‘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!)