It’s the once triumphant national selection that descended into farce in 2019. But despite much speculation regarding its future, Vidbir 2020 will happen.
Vidbir 2020 Rule Change
Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC and private network STB published the rules for next year’s national selection earlier today, Wednesday 16 October. The three-show series will kick off with two semis on 8 and 15 February, followed by a 22 February grand final.
But nestled in between a five-section rule book is a change that’s certain to raise eyebrows.
Entrants must not have performed in the territory of the Russian Federation since 2014. They also can’t have entered Crimea “in violation of the legislation of Ukraine”. Furthermore, they cannot have plans to do either during the competition or Eurovision.
The aftermath of Maruv
This rule change comes in the wake of the chaotic Vidbir 2019, which saw the winner Maruv withdraw due to a breakdown in contract negotiations. Much of the disagreement related to the singer’s close ties to Russia.
These links came centre stage when Eurovision 2016 winner Jamala pointed a finger at the “Siren Song” singer and asked her an “uncomfortable question” on the issue.
Ukraine and Russia have been at war since 2014 when the latter illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula.
Maruv’s withdrawal triggered a spectacular chain of events which resulted in the second and third place acts, Freedom Jazz and Kazka, also turning down the offer to represent Ukraine in Tel Aviv. The country called it quits before fourth-place finishers Brunettes Shoot Blondes had the opportunity to say no.
Regarding the rule on Russia, the writing has been on the wall for some time. One of the many fallouts from the whole 2019 fiasco was a strongly worded statement from the private broadcaster STB. Since 2016, it has organised the Vidbir selection process on UA:PBC’s behalf. Despite the statement, which made it clear that STB did not support the misuse of Vidbir and MARUV, UA:PBC wanted to continue the partnership.
At the time, the broadcaster said “We take the blame for the situation with the Eurovision and want to launch a public dialogue.” The network vowed to seek a broad discussion on the rules and regulations regarding royalties and artists touring Russia — two of the big issues in the breakdown of MARUV’s contract negotiations.
What do you think of the new rule? Is it a step too far or is it necessary? Let us know in the comments.