XTRA Preview & Review: Belarus

The national final season is in full swing. On 16 February, the Belarusian national final is going to take place. We’ve taken a look at the entries and the procedure below, so here is the XTRA Preview & Review!

XTRA Preview: Eurofest 2018

Auditions were first held on the 11 January in Minsk to select the finalists for Eurofest 2018. The Belarusian representative for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 will be selected using a 50/50 combination of televoting and jury votes, as in previous years.
The show will start at 20:10 CET and end at 22:50 CET. We will be tweeting live from @ESCXTRA.
The ten finalists taking part in Eurofest 2018 are, in the order that they will perform:

  1. Adagio – Ty i ja
  2. Alekseev – Forever
  3. Shuma – Chmarki
  4. NAPOLI – Chasing Rushes
  5. Anastasiya Malashkevich – World on Fire
  6. Gunesh – I Won’t Cry
  7. Radiovolna – Subway Lines
  8. Alen Hit – I Don’t Care
  9. Lexy – Ain’t You
  10. Kirill Good – Deja Vu

Sofi Lapina was also originally listed as a finalist but later withdrew in protest to Alekseev’s participation.
The two current favourites to win the show are Alekseev and Gunesh, both with fans and in the betting odds. See who our favourites are below!

XTRA Review: Eurofest 2018

Alekseev – Forever

Yassia: Not that bad for Belarus, but definitely nothing special and not a Eurovision winning song. The music is not my peace of cake either. I guess they want to try to impress with a performance, not the song.
Score: 8/10
Riccardo: Keep the first refrain then erase everything else and I like the song. I’m not into this, too dramatic and too forced.
Score: 4/10
Ryan: For me Alekseev would be a rightful winner here, not because of his popularity but because of this song. It is easily among the strongest in this field, contemporary and the melody is very memorable despite its subtlety. Judging from other live performances of this I have seen, the potential for an exceptional stage show is certainly there.
Score: 9/10
Luke: This feels like a cross between last year’s Beautiful Mess from Bulgaria and Belarus’ Work Your Magic from 2007. It’s not something for me and I really don’t feel that this is a very well made song; it feels….very basic, like I’ve heard this tons of times before.
Score: 3.5/10

Adagio – Ty i ja

Yassia: The only good thing about this song is that it’s in Belarusian. I just don’t like how these guys sound together, maybe they need more practice.
Score: 3/10
Riccardo: Like Yassia said, I like that this song is in Belarusian and not English. They are good singers, the melody is sweet and vibrant and all, but it’s a ticket to remain in the semis.
Score: 6/10
Ryan: There’s possibly some 2000s-style eurodance influences in this one, interesting use of vocal effects in the chorus here. With a bit of work, this could be nicely polished. The ending is strong.
Score: 7/10
Luke: I’m sorry but it started off so beautifully and like I was about to hear a beautiful, powerful ballad in Belarusian. What the hell is that chorus and the (as Ryan politely put it, “interesting”) vocal effects make this into a complete joke. Just stop it Adagio, you’re impressing nobody.
Score: 0/10

Alen Hit – I Don’t Care

Yassia: One more song from Belarus that has a perfect chance to get stuck in one of the Eurovision semis. an attempt to make something fancy that, in my view, failed.
Score: 3/10
Riccardo: I like his energy. He may not be the best vocalist but he can deliver in the performance. Song is nothing special but I do enjoy listening to it.
Score: 7/10
Ryan: Standard funky-pop type song here that’s a pleasant radio track but nothing more. There’s other entries of a similar style in other national finals this year and they are stronger than this.
Score: 6/10
Luke: Aww, this sounded like it was going to be so good building up to the chorus and then it happened…what is this chorus and why is it in this song? It doesn’t fit at all and just lets the whole song down. He’s kind of cute though, so I forgive him.
Score: 6/10

Anastasiya Malashkevich – World on Fire

Yassia: Looks like it’s Belarusian Adele:) Anastasiya has a very strong voice. the song is quite good, so it deserves to be part of national final. The performance is definitely to improve.
Score: 7/10
Riccardo: Nice uptempo song, good instrumentation, good performance and vocals. Not sure I want this to go to Lisbon but still one of the better entries in the selection.
Score: 7.5/10
Ryan: I agree, it’s one of the better entries here although there’s nothing exceptionally stand out about it. One thing that does stand out is Anastasiya’s voice which has both power and a unique tone.
Score: 7.5/10
Luke: Oooh! Ok, this is my favourite so far. A little more power in the chorus wouldn’t go amiss, but the song is already really strong. I feel with a bit of a revamp then this could become a fan favourite at Eurovision!
Score: 9/10

Gunesh – I Won’t Cry

Yassia: Gunesh really want to get to Eurovision for a very long time. The music is like “hello 80s” though. The plus is her strong voice. In general, too simple.
Score: 6/10
Riccardo: I love the intro. A bit generic with lyrics and music at times but a solid entry and she has brilliant vocals. I stay interested for the whole song, unlike in many others in the selection.
Score: 8/10
Ryan: This has a very scandipop (from a few years ago) sound to it that I love! I find the chorus a bit too basic on initial listens but this is a great uptempo number.
Score: 8.5/10
Luke: Ok, the tune to this is great, but the lyrics and Gunesh singing I really don’t like. Especially the chorus just feels like Gunesh being all “SEE HOW BIG MY LUNG CAPACITY IS AAAAAAAAAAAAAH?”
Score: 5.5/10

