We are getting close to Belarus’ national selection for Eurovision 2016, which takes place on January 22. That means that the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — took a trip through the torturous valley and reviewed all of the songs. Alexander Ivanov was the first act we came across. He wanted to teach us “How to Fly”, but did he manage to give us those inspirational wings of hope to survive the apocalypse? Read and find out!
ALEXANDER IVANOV – “HOW TO FLY”
“HOW TO FLY” REVIEWS
Mikhail: This is the most annoying song of the Belarusian selection. The refrain sounds like the growling of a caveman, and it just gets worse. Then comes the chorus and his high pitch ululation. This is like fingernails running down a blackboard, a sound that makes your skin crawl, wishing that you were deaf in that moment. I desperately hope that I will never have to listen to this torturous song again. Excuse me while I clean my ears out.
Denise: If they change practically everything about this song, they just might salvage something. As for now, it’s an absolute no for me. I really don’t like his voice — it sounds so squeezed and strained when he sings ‘how’ to fly.
William: At 0:40 he makes “direction” sound like “erection”, but nothing about this song is getting me up. You’d expect to hear this at a dive bar in Minsk. In 1985. Despite all that shade, I do like his voice. It’s smokey and sexy with shades of Nickelback… who, rather appropriately, formed in the 1990s.
Robyn: I get the feeling that Stockholm is going to feature a lot of rock dudes, so why not have one from Belarus? “How to Fly” is a decent pop-rock song and Alexander comes across as an experienced performer with good stage presence. And he has good hair. I could see this working, but it might get lost amongst the other rock dudes.
Sami: I actually like this as a song, but there’s some work to do in his stage presence. His voice is great and fits to this pop-rock sound. Obviously Belarus hasn’t done so well with rock (see 2009) and I don’t think this would be the best song to send to Stockholm, but it’s a good addition to the final.
Edd: Although the melody is fairly simple, it’s a well produced song with strong vocals. This kind of music, however, does nothing for me – and with Cyprus and Montenegro already committed to sending modern rock songs, I can’t see it performing too well in Stockholm either. PS, get a haircut.
Luis: It’s quite enjoyable, his sound is more or less current and his performance is energic in a way. This is one of the only decent acts that have qualified in Belarus, tbh, but he needs to polish everything but his voice. If Belarussian TV can prevent him from turning into Petr Elfimov 2, he can even be a fine contestant.
Cristian: Seriously, we should ban long hair! That said, I actually like the song and its mix of synth and rock, even if it’s a bit of a mess in this demo version, but still one of the few enjoyable in this national final. He seems at ease on the stage, his voice fits perfectly with the song, but sadly I think he could do a Max Jason Mai in Stockholm (although with much less energy). I don’t know if it’s the right genre for the contest.
Antranig: I really like this song. It’s difficult not to move to this because it is really catchy. The field is not that strong in Belarus and I believe this is one of the best songs to get through to the final. I don’t think his voice and the song are a perfect match but he picks up towards the end and I think he could get Belarus through to the final.
Bernardo: Seriously, I tried to find something good to say about this tune while listening to it. I just wasn’t able to. This is a trashy attempt on rock, and simply doesn’t work. I usually find some type of connection between the singer’s voice and the song itself. Not there also. Alexander, let’s try again next year with a better tune. Ok? Ok… *ears bleeding*
Anthony: Having seen his live audition, Alexander Ivanov has all the attributes of a rock star: the looks, vocals, stage presence and now the song. Despite the unusual sounding song title, it’s actually a decent attempt from a EuroFest debutant with its toe-tapping strumming beats and rock guitar.
William C.: When the music began to play at the start, I was highly enthusiastic about this, however, as soon as Aleksandr started singing, I immediately began to hate this. The music itself is quite good, however Aleksandr’s voice ruins this whole song from me, which is quite sad, as I typically like songs from this genre. That screech at the end ruined it even more for me. Overall, the song itself has potential, but Aleksandr does not work with it.
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 1 and a high of 9.