The Belarusian broadcaster BTRC has said this evening in a Telegram post that VAL will not represent Belarus at Eurovision 2021.
“The VAL group will really not go to Eurovision 2021 and this will happen not because something “broke” at BTRC or censorship, but because the artists of the VAL group have no conscience” is the statement that sees VAL ruled out of representing Belarus at the next Eurovision Song Contest.
BTRC released a statement on its ATN News Telegram page this evening following an interview that was published yesterday featuring VAL. In the interview with IL Interesting People, VAL were openly critical of the way that they say they have been treated by BTRC since winning the nations selection for Eurovision 2020.
In the interview VAL state that they were in an “unspoken agreement” with BTRC that controlled the groups interviews and performances. Explaining that “We knew that if we didn’t show up at such a concert, then with a 99% probability they would choose a new artist next year.” They added that BTRC had tried to stop “non-conformist” acts from entering shows such as the Belarusian selection.
Following their victory in the Belarusian selection VAL state that BTRC were “distant” in their interactions with the group about how their performance for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.
BTRC has rebuffed all of the comments made by VAL stating that:
The contract, which is concluded between Belteleradiocompany and the representative of Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest, does not contain any requirements for participation or non-participation in concerts, whether public or private. In standard contracts, it is purely about the preparation and participation in the competition, participation in television projects is provided. But we did not contact the VAL group for any reason. We would like to emphasize that Belteleradiocompany has nothing to do with the organization of Slavianski Bazaar concerts, as well as state events with the participation of artists. Sometimes we act as a broadcaster at such events. And this is the maximum. We do not care where you performed, perform and will perform.
Regarding VAL being “non-conformist” the station adds:
Note that the degree of your “non-formatting” surprised even Europe. According to bookmakers, if you had passed Eurovision, you would have taken the penultimate place on it in the two semifinals … We accepted the selection results with respect and a desire to put all our efforts into achieving the best result in the final.
Responding to VAL stating that BRTC were distant following their victory, the broadcaster said:
The “distant” work of BT consisted in the fact that we had negotiations with some of the best directors of Eurovision. As a result: the performance for the artists was to be directed by the director of the winner of Eurovision 2014 Conchita Wurst and the performances of Austria at Eurovision 2018 (3rd place) Marvin Dietman, and the famous Cypriot Alex Panayi was to become the vocal teacher. At the same time, BTRC was ready to pay for the work of specialists, which is not at all necessary under a contract. And this is not to mention the numerous broadcasts and diaries of Eurovision, which became additional PR for the artists.
The statement from BTRC comes in the midst of an ongoing political crisis within Belarus, which has seen public protests against Alexander Lukashenko following a disputed national election. BTRC is a the state controlled broadcaster of Belarus and has sided with Mr Lukashenko, while VAL is one of a number of former Eurovision acts supporting protests against Mr Lukashenko.
Image Source: VAL / Source: BTRC
Belarus debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 and has made it to the final on five occasions. Belarus’ best result in the contest came in 2007 when Dmitry Koldun finished 6th in the final with a total of 145 points. In total Belarus has qualified for the Eurovision final six times in sixteen attempts.