Kirill Good – Deja Vu

Yassia: OMG…What is this? I mean, seriously… No comments. It’s just not good at all.
Score: 1/10
Riccardo: Not really sure what to say about this. Mind boggling…but definitely not in a good way.
Score: 2/10
Ryan: I completely disagree with my fellow reviewers here, this is one of the most commercially relevant tracks here – if not the most commercially relevant of all! This would sound perfectly in place on BBC Radio 1 here in the UK, with it’s indie-pop sound.
Score: 9.5/10
Luke: I completely disagree with my fellow reviewers here, this is one of the most commercially relevant tracks here – if not the most commercially relevant of all! This would sound perfectly in place on BBC Radio 1 here in the UK, with it’s indie-pop sound.
Score: 7/10

Lexy – Ain’t You

Yassia: Just one more regular song. I don’t think it has any chances to get anywhere. The performance is horrible.
Score: 4/10
Riccardo: Performance will need major improvements, it looks ridiculous now. Song is way too bland, wouldn’t stand a chance in Lisbon
Score: 4/10
Ryan: I agree, this one is nothing more than background music as pleasant as it is.
Score: 4.5/10
Luke: Agreed. This is a complete snoozefest, I’m finding it difficult to stay awake so I can judge it.
Score: 1/10

NAPOLI – Chasing Rushes

Yassia: This entry is ok. At least it has something catchy. Although it seems that the ending of the song was cut. Maybe they can still improve it and the overall performance too.
Score: 7/10
Riccardo: She can perform and transmit emotions very well. I love the instrumental part in the second half of the song. I hope it’ll look good in the final.
Score: 8.5/10
Ryan: I find this weaker than both “My Universe” and “Let’s Come Together” but it is also her most modern entry. It’s a professional effort, but it provokes no emotion in me.
Score: 7/10
Luke: Chasing…..rushes? Huh? I’ve no idea what she actually means. The lyrics too are not good – full of English that doesn’t sound QUITE right and very amateurish. Come on Napoli, you can do better than this.
Score: 4/10

Radiovolna  – Subway Lines

Yassia: Something is missing in this song. Sometimes I hear back vocals more than the main singer and it sounds messy.
Score: 5/10
Riccardo: When I heard the intro I was very hopeful, but quickly became disappointed. It’s not bad but it builds too slowly and not completely in my opinion and the ending left me confused. Like Yassia said, something is missing. It doesn’t impress me much.
Score: 4.5/10
Ryan: I imagine this song lends itself well to a very atmospheric live performance, but the song alone is just too pedestrian. I appreciate the variety it brings to the line-up, and the experimental nature is appreciated.
Score: 5/10
Luke: Perhaps Radiovolna should actually leave their song on the subway so that it will actually go somewhere, because it certainly isn’t doing that by itself. Where is the progression in this? Radiovolna really need to take another look at this and think “What is the message behind this song and how can I make people listen to it?”.
Score: 1/10

Shuma – Chmarki

Yassia: A very different and unusual entry in Belarusian. I don’t think it’s gonna be a winner though. Not catchy enough.
Score: 7/10
Riccardo: I don’t get this song and I can’t take it seriously. I appreciate the ethno-pop undertone in it, but that’s it.
Score: 2/10
Ryan: A very interesting listen with its mix of modern and ethnic instrumentation. I think this track would come alive with a live performance in which it’s quirkiness can be displayed visually as well as through the music. It’s probably too out there to command a large voter base, but some fans will adore this.
Score: 6.5/10
Luke: This is VERY different. Something incredibly unique and unusual that could do really well at Eurovision. The song itself isn’t too wonderful though, I think that a big stage show is needed to make this really sparkle
Score: 5/10

Who do we want?

The XTRA Jury, this time consisting of Yassia, Riccardo, Ryan and Luke, has spoken. Below you can see the average each song achieved. Their favourite for tomorrow’s show is Anastasiya Malashkevich’s “World on Fire”!

  1. Anastasiya Malashkevich – World on Fire: 7.8
  2. Gunesh – I Won’t Cry: 7.0
  3. NAPOLI – Chasing Rushes
  4. Alekseev – Forever: 6.1
  5. Alen Hit – I Don’t Care: 5.5
  6. Shuma – Chmarki: 5.1
  7. Kirill Good – Deja Vu: 4.9
  8. Adagio – Ty i ja: 4.0
  9. Radiovolna – Subway Lines: 3.9
  10. Lexy – Ain’t You: 3.4

Below, we’ve included a playlist for you. Which of these 10 do you like best? Make sure to let us know who you like by commenting!
[ypt playlist_id=PLMbWxBEblGEZmj0W6_aPT3AIylvAw7YWn]  

Luke Malam

I've watched Eurovision for as long as I can remember, but my interest really built in 2008, after I decided to watch the semifinals online, out of boredom, before the final...I was blown away by the quality of the show and have been hooked ever since! I'm a competitive trampolinist and I love baking. I've also just completed a master's degree in Research Methods in Psychology at University College London.

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