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Friday, 10 January 2014 18:45

Belarus: BTRC Presents National Final 2014 - LIVE

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It seems that national selections have been scheduled later than usual, with most taking place towards the end of February, beginning of March. Nevertheless, Belarus will be following in the footsteps of Ukraine and Albania in selecting their representative in the second week of January. Fourteen (14) entries will be presented by nine (9) soloists and five (5) bands for the right to represent the Eastern country at the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The winning entry will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Alyona Lanskaya whose entry Solayoh written by Martin King and Marc Paelinck reached the final, achieving a mid-table placing.

Belarus are putting in a lot of effort in this years' national final, even appointing Glen Shappo to take care of the lighting, pyrotechnics and other special effects. BTRC, the public broadcaster in Belarus is making use of studio 600 for this evenings' showcase, which in turn will be hosted by a renowned duo, which many will recognise. Special guests for this evening will include; Alyona Lanskaya (Belarus 2013), Polina Smolova (Belarus 2006) and Alexsander Solodukha, a popular Russian and Belarusian singer. All of them will take to the stage whilst the jury and tele-voting results are combined to reveal this evenings' winner.

The Show Part (1)

Massive opening act, a remix of Solayoh by Alyona Lanskaya, choreography as a modern dance involving female and male dancers. The lighting is incredible and you sense the feeling that Belarus are putting in a lot of effort this evening. No red carpet in site, but the hosts are definitely dressed up as if going to the Academy Awards. They welcome the people in the audience and at home to this spectacle and explain how the system will proceed this evening.

Running Order

Natalia Tamelo - Not What I've Been Looking For

Kicking off this evenings' selection is a jazz infused tune, with a female vocalist clad in a short black dress with black tights and all. She is joined by three male dancers and two female backing vocalists. The genre is very much similar to Smile, presented in the Ukrainian national selection a couple of years back.

The diction is non comprehensive to be honest but nevertheless, this performance is pleasing and could pick up points of originality. I must say, it actually got better as it went along, and I would not be surprised if this could manage to pull off an upset. Things to work on would definitely be her facial expressions during the performance. A very good start, and the audience seem to agree.

Nuteki - Fly Away

Preselection in the eastern hemisphere of Europe are always known to include these incredibly bland rock songs which never prove to be my cup of tea. Nuteki are experienced and renowned but have yet to garner that ticket to represent Belarus in the Eurovision Song Contest. The staging is dark and expected, and the singing is as good as expected, of course.

It is impressive to see what kind of depth they have gone into when it comes to the presentation of the songs with three (3) large screens behind them showing various graphics, something which has been missing from the selection of Belarus. This is going to be one of those songs which will be left behind at the international competition.

Artem Mikhalenko - Rapsodia No.1

Well, Artem has already been to the Eurovision Song Contest in the past, as part of the group 3+2 with the song Butterflies but he has decided to go solo this year. He is clad in a marvelous black suit, but no tie, keeping the look extremely smart casual. I never knew how much one could blend classical and techno, but then again, I hope to never have the misfortune of hearing it again, because it sounds as if taken out of the soundtrack of Gravity, and that's not a good thing.

Let's praise the positives though, his vocals are definitely to be reckoned with, and that will earn him a lot of votes from the jury this evening. Although it is imperative that they look towards originality and the whole package rather than just one redeeming quality. Thus far, I cannot help but keep complimenting the first song, the one which I see appealing to an international audience.

Matvei Cooper and band DUX - Strippers

I had no clue what to expect when I saw this title of this entry, especially because it does not seem practically possible but then again, this is Belarus and three quarters of the lyrics are normally not understood by the rest of the English speaking countries across the continent.

The main vocalist has a good fashion sense which compliment his charming looks at physique but it is the female dancers in tight orange bodysuits, as if coming out of prison and ready to have some fun and play, if you catch out drift. The vocals are good but once more, they cannot be serious about this entry.

TEO - Cheesecake

One main vocalist, a male, who is wearing Artem's outfit, or so it seems. He is joined on stage by three male backing vocalists who are dressed up in similar outfits to Sasha Song, representative of Lithuania in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. The vocals are good but nevertheless, the performance is just mad-crazy, similar to the title of the song and its content. 

In the meantime, the genre of the song, a pop-jazz friendly number is very much relatable and this could also acquire a good amount of votes this evening. Towards the end of the song, the male vocalist showed his true skills by kicking the camera and creating a bit of havoc in the BTRC studio 600. Also, did anyone notice the uncanny resemblance to Robin Thicke and Pasha Parfeni, or was it just me?

Daria - Starlight

Thumping beats! and that could only mean, that we have a couple of key-changes in this particular entry, very much similar to Gravity, as performed by Zlata Ognevich. Although, I am very much sure, that this is a rip-off because even the development of the song is pretty much similar.

Daria is clad in a beautiful dark blue/black dress, with messy blonde hair. She is joined on stage by five female backing vocalists. The vocals are good but it cannot get any more cheesy at this point. If I had to guess which song they would go for at this point, I could see this one winning hands down because it is the type of track that wins such finals.

