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Contest entry:

Song "Solo"
Performer Alsou
Composer Andrew Lane and Brandon Barnes
Lyricist Andrew Lane and Brandon Barnes
Place 2nd place (155 points), performed on 9th position.
Votes for Russia Israel (10), UK (8), Estonia (10), France (5), Romania (12), Malta (12), Norway (8), Belgium (7), Cyprus (12), Iceland (8), Spain (5), Denmark (6), Germany (4), Switzerland (2), Croatia (12), Sweden (5), Macedonia (7), Finland (5), Ireland (10), Austria (7). No points were received from The Netherlands, Latvia and Turkey.
Votes of Russian Jury Announced by Zhanna Agalakova: Latvia 1, Spain 2, France 3, Germany 4, Switzerland 5, Romania 6, Macedonia 7, Malta 8, Croatia 10, Denmark 12

ESCKaz rank:

Song rank Rather interesting, easy to remember song, which was written specially for the European audience. 8/10
Preview video rank: The preview video shown in Europe is not video clip for the contest entry, which was not ready by that time. 5/10 The video directed by Debbie Bourn is also not very impressive.
Live performance rank Very poor vocal presentation, which was based only on dancing and backing vocalist (professionals which already won ESC in 1997 as backing vocalists for British entry). 6/10

National preselection:

ORT announces again that there is possibility of open preselection would be held (which is done on a regular basis), but again changes plans being approached by young performer Alsou and her sponsors (including her father Ralif Safin - vice president of Lukoil company). It was mentioned that list of 2000 other candidates that had submitted their applications included "Chai vdvoem", Andrei Misin, "YULA Frolova", Alla Sidorova, "Fonograph-Jazz-Band" and other performers.

With the change in the contest rules all countries had received chance to select free language for their entry, and that possibility was immediately used by managers of Alsou. 
Author of the song Andrew Lane, now permanent author of Alsou's songs, has written 'Solo' 14 years ago, in time of his youth. Song was due to be performed by a young guy, who is suffering, that his girlfriend appeared to be not so perfect as he wished. When Alsou was searching for the English language song and was looking through old works of Andrew she discovered lyrics of 'Solo" about which author himself forgot a long time ago. She decided that it is the song for female singer, and lyrics corresponded with her love feelings. There were long negotiations as Andrew first wanted to keep the song for his son Roger. Later Alsou with Andrew and Brandon Barnes have amended lyrics a bit to the variant which appeared at the contest.

Authors of the song: the most popular rumour declares that Alsou reached 2nd place at Eurovision due to her cooperation with successful authors with world wide fame, who wrote number of hits to Tina Turner, Backstreet Boys, Jennifer Lopez and others. This is not right:
- Andrew Lane (left) was session keyboards player at jazz bands, worked in R&B and hiphop style and wrote some songs in this genre of music for American authors. He wrote couple of songs to the bands TLC and Backstreet Boys but only as hired song author for specific compositions. At the present time his Eurovision participation remains highlight of his career which is shown in his CVs availble in internet.
- Another R&B author - Brandon Barnes - is a bit more know as he had long time collaboration with Brian McKnight, as songauthor and producer, and shortly - with Boyz II Men. Work with Brian is highlight of Brandon's career.

Just a few people know that video for the "Solo" which was filmed in London before Eurovision was fully remade by Valery Belotserkovsky in "Muha" studio (Ufa) as variant prepared in London was of such a poor quality that it was impossible to show it on TV.

Preparation and participation in the contest:

Supporting group of Alsou has arrived to Stockholm on 10th of May. It included 60 persons (25 of them members of official delegation). Among them were here musiciants, host of "Utro" program at ORT Andrei Malahov, Aleksandr Tsekalo (as stage designer), Lev Leshenko (as family friend), producer of the singer Valeriy Belotserkovskiy, employees of his productional company "Megapol", different relatives, Indian friend of Alsou from London and some journalists.
Alsou was not living in prestigeous "Grand Hotel" where all VIP persons resided, but in rather simple "Quality Globen Hotel". For many hours artists were rehearsing in the hall of "Globen Arena", improving movements and stage plastics. After rehearsals producer Belotserkovskiy was really mad and he shouted at all members of the stage team demanding huge improvement.
At the press-conference press-releases and promo CDs for mass-media have disappeared almost immediately. At the press-conference head of Russian branch of Universal company David Jang was present. They have already signed contract for issue of 7 albums of the singer. 
Next day Russian embassy in Sweden invited delegation for official ceremony. Only there all members of it got a chance to get acquainted with each other. All were sitting around piano, on which played head of Alsou's band Vadim Baikov. Lev Leshenko was main singer in the choir of Russian delegation members. He sang same impressive as he usually do on his concerts. Mostly folk songs were performed. The closing number was solo song of Vadim Baikov. Valery Belotserkovskiy was as usually severe: "From this very moment", he declared to journalists, "I prohibit any interviews with Alsou". 

