I think I’ll try to stick to a logical order with these write-ups, meaning that today I’ll continue my voyage to Malmö with the Belarussian pre-selection! Are you excited? Belarus were the first to decide their entrant for Eurovision, way back on the 7th of December.
I say they’ve decided, but they have a habit of not sticking to their selected entries by the time the contest comes out; last year Alyona Lanskaya was selected to perform in Baku, but a scandal about vote rigging saw Litesound hastily replacing her. The year before, Anastasia Vinnikova changed her song after selection too! This hasn’t helped their cause though, as neither entry qualified for the final. They’ve only qualified twice, with a highest finish of 6th in 2007’s final. Could this year be the time they make it big?
Ten songs were put up for public vote in a televised national final, with a 50% televote/50% jury scoring system deciding the winner. But what the songs like? Here they are in reverse order of results…
Bever Band – Incredible Girl
Oh lord, what horrors have I unleashed on myself? Croaky speed-folk, apparently. It’s an energetic track of older gentlemen in fancy clothing, singing a sort of plate-smashingly frothy folk track. There’s traditional dancing, trombones, what more could you want? A decent singer I guess, he croaks like he has lung cancer! Fun but hopeless.
Vitaliy Voronko – I wonder how you
I love a bit of broken English in my Eastern European Eurovision entries. More traditional-sounding but modern production. Vitaliy is at least a better singer than the Bever Band guy. It’s even got a little dance routine. This is quite nice really!! I like the accordion solos, it’s like some late 90s Megadrive game soundtrack. I’m quite fond of this!!
Uzari – Secret
After the fun and games, something more serious. Though what the hell is he wearing? While he seems to have struggled with the temperature on his tumble-dryer, his dancers are getting stuck in their sweaters. A bit of serious choreo here too, a bit of an RnB ballad. It doesn’t sound too bad at all really, apart from that horribly dated dance breakdown in the last minute! The crowd go wild for those dramatic fire extinguishers though! Yeah it’s alright, just a bit unremarkable. HANG ON, why does he have pointy goblin ears?!
Yankey – Letter to Mother
Oh this isn’t what I expected at all! Wait up, didn’t I see this somewhere before? More precisely the Russian 2010 entry? This is a little more straightforward musically, even if the lyrics are as grim as anything. He’s probably the best singer so far, and it goes quite rocky towards the end but in a pretty listenable way. Totally OTT melodrama, but this wouldn’t have made a bad entry at all! Not exactly a winner, but it might as least have got them to qualify.
Alexey Gross – One way love
Oh the tension! Another dramatic ballad with a lone female dancer and a few props. He looks nice, and his voice doesn’t sound bad, but the song doesn’t exactly stretch his vocals. The song itself doesn’t really stand out though. It’s a typical heartbroken ballad, with rocky tinges. I could see why this was the most popular track so far though. That middle-eight to the last chorus works really well! The song is just a bit nondescript, sadly.
Max Lorens – I love your charming eyes
Who couldn’t like a track with a title like that? Me, apparently. I don’t really have a type when it comes to Eurovision, but I suspect this isn’t it. More heartbreak, perhaps spurred on by an accident where he lost part of his eyebrow. It’s a pretty dreary Mediterranean ballad (a bit outside the box for Belarus, admittedly). The climax doesn’t really do it for me, though I do like the sudden switch from English to Belarussian. He’s got a decent voice but the song is just a bit droney. Sorry, not for me!
Daria – Catch me again
This is the first female I’ve seen so far, she seems nice enough from the strange little postcards before the performances. I wasn’t expecting this track, it’s like an Eastern European version of Paloma Faith. This old-fashioned pastiche sound is very hit and miss, but I quite like this! It’s just got that saucily hopeless feel to it, totally intended. It’s just got a nice sense of humour to it. I know I favour female artists in Eurovision, but she’s definitely the most engaging performer so far. It helps that it’s got a bit of fun about it without making Eurovision the joke.
Satsura – Get out of my way
Into the top 3 now, and certainly a striking intro. Goodness me, where’s his shirt? Daria who? No prizes for guessing where his votes came from! It certainly wasn’t for his vocals, though it’s a decent modern dance track, even if it’s pretty generic. Also considering he’s singing English, I can barely understand a word he’s singing. He’s a good dancer, it was just a bit too ambitious I think. Looking like Guile out of Streetfighter doesn’t hurt though. Good to see Belarus could easily keep up with the modern staging that other countries seem to wheel out all the time. Glad it wasn’t the selection for Malmö but fun to watch.
Nuteki – Save me
It might not have come a close second when the results came out, but it still came second. These look like some cool dudes, and they are going down the suddenly popular Indiedisco route that I’ve seen a surprising number of times this year. More unintelligible English in the verses, but the choruses are sort of decent. It’s just a bit of a mess though!
It’s like a more chaotic version of 2012’s Litesound, they are just running around and singing a bit of an erratic melody. I can see it appealing to people, but it’s not really my cup of tea. Hang on, WTF is going on? The guitarist is being probed by a giant Bacofoil alien!! What on Earth…
Alyona Lanskaya – Rhythm of love
So here we are, the winner. A dancy female-fronted track, surely I’ll like this? She looks gorgeous though, it’s a bit like a Kylie track. It’s a bit basic, but they at least have some decent choreography going on, with some futuristically-dressed guys (i.e. shoulder sleeves and not much else). That spazzy accordion noise is strange, isn’t it?
She seems like the best choice of a performer from the selection, and I can even imagine a slim chance of a win for Belarus. Realistically that’s a pretty slim chance, but I’ve certainly heard a LOT worse. I could understand that it needs a bit of polishing up, but it feels like a bit of a shame if she totally scraps the song as is rumoured at the moment. But if this is the sort of track it’ll be, they are on the right track.
That wasn’t as painful as I thought! I was expecting more dreary ballads and unlistenable folk music, but it was a pretty contemporary set of tracks. The Belarussians did a decent job in ranking the songs too, even though I didn’t really like Nuteki that much.