Over the past few weeks the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — has been reviewing each of the ten national finalists in Belarus. Our 12 jurors hail from Australia, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom, so we’re totally international.

Below you can see our top ten and their average score out of ten. Each juror assessed all the songs independently, and awarded a score from 0 to 10. Before calculating the Wiwi Jury verdict, we dropped the highest and lowest scores to reduce potential bias and outliers. Click on the song title to read our reviews in full.

Kirill Yermakov and “Running To The Sun” has emerged as our favourite. But what do y’all think? Should he win tonight’s contest and represent Belarus at Eurovision 2016? Let us know in the comments section below!

You can watch the Belarusian National Final live on BTRC or on eurovision.tv on from 20:00 CET.

1. KIRILL YERMAKOV — “RUNNING TO THE SUN” (6.85)

The Positive: This song instantly got into my player. It sounds great and the melody has its interesting tricks that I appreciate. Kirill has done a great job with the arrangement of the song and I see a lot of potential in it. He seems to be a confident and energetic performer and the modern pop sound stands out. (Mikhail)

The Negative: This song is inner destruction to my vital organs. I need to be honest with you all. From the moment I read the song title I was like: this could be good. And then my world crumbled down the first time I heard it. The song? The trashiest attempt at pop I ever heard. This is a standard Belarusian entry, it just doesn’t work for me… at all! (Bernardo)

2. ANASTASIA MALASHKEVICH — “PRAY FOR LOVE” (6.45)

https://youtu.be/8V0LCkzVu1o

The Positive: This stands out as the clear winner and everyone else shouldn’t even bother to turn up because nobody is a match for Anastasia in the vocals department or the song. I’ll go as far as suggesting that this could get Belarus its best Eurovision result ever, although I wanted to see another Anastasia in the final too. Also, I love her hair! (Antranig)

The Negative: With a mega production revamp I could see this becoming an alright trap song (à la Hungary 2014), but her voice is unsalvageable. She belts it out from start to finish with a voice like Ann Sophie on steroids. That said, the bells in the middle eight deserve some points. (Edd)

3. NAVI — “GYETA ZYAMLYA” (6)

The Positive: This song is happiness and joy, something that makes you forget about everything and go woohoo woohoo! This bright song warms up my cold Siberian soul and it puts a huge smile upon my face. As I listen, I imagine myself running around a field of golden wheat, with someone to share all the joy. NAVI’s performance can be improved, but they have a lot of time to do it. Until then, I will enjoy “Gyeta Zyamlya” in my playlist. (Mikhail)

The Negative: Just… no. Everything is so mediocre and kitsch in this ultra sugary duet. Thank God I haven’t got any tooth decay at the end of the song. It feels bad to say so, but I feel bothered listening to them. (Cristian)

4. NAPOLI — “MY UNIVERSE” (5.9)

The Positive: At the beginning, I feared that this song was going to be another drab ballad. However, as soon as her voice raised higher, I knew this would be a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s incredibly cheesy, à la 3+2 back in 2010, but it could work. She has clearly dressed to impress, and can carry those high notes to a tee. For a change, the backing singers fit, something that I don’t find in the rest of the songs. All we need is a giant and Napoli can sail through among Belarus’ best. (William C.)

The Negative: Ehm. This is just unoriginal and clichéd. It feels as if NAPOLI was obliged to send a song to EuroFest and came up with this two hours before the deadline. As Robyn points out, it’s just not enough to represent a country at Eurovision. (Luis)

5. ALEXEY GROSS — “FLAME” (5.85)

https://youtu.be/D2gZtwgDWE8

The Positive: 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. (William)

The Negative: 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. (Luis)

6. VALERIYA SADOVSKAYA — “NOT ALONE” (5.4)

The Positive: Valeriya has a great voice and the verses are really good but this song is begging to break out into a dance number that never comes. The bridge is fun and the song never gets boring but if it were to win, I’d want Belarus to majorly revamp this before it takes to the stage in Stockholm. (Antranig)

The Negative: I was listenting to this song, slowly falling asleep, thinking “What a nice lullaby…” and then that weird ethnic or whatever it is hajajanana part comes out of nowhere and my sleep is ruined! Are they doing an act of sacrifice? Is it a secret plan to put everyone to sleep, tie up and then kill us with strange dancing? I did not sign up for this! (Mikhail)

7. ALEXANDER IVANOV — “HOW TO FLY” (5.35)

https://youtu.be/wZ9N9PV_6z0

The Positive: 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. (Antranig)

The Negative: 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. (Mikhail)

8. RADIOVOLNA — “RADIOWAVE” (5.25)

The Positive: The lead vocalist of this band has a nice, sexy voice (and body!). However, I don’t think the lead vocalist and the backing vocalists’ voices work together at all. If the backing vocalist wasn’t so different from the lead, I would like this a lot more. It’s a band, I know, but it’s difficult to listen to their voices combined together. However, it is quite catchy, so I’m not going to knock it down that much. (William C.)

