The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — has spent the past week listening to and reviewing all of the songs competing in EuroFest 2015 — Belarus’ national selection. Today we turn to the final five acts — Uzari & Maimuma, Beatrys, Vitaly Voronko, Anastasia Malashkevich, and Tasha ODI. They’re listed in the running order they will perform on the big night. In case you missed them, you can check out our reviews of the first five acts here and the second five acts here. Now grab your painkillers and let’s have a listen…

UZARI & MAIMUMA – “Time”

Anthony: Classical and pop might not sound like the most ideal combination, but Uzari & Maimuma have pulled it off wonderfully with their entry “Time”. Catchy without being cringeworthy, I can see why it’s one of the favourites to represent Belarus. 7/10

Chris: Uzari’s vocals are really painful at parts, which is my immediate issue with this song, particularly in the held notes where he sounds incredible strained. Having Maimuma being such an integral part of the act does add something different, but it’s the parts where she’s not playing and instead just stuck hanging around the stage that cause more harm to the overall package. It’s just not thought out right. 5.5/10

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, rock and noise — a rather pedestrian effort. 5.5/10

Sopon: Having studied Chinese language and culture for nearly six years, I can tell when something is markedly Chinese. This fits the bill. Strange melodies, whiny male vocals, and that godawful violin scream more of an Oriental flavor than a Belarusian one. And while going a bit Oriental works sometimes (as with superstar Anggun), this should go straight to the trash pile. 2.5/10

Francheska: Unmoving. The vocals are subpar, nonsensical, and the violin is a bit unnecessary and just thrown in. I was trying to be patient, but time just kept running out. 3/10

Sami: The studio version is, once again, much better than their live performance, but I like the song. The chorus is catchy and it’s well produced, but it’s not that original. I wouldn’t mind seeing this win the final. 7/10

William: The studio version had real drive, but this just feels flat and dated in comparison. You can put a pretty violinist in a short skirt, but that won’t liven up a rather sedate song. I think Uzari and Maimuma are great artists on their own…I’m just not sure they fit together. 5/10

Wiwi Jury Score: 5.07/10

Beatrys – “Fighter”

Anthony: This is one of my favourites out of the 15 EuroFest finalists. It’s a good rock-based entry with shades of Christina Aguilera’s hit single of the same name, and in a very good way. I would be happy if Belarus sent this girl group to Vienna as they ROCK! 8.5/10

Chris: There’s some major pronunciation issues here and the girls aren’t really harmonising in parts, which is a shame as that is a KILLER chorus. It’s girl power and that’s something that voters typically respond to. They don’t immediately follow Milki in the running order which means they’re not at risk of being overshadowed. Dark horse. 7.5/10

Deban: I’m warming up to this lightweight pop entry. The juxtaposition of the bubblegum sound and the serious message make this a clever composition. The adlib towards the end seals the deal. This is Belarus’ best effort this year. 9/10

Sopon: Our Irish colleague Padraig mentioned in a recent edition of the Wiwi Round Up that “Eurovision needs a decent girl band soon”. This could be his blessing. Beatrys brings that feminine power without any cutesy stuff like Milki. It’s all about strength. It’s a strong entry, and although not very catchy, a deserving winner of Eurofest. 9.5/10

Francheska: It’s old-school RnB at first, and then molds awkwardly into early-2000s pop, which does not make Fran happy. It doesn’t even inspire, and its lyrics of empowerment are just weird and wrong. God help us. 2/10

Sami: I read that this was released before the rules allow, but I really like the song. It has power and attitude — they have clearly worked on their performance and the song is very modern. 8/10

William: They totally remind me of Angely from Ukraine’s national selection in 2014. I love the leather, I love the attitude, and I love the message. These ladies are taking me higher with their choreography, their legs, and their chorus. There’s just one issue: they sometimes go all shouty and struggle to harmonize. No matter. Backing vocalists can sort out the harmonies to let these ladies shine! 8.5/10

Wiwi Jury Score: 7.57/10

Vitaly Voronko – “Drive”

Anthony: This works as a sing-a-long song played whilst cruising around in an open-top car. Other than that, I can’t see this making an impact in Vienna. It’s more likely to “Drive” people up the wall. 4/10

Chris: I seem to recall Vitaly from a previous Eurofest, where he was considerably more wacky and appealing. Much like Uzari and Maimuna, having the accordion is a nice little gimmick that you don’t usually see, but here it doesn’t really add anything. Plainly average and incredibly forgettable. 4.5/10

Deban: Vitaly is a charismatic performer who charms the audience with his accordion. Although ‘Drive’ may sound like pure drivel to western Europeans, it’s got a beautiful melody that’s sure to get the Eastern bloc fired up. 7/10

Sopon: I’m warming to it slowly but surely. The rock is totally making me love it, but the clash of the English title and the Belarusian lyrics is making me a little uneasy. Still, if this is what we have to listen to in order to have a Belarusian-language entry in the contest for one, so be it. 6/10

Francheska: It’s an interesting sound: mid-2000s college rock with Slavic-language lyrics, techno influences, and an accordion. Unfortunately for Vitali and his crew, this doesn’t belong in Vienna, but rather a hipster club. It lacks drama, or anything that will appeal to the masses (it’s not mainstream enough). Vitali and company: please go back to Starbucks and take Instagram pictures of vinyl records. You’ll do well there, just not in Eurovision. 9/10

Sami: So cheap – not much else to say about the song. The song is one of the worst of the whole final. There’s nothing original and I’m not really into this kind of soft rock. 2/10

William: Acts that rely on squeeze boxes rarely do well. Acts that combine rock and squeeze boxes will likely fare even worse. There’s a point 90 seconds in where this completely loses all sense of direction, and I’m left dreaming of those Romanian acts that get the accordion right. This is a disaster. 3.5/10

Wiwi Jury Score: 5.14/10

Anastasia Malashkevich – “Don’t save my name”

Anthony: Judging from her live audition, it’s not much of a surprise to see that Anastasia made it to Eurofest. She’s like a cross between Kaliopi and Natalia Barbu, and those powerhouse vocals really liven up her rock power ballad. 7.5/10

Chris: Anastasia is a very strong vocalist who is let down mostly by a slightly unimaginative song. Yes, she can power out that chorus with the best of them, but when it’s just “Don’t Save My Name” ad infinitum that’s not something really that hard to do. It’s not got the hook that catches you like, say, “Walk Along” does – which is a shame, as Anastasia seems to have the presence to competes with the likes of Trijntje. 6/10

Deban: “Don’t Save My Name” is a tragic love story sung beautifully. Anastasia Malashkevich commands great stage presence, and her powerhouse vocals sets her apart from the pack. I’m strongly in favour of democratic national selections, but the danger is that the voting public sometimes fail to appreciate entries like this. There’s a richness and depth to this performance which continues to simmer long after her three minutes are up. 9/10

Sopon: “Don’t Save My Name” sounds like the perfect title for a song influenced by “I Love It”, so I’m a bit disappointed to hear this slightly off-key ballad. I will completely pass Belarus over this year if this wins. 4/10

Francheska: This very instrumental track is a welcome surprise in this year’s selection. Ignoring the absurdity of the title, Anastasia effectively communicates sorrow, angst, and regret, all while melding guitar and drums. My only criticism would be how her voice is a little off-sounding at times. It could benefit immensely from some well-disguised backup singers. 7.5/10

Sami: Anastasiya has one the best live vocals at this year’s Eurofest, but the song isn’t very strong. Her English really needs to improve. If this made it to Vienna Amber would slay it. And her dress is just awful. 5/10

William: I’m pretty sure my sister wore this dress to her high school prom — in 1991. The dated clothing is appropriate for a somewhat dated song. That said, Anastasia is in control of her vocals and at times I feel like she could have a good run in Nashville. The song lacks the drama that I want in a ballad. Thankfully her voice adds a bit of grit and texture. Not bad. 6/10

Wiwi Jury Score: 6.42/10

Tasha ODI – “Giving Up Your Love”

Anthony: Now here’s a song that falls straight into my comfort zone, and certainly makes me want to dance to. Yes it runs the risk of being considered generic, but it’s also infectiously catchy. My concern prior to the final is how Tasha’s live performance pans out. 8.5/10

Chris: I’m liking this as the last song of the show. It’s got an immediate feeling than some of the other songs don’t. She also seems to be competent with her vocals and has a bit of sass in the performance too – it’s a “good, but not great” national final song. Certainly should be in the top 3-4 in this field, but nothing more. 7/10

Deban: This sounds like an EDM effort from an established porn star. Lolo Ferrari would have killed for this track! But Tasha’s lacklustre vocals keep me cold. Even though the lyrics are basic English recycled through a repetitive refrain, you wanna throw her a thesaurus to jazz it up. Boring and uninspired. 3/10

Sopon: I absolutely do not understand a single word in this song. But this beat is soooooooo danceable! She needs lots of diction work, but otherwise she is on to a qualifier in Vienna. 9/10

Francheska: A vocal powerhouse with a Euro-dance anthem and a groovy beat makes her chances pretty good! If she can make all of Belarus dance and the jury happy, Tasha-fever may just catch. Go girl, go! 9/10

Sami: This is a very generic pop song and I don’t see why Belarusian people would vote for this. The backing track sounds cheap and her vocals aren’t anything special. She also look like she was a office worker who came to the auditions straight from work. 4/10

William: Odi sounds like odor, but thankfully this doesn’t stink. It’s a throwback to the Minsk discotheque era, and has me imagining Tasha in some bell bottoms and platform sandals. Unfortunately this is a contest for Eurovision 2015, and a song that throws back this far just seems irrelevant and a bit too try-hard. The chorus isn’t interesting enough to keep my interest, and Tasha needs to work on her endurance.  4.5/10

Wiwi Jury Score: 6.42/10

You can read all of our EuroFest 2015 reviews here.

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QwaarJet
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QwaarJet

I’m utterly appalled at how low the scoring was for “Tine”, considering how popular it is with the fans.

Khan
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Khan

Tasha or Beatrys for me