Sat 14 May 2005 18:16:30

Belarus gaining momentum


Written by: Barry Viniker

Angelica Agurbash took to the stage for her second rehearsal today, deciding to reveal a little secret that was to be kept until the performance at Semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest. In the press conference afterwards, Angelica sang songs in English, Belarusian and Greek, praised the Israeli entry and signed autographs for fans (some also known as journalists)! Within minutes of the rehearsal, William Hill had moved Belarus up to 4th favourites to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest final.

The second Belarus dress rehearsal was used to show off Angelica's full costume to check lighting and movement. After the golden cloak is removed, Angelica dazzles in an intricate blue and gold dress designed by top Russian fashion couture designer, Valentin Judashkin. The design is based on the Ekaterina II Collection, bursting with regal delights from eighteenth century Russian royal clothing.

Then, in a second costume twist, later in the song this too is dropped, leaving Angelica in a transparent cat-suit, with sewn in Swarovski crystals to preserve her modesty. Meanwhile, the dancers are dressed in denim, with white collars mirroring the servants of the Tsarist court 200 years ago. The effect is delightful to watch.

The rehearsal performance was a huge improvement on Thursday's first run, and the watching journalists, fans and technicians could be seen clapping along to the beat of the song. Following several runs of the performance, Angelica and the Belarus delegation went to the viewing room and then to the press conference hall.

Opening the press conference, Angelica thanked everyone for coming and for the support that had been shown to her. Talking about her favourite performers of the contest, she made special mention of the Israeli participant "Shiri Maymon is wonderful and has a beautiful song. We met in Israel, it's amazing we share the same birthday".

Angelica was questioned about her promotion tour and what she did. "I loved it all, I started in England and ended in Greece. In Greece there are almost no trees, it was such a great surprise, I loved every country I went to".

She went on to talk about her family and support from Belarus. "I have three kids waiting for me at home and I just received a message from them wishing me luck. I have so many friends that support me, and I also want to thank all of you and the fans for your support and thank everyone that votes for my song.".

Asked about the passion in her songs, Angelica said "I'm a mother and a very happy woman. I am loving and loved at home. This is the 50th anniversary festival. I think people will want to have a good time and forget all the trouble in the World. I want to give them some fun with my performance. We all want to believe in fairytales, and I want my performance to be like one. My country is really beautiful, the people are very nice, kind and sincere. They have fun and enjoy life. I want to show this on stage.".

The subject of beauty contests was raised, and Angelica's award as 'Mrs. Russia' in 2002. She said: "In 1988 I won the first Belarus beauty contest to become Miss Belarus. In 1990 I won Miss Photo of the USSR, but the best was in 2002 because I won the Best Mother of Russia award".

Finally, Angelica was asked why there were so many nationalities mixed in her delegation. "It's a very good thing, it proves that music is international. It doesn't matter what language you sing in, it's how you sing and what comes out of the heart. In Belarus, there are over 40 nationalities living there, we have two national languages. I love to sing in Belarusian and Russian, and also Greek".