“O-a-o! Together we are strong!” in various accents the 9000-people Ethias Arena hall joined in the singing of the small girl from Belarus.
When Kseniya Sitnik was leaving for Husselt (Belgium) to partake in the European contest of 16 European states, she did not dream of the victory, stressing in all her interviews that the most important thing for her was to represent Belarus in a worthy manner. The victory came unexpectedly both for Kseniya and her team.
The young artist performed last, No.16 on the list. Previous participants in the contest performed in various styles, even rock and rap. It seemed the spectators would not be surprised by anything. And then along came the Belarusians: soloist Kseniya Sitnik, back vocalists Vasili Rainchik and Polina Zhdanovich. Kseniya sang about friendship and “Only together we are strong!” The song had an effect on hearts of the Europeans.
When the results of the contest were announced, Belarus and Spain were taking the lead in turns. And then only two countries were left to declare their opinions of the singers’ performance — due to the circumstances they were Spain and Belarus. The competing country estimated Kseniya Sitnik’s performance at 10 points. Belarusians gave the same mark to the Spanish performer… With several points dividing the competitors, the Belarusian singer came first.
Kseniya could not hold back her emotions and she cried tears of happiness. Together with Polina Zhdanovich and Vasili Rainchik she ran onto the stage, carrying a Belarusian flag in her hands. Winner of Eurovision-2004 Maria Isabel from Spain presented the award to Kseniya.
This piece of news is in a class, which is ever topical. Winners write their names and names of native places into the history. Kseniya Sitnik, Mozyr, Belarus. 10 million people felt the fantastic feeling of pride, unity and involvement in the roaring success of the little girl. Thank you, Kseniya — again we felt we are a united force.
In all my life I did not have to give so many commentaries to world TV companies and newspapers as I did on the triumph night. The thing is reporters were allowed to watch the contest only in the press centre. My stormy reactions to new points in score gave my origin away. When the moment of truth came and words “The winner is Belarus!” were pronounced, tens of microphones were reaching for me. It was hard to answer all questions at once:
— Kseniya, is she a famous singer in your country?
— Oh, yes. She is the winner of the international children pop song contest Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk 2005.
— Is it true she was born into a musical family?
— Yes, her mother and elder sister are singers!
— And where is Kseniya from?
— From Mozyr. It is a small Belarusian town but very rich in talents.
— Do you think you won because you performed last?
— Of course, not. We won because Kseniya is the best.
Fortunately, soon the final press conference began. The guilty of the festivities had a chance to answer Europe’s questions herself.
At that moment Kseniya could not guess that being a winner is not just pleasant, but incredibly hard. She did not have a chance to take some rest after all the thrilling events. Reporters were tailing her everywhere. She was being interviewed till 2 a.m. At 4 a.m. we were already going to the airport. From Brussels the delegation went to Warsaw and at every checkpoint Kseniya was enthusiastically greeted and demanded to sign autographs.
It has been stated repeatedly and proved to be true one more time that Eurovision is not only the most grandiose contest in the world, but the most unpredictable one as well. One can hardly ever guess results of the song contest right. But for us the present children contest has improved its reputation. Not just because Europe said we are the best. Simply because the voting was objective. Frankly speaking, after the general rehearsal and during the TV voting, I thought we would come second. My colleague from Mozyr and representatives of our delegation can mark my words. Children from Norway seemed very strong competitors. But there were only two real singers: English Joni Fuller (a violin performance) and Kseniya Sitnik. But nobody expected Joni to win. Her performance was not childish just as well as the performance of Greek Aleksandros and Kalli, who’ve reached the nubility and are engaged. It is understandable that every tiny piece of our souls wished for Kseniya to come first. But we were sure it was impossible.
The victory of such contests usually goes not to strong performers, but to countries with many friendly neighbours. For example, Balkan states traditionally give each other high marks. The same unity can be observed among Scandinavian TV spectators. In line with the logic we could expect only Russians and some Latvians to support us due to our common heritage.
Besides, neither Poland nor Lithuania, which generously give us points, took part in the contest this year. However, good things are common for everyone. European states unanimously voted for the girl, every part of whose performance was brilliant and professional: the song, the smiles and the costumes.
A brief interview with Kseniya’s mother Svetlana Statsenko.
— What proposals did Kseniya receive after the victory?
— Oh, there were lots of them! Organisers of various festivals invited her to come, gave us their visiting cards.
— You are not afraid of the psychological status of your daughter, are you? They say such a victory is a real stress for a child?
— No, stress is something you do while you do not like it. Kseniya enjoys singing, she is glad the hall is sold out. The more spectators the better. It means she has to try more.
The victory of Kseniya Sitnik at the 3rd International Children Song Contest Eurovision-2005 is a fine example of the state policy aimed at promoting talented youth, said Oleg Proleskovski, Deputy Head of Belarusian President Administration. He noted, for ten years Belarus has had special funds of the President of the Republic of Belarus to support gifted and talented youth. According to Oleg Proleskovski, the thrilling victory of the ten-year-old Belarusian at Eurovision proves one more time that talents should be raised in our land. They should be found, taken care of and assisted in developing their talents.
by Inna Lobach