Ukraine’s Jamala snatched Eurovision 2016 victory by the slimmest of margins on Saturday and controversy has been brewing ever since. On Tuesday, the EBU was forced to bat away a Change.org petition calling for the result to be revised. Today, the body has had to release yet another statement defending the winner. This comes after it emerged that “1944” had been performed in May 2015 — four months before the 1 September eligibility window for Eurovision.

Jamala “1944” May 2015 performance

The original fan recording (which is now private) was uploaded to YouTube in May 2015. The footage is grainy, but Jamala’s distinctive vocal tones are easily recognisable. In a performance that lasts several minutes, the Ukrainian singer sings a medley of songs including an early version of “1944”. The lyrics are different, as is the language used. However, Eurovision rules state that entries must not be commercially released before 1 September. Is “1944” in breach of these rules? The EBU says no.

In a statement published on Facebook, the alliance of public broadcasters explains that neither the performance nor the YouTube footage gave Jamala an unfair advantage in Stockholm. The song was performed in a small concert venue, while the video had only been viewed by a few hundred people before the contest.

EBU statement on Jamala’s “1944”

The full statement reads:

Statement on performance of Ukraine’s winning Eurovision Song Contest song before September 1 deadline:

“The Eurovision Song Contest rule (1.2.1a) which states that entries must not have been commercially released before September 1 exists to make sure that the Contest can welcome new compositions each year, and that every song can compete on a level playing field.
The purpose of the rule is to prevent wide distribution of any song that might give it an unfair advantage in the competition the following May.

In the past, songs that had been publicly available before the deadline, but had not been accessible by a wide audience, had been granted permission to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest by the Reference Group.

In the case of Jamala’s “1944” the EBU’s attention has been drawn, after the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, to a public performance of an earlier version of the song in May 2015.

The video of a small concert had only been viewed by a few hundred people before it was discovered in the past few days.

The EBU, based on previous decisions in the Reference Group, therefore has concluded that the published video did not give Jamala’s song any unfair advantage in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest and the song was eligible to compete.”

Previous Cases

Jamala is not the first artist to benefit from a relaxation of the 1 September rule. Back in January, the EBU held that Anja Nissen’s “Never Alone” would be eligible to represent Denmark at Eurovision 2016 if it won DMGP. This was despite the fact that Emmelie De Forest had previously performed the song at a number of 2014 concerts. In 2013, the EBU gave the green light for the Netherlands to send Anouk with “Birds” even though she had played a snippet during a 2011 radio interview.

What do you think of the EBU’s ruling on “1944”? Is it fair? Let us know in the comments below.

Read all our Ukraine Eurovision 2016 news.

Photo: EBU

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Andriy
Guest
Andriy

Oh, come on you people! Armenia’s song was about genocide that some countries recognize and Turkey denies. It was politically divisive.
In this case *nobody* denies deportation of Crimean Tatars. Even Russia. It’s just our common history! Nothing political about it.
(It’s similar to the 2015 song “N’oubliez pas” by Lisa Angell, which was about World War One.)

Lolilly
Guest
Lolilly

@Mike I was going to write the same thing. Thank you for mentioning it. Last year, after presenting a “Love song,” called Don’t Deny, Armenia was forced to change its title to “Face the Shadow” because it might had offended some people… Whatever! If Armenia presented Jamala’s song this year, and even with the same title as 1944, Europe would crucify Iveta for that song, by calling it political and etc. The funny thing is that most of us, Armenians knew months ago that Ukraine was going to be the winner in this years ESC because of some political reasons… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

OK dear people! Now let’s imagine that Armenia presents a song with exactly the same lyrics as the Ukrainian song has, because it fits the subject of Armenian Genocide very well, and names it “1915”. A question: Would this song be accepted by EBU? Me, as an Armenian, know the answer for sure. OF COURSE NOT!! :/
The rest is for your judgment…

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

David Who, because they need this victory like air, to represent it as their world domination to local public and to show another time that Ukraine (their grave enemy sucks). because they have lost war in Donbass and have no chances to break our defence (which is 5 times bigger in man power and weapon than theirs), because their coward soldiers drop positions and run from field (intelligence reported that 20-35% of them try to run or even hurt themselves to get away from risk to be killed by our men). no luck in war they wanted to win, no… Read more »

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

Alex,
buy glasses with thicker glass and come read wiki. this song never called “Our Crimea”. this is how our president called it to stab you in the back. or it wasn’t a knife? and not the back? ahah

