At the end of last year she confirmed that she would make another attempt to sing for Lithuania at the Eurovision Song Contest.

But now, following the first heat of Eurovizijos atranka 2018, fan favourite Erica Jennings has withdrawn from the competition, citing a lack of compassion and constructive criticism from the judging panel.

Erica, who sang for Lithuania at Eurovision 2001 as a part of the group SKAMP, made the revelation in a Facebook post on Monday morning. Nodding to her many fans outside of Lithuania, she posted it in both Lithuanian and English.

“I’ve been mulling it over in my head for a while. Yes I do have a great song — in my humble, but experienced opinion. ‘The Truth’ means a great deal to me. I wrote it while I was still pregnant with my daughter who’s now just turned 7 months. It’s a big song and yes it’s perfect for Eurovision. If I didn’t feel that way about my song I wouldn’t have wanted to take part in the first place.”

“But I’ve decided to pull out. And I’ll tell you honestly why. I simply don’t want to jump through all those hoops again. I am an established singer. I’ve been to Eurovision already, with my own song and we did pretty well as I recall. And so the idea of having to, once again, be in that almost ‘school girl’ position of having to stand there, listening to a commission, after performing my heart out is simply cringeworthy. And with all due respect, most of them are less experienced than me in these particular topics of Eurovision, singing and songwriting. I’m fine with there being a panel in general. I’ve been on commissions myself. But I honestly believe the format should be reconsidered with all due respect to everyone involved.”

“Just scrolling down FB after the tv show has aired, you see all these so called ‘experts’ complimenting themselves on how they got rid of the ‘rubbish’ and didn’t ‘hold back’, patting each other on the back and massaging their egos. When most of them have never a) written a song b) written a hit or c) been anywhere near performing at Eurovision. I mean I’m just amazed at their gall.”

“When I went to Eurovision, there was a commission then too but their verdict was decided off camera. You performed and that was it. I get it — it’s tv and ratings and I’m fine with that too. It’s just this particular format is not for me. I would suggest that perhaps they consider making some changes for the future.
And I hope that those on the commission this year will appreciate their position and behave accordingly. Constructive criticism, empathy and compassion. It’s not what you say but how you say it. If someone would like to try with ‘The Truth’, let me know.”

“Lastly, I wish everyone taking part this year the very very very best of luck!!!”

The opening show, which aired on Saturday, saw 13 participants sing it out. The lineup included several returnees from last year’s competition, most notably semi-finalist Ieva Zasimauskaite. Luck was on her side as she won the heat with her song “When We’re Old”. Ieva topped both the jury and televote.

She will be joined in the next stage of the competition by Godo with “Fire Fountain”, Milda Rasilaviciute with “I Think About You”, Lukas Norkunas with “Tegu”, Germante Kinderyte with “Turn It Up” and Benas Malakauskas with “My Memories”.

How do you feel about Erica’s withdrawal? Do you think the judges should have been mouthing off on Facebook afterwards? And what other singers do you think could slay Erica’s song at Eurovision? Let us know in the comments box below. 

READ MORE LITHUANIA EUROVISION NEWS

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Marshmellow
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Marshmellow

Well…it’s a selection process. Everyone has to do it. In fact contests like these are how non-established artists can get a chance to prove themselves.
I’m sure Erika isn’t alone in feeling this way though – lots of established artists don’t perform in Eurovision because they can’t be bothered going through the selection process since they feel they are already professionals.
The judges badmouthing in social media is pretty unprofessional though I think.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Baffles me why she wanted to go through all this jury and public selection process. A country should be invented just for her. In this way she will participate to Eurovision whenever she wants.

Alex
Guest
Alex

The selection is a hot mess and I’m glad at least one of the participants acknowledges it. The country really lucked out with getting strong songs and entrants in 2015 and 2016. Last year the judges completely dropped the ball, but honestly Greta Zazza was their best entrant and even then they wouldn’t have done that well with her song. Doing this game of musical chairs over 15 shows is not going to improve the quality.

Hebbuzz
Guest
Hebbuzz

I don’t recall her doing very well in the results but I liked the performance. I like it she makes a statement now, for the sake of quality. If it’s true that judges comment in the platform it’s very amateuristic indeed. Maybe she should have entered the San Marinese preselection or Switzerland has some space left.. ?

#pioneer
Guest
#pioneer

Such a pity she won’t be participating, I loved her song… 🙁
but I can understand why she decided to do so, as Lithuanian NF is really a big mess… :/

pasi
Guest
pasi

I don´t get her reaction, because she must have know how this games works… she took part 2016 with the same national final thing.

And her song isn´t perfect for eurovision, it´s such a boring song, wich can we use to sleep in….

jawnbc
Guest
jawnbc

She’s right. And last year the “experts” made sure something wholly uninteresting was selected, which tanked in Kyiv.

