Welcome to Xtra Insider, our new series which will give you an insight into how well each country is statistically likely to do this year, as well as what the team at ESCXTRA think of your favourite entries into this year’s contest! Today, we analyse and review Poland.
Now that all the songs have been released, we are able to review each and every one of them. On top of this, we’re introducing a new analysis section in which we take a look into each country’s history and how likely they are to do well this year. Our honest and brutal reviews and analysis will keep you entertained until the rehearsals start on 3 May! We will also each give points using the usual Eurovision points system (12, 10, then 8 down to 1), and create an ESCXTRA leaderboard of the entries!
The series begins today, with analysis and reviews of the Polish entry, ‘Empires’ by Alicja, from Costa, Isaac, Lisa, Matt, Rodrigo and Vincent. Let’s get started!
Poland’s history at Eurovision
Poland first debuted in our much-loved Eurovision in 1994, with the fabulous Edyta Górniak and her ‘To nie ja!’. To this day, that remains as Poland’s best ever placing in Eurovision, with them only reaching the top 10 twice since then (most recently in 2016 with Michał Szpak and ‘Color of Your Life’). Between 2005 and 2011, we only saw Poland in one Eurovision grand final – in 2008 with Isis Gee and ‘For Life’. In the last two years, Poland has again failed to qualify for the final – last year, Tulia missed out by only three points! Could this year’s entry break their streak of poor results?
This year’s entry
To find their 2020 Eurovision hit, Poland held a lengthy national final process called ‘Szansa na Sukces – Eurowizja 2020’, with three semifinals and one grand final on the 23rd February. After passing through the semifinals with a beautiful performance of Poland’s debut Eurovision entry, ‘To nie ja!’, Alicja Szemplińska wowed both the jury and televoters with her song ‘Empires’ and earned top marks. Alicja had previously amazed the Polish public in season 10 of The Voice of Poland, which she won late last year!
How does this kind of song tend to do in the contest?
If you take a look back through Poland’s 26 year long history in the contest, you’ll see that they tend to do particularly well with dramatic ballads, such as ‘To nie ja!’ and ‘Color of Your Life’. From 2015 – 2017 they sent dramatic ballads and reached the final every time, but then after going uptempo in 2018 with ‘Light Me Up’ and ethnic in 2019 with ‘Pali się’, they have not reached the final. This return to their previous style of entries could bring Poland back to the final! However, with this year having more ballads than in previous years, could ‘Empires’ get lost in the mix?
Poland’s awful selection format may have influenced my opinion on this, but I stand by my dislike for many elements of “Empires”. Alicja has an incredible talent but she doesn’t have the control needed to sell this cliché, flat ballad. I find it wholly inappropriate for a 17 year old girl to be performing something so dated and dowdy.
I don’t think burning empires is actually all that easy! Lyrics aside, this is a really strong dramatic ballad that I think is being a little underrated, this style has a lot of form and Poland can rack in the televotes with the right song. I’d call a dark horse at this early stage.
Where to begin? I had zero hopes anyway with that bizarre national final covers format. Then we get this James Bond-lite theme song that’s been done so many times before. If ‘Keep The Faith’ couldn’t qualify then this will be in trouble too unless the diaspora activates. There’s no denying that Alicja has the vocal, which reminds me a lot of Lindita’s tone and power. But will that alone be enough? These songs just leave me cold. Others will love it though I’m sure.
Poland offering up one of this year’s ‘Bond Themes’. It’s got a bit of drama but nothing that is going to make people vote. I feel like if this had a more traditional feel, it would resonate more. But instead I’m left thinking of who at TVP came up with the idea if tugging rope to draw the running order of the show.
Alicja is undoubtedly a talented performer and thanks to that the song is carried to a better level than it would otherwise have. Empires is in and of itself a rather mediocre song which builds and builds for three minutes but ultimately gets you nowhere. It sort of feels as though an additional minute with a proper ending is missing here. Something of an effort from Poland, but nothing to be too excited about.
Poland is going back to something close to their 2017 entry, but with a more “Jame Bondesque” feeling to it. It’s kindly epic but nothing more, and I feel like it lacks the necessary punch to be something more than kindly epic, or kindly Bondesque.
Therefore, Poland receives 76 points in total!
Poland kicks off our leaderboard with a score of 76.
- Poland – 76
Tomorrow, it will be the turn of San Marino to be reviewed. For now, take another listen to Poland’s entry below!
Do you agree with our reviews of Poland? What are your thoughts on Empires?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA