ESC 2010 Reviews: Belarus
Belarus is another recent entry into the world of Eurovision. Since entering in 2004 (the same year as Albania, in fact), the nation has only qualified for the finals once, in 2007, with Dimitry Koldun’s “Work Your Magic“, which resulted in a 6th place finish. Some people think that Koldun’s success that year came from his vocal prowess, or his popularity throughout the former Soviet Bloc from his time on “Star Factory”, an “Idol”/”Operación Triunfo”-type show, or his song, which could have been ripped straight from a James Bond opening sequence.
But I think it was his mullet, personally.
Despite Minsk’s best efforts, they haven’t been able to break out of the semifinals again. Even last year’s valiant effort, “Eyes That Never Lie” by Petr Elfimov, couldn’t make it to the finals, even though Elfimov’s performance included one of the coolest pieces of live camerawork I think I’ve ever seen. Check this out:
That’s right…a camera operator riding a Segway at full speed down the center aisle of Moscow’s Olympic Indoor Arena, dismounts halfway up a ramp to the stage, circles Elfimov, and then zooms in on the guitarist (again, with amazing hair…must be a requirement in Belarus), all without falling all over himself (as I surely would have done)! Now, I’m not an expert in cinematography, but that’s pretty sweet!
So, what does 2010 bring us?
Belarus’s national selection process this year was (to put it mildly) a bit of a mess. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Eurovision Song Contest is sponsored by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which has associate members in all participating countries. Only participating members may sponsor a national song. In Belarus’s case, the Belarusian Television and Radio Company (BTRC) had been sponsoring the national entries over the past few years. However, for the 2010 Contest, another station, Obshchenatsional’noe Televidenie (ONT), decided that they would apply for EBU membership and choose the Belarussian Eurovision entry. This decision was partially influenced by President Lukashenko himself, after years of middling results at the contest. ONT even had an in-depth selection process set up, called the “Musical Court”, when the EBU suddenly denied ONT’s membership. Belarus scrambled to a decision and ended up returning to BTRC, who held an internal selection and chose “Far Away” by 3+2, an ensemble who had actually come in second in the “Musical Court” selection.
Seems easy enough, right? Wrong!
On March 19th, with only three days left before the EBU’s deadline for countries to solidify their selection, BTRC switched “Far Away” for “Butterflies”, a pretty, yet somewhat vanilla ballad. I was just beginning to like “Far Away”, so for it to be replaced with this is a bit of a 180-degree shift.
I make no guarantees, but I don’t see Belarus breaking back into the Finals with this one. It doesn’t matter much to me if Belarus submits pop, a ballad, rock, or folk…I think I’m most upset by the absence of mullets.