Ooof. With the release of the new all-string quartet version of Love Is Forever, I suppose I can’t ignore my LEAST FAVOURITE entry of the 2019 season this year.
Let’s get the basics out of the way:
The introduction of the red beanie is a choice, and not a good one, and whoever styled that should be fired. (I say this as someone who also has an irrational love for my fluorescent yellow beanies and fully admit I should fire myself for wearing them.)
The lyrics are absolutely horrible and do not reflect the current political moment or mood. This is very much not a love, love, peace, peace year,and Leonora’s claim that we shouldn’t be getting too political seems like a slap in the face for all the people for whom merely existing in Europe is a political act.
The song itself sounds like it was created to serve as the trailer for the even-more-twee sequel to Amelie that THANK GOD was never made. The only thing it’s missing is a glockenspiel breakdown.
And the whole artifice behind it is difficult to stomach- it’s clearly been manufactured to appeal to a Eurovision audience, with a pablum theme and pandering lyrics in multiple languages, and yet makes no effort to disguise that fact in the slightest. We can see the puppeteer holding the strings, and because of that, it totally ruins the effect.
And now the hard part- what I can’t figure out is how much of what I hate about the artifice is the song itself, and how much of what I hate about the artifice is Leonora?
Because if it’s Leonora, it’s problematic. I should be applauding a woman who’s so ambitious. She wants to win Eurovision, and she’s doing what she thinks she needs to do in order to achieve that goal. But the fact that she’s so obviously checking the boxes of what she needs to do – from her cutesy stage patter to her unthreatening facade and message of love – bothers me, especially because it’s in direct opposition to her song. Leonora is the Tracey Flick of this year’s contestants.
Have we had a male contestant who was also so nakedly ambitious? I can’t decide – and maybe that’s because they were covered differently, or maybe they hid it better – bt I don’t have anything in Eurovision world to which I can compare Leonora. (If you have an idea, please let me know at @dudepoints).
But in showbiz, artifice is the point- you’re selling not just a song, but an image of yourself, and Leonora is very very bad at that. I’d like her more if she threw off the shackles of the twee personality and justlet loose with who she really is, especially because the song and the staging seem to be so, so illfitting for her.
FINAL VERDICT: Take a pee break. You’re going to see a tiny woman on a big chair warble in multiple languages and yup that’s the whole gimmick.