"This is Minsk calling. Russia- 12 points".
And so to Belarus, "Europe's last dictatorship" Belarus, home of bonafide Eurovision classic "I love Belarus (got a dick inside)". Listen if you don't believe me.
It's not the only bonafide Eurovision classic they've produced. One of the songs that remains on my iPod to this day is 2006's Polina Smolova writhing around in hot pants singing a song both called, and about, her "Mum" (she was so proud). Or there's 2007's amazing singing David Copperfield tribute act Dmitry Koldun's "Work Your Magic". Or 2009's contest winning folk on coke number "Fairytale" from Alexander Rybak, which would have been Belarus' had Alex not reasonably surmised that out of the two parents' nationality he could pick, Norway would spend more on the staging. And the coke.
I tell you this, the government weren't happy about Conchita over in Belarus. "The popular international competition will see our children filled with European liberals and become a hotbed of sodomy", said the text of a state sponsored petition in the wake of the 2014 contest. "Belarus is one of the few countries in Europe that was able to maintain normal and healthy family values based on love and mutual support between men and women", it continued. "If we open the doors to everything that they’re trying to push on us, it’s hard to imagine what can happen".
God yes imagine. Just imagine if it all got worse in Belarus. Imagine if the state started to suppress virtually all forms of dissent and used restrictive legislation and abusive practices to impede freedoms of association and assembly. Imagine if schoolchildren were banned from clapping. Imagine if journalists were routinely harassed and subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention. Imagine if eight political prisoners remained jailed. Imagine if the President personally gerrymandered the Eurovision entry every year.
This year's "winner" of the turgid Belarussian Eurofest 2018 was sadly not salmon suited twinky twins PROVocation ("you're sat up late, I get to write an 8 track") or AirBY's threesome classic "I am sexy Ice" (no you are not)- instead
I say creepy because I've been delving into Alekseev's back catalogue and he appears to have a problematic relationship with women. In "I feel my soul" he think about his mum, stares at his girlfriend for ages, and then I think his girlfriend becomes his mum. In "Dreams of Splinters" he steals a woman out of hospital and throws her out of a plane. And then in "Drunk Sun" he kidnaps a woman, sticks her in his boot, drives her to the coast, puts her on a boat, and gets romantic with her- only she then changes into him and then he shags himself and ties himself up or something.
Anyway I quite the song, which is fairly standard moody minor key Eastern European pop fare if you're like me and can't wait for Spotify Russia to launch, with a nice hooky little chorus. The English translation is a bit of a mess, his performance of it seems to get worse every time he has a go, and Lisbon's budgets mean he's having to literally attach LEDs to his costume- but this will sail into the final regardless and his mum'll be thrilled.
Ere. ESC Chloe's been at it again! And the Chipmunk people! Why though?