Belarus are more selecting their 2017 Eurovision song nice and early, presumably because they’ve thought of an even more jolly wheeze than frolicking naked with wolves (as a hologram) to tease us with between now and May.
I’ll be honest with you. This national final is on at the same time as Georgia and this isn’t the one of the two that I recommend that you watch.
That being said, let’s take a look at the hopefuls.
1) July – “Children of the World”
The only performance in the final which you could conceivably put straight into a Eurovision semi final. She’s got backing singers and a pair of very active dancers flapping about behind her. The chorus manages to do the same trick as 2016’s Icebreaker but to much less effect – it’s seemingly a different and unconnected tempo to the verses. The chorus will be strong enough to ensure that the viewers remember this one until the phone lines open.
2) Lexy Weaver “Be Stronger”
A huge, yet delicate ballad interwoven with some contemporary dance from Lexy, who clearly has one of the best voices in the competition. When she’s singing with the saxophone, it’s quite lovely. I am not ideologically opposed to ballads, ballads can be interesting.
3)Vladislav Kurasov “Follow the Play”
Portentousness abounds. A strong falsetto and a flute solo don’t earn a Eurovision slot for me. Not my kind of thing, ie, an emotional but dull ballad.
4) NAVI “Historyja majho žyccia” (Story of my life)
I already thought NAVI were great. Look how adorable they are! Listen to their bouncy folk pop tune! As far as the song goes, I think it might suffer slightly from being entirely in Belorussian, but the ‘Hey! Hey! Hey!’ chorus is infectious enough to make it stick in the memory. I hope that when they try to get the studio audience clapping and stomping along on Friday, it doesn’t seem as frantic as it did in their vocally impressive audition.
5) Isaac Nightingale “On the Red Line”
It’s aiming for some sort of anthemic quality – like Heroes but about world peace. It misses, largely because the chorus isn’t big enough. Isaac’s audition vocal was a bit shaky, it’ll be interesting to see how it improves and if he gets any additional dancers to lift the performance a bit.
6) Kattie “Wild Wind”
The low point of the evening in terms of tempo. Nicely performed but quite standard ballad about the state of the world that we’re living in, which is dreadful of course. The world, that is, not the ballad.
7) Nuteki “Take My Heart”
While Nuteki is as cute as anything dressed entirely in trendy All Saints gear, he blew quite a lot of the notes in his audition. Take My Heart is the kind of extremely danceable uptempo number that we often crave in a ballad-heavy Eurovision, but I don’t think it’s got a lot of distinctive characteristics.
8) NAPOLI “Let’s Come Together”
A fun and summery pop song with a tropical chorus but a slightly weak vocal delivery on the key chorus notes. I am assuming that the singer’s costume is finished but that her dancers have just performed in whatever they were wearing that day. It’s the kind of upbeat but unthreatening song that might get buried as Semi Final 1, Song 1. I am warning you, Belarus.
9)Nikita Hodas “Voices In My Head”
Belarus’s answer to Damien Rice tugs nervously at our heartstrings. If you can’t find it in your hearts to send my lovely NAVI to Eurovision, Belarus, then Nikita Hodas would be an adequate substitute. Also, he decides to read a short story over the middle minute of this. It’s about as lovely and indiefied as you can imagine. His singing voice is unaccountably different to his speaking voice though.
10) Angelica Pushnova “We Should Be Together”
Quite good mid-tempo house influenced track that somewhat falls apart when it runs out of lyrical ideas halfway through the first chorus. With the schlager-esque drum beat and jarring key change, it’s one interesting chord progression from being something you could give to Carola. She’d throw it back in your face, but you could give it to Carola.
11) Anastasiya Sheverenko “We’ll Be Together”
It’s a quite quavery piece of quite sophisticated soul pop, aiming for Sade levels of seduction. Anastasiya has a really nice voice, and she’s wearing the best frock of any of them in the audition videos. There is sadly absolutely nothing to prompt a viewer to pick up the phone and vote.
12) Lermont x Julic “Heartbeat”
Bravely opting for the Freddie Mercury half mic stand in their audition, I remain unsure what genre Heartbeat is supposed to be. There’s a piano line which is a bit 70’s FM rock, there’s a pub singalong chorus and there’s a tremendous sense that there are many missing guitar parts from the demo that they’re singing along to. It’s ok, but I can’t believe they put this through instead of one of the really odd auditionees.
13) PROvokatsiya “#mylove”
Clad in matching maroon pyjamas with oversized bum flaps, these lads crush their way through a big silly passionate boy band tune. If this is going to be the last tune on the night, and then they do an interval act and a drawn out voting process, this will be when you should start on the neat spirits.
My picks: The glorious NAVI or Nikitas Hodas at a push
Likely winner: Nuteki or maybe Napoli