A Dal’s second semi-final came to a dramatic close on Saturday. Just before the credits rolled, host and ex-Eurovision star Freddie made a shocking statement — one of the finalists had been accused of plagiarism! Two days later, we have a name — Petruska.

In a sensational turn of events, the “Help Me Out of Here” singer has been expelled from the final. Moving swiftly, broadcaster MTVA has already replaced him with Gergő Oláh. The “Hozzád bújnék” performer had the highest combined jury/televote score among the non-qualifiers from both semis.

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What song did Petruska allegedly copy?

“White Sky” by Vampire Weekend. The award-winning indie/alternative rock band from New York city, formed in 2006. Throughout their career, they’ve been nominated for several awards, actually winning one Grammy, one NME and two Q awards. “White Sky” is the fourth single from the group’s second album Contra, released in 2010. It charted in the US, UK, France, Mexico and Belgium.

What does MTVA say?

  • There have been plagiarism claims in the previous years, however, none of them proved to be true.
  • As a guarantee to avoid situations like this, every year, artists competing in A Dal sign a declaration which has a serious fine attached if breached.
  • Gyula Fekete, deputy rector and expert of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, has stated the following in his professional resolution: “The tonality, tempo, arrangement, harmony structure, typical bassline, and melody of the two songs are identical. The very characteristical chorus of the Vampire Weekend song also shows resemblance with Petruska’s song, which makes the mood and character of “Help Me Out Of Here”  is identical with the one of “White Sky”. Knowing that many hits are made with the same limited inventory of tools and that many songs nowadays sound similar to each other, still, in our case the parameters mentioned above of Petruska’s song show too many resemblances with Vampire Weekend’s song, therefore “Help Me Out Of Here” can be classified as plagiarism.
  • Since the professional resolution was clear, the producers of the show, according to the rules, had to immediately disqualify Petruska from the competition. As it mentioned in the live show, the replacement will be the non-qualifying act with the biggest combined score of jury and televote, in this case, Gergő Oláh.
  • Petruska was notified about the decision and its background in person, before the release of the press statement.
  • The declaration mentioned above, signed by the acts would enable MTVA to collect the huge penalty from Petruska, however, with the disqualification alone, the board of the broadcaster considers the case closed and focuses on Saturday’s Grand Final of A Dal 2019.

Notably, the broadcaster has not disclosed the original source of the plagiarism complaints.

Petruska’s statement

This afternoon, Petruska reacted to his disqualification. The singer expressed his shock in a lengthy Facebook message. Although he doesn’t intend to protest the broadcaster’s decision, he denies that he plagiarised the Vampire Weekend song.

He argues that since his entry is built on the three most-used chords in pop music and uses the shuffle rhythm, it’s easy to find similarities. He was inspired by folk and dance songs from Zimbabwe and Malawi when writing the track. In his view, any similarities are coincidental.

KÖZLEMÉNY??Szombat este egy kedves barátom meglepetés születésnapi bulijának emelkedett pillanatába csapott villámként…

Posted by Petruska on Monday, February 18, 2019

 

What do you think? Do you hear any similarities? Are you happy with MTVA’s decision? Let us know in the comments.

Follow all our Hungary Eurovision 2019 news.

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Héctor
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Héctor

MGP producers should do the same with Erlend Bratland’s entry “Sing For You”, which is pretty similar too “Angels” by Robbie Williams. In this case, I think there are some noticeable resemblances. It’s better to dq the act than to make problems bigger if chosen. Also, MTVA hasn’t fined Petruska, so he should be glad. I still think is pity for the artist though. There is the possibility where one may have listened a song and then without being truly aware creates a chord progression or a melody very similar; this is called “cryptomnesia”. I also think it is easy… Read more »

Nikko
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Nikko

When is a song called a “plagiarism”? Are there any rules? I get the similarities but it is still somehow different.

There were other cases, where it was more obvious. Like you remember the case of Anna Book in Mello 2016. The producers took a song which finished like 10th in the semi final of O Melodi Pentru Europa and they thought no one will get it because it is Moldova. Don’t underestimate Eurovision Fans 😀
This is plagiarism! But this…

NoNameman
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NoNameman

Funny, when everybody said that Netta’s song is a plagiat noone DQ her. She won and they added one more songwriter ?. And dont forget MF 2019 and mr Johnson with song Army od us…

Madeira Taytays
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Madeira Taytays

So because they may (or may not) have done something bad, it’s okay for this chump to? NOPE.

