Last week Ukraine pop star Alekseev qualified for the Belarus national final with his song “Forever”. But some of his fellow finalists aren’t happy. Alen Hit, Anastasiya Malashkevich, Sofi Lapina, Kirill Good, Gunesh and NAPOLI have threatened to leave Belarus’ selection if broadcaster BTRC doesn’t disqualify Alekseev for breaching Eurovision rules.
Controversy arose when Russian VK group ESCWORLDCLUB published short videos showing Alekseev performing his song “Navsegda” during his concerts in Kyiv and Stavropol in May 2017.
“Navsgeda” was later translated into English, edited down to three minutes and became Alekseev’s Belarus Eurovision entry “Forever”. This violated the famous Eurovision rule that states that a song cannot be distributed or performed before September 1 of the year before Eurovision takes place.
Alekseev’s Belarusian PR agent Sergey Adrianov told the Belarusian edition of KP newspaper:
“We affirm that this version performed at these concerts is neither the music nor the words that we presented for the selection for Eurovision 2018, and this is confirmed by the agreements with various authors of “Navsegda” and “Forever”. We are sure that this point can be proved by analyzing these two songs (a piano concert version of “Navsegda” and a contest “Forever”) on notes and see the difference. We believe that further proceedings on these issues should go to the legal plane. We understand that neither the Belteleradiocompany nor the EBU will admit any violation of the regulations and will make a legally sound decision.”
Belarusian Eurovision hopefuls wrote a letter in protest
Alen Hit, Anastasiya Malashkevich, Sofya Lapina, Kirill Good, Gunesh and NAPOLI severely disagreed with Adrianov’s claim and wrote a letter to the Belarusian broadcaster. They stated that they won’t sign any contracts with the broadcaster regarding the selection and would withdraw from it if Alekseev were allowed to participate. The letter, which was published in KP, provides us with the following statements:
“- We will not sign the contract of participation in the final part of the national selection until the BTRC takes an honest and fair decision on the disqualification of the artist Nikita Alekseev.
– We question the qualifications and business reputation of the artist Nikita Alekseev and his management.
– We do not consider it possible to participate in the farce, to what the final of the national selection will seem like in the event of the appearance of the artist Alekseev. Our participation will undoubtedly cause us reputational harm, insult our honour and human dignity.
– We call all not indifferent colleagues in the field of show business to pay attention to this glaring situation and PUBLICLY give their authoritative assessments to what is happening. Violations made when applying for Nikita Alekseev and / or his representatives:
– The composition of “Forever” presented in the application is an translated into English version of and is the slightly reordered and shortened version of the song “Navsegda”, according to independent expert opinions. The first public performance of this composition took place in May 2017 as part of a commercial tour, which directly violates the provisions of the current Regulations of the National Selection. The song was performed many times in the framework of the above-mentioned tour, which gave the artist Alekseev an undeniable advantage not only in the framework of the national selection, but also in the context of the main Eurovision Song Contest 2018.
– The presented composition has a duration of 3 minutes 06 seconds, which directly violates the restrictions on the duration of the sound. Often, a few extra seconds do not allow using this or that composition, because the song can not be shortened without losing the structure of the arrangement.
– Artist Alekseev signed guarantees that the song “Forever” fully meets the criteria of the national selection, which is a direct introduction of the organizing committee for delusion.”
Some finalists have also spoken about not wanting to waste money preparing an entry for an event when the result is — according to them — already decided. National final veteran Gunesh told KP that she and her team spent a lot of money, including personal artistic training by Tim Norell in Stockholm.
Other artists spend an estimated amount from US$2000 to US$10,000 for recording and arranging songs, costumes and their performance. An impressive amount of money is also dedicated to stocking up on SIM cards, which is, according to the artists, “no secret to anyone”.
The Belarusian broadcaster has yet to react to the statement of the artists. Belarusian newspaper Sputnik says that the broadcaster still has to make a decision on the possible violation of the rules.
The running order draw takes place on January 16, but the potentially withdrawing artists have confirmed that they will still attend the event, as it isn’t a confirmation of their eventual participation in the national final of February 16.
The letter was not signed by any group acts, including vocal group Adagio, rock band Radiovolna, and duo Shuma. It was also not signed by solo vocalist Lexy, who is under 18.
What do you think? Are the Belarusian finalists right to protest? Should “Forever” be disqualified? Tell us what you think below!