set Eurovision alight. It didn’t even make it to the final, although it finished one place off qualifying for the semi. Why?
There’s one thing wrong with saying that Real McCoy are a big draw, there is actually only one member of the band here, the frontman and rapper Jeglitza, perhaps not what Eurodance fans remember most about the band. He also performed his parts from among the audience, leading to a disconnect from the main attraction. And that was Ich Troje.
Ich Troje are a controversial prospect, largely because of their pink-haired frontman Michał Wiśniewski, whose vocal style is, to put it kindly, an acquired taste. It worked as a contrast to Justyna’s lovely vocals on ‘Keine Grenzen – Żadnych granic’, their previous entry. With Real McCoy rapping, and a weaker Eurodance instrumental, and several different Ich Troje female singers from past incarnations of the band, a gravelly voiced green-haired figure tying it all together feels like the element that tips the balance from diversity to too much going on. He doesn’t even get as much time in the spotlight as he did in 2003. Essentially, one element or the other should have been cut.
In the end, who was going to vote for this? It was trying to go for everyone, from party fans of Eurodance to those who enjoyed the classiness of Ich Troje’s last entry, and it ends up not appealing to either particularly well. The lyrics are fairly standard for Eurovision, with not much to advertise them. It goes for wide appeal, and fails.
A fun melodic tribute track
That isn’t to say there’s nothing right with this song. It stands out in Poland’s Eurovision discography for having a bold melody. It has lots of different languages on display, English and Russian as well as the German and Polish of the singers which earns it an all-encompassing feel. This is boosted by so many veteran singers with decade-long careers on stage, coming together in tribute to the German-Polish europop scene. Even today, it’s fun to listen to in the studio version especially, in contrast to the live version, where the vocals are weak.
On stage, the fun aristocratic costumes made it a notable sight, and Michał’s hair is never boring. But being followed by Dima Bilan and shortly thereafter Lordi on performance night would remove it from all recognition and leave it falling short of the votes it needed.
What our other editors had to say:
A valiant attempt that didn’t quite come off. Ich Troje’s image and sound should have brought some much-needed variety, but the song and performance ended up too schlagerified and fell between the gaps. If you mix the garish outfits, sentimental message, green hair, fake tan and rap, who are you aiming it at?
The instrumentation and rhythm of this song are down right incredibly amazing. I love strings, a good ethnic vibe and upbeat tempo. I can’t stand still when listening to it, it almost has a dreamy nature to it. But the performance, very unfortunately left a whole lot to be desired. First of all the vocals were either lazy or just not good and the voices didn’t feel like the complement each other that well. I have no issues with the performance being extravagant whatsoever but it gets distracting at times and that’s a pity because it takes away attention from what has the potential to be an amazing song. As much as I wished this song qualified, I can see why it didn’t achieve much success, sadly. Regardless, this still counts as one of my favourite Polish entry at Eurovision and I hope Poland sends something along these lines again with better vocals and a less distracting performance.
I’m one of those people who loves returning artists. However, you need to maintain your standard when returning. Ich Troje completely failed in that. Their 2003 effort is one of my absolute Eurovision favourites, but this is so… meh. It’s one big mess that doesn’t let Michal’s voice shine as much as it could and should. A missed opportunity for Poland.
The definition of a beautiful mess! I wasn’t a fan of the 2003 entry, but ‘Follow My Heart’ was one of the highlights of the 2006 contest. So much so, that it was in my top five that year. Everything about this screams kitchen-sinking. From the bizarre masquerade ball outfits, to the odd addition of Spanish rap. Then finally daring to burn down the set with the indoor fireworks. But all that is why I love bold entries like this. Beneath the facade Ich Troje delivered a great Eurodance banger.
What are your thoughts on ‘Follow My Heart’? Beautiful Eurovision eurodance or a kitschy mess too far? Was it worth getting Ich Troje back a second time? Would you like more songs like this from Poland? Join the discussion below or on our social media pages, and thank you for reading!