‘Breaking news! We have our first entry for Eurovision 2013!’
Now, if you could kindly imagine me saying that four days ago, that would be great.
Whether you can or not, the fact is that yes, we DO have entry number one, and I am thrilled to announce that it was my favourite of the lineup. Rhythm of Love by poor old Alyona Lanskaya topped both the jury and public vote (should we be suspicious?) to win Eurofest 2012, beating Nuteki’s Save Me and Satsura’s Get Out of My Way into the second and third places respectively. I say ‘poor old’ because of what happened to Alyona last time, as discussed in my last post and all over the web since she managed to win again. I wonder if she’s been huddled in a corner of her lounge room since, sweaty hands clutching her ticket to Malmö and eyes darting around manically, just waiting for the national final police to storm in and snatch the magic paper off her? I wouldn’t be surprised. I really hope it won’t be a case of déjà vu for her, partly because that may give her a nervous breakdown and partly because I like her song a whole lot better than Nuteki’s.
Just in case the worst happens though, I thought I’d seize the moment to celebrate Alyona’s Win 2.0 by celebrating the time her country has had in Eurovision up to now.
Belarus is one of those countries that have more or less found their form in Junior Eurovision, but struggle to succeed in the adult contest (kind of like the opposite of Azerbaijan…#meanbuttrue). They are a relatively new addition to the ESC family, having debuted the year semi finals were introduced, but while some nations have taken to it like Dima Bilan to miming on important occasions, Belarus have floundered. They qualified for the first time on their fourth attempt, and have only made the final once since then, and whilst they’ve never quite come last (unless I misread my statistics which is possible because I’m falling asleep right now) they’ve never troubled the top 5. Whether or not Alyona can buck that trend – should she still be singing for Belarus in May – remains to be seen. In the meantime, let’s take a look back at the facts and figures of Belarusian Eurovision history (the best kind of history) as well as my most-loved and most-despised of what they’ve dished up so far.
BELARUS: THE STATS
6th – 2007
Top 10 finishes
Top 10 success rate
Wooden spoons (last places!)
Semi final qualifications
Qualification success rate
My favourite entry
Work Your Magic by Koldun (2007). I think the fact that this is my current ringtone says it all. Then again I can always say a little bit more. I love everything about this entry – the drama, the general epic quality, the sliding doors, Koldun’s ridiculously smooth chest…er, I mean, commendable vocal talents – the lot. As only one of two Belarusian songs to qualify and the bringer of their best ever result, it’s safe to say I’m not the only one.
My least favourite entry
Love Me Tonight by Angelica Agurbash (2005). Apparently this was a favourite to win back in 2005, and to that I can only say two things. Firstly, thank heavens for Helena Paparizou. Secondly, WHYYY? It sounds like something the organisers of Melodifestivalen would have rejected circa 1995. And her voice is just disturbing. No. Not for me, this one.
More of the memorable
My Galileo by Alexandra & Konstantin (2004) – Alexandra’s English pronunciation left a lot to be desired, but I do have a soft spot for this debut. PS – anyone who can decipher the lyrics just by listening deserves a prize.
Butterflies by 3+2 (2010) – what’s memorable about this is more in what you see than what you hear, but this was a very classy entry that wouldn’t be out of place in a Broadway musical (Act IV. The lovers have been reunited at last and are singing about their hopeful future, etc).
I Love Belarus by Anastasia Vinnikova (2011) – this wasn’t bad for a song clearly written in five minutes after it was decided the original song breached the rules of the contest. It’s just a shame the Belarus love wasn’t being felt at the time.
Their best stage show
Work Your Magic. I’ve already mentioned the sliding doors, to which suited-up dancers attached themselves (presumably with Blu-Tac) and behind which Koldun and his posse could disappear at will. Those, the nifty choreography that I can’t help joining in on and the good use of the stage are what make it so entertaining.
Their best costume/s
Butterflies. Why, you ask? Um, hello! Just when you think 3+2 are looking the most amazing they possibly could in their suits and sparkly dresses, the girls sprout massive, even-sparklier-than-the-dresses butterfly wings that made the ones I had as a kid look like rubbish bags. Spectacular.
Their best vocalist/s
Petr Elfimov. He may have had super silly hair but he could sure hold a note, which came in handy for his belter of a rock song. He didn’t have that much competition – let’s-not-even-go-there Alexandra, Mangelica, and Anastasia weren’t exactly perfect vocalists – but he could battle with the best of them.
What have been your personal Belarusian highlights over the years? (Or lowlights. You know how I love hearing those!)
2 Responses to “Spotlight on…Belarus”
Within six minutes, I was able to acquaint myself with all of the entries I was unfamiliar with! However it’s safe to say that it wasn’t a totally enjoyable six minutes.
Starting off, “Work Your Magic,” despite some slightly dodge pronunciation (probably Belarus’s best English), is certainly their best entry by some margin. That stage show was also really good. Heck, it’s still being replicated today (as in Ukraine ’12 or UK/Russia ’11). On an unrelated note, my favorite song in recent memory is my ringtone, so that should say something about my love for that song. Is “Work Your Magic” yours?
To Kyiv and Angelica; what the heck was that? She looked like a super gaudy/schalgery queen who was singing a ’95 MF reject. It’s scary how this did better than their debut from the previous year that, despite the worst butchering of English I’ve ever heard, was totally endearing and cute. Uhhh *shakes* … some days I can’t stand schlager.
If stupid “Born in Belorussia” hadn’t have been declared ineligible, it would totally be my favorite Belorussian entry ever. It’s so much better than the express-delivery song that eventually ended up in Düsseldorf and was really camp and fun. As for “Butterflies,” I think I’ll pass. A tad too slow for my taste. Also, 3+2’s pronunciation could use some work. Petr Elfimov had a better song for Moscow, but on stage, he couldn’t fly above those butterflies (that was terrible).
As for their most recent entry, I’m still dealing with feelings of sadness from Nuteki’s loss. However those are being bolstered by “War in the Wardrobe” winning the Lithuanian semi and some of the newly-released Latvian and Maltese songs being quite good. In particular, “Betrayed” from Malta and “When You’re With Me” and “Higher and Higher” in Latvia. I hope that I can finally have an NF where my favorite song wins! Last year, I was the Danny Saucedo of NFs (I just won’t let him go away), with all of my favorites coming either in second or third.
‘Probably Belarus’s best English’ = epic LOL. They have a habit of sending artists who need to brush up on their pronounciation!! Alexandra in particular. I remember playing the 04 album when I was in the car with my mum, and that song came on. She asked me what language it was in X””D
Well, ‘Work Your Magic’ isn’t my favorite song of all time (I have about a gajillion of those) but it makes an awesome ringtone! I also have ‘Satellite’ and ‘Lipstick’, and I tend to just switch between the three.
I totally agree with you on Angelica and her result compared to the year before! She actually had a different song that was supposed to be the Belarusian entry which was heaps better. But her voice is what really annoys me, so either way I wouldn’t have liked them that year.
‘Born in Belorussia’ was SO. GOOD. That was a devastating loss. Damn them for not adhering/paying attention to the rules. ‘I Love Belarus’ is kind of a guilty pleasure song for me, though.
Well, I hope you do get a NF winner this year. Switzerland maybe?? I haven’t heard that Maltese song. The only one I’ve heard is ‘Fantasy’ by Danica Muscat, which I quite liked. I liked her last year too.
PS – I don’t mind Danny Saucedo cropping up in every comment! I’ve decided to forgive him for his immature behaviour at MF and love him again. He should be honoured.