Belarus: Wiwi Jury reviews TEO with Cheesecake

Late last night the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals—headed to the National Library of Belarus to admire its rhombicuboctahedron form, and to take in the giant light shows on its LED exterior. Then we sat down to review TEO’s Eurovision 2014 song “Cheesecake”. Did we love the song as much as our favourite dessert? Or did it leave us feeling a little sickly? Read on to find out…

Deban: After biting into Teo’s cheesecake, I’m now on a sugar high. Yes, the lyrics are somewhat devoid of meaningful content, but Teo is determined to have a party in Copenhagen. Teo also deserves credit for being the composer of Alyona Lanskaya’s hit, and fencing off shade with grace during the Belorussian pre-selection. Good staging and visual humour could really help this song advance to Saturday’s show. Regardless, this is the story of a man who is determined to make you boogie. Go Teo!

Score: 5/10

Bogdan: “Cheesecake” has been growing on me since TEO was chosen to represent Belarus. The tune is as playful as the lyrics, it has a delicious jazzy sound, a catchy chorus, and it’s different from all the other songs this year. Overall, a very decent effort. Moreover, TEO has an endearing personality and a sense of humour. (Are you following him on Instagram? His flirtatious exchanges with Conchita are hilar.) The Tolmachevy Twins said were instructed to say that “Cheesecake” is their favourite entry, so it’s safe to assume that Russia will push TEO to the Grand Final. But will it be enough for a decent placing? I doubt it; the entry is a bit outdated, just like the Patrick Swayze / Jennifer Grey reference, and, simply put, there are many better songs this year.

Score: 6/10

Vebooboo: The summer is fast approaching, and Teo’s cheesecake is not really part of my diet. But while so much of me wants to utterly reject this basic number, there is a guilty pleasure in the refrain. It’s simple and catchy, and I can actually see it doing quite well. I’m just not sure if I want that to be the case.

Score: 5/10

Katie: The first time I heard this song, I vowed never to listen to it again and criticised it at every opportunity. What does “I’m tied up in your sweet cheesecake” even mean? Was the music video REALLY not inspired by Robin Thicke? But since the song was released early and I’ve had a few months to listen to it, it’s really started to grow on me! The guitar introduction has gone from sleazy to jazzy and TEO himself has gone from creepy to totally hilarious! Though I still think he should ditch the maracas. It’s not a song that I will sing along to in Copenhagen but I will happily dance to it and clap afterwards, which is a lot more than I would have done in January. People who haven’t heard the song before the semi-final may not be as happy to support the song, so I worry about the chances of qualification.

Score: 6/10

Belarus, Teo, 2

Angus: What is it about people this year thinking baked goods constitute appropriate matter for a song? I don’t think I’ve ever been more put off a desert than by TEO squirming his way around the backing dancer in the video. The message may have got lost in translation in Belarus but Robin Thicke is not somebody to try and imitate. TEO might be tired of ‘sweet cheesecake’: I’m tired of Belarus bringing sweet FA to the Eurovision table.

Score: 2.5/10

Wiwi: Dieticians say that the calories in sugary foods are ’empty’ because they give us temporary energy but no nourishment. I’m cool with that–and with ‘Cheesecake’. You don’t listen to this hoping to discover the meaning of life. You listen to it to get in the mood for fun. TEO is a showman and that’s worth a lot. Is this my favourite song? No. Do I hope that TEO makes it to the final? Yes. He seems like a sweet guy.

Score: 3/10

Padraig: From the arrogant strut to his smarmy smirk, it’s clear Teo thinks he’s God’s gift to woman kind. The poor fella is deluded. We are supposed to believe that Teo is such an irresistible “cheesecake” that he’s caused his ex-girlfriend to become a globe trotting bunny-boiler. Yet at the same time he has no objection to the woman grinding against him for a whole 3 minutes. Sorry, the whole concept is ludicrous. It’s appropriate that he makes reference to Dirty Dancing, because just like the film he’s a relic from the last century.

Score: 3/10

Belarus, Teo, 1

Francheska: Ah, Cheesecake. Granted, I am not a big fan of the dairy product-turned-pastry (chocolate cheesecake is blasphemy to me, putting chocolate and cheese in the same dish is not kosher), but this song is weirdly addictive. Admit it, we all have practiced the TEO foot-shuffles. I have serious (SERIOUS) issues with the music video (as much as TEO can say that he is the only one being objectified, I’m not buying it), and let’s not even mention the lyrics. The “Google maps” bit has been omitted, which I personally think is a crime against humanity (which Belarus should know plenty about), yet the unnecessary Footloose reference and odd nickname continue this acid trip of a lyrical family reunion. Despite the hot mess that this song is at times, it’s catchy, and it will be stuck in your head. It’s like the person in class that you think shouldn’t be there: no matter how bad they are at it, you kind of want them there so you have something to talk about. Yes, I went there.

Score: 4.5/10

Ramadan: When I was watching the Belarusian NF I did a tweet saying “I’m going to laugh so much if Cheesecake wins the NF” and it happened. Not happy at all though. It’s catchy yes, but it’s laughable and really bad. It’s JUST too damn cheesy. I was surprised that Mr. President didn’t step in to change the song. Shame on you Mr. President! The singer possesses some charisma, but clearly lacks a voice. I’m sorry to say this Belarus, but you simply cannot beat the actual cheesecake. Try harder next year!

Score: 0/10

Billy: This song is just bad… Teo comes off as a bad version of Robin Thicke…and the original ain’t that great to begin with. The lyrics are hilarious, and the music and rhythm aren’t anything special. I’ll skip dessert this year.

Score: 1.5/10

All 19 members of our jury rate each song. However, we only have room to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining nine scores.

Anthony: 2/10

James L: 1/10

Mario: 4.5/10

Maxim Montana: 8/10

Mike: 3.5/10

Zach: 0/10

Patrick: 1/10

Sami: 9/10

William C: 4.7/10

We remove the highest and lowest scores before calculating the average. We have dropped a low of 0 and a high of 9.

The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 3.6/10

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