Elena Siniavskaya - Via Lattea

Ohh! Kaya's dress from the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2012 makes another appearance, an unexpected one though. Elena has a great set of lungs on her, and she is surely the one to beat in this national final, as she performed what seems to be a mix of Vincero and La Voix this evening.

She is joined on stage by four backing vocalists, two males and two females who accompany her beautifully throughout the song. This anthemic power ballad quickly turned into a dance number but it is done in a wonderful manner. That has just surpassed my expectations completely and it is going to take something great to beat that in my books.

Alina Moshchenko - Angel Crying

Whoa! If they are voting for beautiful girls, this is definitely the winner this evening, with her gold locks of hair and white dress, it seems that we are re-watching the performance of Mika Newton during the 2011 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.This is a modern take on a ballad and the graphics have been re-worked in a plausible manner, so attract more attention. 

The key-change mid-way through the song was disappointing and left a lot to be desired but kudos to Alina on her strong vocals throughout. Once more, with some work, this could do very well at the international competition, especially with such a cheesy set-up.

Janet - You Will Be Here

Kaya's dress from 2012 meets Olivia's dress from 2007 to create a somewhat decent gown. Janet is joing on stage by two female backing vocalists, clad in white, and look, they are none other than Ylva and Linda Persson, the songwriters of this entry, and also of Addictive which is competing in Malta.

This is a run-of-the-mill ballad which is very much being performed to perfection. The chosen graphics are also very much in accordance with the song and the effect coming out on screen is just amazing. The vocals from Janet are strong and powerful, and despite earlier concerns, I can understand almost all her diction. This is a contender for sure.

Anastasia Milashevskaya - Runaway

Whoa! I am impressed that they have managed to create a stage to depict snow coming down, and everything seems professional in this presentation. The lead vocalist is wearing a black dress under a silver/white gown and is joined on stage by three female dancers, and two backing vocalists, a male and a female.

The overall impression is that she is screaming the whole way through and whilst the song is an impressive ballad, I just cannot see it competing fairly with the others. It is a bit dated, and needs a revamp should it finish at the top of the scoreboard, something that is very much unlikely in my opinion.

Switter Boys feat. Kate&Volga Karol - Vechnaya Lubov (Love Forever)

The beginning of the song is somewhat plagiarised from another song, but I cannot remember which one and it seems that a pretty catchy tune is quickly turned into a rap track, featuring two male vocalists in tracksuits, two female vocalists in short tight shimmering dresses and finally, another male vocalist, is the one most adequately dressed, sort of.

The vocals in this song are somewhat overlooked to what is a strikingly weird presentation. I just cannot get my fingers around understanding this track. There are two many genres, and it seems like the local Gorg u Pawlu have gone onto meet Jozette in a bar, and got drunk, eventually coming up with this entry. HORRIBLE.

Band Napoli - Stay With Me

Well, we're almost at the end of the broadcast, or rather, the selection process and it seems that this group in particular is seemingly channeling 3+2 with a simple ballad which sounds like Headlines (Friendship Never Ends) by the Spice Girls. The female members of the group are probably wearing haute couture whilst the male member is clad in a black suit and a white dinner jacket. 

The vocals are good and strong but the song is not memorable enough for the Eurovision Song Contest in my opinion. The additional help of two backing vocalists is pretty much unecessary and in order to increase the cheese of this ballad, we have rose petrals falling from the sky.

Max Lorens & Didyulya - Now You're Gone

At the recent Teatru Unplugged, Jonathan Shaw took to the stage to perform Let Her Go by Passenger and the result is very much similar, probably due to the use of certain instruments. Max Lorens is one of the most popular figures in the industry and he is definitely leaving his mark in a posiive way. With the right alterations, this could be a massive hit in the Eurovision Song Contest, something juries would brand as atmospheric.

The vocals are spot on, and the performance on stage is kept simplistic despite possibly seeming a bit too much at first. This is very much a case of having the wrong image at the beginning and then coming together beautifully mid-way throughout the performance. That was good and I believe this could also win this evening. 

Tasha Odi - Empty Universe

Where has the night gone? This is the final entry this evening and it seems that Belarus were not saving the best for last. Tasha is wearing a cabaret-like outfit, including a hat and all. She is joined on stage by two backing vocalists, and is performing a pop/rock number with a slight influence of jazz.

I cannot see such an entry doing well at the Eurovision Song Contest but nevertheless, the audience have gone stir crazy for this one, so I am guessing that she is popular. There are positive elements but the negative ones bring it down completely, and hence, I would not select her to represent Belarus.

The Show (Part 2)

Following a set of Belarusian adverts, our wonderful hosts for this evening are back on stage and open ten minutes of tele-voting, whilst also introducing a recap of this evenings' fourteen (14) entries, one of which will represent Belarus at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest and now, a video clip directly taken from eurovision.tv in order to introduce the #EurovisionIdea. Our line-up of special guests at the moment, followed by the results. Well, the results are close by, or so we have heard ...

Last modified on Friday, 10 January 2014 21:35