If you thought that Lora‘s withdrawal from Selectia Nationala 2017 was the end of her involvement with this year’s Romanian selection, think again. Broadcaster TVR is suggesting that if Lora is not present at Sunday’s semi-final, she has to pay a 100,000-Euro fine. Ouch!
Shortly after the live auditions took place, Lora withdrew her song from the contest on 2 February. She officially stated that the reason for her withdrawal was “how the preselection process was carried out”. Her ballad, “I Know”, was widely considered as a serious contender for the ticket to Kyiv.
Here is a snippet of Lora’s live audition:
At the time, TVR acknowledged her withdrawal. On 12 February, when the semi-finalists were announced, the host said that Lora was selected as semi-finalist. But as she had withdrawn, her song would be replaced with Zanga’s “Doua sticle”.
Here’s where the plot thickens. During a live TV show yesterday, Romania’s head of delegation Iuliana Marciuc announced that TVR are still waiting for Lora to observe her “contractual obligations” and be part of the semi-final. It seems there is a clause in the Selectia Nationala regulations that prevents artists from withdrawing, or else they risk a 100,000-Euro penalty.
In the regulations, Article 6 of Annex 2 reads,
Should the AUTHOR withdraw the musical piece entitled … from Selectia Nationala 2017, from the semi-final or the final of Eurovision 2017 in Ukraine […] for any reason other than force majeure, they commit to repay TVR immediately and without any formality with the sum of 100,000 Euro.
However, Lora’s manager Ionut Ghenu told the Romanian daily Adevarul that the singer had withdrawn before the semi-finalists were announced. Moreover, Lora hadn’t been formally told that she would be included in the semi-final lineup.
There is no misunderstanding. We observed the regulation and followed the necessary steps. According to the contract, we submitted the withdrawal notification on 1 February, right after the [live] auditions. TVR confirmed the withdrawal and even wished us good luck in the future. When we decided to withdraw, Lora had not been told that she was a semi-finalist, she was never officially announced that she made the semi-final. […] We no longer want Lora to take part in Eurovision, and her presence in the semifinal of Eurovision Romania 2017 is totally out of the question.
Lora also posted a video from her tropical holiday on Facebook, with the caption, “That moment when others say/write lies about you and you teleport yourself to the Maldives, so you can send a sweet, good night kiss to your fans”. Aw.
Some fans are suggesting this is just a ploy by TVR to bring more ratings to Selectia Nationala, which has been plagued by a lack of popularity. The live show in which the semi-finalists were announced — relegated to TVR2 — only managed to gather a 0.5 rating.
Not only that, but this Sunday’s Voice Kids premiere on ProTV threatens to steal the state broadcaster’s thunder. A scandal would probably spike the viewers’ numbers for TVR, but we seriously doubt that Lora will take the bait.
The same question also remains about the other acts that withdrew. From 84 acts who entered Selectia Nationala, only 72 were present at the live auditions. Is TVR going to demand 100,000-Euro fines from all acts who withdrew? And what about Zanga, who replaced Lora? Is she going to be cut from the semi-final if the pop star shows up?
This whole debacle has sparked a host of questions. What do you make of this whole situation? Should Lora be forced to compete in the semi-final after all? Or should her withdrawal mark the end of her Selectia Nationala 2017 journey? Sound off below!