Welcome back to the ‘What If..’ series! In this installment, we will journey to the home of Zlata Ognevich, where I’ll ponder whether ‘Gravity’ would have done better than it did had the song been performed as the version performed at the national final. Obviously, third place is an amazing placing for Zlata, but would it have actually won if the song wasn’t revamped, or it would have flopped and fallen victim to the dreaded “Anggun/ Kate Ryan Effect” (Surely not!)?
To those who are unfamiliar to this fair lady, she is Zlata Ognevich, a 27-year-old who luckily got to represent Ukraine after her third attempt! She tried to represent Ukraine back in 2010 and in 2011, with both songs coming 5th and 2nd respectively. However, in December 2012, she FINALLY got to represent her country with a little song called ‘Gravity’. She completely wiped out the competition with her strong pop/ballad creation. The song was an immediate favourite with the fans, though Ukraine was only the third country to pick its song for Sweden (the first two being Belarus and Switzerland, but Belarus changed the song in March). The performance was perfect for the song at the time as well; she wore a really creative dress (probably Margaret Berger stole the idea and did close to the same thing!) they kept the whole performance simple, but let it grow as the song grew stronger (WHY IS IT GROWING STRONGER? Sorry, couldn’t help myself) and more elements were being added into the mix. Zlata meant business, being denied the chance twice and now, she was a strong contender for the title.
It looked like the song was the outright favourite (until Denmark and the Netherlands came in!), but in late January, Mikhail Nekaserov – the song’s composer – opened a survey on VKontakte to see if the public would want to see any changes to the song. The jist of the results was that people wanted:
- a stronger opening of the song
- a third chorus
- the backing singers to not overshadow Zlata
- the ending to stay the same, though 25% of those surveyed wanted a higher, louder ending
Nekaserov said that there were modifications to the song after the survey, such as new instruments being added to the song, and changing of the backing vocals. Looking back, I could safely say we were all a little anxious to what the final outcome would be, as it was fine the way it was. But then, THIS happened!
This version was probably as best as the song could get. It starts off with a gentle melody, then beats are added in and it becomes the masterpiece it was when it was presented at Eurovision. How could someone not like this song?! Even at Eurovision, the performance was perfect. The simplicity was kept like the NF, the background was very butterfly influenced (whether it was to pay homage to the theme or that SHE’S LIKE A BUTTERFLY, I’m not too sure) and she was even carried on stage by a giant! A freaking giant!! No wonder the song easily qualified and finished in a very respectable third place. At least she got into the top 3, after Gaitana’s disappointing 15th position in Baku.
Right, so now you’ve heard both versions of ‘Gravity’; which of the two do you prefer? I know right, it’s hard to choose! But would the old version have done any better than the new, modified version? Well, the second version of the song has a few key characteristics that the first version didn’t, for example: the lack of the third verse, the beats were added in earlier and the higher note. Compared to the first version, the second version would probably be the better choice to go to Eurovision. The first version wasn’t as structured as the second version, and there was no real repetition in the song to get the crowd singing along, the only exception of this was the chorus. Even Zlata herself said that the first version was only the idea for the song, and that the new song is the completed masterpiece. Personally, the song that was performed in the NF would have qualified for the final but, given that it wasn’t as structured as the new version, it would have flopped, possibly finishing somewhere in the middle of the right hand side of the scoreboard.
Do you think ‘Gravity’ would have done better than it did if it was sung in the NF version?
Svetlana Andriyenko from Ukraine: I actually prefer the new version because the lyrics are less clumsy and the tempo is more energetic.. I am so proud of Zlata either way!
Richard West-Soley from the United Kindom: I kind of preferred it there – simpler, less messy. Could have beaten Farid back into third maybe, but not would probably not have beaten Denmark.
Nelly Takis from Greece: Listening to this song twice was enough for me, I prefer to listen to the original song from Lion King, and its more entertaining.
Haris Karas from Greece: Νope. Too many ballads in the field for a slower tempo to work in my opinion. And it should have beaten Azerbaijan anyway.
Fans are mostly saying that they preferred the NF version to the version that went to Eurovision. It could have worked, but sadly, we will never know! But do you think ‘Gravity’ would have won had it been performed in the original version? Feel free to comment below!