Unless a Karita Mattila stride on stage and dispels all doubts, there will always be morning-after questions at any major competition as to whether the judges had picked the right winner.
Right, in two senses: that the trophy holder was the strongest of all talents available, and that he or she has the ambition and resilience to step out and conquer the world.
Those doubts are being heard this morning about Nadine Koutcher, 32, from Belarus, who overcame a wobbly start to convince the judges that she had greater staying power than the Mongolian, Amartuvshin Enkhbat (the audience favourite), or the Korean, Jongmin Park (the Song Prize winner), both of whom were very much the finished object – big singers, big personalities.
What did they do to lose? They took no risks. Koutcher, after seeming to be over-groomed, went for Delibes’s Bell Song totally exposed on the roof of Notre Dame, nailing every last note. Her daring won it.
She has nothing to lose but her obscurity.
You can watch the final here.