Angel’s song conquers hearts
By Viktar Andreev
Young Belarusian Lida Zablotskaya was confidently approaching first place at Junior Eurovision in Yerevan. However, during the television vote, Belarus awarded the most points to our major rivals, the Dutch and Georgians, placing them ahead. Such are the rules of the show and, of course, you can’t vote for your own candidate.
Lidia has now returned to her native Mogilev from Armenia with a worthy third place and is pleased with her result. Before departing for Yerevan, the eighth grade pupil hoped to be among the leaders. In fact, she earned 99 points, admitting, “My dream has come true and I’m now among the top three in Europe.”
Lida has been involved in music since fourth grade, playing the piano and polishing her singing at Vdokhnovenie Studio. Who knows, triumph at adult Eurovision may lie ahead.
First place at Junior Eurovision was won by a group of girls from Georgia with a lively song and routine. Lidia tells us, “My song — Angels of Goodness — is slow; more lively songs tend to win.” She reveals however, “I’m a playful angel of kindness, keen on adventures. I enjoy performing and making people smile. I’m a cheerful and positive person.”
Belarus has twice won first place at Junior Eurovision: in 2005 — Ksenia Sitnik; and in 2009 — Alexey Zhigalkovich. In 2006, Russia won and Belarusian Andrey Kunets came second.
On the eve of the event, the Belarusian potential entrants for the adult Eurovision were chosen, hoping to perform in Baku in 2012. After a TV performance, the public will select their favourite five candidates. In late December-early January, during a live broadcast on Belarus-1 TV Channel, the final winner will be announced. The professional jury has chosen 15 entrants to compete for the honour: Thriller, Litesound, Nuteki, The Champions, Ekivoki, Gyunesh, Anastasia Vinnikova, Yuzari, Anna Blagova, German, duo Alexandra Gaiduk and Natalia Baldina, Yan Zhenchak and Outerplan, Alena Lanskaya, Aura, and Victoria Aleshko.
I visited the auditions at the Youth Variety Theatre to see what we might expect.
Over two days, the authoritative jury chose the top 15 entrants out of 114 applicants. Seeing the performances, I was assured that talent played the major role in the decision making, rather than personal sympathy or antipathy.
It seemed as if all our main pop stars were at the audition, including those who have tried out previously for junior and adult Eurovision. Anastasia Vinnikova sang again, despite her failure at Eurovision this year in Dusseldorf. Meanwhile, Gyunesh Abasova entered the stage in white, giving her fifth attempt for Eurovision with And Morning Will Come, filling the hall with positive emotions, rather in the style of American Cher. The lyrics and music were written by Azerbaijani composers, who brought victory to Azerbaijani duo Ell and Nikki this year. Gyunesh was the first to earn applause at EuroFest.
Although I’m not a fan of Litesound, their We Are Heroes, We Are Winners astonished everyone. Nuteki band also gave a fantastic performance of Super Heroes.
Each of the entrants brought their own flavour to the audition but, of course, only one can finally be chosen. Dmitry Baranov, Executive Producer of Belarus-1 TV Channel and Head of the Eurovision-2012 project, guarantees that the choice will be made fairly and with transparency.
I also enjoyed Yuzari — our ‘hybrid’ of Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson. He was a backing singer for Anastasia Vinnikova in Dusseldorf and tried to ‘climb the peaks’ at New Wave-2011, but is yet to experience real success. Judging by Inna Afanasieva’s attentive glances and the amount of applause from the jury and the public, the young singer is using his experience to become bolder and brighter.
Needless to say, an artiste should be memorable and charismatic, like the winners of previous Eurovision contests Dmitry Bilan and Alexander Rybak. Many in Belarus can sing and dance well but there are few truly charismatic artistes — and not everyone can work brilliantly regardless of their mood. According to Alexander Tikhanovich, the Head of EuroFest, a professional artiste with experience is needed to worthily represent Belarus at an international competition like Eurovision. He explains, “This is a really tough contest, involving blood, sweat and tears. In the finals, the tension makes your hair curl. It’s easy to get stage fright. Some can manage while others lose their self-possession, being overwhelmed by excitement.”
Of course, professionals never show that something is wrong, either in their soul or face. They have only one shot at winning the Eurovision Song Contest.