France: Alma performed “Requiem” before the deadline – but should it be disqualified?

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Earlier this month, Alma was confirmed as France’s act for Kyiv and her song “Requiem” fast became a fan favourite. But now a video clip has emerged of a 2015 live performance of the song. This potentially makes the song in breach of the 1 September 2016 deadline, and could lead to the EBU disqualifying it.

The performance was recorded in January 2015, taking at a Paris show where Alma performed an early version of “Requiem”. The gig took place at the Bellevilloise venue, an intimate club setting.

But things might not be all that bad for Alma. For a start, while the video was recorded in January 2015, the clip wasn’t uploaded to YouTube until December last year — well within the 1 September 2016 deadline.

While the song Alma is performing is her Eurovision entry “Requiem”, it’s a very different version. The 2015 version is an acoustic arrangement, with Alma accompanied only by a guitarist and percussionist. The electronic and string sounds of the Eurovision version is nowhere to be heard.

And the live version clocks in at nearly four minutes, well above the shorter version released this year.

The official Eurovision rules specify that songs “must not have been commercially released before 1 September 2016.”

It’s clear that Alma’s 2015 performance of “Requiem” was not a commercial release. “Requiem” was not released as a single until January this year.

The Eurovision rules make provision for songs to have emerged in various forms before the deadline. The EBU can disqualify such songs if the early performance is deemed to have given the song an advantage at Eurovision.

Update 11:54 CET: The video in question has been made unavailable on YouTube.

It’s happened before

In this modern world where everyone has a camera, it’s now commonplace for early versions of Eurovision songs to show up on social media.

Last year footage emerged of an early version of Jamala’s “1944”, filmed in 2015. EBU considered the situation and made the decision to allow “1944” in Eurovision. They issued a statement, where they noted that “the video of a small concert had only been viewed by a few hundred people before it was discovered in the past few days.” They did not consider that this gave “1944” an advantage at Eurovision.

And last year “Never Alone” — Anja Nissen’s entry in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix — was discovered to have similarly and an early debut. The song had been performed live by its co-writer Emmelie de Forest in 2014.

Broadcaster DR referred the matter to the EBU who confirmed there would be no problem. Essentially, not enough people had been at Emmelie’s concerts for it to have been a concern. Oh, the shade!

While fans are concerned about the “Requiem” video, it’s unlikely that this will be a problem for Alma. However, broadcaster France 2 and the EBU are yet to comment on the situation.

What do you think? Should “Requiem” be disqualified from Eurovision 2017? Or is the fuss over nothing? Sound off below!

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