Anyone following the live auditions in Minsk yesterday will have witnessed a fabulous display of grumpy jury behaviour. While the first few performances where getting a full listen, the more, how shall we say, esoteric performances were soon getting down to a single verse/chorus rotation. But as the afternoon went on they were getting more and tetchy, with some poor performers (in both senses of the word) barely getting a full thirty seconds before earning the dreaded terse "Spasiba!".
So today we celebrate the less fortunate performers from Belarus. The ones who weren't as popular, didn't have a relative on the Politburo, or were just plain shocking.
People like the beardsome Barber, up at the top of the page there. He managed to drag his performance out to a full minute, but possibly because the jurors weren't entirely sure what they were seeing, and, well, what a dancer!
Sometimes you can see the exact point that the jury lose their patience. Witness poor Tamara Savenka here. Her over-annunciated delivery and curious diction and did still hold the attention for a while. But the second she started on the whoa whoa's she was gone.
Repeat offender Ludmila Rozyam tried a new tactic of singing in German, and wasn't deterred when they turned the music off. The game old girl just kept singing. And then they shut her mic off. Bless.
We reckon group AirBY here only got as long as they did because the judges wanted to see if the one in the middle actually did anything. Best song title of the day, too!
Poor Vadim Simonov didn't get long. But he did appear to be just reading his shopping list, or commentating on a greyhound race.
To be fair, we reckon that little Uletai here was doomed before he began.
Likewise Andrei Beikov here. At least he got to play a bit of nice jangly guitar. But only allowing him two lines of vocal was brutal!
You can tell the judges have had enough by this point. This was unfortunate for Andrei Eronin, who despite looking the part, hit one bad note early on and was out of there. Bad luck mate.
Sometimes though you're actually on the jury's side. In fact, we think they were being rather kind giving Maria Tserepobits as much as 30 seconds. We wonder is she's still as happy as her song title suggests?
But our absolute hero of the whole event has to be Anna Mitina. After betting the big boot after a meagre 25 second, she met the Spasiba man with a steely "Niet!", before having a proper little row with the faceless jury people - words that we suspect were to the effect of "But you haven't heard the good bit yet!" Good on you girl!
To all of the above mentioned, plus the many, many more who fell by the wayside, we salute you. You are the true heroes of Eurovision, and we cherish every one of you!