On Wednesday 17 October, Ukraine unveiled its plans for Eurovision 2020. The country’s act will be chosen through the popular Vidbir format yet again. But there is one big change.
Following last year’s debacle, organisers have inserted a new clause whereby artists who have performed in Russia since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 cannot participate.
And in one fell swoop, a whole swathe of the Ukrainian music scene was blocked from entering.
Here are ten familiar faces who can’t participate in the upcoming series of Vidbir, even if they wanted to.
Note, this list is not exhaustive.
10 acts that can’t enter Ukraine’s Vidbir 2020 Eurovision selection
It was because of her Russian links that Maruv’s 2019 victory caused so much controversy. And in the months since, the “Siren Song” singer’s bonds with Russia have only become stronger. She’s even been nominated for the Best Russian Act at the MTV EMAs.
The Eurovision 2016 winner and Vidbir judge performed in Russia twice in 2014. First in Moscow and again in Sochi, on New Year’s Eve. However, her team has said that this was to fulfil pre-existing contractual obligations. She has not performed inside Russia since.
— Drac (@virkyncha) October 16, 2019
Jamala’s fellow Vidbir panellist is no stranger to Russia either. Although Verka went five years without performing there. However, the streak came to an end in 2018 when the drag artist performed at a New Wave after-party in Sochi.
Arguably, Ukraine’s most successful Eurovision alum, Ms Lorak is effectively completely based in Russia these days. Eurovision 2008’s “Shady Lady” continues to tour the region, attend award shows and make TV appearances. In 2015, she even held a show at the Kremlin.
Like Lorak, Loboda also operates primarily in Russia. The Eurovision 2009 singer has seen her star grow ever brighter in the region, topping the charts on numerous occasions. And in 2017 she too performed for audiences at the Kremlin.
He’s the Ukrainian that famously represented Belarus at Eurovision 2018. And he definitely won’t be repping his homeland soon. As recently as August 2019 he performed in Moscow’s Gorky Park.
The Hardkiss very nearly went to Eurovision 2016, tying with Jamala for the top spot in the Vidbir final. However, they lost out due to a lower televote score. Any plans of a Eurovision comeback would be scuppered by a June 2014 appearance at Moscow’s annual Park Live Fest.
The 18-year-old represented Ukraine on home soil at Junior Eurovision 2013. But a stint on The Voice of Russia in 2018 will put paid to any intentions she might have of entering the adult version. For what it’s worth, she reached the semi-finals on The Voice.
The Vidbir 2019 runners-up turned down the offer to go to Eurovision after Maruv withdrew. But they too have performed in Russia, including a June 2018 dinner show in Moscow.
A runner-up in the country’s 2012 selection, Max Barskih has gone on to become one of the region’s biggest popstars. As a result, he’s performed extensively throughout Russia, including tours in 2017 and 2018.
What do you think of the new rules? Let us know in the comments below.