Alen Chicco and the art of a Eurovison song

In the thankfully now finished brouhaha over Ireland’s Eurovision selection, I noted that the PiL song was not a good choice for Eurovision because it went nowhere. I think some people interpreted that as a crtiicism of the style of music, vs. the fact that it was a repetitive and boring song which was also boringly staged.

To be clear, any type of song (as long as it complies with Eurovision rules) can be a Eurovision song. But the best Eurovision songs are the ones that, regardless of genre, actually DO something with the three precious minutes they have on stage.

Lithuanian act Alen Chicco, currently in his Joanne era, is a masterclass in how to do this. He narrowly missed advancing to the finals in last week’s Pabandom Is Naujo act, but he certainly knows how to take three minutes and MAKE THEM COUNT.

The first thing you might want to do is listen to the studio version of Alen’s track on Spotify (or whatever else you use to listen to music):

The song takes us on a journey:

  • Beginning to 30 seconds: Intro with just vocals and piano
  • 30 seconds to 56 seconds: Build with additional instrumentation
  • 56 seconds to 1:17: First crescendo leading into big chorus, and then just silence
  • 1:18 to 1:45: Second verse which builds into a big note and then halts everything for that “Hey”
  • 1:45 to 2:19: Continuation of the second verse and another build into the now familiar chorus
  • 2:20 to 2:40: Addition of a rawer sound that’s almost a spoken word and then
  • 2:41 to end: Now that we’re all familiar with the chorus, Alen just throws everything he has at it and builds to a big finish

Yes, it’s a verse/chorus/verse structure, but there are also peaks and valleys and moments where – if we’re hearing the song for the first time – we don’t know what’s coming next. There is an element of unpredictability, and that makes the song interesting.

Now let’s see how Alen Chicco mirrors this in his staging:

We start off slow with Alen in a chair with a giant oversized book (John Waters would be proud):

Alen Chicco with a book

When the instrumentation kicks in, Alen puts the book down and does some very simple (but effectively) choreography.

Alen Chicco doing leg choreography

The chorus kicks in and Alen lets loose:

Alen Chicco belting it out

With the second verse comes a return to the walk/step choreography, but as it builds, we get a …. COSTUME REVEAL!

Alen Chicco taking it off

Followed by the most deadpan delivery of ‘hey’ I’ve ever heard. (Please someone make this into a gif!)

But now that we’ve hit this rest point, Alen slowly starts to build us up again, wandering over to the microphone and heading into the chorus…where it turns out he’s brought a WIND MACHINE! Alen is living his best Carola life, belting into the microphone while a giant electric fan is ruffling that 40-inch hairpiece.

Alen Chicco living his best life

And the remaining few seconds of the song is just Alen Chicco living his best life in front of the Pabandom Is Naujo audience. And all it required was a chair, a fan, a crafty book, a fabulous outfit, and a wig that probably cost more than anything else used here. Relatively inexpensive but incredibly innovative.

You can (and should!) watch the whole performance here to see Alen Chicco put his entire pussy into this pusfinalis:

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