Ukraine withdraws from Eurovision 2019
In unsurprising news overnight, Ukraine has pulled out of the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv.
It has been a dramatic few days for the nation.
Firstly their national final, Vidbir, was overtaken by virtual public trials of some of the artists asking them to declare allegiances to Ukraine over Crimea, denounce their family members and promise to take up different citizenship.
One of these artists, MARUV, who has a career in Russia as well ended up winning the competition by coming 2nd with the jury and 1st with televote.
The broadcaster UA:PBC and MARUV could not come to a contractual agreement and they both mutually withdrew support. UA:PBC publicly stated she would not be an appropriate 'cultural ambassador'.
The artists who finished 2nd and 3rd in the contest declined the broadcaster's offers to compete, with KAZKA saying their "mission is to unite people with music, not to sow discord."
This led the broadcaster to take the drastic action of withdrawing from the contest in Tel Aviv. Their statement was:
"The Eurovision Song Contest is an opportunity for every country to showcase itself in an international area, and for each performer to act as an ambassador of their country and win fans from around the world. But the national selection this year has drawn attention to a systemic problem with the music industry in Ukraine – the connection of artists with an aggressor state with whom we are in the fifth year of military conflict. Whilst for some, these links are acceptable, for others it causes indignation and unacceptance. Given the current sitation, and following Ukrainian law on public broadcasting, as well as conditions of excessive politicization of the national selection process, UA:PBC has decided to withdraw from the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest."
The EBU who run Eurovision responding with,
“Each participating broadcaster is responsible for the selection of their act for the Eurovision Song Contest in accordance to the rules set out by the European Broadcasting Union. It is with sadness that the EBU can confirm that Ukraine’s broadcaster UA:PBC has informed the EBU that, following further discussions, they have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. There will be further discussions between the EBU and UA:PBC on this matter but we hope to see them again in 2020."
In what is a disappointing result for the contest could have a silver lining for Australia. Ukraine was in Australia's semi final, this means one less nation to get past to make the top 10 and reach the Grand Final.