A whole generation grew up on his music in Russia. To this day, he is still the only Russian winner of Eurovision. Dima Bilan is turning forty this year and has a long career to look back on.

In an in-depth interview and shoot with the Russian branch of OK! Magazine, Dima spoke about his anniversary and future plans, including the possibility of returning to Eurovision.

In August, the Eurovision 2008 champion will be the centre of attention during the New Wave festival in Sochi. There, his jubilee will be celebrated with a grand concert with many regional stars. Next to that, the “Believe” star is continuously releasing new music. Most recently, he released the single “Ona moya”.

 

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Dima Bilan’s willingness to return to Eurovision

Dima Bilan has never hidden the fact that he loves Eurovision. Since 2005, his career has been connected to the contest. He represented his country twice, winning the microphone trophy in 2008 as the first, and so far only, Russian participant to ever do this. In 2012, he finished second in the Russian national final with a duet alongside former t.A.T.u. member Julia Volkova.

Since then, Dima Bilan has never ruled out a return to Eurovision. Back in 2019, he teased his fans that he was open to participate again in case the country was to hold an open national final. When OK! Magazine enquired of him whether he wanted to appear on the Eurovision stage again, Dima answered:

“I can’t say anything with that regards, because… You understand why.”

When OK! Magazine asked whether it’s a case of “never say never”, the “Believe” hitmaker answered:

“Probably, yes. I hear more and more often, that they assess me from different sides, and I think they will push me out there at some time with their desires. Such a common consensus, like there was then, I don’t remember, honestly, not in history.”

Later in the interview, Dima adds:

“One of the first questions you posed me about Eurovision, for example, is one I can’t say anything about, because all is still subject of discussion. Maybe, 2022 will turn into something bright, who knows.”

Dima Bilan shares pride in Manizha

Back in March, Dima Bilan was one of the first local artists to actively support Manizha. The “Russian Woman” songstress received a lot of negative attention from both locals as well as Russian musicians. However, Dima jumped to her support and called out those who discriminated Manizha for her Tajik background.

In his OK! Magazine interview, Dima repeated that he absolutely loved her song and added that he thought her performance in Rotterdam was very authentic. He said:

“(…) I am inspired by how Manizha did it and how she went against the big shadow of hate, luckily. I also went through that multiple times, but it broke me very much, and I needed a long time to come to my senses afterwards. I was watching and I understood that yes, she is powerful, she’s strong, she’s interesting, she was something before, she didn’t come out of the blue, she always talked about these kind of social problems, things and also stood for her position.”

Going into Eurovision for the second time and being the red hot favourite to win made an impression on Dima. He added:

“[All the feeling of being broken] stays behind the cameras, behind the stage. People only remember the victory or the bright performance. And what happens within and what happens with a person, is something nobody knows, you can’t climb in their heads. I am constantly analysing, looking, how much effort something is worth. I just know it. I am such a person, like all, who was confronted with all that, when they were telling me: ‘Don’t return without the victory’. Some of those famous politicians and political scientists said that nothing shone for me, swearing that they would eat their hats.

“If you can remember, we only used to have television, there was no internet. The victory was as strong as the sale of a million or two vinyl records, it was the maximum breakthrough for the whole world, even Australia joined afterwards. Even the United States opened for me.”

Do you want Dima Bilan to return to Eurovision? Who should represent Russia next year at the contest in Italy? Let us know in the comments down below!

Read all our Eurovision Russia news here

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Red X
Red X
1 month ago

Going from taking a huge risk with Manizha to sending him or Sergey would be a huge step backwards. I want Russia to send like Zivert or any other artist that’s actually relevant in Russia and hasn’t taken part in ESC before.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
1 month ago

he’s a lovely guy but if there’s someone whose potential contribution to the eurovision amounts to nothing, that’s dima bilan

Apollo
Apollo
1 month ago

I’m sick to death of the ever-ageing, outdated & lacklustre ‘Dream Team’. Russia has insane amounts of talent compared to the majority of European nations. If Russia completely changed their approach to Eurovision they could win year after year. They should take notes from Italy and France.

VlaD
VlaD
1 month ago
Reply to  Apollo

Well it seems you are the only one.
We got a top 3 place with the Dream Team and 9th with the “experiments” of C1R.

Mr X
Mr X
1 month ago
Reply to  VlaD

No he´s not the only one….

Nils
Nils
1 month ago

From Manizha to Dima Bilan? That’s a huge step backwards. Also, I don’t get why Dima wants to return at all. There’s nothing left to achieve.

