Eurovision 2016 – Belarus

I’ve been busy for the past month with work, writing and a quick trip to New Orleans. Eurovision has been nudging the edge of my consciousness, but it’s been hard to get back into the groove. Until today.

A friend sent me a text asking if I knew about the guy from Belarus who’s going to perform nude, with a wolf, at Eurovision.

Wut?

Needless to say, that hooked me right back in. The aspiring nudist is Ivan (AKA Alexander Ivanov) and he won the Belarusian national song competition with his song Help You Fly. Let’s take a look and listen. For those concerned, he does perform fully clothed in the official video.


Okay. Decent song. Catchy, even. He’s got a gravelly voice with a good range. His stage presence is all right, though he relies a lot on a cute face and flippy hair. The background effects add some excitement to his performance. Is he a standout performer? Probably not. Unless…

Is Ivan really going to bare it all? Here’s an article stating his intention to do so. However, since Eurovision allows neither nudity nor live animals onstage, it’s highly doubtful. Nonetheless, Ivan has prepared for the possibility. Warning: the following video does contain partial nudity.


This does seem a lot like a publicity stunt, and why not? Ivan needs to build some interest in his song outside Belarus and Russia. This is one way to do it. I’ll be interested to see how he performs at the semi-final.

Help You Fly isn’t a winner, but the extra press and some fun staging could propel it into the finale. Kisses and best wishes to Ivan and Belarus!

You can read more about Ivan here.

Eurovision 2016 will be held 10, 12 and 14 May in Stockholm, Sweden. You can watch the entire contest live on eurovision.tv.

Eurovision 2015 – Belarus

Uzari and Maimuna are a duet with a difference. Uzari sings and Maimuna plays the violin, but doesn’t sing. They won their national competition and will represent Belarus on the Eurovision stage with their song Time.

Here is the official video, which is a bit silly, but has good sound quality.


I also found this live video. The sound quality isn’t so great, but it’s a good way to judge their performance capabilities.


They are an attractive pair of accomplished performers. Uzari has a strong voice with a plaintive tone. Maimuna has mad skillz on the violin. The song, though, it’s kind of typical. The only standout is the front and center violin, and the fact that it’s being played by a lovely woman.

Time isn’t a bad song and I have a feeling it will grow on me. If Uzari and Maimuna can push the envelope and deliver a knock out performance, they could make it into the final show.

Best wishes to them!

You can find out more about Uzari and Maimuna here.

Eurovision – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

Checking out the Baltic states now. I don’t know much about these countries, aside from what I’ve read in the web comic, Scandinavia and the World and seen in the anime, Hetalia: Axis Powers.

Kidding! But not really… Typical American. Anyway, onto the songs.

Ott Lepland represents Estonia with the ballad, Kuula.

So nice. Lepland has a strong voice and sings with the power and emotion such a ballad demands. Again, I like it when the contestants sing in their own language. It gives the competition more of an international feel. I looked up “kuula” using Google Translate. It came up with “listen” in English. I do have to add a comment from adlitham on YouTube, which made me giggle. “love this song! even though i don’t understand a thing.. and in norwegian it sort of sounds like a declaration of love to Cola (as in Coca Cola), which makes me like it even more^^”

Anmary represents Latvia with the pop song, Beautiful Song.

I think I would have liked this better if it were in Latvian. The lyrics, about singing a beautiful song, fell flat with me. The tune is catchy and her voice is nice. Maybe I’ll like her live performance better than this contrived video setting. I was a bit disappointed that Mick Jagger didn’t show up.

Donny Montell represents Lithuania with the pop ballad, Love is Blind

Hated the blindfold. Hated it. But I loved his handstand. And the song seemed to pick up energy after that. He’s got a good voice and I can easily see this being remixed as a dance song. For the Eurovision performance, I really hope he forgets the blindfold and gives this song that handstand energy from beginning to end.

Of the Baltics, I’d say Estonia is my favorite. How about you? Any favorites so far?

These videos are from the list of Eurovison 2012 contestants on YouTube.

Eurovision – Russia, Belarus and Ukraine

Now that I’m done with the Nordics, I’m focusing on the contestants from eastern Europe. I’m not real familiar with many of these countries, which makes me all the more interested to see what they have to offer by way of music.

I’ll start with a nation that I am more familiar with. After all, I read my fair share of Russian authors back in my school days. Most of that stuff (did I just call Tolstoy “stuff”?) was written in the 19th century. Let’s see what 21st century Russia has to offer.

Okay, so, 19th century it is. This could be considered a novelty act, but don’t underestimate these ladies. They have the highest number of views of all the videos on the Eurovision YouTube playlist. Over 1.5 million when last I checked. That being said, I think the song itself is fun and charming, but I don’t know that it holds it’s charm without the adorable live antics of the Babushki. If this came on the radio, I don’t think I’d keep listening. BTW, what is that thing rotating in the background?

Belarus’ Litesound offers up this rock anthem.

Good-looking guys. Good, standard rock song. It didn’t wow me. Maybe I need to see a less theatrical live or studio version. I was really not liking the whole motorcycle theme. The microphones were a WTF moment. I wish I could think of more to say, but it was so generic. Sorry, Belarus. Maybe your performance in the semi-finals will wow me more.

Representing Ukraine is the gorgeous Gaitana.

Love it. It’s a great dance song with great energy. Definitely want it on my iPod. My only criticism is that this is a music video and not a live performance. I’m not impressed the way I was with Loreen from Sweden. Maybe Gaitana’s live performance in the semi-finals will impress me more.

How about you? Any favorites so far?

These videos are from the list of Eurovison 2012 contestants on YouTube.