Alsou comments:
'Of course we were madly wishing to win. But really we were not expecting such a good result. Honestly we were though to finish at 4-5th place. There were a lot of talented singers at the contest. I liked a lot Estonian singer. It helped me a lot, that it was first contest in my life and I didn't feel that huge responcibility, and was not worried a lot before entering the stage. And I was rehearsing for some weeks, that of course helped a lot too...
The dress in which I performed at the contest was prepared by London designer Maria Grachvogel, who had experience working with Spice Girls. At the beginning that was combined dress in brown colors, but soon we decided to change it and selected pink colours.This colour looked very good for the TV appearance, lighted by projectors, it was iridiscent.
As Alsou thinks this pink colour helped her to achive such an result as her name is translated from Tatar as "pink water".

Producer of the singer V.Belotserkovskiy speaks: 'Of course success didn't come suddenly, we had to work very hard for it. We covered half of the Europe with promo-campaign, during which Alsou met a lot of journalists, took part in different radio and TV shows. Interest for her was always very high, which was surprising and inspiring at the same time. We were very good accepted at Romania and Malta. And I think that her win should be considered as a new step in a career of the singer and not as some kind of final result.
We honestly took second place - National Jury worked only in 5 countries of 24, and in all others interactive telephone voting was used. So it is nonsence to speak about "money of Alsou's father", we could buy all housekeepers. One Baltic country, where Jury was used, gave us 0 points - this was about politics. In this country we gave big concert, with some thousands of viewers, but as you see - it didn't help.
I'm still dissatisfied how we done this song. I'm still certain that this is not Alsou type of song. I specially made Alsou to work hard before the contest. I made her to go on big tour to get used to this song. But still she failed all first verse, performed it out of the tone, because she was nervous.

Press-conference of Alsou, devoted to her participation in "Eurovision-2000" was held in conference hall of AIF-News agency on 26th of May. Beside singer herself her producer Belotserkovsky, stage performance designer Aleksandr Tsekalo, manager of musical broadcast of ORT Oleg Volnov were present. First special film about preparation to the contest was shown including backscene reports, performance of Alsou, and comments of Russian "Eurovision-2000" team. First question to be asked was quite expected by producer of the singer: "Why at international song contest we presented song written by foreign authors? Couldn't we find decent composers and lyricists in our own country?". Valery Belotserkovsky explained that when they was due to send to ORT tape with the song, they couldn't locate any other song besides "Solo" which met requirements of the contest, and they submitted this song, even without any hopes for success. Alsou herself also denied rumours that she didn't want to come to the capital and meet with journalist (her other conference one week before was cancelled). She explained that she is studying in one of London colleges, and at the present time is preparing for the exams - director of the colleges already let her go for 10 days to prepare for the contest, and now he persuaded her to stay and study what she has missed. Alsou told she was happy to finish second, which was quite unexpected for here. As she said, when performing on the final night, she was less nerveous than during the first rehearsal. It was told that single "Solo" will soon be issued and English language album will be finished in autumn.

It couldn't be simple, the question about role of Alsou's father was asked again. Infuriated Belotserkovsky claimed that after such a success at such a prestigeous event where singer got the win only with her own hands, he was hoping never to hear this question ever again. Alsou herself seemed a bit shy, talked very little, sometimes asked to repeat the question, but it usually was her producer who gave the answers.

