Wiwibloggs continues our series looking at the current competing acts in Eurovision and the reasons why we love them. Next up we touch down in Minsk. Amid all their preparations for JESC, we look at Belarus‘ history at Eurovision.
Belarus debuted at Eurovision in 2004. Since then, they’ve competed every year but have only qualified for the grand final on five occasions. But they have a knack for sending entries that end up being amongst the most memorable each year. Here are 10 reasons why we love Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. They can work their magic
In 2007 Belarus sent Dmitry Koldun — noted for his resemblance to Princess Diana — with the song “Work Your Magic”. The song was a bold Bond-style pop track co-written by Russian maestro Philipp Kirkorov. The staging featured wall walking that surely inspired Sergey Lazarev’s wall adventures in 2016. Everything worked. The song placed sixth in the grand final and remains Belarus’ best result to date.
2. The weird, wonderful and wrong acts that are rejected in the national final
Every year, the Belarus national final starts with its doors wide open. The live-streamed auditions attract experienced performers and amateurs alike, all hoping that the judges won’t cut them off after just a few seconds with a curt “spasiba”. Some seem unfairly dismissed, but with others, it’s easy to see why the panel wasn’t impressed.
3. Ivan pushed the limits of the staging rules
The EBU said no to nudity and no to live animals on stage. But that didn’t stop Ivan. In 2016 he had got his kit off and bonded with his furry friend in the privacy of a Belarusian studio, then brought the experience to Stockholm with the power of holograms. “Help You Fly” didn’t qualify for the final, but it still delivered one of the most memorable performances of the 2016 semi-finals.
4. They used a different sort of Swedish expert
It’s not uncommon for countries to hire Swedish experts to beef up their Eurovision entries, but in 2010 Belarus did it differently. Rather than go for Eurovision experts or pop maestros, they called in Swedish pianist Robert Wells, who co-wrote “Butterflies”. The sentimental ballad was performed by the casting show vocal group 3+2, with Wells on piano. While the song made it to the grand final (complete with expanding wings!), it finished second to last with only 18 points, 12 of which came from Georgia.
5. They brought some hot Latin rhythms
Years before “Fuego”, Belarus delivered their own version of fiery Latin beats. In 2013, Alyona Lanskaya performed “Solayoh”. From the moment she emerged from a giant disco ball (was Alcazar watching?), the Belarusian diva delivered an unforgettable performance. “Solayoh” finished 16th in the grand final and is Belarus’ second best result.
6. They’ve only sent one song in Belarusian — but it did really well
Since their debut in 2004, Belarus has always sent songs in English. The one big exception was in 2017, when folk-pop duo Naviband came to Kyiv with the 100% Belarusian lyrics of “Story of My Life”. The song’s catchy rhythms, the shoutalong chorus (“Hey! Hey! Hay-yay-yay-a-ho!) and the natural charisma of real-life couple Arciom and Ksienija ensured the song qualified for the grand final, where it finished in 17th place.
7. They delivered the best caked-themed song of 2014
Latvia also brought a cakey song to Copenhagen, but it was Belarus that, er, really took the cake. Teo showed up looking like a Belarusian Robin Thicke and performed the mambo-pop of “Cheesecake”. The cheeky, cheesy, cakey tune won over audiences, took Belarus into the grand final and gave them a 16th-place finish.
8. Alexander Rybak’s celebration of the Belarusian accent
The Belarusian-born Alexander Rybak had won Eurovision for Norway, but in 2015 he was ready to share his talent with his country of birth. Rybak penned “Accent”, a celebration of the Belarusian accent, performed by the girl group Milki. It was a fan favourite going into the national final and seemed a sure winner. But while it did well with the televote, the dominant jury vote favoured Uzari & Maimuna‘s “Time” and sadly “Accent” never made it to Vienna.
9. They love Belarus
In 2011, Anastasia Vinnikova took to the Düsseldorf stage and declared “I Love Belarus!”. The song was a celebration of all things Belarusian, with Anastasia declaring “We’re gonna fly watching lakes in their full view / Fields are full of gold, and it’s all my land”. While the song didn’t qualify for the grand final, it remains a fan favourite.
10. The magnificent madness of the “Forever” staging
No LEDs? No problem! Belarus ensured that there wasn’t a dull moment while Alekseev delivered the melancholic ballad “Forever”. Highlights included: a rose taking a ride on the camera, the dancer shooting the rose at Alekseev, the rose getting embedded in his hand, an explosion of augmented reality rose petals, and Alekseev turning around to reveal a dozen red roses embedded in his back. It was overkill, it didn’t get Belarus into the grand final, but what a show!
