Eurovision fans were left gasping on Monday when Russia announced it would organise its first national final since 2012. Stirring the confusion, Russia’s public broadcaster Channel One did not reveal any details other than its broadcast date, 8 March. No artist names. No song titles. Just the date and a rather amusing TV advert.

Earlier, Channel One’s entertainment producer Yuriy Aksyuta said the national final was a move to give power to the people after years of internal, behind-closed-doors selections. In a press release, he said:

“In past years, we usually resorted to [an internal selection]. But this year, we all wanted viewers to have the final say. Viewers will be presented with compositions that will meet the Eurovision requirements.”

However, several people in Russia’s music industry have criticised Channel One about its move towards a national final.

Russian entertainment professionals criticise national final

One of the critics is prominent producer Yana Rudkovskaya, who served as the chairperson of the Russian professional jury at Eurovision 2018. Rudkovskaya called the decision “illogical”. Speaking to Gazeta.ru, she said:

“Like a person who knows that kitchen from the inside, I can say that as a rule, the prizes can be known in advance. Therefore, it is necessary to send a more famous artist, who has already conquered international charts and is perceived as ‘our own’ in the countries of Easter Europe. For such an artist, there are much higher chances for a victory than for a new person.”

“Little Big are very popular in many countries. Therefore, I don’t understand why you cannot send them. In my opinion, it would have been more logical to just send them.”

Moskovskij Komsomolets music editor Artur Gasparyan criticised the secrecy of the national selection. The journalist told Moscow television channel 360:

“In the middle of the night, the whole country unexpectedly came to know that a national final for Eurovision would start a few days after. Such a thing doesn’t happen in any other country that takes part in the contest.”

“We don’t have anything besides an advertisement, unexpectedly emerging from Channel One, that says that we are suddenly going to choose a participant for Eurovision. From whom we are going to choose, who these participants are, from where they appeared, how they were chosen… everything is completely unknown.”

Can we expect a fair national final?

In his interview to 360, Gasparyan expressed concern about the possibility of a rigged result.

Channel One (which alternates its Eurovision duties with another broadcaster RTR) has only organised two national selections since 2000 — in 2005 and 2009. In both instances, the Russian media reported irregularities with the voting.

In the same article as Gasparyan, music critic Sergey Sodedov recalled the televoting of Russia’s national final of 2005:

“Dima [Bilan] led after his beautiful performance. But in the last minutes of the voting, his difference with Natalya Podolskaya became less and less, and in the last seconds, she took over from him. In the results, Bilan finished second, and Podolskaya went to Eurovision.”

“[Dima Bilan’s then producer] was indignant that it was all a deception, that it was all unfair. He revealed that they asked him for a bribe of 300 thousands euros to participate in Eurovision, but he refused.”

“Televoting is great, but if it will be fair and if the phonelines will work, that’s the big question.”

We should stress that producers deny any and all allegations of wrongdoing and irregularities in said national selections, and there is no hard evidence to substantiate the above claims.

At this moment, it seems that Channel One will not reveal any more information with regards to the acts before Monday. Another unnamed insider told a Russian media agency that the acts would be presented only during the live show.

What do you expect from the upcoming Russian national final? Which acts do you want to participate? Do you want Little Big to return? Let us know in the comments below!

Read all our Eurovision Russia news here.

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ESC 21
6 months ago

They can do what ever they want. As long they not win in ESC. But tgey gonna be top 5 enyway.

Efraim
Efraim
6 months ago

“In the middle of the night, the whole country unexpectedly came to know that a national final for Eurovision would start a few days after. Such a thing doesn’t happen in any other country that takes part in the contest.”
It can always be done worse, Mr. Gasparyan. TVE announced the vote opening date on Spain’s national final four days prior, at 12:50 AM. Not even the date of the national final itself.

Nicolas
Nicolas
6 months ago

Do they want to do like Lithuania ? What is the point of all that if the winner is already secured ? Can’t see the russian public voting massively else than Little Big.

Azimuth
Azimuth
6 months ago

No speculations please! Everything is going to be Ok. I know who is producing the show and trust me it is not an improvisation. And don’t rush into theories. This is not a «national selection» in a traditional sense 😉

Honesty
Honesty
6 months ago

This will be election between three Puti… i mean, three Little Big songs, mark my words.

Jamie
Jamie
6 months ago

It’s Russia, what y’all expect. There’s corruption on every corner.

BeepBoop
BeepBoop
6 months ago

This is just so confusing to me,and I live in Spain, which is like Confusion Land regarding Eurovision …This is the first time I see a national final in Russia — I know there had been some but I was too young to remember — and the fact that it is being handled so weirdly? At least it would make sense to know who is going to compete? I mean there is a great surprise factor there but I am not sure if it is working at the moment. Let’s see what happens!

