After one of the most contentious build-ups in Eurovision Song Contest history, the dust is settling on the Julia Samoylova controversy. But on June 12 the Eurovision Reference Group will meet to decide how — and to what extent — it will sanction the broadcasters in Russia and Ukraine over their perceived misuse of the contest.

Ahead of that decision, Billboard — the iconic American music magazine — has published an in-depth article on the matter, penned by wiwibloggs editor-in-chief William Lee Adams.

While many media have spoken of Julia, far fewer have actually spoken to her. The 28-year-old maintains that she did not have ulterior motives when she performed in Crimea in 2015 — the action that resulted in her ban from Ukraine earlier this year.

“I go onstage in different places — this is my job,” she says. “I had no idea that the [Crimea] concert would cause such a reaction.”

After she was selected, but prior to her ban, some fans worried for her safety in Ukraine, where anti-Russian sentiment is rife.

She wasn’t bothered, saying her biggest fears were her “weak English” and “the thought that I absolutely need to perform well to be worthy of the choice Russia made.”

The ban shook her. But for a woman who has overcome countless challenges before, it couldn’t dent her optimism and self-belief.

“The news that I could not come to the contest hurt me, but I never give up, never,” she says. “I would like to say to all the people — with physical challenges or without them — believe in yourselves, never give up and make your dream come true.”

Frank-Dieter Freiling, chairman of the Reference Group, also speaks frankly about Ukraine’s handling of the situation. He wasn’t happy.

“We had a promise in writing and orally from the prime minister down that everyone was welcome at the song contest,” he says. “We were disappointed Ukraine didn’t live up to their word.”

His comments mirror a recent interview given to Eurovision.de on June 2, when he defended the position of the Reference Group in the conflict.

“We tried to turn the process… and we threatened sanctions. But the host broadcaster had no choice in the end but to follow the political institutions, including the president and the secret service.” 

Freiling said that Ukraine broke host statutes by not making sure that every country and artist would be able to participate. And the Russian broadcaster didn’t get off scot-free either. They didn’t show up to the compulsory HoD meetings earlier in the year — another statute violation that the reference group intends to sanction.

But what form will the sanctions take? Freiling did not want to speculate, but he did discuss the available options. “Our statutes provide for a number of violations, from a fine, the withdrawal of sponsor’s funding, to a suspension of up to three years.”

Read the Billboard Eurovision article

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Yoni
Yoni
4 years ago

Ugh, yet another example of William simply not getting it, and his cronies shilling on his behalf.

Fatima
Fatima
4 years ago

“I had no idea the Crimea concert would cause such a reaction”
And yet clearly that reaction didn’t bother her as she went back

Mishuk Motichko
Mishuk Motichko
4 years ago

Occupants!

ilana
ilana
4 years ago

Der WIWI, maybe this Russian event is more worth mentionning. Sergey Lazarev and Dima Bilan making a duo:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psx-04bBpsA

ophelia
ophelia
4 years ago

Next year her story will be…so yesterday news.
Fans will be excited about the new artists.

.Andrew
.Andrew
4 years ago

Everyday more news about her special and bias treatment i say .

Hada
Hada
4 years ago

“I had no idea that the [Crimea] concert would cause such a reaction.”

Sure you didn’t, girl

VVH
VVH
4 years ago

Hope you got paid for news about her. Even the winner of Eurovision doesn’t take much attention from Wiwibloggs.

beccaboo1212
4 years ago

If it turns out the rumors about Russia and Ukraine being banned from Eurovision are true, those countries are in HUGE trouble! 🙁

Sashko
Sashko
4 years ago

If i were on the board making decisions, I would make the following conclusion. 1) Ukraine did not allow all participants as they promised so a 1-year ban plus fine is necessary. 2) Russia did not attend the perquisite meetings so they should pay a fine. I don’t support either one in that drama, but am just creating a conclusion based on what rules were violated by whom. They cannot prove Russian intentions, but they can prove they didn’t attend the meetings and that is all.

Alex
Alex
4 years ago

i hope she does not win next year because of her disability and the 2017 drama.

Both Russia and Ukraine should take a 2-year break but EBU will not ban Russia as that means lower viewing rates.

Jo
Jo
4 years ago

well If background stories really matter for the victory then she will win in 2018 with the biggest voting ever.

fikri
fikri
4 years ago

ukraine and russia needs to get a room to squash all of these sexual tension.