Nicole
Nicole
1 month ago

I wanted to see Zivert 🙁

Mr X
Mr X
1 month ago
Reply to  Nicole

This could be very interesting…

VlaD
VlaD
1 month ago

Taking into consideration that Yana and him are in very close contact with the Dream Team, and that the Dream Team is working with RTR I am sure that Bilan is going to represent us.
Another top 5 result for the Dream Team.
I think haters will suicide 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by VlaD
Valentino
Valentino
1 month ago
Reply to  VlaD

Somehow unrelated. I believe you’re Russian from your post.
I wanted to ask, how people in Russia view Kirkorov?

VlaD
VlaD
1 month ago
Reply to  Valentino

As people in the U.K view Elton John.
Kirkorov is very well respected for several reasons : He is the first person that brought very big shows in the Russian music industry, he is a very strong singer, he has numerous hits and most of all he is very supportive with young artists. He always supports young talents.

Valentino
Valentino
1 month ago
Reply to  VlaD

Ok, didn’t know why I thought he wasn’t very much loved. Manizha was invited on a talk show, and seemed he was kind of being made fun of. Maybe the translation wasn’t great.

VlaD
VlaD
1 month ago
Reply to  Valentino

he was one of the few artists that supported Manizha publicly

Mr X
Mr X
1 month ago
Reply to  VlaD

But for good reasons Pasha Parfeny don´t respect him…

Sot
Sot
1 month ago

Well tbh I’m generally against the return of old winners. I mean, why would you return to a contest that you had previously won, just for your song to be hated or overlooked, as in 2008 with Charlotte Nillsen, 2011 with Dana International and 2018 with Alexander Rybak

Jofty
Jofty
1 month ago
Reply to  Sot

And Niamh Kavanagh in 2010. I thought at one stage it might be “sorry, zero points”.

Mr X
Mr X
1 month ago
Reply to  Sot

Totally agree – former winner should not return to esc (the last big exception was Johnny Logan but you can´t compare it with esc nowadays.)

Last edited 1 month ago by Mr X
ESC Commentator
ESC Commentator
1 month ago

Thanks but no thanks! He represented Russia twice already, winning the Contest with one of the weakest songs which has ever won the contest. Appatently, I don’t think he could win it now with the current system of voting (which includes jury) as the ex-Soviet Union allies won’t support Russia as much as in early 2000s hopefully. So even better for him not to risk (as Sergey did). Russia surely has a lot of talented singers with more ambitious music who deserve to present themselves at the ESC:) sorry Dima!

Jake
Jake
1 month ago

I like the direction they were going with Manizha. I don’t like the old predictable Russia, with Sergey, Dima and peace ballads.

Mr X
Mr X
1 month ago
Reply to  Jake

Me neither !

Giorgio
Giorgio
1 month ago
Reply to  Jake

Preach!

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

oh god no. He had his chances twice and he won (shouldn’t have won though).

I guess he wants to refresh his career so he wants to do Eurovision again. Remember he took part in the national final in 2012 but came 2nd to the grannies?

Russia is a big country so just let others compete.

Erasmus
Erasmus
1 month ago

if he doesn’t go with the dream team – I’ll take him…

enough of Sergey tho, he had his chance 2 x… it’s enough…

but the dream team is getting even more tiring… can they even deliver a good package?

esc_fl
esc_fl
1 month ago
Reply to  Erasmus

Dima represented Russia twice too, though

VlaD
VlaD
1 month ago
Reply to  Erasmus

can they ever deliver a good package? Is this a joke? Russia 2006, Ukraine 2008, Azerbaijan 2013, Russia 2016, Russia 2019, Greece 2021

Erasmus
Erasmus
1 month ago
Reply to  VlaD

lol Greece 2021 and Russia 2019 weren’t good packages… Russia’s song in 2019 was so dated and just eurovision-by-numbers, Greece’s song in 2021 was fine but the staging was messy af and it also looked cheap… only Russia 2016 was saved by the staging.

finnished
finnished
1 month ago

We don’t want any more returning acts for Russia, sorry.

Personally, I would love to see Zivert. And I could see that happening as she was one of the candidates for Russia in 2020.

Zhenya
Zhenya
1 month ago
Reply to  finnished

Zivert would be killing it!

Fast Food Music Lover
Fast Food Music Lover
1 month ago

Love how passionate he is with Eurovision and it’s great that he wants to contribute to Russia’s participation. Maybe he can take a role similar to Ilse DeLange instead of participating himself as a singer.

Rose
Rose
1 month ago

I’d prefer that over participating, honestly.

Eugenie
Eugenie
1 month ago

I’m sorry , Dima is great, but I want someone new to represent Russia. He had his chance, he done great job, but perhaps it’s time for other stars to shine bright.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Eugenie

I want the best song to represent Russia. If Dima has that, he gets to go again – it’s not about everybody getting a turn, it’s a contest… or at least it should be.

Luc
Luc
1 month ago
Reply to  Eugenie

And he even won once, so he did everything an artist could do at the contest. So, I agree it’s time for new artists to represent Russia.