They’re the band that emerged as a favourite to win Eurovision 2020 with their song “On Fire”. Now, after the contest was cancelled due to coronavirus precautions, Lithuanian broadcaster LRT has confirmed that The Roop have been offered a direct pass to the grand final of their 2021 national selection Pabandom iš naujo and will not be internally selected.
The Roop offered wildcard to final of Pabandom iš naujo 2021
On Tuesday, Lithuanian broadcaster LRT confirmed that Lithuania will still hold a national selection in 2021. That is perhaps not a surprise, as Lithuania hasn’t made an internal selection since 1994.
However, Deputy Director General of the LRT Gytis Oganauskas added that they have offered The Roop a direct pass to the grand final of Pabandom iš naujo 2021. He noted that they had attempted to find a creative solution that did not deprive The Roop, but also did not deprive other Lithuanian performers the opportunity to continue creating new songs:
“We are all saddened by this situation – “On Fire” was one of the main contenders to win [Eurovision 2020]. It received much sympathy both in Lithuania and abroad, but unfortunately can’t appear on the big Eurovision stage.
“Eurovision is first and foremost a song contest, which is gaining popularity every year in Lithuania, stimulating the creation of new songs and performances, thus attracting many who wish to try their hand at music producers and performers. We were looking for a solution to not deprive them of this opportunity, and at the same time not to deprive The Roop.
“As a result, we have made a somewhat non-standard decision. We will be preparing for a new national selection, and The Roop will automatically appear in its final. We greatly appreciate and thank The Roop for taking a responsible approach in preparing for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.”
Oganauskas went further to add that LRT will transfer the funds earned by the voting from Pabandom iš naujo 2020 to The Roop as a way of reimbursing them for the money that the band has already invested into their entry for Eurovision 2020:
“We understand that the group has already invested a lot of time and money in this, so we also decided to transfer to the group the voting funds that were to be used to prepare for the big Eurovision.”
This equates to almost €20,300 euros.
The Roop undecided on whether to accept LRT’s offer
Although LRT have made the offer to The Roop to compete in the grand final of Pabandom iš naujo 2021 the band have not yet decided whether to accept. Vaidotas Valiukevičius, the group’s leader, states:
“We understand that a variant was found that would suit the LRT and the group. Will we be involved in the screening, albeit on an exclusive basis? We don’t know yet. It’s only been a month and a half since winning the song “On Fire.” Everything is going very fast. Too fast. We need to think and make the decision much later.”
This response comes after the group previously said they feel “a moral right” to represent Lithuania at Eurovision. They had hoped that LRT would internally select them to wave the Lithuanian flag at Eurovision 2021. However, this sadly will not happen.
It is possible that having to compete in a national final once again adds too much pressure on The Roop. In Norway, Ulrikke turned down an invitation from NRK to have a direct pass to the grand final of Melodi Grand Prix 2021, citing that it’s difficult to restart from zero.
The Roop will make a decision on whether to compete in Pabandom iš naujo 2021 or not in the coming weeks.
What do you think of LRTs decision? Do you think The Roop can win the Lithuanian selection again? Let us know in the comments!