Wiwi Jury: Belarus’ Uzari & Maimuna with “Time”

Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — travelled to Minsk and visited the National Opera and Ballet of Belarus. After admiring the architecture and taking in a show, we gathered in the lobby to discuss Belarus’ Eurovision 2015 duo Uzari & Maimuna and their song “Time”. Did we want to make time for this duo? Or had their time run out? Read on to find out…

Belarus’ Eurovision 2015 song

Reviews: Uzari & Maimuna with “Time”

Robyn: This song is totally ridiculous and I love it. It seems like a perfect combination of drama and performance, Uzari’s urgent vocals and Maimuna ramping up the tension with her violin playing. And “time is like thunder” – what does that even mean? I don’t know, but it sounds cool, and it makes the chorus especially wonderful. The music video gives me great hope that the live performance will be just as amazing.

Score: 7/10

Uzari and Maimuna postcard

Padraig: I’m a sucker for strings. But strings alone do not make a good pop song. Thankfully “Time” is the full package. It’s got a catchy hook, a hummable melody and distinctive vocals. One of Belarus’ better entries, and it’s frustrating to see this being tipped to not qualify. Hopefully Uzari and Maimuna will be able to win over the sceptics with their live performance. They’re the perfect partnership, although Uzari could do with losing the mullet.

Score: 8/10

Bogdan: I can’t really connect to this song. One of the reasons might be that I wanted MILKI to win Eurofest it wants to be a rock song and a dance song at the same time, with a violin thrown in there for good Eurovision measure. Speaking of Maimuna, although I’m sure she’s a fine violonist, she looks more like a gimmick than a proper artist. Also, the lyrics make very little sense.

Score: 4/10

Angus: This was the only song I liked at Belarus’ selection and I am ecstatic Uzari & Maimuna won. Belarus are fielding a contemporary pop entry, laced with fiery strings courtesy of Maimuna and an intense sensual vocal from Uzari. ‘Time” has an urgency to it that demands and commands your attention, and in a one-year absence for Ukraine, Minsk have picked up the slack ably.

Score: 7.5/10

Chris: For the third year in a row, Belarus have delivered an underrated pop song that should make it to the final on merit alone. “Time” is very catchy and I like some of the minor tweaks they’ve made to give Maimuna a little more to do. Certainly the staging of the song is going to be key to make sure that it all translates well, but Uzari seems confident enough a performer to be able to work it out. The “thunder-ah-ah” hook is also considerably less annoying than, for example, the Netherlands’ same attempt.

Score: 7.5/10

Belarus, Uzari, 4

Liam: I actually adored this song right from the start. I so desperately wanted them to beat “Accent” and go to Eurovision. The revamp brought so much more to the table, and showed off Maimuna’s violin skills more than the original. This is the perfectly mix of drama and pop, but now, I think it’s meant for good fortune, but secretly inside I know that Belarus will once again be underrated by Europe.

Score: 10/10

William: This is greatly improved from the national selection. The strings have come into sharper focus and it sounds more symphonic and modern. Even so, I just can’t get into it and I get the sense this is more style than substance — how exactly is time like thunder? Ultimately this song is like a donut: tasty enough, but with a massive hole in the middle.

Score: 4/10

Ramadan: I like the song from Belarus this year, even if I did enjoy the song a lot more before the revamp. I find “Time is like thunder a-aa” really repetitive and I don’t like that. I love the intro, it really draws me in. I’m hoping for a spectacular performance from Uzari & Maimuna, as the music video is one of the best this year!

Score: 6.5/10

Uzari & Maimuna – interview at Eurovision In Concert

Max: Not gonna lie, I actually hated this when it was chosen back in January, but now, having had a much needed overhaul I really think its a dark horse. Yes, a nursery school child could have written the lyrics, yes, the violin solo is screechy on the ears and yes, the repetitive ‘ah-ah’ bit makes me want to go crazy but I kinda like it. Let’s face it: It was always going to be this or a recycled Disney ballad sung (or shouted) by Gunesh so we should be happy. If the music video elements can be repeated on the big stage then I have some hopes for this to make the final.

Score: 7/10

Belarus, Uzari Maimuna, 1

Luis: Belarus is definitively a grower for me. I thought the song sucked when they were chosen, but somehow they’ve snuck into my top 20. Uzari is a decent performer, and his knack for originality (the shirt of buttons in the national final or the elf ears in the video) will help the song receive a bit more of attention, and in a subtler way than the disco ball and dull dance moves of recent years. I’m only concerned about what Maimuna will be like on stage: In the video she proved that she deserves a leading role, and not just moving in the back pretending to play her violin.

Score: 7/10

Deban: Well-sung with good harmonies, but instantly forgettable. Even when I had it on repeat, it didn’t sound familiar. This genre sits between pop, classical, rock and noise. Nothing leaps out in the musical structure or delivery. No doubt, Belarus will throw money at it, and force it down our throats, but overall, it’s a rather pedestrian effort.

Score: 4/10

Uzari & Maimina – live at Eurovision In Concert

Our jury consists of 29 people, but we only have room for 11 written reviews. Here are the remaining 18 scores. 

Anthony: 7.5/10

Denise: 7/10

Francheska: 9/10

Josh: 7/10

Judit: 4/10

Kristin: 6/10

Marek: 7/10

Mario: 1.5/10

Mike: 7/10

Mikhail: 8/10

Patrick: 3/10

Renske: 7/10

Rezo: 7/10

Sami: 8/10

Sinan: 9/10

Sopon: 3/10

William C: 8/10

Zach: 6/10

To reduce potential bias, we drop the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. We removed a low of 1.5 and a high of 10.