I have a confession to make: I had no idea that Belarus’ national final was taking place tonight.
For some reason (I’m inclined to blame Malta holding their semi and final over two consecutive days in order to confuse me) I was convinced they were choosing an act to follow in Uzari & Maimuna’s footsteps TOMORROW night. So, naturally, I had planned to forgo posting about Malta’s semi final so I could combine a prediction for both the MESC final and the Belarusian equivalent into one ridiculously long ramble on Saturday. SO, I’m not exactly prepared for what I’m about to do – hammer out a brief analysis of the ten songs competing to represent The Land of Koldun this evening, and take a look at Malta’s twenty-song-long semi while I’m at it. That being the case, there’s no Time (HEHEHE) to waste. Let’s go.
BELARUS: It’s Time to select a song for Stockholm!
Yes, I used the Time joke twice in a very short space of sentences. There’s only a matter of Time before it becomes totally irrelevant, so one simply must squeeze it in as many Times as possible.
But I’m done now. I think.
Hey, here are the prospective Belarusian entries for 2016!
- Flame by Alexey Gross
- Glory Night by Sasha Zakharik
- Not Alone by Valeriya Sadovskaya
- Radiowave (Ne Shodi s Uma) by Radiovolna
- Turn Around by The EM
- Heta Ziamlia by Navi
- How To Fly by Alexander Ivanov
- Pray For Love by Anastasiya Malashkevich
- Running To The Sun by Kirill Yermakov
- My Universe by NAPOLI
Overall, I’m pretty disappointed in this bunch. It only takes one great song to win Eurovision, but it seems to me that Belarus have none – which makes me wonder why they even bothered with their lengthy live audition process and all of the other jazz leading up to this point (and why they should bother with the stuff that’ll come after, such as rehearsing and remixing and turning up at Globen). That might sound harsh, but this final is lacklustre at best, and physically painful to preview at worst. At least, in my opinion. If you think it’s the new Melodifestivalen in terms of its epicness, power to you (but seriously, book yourself into an insane asylum stat).
I’ve selected some highlights (using the ‘high’ loosely) and collated them into a short list which I believe is traditionally titled a ‘Top 5’.
- Running To The Sun Lyrically questionable, but contemporary and catchy, this one’s my pick of the bunch. But I wouldn’t waste any douze points on it. If it wins, I’d be keen to see what was done with it between now and May.
- My Universe This is NAPOLI’s weakest attempt to represent Belarus, but because it reminds me a bit of Zlata “Goddess Amongst Us Mere Mortals” Ognevich’s Gravity, I can get on board with it.
- Turn Around It’s a man-band with a melancholy ballad! The boys from The EM are like a very sad Eastern European Jedward, who plumb the depths of depression and duckface a LOT in the Turn Around music video. Part of me loves it, part of me wants to play them a succession of YouTube cat videos to get them to cheer the heck up.
- Radiowave If this wasn’t so incredibly repetitive, it would be my favourite.
- Heta Ziamlia The only non-English track competing, this is cute, and would be something different for Belarus to send to the ESC (laters, melodrama). The ‘ooh-ooh’ bits are irritating though.
So who’s going to win, and does anyone really care when the standard is so crap? OF COURSE THEY DO, AND STOP BEING NEEDLESSLY MEAN, JAZ! This is the trio of tracks I can see scuffling at the top of the scoreboard for the ticket to Stockholm:
- Flame Although I didn’t put this in my Top 5, I do think it’s a credible and rather majestic number (and I’m not just saying that because I personally know one of the lyricists, and want it to win for her sake). It’s first up in the running order, and I think it could end the night in first position too.
- Pray For Love I can’t stand Anastasiya’s voice – talk about nails down a chalkboard. But she’s done well for herself in the past with a song that was far worse than this one, so I can’t discount her.
- Running To The Sun Yes, I’m biased. This is my personal fave, so obviously I consider it the best of the bunch and a possible winner.
PS – I’d like to slip My Universe in as a prediction too, just in case. So consider that done.
Who would you like to see fly the Belarusian flag this year? Does Alexey ignite your Flame, or are you hoping it’s Sasha’s Glory Night? Maybe you’re thinking that Alexander Ivanov should learn How To Fly to Arlanda airport (though I truly hope you’re not). Let me know below!
MALTA: One mammoth semi + one mammoth final = MESC 2016
Another year, another MESC, and still nobody’s explained to me why Malta goes to the trouble of holding a semi final when they only ditch six songs at the end of it. CUT THE FIELD IN HALF, FOR THE LOVE OF IRA LOSCO!
Speaking of our beloved Ira…she’s back in the mix for 2016, fourteen years after her very successful, should-have-won-it trip to Eurovision in Tallinn. She’ll open tonight’s semi with one of her two entries, and be followed by eighteen other acts. If you’re tuning in, you’re in for a loooooong night. But it just wouldn’t be MESC otherwise.
Here’s the line-up, for anyone requiring a refresher:
- Chameleon (Invincible) by Ira Losco
- Falling Glass by Corazon
- Light Up My Life by Stefan Galea
- Empty Hearted by Domenique
- I Love You by Dario Mifsud Bonnici
- Under The Sun by Daniel Testa
- The Flame by Jessika
- Alive by Jasmine Abela
- Flashing Lights by Raquel Galdes
- Golden by Brooke
- Lighthouse by Kimberley Cortis
- Right Here With You by Sarah Crystal
- Frontline by Danica Muscat
- Kingdom by Christabelle
- Little Love by Franklin Calleja
- Fire Burn by Dominic
- That’s Why I Love You by Ira Losco
- You’re Beautiful by Lawrence Gray
- Young Love by Maxine Pace
- All Around The World by Deborah C
Now THAT’s more like it. It’s not the best musical battleground ever to have existed, but there’s hardly anything that I’d describe as dreadful listed above. I’m going to save my Top 5 ranking for tomorrow’s pre-final post (assuming all my favourites qualify. The odds are in their favour) but I will say that Ira, Corazon (gasp!) and Deborah C (double gasp!) have made the grade.
For now, I’ll have a bash at predicting which six songs WON’T be seen and heard again on Saturday night.
- Light Up My Life There is plenty of generic dance pop on offer, but this is the blandest example.
- Empty Hearted I quite like this one, but I can see it struggling.
- I Love You This ain’t bad either, but there’s always one or two DNQs that I don’t get.
- Flashing Lights Raquel failed to qualify last year with a much better song at her disposal. This one does nothing for her unique vocals.
- Frontline This is actually one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. Nothing more needs to be said.
- You’re Beautiful Well, thanks, Lawrence…but as it turns out, flattery won’t get you everywhere.
It’s a tough task, deciding which of Malta’s marathon runners won’t make it to the finish line. If you’ve selected your own six, get on down to the comments section and put them in writing! You know I’m an extremely nosy human and want to know what you think about anything and everything at all times.
Now, I’m going to say goodbye (I have some more face-palming re: my Belarus mistake to indulge in) but I’ll be back in about twenty-four hours with a verdict on the fourth member of the Eurovision 2016 family – i.e. Belarus’ song – plus a review, ranking and prediction of the MESC final. If you’re watching one of tonight’s NFs (or you’ve cloned yourself and plan to watch both), enjoy. And remember, selection season is only just beginning!