First of all, I feel like I need to outline my history with Poland. I have longstanding beef with them for two reasons:
1. Cleo and Dontan’s entry which was designed to appeal to the three straight men who watch Eurovision (and to which the UK and its bantz bantz bantz culture gave all of its televotes)
2. Poland sent Sgt. Pepper cosplayer Michael Szpak to Eurovision over my beloved Margaret and her absolutely amazing track Cool Me Down, which I still listen to on a regular basis.
But I think I might be prepared to forgive Poland this year, because they are sending what is rapidly becoming one of my favorite entries – Tulia’s Fire of Love:
What makes this performance so great is that this is clearly a group of women with zero fucks to give. They don’t care what you think of their performance. They don’t care what you think of their singing. They’re not going to smile for you. They are just going to do their thing and don’t particularly want to hear your opinion of it.
Tulia’s Fire of Love doesn’t display any special singing talent, and indeed borders on the atonal with some of the harmonies. It requires no trills or fripperies – just four women who like to sing together.
The performance style is also deliberately impassive. While Tulia clearly takes care to prepare for its audience – as evidenced by the elaborate costumes and makeup – they are stoic. No smiles, no dancing, just standing there stock still, fixing their audience with an unwavering gaze as they sing what, according to the lyrics, is actually a pretty conventional love song.
This lack of wanting to please the audience, to upend the notions of what are required for a Eurovision victory, is beautiful to see. I hope they managed to keep their deadpan performance style on the stage in Tel Aviv.
Of course, the best thing about the video is that it’s all shot in black and white at what looks like a firehouse in rural Poland. I felt like I was watching a Michael Haneke film, and kept waiting for the sudden emergency of unexpected violence to break the tension. In the end, there was just an ambiguous fire, but I have a sneaking suspicion that our ladies in Tulia wouldn’t mind celebrating their performance with a little bit of arson.
Tulia’s Fire of Love is nothing like any other entry this year, and given the generally bland ballads we’ve got, that’s a great thing.
Poland, all is almost forgiven. I just think you need to listen to this a few more times to remember what a great talent you let slip through your fingers to Sweden: