He won the televote at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 and his massive fandom has been begging him to return to the contest ever since.
And on Sunday evening Russia’s Sergey Lazarev finally shared his thoughts on the matter in an exclusive interview with wiwibloggs at Zhara Fest in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The “You Are The Only One” singer recently traveled to Portugal — host country of Eurovision 2018 — to film a music video, which will drop in October. Following his Instagram stories posts from the Iberian country, his inbox and comments section blew up.
Scroll down for video interview
As he tells us: “I was shooting the video there and I received so many questions, ‘Why are you in Portugal? Is it something with the Eurovision next year or not?'”
Naturally we had to ask the same question backstage at Zhara Fest.
“Do you want me to go?” he laughs. “Well, to be honest, I haven’t decided yet because for going to Eurovision I have to have a song — the whole team and everything. But I’m so happy that I still have fans after my performance last year and everybody asking.”
Is that a yes?
“I don’t know yet — maybe.”
Sergey’s love of Eurovision comes through loud and clear, and when he talks about the song contest he beams with love and enthusiasm.
“The whole atmosphere of the Eurovision Song Contest is so amazing. When I look back from all these old photos from Eurovision I’m a little bit sad because everything is finished already. Sometimes I would like to come back next year, maybe later — I don’t know.”
His enthusiasm remains despite the fact that 21 of the 42 professional juries awarded him zero points. He was as confused as we were.
“It’s really strange,” he says. “For me it was like, ‘What?’ I didn’t expect these kind of scores from jury — these zeroes. It looks like we didn’t perform at all, like I didn’t perform, I didn’t sing, I didn’t do anything on the stage at all. For me it was very strange, but the audience supported me.”
You’ll remember that he was the televote winner.
“The funniest thing is that people from countries gave me 12 points, 10 points. Juries from the same countries gave me zero. Why? What happened? I won the televoting and for me the most important thing is — the whole thing is for the audience, for the people. I am an artist. I am doing it all for my audience who listen to me, who love me, who supported me.”
Sergey discusses Julia Samoylova
And what does Sergey make of Julia Samoylova’s ban from Eurovision 2017 in Ukraine?
“I was upset, to be honest, because I think that everybody should participate this year — especially Russia because Russia always has strong singers at the Eurovision, so I was upset that we weren’t there.”
Following Julia Samoylova’s Eurovision ban, Russia’s Eurovision broadcasters confirmed that they wanted to send the “Flame Is Burning” star to Eurovision 2018 — and they reiterated the point on the television program “Blacklist for Eurovision”, which aired on May 14.
But since then Julia’s status has seemed less clear, as Russian news site LIFE reported that the singer hasn’t received confirmation that she’ll be in Lisbon and Russian composer Philipp Kirkorov has said publicly that Russia is still looking for its singer. Sergey’s comments suggest there is still hope that the flame is burning.
“I supported her when she didn’t go to Eurovision,” Sergey says. “She was also very sad about this news and upset and we supported her. Next year maybe she will go.”
Regardless of who goes to Eurovision 2018 on Russia’s behalf, one thing is certain: Sergey will be in Portugal again soon. This week he’ll return to Portugal with Dima Bilan to film the music video for their duet “Prosti menya”, which they premiered at the recent Muz-TV Awards.
Sergey on Eurovision 2017
Sergey is a fan of Salvador Sobral, who he believes is a worthy winner of the song contest.
“Portugal was amazing last year. I think he deserved to win. He was different. It’s not the song I will sing myself — like in the shower or the club — but Eurovision has to be different all the time.”
Among his other favourites were Sweden’s Robin Bengtssons and Bulgaria’s Kristian Kostov.
“We were in the same children’s band,” he says of Kristian, who was born and raised in Moscow. “When I was 12 years old I was in a children’s band —Neposedi. It’s like Mickey Mouse club, the same with t.a.t.u. girls. Ten years earlier Kristian was there.”
What do you think? Do you want Sergey to return to Eurovision in 2018 and snatch the trophy? Or would you rather see Julia go? Maybe a duet? Let us know in the comments box below.