Tibor
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Tibor

You can often find similarities between songs if you put them right next to each other and actively look for them. I mean, we’re in an age where it’s really difficult to do something that has never been done before . And there can always be similarities in instrumentation structure or chords. A few days ago, for example, I happened to stumble across a mash-up between Adele’s “Set fire to the rain” and Modern Talking’s “Brother Louie” – it’s almost a sacrilege, but now I can’t unhear the similarities between these two and it ruined one of my favorite Adele-pieces… Read more »

Duane
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Duane

Knowing nothing about either band or any of there songs; I’ve listened to both and to be hoe st I can’t tell which song is which because they sound very very similar. Like other comments I don’t k is if it’s a blatant tip off but I’m not surprised that the decision was made.

Veta
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Veta

Oh, no… I adored Petruska’s song, it was my 2d place of all the 30, and 1st place for the final. I would have never thought it could end up not being original. Also his A Dal entries made me listen to his music and most of the time he sounds like a genius rather than a thief.. I was looking forward for his upcoming album.. and now this heartbreaking news are coming up… I’m not an expert but hear some similarities in the songs too.. still, it’s all kinda strange. I don’t think Petruska is that rich to take… Read more »

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

It’s easy to think of plagiarism as a deliberate act – but it can be accidental. Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran were recently found to have unintentionally incorporated bits of other people’s songs into “Stay With Me” and “Shape of You”, respectively. So I wonder if the same thing happened here. Petruska might have randomly heard the Vampire Weekend song in a cafe one day, not even actively listened to it, then a few days later he’s writing “Help Me Out of Here” and is unknowingly influenced by “White Sky”. It doesn’t sound like a blatant rip-off, but when Eurovision… Read more »

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

The answer is a lie detector test. Surely.
Q: Did you intentionally plaigiarise Song X when you wrote Song Y?
A: No, I did not.
Checks lie detector result… Sorted. Over. Done.

poe-tay-toe-chips
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poe-tay-toe-chips

everyone knows lie detector tests are unreliable and not always accurate a good chunk of the time

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Actually I didn’t know that, but now I do.

tonis
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tonis

I for one enjoyed your comment, no matter if you were serious or not.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Am still hearing similar rather than the same but I’d need someone like Purple Mask to break this one down lol.
Is it not important that Petruska’s song is miles better?

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I’m actually out travelling today with no headphones, so I can’t help you with a musical analysis until tomorrow.
However, in my opinion, the only way to truly sort this out would be a lie detector test.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

It’s cool. Was highlighting more my inability to comment about this on that sort of level rather than anything else.
Sounds as if you think the similarities are strong enough though.

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

The similarities are only strong enough to ask the question, not to ouright accuse, convict and sentence. Hence, the lie detector test.

Franky
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Franky

Lie detector tests are not objective enough; one can be under pressure in answering questions or in a state of nervousness and it would come out as a lie based on your body’s reaction. So no, a lie detector test more than anything provides subjective analysis of how a person feels about a question, rather than an objective analysis of something like plagiarism. Also lie detector tests have never been the basis of evidence for conviction in a court of law. It doesn’t measure whether someone is lying or not. It measures a body’s response to a question, and everybody… Read more »

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

I honestly didn’t know that the test was that unreliable, otherwise I wouldn’t have suggested it. Thanks for the information.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

If Petruska know they are innocent, they should have the right to sue. If, however, they are lying, they have the right to go away.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

That’s ridiculous, I adore this album from Vampire Weekend and have listened to “White Sky” a million times – and I never would have made the connection.

CyxCy
Guest
CyxCy

What a shame! Petruska was the best in this selection! I’m shoked by this decision.
I am convinced that this decision comes from the fact that they did not foresee that it would go so far and that they found only this pretext to get rid of a contestant who was not the marketing product to which they had thought.

Kat
Guest
Kat

If only this had happened sooner, Leander Kills could have advanced T_T

andrea danese
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andrea danese

Sorry for Petruska, but that means my favourite is suddenly in the final! YAY!!!!

Daniel_2017
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Daniel_2017

My thoughts exactly!

miwawi
Guest
miwawi

Croatia then has to be DQ as well. That one is even more obvious.

Colin
Guest
Colin

We do need a better song…

Ágnes
Guest
Ágnes

Okay, I get it, they are very similar, but the producers should’ve looked into things like this before choosing the 30 songs, shouldn’t they? It’s not fair to let the poor guy do all the shows and then come up with this! These are basic things that shouldn’t even be a problem!

eurovision6
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eurovision6

Yup, I can hear it. Agree that it is plagiarism.