ESC 2023 Song Review: “Solo” by Blanka (Poland)

1) The Result

When Ochman’s song “River” was released, there were some who dared to dream about Poland winning the contest for the first time. Then we all saw him perform it live, where he kept his eyes closed for the most part, and that was the end of the hype. Nevertheless, the entry finished in a very respectable 12th place in the final.

2) The Process

In the most drama-laden national final of the season, Blanka came second in the televote and won the jury vote despite a performance where her vocals were very clearly sub-par. Accusations of corrupt behaviour by the jury by favouring her over others due to personal connections were denied by the broadcaster, which in turn didn’t help matters by switching up the voting sequence during the show, prompting accusations of deceit. In the end the result stood, but fans weren’t happy.

3) The Artist

Blanka Stajkow came into the public eye in 2021 when she participated in reality show Top Model, during which she released her debut single and was signed by Warner Records. “Solo” is her second single.

4) The Song

Bouncy dance-pop track about moving on and proving one’s worth after a break-up.

5) The Verdict

Putting aside the messiness of the national selection process, this isn’t a terrible song as such. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not particularly good either: it’s annoyingly catchy and simple, which also means it has ear-worm potential. Maybe a large portion of the Polish diaspora have heard about the national final drama and won’t be supporting their home country, but the last time they really made a difference probably was the 2016 final. The vast majority of viewers won’t know the backstory on the evening, so don’t be surprised if the combination of the basic familiarity of the track and Blanka’s looks send her to the final.

My ranking: 32nd