The Negative: “I’ll be calling your contact list from A to Z.” Please don’t. This song makes me think of sleazy men who put pills in women’s drinks. The ladies should run. Turning up the volume will likely encourage them to do so. (William)

9. THE EM — “TURN AROUND” (3)

The Positive: Whilst the song isn’t very coherent, the chorus is actually not bad. It is, however, difficult to take it seriously when their English is so atrocious – and when they look like two hallucinating hairdressers. Certainly not a winner. (Edd)

The Negative: After listening to it for the very first time, the EM initials must be screaming out “EuroFest Mess”. They won’t be mending any broken hearts with this woefully flat love song, and not a spark of chemistry between the duo on their live audition. Right, I’m going to “Turn Around” and leg it! (Anthony)

10. SASHA ZAKHARIK — “GLORY NIGHT” (2.85)

The Positive: Something missing here but it’s a sweet nice song, different from the others (I’m not able to categorize it into a specific genre). It’s not overproduced or soulless like the majority of the entries here. Ok, this has zero chances to captivate the Eurovision audience but despite this, I like its genuineness. (Cristian)

The Negative: This song just doesn’t leave anything in my mind. It’s bland, it’s boring and don’t know why someone wasted time composing it. I’m not a big fan of her jazzy voice either. (Sami)

FOLLOW ALL OF OUR BELARUS EUROVISION 2016 NEWS HERE.

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#RunningWithKirill
Guest
#RunningWithKirill

Kirill should win. He has the only good song in Belarus

MGR
Guest
MGR

Now only the forgiving jury can save him.

MGR
Guest
MGR

Mario Balotelli had a great talent, but he wasted it. Alexey Gross also wasted his big chance in life.

MGR
Guest
MGR

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YL0NtI-o6s
What he is doing? Only background was bad here. Now he is outsider, because his performance looked much more sloppy than it had to look.

DenizNL
Guest
DenizNL

Valeriya, NAVI, Kirill and Napoli are my favourites to win tonight. But then again, it won’t be them cause my favourites never win and with Belarus you know 100% that they won’t win.

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

I actually quite like Alexey Gross, although it’s a cheesy song.
“Running To The Sun” is pretty good as well.

MGR
Guest
MGR

“Popular” was more modern and Eric Saade had visual plan for performance. Kirill Yermakov will not have a good plan for “Running To The Sun” because he has no ambition. If this is not true, please prove it reasonably.

MGR
Guest
MGR

“Running To The Sun” is disco from the village. That is the simple truth. You hate “Flame” because this is good entry for Belarus, Eastern European state.

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

I’m with Robyn on this one!! My initial gut feeling was for Kirill, Napoli and Alexey, (for all the wrong reasons,) but there is nothing really stand out and any one of 6 could actually win tonight. I would add Anastasiya, Alexander and Navi to make up the 6. (It’s that hard.) To be 100% honest NONE of these songs really interest me in terms of something special and I’m not keen on any of the 10 songs, my highest score was only 5/10, and tonight will really depend on who can do it live vocally, English accents and star… Read more »

Antranig Shokayan
Editor

It’s between Anastasia Malashkevich and Alexander Ivanov for me!

AzerBoy96
Guest
AzerBoy96

My favourite is Kirill Ermakov with his “Running to the Sun”. I’d be alright with “Pray for love” too.

Good luck, Belarus! Don’t even dare to choose “Flame”! ._.

Fenistil
Guest
Fenistil

For me, “Pray for love” is the only song here that matters. I’ll be very disappointed if anyone else wins.

2015
Guest
2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2dgp49mdhE wiwi bloggs favorite

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDy4JvVbLH0 my favorite 😉

You can watch all rehearsels already

Alex
Guest
Alex

I’m rooting full board for Navi here. The Em wins an honorable mention for the pretty vocals and really well-written melodies – how did this entry only get a 3? Valeriya has a good song with the exception of the part of the middle that comes out of nowhere. Sasha’s song isn’t as bad as the 2.85 rating suggests either. To be honest I think musically Radiowave is better than Running to the Sun, provide we ignore how ridiculous the lyrics of Radiowave are. The latter song sounds too much like eurobeat music from around 2001 to sound right at… Read more »

2015
Guest
2015

Pray for love doesn’t seem to get me… she has an amazing voice, but the song sucks. Another Mans Zemerlow in the race (Running to the sun) won’t do well. My universe is kinda okay, but doesn’t have any chanche to win the contest. Navi’s live vocals are still a question for me.

revamp the winning song
1. My universe
2. This land
3. Pray for love
4. How to fly (studio version is much better)
5. Turn around
6. Running to the sun
7. Not alone
8. Glory night
9. Radiowave
10. flame (worst song of the ten this year)

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I’m still at a total loss to actually predict which song will likely win tonight. This is one of the most unusual national finals. There’s no stand-out song, but quite few that are ok. But which of those will the Belarusian public love the most? Or will they go for something else?