25 February 2018

Forever / ALEKSEEV / Belarus | Review

ALEKSEEV / Eurovision Belarus / 2018
ALEKSEEV: 'Forever' grateful to Belarus
It's never plain sailing when it comes to Belarus choosing its Eurovision entry. Because of their sometime foolhardy attitude towards the rules, you can never be totally certain whether the national final winning singer and/or song will turn up for the big night months later.

Flag Belarus
This time, it wasn't the Belarusian delegation which was playing fast and loose with the rules but a judgement that a couple of the contestants had not been totally upfront about their songs. Among them the eventual winner, 24-year-old ALEKSEEV with his song Forever - a Ukrainian performer who started his career in 2014 when he reached the semi-final stages of Season 4 of  The Voice of Ukraine.

It transpired that a Russian language rendition of the entry had been sung at a handful of concerts prior to 1 September 2017, infringing Eurovision regulations stating that no song may have been made publicly available earlier than that date. The Belarusian broadcaster also specifies that no entries performing in the national final may have been released before that date.

However, after an investigation by the EBU, it appears that the landslide national final result will stand and ALEKSEEV will be allowed to perform Forever in Lisbon. In fact, the commotion over the perceived violation was more remarkable than the eventual song.

Forever is a totally adequate, if old-fashioned, pop composition - even by Eurovision standards. The whole thing is not helped by some very unreliable vocals which, at this stage, ALEKSEEV has not mastered in his live appearances. On the plus side, there is a memorable hook in the chorus but unfortunately it's the vocals and the poor execution that viewers are more likely to remember.

For that reason, rank outsider is the position in which Belarus will no doubt languish. I can't really see that changing and Forever becoming a contender – even if ALEKSEEV's impressive light show with the LED suit were allowed in Lisbon.

Sadly, the entry is straight out of Dima Bilan's songbook circa 2008 and highly unlikely to have the impact of, say, Believe (whatever your thoughts about that song). This feels like a few steps backwards from last year's worthy native language offering and, as such, could see Belarus miss out on a place in the final shakeup.

What do you think?

Song: Forever 
Semi-Final 1 | First Half

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