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XTRA Throwback Thursday: Baffling Belarus

It’s Thursday, so that can only mean one thing: XTRA Throwback Thursday! In the upcoming weeks and months, we’ll take you on a journey through Europe and beyond, a journey through the history of the contest. This week, we’ll focus on Belarus who made their fifth Eurovision final appearance in Kyiv.

This week’s theme: Baffling Belarus

Belarus have indeed baffled us from time to time, with quirky selections for their Eurovision entries. Their debut entry, My Galileo, performed by Aleksandra and Konstantin was an unforgettable one. While neighbouring Russia are sometimes criticised for importing songs from Sweden with nothing Russian about their entry except for the performer, Belarus certainly avoid these criticisms. After all, you can’t get much more patriotic than a song titled I Love Belarus, can you? Actually, maybe you can…

NAVIBAND – STORY OF MY LIFE

Amazingly, up until this year, Belarusian entries had never contained a word of their very own language. After attempting to represent Belarus at Eurovision in previous years, Naviband returned to Eurofest in January. Their song, then titled Historyja majho žyccia, was an immediate fan favourite. There was a real chance that Belarus could finally send a song in their native language. However, in previous years, the voting in the Belarusian national selection has proved to turn up… unusual… results. When the televote results came in and Naviband placed only 5th, it seemed like the extremely likeable duo were doomed to failure once again.

In stepped the juries, awarding the duo their douze points! Once the points were combined, Naviband took the victory. Artem, Kseniya and their song were all extremely joyous, uplifting and likeable and this moment, for me, was one of the most feel-good stories of the 2017 Eurovision season. In the months leading up to the contest, they earned their status as fan favourites and no-one could deny how deserving they were of their qualification to the 2017 final. This will go down as one of the happiest performances of all-time, and while I don’t understand a single word, Artem and Kseniya’s personalities on stage tell us all we need to know! Therefore, it’s only right that for Belarus’ Throwback Thursday, we only have to go back two months to find their best entry ever: Story of My Life.

What the others had to say…

James:

I love everything about Naviband and their Eurovision entry. I loved the song from the very first time I heard it, and still haven’t got bored of it in the two months since the duo took to the Kyiv stage. Incomparably catchy and genuine, it never fails to put a smile on my face. And the best thing about it is that the exact same can be said about Kseniya and Artem themselves. Every single interview before and during the contest was full of pure joy, as they embodied the positivity of their song and helped each other navigate the English language in the most adorable ways. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Matteo:

It is probably one of the best songs Belarus has ever sent, organic and well-written. It sounds less forced than some Swedish revamps and productions which are nonetheless great, but still a bit forced in the context. I loved it until the moment Artem started singing it live on stage! It was a car-crash though I still enjoyed it.

Riccardo:

This is one of my favourite entries ever from Belarus (head to head with 2015). I don’t understand a word of it but it is so catchy and uplifting that I want to join in singing even if I don’t know what I am saying! I like how the performance also utilises elements of Belarus on the LED screen. It almost looks like a tourist advertisement encouraging people to visit the country, and yes they do make me want to fly to Minsk! The two of them really have a powerful chemistry and really complement each other well on stage.

Next week

Next week it is le quatorze juillet when France celebrate their National Day. Therefore, our very own James will take you back to a French highlight of his.

But for now, let’s remember Belarus’ ‘Story of My Life’. What is your favourite Belarusian entry? Let us know below!
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Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!
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