Eurovision 2018 previews countdown: #34 BELARUS – Alekseev – “Forever”

The national selection process of Belarus often provides some controversy or gossip and this year has certainly been no exception. The winning artist, Alekseev, originally entered the Ukrainian national selection (as he is from Ukraine) but withdrew to enter the Belarusian selection instead. Further controversy came with his winning song, where a Russian language version of the song had been performed before September 1. However, with some modifications to the song and it being performed in English at the contest, the EBU have permitted it to enter. Since then, there seems to have been a further revamp of the song, though that is yet to be confirmed – I can’t keep up!

So after all that, is it any good? Well Alekseev has a big fan base in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia etc. and the song itself also is liked by at least a certain chunk of the fandom. It’ a mid-tempo pop song with a distinct/catchy hook and chorus that could help it. The song’s style and Alekseev’s voice also give it that identifiable eastern European sound. For me, it’s passable and not objectionable, but I can’t quite get enthusiastic about it. Furthermore, his live vocals at the national final were, frankly, appalling. Changes made to the song may help him in future live performances and he may well have been nervous, being the overwhelming favourite, but he will need to improve those before Lisbon.

(I should note I’ve based the ranking on the version of the song published on Eurovision’s own YouTube channel – embedded below – as well as the aforementioned live performance rather than the newest revamp which has been published on a number of YT channels but not yet on Eurovision’s own one.)

Belarus have generally struggled to qualify for finals; last year was a bit of an exception with the upbeat duo, NAVI, taking Belarus into the final with the first ever song sung in Belarusian at the contest. I do think this will struggle to qualify though. Quite apart from the question mark over vocals and the fairly bland nature of the song, this is in the first half of the super tough semi final 1. While Alekseev may be popular in certain countries, very few of those are voting in that semi, with only Armenia and Azerbaijan likely to provide any certain votes. To qualify I think Alekseev will need to pull off a really standout performance…

Official music video:

Live performance at Belarusian national final:

Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest

Flag of Belarus
First entered: 2004

Appearances (excluding this year): 14

Best result: 6th in 2007

Last year’s result: 17th

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