Alekseev has already survived a storm of criticism. During Belarus’ national final, the Ukrainian faced allegations of cheating and watched a fellow competitor withdraw because he didn’t want Alekseev in the show. And even now many other Belarusians have been critical of the fact a “foreigner” is representing them.
Well now Alexander Rybak — the Minsk-born contestant representing Norway — has spoken out to defend Alekseev. In a long interview with the Belarusian news portal tut.by, the Norwegian singer with Belarusian roots said:
“As far as I know, the rules of the national selection did not prohibit [a foreign artist representing the country]. I hope that Belarusians support Nikita, because without this support for an artist it can be difficult. At the same time, I am glad that the Norwegian people are not against their country being represented by someone with Belarusian roots. That is great luck.”
He believes that Norwegians don’t make a fuss about his background because “artists are probably valued more for having talent.”
Interview with Alekseev at Eurovision in Concert 2018
Alekseev is not the only “foreigner”
Let’s remember that Alekseev is not the only artist representing a country where they don’t have citizenship. Bulgaria’s Equinox includes members from the United States; Maltese singer Jessika is representing San Marino alongside German Jenifer B; Latvian singer Laura Rizzotto spent most of her life in Brazil and the US, and the Polish entry features the Swedish vocalist Lukas Meijer.
Countries routinely send artists who were born abroad, but have made lives in their new country. This year the list includes Norway’s Alexander Rybak, and Italy’s Ermal Meta and Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira — both of whom were born in Albania.
Luxembourg counts five wins at the contest — making it one of the most successful countries in Eurovision history. None of these wins came from a Luxembourg national.
Monaco’s only winner Séverine was said to have never visited the microstate when she won Eurovision in 1971.
Do you agree with Alexander Rybak on the matter? Is it important to be a national of the country you represent? Let us know in the comments below!