25 August 2015

A Review: Belarus: Ruslan Aslanov: Volshebstvo

Ruslan Aslanov / Belarus / Junior Eurovision / Volshebstvo
Ruslan Aslanox wins the Eurovision ticket for Belarus

There is no doubting that Belarus has the Junior Eurovision Song Contest figured out, even if its record at the senior level is somewhat underwhelming. Two wins, a second place and two third places is an impressive run of success in its twelve year history. In an attempt to enhance that admirable track record, the Belorussians ditched the Cheesecake at the weekend and voted for the more than competent Ruslan Aslanov, who will sing Volshebstvo (Magic/Sorcery) in Bulgaria.

A Hint of Belorussian Piracy

As with all things Belorussian in Eurovision, there is usually more than a hint of piracy of previously winning ideas - either in the construction of the song or in its presentation.

This time - based upon the display put forth in Minsk - it appears as if Team Belarus have 'borrowed' Sweden's triumphant graphics concept. No fist-pumping stick people on this occasion, but instead some simple interplay with a very colourful fantasy backdrop and several hologram butterflies.

A Failure to Impress

Flag of Belarus
These canny graphics are generally employed in the augmentation of an otherwise prosaic entry. It would be gracious and polite to think differently about Volshebstvo, but in truth, you would have to be over-forgiving.

The ballad tries its damnedest to be dramatic but, when all is said and done, it boasts more than it actually delivers. In essence, a song which is 'all mouth and no trousers'.

Aslanov: A Singer of Note

That is not the fault of 13-year-old Ruslan Aslanov; for his age, he has a strong and attractive voice. At least it sounded so at the national final presentation, even if there was a suspicion of lip syncing. Nevertheless, a highly plausible conclusion for his resounding victory - from both the televote and the jury - is more likely the quality of his vocals and how he effortlessly handled this disappointingly bland song.

Dull or not, Eurovision fans have a habit of relying on a glaringly obvious key change in their songs in order to help pull in the votes. They'll be disappointed here, though. The key change has been substituted for that other ploy: the last minute prolonged glory note. Ruslan gives it as much welly as he can and, while there are never many guarantees in Eurovision, this alone should muster him some support.

A Lack of Substance?

Clearly, with only three nations having picked their songs, it's extremely difficult to make forecasts. As already noted, Belarus generally figures highly on the Junior scoreboard, so if it were a case of presentation (including vocals) over substance, then this entry would do well. As for the song in isolation, that's a different story.

What do you think?

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