Hey everyone and welcome back to ESC Views! With the 2014 national final season well in session, we’re starting to find out all the artists that have been picked and this week we’ll find out another one, but where from?
To just shorten this, I’ll tell you how we plan to tackle these articles: we’ll preview each national final that will take place each week, giving you our opinions on a few of the songs and then predict how well we think said songs will do, and of course predict who will take the title in the National Final and represent their country in Denmark. We’ll also refer back to a Possible Artists article (if we did one) contrasting the choices and our personal favourites, and finally we’ll be predicting how well the country could do at Eurovision with the songs. Your views are also really valuable, so don’t hesitate to tell what you think about the national finals and who you think will represent the countries! So, without further ado..
This week’s calendar:
10th January 2014 – Belarusian National Final
The third of the ex-USSR countries to pick their artists, Belarus normally send a particularly good entry and then they have a tendency to change something about it – either the song is scrapped for another one, or the artist is replaced. This has become a satirical “Eurovision Rule” and joked about with fans. Whether this year will be an exception is unknown, but this year we have fourteen entries to pick our favourites. The National Final which, unlike their Ukrainian neighbours, is on during the evening of Friday, the 10th of January and our *amayzin* friends at BTRC have given us the songs to listen to, so click here on this link to hear a good few of them. So what do we think of them?
Reviews and Predictions:
Rory – I normally don’t mind Belarus’ song at Eurovision (I loved Rhythm of Love before they scrapped it for Solayoh), but this year I’m not sure if I like any of the songs that have been released. I’m sure the Belarussian public will definitely have a long night with the amount of ballads that are in the national final. I counted at least six ballads that are taking part in the Contest. I mean, sending a ballad is fine, but it isn’t even funny that there are that many ballads in one show!
Reading the participants list, there’s actually quite a diverse range of artists taking part and for the songs I actually like, I would say that Nuteki is my favourite. I know, I never thought I’d say that either. Because a rock/metal song is taking part in a ballad-dominating contest, it will sure stand out from the crowd and for once, it’s an actual metal song I don’t mind.. and I normally hate metal songs (Max Jason Mai – as much as he’s hot, his song? Nah!). ‘Via Lattea’ is also a really good song and I think it might actually win the whole thing. The band Switter Boys’ song on the other hand…well I think they may not be taking the contest seriously. If Belarus decide to send this, I think they could kiss qualification goodbye. Seriously, what is that thing?! And “Strippers”, what the fuck is going on here, this is gonna become a joke national final!
…*Breathe Rory, breathe*…
Anyway, from the mountain of ballads, I actually think Alina Moshchenko has a really good song with ‘Angel Crying’. It isn’t the stereotypical Eurovision you would expect (that job is left to the winner’s predecessor, Alyona Lanskaya’s song “You’re The Lucky One“), so that will definitely work in her favour.
As for my predictions as to who would take the title in Belarus, I would love to see Nuteki or Janette go to Copenhagen, as they both have good songs and if they work on their English pronunciations and accents (that can be said for every act in this final), it could mean they could do it and go to Eurovision, but how well they’d do there.. well, that’s a whole other story. Let’s see how well they do on the night in Minsk, both regarding vocals and performance. I’m expecting some good performances to balance out with the low quality of songs. You dayum sure better have good performances, Belarus!
James -Fourteen songs competing, twelve currently available to listen to, one will win, and likely none will end up being performed in Copenhagen. Oh joy, we’re venturing back into the muddied waters of the Belarussian National Final *hurrah!* Aside from the laughably inevitable results scandal – seriously guys, I can’t wait for it – another guaranteed hilarity from Belarus is the pronunciation difficulties of 99% of the contestants who attempt to sing in English. Judging by the incoherent stream of noises produced by the majority of the singers in the previews, 2014 is gonna be another stellar year on that front *points to Alina Moshchenko and Janette with barely disguised glee*
Okay, time I started taking this seriously and looked at the songs. Overall, the field is pretty dire in my opinion, to the point where I believe a song change would be the only way to save them in most cases. Ouch. So, I will focus on the two songs I think are actually pretty decent. Standing head and shoulders above the rest, as I see it, is Elena Siniavskaya’s schläger-tastic popera number “Via Lattea”. It’s basically a reincarnation of Alenka Gotar, Malena Ernman et al, but I do love me a bit of dramatic vocal gymnastics over a fabulous backing like that. Yes, it’s generic, yes, it’s contrived. Yes, it’s brilliant.
Aside from that, I do quite enjoy “Rapsodiya #1”, another odd incarnation of operatic fusion – this time, of all things, with dubstep. Artem, the performer, was in fact the tall irrelevant one in 3+2, who, we all remember, performed the lacklustre “Butterfiles” back in 2010. Does he deserve another shot? Most certainly, with this song. It’s genre-pushing, experimental, and thankfully, not in English. Definitely worth a try, Belarus!
However, no matter how much I am cheering on these two songs, I’m pretty sure Nuteki are going to walk it. They had an absolutely fab song last year – “Save Me” – which combined rock and electronic music to create something really unique and special. This year, however, they’ve gone all out rock and I just think no. It’s not going to work at Eurovision. Look at Slovakia 2012. Such a niche market will not be tuning in to the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals, and without their target audience, there is no way Nuteki would qualify with “Fly Away”. Sorry guys.
And as Rory already said… the amount of joke entries in this line-up is woefully large. I mean, come on. There’s a song called “Cheesecake”. No joke. “Cheesecake”. Seriously. Ouch.
Sadly, we actually didn’t do a Possible Artists article for Belarus and so, with this in mind, we’re completely open to what will happen on the night! So come the 10th of January, the winning song will be the third song we’ve actually heard and comparing it Herciana’s and Mariya’s songs, it would be a reasonably weak song. But because it’s still relatively early in the national final season, they have the chance to work on the song and make it better… or scrap the song and/or singer and start over again, it’s typical for the Belarussians, isn’t it?
When it comes to the actual Contest, though, I doubt that Belarus will qualify for the final. The national final may be OK for the minute but against the songs from Ukraine and Albania, it will be a weak entry that almost gets bypassed. Plus, statistics show that Belarus qualifies every three years – 2007, 2010 and 2013.. and because 2014 ain’t 2016, fate may be pointing in the wrong direction for them to do well. But we never know until the night, however! We may be jumping to conclusions, and maybe the song that’s selected gets worked on and it qualifies, but from what we hear, it’s not looking that good. But what do you, the fans, think?
Marco Muntean from Romania: I think Nuteki will win, they’re the only good ones.
Nick van Lith from the Netherlands: My big favourite is Via Lattea. It’s the most amazing Belarussian car crash entry ever. Amazing, my guilty pleasure of the year.
Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: I really hope Nuteki win the National Final. I loved them last year and they’d be amazing this year too!
Samantha Ross from the United States: I genuinely hope Nuteki take it!
It seems now that Nuteki is a favourite among fans and they hope that the group will manage to represent Belarus at Eurovision, although this may be because the national final is rather weak. But what do you think? Who’s your favourite in the national final? And who do you think will take the title in Belarus? Feel free to let us know by commenting below!