Eurovision Song Contest 2013 Entry: Belarus - Alyona Lanskaya - Solayoh
Apr 11 2013 06:00 pm CET

"Solayoh" by Alyona Lanskaya may be the track that gets Belarus to its first Eurovision Song Contest Final since 2010. But does the music video highlight too many problems with the song and possible performance on the Malmo stage?

Country: Belarus
Title: "Solayoh"
Artist: Alyona Lanskaya
Semi-Final: First, Position 11
Last year's entry/position: "We Are the Heroes" - Litesound (DNQ, 16th of 18 Second SF)

"Solayoh" is the third Eurovision entry from Alyona Lanskaya in the last two years. Last year, Lanskaya was selected to represent Belarus, but "voting irregularities" caused her to be disqualified, leading to an underperforming entry from Litesound. Lanskaya came back this year in the first selection of the Eurovision season with the song "Rhythm of Love." Though the track was okay, Belarus decided to spice things up with the Latin-infused "Solayoh" – take a listen:

I have a number of problems with this entry. Though I appreciate Belarus using some strategy with its Eurovision selections, I feel like this entry is overworked. The song is filling a gap in uptempo English entries this year, but I've always found an artist's Tejano single to be cynical – obligatory for business purposes rather than any desire to record the song (think Madonna's "La Isla Bonita").

The video is not doing the entry any favors either. Judging from how this is filmed and the choreography as a whole, I'm guessing Alyona is not a dancer. That's fine – this is a song competition after all – but then why saddle her with a dance track? Or, if she isn't dancer, why create choreography that underlines the fact rather than masking it? The other major issue I have with the video is the presence of Alexander Rybak, winner of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. Yes, he is Belorussian by birth, but his appearance amounts to nothing more than mugging and gives the entry an aroma of desperation. He's not singing or providing any instrumentation, so Rybak is more of a distraction.

All that being said, I still think Belarus has a shot at the final. Though the country may benefit from adopting San Marino's strategy of playing the long game, there are a number of factors working in this song's favor. Alyona has toured other selection finals and her stage performance might be more engaging than Slovenia's similar entry, who performs much earlier in the semi-final. Alyona will also be the only female performing in English in the second half of the semi-final, which may offer a bit more in accessibility. Lastly, there are five other former SSRs voting in this semi-final, which may skew votes in her favor.

Belarus is one of my favorite countries to watch in Eurovision. Hopefully we'll get to see "Solayoh" in this year's Final so I have more to write about next year.

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