The Lithuanian Ministry of Culture has recommended The Roop be prioritised for vaccination ahead of their performance at Eurovision 2021.
Following an announcement on Wednesday by the Ministry of Health (SAM) that it is proposing to re-prioritise who will be moved up in the queue for vaccination against COVID-19, the Ministry of Culture is suggesting vaccinating The Roop, this year Lithuanian representatives in Eurovision 2021 before their participation this May. The Roop would be entitled to an earlier vaccination alongside school staff, coaches and medical students. The Government has approved such a move and is waiting for the Minister of Health to take a final decision.
On the topic of vaccinations The Roop’s lead singer Vaidotas Valiukevičius has stated that all members of the group would gladly accept a vaccine should one be offered.
“If we go unvaccinated to the competition, we will have to be tested constantly, which does not provide any protection, so we would spend a lot of time isolating with protection. The vaccine would allow to communicate more freely with the media and continue to spread its message, “ – Vaidotas Valiukevičius
The Roop have already recorded their backup tape performance for the upcoming 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. This recording will be used should The Roop be unable to perform live in May at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam.
Under the current plan set out by the EBU, rapid testing and a range of other safety measures have been put in place to ensure there is minimal risk of coronavirus transmission at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. EBU will not treat vaccinated participants any differently than those who are unvaccinated, meaning that even with vaccine The Roop would still need to be regularly tested and comply with all rules.
Who are The Roop?
The Roop was formed in 2014 in Vilnius and is made up of Vaidotas Valiukevičius, Robertas Baranauskas and Mantas Banišauskas. The group describes their music as a cross between pop-rock and indie. The Roop have released two albums; “To Whom It May Concern” (2015) and “Ghosts” (2017). In 2018, The Roop took part in the Lithuanian national selection for the first time and finished third in the final with “Yes, I Do”. In 2020, they entered Pabandom iš naujo! 2020 with the song “On Fire”. The Roop would then go on to win their semi-final and then the final of Pabandom iš naujo with a record number of votes from the public.
Despite not being able to perform at Eurovision in 2020, they still went on to be one of the most-streamed Lithuanian artists of that year thanks to their hit Eurovision 2020 song “On Fire”. “On Fire” was streamed 6 million times on Spotify and its official music video on YouTube was watched over 9 million times.
In late January, The Roop released their song “Discoteque” which they would be entering Pabandom iš naujo 2021 with. “Discoteque” would go on to win Pabandom iš naujo 2021. Since the release of their 2021 Eurovision entry “Discoteque” the song has gone on to break local records for views on youtube and streams on Spotify. The Roop are due to perform in the first half of the first semi-final on May 18th.
Image Source: GoVilnius | Source: LRT
Lithuania in the Eurovision Song Contest
Lithuania debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994, however on their debut they finished in last place with nul points. Lithuania didn’t return to the contest until 1999 when Aiste finished 20th with the song “Strazdas”. Lithuania’s best result came in 2006 when LT United performed “We Are The Winners”; they finished 6th in the final with a total of 162 points. Lithuania’s only other top 10 finish came in 2016 when Donny Montell performed “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night” in Stockholm, he received 12 points from the public in Ireland, Norway & United Kingdom.