The curse of 43 at Eurovision strikes again. In recent times when there has been a field of 43 entrants, someone has fallen victim to a withdrawal, disqualification or a ban. In 2009 Georgia’s ‘We Don’t Wanna Put In’ was forced to withdraw for political content, Armenia announced they would not compete in 2012 due to ongoing disputes over the Nagorno-Karabakh region with host nation Azerbaijan, Romania’s Anton Ovidiu was forced to withdraw last year due to unpaid licencing fees by the national broadcaster and now Russia have been forced to withdraw from the Contest following the ban of their artist Yulia Samoilova, as a result of her performing in the disputed region of the Crimea.
As a result of this law, and because the Russian national broadcaster and European Broadcasting Union were unable to reach a compromise, Yulia will not compete at Eurovision 2017. Many have accused Russia of deliberately selecting a singer who had performed in Crimea, as a way of stoking the flames between the two countries. Others have criticised the EBU and Ukraine’s approach, remarking that the decision is against the ethos of the competition of coming together and being welcoming to all.
The people who ultimately lose out are the Eurovision fans who have been robbed of another song, and Yulia herself who will not get to perform her song on the stage. The Ukrainian organisers have also come under a lot of flack for having the tagline ‘Celebrate Diversity’ and yet they have banned the second ever contestant who is a wheelchair user from competing in the Contest.
Politics aside, the probability of Russia actually advancing to the final of the Contest were slim. While I must admit I wasn’t a fan of ‘Flame is Burning’ when I first heard it, due to the at times unintelligible lyrics and the less than ground-breaking melody, the song did grow on me after subsequent listens. The chorus is the song at its strongest as it allows Yulia to showcase her vocals and the lyrics are more memorable.
The video that goes along with the song is equally as lack lustre. It is a stripped back live performance that while showing off Yulia’s charisma and beautiful smile, is boring with typical Eurovision stage lighting and smoke machine effects.
My Ranking: N/A (Withdrawn)
My Prediction: N/A (Withdrawn)