Belarus has chosen fan favourite Alekseev as the overall winner out of their 10 finalists and he will fly to Lisbon in May. Originally, 11 acts were set to perform in the national final but one withdrew. Time will tell if the song will actually be accepted by the EBU.
Out of 95 submitted songs to the Belarusian broadcaster BTRC, they chose 11 finalists. After the accusations of Alekseev that his entry was performed before 1st September 2017, Sofi Lapina decided to withdraw her entry Gravity from the competition. Some of the other participants reportedly signed a petition to disqualify Alekseev, but they did not withdraw in the end. So we now have 10 songs in the final that will fight for the one and only ticket to Lisbon to represent Belarus in the first semifinal.
Adagio – Ty i ja
Adagio is a pop-opera project that tries to continue in the Eurovision tradition of pop-opera entries. The last one being Italy in 2015 with Il Volo and their song Grande Amore. The leader of the group has really big voice range and the song tries to use it to its maximum. Ty i ja means You and I in English and therefore it is a love ballad. Mixed with opera, it is a good combination. The 4 piece male group was joined on stage by two female vocalists just as during the live auditions. Being it a very vocally demanding entry, Adagio delivered it with a grace the opera deserves.
Alekseev – Forever
The biggest favourite in Belarus this is actually not a Belarusian act, but a neighbor from Ukraine. Alekseev originally planned to submit Forever to Vidbir 2018 in Ukraine, but after some complications with the jury, he decided to try his luck in Belarus. He is not known only in Ukraine but also in Russia and other Russian speaking countries. Alekseev chose a very special and futuristic outfit full of small lights used throughout his performance in the same style as the LED background. It is questionable how this costume may work in Lisbon where there will be no LED displays to use on the stage. During his performance, Alekseev was sometimes out of tune. Maybe because of a few changes in the melody he was forced to make after those accusations.
Shuma – Chmarki
Chmarki marks one of the two entries this year sung in the Belarusian language. Maybe after the success of Naviband singing in Belarusian, the duo Shuma wants to use this as their advantage. The song is quite dark… well what to expect from the song with the title, that translates to English as Clouds? The song was unfortunately accused of breaking the rules because it uses parts of the traditional lyrics and therefore this needs to be changed. This electropop song was joined by the black, white and red graphics on the background. In some moment, this seemed too chaotic.
NAPOLI – Chasing Rushes
After trying it four times before, Chasing Rushes is NAPOLI’s fifth attempt. The song has nice and modern beat and Olga Shimanskaya serves it with quality. She and the two female dancers wear red leather clothes and a black mask. Vocally, she was flawless, but her pronunciation was just ok. Sometimes the word “rushes” in the refrain sounded like “Russias”.
Anastasiya Malashkevich – World on Fire
World on Fire was composed by the sisters Ylva and Linda Persson from Sweden and marks one of the many final appearances in this year’s national finals over Europe. Anastasiya Malashkevich is not a newbie in the national final as she already took part in the past. She was unfortunately ill during the live audiences earlier in January, but that was a different performance from today. Anastasiya serves the song with a rock-queen realness which makes the song stand out in the lineup. She was joined by one male and one female vocalist on stage. Just as NAPOLI, also Anastasiya wears red clothes. In the end, the vocalists waved the black and red flags.
Gunesh – I Won’t Cry
Also, Gunesh is a regular participant in the national final and, as we know from some other European countries, trying on and on again may eventually pay off. Maybe this year is the year when Gunesh finally wins? This upbeat pop song is accompanied by a colourful background LED projection. Gunesh was very good vocally during her live performance.
Radiovolna – Subway Lines
Group Radiovolna brings another ballad on the stage. After finishing on 9th place in 2016 national final, they now hope for a better result. Subway Lines start with a soft whispery verse but continue and rise to bigger refrain in the end. The guys wore jeans and white shirts. In the last part of the song, there are also famous Eurovision style drums, just as Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw taught us during their Love Love Peace Peace.
Alen Hit – I Don’t Care
Alen has a dance song and therefore we see him joined on stage by two male dancers. They both together with Alen wear black and white clothes. There are also some female backing vocals hidden in the backstage. Before the end of his performance, we may be pretty sure that Allen really doesn’t care.
Lexy – I Ain’t You
A former Belarusian national finalist Aleksandra Tkach is the author of Lexy’s entry. A male dancer in a role of her lover joins Lexy on stage, as I Ain’t You is a love ballad. In the background, we see a video projection of Lexy. Together with Alekseev, Lexy is probably one of the youngest participants this evening.
Kirill Good – Deja Vu
Yet under his real name Kiril Yermakov, he already took part in the national final before, but now he tries it again. This time he uses the stage name Kirill Good and he brings a modern dance song. This one is quite similar to Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling which he performed during the Eurovision 2016 final.
The show has begun right away with a powerful performance of Naviband who took us back to Kyiv with their entry Historyja majho žyccia. The hosts were again Belarusian representative from Copenhagen – TEO – and Olga Ryzhikova. After they hosted the show already few times together they just got used to each other a lot. After the opening act, winter Olympics athlete Hanna Huskovova, who just won the Belarusian gold medal in the acrobatic skiing got her attention and honours from the hosts. We saw the recapitulation of Belarusian past finalists in the Eurovision Song Contest finals. Shortly after that, Olga and TEO presented the members of the professional jury together with the voting system.
Just as everytime in the past few years, there are postcards that presented the artists. This time they were in a sort of a cube with a chair and table in a different colour light. The performances continued one after the other quite quickly so there were no bigger delays and only two commercials in the half of the entries and then after the last one. The hosts opened the voting for a window of only 10 minutes. TEO and Olga closed the televoting and announced its results and we saw a total of 7 guest performers as the interval act. One of them being the unsuccessful national final entrant Angelika Pushnova with her entry Fighting for Love penned by Vladimir Graić, the composer of Molitva. In the end, last year’s winners – Naviband – performed again.
The finals results come from the votes of a professional jury (50 %) and televoting (50 %). In the case of a tie, the jury voting had higher priority.
In the end, after combining the votes from televoting and the jury, the hosts announced Alekseev as the winner of the national final for 2018 and rewarded him with the trophy. You can check the official video to his entry Forever below.
Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest
In the recent years, Belarus has had no bigger success. Until last year when Naviband with their song Historyja majho žyccia sung in the Belarusian language qualified for the final and there finished on 17th place. That rounded up the number of Belarus’ appearances in the final to five. Maybe Alekseev will be their sixth one? In the meantime, you can watch Naviband performing their entry in Kyiv in a special multicam version.