ARMENIA: Srbuk “Walking Out”

ARMENIA: Srbuk "Walking Out"

Well, let me start with the visually arresting video - shot in black and white with occasional flashes of red lipstick or raking laser beams, a cohort of jacket-wearing bare-chested hunks prowl around a sparsely-furnished warehouse. Under a barrage of fluoro floodlights, they circle our heroine menacingly as the dance builds to a series of climactic lunges.

In common with a number of other Eurovision entries this year, there is some crown imagery - but this time Srbuk is throwing it off: “You’re no more a king, 'cause I was your crown”. Marking the end of a toxic relationship, she threatens to burn down whatever she has built as she finally resolves to take her leave.

Musically, this song begins in the key of F minor underpinned by heavy percussion, pacier in tempo than Franka’s 2018 effort Crazy or Hozier’s classic Take Me To Church, but setting a similar mood. After a couple of verses, the killer chorus kicks in, swooping surprisingly upwards with a vocal echo pitched one fifth higher than the refrain. Two more verses, and after a bold semitone modulation, Srbuk lets herself go in the reiteration of the chorus, launching into a thrilling top A.

Srbuk is another of the reality TV stars who have made their way to Eurovision, starting in The X Factor Armenia in 2010 where she finished second, but also faring well in the 2018 edition of The Voice of Ukraine. After a stint in the band Allusion, her solo career began in 2016 with the domestic smash hits Yete Karogh Es and the followup Half A Goddess (they are well worth a listen). Her new song Walking Out is powerful and instantly appealing, while at the same time has a lot of substance. There is clearly scope for an eye-catching staging, but Srbuk’s vocal will need to be confident and on point.

How will the voters react to this portrayal of a strong, bloody-minded, self-empowered and almost aggressive woman? That remains to be seen, but it certainly marks a change from last year’s gentle Qami. And the chorus is a belter.