David Who
Guest
David Who

@Tom: That is debatable, but the truth is that Australia were the winners of the jury. Therefore, if there was any overt politics from the organisers it was towards Australia, not Ukraine. Hence my question about why Russians have tried 5 times so far (I think?) to discredit the Ukraine entry, when actually it was Australia that had the jury’s backing. The numbers don’t support the “fairness” argument here – it is clear that Russia’s issues with Ukraine are about the song’s content. Whether that is personal or political is for those involved to tell us, and for us to… Read more »

Tom
Guest
Tom

David Who
Not only russians, but all normal people understands that the win of Ukraine had nothing to do with the actual song contest, it was obviosly just a political descision.

Alex
Guest
Alex

I can’t believe it! The song was titled ‘Our Crimea’. It’s like Serbia sends a song called ‘Kosovo je Serbia’ or France ‘Cathalonia is independent’.
If this song is not political what song is political?

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

Tom,
I’m baffled that you listed me with Jamala, but I guess it’s a honor to be listed with winners?
thanks 🙂

David Who,
math is not their strongest skill.

David Who
Guest
David Who

Erm, why are the Russians apparently trying so hard to get Australia named as actual winner of the contest? Just thought i’d ask.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Oxana
Crimea is russian forever. That what is fair. And you and Jamala are liers and cheaters!

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

Tom, and to make it clear, no matter how that song called in the past, even if “Putin Huilo”, it won’t change anything now. why you’re so obsessed with it? have technical assignment from your boss to prove this crazy idea? then you proved it. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said “Crimea is ours”. sounds fair 🙂

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

Tom, yes, he said to make fools of Russians 🙂 Crimea is ours shouted Russians for 2 years in our face! now as a leader of most humorous nation he put it bold and clear: “Crimea is ours!” haven’t you heard his 2d part “lalala lalala”? and it have nothing to do with song name, more you Russians insist on that name, more you look like fools who’s been mocked, laughed at and humiliated. keep going 🙂 are you saying that wiki and Jamala lies and our president is the one who honestly and seriously claims that name as a… Read more »

Jamala
Guest
Jamala

Keep calm and sing my song……….if you can !!! muhahahahah

Tom
Guest
Tom

Oxana, STOP LYING! That said your own President! « Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that the song of Eurovision-2016’s winner Jamala had an original Tatar title ‘Crimea is ours,’ 112 Ukraine TV channel reports. ‘I think that it is not accidentally that she changed the song’s title from ‘Crimea is ours’ to ‘1944 ‘. This change touched a lot of people who had no idea, never knew what happened in with the Crimean Tatar people in 1944 along with hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens who learned this and were shocked. A lot of those who have listened to… Read more »

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

1942,
I’ll say it in 6326482th time, go read wiki, this song always had name “Souls”. Crimea is ours used by Russians to tease Ukrainians, have you forgot? now Poroshenko teases Russians with the same phrase, can you see how it backfired? it has nothing to do with song name.

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

Vassiliki, if I’ll act like moron, I’m not going to be offended if someone will call me that. people who call 1944 political clearly have no soul, it puzzles me how they can put that statement in one line: “this is political, I’m so sad it won”. if they have no soul to feel things, how they can feel something about its success. I think they should say true and do not hide behind words that describe their feelings. “I’m angry, jealous, devastated etc”. If you see girl who literally cries on stage and you’re heart made of stone, so… Read more »

1942
Guest
1942

Last year Armenia was forced to change the title of the song, thus “Don’t deny” was replaced with “Face the shadow”. The song was not a political one, it was also inspired by the ancestors of the members of the band, their tales about the Armenian Genocide.

1942
Guest
1942

@Pollaski I don’t know what about 144 mln nation, but the previous version was well known by some Ukrainian officials, including the president who was the one provoking the search for the old version, as no one had known that it was performed earlier before Poroshenko told the journalists, that he liked the old version with a distinct political message “Crimea is ours”. This knowledge of Poroshenko is quite suspicious. Moreover, it is stated in the rules that if a song is performed before September 1, the EBU should be informed about it. However the organization wasn’t informed (or they… Read more »

Vassiliki
Guest

Oxana, in regards to you calling other people “moron” isn’t that the ‘pot calling the kettle black’?

mangou
Guest
mangou

Russia should just make their own version of Eurovision with Russia only so that they always win and will stop whining when they don’t.

karminowe.usta
Guest
karminowe.usta

Jamala shouldn`t win, she should disqualify because Ukraine`s song breaks rules. This song is political and has shown earlier. In my opinion isn`t justify. Australia should win. Decision of EBU disappointed me. It`s sad but true – politics is number one at this year.

The Brightest Falling Star
Guest
The Brightest Falling Star

@Adam

Thank you for talking some sense into these people.

Lolilly
Guest
Lolilly

To me, and many people I know, during her performance, Jamala looked like a possessed creature who was losing her mind. Too much exaggeration. Hated it!
Definitely not a winner.

davve
Guest
davve

Its not surprising that EBU breaches their own rules…

Lolilly
Guest
Lolilly

Whatever!!!
The true winners were Australia, for flawless performance, vocals and everything else and Russia for a great show, and for being audience favorite…

Jamala’s performance was overly exaggerated theatrical mess!!! Her vocals were not even ok compared to Demi.
The song was indirectly bashing Russua and we all know it.

Bottom line is, we all knew Ukrain was going to win well begore this concert for political reasons. What a shame!

Stan
Guest
Stan

This is by far the most boring thread on wiwi!

NickC
Guest
NickC

Cannot agree more with Adam.

Bingocharts
Guest
Bingocharts

Such a thing happened to the netherlands in 2013 too.. Anouk had sung a part of her song Birds before 1 september too!

Vogzal Odessa
Guest
Vogzal Odessa

IMO, Jamala’s entering & winning the competition with “1944” is as credible as hearing Dolly Parton say “I owe my tits to good genetics”. But, then again, it’s not like the EBU are serving this for the very first time.I believe that many Eurofans are just a bit nostalgic of the good old times when the EBU were bothered to mask their agenda with more delicacy. I have no doubt, however, that the Ukrainians will be gracious hosts in 2017. They are one of the warmest and most hospitable people I have met so far, and I could say the… Read more »

Lady Gagarina
Guest
Lady Gagarina

All these sore losers. I think Russia should just get out of Eurovision & be done with. At least that’s one less diaspora voting & corrupt jury. I’m not a fan of Jamala, but dahlings, this is getting pathetic & boring. Sis wiwis, can you post other stuff?

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

Thunder and lightning
His love was so frightning
He never told me his name
Thunder and lightning
A love so exciting
I’ll never be quite the same

Dee D.Jackson – Thunder & Lightning

Bon4o
Guest
Bon4o

@Ern
Because rules are for the others…not for Ukraine
They can use politics in the song
They can release their song whenever they want, no matter the timelines
They can steal the lyrics from a Turkish song
They didn’t win nor the televote or juries vote, but won the contest because of…oh well.. because math said so.
And they have full support from EBU…. no matter what they do… EBU always finds excuses for the broken rules by them

NN
Guest
NN

EBU break their own rules, first with song from DMGP 2016 than with Jamala Eurovision 2 times, first they allow political song and now this.
EBU forget Belarus 2011 when they insist to Belarus change song and lyrics.

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

@Laburnum

The rules are very specific: widespread commercial release. For songs PERFORMED before Sept. 1 or otherwise made available, its a judgement call by the EBU. Considering this was some obscure video that wasn’t dug up until nearly a week after the contest (remarkable considering there was pretty much an entire nation of 144 million people that spent two months trying to get the song DQed), its pretty easy to see that performance doesn’t equal widespread availability.

Ern
Guest
Ern

OK, good!

But why can’t the EBU have relaxed the rules for Romania?

For that matter, why penalize Armenia over the flag issue?

Adam
Guest
Adam

God, this year sucks with the amount of people who just cant get over the fact that shes a winner! Jamala won, get over it! You cant change the past, the EBU is obviously not gonna modify their result to appease the haters. Just get over it and move on already! For the past 5 days its just been non stop b*tchin’ and moanin about her and giving literally EVERY excuse in the book why she cant be the winner. What will the next excuse be? I dont think any other winner ever received this treatment. UKRAINE WON! UKRAINE WON!… Read more »

Laburnum
Guest
Laburnum

Ok, I loved the song, I thought everything was perfect and pleased when it won, but…it was released before 1 September. In the Swiss national final this year, didn’t they disqualify Stephanie for having released the song before the dealine even though it was sung in a different language as it was before? I don’t know, still happy for Ukraine.

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

maarikaa,
qha broke the rule and took video record when it wasn’t allowed. from where did they took that name? can you hear in video if Jamala said it? any other source?
on the contrary, even wiki knows that this song in Ukrainian language called “Souls (Dushi)”
here’s Russian page, use translator if you can’t handle it
https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/1944_%28%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%BD%D1%8F%29

maarikaa
Guest
maarikaa

Oxana, Also, here’s the article that went with that video: http://qha.com.ua/ru/video/djamala-ispolnila-novie-pesni-na-vechererekvieme-18-maya/3171/
To the right of the video, there’s a small description (in Russian) that says: “Ukrainian singer Jamala performed two new songs, Shlyakh Dodomu and Bizim Qirim at an evening in Kyiv on the Deportation Day”.

maarikaa
Guest
maarikaa

Oxana, I don’t watch the Russian-speaking youtube, so before this video I had no idea who he was and his backstory doesn’t quiet interest me. It’s obvious though that the guy has made his research. The video where Jamala performed last year was posted not by Shary, but by the Crimean News Agency (QHA) (http://qha.com.ua/en), which is a pro-Ukrainian Crimean Tatar news agency. They have lots of news articles and videos dedicated to Jamala, so I doubt they would write the wrong name of the song under that video. They also made the video private once it went “viral”, probably… Read more »

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

Darren :-

My view is most of the public don’t mind Australia coming 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc but not sure about them winning it? Not because it is Australia, more because the EBU lied about their participation in year one.

Dami Im’s change of vocal arrangement elevated a good entry into and excellent entry. I still would have put Ukraine and Russia ahead though.

Should Australia winning deprive a European country winning in a European contest? Hard one!! (All off topic really, that’s my fault.)

AD99
Guest
AD99

EBU strongly stands up for Ukraine, although she has broken a rule. If you find that someone else in the Danish jury messed up points, and accidentally gave Ukraine points, and that will be won in the competition Dami, the EBU probably still does not reverse the results. Unfortunately, Ukraine has bought victory 🙁

likan
Guest

the song suc*ed

Darren
Guest
Darren

@Eugene I don’t know about Russia, but I am willing to bet that Australia will win within the next 3-4 years. Not saying I agree with it, but I’m saying it as I see it. The EBU will want us Europeans to get used to the prospect of them winning first, so they will be in the Top 10 every year then bam! They will win. I personally think there is nothing special about the songs that the Aussies send, they have sent two quality acts but I think if United Kingdom or Ireland had sent Dami Im or Guy… Read more »

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

Pollaski 3 :- Your first para was quite funny, I did smile, trust me it would have been a lot worse if Russia or Australia won. “Televote is a sham.” Okay so one issue with the public perhaps? How about “Juries are a sham”? We have a long list of issues with the juries, I could write pages on it. 5 people cannot have 50% of the “power” if they are not music “experts”. They can just agree to kill a song by ranking it 11th, it’s that simple. That is not right. The millions of the public who vote… Read more »

Marcus (day one)
Guest
Marcus (day one)

Omg

Ukraine won

Get over it

The rules state that the winner has to get the most points.

Both the public and the jury agreed and ranked Ukraine 2nd.

Ukraine won fair and square.

I voted for Ukraine because it gave me chills and made me cry.

Not because it was Ukraine.

Pollaski 3: Rise of the Machines
Guest
Pollaski 3: Rise of the Machines

@EugeneESCUK

Well its a good thing Ukraine won then and we aren’t having any controversies or tensions…

And if people didn’t vote for Australia “because they’re not european”… that’s a crying shame and even further proof that the televote is a sham.

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

Let’s face it for the EBU Australia or Russia winning and hosting would have caused all sorts of problems and would have been controversial and unpopular to say the least. Australia coming 4th with the public probably had something to do with “Australia is not a European Country”. Ukraine winning was the perfect solution for the EBU causing less tension and issues all round for everybody concerned. I’m not suggesting that the EBU had anything to do with who won, but Ukraine did have the best running order draw statistically of the leading 3 favourites. Australia 13th, Russia 18th and… Read more »

Angelo
Guest
Angelo

In my opinion Ukraine, Russia AND Australia didn’t deserve to win, nor make the top 3. I would have prefered seeing Bulgaria win. Not because I like the Bulgarian song, but because the other three countries do not belong in Eurovision. Both Ukraine and Russia can’t be trusted, they have actual neo-nazis in their parliament and are corrupt to the bone. Australia is being hyped by the EBU way too much (that’s why juries ranked their atrocious song this year on #1 on their lists), but Europeans in general are not impressed with Australia being part of the song contest.… Read more »