The Russian singer and producer Philip Kirkorov will participate in Eurovision 2018 as a producer for a mystery country.
Kirkorov gave an interview at Russia’s “Song of the Year 2017” festival confirming that he had been approached by a “friendly” country and had agreed to act as producer for their 2018 Eurovision entry. This latest teaser from Kirkorov follows an Instagram post he shared in November suggesting that “The Dream Team” comprising of Kirkorov, Greek songwriter Dimitris Kontopoulos and choreographer Fokas Evangelinos would return to Eurovision in 2018. On their last attempt “The Dream Team” reached third place in Eurovision 2016 for Russia with Sergey Lazarev’s You Are the Only One.
Media speculation suggests that the “friendly country” referred to by Kirkorov may be Belarus given his past involvement in the 2005 and 2007 entries from that country. However, this is perhaps unlikely given that Belarus has recently launched an open selection to find its entry for 2018.
Kirkorov is also notable for co-writing the runner-up in Eurovision 2008, Shady Lady by Ani Lorak for Ukraine. As a singer, he took part in Eurovision 1995 with the song Kolybelnaya dlya vulkana (“Lullaby for the volcano”) and finished in 17th place. This was the second time Russia had participated in the contest.
Following the third place finish in 2016, Kirkorov criticised the influence of national juries in the contest and suggested that Russia should not return until the rules are changed. Ultimately, Russia did not compete in Eurovision 2017 following the controversy involving proposed artist Yulia Samoilova. After the 2017 contest, the Russian broadcaster suggested that Samoilova would compete in 2018 but this has not yet been confirmed.
Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest
Russia debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994 and has gone on to be one of the most successful countries in the contest. Since the mid-00s Russia has had a string of strong results including their first and only victory to date in 2008. Dima Bilan won the contest in Belgrade, Serbia with the song “Believe” taking the contest to Moscow the following year. On their last two appearances, Russia has finished in 2nd and 3rd place respectively in the final.