Raussen
Raussen
6 months ago

Lol, they don’t know anything about Eurovision, because all winners are unknown artists, mostly and people like Bonnie Tyler, who are famous are not even in top 10, so who cares about fame

lithnerrr
lithnerrr
6 months ago

He is not Sodedov, but Sodedov

And well, we here already think that it all will be rigged as usual, let’s just hope for best

Last edited 6 months ago by lithnerrr
cipollino
cipollino
6 months ago
Reply to  lithnerrr

“He is not Sodedov, but Sodedov.”
What? I thought he was Sodedov, not Sodedov or Sodedov.

Whisker
Whisker
6 months ago
Reply to  cipollino

He’s Sodedov Sodedov.

Robert
Robert
6 months ago

I hope Little Big returns because Uno really grabbed me last year.. It would’ve butchered the televote.. Such fun..

Andreu
Andreu
6 months ago

While I want Little Big to come back I disagree with the artist who said because they are well known and can get points from Eastern Europe. I think it should not be based on how popular they are in their country and neighbouring countries but rather the song itself.

cipollino
cipollino
6 months ago
Reply to  Andreu

Rudkovskaya has stuck in blockvoting era.

Sabrina
Sabrina
6 months ago

I’m a little dizzy with the articles about the Russian final. Sometimes I feel everything is a big publicity stunt to promote Little Big’s new entry, sometimes I feel they’re rushing with a last minute decision. I guess we’ll only find out when the show starts

Pancake
Pancake
6 months ago

I think we’re all a little bit shookt and confused as to what the f is going on with Russia. Like, I don’t get why they didn’t just internally select Little Big or just have a normal NF set in last month without the secrecy and no BS, why just now where every country is rushing in? And why do the acts have to be kept a secret. Everything is leaving me with more questions than answers.

Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
6 months ago

Yeah, it does feel thrown together at the last minute. There must be some major chaos behind the scenes. How are we getting news about a national final so late in season and we don’t have firm confirmation of the contestants and songs? I have never seen such a closed off approach.

Zelenovi
Zelenovi
6 months ago

Plot twist: Natalia Gordienko’s red-carpet song presentation in Moscow *is* the Russian national final! But it’s a surprise because they haven’t told the Moldovans yet!
o.O
* d r a m a *

Last edited 6 months ago by Zelenovi
Max
Max
6 months ago

How about all members of Little Big perform in the National Final to introduce the audience to their respective personas? And in the end, they form Little Big to present the Eurovision entry.

Last edited 6 months ago by Max
Frans
Frans
6 months ago
Reply to  Max

They might not even be in the National Final. Right now, two of the four members are not in Moscow (Iliya is in St. Petersburg, Lissov is in Murmansk). Five days until that NF happens.

Sale
Sale
6 months ago

Guys chile it’s a prank they will present Little Big’s song at the night mark my words.

athena manoukian stan
athena manoukian stan
6 months ago
Reply to  Sale

that’s exactly my idea lmao. this sounds like something little big would do

Sale
Sale
6 months ago

Off topic Roxen just released Amnesia on youtube!!

Sven
Sven
6 months ago

if leaked short list is true then its not very good news for Russia, half of these so called artists can’t sing and have absolutely tasteless trash songs with inappropriate lyrics

only 2Mashas and Egor Kreed are ones who actually can sing and deliver the rest are just horrible…

canada_piano
canada_piano
6 months ago
Reply to  Sven

egor kreed is currently a judge on the voice kids so i doubt he will have any time to actually participate at esc

Yes
Yes
6 months ago

I love how there is literally no information about this and everyone names the show as “Russian National Final”
What a pity Little Big were ditched, they would’ve kicked asses in the televoting.

Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
6 months ago
Reply to  Yes

Unless this is all a prank to announce Little Big as the representatives after all, but that’s my most optimistic guess.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
6 months ago

To be fair, last year, Moldova didn’t even know that they had had a national final until after they had it.

Sale
Sale
6 months ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

HAHAHAHAHAH I’M DEAD

canada_piano
canada_piano
6 months ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

LMAO JHIFHGKJLDSGVHLDSJFS

Teddie
Teddie
6 months ago

So, according to this article right here: https://m-lenta-ru.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/m.lenta.ru/news/2021/03/03/short_list/amp/?amp_js_v=a6&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQFKAGwASA%3D#ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Flenta.ru%2Fnews%2F2021%2F03%2F03%2Fshort_list%2F

…LittleBig are involved in this show (confirmed by Konstantin Ernst, the head of Channel One) — although uknown in which capacity (perhaps just as the last year unfortunate contestant to do the honors of congratulating the next winner). The REAL contestants are: Morgenstern (extremely popular among kids trash rapper with songs like “I ate my grandpa, not a problem”), Egor Krid (russian Justin Bieber),
Therr Maitz (Anton Belyaev, winner of some vocal competitions a hundred years ago) and a duo #2mashi (Two Mashas, I don’t know who they are).

