The crisis with Russia deepens
April 13, 2017 10:36 AM   Subscribe

With a month to go until the finals week, Russia has announced that it is withdrawing from the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine. This follows the entry ban imposed on the Russian singer Yulia Samoylova for traveling to the Crimea via Russia post-annexation, and a tense standoff, unresolved by an offer of a satellite performance or intervention by Burger King's Russian office. In a statement, Russian Channel 1 station confirmed they will not show the event.

Elsewhere and previously:
* The full line-up of acts for Eurovision 2017.
* Eurovision 2017: harmony, unity, diversity, international conflict.
* There's always Eurovision.

Across the bookmakers, "Occidentali's Karma" by Francesco Gabbani for Italy still remains the clear favorite to win this year's contest.
posted by Wordshore (63 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Holy shit.

Has this ever happened before? I can't think of a year where a country dropped out.
posted by Torosaurus at 10:38 AM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


And thus does Putin ensure his own doom.
posted by tommyD at 10:39 AM on April 13, 2017 [8 favorites]


Has this ever happened before? I can't think of a year where a country dropped out.

Drop-outs have happened a few times for different reasons - most notably, Georgia pulled out of the contest in 2009 when their song, "We Don't Wanna Put In" (say it with an accent), was blocked for having overtly political content, and they decided not to change it to remove said content.
posted by LSK at 10:42 AM on April 13, 2017 [10 favorites]


Are there any bookies taking bets on the likelihood that Scotland will begin submitting their own separate entry before the decade's end?
posted by duffell at 10:46 AM on April 13, 2017 [8 favorites]


"Occidentali's Karma"

Ooh, meta-philosophy at Eurovision.
posted by biffa at 10:51 AM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


A little slow, but the TV news here in England has just interrupted something something North Korea nuclear test something with breaking news of Russia's Eurovision withdrawal. Read it on MetaFilter first!
posted by Wordshore at 10:56 AM on April 13, 2017 [12 favorites]


the entry ban imposed on the Russian singer Yulia Samoylova for traveling to the Crimea via Russia post-annexation, and a tense standoff, unresolved by an offer of a satellite performance or intervention by Burger King's Russian office.

how does one write satire in a world like this
posted by clockzero at 11:26 AM on April 13, 2017 [39 favorites]


Y'know, this seems like light entertainment news, but it does feel weirdly like a bell weather of something bigger and worse.
posted by anastasiav at 11:44 AM on April 13, 2017 [19 favorites]


Has this ever happened before? I can't think of a year where a country dropped out.

IIRC, Armenia refused to attend the Eurovision held in Baku because their didn't feel safe sending an act to Azerbaijan. And the Turks dropped out because they hated the Big Five system.

I guess it depends on what the definition of "dropping out" means. I don't recall of any case where a national selection was determined and then the country refused to send the act.

This sucks. How can Ukraine win with a song that was pretty much pointed at Russia and then boot out the Russian entry the next year because she traveled to the Crimea? (The fact that the Russian entry is wheelchair-bound won't be good PR for the Ukraine in banning her entry. )

And the Russians have decided to retaliate by not showing Eurovision, which is probably one of the few gay-friendly events which gets to be seen on Russian TV. Nice job, Ukraine.

And Eurovision has been so pure! (Conveniently forgetting Francisco Franco, that is.)
posted by Roentgen at 11:48 AM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh shit, it's on.

/digs bunker.
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on April 13, 2017 [4 favorites]


This sucks. How can Ukraine win with a song that was pretty much pointed at Russia and then boot out the Russian entry the next year because she traveled to the Crimea? (The fact that the Russian entry is wheelchair-bound won't be good PR for the Ukraine in banning her entry. )

Illegally entering a country tends to earn you a lifetime ban from reentering that country.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:58 AM on April 13, 2017 [14 favorites]


Crisis? Really? Dropping out of Eurovision is a sign of crisis?

Not a Eurovision fan, but that's overusing an overused word.


Uh.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:58 AM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Has this ever happened before? I can't think of a year where a country dropped out.

Ukraine dropped out a couple years ago after Crimea was invaded. It was part of the dynamics of Russia coming in second place that year; despite the Russian act being explicitly anti-Russian policy and receiving harassment from other Russians about it, she was frequently booed because people were so pissed at Russia and she was a convenient target. I really felt for her even while I was royally pissed about Russia's actions.

I have to admit I was more sanguine about Russia not winning; hosting Eurovision in Russia the year after they invaded Ukraine would have been... ugly.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:01 PM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think the real questions should be:

a) Why are a bunch of Middle Eastern and North African countries members of the EBU when they, in fact, are not in Europe?
b) How is Australia, with only an associate membership able to compete?