Bonus! Lermont x Julic
It’s really saying something when a song scores nil points in the Belarus national final. But that’s what Lermont x Julic achieved with their house anthem “Heartbeat” in 2017. Ok, the whole thing was a bit of a car crash, but we admire their enthusiasm and energy.
What do you love about Belarus at Eurovision? Share the love in the comments section below!
I feel like we don’t usually care what Belarus in Eurovision.
However, they’ve given us some really weird stagings, a great song in 2007, the chance to hear the Belarussian language for the first time and different type of songs every year.
#2 I’d like to hear the chorus of her song tho, lol.
Number 2 though… that hurt my ears REALLY bad.
Their national selection is a mess in general. It often seems rigged and many acts are of questionable quality.
I do like some of their eventual ESC entries though.
Fun fact: Since 2014 Belarus has been in my Top 10 4 out of 5 times! Like, don’t ask me how that happened lol. ,,Forever” is actually my favourite entry by them… I guess my taste is just weird since I also liked ,,Cheesecake” ,which was a mess btw.
Alyona Lanskaya is a queen first 2012 she won with “All My Life”, then 2013 with “Rhythm of love” and finally represented Belarus with “Solayoh”. So kind of 3 eurovision songs from her. That’s something<3
My favorite song is the one that got rejected or disqualified or whatever in 2011. The one before “I love Belarus” called “Born in Byelorussia”. Gotta love the variety. One line was “When I was wearing a star, back in the USSR, I was as good as Mama, feel my passion”. A hint of self-irony in a dictatorship.
In 2010, Anastasia Vinnikova took to the Düsseldorf stage and declared “I Love Belarus!”. It was in 2011.
in 2011 they must change the lyrics because first version of song is performance before EBU deadline.
For me best 3 song from Belarus
I also like song from 2005 (kitch staging ruinned their chance for final ) ,2008
They deserved to go to final in 2005,2009,2015,2016
They don t deserved to go to final in 2010,2014,2017
Belarus is country , who had in past few scandal in national selection. in 2005 they choose song Boys and Girls, and they changed that song, and send another song in Eurovision . In 2010 they started with national final presecelciton (on new national channel ) and after EBU said that channel in not EBU members, they stopped that and they choose few singers and formed group. Then they got one song, and after not good criticks about song, that they again change the song for group . In 2012 we had female winner ( she sang one year later… Read more »
Maybe the next time they will invite singers from other countries, they should lessen the way they are being too obvious on choosing them right away. Not to mention having an underwhelming song for that artist to perform in the contest itself which was a waste.
Naviband was the best their entry! amazing and heartwarming… please guys send more like this song…Belorussian language is so beautiful:))
Belarus entries are overall one of the worst songs in ESC history, sorry. Most were just wrong and bad, the worst was their debut in 2004 – My Galileo. Songs from 2004-2010 are examples what NOT to do in Eurovision. Songs from 2011-2016 were OK. Naviband 2017 was great! That was really good and fun, deserved to win or be at least Top 5! Alekseev was a very good song, but the staging…
Everytime when the new Semi- Finals are revealed Belarus is never mentioned as either weak or strong. It’s because they are such a wildcard. 2007 was really great, but furthermore I like 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. I wonder what they will bring next year.
Belarus is INSANE. Absolutely nuts. They have all the ambition to be like Russia or Ukraine but with none of the restraint (or budget). They’re like the admiring kid brother who wants to do everything like his older siblings. I admire that ambition, even if it’s only led to a couple of songs I’d actually enjoy listening to (which, wouldn’t you know it, doesn’t include peak-Belarusian Alekseev – and the dude isn’t even from Belarus!). No, I’m staying on-brand and being the boring guy who likes acoustic stuff: it’s 100% Story of My Life for me, the most heartwarming and… Read more »
Alyona deserved better! Solayoh is iconic.
I also have Polina Smolova as guilty pleasure and Angelica Agurbash
I’m not gonna lie they’ve always been a non-event. They lack iconic songs, performers and moments, but they’re always welcome!
it has been known for a long time that in 2011, lukashenka decided that the song became very nationalistic
My favourite is 2009. Petr Elfimov had a voice that was off the charts, and that camera angle is still one of the best ever in ESC 🙂