Latvia – Markus Riva Forever

The Susan Lucci of Latvia is back! (I love making jokes about American daytime soap stars from the 1990s; these references resonate so much with people who are reading a EUROVISION BLOG).

Markus Riva has entered the song Forever for his NINTH attempt at representing Lativa in Eurovision. And you know what? I think this time this crazy kid might actually do it!*

This is the happiest we’ve seen Riva at a Supernova since 2019, when he showed up with the dance-heavy track You Make Me So Crazy and came in second place. He’s come up with a synth-heavy track that has a great hook (For (uh) Ev (uh) Er) and an unexpected sax solo. It’s fun and I want to be out on a dance floor shouting the chorus at the top of my lungs.

I don’t want to stereotype anyone by their looks, because mental health issues aren’t simply the purview of less pretty people. But the bubbly effervescence of Forever just fits Riva better. While I liked Impossible, his 2020 track with the goddess Aminata, a depressed Markus Riva does not compute. Markus Riva’s entire entertainment persona is crafted around making himself blandly likeable – you don’t host X Factor if you’re a sad sack.

And Forever lets Markus Riva dance in the sun, showing off his tanned biceps and blonde buzz cut, making puppy dog eyes at an unnamed person who is his true soulmate. Looking at Riva dance on the roof, do I believe in my brain that ‘forever’ will last more than a month? No, I do not. But my heart is softened by the golden retriever himboness of his plea, and if I were on that roof, I’d whisper back ‘forever’ just to see him smile.

It’s got to be hard work being Markus Riva! Always hustling on social media; spending hours in the gym and the hair salon; smiling smiling smiling for the cameras. Markus Riva is very good at what he does, but we can see the grind that goes into every swimming pool selfie. And after a decade spent trying to win Latvia’s approval to get to Eurovision, I just want him to go. Put him out of his misery this year, the year he’s got a certified bop. Because while I want to see Markus Riva at Eurovision, I also want to see him take a rest from the relentless documentation of his existence. Eat a cupcake! Sleep in! Maybe let those roots grow in! Let Markus Riva grow old gracefully, please.

* The one fly in the potential ointment for Markus Riva this year is internal Lativan politics. Riva is known as an artist who has courted Russian audiences in the past, and in the current political climate, that might generate enough opposition to Riva to keep him out of the final. And Riva’s aware of this as well, having released a Ukraine-themed version of Impossible on his YouTube channel in demonstration of his support. Will it be enough to win over otherwise skeptical audiences? Maybe!

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