Teddie
Teddie
6 months ago
Reply to  Teddie

Also, an important note, telegram channel Super.Ru (sort of russian TMZ) says that there’s also NILETTO on this list. He’s a bit freaky and sugary pop singer with cringy songs that are basically throwbacks to godawful russian pop music of the 90’s.

canada_piano
canada_piano
6 months ago
Reply to  Teddie

i did reply to a previous comment, that egor kreed is a judge on the voice kids and likely will have no time to do eurovision

Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
6 months ago

What the hell is going on?

Davo
Davo
6 months ago

I wonder if this is just an elaborate prank to reveal Little Big’s Eurovision song in, what will inevitably be, a highly watched program. Using their dancer for the ad is a bit suspicious and the whole thing seems too bizarre to be real. But then again it is Russia, so who knows? Maybe all the acts will be Little Big giving the people just one choice, like in many Russian elections!!

Last edited 6 months ago by Davo
Emre Dinç
6 months ago
Reply to  Davo

I’ve been thinking the same thing.

Esc addict
Esc addict
6 months ago
Reply to  Davo

I don’t think they would do a prank involving famous names, or maybe they are not so famous or they are accomplices too, but it would be really really surprising, it’s Russia after all, so everything is possible. But if it’s a prank I don’t really see the aim of this.

Yes
Yes
6 months ago
Reply to  Davo

Yes, that comes to my head because it doesn’t makes sense at all

Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
6 months ago

I’m shocked, shocked to discover that gambling is going on here!

Sir, here are your winnings…

Last edited 6 months ago by Jimmy Smit
Joe
Joe
6 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Goodd reference!

Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
6 months ago
Reply to  Joe

A timeless classic 🙂

Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
6 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

I love Casablanca. It’s one of my all-time favorite classic movies.

Grft
Grft
6 months ago

Sounds a lot like Little big are not part of the selected artists… but then there is this story of their Instagram getting cleared today. So I don’t know what to think!

KRM
KRM
6 months ago

Strangely enough, Little Big have deleted all their posts on their Instagram account just like Roxen did some days ago.. so I still believe that they are in the running or somehow involved in the national final.

Katy
Katy
6 months ago
Reply to  KRM

This could be a precursor to the release of their highly anticipated album.

Amadeus
Amadeus
6 months ago
Reply to  KRM

In the age of cancel culture, this is just a safeguard to stay afloat, so that they don’t dig up a controversial tweet from 10 years ago and then everyone cancels you.

Last edited 6 months ago by Amadeus
Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
6 months ago
Reply to  Amadeus

Cancel yourself lest others cancel you!

Frans
Frans
6 months ago

A little bit off-topic, but Little Big’s Instagram account deleted all their posts, like two hours ago. Could it be something related to all of this?

Carl
Carl
6 months ago

In fairness it is the Eurovision SONG Contest. Little Big were selected in 2020 because they had a good song. Not saying they can’t back up 2020 with a good song this year or anything but acts shouldn’t be selected simply because they are a big name. I would like to see them back but if they are sent simply because of who they are and not to do with how good the song is then that’s not really the best result for a strong competitor like Russia.

Yes
Yes
6 months ago
Reply to  Carl

Reminds me of Julia Samoylova. She had a pretty good song for ESC 2017 but then Russia selected her again and selected a song that’s wasn’t good at all

Martin
Martin
6 months ago
Reply to  Yes

Yes, I really loved “Flame is burning”, it was really one of my favourites that year. I know, it is funny for everyone, but that’s my opinion.

Jake Dallas
Jake Dallas
6 months ago

Talk about ominous. Why couldn’t they just have a yes or no answer to if Little Big is back or not? If it is Little Big, then why the drama and suspense? If it isn’t then the Russian Broadcaster is going to get some angry fans.

Long story short, they should’ve just cleared this up in February or even August or something so we could sit with it. Not like this programme that is almost impending doom with suspense for no reason.

tee
tee
6 months ago

so it’s really just that nobody has considered that maybe Little Big has been internally selected already and they’re choosing to reveal it in a mock national final as a troll move? which is fully something Little Big, known trolls, would do? lmao alright then

Orangevorty
Orangevorty
6 months ago

“In the middle of the night, the whole country unexpectedly came to know that a national final for Eurovision would start a few days after. Such a thing doesn’t happen in any other country that takes part in the contest.”

Sounds a bit like the old national finals from the BBC.

Last edited 6 months ago by Orangevorty