I know people are very concerned about Russia something something right now, but these are the questions that will endure.
posted by bluejayway at 12:24 PM on April 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


In a statement, Russian Channel 1 station confirmed they will not show the event.

But... won't somebody please think of the children!?
posted by LeLiLo at 12:45 PM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


> I know people are very concerned about Russia something something right now, but these are the questions that will endure.

the answer to all of your questions is "because it's Eurovision."

but yeah Eurovision is one of those institutions that binds Eastern Europe and Western Europe together, and the participation of Western and Eastern countries together in the song contest is a powerful symbol of post-Cold-War unity. the fact that this symbol of unity also happens to be just gay as hell is an extra added bonus that makes it a genuinely beautiful institution. Russia pulling out is bad news.

(I'm kinda a Eurovision poseur, cause I was one of the kids introduced to it by Finnish monster metal band Lordi's win in 2006, but since then I've fallen in unironic love with all things Eurovision.)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:49 PM on April 13, 2017 [9 favorites]


The struggle is real.

#freeyulia
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:01 PM on April 13, 2017


he fact that the Russian entry is wheelchair-bound won't be good PR for the Ukraine in banning her entry.

Maybe I'm cynical, but I suspect the optics of Ukraine barring somebody like her from the competition played more than a small role in her selection as the Russian entry.
posted by gyc at 1:09 PM on April 13, 2017 [10 favorites]


There is a little part of me that is still so unimpressed with their calculated, derivative entry from last year that is just fine with not having to sit through whatever they concocted for this year, I have to admit, even though it's still sad that they are out of the contest this year totally. But jeez, listen dudes, you should have known better than to select a candidate who literally can't enter the host country.

On the bright side, does that mean that Eurovision will get some competition with a new revival of the Intervision Song Contest?
posted by sldownard at 1:11 PM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


I am reminded of the Soviet boycott of the 84 Olympics in LA.

Somebody get Lionel Ritchie on the phone, only he can save us with a massive dance party!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:11 PM on April 13, 2017 [4 favorites]


Forget it, Jake. It's Eurovision.
posted by stevis23 at 1:14 PM on April 13, 2017 [5 favorites]


On the bright side, does that mean that Eurovision will get some competition with a new revival of the Intervision Song Contest?

Russia threatened that in 2014 (Previously on MeFi), the year drag performer Conchita Wurst from Austria won. Every Russian entry since then has felt to me like increasingly desperate begs for a win - you just know it would be a massive feather in Putin's Russian Supremacy cap.
posted by dnash at 2:07 PM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]



There is a little part of me that is still so unimpressed with their calculated, derivative entry from last year that is just fine with not having to sit through whatever they concocted for this year, I have to admit, even though it's still sad that they are out of the contest this year totally.


On balance, it's probably better to try too hard to win than to not try at all *cough*UK*cough*.
posted by gyc at 2:12 PM on April 13, 2017 [4 favorites]


Every Russian entry since then has felt to me like increasingly desperate begs for a win - you just know it would be a massive feather in Putin's Russian Supremacy cap.

If only you could steroid and/or bomb your way to winning a music competition...

Wait, what about bribes? Has anyone tried bribes?
posted by Behemoth at 2:21 PM on April 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


Eurovision votes are by phone and mobile app. Sounds safe to me...
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 2:44 PM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


Not a Eurovision fan, but that's overusing an overused word.

In Europe, this is a really big deal--on par almost with the Olympics or something. It's not an exaggeration or beanplating to see this as a bad sign.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:45 PM on April 13, 2017 [4 favorites]


It seems like the 1980 Moscow Olympics boycott was more of a crisis signal, and that turned out...so-so.

Countries choosing not to participate in important international cultural events doesn't necessarily mean that war is coming. Right?
posted by witchen at 3:18 PM on April 13, 2017


Does this mean England won't finish last? Presumably their NUL POINTS ranks ahead of Russia's DNF?
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:47 PM on April 13, 2017 [4 favorites]


It'll be interesting to see how the post-Soviet states do now without all of the migrant labor countrymen in Russia voting for them.
posted by k8t at 3:58 PM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


a) Why are a bunch of Middle Eastern and North African countries members of the EBU when they, in fact, are not in Europe?
b) How is Australia, with only an associate membership able to compete?


a) It has to do with a broadcasting company, not "Europe" as we think about it. The name comes from one of the channels put out by that broadcasting company.
b) Australia being included is a very recent thing (2015) and was initially meant to be just for that year, but they ended up being a lot of fun. The Wikipedia page covers when different countries joined and in what context.
posted by Deoridhe at 4:34 PM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


IIRC, Armenia refused to attend the Eurovision held in Baku because their didn't feel safe sending an act to Azerbaijan. And the Turks dropped out because they hated the Big Five system.