Ugnius
Guest
Ugnius

If you are can’t handle a little bit of the criticism, please understand that even in Eurovision you can expect that – I mean, even if you win NF, not everyone suddenly starts to like your song and/or performance therefore can criticize it. The complaint about jury members is also so to say funny – even at the ESC not everyone jury member has written a song, especially a hit. So what ? Also, it’s worth mentioning that 12 out of 13 participants in previous week ‘Eurovizijos atranka’ were no-names in Lithuania, so jury really had to give some criticism,… Read more »

Colin
Guest
Colin

I usually think that the artists complaining about not being appreciated enough are somewhat vain. In this case, however, I think that Ms. Jennings isn’t vain, but realistic. If she was competing in a respected and well construced NF, like UMK or Eesti Laul, things would be different. I mean, if world famous stars like Gunther and Kerli participated (and susequently, lost) without complaining, I believe it would be the same for Jennings. If Lithuania selected her entry among 10 or 15 for well made NF, she got constructive criticism from experts and lost, it wouldn’t be the problem. But,… Read more »

Pandaman
Guest
Pandaman

Wow, she seems so full of herself. Did she think she’d just automatically win because her song is “perfect”? Come on, everyone participating in the national selections think their song can possibly win, otherwise they would’ve just stayed home. So yeah, good she withdrew, at least the selections will be less toxic.

Montell
Guest
Montell

Winning LT national selection don’t come easy, no, it don’t come cheap. I don’t think the jury is too harsh. Ram?nas Zilnys and Darius Užkuraitis are very good people and their criticism I always respect. There have been times when some jury members were too direct and rude but that’s more of an exception than a rule. As many have already told here THE MAIN PROBLEM IS THAT ENTIRE SELECTION IS TOO LONG. Everyone gets bored, the singers, the judges, the people. It sucks big time. I think a singer should sing his/her song no more than 3 times. Quarter… Read more »

NickC
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NickC

I also agree with her. They should give comments behind closed doors (in order not to offend anyone), choose the best 10 songs and then let viewers and an international jury to decide the winner OVER ONE NIGHT.

ImpressiveInstants
Guest
ImpressiveInstants

Lots of respect for Ericah.

Hihej
Guest
Hihej

She should put forward her entry for Ireland ..

irish esc
Guest
irish esc

i totally agree with her decision to pull out as i watched that first show and felt like a lot of acts were being treated harshly by the judging panel

ninasublatti
Guest
ninasublatti

She’s totally right

Ana
Guest
Ana

In the first selection the commission was very good, gave the right remarks, advice, not offensive.

Matt
Guest
Matt

People have said before but the issue with the Lithuanian selection is a song needs staying power something that keeps audiences attracted on multiple listens, whereas in Eurovision it’s about connecting with viewers and staying with them after just one performance. I know that’s not quite related to what Erica said but it’s something they should think about.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Lithuania needs to change absolutely everything about their National Selection.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

As bad as the Lithuanian process is (in my opinion), it is still their process and she did sign up for it. Seems strange to complain about it now.
I am sure there are any number of countries that would consider internally selecting Erica and the Truth (why not Ireland?) so she can maybe consider a selection process more to her liking?

fastfoodmusiclover
Guest
fastfoodmusiclover

aww snap–

M_K
Guest
M_K

It’s really a great song, but I understand that an established artist doesn’t want to be put in a trainee’s position. I wouldn’t want someone who is less experienced than I am to explain me how to do my job, either.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

I respect her a lot for this. Those Lithuanian judges are always making nonsensical criticism.

Pastora Soler haha!
Guest
Pastora Soler haha!

Excuse me but she was obligated to participate there?

She knew perfectly the show and the rules

@ljay815
Guest

Interesting really. Can see her point, if she’s that much of an “established artist” then I can see why standing in front of a panel of judges talking at you (for FAR too long) would be hardly something you want to do.
On the other hand, it’s the process. If she wants to represent her country she needs to suck it up and participate, if not, I’m sure there are others who will happily take her place and chance to shine.

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

You go girl! Call it out for what it is, Lithuania’s selection is a joke in itself, who are the judges that think they have the right to act like that anyway lolol

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I have a lot of sympathy for Erica. The Lithuanian NF is a mess. The 10-week marathon is hard on performers and viewer fatigue means it doesn’t always lead to the best song being selected for Eurovision.

Even Donny Montell spoke about how difficult it was performing the same song week after week in 2016. Why should a pro like Erica have to go through the circus, week after week performing against inexperienced newcomers who shouldn’t be using the NF as their training ground?

Maybe Erica should offer her services to her country of birth! 😀

pasi
Guest
pasi

But she took part 2016 too, so she must have know how the game will be played? So I don´t understand her reaction… I know 10 weeks are too long… but wasn´t it the same 2016? And she took part there

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

See my comment below.

James
Guest
James

Considering how Eurovision Atranka works format-wise, I kinda understand where she’s getting at. Too many heats in addition to semis and a final if I recall correctly. Sure it helps that it’s rating well in Lithuania from what I’ve read but national selections shouldn’t be this complex.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

I think I said that over the summer. Too many heats. You win one heat, then they put you in another, then another, then another. Where’s the automatic qualification to the semis or the finals? It’s as if the whole contest is designed to wear you down, and even if you win one or more heats, the minute you slip up, you’re out. This is not a contest; this is a gauntlet, where the old saying, “K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid”, is sorely needed. Heats, semis and finals, with a repechage/second-chance round (like Andra Chansen at MF) if necessary.… Read more »

Pastora Soler haha!
Guest
Pastora Soler haha!

She speaks abouts egos… well darling, just take a look to the mirror

Too much diva. We can survive without her and her “hit”. World goes on…

Jo
Guest
Jo

The whole selection process should be reconsidered. It was already a big mess last year when they ended up with “Rains of Revolution”. Not a surprise that they have so few top 10 achievements.