We are getting close to Belarus’ national selection for Eurovision 2017, which takes place on January 20. So in recent weeks the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — has been listening to and reviewing all the songs. It’s a tough gig, but somebody’s got to do it! Vladislav Kurasov will be joining the party with “Follow the Play”. Are we playing along? Read and find out!
Vladislav Kurasov — “Follow the Play”
“Follow the Play”reviews
Antranig: Vlad has an impeccable look and an enchanting voice. “Follow the Play” takes about two minutes to get going but the last minute or so is very powerful. I don’t think it’s the right type of song for him — something much more upbeat would be more suitable. Nevertheless, this is one of the best songs in the selection and Vlad has a beautiful voice and look which could carry him to the final. Full of boundless potential.
Chris: Take it down an octave and maybe this would work better. Vladislav just sounds like he’s struggling through the song the entire time and it just becomes an uncomfortable listen. His stage presence doesn’t sell the song for me. There’s periods where it’s just instrumental and he stands there like he’s desperate to get off the stage.
Kristin: I’m getting some Sam Smith vibes here. This song has potential, but it’s a tad over the top for my taste. Too much “FEEL MY FEELINGS”, if you know what I mean. But Vlad… oh, that sweet angelic face. As a mother, I am tempted to adopt him! And give him tuna sandwiches and spongecake! I’m a little torn about the song though. I want to giggle and dismiss it as a catastrophe, but at the same time, I really want to like it. It’s in the middle for now, but if Vlad tones it down a bit, who knows what might happen.
Robyn: This is the legacy of “1944” — a dramatic ballad over modern beats. There are a lot of good ideas behind the song, but Vladislav’s voice isn’t always up to the rigours of the melody. And even when he nails it, the lightweight lyrics don’t deliver. A generic love ballad doesn’t quite pack the same emotional punch as Jamala’s tale of historic anguish.
Mikhail: At first it sounded ordinary for me. Then I began to really love the instrumental bridge, which has some flute, a traditional Japanese influence. It is nice overall, however it seems that Vladislav lacks a little bit of power. He sings on the border between falsetto and regular voice. It is not quite there yet, and needs to be improved. “Follow the Play” is otherwise a decent entry, but I don’t think it is the winner.
Luis: There’s too much “ooooh” in this song. Vlad sounds like the Belarussian answer to Dima Bilan, something I’m not completely sure is a good thing. “Follow the Play” is dramatic but disposable at the same time. It has too many ups and downs, and rather than making it memorable, it prevents me from remembering it. This song’s fate will completely depend on its staging to win Belarus’ national selection. But as Ivan proved, nice staging doesn’t always make a qualifier.
William: Inflated, maudlin, shriek-y — this is a ballad that Belarus needs to avoid, but which local voters will wet themselves over. It’s regional, it isn’t pan-European, and if you choose this you’ll be lucky to scrape into the final. While I respect Vladislav’s voice and his looks, I just can’t get into this song. It leaves me cold and feeling meh.
Sami: I actually find this surprisingly pleasant to listen to. While I’m not really excited over his slightly whiny vocals, I really like the instrumental parts. Especially the one towards the end of the song and the last minute is actually the best part of the song. I can’t see this doing particularly well in Eurovision, as it really doesn’t leave anything in your mind after the first listen.
In the Belarus Wiwi Jury, we have 17 jurors but only room for 8 reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 1.5 and a high of 9.