Semi-Despatched # 5: If Only They'd Loved Her That Night...
Belarus began its Eurovision history in 2004, the same year the semi-final system was introduced, meaning its fortunes have always been in the hands of those tuning in a few days before the bona fide Contest itself. In its seven attempts thus far, only two of its songs have joined the saturday night line-up (2006 and 2010) but hopes were high in 2005 that the second Belarussian track cast into Eurovision's whirlpool of chance would actually come up with the big potatoes on the scoreboard in the ultimate final shake-up.
But as that song is being mentioned in Semi-Despatched, then you'll know it didn't come up to scratch.
Angelica Agurbash did indeed win Belarus' national final in 2005, but not with her eventual entry Love me Tonight. The song initially chosen to represent Belarus was called Boys and Girls and was a rather understated number which looked set to linger close to the foot of internet fan pools everywhere.
The composers got wind of this and, in a previously unprecedented move which Ukraine would emulate five years later, it was decided that Ange could stay but the kids couldn't. Girls and Boys was jibbed and Eurovision veterans Svika Pick, who co-wrote Dana International's 1998 winner, and Nikos Tervis, the man behind Antique's third-placed Die For You in 2001, were contacted and asked if they could come up with something more suited to the Contest. After a lot of head-scratching, umming and aahing, Angelica went for Nikos' pure pop stylings of Love me Tonight.
WHAT SORT OF SONG IS IT?
In many ways this is Eurovision-by-numbers but with a dash of exoticism as it comes from a country almost brand new to the Contest. Starting off with a slowish dreamy intro, Amgelica may as well have had a flashing neon sign over her head bearing the slogan 'This One Speeds Up. Real Soon.' which wouldn't have looked out of place considering the rest of the staging behind this song.
Hitting the ground at a cracking canter, it very quickly gets into an almost rocky vibe where Ange asks a gentleman to get rather jiggy with her in a manner which can only be described as saucy (how rude). While singing this, she also undergoes a variety of costume changes. But then, let's be honest - was anyone ever expecting her to be encased in that shiny gold duvet for the whole song?
HOW CLOSE DID IT COME TO GETTING THROUGH?
A lot closer than Boys and Girls would have done. This finished 13th in the semi-final with 67 points. The just-there 10th place in the 2005 semi-final went to Latvia who scored 85, so there was a good 18 points between the two.
WHY DIDN'T IT MAKE THE FINAL?
There is a saying that 'too much pudding will choke a dog'. And what a charming saying it is. You can certainly apply ithat to Love Me Tonight as Angelica throws everything possible into the performance - particularly those lavish costume changes - which just makes it too much for those watching and listening to it for the first time.
It's not that bad a song. But in the end, it was the presentation that choked the dog.
IN HINDSIGHT, SHOULD THIS HAVE GONE THROUGH?
It would have been smashing to see this fight it out with the likes of Helena Paprizou and Chiara on the big night in Kyiv - but it's unlikely it would have threatened the Top 10, or even the Top 15. Perhaps letting this dwindle away in the semi-final stages was the kindest cut for Angelica - and her future career.
Next time on Semi-Despatched, we have a look at one of Monaco's brief returns to Eurovision in the 21st Century, complete with coconuts.