This morning saw one of the finest phenomenons of the national final season, the Belorussian live auditions. In the past I’ve never had the time to watch the whole process from start to finish. Boring ol’ real life would get in the way meaning I could only catch the highlights after the fact. Being off today, this was my first time sitting down and experiencing the auditions in their entirety. And what an experience it was!
Before delving deep into what I’ll politely refer to as a ‘mixed bag’ I feel we should praise the national broadcaster for having fully public auditions. As a fandom we should be very grateful to countries like Belarus that openly share the full compliment of their auditionees. I feel I should also be praising Moldova for having a similar process, but given their rejection of Ca Adriano Celentano over the weekend I’m less inclined to look so kindly upon them.
I’ll start with our erstwhile friend in the above tweet. Within the first hour of the live stream this chap made an appearance. Pavel Lashenchuk first meandered on screen seemingly berating the production crew, dropping papers all over the floor and generally coming across as a disgruntled nuisance. After his departure one assumed we’d seen the last of him. However, he later returned adorned with a jockey’s cap once again grumbling away. Only this time you could make out repeated mentions of the word Israel. Whilst I cant be sure whether it’s a protest song it’s certain that he wasn’t happy about something. If you wanted a ‘happy song’ then look no further than this…
Acts from around the world were permitted to enter the audition process and boy, did it add to the variety of the show. Much like our grumpy pal above Carlos Costa of Portugal took two bites of the cherry to get going. After snapping at the crew he was rushed off to sort the backing track, returning later in the run. It’s possible he may be trying to cash in on the pro-Fuego vibe by calling his song…Fuego. Arguably the strongest vocal of the 100+ performances was that of Kazakhstani singer Bidash. If the EBU needed convincing that Kazakhstan deserve a place at the Contest proper, there’s your argument right there.
We even had a British act in the mix representing us on the Continent. 13 years after he took to the Eurovision stage with ‘Teenage Life’ Daz Sampson made his competitive return alongside singer Nona. ‘Kinky Boots’ is a high energy number repeatedly referring to Nona’s “shiny, sweet & sexy” knee high footwear. Her vocal was interspersed with Daz’s rap interjections that all told created a bizarre three minutes. Whilst I recognise this song’s low quality I still somehow found myself nodding along. Do I think it’ll make the televsied round? Probably not. But if it does, I’m not too sure our friends in Belarus will know what’s hit them.
In terms of all round performance it was a home grown Belorussian duo that was the highlight of the day. Complete with accordion, Madame Monsieur’s arm gesture & t shirts adorned with heart shaped potatoes Vitaly Voronko and Artem Soroko stole the show. In a way their song reminds of me Mažulė in Lithuania, after the first few seconds I was ready to scoff at ‘Potato Acapulco’ but by the end of the three minutes I was fully on board with our carb crazed pals. In a five hour process filled with earnest ballads and well meaning but dull performances these two lads stood head and shoulders above the rest. Whether or not they make it to TV, let alone Tel Aviv, is still unknown but for now we can only dream. Spuds I like.