We are getting close to Belarus’ national selection for Eurovision 2016, which takes place on January 22. In recent weeks the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — has been listening to and reviewing all of the songs. Alexey Gross burns his love like a “Flame”. Did he light our fire? Read and find out!
ALEXEY GROSS — “FLAME”
Mikhail: Where is the climax?! Gone! This song is like a metronome going from one side to another. The melody and Alexey’s voice seem limited, never going beyond a small range. The whole song it is situated in one tempo, in one tune, in one octave — this not acceptable for such song. The only thing that pulls it up is instrumental arrangement, which is really really good. But what is left if it is taken away? Nothing! Just some boring sleepy piece of… music.
Denise: Well, this is pretty good. You can hear that Alexey participated before so he has a team to help him. “Flame” has a good sound and his voice sounds good in the studio version. The lyrics are cheesy as hell, but I forgive him.
William: It’s cheesy, overwrought, dated and belongs in the “adult easy listening” section (aka, play it on the elevator and nowhere else). But enter Alexey, a man who can sing and who clearly believes every word he sings. “Flame” is a modern-day torch song. It gives me hope and the light I need to find my way home. The attempt to modernize this from 1:18 to 1:45 doesn’t quite work, but Belarus can sort that out before sending this to Eurovision.
Robyn: I don’t especially enjoy this type of music. I think it’s cheesy and old-fashioned, but I also appreciate that there will always be people who love big emotional, romantic ballads like this and would happily vote for it. Belarus could do so much better, though.
Sami: There’s such a nice atmosphere in the song and I absolutely love the drums in it. Even the lyrics are quite cheesy, they are actually touching and I believe what he is saying. Sadly, the song is way too difficult for him to sing. With good staging and with the help of good backing vocalists, this might have chance to win in Belarus.
Edd: It’s very cliché, but certainly not a bad song (produced by Aura – who failed to reach the final 10 this year), and it progresses to a powerful finish. I just don’t understand why he’d chose a ballad when his vocals are his biggest weakness.
Luis: Pffff… Cheese overload. While I recover from this sugar collapse, I can’t help wonder why people think that love anthems which include lyrics like “set me free” and “stay forever” can be a hit. Really, stop it, please.
Cristian: Suddenly I found myself catapulted into a random Eurovision of 10-15 years ago. All those wrong notes in a pretentious song, sung by a pretty singer for sure, but so full of himself. A really bland two-dimensional entry.
Antranig: This is promising at the beginning and the second verse picks up nicely. Then, a key change happens. I’d like to nominate this for the worst key change in Eurovision history. They destroyed a relatively enjoyable song with a horrible ending.
Bernardo: This is my absolute favourite in the preselection. Alexey needs to work his vocals and accent, but I do love a power ballad. Simple staging for this tune would make him a contender to victory. Let’s be honest – there’s nothing new about this type of entry. It’s a typical ballad with strong vocals, but it fits my personal taste. Alexey, work those vocals and then book the flights to Stockholm.
Anthony: After his uptempo number last year, Alexey Gross makes another return as an entirely different person at the live auditions. His latest entry is much more mellow, with a pop ballad. Flame by name, flame by nature, the song is burning brightly although it’s more candle fire than wildfire.
William C.: The song starts off well with a soothing voice from Alexey, quite different from his last attempt, backed up by a piano. His voice is strong, and the verses are quite adorable. However the chorus is absolutely horrible. It’s so dull and boring that it ruins the song. Most people usually remember the choruses in songs, but this certainly won’t be in my head.
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 2 and a high of 8.5.