Biography of the performer:

Alsou (Safina Alsou Ralifovna) was born on 27th of June 1983 in Bugulma, Tatarstan. She grew up in Kogalyma town (Tyumen oblast), and in 1991 moved to Moscow, where after third grade in school she moved to England where she graduated from Art College. First public performance of Alsou happened in summer camp where she performed Whitney Houston's "I will always love you". The same song she performed at casting at "Megapol" productional center. Producer Valery Belotserkovskiy marked good vocal talents of the young singer, her persptible nonamateur vocal and decided that she is a star in the making (with Alsou started working famous composers Aleksandr Shevchenko and Vadim Baikov). The next step was choice of debute hit and shooting of the video for it. To the video for the song "Zimniy son", screenplay of which was based on Nabokov's Lolita famous artists Sergei Makovetskiy and Elena Yakovleva were invited (director Yuri Grymov). Participation of famous and expensive artests (invited by Alsou's father R. Safin) combined with strong vocal and young appearance of Alsou were very good accepted by the potential fans. During December of 1999 Also wents on first solo tour. Same year recording company «Real Records» which have created specially for this project new label «Iceberg Music» is issuing debut album of the singer called simply "Alsou". Then singer signes multiyear contract with international Universal company.
Being constantly split between studies in UK and tours in Russia Alsou still had enough time to visit her homeland. At his 17th birthday she gives free concerts in her hometown of Bugulma and in Bashkortostan capital Ufa. At the concert in Kazan Also was awarded "Honoured artist of Tatarstan".
Big interest of the fans was received by joint project of Alsou and Enrique Iglesias. They have recorded together hit single "You’re my number one" which was later included to the Iglesias' album "Enrique". Issue of English album of Alsou was delayed number of times, because of her exams in the college, and it finally appeared at 18th birthday of the singer (June 27th, 2001).
In 2002 Alsou decided to change producer, Aleksandr Shevchenko takes his place, as as European co-producer Dennis Inglsby was selected. 
This year Alsou makes first step to movie career. She records 2 songs specially for the film of Aleksandr Pavlovskiy "Atlantida" (main character played by Olga Sutulova). Music to the songs "Letyashaya nad oblakami" and "Tam" was composed by famous Russian composer Maxim Dunaevsky.
In the beginning of 2003 new album of singer called ''19'' is issued, preparations of it took almost 3 years, while recording itself took about half of a year. 

At the present time Alsou is still one of the most known names on Russian pop music scene, but her Western career was not that successful.

Song lyrics and translations:


Sitting alone, here in my room
Staring at your picture from midnight 'til noon
Counting the hours, counting the days
You know that I'll miss you in a million ways

Now I wait in the cold and this is getting old
No more stories, no more lies, take me off this ride

When you see me in the hall, I'll look at the wall
By my actions you should know - I'm going solo
Going solo

My friends try to tell me, I didn't want to listen
'Cause I'm the kind of person gotta find out on my own
I gave you my heart, you tore it apart
But I'm coming back strong, I knew it was wrong

Now I wait in the cold and this is getting old
No more stories, no more lies, take me off this ride
When you see me in the hall, I'll look at the wall
By my actions you should know

Now I wait in the cold and this is getting old
No more stories, no more lies, take me off this ride
When you see me in the hall, I'll look at the wall
By my actions you should know - I'm going solo
Going solo

Now I wait...

Wait in the cold and this is getting old
No more stories, no more lies, take me off this ride
When you see me in the hall, I'll look at the wall
By my actions you should know

Now I wait in the cold and this is getting old
No more stories, no more lies, take me off this ride
When you see me in the hall, I'll look at the wall
By my actions you should know - I'm going solo
Official releases and versions of the contest entry:

1 Solo (Radio Mix, original version from the single) 2.49
2. Solo (Album version, Alsou album) - official sample
3. Solo (Love To Infinity Radio Mix) 3.30 - from promo single
4. Solo (Club Mix) 7.09 - from promo single
5. Solo (Love To Infinity Club Dub Mix) 6.28 - from promo single
6. Solo (Love To Infinity Master Mix) 7.14 - only at Russian release of the single

Other remixes of this track are not official and are of no collectors interest.

Russian Eurovision mp3 collector's guide
Russian Eurovision CD collector's guide

Many different audio/video recordings of Alsou are available at

used: materials of official site, fan club of the singer and personal information
All recordings exept official are presented with a lowered bitrate for demonstrational purposes only.

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