I think we’ve established by now that, by Eurovision standards, I am an old, withered crone, a husk of a human being that will probably turn into dust the moment I set foot in the M and S Bank Arena.
I say that to note that my perspective on Theodor Andrei’s performance is a lot different than everyone else.
Because the lens through which I view this performance is, “Oh, of course, he’s 18 years old.”
Now I don’t want to sound ageist. Goodness knows we’ve had enough of that in this fandom this year with people making fun of Let3 and Gustaph because of their ages.
But if I don’t take Theodor Andrei’s age into account, I’m going to judge this staging a lot more harshly.
When I was 19 years old, I stripped to my underwear while performing spoken work poetry at a hardcore emo festival in Ohio, and I thought it was great. The audience applauded, so it must have been great! (It was not great.)
So when I see Theodor Andrei ripping off his mesh shirt to reveal the ‘Make Love Not War’ message we’ve been able to read for half the performance, my response is not a side-eye, but rather a gentle ‘Yes, when I was 18, this too would have been a profound statement.’
And if I was 18, around the age I was getting half-naked on stage to yell about feminism, Theodor Andrei’s staging – from the off-the-rack lingerie of the models, to the Beetlejuice trousers, to the lyrical reference to hickeys – may have seemed like an artistic triumph.
But the actual thought of having an adult – someone out of their teens, like a television producer or music label representative – see the various elements of this performance and think, “Oh, this is totally a thing we should be doing to convey sexiness on stage” makes me deeply, deeply worried for the romantic prospects of Romanians!
Kinks are different, and turn-ons are different, but this performance is a bar band blues track over the most vanilla and unimaginative depiction of sexuality ever. It’s like someone fed hours of missionary position footage to an AI and asked it to come up with a sexy staging concept. There’s a lot of jiggle, but no actual passion. If the relationship is off-and-on, the performance is definitely the off bit.
And yes, I feel deeply uncomfortable writing about this! But I’m not the one who wrote a song about getting lost in bedsheets and begging people to take off their clothes and then entered it in Eurovision! There were many choices made by many people that enabled that to happen. And all of those choices were bad ones!
Well, all of those choices except one. Theodor Andrei has a great voice – he’s been on X Factor Romania. He could have killed it with a rough, rock-y anthemic track in the style of Mall. But he never got the chance to showcase his voice because he’s been saddled with so many bells and whistles behind him. Are people watching the semifinals going to be talking about his vocals? No! They’re going to be talking about the grim-faced, semi-nude people writhing beside him. And that’s a real shame.
Finally, I just want to note that I’m not opposed to the flaunting of assets at Eurovision. But if you’re going to do it, you should at least make it camp. LIke Sakis Rouvas ripping his tight shirt open to reveal even more man cleavage. Or Elena Tsagrinou begging the devil to touch her in a music video that includes product placement for Head and Shoulders. Or my personal favourite of the genre: Eduard Romanyuta bringing in the HOT COPS strippers from Arrested Development as his backup dancers: