I have a problem with Belarus. It was with a wry smile that I discovered that the Belarusian national final would be the first one to be broadcast this year. For various reasons, EuroFest 2012 was one of my favourite national finals of the year. It was a remarkably small field, only five entries, which meant that the songs were for the most part at least average. It was a very slickly produced show, almost X-Factoresque (after all, there was a painful group performance!). They managed to drag pretty much every person they could find to perform at the show too, turning it into a Eurovision concert; Lys Assia turned up sans Siegel, New Jack or a skateboard. Marija Šerifović belted out Molitva perfectly as per usual, Sakis Rouvas tried his hardest and was still upstaged by Alexander Rybak, Ruslana busted out the moves to Wild Dances. Even Dana International sent in a video, guys. Oh, and there was the obligatory Sinplus performance. At the end of it, the right act won and Litesound went on to Baku.

Oh, wait. They didn't win at the end of it.

No, instead Belarus chose to send Alyona Lanskaya with her slightly dreary ballad All My Life. That isn't to say that Alyona had a bad voice, but Litesound were clearly the best act of the show. Twitter had all but crowned them the winners of the final and the crowd had gone wild for them. It was all a bit of an anticlimax.

Alyona Lanskaya performing her "winning" song at the EuroFest 2012 semi final

Flash forward to two weeks later and the Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko was intervening. You see, someone, somehow, found out that Miss Lanskaya and the producers had apparently rigged the televote. As such, she was thrown out and would no longer be representing Belarus. Instead, Litesound would be going after all! Then, just to make sure we were kept on our toes, the band decided that the version of We Are The Heroes they performed at the national final wasn't the version we would be hearing at Eurovision. What was originally a rock song turned into a washed-out, electro version of the original song. But no! Those who disliked the new version were wrong, according to Litesound, who said that "Eurovision and rock should not be mixed up". Apparently, Lordi winning and MaNga coming in second weren't positive examles. It was a pop contest and that was that, so they'd changed the song.

Then, they went out while the only discernible rock song in their semi final, Crno I Belo by Kaliopi, made it through. So, for the second time, Litesound spat their dummy out and said that they didn't really care and the Balkans would always win anyway (again, funny how that proved to be wrong).

Oddly enough, that entire story sounded very similar to a year before when Mr. Lukashenko protested Anastasiya Vinnikova's failure to make the Eurovision final. According to Lukashenko (you'd imagine being the quasi-dictator of your own country would mean he'd be too busy to bother with Eurovision) "Who could overlook an anthem to Belarus?" - The similarities don't end there, either.

In 2012, Belarus changed their song three times in total: All My Life - We Are The Heroes (Original) - We Are The Heroes (Final Version). In 2011... Belarus changed their song three times in total. Originally, Anastasiya was going to perform Born In Bielorussia, which was full of USSR goodness. So much so that there was a quick rethink and three days later, Anastasiya was all set to perform I Am Belorusian... Except, it turned out that no matter what the lyrics were, the song had originated before the cut-off point for entries. So a whole nine days later it was decided that finally, she would perform the camp-tastic I Love Belarus, which still sounded suspiciously similar in ways to the original song (particularly in the chorus), which for all purposes was a rock song. Incidentally, the constantly changing titles grew slightly more inclusive as they went on, yet it still didn't help (even with Sara Cox (the UK commentator for the semi finals) helpfully suggesting that you could change it to "I Love St. Helens" if you felt that way inclined). In fact, the last time Belarus stuck with a song the entire way through a contest was in 2009.

The "original" Belarusian entry in 2011

And here is my inherent problem with Belarus and Eurovision: they simply don't understand it. People have suggested in the past few days that the decision for the EBU's ruling that the producers would decide the running order would be to guarantee that the contest would not go to "unsavoury" places like Azerbaijan and Belarus. The difference between the two countries is that Azerbaijan do get Eurovision and as such have been rewarded with votes from the public and juries, whereas Belarus have only made it to the final twice since they first entered. The constant changing and shady nature of their acts have meant that there's absolutely no faith in the system from the die-hard fans and they've yet to realise that sending self-indulgent songs like I Love Belarus will get them nowhere. There was absolutely no excuse for failing to check that Born In Bielorussia was an eligible song; instead, they effectively tried to pull a fast one and failed completely. When San Marino entered Facebook, they did so presumably to garner publicity and it was seen as that by many in the Eurovision community - whereas because of Belarus' previous indiscretions with their entries, one tends to lean to a much more negative outlook on their "error".

But maybe this is all in the past. Eurovision 2013 could be the year that Belarus comes good and fulfils the potential we saw with Koldun in 2007?

"Work Your Magic" by Koldun - the most successful song from Belarus at Eurovision

Except, they've already gone and messed up 2013 by cancelling the semi final for their national final on a whim. Instead, there will be a ten song final (which will still be the first of the year) to decide who represents the country... if they don't change their minds in the following four month period. Finally, to any of those people who think that maybe this article is being a tad too harsh on Belarus, I implore you to look at the list of participants in that ten act final. On that list is one formerly "disgraced" Alyona Lanskaya, allowed to perform despite her "cheating" in the last contest.

For her sake, if she wins, let's all say she was the best, okay?

Follow Chris on Twitter - @katsjonouchi