Anastasiya Vinnikova performed 'I Love Belarus' in 2011
Anastasiya Vinnikova performed 'I Love Belarus' in 2011 Photo: EBU

Loving Belarus with waving hands

Anastasiya Vinnikova had some time to relax backstage by the dressing rooms before going on stage. Being curious, she peeped into the arena right after arriving to the arena. "I hope to get accustomed to the stage and feel the emotions today. The stage is magnificent, I was injected with energy when I saw it," she tells.

Her song is a Belarusian pop anthem. She is happy to explain the message. "In the song, I'm singing about a young girl's love to her country, and this feeling makes her stronger and stronger every day. I think it's a very actual topic. Many singers have dedicated their songs to the places where they are born. The Beatles sing of Liverpool, Alicia Keys sings of New York. I was born in Belarus, and I'm very fond and proud of my country. That's why I want to let everyone share my emotions and learn more of it."

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In Belarus, people take a lot of interest in the Eurovision Song Contest. "There are a lot of people who really love this contest there. I'm personally very fond of it, and I wish all the participants here the best," Anastasiya explains. To actually be in the contest itself makes her happy. "This is like an adventure and a great start. It's a wonderful experience, I'm very happy to be here and represent my country," she says.

In their rehearsal, Anastasiya and her backing vocalists used glittering microphone stands, with one of them playing a dulcimer. The remaining artists showed an elaborate choreography involving waving hands. The stage clothes were all in black and white, with the lead vocalist wearing a short dress. The graphics used on the background LEDs showed red and white elements that reminded of the Belarusian flag.

In the last run of the rehearsal, the pyrotechnical effects were also shown: Vertical flames were appearing all around the centre stage throughout the song, with additional fountains before the last chorus, and cannon beats in the very end. All in all, Anastasiya and her backing artists delivered a convincing and lively performance of their catchy song I Love Belarus.

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Anastasiya Vinnikova started the press conference by introducing her team and by stating that she was very happy about her first rehearsal. The Head of Delegation explained that some changes would be made to the LED graphics on stage and that less red colour would be used in the next rehearsal. About the patriotic lyrics of I Love Belarus, he added that the song carried an universal message and it could be changed to Germany or The Netherlands as well.

The delegation members had brought a guitar to their press conference, and they performed an acoustic version of their Eurovision Song Contest entry to the press, followed by another version in Belarusian language. When Anastasiya was asked how she would spend her time till the Second Semi-Final. "We will go to parties, but most of all - sleep," she replied.

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Anastasiya Vinnikova was born on the 15th of April, 1991 in Dzerzhinsk, a city not far from the capital of Belarus. She finished secondary school with a gold medal. Her thirst for music came combined with a desire to study foreign languages. So, Anastasiya entered Minsk State Linguistic University, School of Translation and Interpreting.

This stage became a significant event in the performer’s life and work. First Anastasiya passed through university contests, and then she successfully passed audition and was admitted to the Youth Variety Theatre. From that moment everything in her life happened so fast, just like in a novel or a movie. Anastasiya got acquainted with the famous Belarusian song writer and producer Evgeny Oleinik, who wrote five songs specially for the young performer, one of them being her song in this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

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