Also, Lebanon (whilst a member of the EBU) has been abstaining for years after the EBU ruled that it could not prohibit its citizens from voting for Israel.
posted by acb at 5:10 PM on April 13, 2017 [6 favorites]


Russia threatened that in 2014 (Previously on MeFi), the year drag performer Conchita Wurst from Austria won.

The Eurasian Heterosexual Song Contest: now guaranteed 100% non-gay, and not the least bit camp.
posted by acb at 5:13 PM on April 13, 2017


Australia being included is a very recent thing (2015) and was initially meant to be just for that year, but they ended up being a lot of fun. The Wikipedia page covers when different countries joined and in what context.

Hell, Canada has an unofficial win, unless someone can explain to me how Celine Dion suddenly became Swiss in 1988.
posted by thecjm at 6:44 PM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


On balance, it's probably better to try too hard to win than to not try at all *cough*UK*cough*.

The U.K. does try to win though - they've tried an exciting range of failed strategies - it's just that they're really bad at it.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:17 PM on April 13, 2017 [8 favorites]


how Celine Dion suddenly became Swiss in 1988.

The rules for eligibility are somewhat byzantine, but essentially it has more to do with the nationality of the songwriters than the performers. She was basically hired as a ringer that year.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:12 PM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah it's a songwriting contest, not a song contest. Technically. It is and always has been a bellweather of alliances and grudges though, to a comical degree. Like, before they had a popular vote (which only started in 1997 or 8) it was a big joke that every country had all their diplomats and spies working furiously to calculate how their jury should vote for weeks on end. It made Olympic boxing or figure skating look fair and unbiased in comparison.

It's not quite as much fun that way since televoting came in.
posted by fshgrl at 9:44 PM on April 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


is this some kinda corollary of the old "two countries with mcdonalds wont declare war on each other" theorem?
posted by wibari at 9:59 PM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's just, the existence of things like Eurovision is a really good sign. I can't think of any other international rivalry between nations involved in awkward situations with each other that's nevertheless so fundamentally, hilariously peaceful.

I mean I know it's sort of an arch joke to take Eurovision seriously — like, one reason why Russia's so bad at it is they take it so seriously and they always do things that are so ridiculous, like the year they sent t.A.T.u., or that one time their singer iceskated on a tiny portable ice rink. But screw it, I'll go ahead and take Eurovision seriously.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:39 PM on April 13, 2017 [5 favorites]


The rules for eligibility are somewhat byzantine, but essentially it has more to do with the nationality of the songwriters than the performers.

That doesn't explain the small coterie of Swedes who write half of the songs for the easter-European/near-eastern contestants.
posted by acb at 7:07 AM on April 14, 2017


one reason why Russia's so bad at it is they take it so seriously and they always do things that are so ridiculous, like the year they sent t.A.T.u., or that one time their singer iceskated on a tiny portable ice rink.

Russia won the year they sent Dima Bilan with the ice-skating rink.

It was a terrible song but it won.
posted by kariebookish at 7:39 AM on April 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


oh god I forgot that that won.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:50 AM on April 14, 2017


(I just need Logo TV to announce if they're going to show it live again like last year so I can continue planning my party...)
posted by dnash at 8:00 AM on April 14, 2017


And when Dima won in 2008 it was even against fine contestants like Ukraine's Ani Lorak, Bosnia's Laka, Armenia's lovely Sirusho, the batshit-crazy awesomeness of Azerbaijan (they've never bettered this entry imo), and (my personal favourite) Mor ve Otesi from Turkey.

Travesty.
posted by kariebookish at 8:06 AM on April 14, 2017 [5 favorites]


Eurovision goes in waves in terms of special effects and stage shows. We've been in a bit of a lull recently, but I hoping that will soon be a thing of the past. I don't even remember there being swords brandished last year, and that is a travesty of all the things Eurovision stands for, imho.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:30 AM on April 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


kariebookish, THANK YOU for that Azerbaijani song. It was the perfect mix of "what the" and "ow, my ears" and "hahahahahahaha, this is amazeballs." Some friends and I have a running gag about Moldova being robbed when their 2015 entry failed to make it to the finals, but even its "but...why are there cops? I don't understand the cops?" pales in the face of those warring angels and demon-king.
posted by sldownard at 11:13 AM on April 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Is this where I get to link to the time that Estonian werewolves in wrestling singlets played an electric banjo so hard that gravity stopped working?

uh for reals warning, if you have photosensitive epilepsy you probably should give that link a pass
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:15 AM on April 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Is this where I get to link to the time that Estonian werewolves in wrestling singlets played an electric banjo so hard that gravity stopped working?

That....

That....

OMG....WHAT did I just watch?
posted by dnash at 7:18 AM on April 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


estonian werewolves, wrestling singlets, high-pitched yelling, rotating drum kits, banjo, gravity. What's not to understand?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:33 PM on April 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Dunno if anybody is still watching this thread, but Logo is indeed airing the final. I think I'm hosting some friends here in DC because the Ukrainian Embassy has conspicuously not announced a watch party (but let's be honest, they couldn't host the same sort of party as the House of Sweden anyway).
posted by fedward at 3:57 PM on May 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also if you're internet-enabled but cable-cut, it'll supposedly be on the Logo TV YouTube channel, although I didn't hear good things about that last year. If that fails, you could always sign up for a month of Sling TV (Logo is in "Comedy Extra," which will set you back an extra $5 for the month). They offer a free trial for a week, but I can't figure out if the trial includes extras.
posted by fedward at 4:10 PM on May 8, 2017


Also if you're internet-enabled but cable-cut, it'll supposedly be on the Logo TV YouTube channel, although I didn't hear good things about that last year.

I watched it on Logo's YouTube stream last year, which worked fine as far as I remember and is what I'm planning to do again this year.

Is there any way to watch the semi-finals in the US? I'm a little worried that some of the ones I really want to see staged won't make the finals. I assume it'll all end up on YouTube eventually, but it would be nice to follow along as it's happening.
posted by Copronymus at 10:20 AM on May 9, 2017


I think I read somewhere that the semifinals aren't geoblocked and should be live on eurovision.tv and maybe also on their YouTube channel, but we won't know if that's true until 3PM EDT.
posted by fedward at 11:15 AM on May 9, 2017


Eurovision.tv is geoblocked, won't work from North America.

Sweden's SVT is supposed to be streaming unblocked here.

Aside from that I think you'd need to go the VPN route. I haven't tried it but I'm told if you use the Opera web browser there's a free VPN built in that should work.
posted by dnash at 11:44 AM on May 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Correct on both counts.
posted by fedward at 12:03 PM on May 9, 2017


Sweden's SVT is supposed to be streaming unblocked here.

Yeah, that one's working for me. Thanks!
posted by Copronymus at 12:05 PM on May 9, 2017


Aw, my work blocks that one. Eurovision.tv, why have you forsaken me? I loyally watched your streams for years, and now you don't want me anymore. I see how it is.
posted by asperity at 12:22 PM on May 9, 2017


I'm glad whatever was going on with that horse-head mask and ladder was immediately followed by the Portuguese song that would be perfectly at home in the early days of the competition.
posted by Copronymus at 12:47 PM on May 9, 2017


I also enjoyed the Swedish commentary having to say "Epic Sax Guy" now that Sunstroke Project is back.
posted by Copronymus at 12:57 PM on May 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Moldova, Azerbaijan, Greece, Sweden, Portugal, Poland, Armenia, Australia, Cyprus, and Belgium advance.

Of those, I'm always glad to see Sunstroke Project advance, enjoy Skeletons, Gravity, and I Can't Go On quite a lot, and liked This is Love but thought the stage performance was kind of a dud.

I'm mostly bummed for poor Slavko Kalezic of Montenegro, who deserved better. Maybe if he'd made good on the video's promise of a horde of shirtless dudes writhing.
posted by Copronymus at 2:19 PM on May 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I had a meeting so I had to give up on the live stream as of Poland. That Montenegro performance was surely … something. Also I thought Portugal's song was the best actual song of the ones I heard today, but the guy had a really bad case of Singer Hands and he was hard to watch.
posted by fedward at 4:28 PM on May 9, 2017


God, Yodel It! is even dumber than I imagined in performance. My mind and body were ready for pointless cannons and the multicolored text YODEL IT bouncing up and down in the background, but I had not entirely grasped how much if it is "yodeling -- but sexy".

I hope it wins everything forever.
posted by Copronymus at 12:32 PM on May 11, 2017


I bought the album a few days ago so I had heard the Croatia number, but I was unprepared for the visual. I sort of both loved it and couldn't control my giggling.

Also somebody should make a Meat Loaf biopic so that guy can play him.
posted by fedward at 1:36 PM on May 11, 2017


Bulgaria, Belarus, Croatia, Hungary, Denmark, Israel, Romania, Norway, the Netherlands, and Austria advance.

I'm sad we didn't get the Swiss and Serbian songs in the final, but at least the two goofball entries moved on.
posted by Copronymus at 2:35 PM on May 11, 2017


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