Russia: Channel One denies Aleksander Panayotov has been selected for Eurovision 2017

He’s The Voice of Russia runner-up who has long had Eurovision in his sights. Now rumours are heating up around Aleksander Panayotov being internally selected as Russia‘s artist for Eurovision 2017.

Back in September, as speculation started to emerge, we profiled Alexander — the Ukraine-born, Russian-raised singer who has made five previous attempts at Eurovision. In 2008 his peace song “Crescent and Cross” came second in the Russian national final. It was only two points behind Dima Bilan’s winning song “Believe”.

More recently, Aleksander was a contestant on Golos (The Voice of Russia). After impressing judges with his powerful audition of “All By Myself”, Aleksander proved himself a strong performer. He deftly handled songs in both Russian and English, and made it all the way to the final.

There he paid tribute to George Michael with a performance of “Careless Whisper”. Panayotov claims that George Michael — born Georgios Panayiotou — was a distant relative.

Eventually Aleksander was voted runner-up of Golos and since then the Eurovision rumours have resurfaced.

Aleksander Panayotov at Eurovision 2017?

Russian news site Life recently claimed that Aleksandr is Channel One’s preferred candidate for Eurovision 2017. A source has told Life that channel management has already approved Panayotov for Eurovision. But this is news to Aleksander himself. He told Life that he has not heard of Channel One’s decision.

He said, “I would be happy to represent our country at the competition – for me it is a great honour. But it is not anything I want to think about right now.”

Meanwhile, a representative from Channel One says that a decision about Russia’s act for Kyiv has not been made.

Channel One music director Yuri Aksyuta told RIA: “I do not know where this information came from. The candidate who will represent our country at Eurovision this year has not yet been selected. We can consider Alexander Panayotov and other artists. We have a number of artists to potentially consider as candidates.”

At this stage, the only thing confirmed is that Channel One will use internal selection to pick their act for Kyiv.

What do you think? Should Channel One select Aleksander Panayotov for Kyiv? Could he give Russia its second victory?