Eurovision Entry: Belarus - Anastasiya Vinnikova - "I Love Belarus"

Belarus waited until the very last minute to concoct its entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest. As a result they created what very well could be a perfect entry, in that it is anybody's guess as to how well "I Love Belarus" will do.

Country: Belarus

Title: "I Love Belarus"

Artist: Anastasiya Vinnikova

Semi-Final: Second, Slot 16

Last year's entry/position: "Butterflies" - 3 + 2 feat. Robert Wells (24th Place)

I really like this song. This is one of the entries I'm most excited to see performed in the second semi-final. What I like most about this song is that it is an argument in favor of procrastination.

Here's the backstory. The selection process was completely internal with Belarus announcing its entry "Born in Byelorussia" at the end of February, two weeks before the submission deadline. The song was a little too "weren't things great when we were Soviets?" so the lyrics had to be changed and the song was retitled "I Am Belarusian". Then on March 12, two days before the submission deadline, the song had to be scrapped entirely because it was performed publicly at a university in Minsk last summer. I don't know if they had this song in their back pocket all along, but Belarus had the song and video ready for submission by March 14.

What's most striking about this entry in the context of this year's Eurovision Song Contest is that it is the only nationalistic entry unless you count Portugal, but I mean "nationalistic" in a "go team!" sense rather than a "fight the power!" sense. I get the feeling that the purpose of the entry is to drum up tourism rather than win the contest, but this song is definitely a wildcard in terms of how it will do.

The biggest challenge for "I Love Belarus" is its position in the semi-final. It follows Estonia which is a favorite to win the contest. However, I think this song is a much stronger track than the three that follow it (Latvia, Denmark, Ireland), so it may stick in the minds of televoters. Where this song can really benefit is in its stage performance. The video includes traditional dancers and energetic backup singers, so if the stage performance can include those without becoming campy, I think the juries may look favorably on this entry.

I honestly have no idea how this song will read come May 12. My hope is that it will manage to make it into the Final, but this entry really could fall anywhere from first to last place.


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