First Listen: Belarus Wants to “Help You Fly”

January 31, 2016 0

IVAN looks to return Belarus to the ESC Grand Final with his song, “Help You Fly.” As the first former Soviet republic to make it’s Eurovision 2016 pick, Belarus has decided to send IVAN with “Help You Fly” to the contest in Stockholm. How’d they do? Take a listen: We’re only three songs into the ESC 2016 selection process and we already have our first hot mess! Ignoring all of the visual elements for a moment, the most memorable parts of this performance are the pitchiness of the lead singer, and the backing singers that sound unsure if they came in at the right time. It’s not a terrible song, really, just a mediocre one with a mediocre performance.1 Considering the existing visuals, there is a lot here that has worked for others in the past — the CGI reminiscent of Sweden in 2015, the wings that call back to Austria 2014 — but in this case there’s no talented and charismatic singer to tie it all together. In short, Belarus has a lot of work ahead with this entry if they want a return trip to the Finals. Although I might call those high notes in the last third terrible.  ↵ […]

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First Listen: “What’s the Pressure” for Belgium

January 31, 2016 0

Having found their rhythm last year with Loïc Nottet, Belgium looks to Laura Tesoro to continue the success in Stockholm. At the 2016 Eurosong contest, actress and singer Laura Tesoro beat out four other contestants to win a trip to Stockholm next May. Take a listen to her song, “What’s the Pressure?” This song has a lot going for it at a very early point in the ESC cycle; I’m a sucker for any song with a great bass line, and one that’s reminiscent of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” is an extra bonus. Overall, “What’s the Pressure?” is well-produced and feels radio ready, with a singable melody, danceable beat, and uplifting message. Australia’s fifth-place finish last year proved that funk can be successful at the Contest, and Belgium is well-poised to make that a trend. That’s not to say this is a perfect entry; Laura Tesoro’s voice reminds me of Audra Mae, which is a good thing, except she’s missing some of AM’s strength and huskiness. It makes me wonder whether this song will translate as well from the recording studio to the stage, especially after a long pre-Contest promotional tour. In any case, we’ve got a strong contender early in the selection season […]

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