Bird of happiness flying towards Baku on St. Valentine’s Day
By Viktar Andreev
The finals of the national selective round for the International Eurovision-2012 Song Contest — EuroFest — are to take place on February 14th, with a live TV broadcast from Minsk’s Palace of Sports starting at 6pm. Viewers will be able to tune to Belarus 1 and Belarus 2 TV channels, seeing finalists perform in the following order, by draw: Alena Lanskaya, Gunesh, Victoria Aleshko, Litesound and Uzari.
The Palace of Sports’ stage will be decorated in the spirit of Maurice Maeterlinck’s Blue Bird; each contestant has the chance to catch the bird of happiness by its tail. 3D technologies will be used during the show and the winner will be chosen on points earned from the professional jury and TV viewers.
“Eurovision favourites from past years will come to support our contestants and congratulate the audience on St. Valentine’s Day — which coincides with the EuroFest finals. Among them will be Marija Serifovic, Ruslana, Sakis Rouvas and the heads of the European Broadcasting Union,” notes Svetlana Smolonskaya-Krasovskaya, who heads the Press Service of the show’s organiser: Belarusian TV and Radio Company.
It’s already known that the Belarusian participant will perform in Baku in the second semi-finals, on May 24th. “This is the result of a draw hosted by the capital of Azerbaijan,” comments EuroFest producer Dmitry Baranov. “43 countries are to take part in the 57th International Eurovision Song Contest, in Azerbaijan. Its second semi-finals will begin with a song from Serbia while Bosnia and Herzegovina will close the event. Sweden, Georgia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Macedonia, Estonia, Turkey, Malta, Slovakia, Croatia, Norway, Ukraine, Armenia, Lithuania and Bulgaria will also perform and vote in the second semi-finals. Meanwhile, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and this year’s contest organiser — Azerbaijan — are automatically through to the finals — to be held on May 26th.”
The two semi-finals and the finals will be hosted by Baku Crystal Hall — a sports complex whose stage has been approved by the European Broadcasting Union, being able to seat over 23,000.
The EuroFest finalists are busy preparing their shows in Minsk. Some have even changed songs. Alexander Tikhanovich, the Head and Chairman of the jury, explains, “In line with the rules, it’s allowed to change a song before the finals. The winner will be chosen by the audience and a professional jury. Of course, whatever choice they make, singers and composers have the chance to show their talent to the whole country.”
The judges will be assessing the strongest voice and stage charisma. Oleg Minakov, who once led the popular Roublezone band, has lived in Belgium for 15 years and loves Eurovision. He tells us, “A Eurovision song should reflect existing trends and the current mood, or create them. Victoria Aleshko’s performance is a typical song but inappropriate for Eurovision. Meanwhile, Litesound has a good song and boasts good pronunciation, so it has commercial potential. Uzari’s choice follows modern musical trends. If Eurovision was choosing a title song for a James Bond film, he’d definitely win. Gunesh also has a strong song but it’s not perfect for Eurovision. Alena Lanskaya’s song is ‘standard’ for the contest but, in recent years, Malta has been coming to Eurovision with similar compositions and, sadly, is yet to win.”
Alena Lanskaya is viewed as a favourite but asserts that everyone has their own strengths. She stresses, “They all have their own advantages so it’s difficult to say who’ll win the finals; ‘All My Life’ is almost ready — we’re just working on the final arrangement and costumes.”
Victoria Aleshko has no plans to change the concept or idea of her show but is changing her set and her backing singers are to perform some acrobatics on stage.
Having listened to experts’ views, Gunesh has chosen her song: ‘And Morning Will Come’ — composed by Azerbaijani Isa Melikov and Zakhra Badalbeili (Isa produced Nigar who — jointly with Eldar — won Eurovision-2011 in Germany).
Uzari (Yuri Navrotsky) has independently composed his ‘Winner’ and has complete confidence in the song. His show at the EuroFest finals will be the most thrilling. In his free time, Uzari perfects his vocal singing, studying with one of the best Russian teachers — Olga Safronova.